Tejas is a single-engine fighter aircraft, which is developed indigenously in the nation. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited produces it for Indian Air Force and Indian Navy. It took its first flight in 2001 and was introduced in Indian Air Force in 2015. Now, HAL is working on a new or improved version of Light Combat Aircraft. It is named as Tejas Mk.2 as of now. It will come with more advanced features along with the latest electronic systems. Tejas Mk.2 will contain some features of Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA), fifth-generation fighter aircraft planned to be developed in India.
Why Tejas Mk.2 Is Needed When We Have Tejas?
Before we get into the details of Tejas Mk.2, we must understand why it is needed. Though the Indian Air Force has Tejas and currently it is under production also, but it is not enough. Tejas has some limitations which need to be discussed. It has a low thrust to weight ratio. This results in its limited capabilities like maximum speed and range which affects the overall performance. It has less number of hardpoints and because of that, it can carry less no. of weapons. In addition to this, the current world is moving ahead extremely fast. Outdated technology machines are of no use. That is why IAF planned an upgraded version of Tejas MK.1A. It has minor upgradations with some advancement in technology. However, this is still not enough to meet the needs.
Specifications of the aircraft
Tejas Mk.2, which is expected to be in production from 2025-2026, gives a hope to solve this problem. It is similar to Tejas but has an entirely different airframe. It will replace Jaguar, MIG-29, and Mirage 2000 aircraft. This version of Tejas will be highly advanced aircraft with many features of fifth-generation aircraft. It will be 4.5+ generation aircraft. It will be a slightly larger machine than Tejas Mk.1 with more payload capacity of around 6.5 tones compared to 3.5 tones of Tejas Mk.1. Tejas Mk.2 will come with around 11 hardpoints. Its maximum speed has been planned to increase up to Mach 1.8. Another good point is that its range will also be increased as it will be able to carry more fuel of around 3300 liters.
Electronic Details And Sensors
Tejas Mk.2 will give Indian Air Force an upper edge in the subcontinent, as it will be equipped with the most advanced avionic systems. It will include a digital cockpit along with an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. This will help the pilot to obtain very accurate data. Furthermore, ADA is planning to use indigenously produced Uttam AESA radar in Tejas Mk.2, which is under development right now. Along with all these systems, it has a very big advantage. It will come with an internal electronic warfare suit compared to the external one of Tejas MK.1 and Tejas Mk.1A. It will be highly advantageous, as it will reduce the weight of the aircraft.
Another major addition is the introduction of network-centric warfare capability. It is very helpful to coordinate with ground sources and other platforms for sharing the information. As a result, Tejas Mk.2 will be able to share and collect accurate data with ground platforms. This will solve the problem of lacking coordination between forces as the future equipment will also be manufactured with the same feature. In the cockpit, there will be a multifunctional display and the aircraft will have side-stick control. Artificial Intelligence will ease the work of pilots and will help in fast multi-tasking. It will automatically give the enemy target locations. Voice activation will provide onboard details of the aircraft to the pilot. Therefore, Better navigation and identification of targets with high accuracy will be the main objective of this kind of technology.
Armaments Which Will Form Deadly Combination With Tejas Mk.2
It does need to be mentioned that all the modern armaments will be used with this highly advanced aircraft. Air-to-air missiles, which will be used, are Astra MK.1 and Astra Mk.2. In addition to this, the Indian Air Force has Israeli Derby and SFDR- beyond visual range air-to-air missile, which is being developed by DRDO. Brahmos can be very useful with this aircraft in form of an Air-to-surface missile. For bombs, IAF already has Spice-2000 bombs, which were used in Balakot strikes.
Tejas MK.2 will be designed in such a way that it can take the control of the aircraft for some time if the pilot becomes unconscious. This will be detected with the help of a sensor in the pilot’s helmet.
Overall, Tejas MK.2 will be one of the most advanced aircraft of modern times. It will contain all the latest avionic systems with a highly modified design. It will be having the capability of high maneuverability, which will give it an edge in the air against enemies. Tejas Mk.2 will strengthen the fleet of the Indian Air Force and maybe the Indian Navy if the naval variant also gets rolled out. Tejas Mk.2 will solve the problem of low fighter squadron strength. It will be a great achievement for Indian scientists and engineers who are developing this kind of machine.
Note:- All the information and specifications about the aircraft are only planned features. These can be changed with time as the development process of the aircraft progresses.