First Flight of India's 4.5 Generation Jet, LCA Tejas MK2 by December 2024

  • Bureau
  • 10:31 AM, August 8, 2023
  • 1844
First Flight of India's 4.5 Generation Jet, LCA Tejas MK2 by December 2024
Prime Minister Narandra Modi viewing the LCA Tejas MK2 model display at Aero India 2023

India’s 4.5 generation LCA Tejas MK2 fighter will fly for the first-time next year, a top official confirmed.

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Chief CB Ananthakrishnan told Economic Times that the first LCA Mk 2 outfitted with the GE 414 engine is scheduled for its inaugural flight in December next year, with intense work underway to meet the deadline. "The production of the LCA Mk2 should start by 2027-28. By that time, we will be manufacturing the engines here. We may even be able to further shorten this timeline," he said.

CMD said a memorandum of agreement has been signed with U.S.-based engine maker General Electric (GE) and after legislative clearances from Washington, GE will be asked to submit its quotes and negotiations will commence. When the contract was last being negotiated in 2012, the American side had agreed to 58% technology transfer, which has now been enhanced to 80%. As part of the deal, 99 engines will be manufactured in India and will power the Mk2 variant.

The Indian Air Force has projected a demand for 120-130 of the Tejas Mk 2 fighters, which if accepted is likely to increase the size of the order beyond 99 engines.

Tejas Mk2 or Medium Weight Fighter (MWF) is a further development of the HAL Tejas, with an elongated airframe, close coupled canards, new sensors, and a more powerful engine.

Prabhulla Chandran VK, director of avionics and weapons systems at the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) earlier told Indian media that “(Mk2) design is totally different from Tejas Mk1. It is 20% larger than Mk1, has greater capacity, state-of-the-art avionics and range as well as higher weapon carrying capacity, which we are yet to announce. This fighter plane will have only one version. We might go in for a trainer plane later," Chandran said.

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