Tejas mk2 is manufactured by Aeronautical Development Agency in collaboration with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited HAL for the Indian Air Force (IAF). It is a medium weight, single-engine, delta wing, Multirole, 4.5+ generation combat Aircraft.
In 1983, the Indian government approved the Light Combat Aircraft mark 1 version of Tejas. Its purpose was to replace Russian Mig 21 Aircraft. In 2016 the Indian government decided to manufacture mark 2 version of Tejas. All the problem that Mark 1 version was facing is rectified in this version. It has some features similar to the rafale. Its first flight is planned in 2022 but could be delayed due to current circumstances. Experts believe that this upgrade saw some major updates to the fuselage of the previous Tejas that majorly increased its aerial combat efficiency. Tejas Mark 2 version will be able to fly double the speed of sound. The most distinguishable external features of the new jet include a retractable air-to-air refueling probe against fixed one in Mark 1 and also increased numbers of weapon stations from 7 to 11.
Tejas is the second supersonic aircraft in the Indian airforce developed by Hindustan Aeronautical Limited HAL. The first one was HF 21 Marut.
Tejas is made from 42% carbon fiber and 43% Aluminium alloy and titanium. The overall length of Tejas Mk2 is 14.7 meters from increased from 13.2 meters in Tejas Mk1. While studying aerodynamics and its constraints in Tejas Mk1, it was observed that it was unable to comply with Area ruling because of short length. So it was decided to take care of this concern of Tejas Mk1 by increasing the length. Several radar cross-section reducing measures will be incorporated in the airframe design so that a degree of frontal stealth can be achieved. Medium Weight Fighter’s cockpit is to have a next-generation Wide Area Multifunction Display and side-mounted control stick.
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It is equipped with the latest F414 engine developed by general electric. This engine provides an upthrust of 98 kilonewtons, but now they are deciding to use a newer version of the F414 engine which is the EPE version. This can provide an upthrust of 116 Kilonewton.
The most important factor in determining the performance of a fighter jet is the thrust to weight ratio. The greater the better. The thrust to weight ratio of Tejas mark 2 is 1, which is quite good. To give you an idea, the thrust to weight ratio of rafale is 1.34, and F 16 has a ratio of 1.06.
The top speed of the mark 2 version is 2 mach which is greater than the previous version which had a top speed of 1.6 mach. The range of the Tejas Mark 2 version is 2,500 km. Another big issue which is addressed is increasing fuel capacity from 2.5 tons to 3.3 ton which will give it a big boost in ferry range and combat radios. The empty weight of the mark 2 version is expected to be 7,850 kg and the maximum takeoff weight is expected to be 17,500 kg.
Mark 1 version had 7 hardpoints while the mark 2 version has 11 hardpoints. hardpoints are the number of weapons that can be attached to a fighter jet. Tejas Mark 2 version will be able to take 2 Brahmos NG at a time. Brahmos NG is the fastest supersonic cruise missile in the world. It will also be equipped with Astra Mark 1 and 2 missiles. It has beyond range visual capacity which means it can attack the target even it is not visible. Astra is designed to be capable of engaging targets at varying range and altitudes allowing for engagement of both short-range targets at a distance of 10 km and long-range targets up to a distance of 110 km
A single unit of Tejas mark 1 in 2020 costs around $40 billion, this price is expected to go up for the mark 2 version, but still, it will be under $50 million. This price is far less compared to other fighter jets with the same features. A single unit of Rafale costs $93.6 billion.
Why Tejas Mk2 (MWF) Will Be Important
The purpose of mark 1 was to replace Russian aircraft mig 21. The power of the Airforce is determined by the number of squadrons. Single squadrons contain 16-18 Aircraft. India has 31 squadrons. Out of which 245 aircraft are MiG 21, these Mig 21 have reached its retirement age. The number of Mig 27 in the Indian airforce is 120, and they all reached their limit. 50 Mirage in Indian Airforce will be retired till 2030. Indian Airforce will be left with only 26 squadrons till 2021. India has added rafale to its Airforce, but rafale is extremely expensive. India needs a low-cost substitute for rafale. India desperately needs to develop modern indigenous aircraft, as it would cost less. India doesn’t need to depend on others for maintenance and their spare parts would be readily available.
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