Tag Archives: Light Combat Aircraft

Even more doubt for Indian Tejas Mk2

As reported here on Airheadsfly.com earlier this month, the future of the Mk2 version of the Indian Tejas indigenous fighter jet is uncertain. And on Monday 19 October it became even more uncertain as the Indian Navy reported it is reviewing the Mk2’s development.

The Indian Air Force has basically already stated it is planning for 120 Tejas fighters in its current development state and incorporating a number of structural design changes. A new Mk2 version with a more GE F-414 engine and air-to-air refueling capability is off the table as far as the air force goes.

That decision leaves the Indian Navy on its own for the Mk2 version. The added power is welcome bonus for operations aboard an aircraft carrier, but the Navy is now ‘reviewing’ the Mk2 version also. The first Mk2 originally was planned to fly in two years from now, but that – if it ever flies – seems highly unlikely now.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: An Indian Navy Tejas test aircraft hits the ski jump to get airborne. (Image © Hindustan Aeronautics Limited)

Indian Air Force feels need for 120 Tejas jets

The Indian Air Force has a need for 120 Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) to equip six squadrons, air force chief Arup Raha said on 3 October. An equal number of  ‘Rafale-type’ fighter jets should ideally complement the Tejans. The outlook for the Tejan MkII – a futher development of the indigenous fighter jet – seems uncertain.

The Indian Air Force is currently working up to Final Operational Clearance (FOC) for a dozen or so of Tejan jets. FOC was originally set for the end of 2015 but should now should be achieved by March 2016

The Tejan has been in development for over 30 years and it still a troubled design. Manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has suggested four major design changes. Indian Air Force says it would like to acquire 120 jets if those changes are made. The order total now stands at 40.

The air force chief made it clear that the 36 Dassault Rafales for the Indian Air Force are not enough in his eyes. Another 120 or so ‘Rafale-type’ jets should accompany the Tejas jets in the future. The contract for 36 Rafales still has to be finalized, however. Negotiations for more Rafales seemed to have hit a dead end earlier this year.

Meanwhile, it seems unlikely the Tejas MkII will take to the sky in 2017 as planned earlier. That variant should incorporate a more powerful engine and an air-to-air refueling capability.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: A Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), designed and produced by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. (Image © Hindustan Aeronautics Limited)

India fuels up its Tejas

The Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (Image © Hindustan Aeronautics Limited)
The Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (Image © Hindustan Aeronautics Limited)

India puts more fuel into its HAL Tejas fighter project. With officially 220 of the indigenous developed light combat aircraft (LCA) on order, Indian media quote sources within the Indian Air Force indicated on 12 February 2014 that the branch seeks additional funds for almost 300 Tejas jets in total.

The Air Force top brass wishes to equip 14 front-line squadrons with the Tejas, designed and built by the country’s own Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Each squadron will have 16 single-seat fighter and 2 dual-seat operational trainers, making 252 Tejas LCA’s. An addtional 42 are wished for as attrition replacement, bringing the total number up to 294. Even the Indian Navy seems interested, with might mean another 40+ Tejas of the yet to develop shipborne variant.

Within the Indian Air Force the Tejas is due to replace the remaining aging 125 MiG-21 of the Bison standard. The Tejas plans are extra interesting, since India currently has no finances available to continue with its planned French Rafale fighter purchase.

Test & delivery
The LCA Tejas test aircraft performed 500 sorties in 2013, from the airfields of Leh, Jamnagar, Jaisalmer, Uttaralai Gwalior, Pathankot and Goa. The aircraft were tested in cold weather, armament and weapon deliveries, multimode radar (MMR), radar warning receiver (RWR), hot weather and missile firing flight trials this year itself. Two aircraft flown three sorties each on the same day during trials at Jamnagar in October and November 2013 to demonstrating a speedy turnaround time capability. The weapon tests took place at Jamnagar and Jaisalmer.

The HAL Tejas reached its Initial Operational Clearance (IOC II) on 20 December 2013. The first deliveries are planned to start in 2014, with a procurement plan for eight to sixteen aircraft a year.

© 2014 AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger with additional information provided by HAL

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