The Indian Air Force (IAF) has accepted the comprehensive design review (CDR) of the LCA Mark 2 (Tejas). This would pave the way for the state-run HAL to start releasing drawings for the first prototype of Tejas MK-2, according to Col. Ajai Shukla (retired), a prominent military analyst and columnist.
The Indian government launched a program in 1983 with the purpose of developing a new light combat aircraft to replace the IAF’s aging fighters, particularly the MiG-21. But the Tejas LCA took its maiden flight only in 2001. It took another 14 years for the homegrown fighter jet to enter service.
The Tejas Mark 2 is an evolution of HAL’s Tejas design and the production is scheduled for 2023. In November 2021, the Deccan Herald reported that the Mark 2 is a 4.5-generation flying machine that will not only feature 70% indigenization (compared to 62% of Mark IA) but also include more advanced technology, in line with the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.
However, HAL and the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) must address existing concerns with the Mark 1 fighter plane, Shukla noted in his column in Business Standard.
He also stated that 12 of the Mark I’s 25 performance shortcomings have already been fixed, with the most critical being the Tejas’ ability to refuel in mid-flight at any time of day or night.