Tejas MK1A vs MK2 comparison
Tejas MK1A vs MK2 comparison – Indian LCA Mk2 fighter jet development would start once a ToT (transfer of technology) agreement is concluded with US engine manufacturer GE Aviation.
The momentum of the deal is expected to be disrupted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the White House next month.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) uses the LCA Mk2 medium-weight fighter (MWF), an upgraded version of the LCA Mk1A light combat aircraft.
The LCA Tejas series was created and developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) and the government-owned Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) of India. The HAL factory in Bengaluru produces LCA jets.
A price of Rs 10,000 crore ($1.2B) was previously approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) in September 2022 for the LCA Tejas MK2 project’s development, which comprised prototype development and flight testing.
According to a senior official involved in the project, “This amount for the LCA MK2 project was sanctioned from the Defence Budget of the Ministry of Defence (MoD).” According to a top source with ties to the Tejas MK2 program, “there hasn’t been a money shortage, so the problem that has stalled the project is 100% Transfer of Technology (TOT) of the GE 414 engines from the US.”
According to the pitch, the LCA Mk2 will be a 4.5 generation aircraft that weighs more than the LCA Mk1A. LCA Mk2 is designed to carry 6.5 tonnes of payload (weapons) at a weight of 7.8 tons.
The Mk2 aircraft has 11 armament pods compared to the LCA Mk1A’s 8 weapons pods. Along with French Meteor, Mica, and Scalp missiles, HAL intends to militarize Mk2 with indigenous Astra and Rudram missiles. When it is ready, MK2 will probably replace the IAF’s aging squadrons of Mirage 2000 and Jaguar fighter aircraft.
Tejas MK1A vs MK2
The US industrial powerhouse GE Aviation’s GE-F414 INS6 engines will power LCA MK2 aircraft. In accordance with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s signature initiative, “Make in India,” the corporation is “willing” to produce GE-414 engines in India.
We have heard that the US Congress has been considering the plan right now. For Mk2 aircraft, India requires at least 99 of these F414 engines. In 2021, HAL agreed to pay Rs 5375 crores ($650M) to GE Aviation to purchase 99 F404 engines for LCA Tejas Mk1A aircraft.
When visiting India last month, US Congressman Ro Khanna told the media that the ToT deal will probably be completed prior to PM Modi’s planned visit to the US in June.
PM Modi will attend a dinner hosted by President Joe Biden on June 22 at his official house while visiting the US, according to the White House.
National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval traveled to the US in January of this year to join his counterpart Jake Sullivan for the initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCTE)’s first conference. In the year 2022, PM Modi and President Biden announced iCTE.
A “fact sheet” on Indo-US cooperation in technology was released by the White House following the meeting between Doval and Sullivan in January.
The document stated: “Developing a new bilateral Defense Industrial Cooperation Roadmap to accelerate technological cooperation between both countries for the joint development and production, with an initial focus on exploring projects related to jet engines, munition-related technologies, and other systems.”
“Noting the United States has received an application from General Electric to jointly produce jet engines that could power jet aircraft operated and produced by India,” it said about GE’s request. The United States pledges to consider this application as soon as possible.
“Let’s look at the Marut project, India’s first homegrown fighter plane in the 1960s, which failed mostly because of its engine. Although it was a well-designed and powerful aircraft, the project failed because the engine was not made in India, according to Dr. Ravi Gupta, a former DRDO scientist.
The government-owned Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) is India’s top defense organization and is engaged in the research and development of tanks, artillery, bombs, and missiles. The LCA Tejas series was designed and developed by ADA, which is owned by DRDO.
Accordingly, Dr. Gupta told EurAsian Times, “If the LCA Mk2 project is to succeed, its engine should be fully indigenous.” He specifically emphasized the 100% ToT of GE-414 engines to India.
ADA and HAL originally intended to complete LCA Mk2 development by the end of current year, or by 2023, and begin manufacturing in 2025. However, because the ToT issue is still open, the project will be postponed, just like the earlier LCA Tejas and LCA Tejas Mk1A versions.
While the IAF currently runs two squadrons of basic Tejas aircraft, the MoD had also bought eighty-three Mk1A fighters. The AMCA (Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft), a fifth-generation stealth fighter jet, is being designed and developed by ADA and HAL. For AMCA, the government aviation agencies also require engines.
The Modi-led Indian Government intends to produce these engines in India as part of the ‘Atma-Nirbhar’ (self-reliance) program of New Delhi due to the high demand for engines for indigenous fighters.
Few global aviation firms have created aircraft engines, according to Dr. Gupta, “because the design and development of an aircraft engine is far more complicated than the design of an aircraft.” Many international aviation corporations produce fighter jets. He continues, supporting the “Make in India” initiative, “If GE-414 engines are produced under ToT, India will be a world competitor for the design of aircraft engines.”
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