India is expected to see the launch of the light combat aircraft (TEJAS)-MK-2 next year — in August 2022 — with the configuration being frozen and the steel cutting beginning soon

The configuration for the fifth-generation advanced medium combat aircraft (AMCA) has also been frozen and the preliminary design is complete. While TEJAS MK-2 is called the 4.5 generation, AMCA is called the 5th generation fighter jet program of India.

TEJAS MK-2 is a single-engine multirole fighter designed by Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

Girish S Deodhare, Program Director (combat aircraft) and Director, ADA, said: “The detailed design is complete. In fact, we are in the critical design review stage and metal cutting should start very shortly. Roll-out of the aircraft (MK-2) is planned next year and the first flight in early 2023. We are well on track to achieve these goals."

He was speaking at an event by the Centre for Air Power Studies and Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers.

The 4.5 Gen Jet Fighter

The fighter jet has a tailless compound delta-wing configuration with high manoeuvrability. Fitted with a heavier GE 414 engine, it is expected to join Indian Air Force by 2026. The high-agility supersonic fighter aircraft is made of lightweight materials like aluminium, lithium and titanium alloys, and carbon composites, etc.

The TEJAS MK-2 is a 4.5 generation aircraft with enhanced range and endurance. It is 1,350 mm longer featuring canards and can carry a payload of 6,500 kg compared to 3,500 kg the TEJAS can carry. Reportedly, the aircraft will also be equipped with a multi-sensor data fusion system including an active electronically scanned array radar, infrared search and track, and a missile approach warning system.

For the first time, an onboard oxygen generation system is also being integrated into the aircraft. Heavy weapons of the class of Scalp, Crystal Maze and Spice-2000 will also be integrated on the Mk2.

Meanwhile, scientists at the Defence Institute of Advance Technology (DIAT), Khadakwasla are working on designing continuous health monitoring and transmission system for the aircraft. The aircraft will also be fitted with high definition touchscreen measuring 50cmx20cm wide area display allowing data fusion, and intelligent display of information across the entire length.

For its production, the Defence Ministry signed a Rs 48,000 crore deal with HAL in February this year to supply 83 TEJAS MK-1A to the Indian Air Force which has one squadron of the TEJAS in initial operational clearance.