TEJAS MK-2 will have a mission endurance of 120 minutes, TEJAS Project Director at Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) revealed in a report by The Indian Express.

This will be more than twice that of TEJAS MK-1, the earlier variant in the Tejas family, which has a mission endurance of only 57 minutes, said the report.

V Madhusudhan Rao, the Project Director of TEJAS MK-2 at ADA, a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) lab was giving an interview, on the sidelines of Aero India 2023.

Talking about the fighter's impressive ability to carry eight Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missiles, Rao said, “No other single-engine aircraft of this class in the world can carry eight BVR missiles simultaneously”.

“These unique features will make it stand out among aircraft manufactured by global firms, upping its export potential,” he added.

“The future is BVR combat and we are ready for that,” Rao said, adding that the aircraft will be integrated with heavy standoff weapons, such as French SCALP (long-range strike missile) as well.

Talking about the Tejas Mk-2's diverse weapons package he said, “Unlike other aircraft, TEJAS MK-2 will be able to integrate unique weapons from various countries”.

Tejas Mk-2 can not only carry Made-In-India weapons like Astra and Rudram but also weapons from eastern (Russian) and Western (French, Israeli, and British) blocks as well, he explained.

The jet will be powered by an American engine — General Electric F414 — which allows the jet to have 11 hard-points carrying a weapons load of 6.5 tonnes.

Stating that the first prototype will be rolled out the next year, he said that there were some delays in the approval of funds.

“However, now the Critical Design Review (CDR) is ready and the first prototype is under construction”.

Earlier, last September, the Cabinet Committee of Security (CCS) had sanctioned funds of Rs 10,000 crore towards the project.

Just last week, at the sidelines of Aero India, DRDO Director V Kamat said that the Tejas Mk-2 will be ready for induction in the Air Force by 2028.

This announcement comes in the backdrop of the Air Force dealing with a severe shortage of fighter jet squadrons amidst the ongoing standoff between India and China.

The Air Force has to make do with only 30-31 squadrons instead of the sanctioned 42 squadrons.

At the current speed of induction, various experts believe that the Air Force will only reach 35 squadrons by the mid-2030s.