HAL Tejas Mark 2-Advanced Variant of LCA Tejas,Indian Armed Forces
HAL Tejas Mark 2 is being developed to meet the latest Indian Force Requirements and will incorporate fifth-generation jet fighters elements which are intended to make way into the Sukhoi/HAL Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) and HAL Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA).It is being developed for the use of Indian Air Force and Indian Navy.
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) Indian had,Last January,Sanctioned US $542.22 Million(INR 2431.55 crore) for Aeronautical Development Agency(ADA) of DRDO to develop the IAF’s Tejas Mark 2 variant and the Indian Navy’s LCA Mark 2 (navy) Variant. The IAF is committed to procuring an initial 83 Tejas Mk 2s and the Indian Navy has expressed its firm requirement for 46 LCA Mk2 (Navy).
In August 2015 the Indian defence minister stated the first flight of Tejas mark 2 is likely to be 2019 with an entry into service in 2022.
Introduction of Latest Advanced Engine/Procurement of Latest Advanced Engine
The LCA Tejas Mark 2 will be powered by the more powerful GE-F414-INS6 engine. ADA is procuring 99 GE-F414-INS6 engines to power the Tejas Mk-2 and LCA Navy. The contract has been finalized and is awaiting approval.Under the contract, the first lot of the engines will come by 2014-15 and the rest would be manufactured in India under transfer of technology [agreements].
In July 2012, Defense sources told the PTI that India and the US are close to signing the $600 million contract for 99 engines, with options to order an additional 100 under the negotiated terms.In May 2012, ADA Chief P S Subrahmanya told the press that a contract would be signed with General Electric as soon as the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) cleared the deal.
Development Phase and Procurement History
The decision to develop a Mk-2 version of Tejas LCA was taken in September 2008, when it became clear that the Kaveri engine would not be ready in time for the Tejas, which would have to be inducted into service with its current lower thrust GE-F404 engine.The GE-F404 powered Tejas doesn’t meet IAF requirements, so a follow up version of the Tejas is being developed with a more powerful engine. Ironically, LCA Tejas Mk-2 will be the LCA that the IAF sought to begin with.
The Price Negotiation Committee (PNC), set up in late 2010 comprising representatives from the Indian Air Force (IAF), the Navy, the Ministry of Defence (MoD), HAL, ADA and the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) finalized the deal after 15 months of negotiation with GE and the US government.
Procurement of a more powerful engine to power Tejas Mk-2 started when ADA issued a RFP for the supply of engines with thrust in the 95-100 KN to power Tejas LCA Mk 2.
The RFP indicated an initial procurement of 99 engines with an optional follow-up for 49 more. The initial batch of engines would be procured directly from the manufacturer with the rest being assembled at HAL.
The RFP was sent to just two contenders: General Electric (GE) for the F414 engine and Eurojet for the EJ200 engine. The two countries submitted their proposals on December 11, 2009, a day ahead of the deadline on December 12.
DROD said it would pick the engine that requires minimum re-engineering and minimum acquisition + operating costs.Extensive re-engineering requirement could trigger a weight spiral, something the LCA is already plagued with.
DRDO had concerns about the EJ200’s ability to withstand the corrosive salt-water naval environment and about F414’s limited thrust without reheat, as also any export control restrictions that come bundled with it.
There were reports that Eurojet proposed a thrust vectoring version of the EJ200 for the Tejas.
In June 2010, The Hindu reported that the EJ200 engine being offered by Eurojet could meet the differing requirements of the IAF and Indian Navy through a software change.
Evaluation of bid and selection of engine
The initial bids were opened in mid-September 2010. Eurojet bid $666 million and GE $822 million.The GE’s F-414 and Eurojet’s EJ-200–were found technically suitable for the aircraft. The DRDO announced on September 30, 2010 that the Price Negotiating Committee for the Alternate Engine for LCA Mk-2 has finalized the Comparative Statement of Tenders.
The commercial quotes provided by both Eurojet and GE Aviation were evaluated in detail by a defence ministry price negotiating committee, after which GE Aviation was declared the winner, the paper said.The Euroject bid was rejected despite its lower price because it did not include a lot of expenses.So the GE F414 is selected for LCA Tejas and more powerful or advanced GE F414-INS6 is selected for LCA Tejas Mark 2.
Modifications to Airframe and Engine
Minor modifications are being made to the LCA Tejas Mk1 airframe to accommodate the slightly larger engine.It will have a length of 14.2 metres (1 metre more than that of the Tejas Mk 1, for incorporating a stretched nose section and a modified fuselage section aft of the cockpit for housing an expanded complement of mission avionics LRUs), height of 4.6 metres (as opposed to 4.4 metres of the Tejas Mk 1, to accommodate an enlarged vertical tail-section) and a wingspan of 8.2 metres, same as that of the Tejas Mk 1, that, however with an increased wing area.
External stores capacity will be boosted to 5,000 kg (as opposed to 4,000 kg for the Tejas Mk 1), while the twin internal air-intake ducts will be minimally enlarged to cater to the increased airflow requirements of the 98 kN thrust F414-GE-INS6 turbofan built by GE Aero Engines.
Latest Features and Upgrades
The Tejas Mark 2 may feature an indigenously developed active electronically scanned array (AESA) fire control radar named Uttam.Uttam AESA radar is made for Air-to-air sub-modes but development has started for air-to-ground mode radar as it is crucial for aircraft to carry out high-resolution mapping,multiple grounds moving target detection and track,combat identification,electronic warfare and ultra high bandwidth communications .
The mark 2 is also equipped with new glass cockpit having Touch based two 6×8 main display with Smart MFDs and one 5×5 smart MFD which will have Day and Night mode.The aircraft also features Digital fly by wire system ,fuel dump system,Tailless compound delta wing and composite structure which improve performance,maintainability and survivability and make it supersonic at all altitudes.
Other main upgrades includes Higher thrust engine,Structural weight reduction.Upgraded Flight Control computer,In flight refuelling retractable probe,on board oxygen generation system and increased fuel capacity of Mark 2.
Armament-Astra BVRAAM Missile
India’s first Beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) Astra missile developed by the DRDO will be integrated with the first batch of Production variant of Tejas MK-2 to be delivered to the Indian air force. IAF is keen on getting Astra missile integrated with Tejas MK-I and MK-2 aircrafts. DRDO plans to start production of a missile by 2018-19.
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