Discover the Best of the LCA Tejas Mk2

Under development by India’s Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), Discover the Best of the LCA Tejas Mk2. With a length of approximately 48 ft and a wingspan of 28 ft, it is designed to boast enhanced capabilities compared to its predecessor, Tejas Mk1. The jet will be powered by a more potent GE F414-INS6 engine, capable of attaining speeds beyond Mach 1.8 and operating at altitudes exceeding 55,000 feet.

Designated under ADA as LCA AF Mk2, its advanced avionics suite includes radar and sensor systems for superior situational awareness, making it adept at air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. The aircraft features a glass cockpit with state-of-the-art displays, enhancing pilot interface and mission effectiveness. With increased payload capacity and modernized weaponry, the Tejas Mk2 will stand as a formidable asset, representing India’s commitment to indigenous aerospace technology.

Discover the Best of the LCA Tejas Mk2
Photo Credit: Kuntal Biswas / Discover the Best of the LCA Tejas Mk2

The collaborative effort of ADA and ARDC (  Aircraft Research and Design Center ) with HAL ( Hindustan Aeronautics Limited  ) has led to the creation of LCA AF Mk2, known as the HAL Tejas Mark 2. This Indian-origin, single-engine, delta-wing with canard, multirole combat aircraft is designed for the Indian Air Force (IAF). Featuring an extended airframe, closely connected canards, advanced sensors, and a more potent engine, it signifies a compelling next-generation development of the HAL Tejas.

The aircraft is intended to replace several IAF fighters, including the Jaguar, Dassault Mirage 2000, and Mikoyan MiG-29. The aircraft’s indigenous content is reported to increase from its initial 82% to 90%. The maiden flight is anticipated between 2026 and 2027. The purchase involves 99 GE F414 engines, with the initial batch supplied directly by GE, while the remainder is set to be manufactured in India by HAL under a transfer-of-technology agreement.

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approved ₹10,000 crore for Tejas Mark 2, which includes developing a prototype and conducting flight testing, on September 1, 2022. An additional ₹6,500 crore will be needed for fighter jet development, on top of the ₹2,500 crore that was already approved through internal finance. HAL intends to begin limited series manufacturing in 2025 and high-speed taxi trials in 2023.

By 2027, all development work will be finished, and serial production will commence in 2030. The Tejas Mark 2 is scheduled to go into service in 2028. Expectations include a further order of 210 aircraft in addition to the present commitment of 110–120 aircraft that will form six squadrons.

Photo Credit: AirPra@Aero India 2023

Design Analysis of the Tejas Mk2 Aircraft

Besides sharing design commonalities and specific critical systems with its predecessor, Tejas Mark 1A, the majority of technologies incorporated in the Tejas Mk2 are derived from advancements developed for the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) program. The Mk2 aircraft showcases a sophisticated design that seamlessly integrates aerodynamic excellence with state-of-the-art technology. Its airframe, predominantly constructed from lightweight composite materials, maximizes strength while ensuring agility and fuel efficiency. The delta wing design enhances both manoeuvrability and stability, meeting a diverse range of operational requirements.

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In order to attain frontal stealth capabilities, the airframe design will incorporate various techniques to minimize radar cross-section (RCS). These methods include twisted air-intake ducts, partial radar-absorbent material covering, and the use of composites in the skin construction. Featuring a single vertical stabilizer, close-coupled canards for static instability, and fly-by-wire technologies for instability management, it showcases a tail-less compound delta-wing configuration that ensures exceptional agility.

The aircraft is set to feature a missile approach warning system and an infrared search and track (IRST) system. With an enhanced payload capacity of 6,500 kg (14,300 lb) and an increased internal fuel capacity exceeding 3,400 kg (7,500 lb), it will have the capability to carry more weapons with an extended range.

Photo Credit: AirPra@Aero India 2023

In addition to various avionics enhancements, the design will incorporate an integrated electro-optic electronic warfare suite, an aircraft health and usage monitoring system that integrates various sensors onboard Tejas Mark 2 from the Defence Institute of Advanced Technology, and an indigenous integrated life-support system with an onboard oxygen generation system (ILSS-OBOGS) from the Defence Bioengineering and Electromedical Laboratory. ADA has expanded the air intake doors to accommodate the powerful GE F414 INS6 engine, utilizing additional fuselage space.

Futuristic Cockpit: The cockpit of the Mk2 is equipped with modern instruments and controls designed with human factors in mind, ensuring ease and productivity during flight. The glass cockpit is designed to be compatible with night vision goggles and incorporates a wide-angle holographic head-up display (HUD) technology. Additionally, it features a touch-sensitive broad area display arranged in a panoramic configuration. The Mk2 adopts a hands-on throttle-and-stick (HOTAS) configuration, providing the pilot with the option to ease the strain by having a left-hand-on-throttle and a right-hand-on-stick.

Collaborative Engine Development:  The performance of the Tejas Mk2 is anchored by the GE F414-INS6 engine, a product of meticulous propulsion analysis. With a maximum speed of Mach 1.8, this engine enables the Tejas Mk2 to operate at altitudes exceeding 55,000 feet. In 2010, the General Electric F414 INS6 turbofan engine emerged as the lowest bidder following a comprehensive evaluation involving the Eurojet EJ200 and the F414. The agreement encompassed the acquisition of 99 GE F414 engines, with the initial batch delivered directly by GE, and the remaining engines set to be produced in India by HAL as part of a knowledge transfer arrangement.

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Beyond providing superior specific fuel consumption compared to the F404 IN20 engine selected for the Mark 1 and Mark 1A versions of Tejas, the GE F414 INS6 engine boasts a maximum thrust output of 98 kN. The design of the aircraft takes into account the possibility of replacing the GE F414 with an indigenous Indian powerplant when it becomes available.

Photo Credit: AirPra@Aero India 2023

Advanced Avionics & Sensors: The meticulously designed avionics suite, incorporating state-of-the-art radar and sensor systems, showcases a thoughtful approach to design. The avionics of Mk2 will adopt multisensor data fusion, utilizing both passive and active sensors. The Mk2 will be equipped with the Electronics and Radar Development Establishment’s Uttam AESA Radar version and an integrated IRST system for passive target acquisition.

Facilitated by the IAF’s AFNet digital information grid, it will feature an in-house software-defined radio-based tactical data link, ensuring secure communication and network-centric warfare capabilities. Leveraging strategic electronics fusion, the Tejas Mk2 exhibits versatility, capable of both air-to-ground and air-to-air operations, enhancing overall situational awareness.

” LCA AF Mk2 ” Salient Features Will Be:

  1. Tailless, Compuned Delta Wing and Close Coupled Canard
  2. Long Range and endurance
  3. On-Board Oxygen Generation System ( OBOGS )
  4. Enhanced mission and point performance
  5. Quick turnaround and role change
  6. The high payload carrying capacity with heavy stand-off weapons
  7. Advanced sensors like AESA radar and IRST
  8. Internal Electronic warfare suite with RWR, Jammer
  9. Network-centric warfare capabilities
  10. Multi-sensor data fusion
  11. Modern cockpit with smart Large Area Display ( LAD ), Smart Head-Up Display ( SHUD ) and Side Control Stick
  12. Fly-by-wire flight Controls with Upgraded Digital Flight Control Computer
Photo Credit: Kuntal Biswas

Expected Specifications for the LCA AF Mk2 (as of 2023)

  • Length:  48 ft ( 14. 65 m )
  • Wingspan:  27 ft 11 in ( 8.50 m )
  • Wing Area:  470 sq ft ( 44 m2 )
  • Height:  16 ft ( 4. 88 m )
  • Empty weight: 7,850 kg (17,306 lb)
  • Gross weight:  11,300 kg (24,912 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 17,500 kg (38,581 lb)
  • Fuel capacity: 3,400 kg (7,500 lb) internal; 3,500 kg (7,700 lb) with drop tank
  • Range:  2,500 km (1,600 mi, 1,300 nmi)
  • Combat range: 1,500 km (930 mi, 810 nmi)
  • Service ceiling:  50,000 ft +
  • ‘g’ limits:  +8/-3.2g
  • Payload:  6500 kg ( 14,300 lb )
  • Power plant:  GE-F414-INS6 with FADEC, 98 kN ( 22,000 lbs ) with afterburner
  • Max Speed:  Mach 1.8
  • Hardpoints: One 30 mm internal Gun. The aircraft is planned to have a total of 13 hardpoints. The aircraft’s versatility enables it to carry various combinations of cutting-edge Air-to-Air missiles, which include ASRAAMAstraMeteorPython & Derby. Additionally, it will have the capacity to carry Air-to-Surface missiles like BrahMos NG, SANT, Crystal Maze (Popeye), Storm Shadow and Rudram, as well as precision-guided and laser-guided bombs such as SAAW, PavewayJDAMHammer and Spice.
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In conclusion, the Tejas Mk2 will stand as the pinnacle of aerospace engineering, seamlessly blending advanced design principles with state-of-the-art technology. The meticulous integration of cutting-edge avionics ensures superior situational awareness, making it a versatile asset for diverse mission profiles. With a focus on a pilot-centric cockpit design, the Tejas Mk2 excels not only in combat effectiveness but also prioritizes the safety and comfort of its aviators. This fighter design represents a testament to India’s commitment to indigenous technological advancements in the field of aerospace

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