SOURCE: SATYAJEET KUMAR/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
After the Indian Navy reduced its requirements for Carrier Borne Multirole Carrier Borne Fighters (MRCBF) tender from 57 to just 26, the Indian Air Force is also looking at reducing its requirements under the Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft (MRFA) tender to just 57 from 114 units, which will be seen as a clear sign and as a major boost to the development of the indigenous fighter programs that are underway in the country.
India’s Tejas Mk2 already has entered the fabrication stage with a rollout planned this year and the first flight planned sometime in 2023. Tejas Mk2 which has a maximum take-off weight of 17500-ton can be classified as a Medium Weight fighter jet that will fill the void left by the Mirage-2000, Jaguars, and Mig-29 fleet when they are retired from service from 2035 onwards. The void left by the reduction in the squadron strength numbers due to reducing of jets under the MRFA tender is likely to be filled now by the Tejas Mk2 that will enter production in 2028-29 with 150-200 units to be procured over 10 years.
The reduction in requirements under the MRCBF tender also confirms the Navy’s firm backing to the development of the indigenous Carrier Borne Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter (TEDBF) that is underly undergoing Critical Design Review (CDR) and will be replacing the accident-prone Mig-29K fleet from 2035 onwards while also supplementing 26 F18 or Rafale onboard Indian Navy operated aircraft carrier. TEDBF will be India’s first Carrier Borne jet that will enter production in 2030 and ADA is already working on the development of a Catapult Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery variant for India’s second aircraft carrier that will ensure that it will be in service on both STOBAR and CATOBAR type carriers in near future.
A big leap for the Indian aerial firepower will come when India starts inducting 5th Generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) from 2030 onwards. IAF already has committed to procuring 120 jets from 2030 onwards that will see the development of Mk1 and Mk2 variants with improved engines and technologies. IAF is also planning to procure optionally manned variants also of the AMCA that might be classified as Mk3 and will come around the late 2030s.
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