SOURCE: VINAYAK SHETTY / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
In less than Two years from now, the first metal will be cut to develop Tejas MK-2 aircraft which will have it first flight in another two years by 2021. the immediate focus now seems to have shifted in the development of upgraded Tejas MK-1A for which Indian air force already has placed orders for 83 aircraft but the focus has not shifted from MK-2 even after Navy rejecting it.
ADA, HAL and Indian air force seems to have a tactical understanding when it comes to Tejas MK-2 Program. IAF officials with whom I spoke to at Aero India 2017 suggests that unlike Navy, IAF is firmly backing the program from the top level.
While Previous Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha had maintained that IAF will buy Tejas MK-2 when it is ready but current Air Chief Birender Singh Dhanoa speaking to Indian media has called Tejas MK-1A and Tejas MK-2 has a critical component in achieving IAF’s desirable 42 squadron strength in the future.
While IAF officials don’t want to spell out their Tejas MK-2 requirements so soon but they do agree that to make Tejas MK-2 project financially feasible, orders for nearly 80+ aircraft will need to be placed by 2025 when Tejas MK-1A deliveries will be concluded.