SOURCE: IDRW NEWS NETWORK / IMAGE COURTESY KUNTAL BISWAS
Air Chief Marshal RK Bhadauria in talks with Indian media has confirmed that Indian Air Force (IAF) plans to procure at least 6 Squadrons of upcoming Medium Weight Fighter (MWF), Project name which still goes by as Tejas Mk2 and has committed to procure 100 jets, which will comprise of 16 jets per squadron Since no trainer variant (conversion two-seaters) have been planned for each squadron at least 4 jets will be used to train new pilots and will move among this squadrons to be used as Single seater Trainer for pilots moving from Tejas Mk1/A and other squadrons.
HAL and ADA will start work on first pre-production IOC certified MWF aircraft from 2021 onwards by starting metal cutting work and final configuration freeze will happen by end of this year so that operation is smooth and on the scheduled time.
MWF will have its first flight by 2023 and will be followed by 3 more jets which will see a move from IOC configuration to FOC configuration with each aircraft configurations. ADA is skipping TD (Technological Demonstrator ) and PV (Prototype Vehicle ) Stage for the MWF Program which will allow ADA and HAL to directly move to the production stage from its first flight in less than 5 years.
ADA expects, DRDO developed Uttam AESA Fire Control Radar (FCR) to be certified by 2022 which will be incorporated in the first MWF from the first aircraft itself. LRDE which has developed the UTTAM AESA FCR plans to scale up limited serial production of the radar in the coming years so that radar is available for all the four pre-production MWF aircraft for intense testing and validation of the technologies. UTTAM AESA FCR which has been integrated on older LSP Tejas Mk1 as demonstrated better scan and track range in comparison to the Israeli ELM-2052 AESA FCR which has been selected for the Tejas Mk1A program, but is yet to demonstrate all modes due to which it has been overlooked for Tejas Mk1A program.
MWF will start replacing the Mig-29UPG fleet which in 2035 could be close to 50 years in service and later also Mirage-2000 and Jaguar fleet. IAF doesn’t want to replace MWF in one to one replacement for this 3 fleet type but it will use MMRCA and Tejas Mk1A to make these numbers.
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