India’s indigenous developed Uttam AESA radar is likely to fly after it completes its integration on LCA Tejas LSP-2 soon but Uttam AESA radar might not be installed on next batch of Tejas Mk1A if industrial sources close to have to be believed.

DRDO’s LRDE lab which developed Uttam AESA radar has been pushing for use of the radar on 83 Tejas-Mk1A aircraft under development, while Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is keen on picking up either Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd developed EL/M-2052 Active Electronically Scanning Array (AESA) or Thales developed RBE2 radar derivative on offer soon.

HAL already has a lot of experience working with SEPECAT Jaguar DARIN III which was equipped with an Elta EL/M-2052 active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar but HAL did send a Request for Information to global vendors in 2016 which was responded by IAI and Thales.

Thales last October successful tested derivative variant of RBE2 radar installed on Rafale fighter jets, 36 of which India is buying from Dassault for installation on 83 Tejas-Mk1A. AESA Radar developed by Thales is basically an RBE2 radar customised for smaller radome of LCA-Tejas with much lower power consumption while matching or exceeding the performance of Elta EL/M-2052.

Last Week DRDO Chief Dr S Christopher had confirmed that most of the Tejas-Mk1A modification and upgradation has been more or less being frozen and the only thing left was the selection of Aesa Radar and EW suite Pod.

Defence Avionics Research Establishment (DARE) developed Advanced electronic warfare (EW) suite also equipped with a jammer was tested onboard LCA PV1 and will be available for Tejas-Mk1A on a detachable Pod which is attachable to the under-wing of the aircraft, while MK-2 aircraft will have EW Suite on-board.

Tejas MK-1 A will feature four crucial requirements like New Radar (AESA), EW Suite, In-Flight Refueling (IFR) probes and New Beyond-visual-range missile air-to-air missile (BVRAAM). Due to integration issues with Python-5 Close Combat Missile (CCM), MK-1 A will now feature MBDA developed ASRAAM short-range air-to-air missile, while older batches (MK1) will have Russian supplied R-73 CCM as an Interim measure.

Tejas MK-1 A will also get locally developed Astra BVRAAM along with Israeli supplied Derby BVRAAM for long range Air-to-Air Aerial Combat. HAL is also working hard to expedite development of MK-1 A by converting 21st Serial Production MK1 aircraft into MK-1 A so that IAF can have 103 MK-1 A instead of 83 MK-1 A and 40 MK-1.

As per latest information coming in SP-10 will have its first flight by mid of April next month and HAL is also set to start work on SP-15.

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