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SOURCE:  ABHOY ROY / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

Medium Weight Fighter (MWF) will get a new name soon and it will be no longer called as Tejas Mk-2 after it went through major redesign changes due to which the ADA and IAF are very keen to not to tag it as Tejas Mk-2 which was light combat class fighter jet. With Maximum Takeoff the weight of 17.5 tonnes it is a totally new beast and deserves a new name which likely to be selected when the first aircraft makes it to air in 2022-23.

Wind tunnel testing of Medium Weight Fighter (MWF) scale model already has been completed and final design freeze happened last year in December and will finally move to the metal cutting stage by end of this year and already HAL has started the process to procure assembly jigs for the first aircraft.

ADA has confirmed that unlike LCA-Tejas program there will not be any Technology Demonstrators (Phase-1) nor any prototype aircraft (Phase-II) of MWF and instead there will be four Pre-production aircraft. First Two of the four Pre-production aircraft will be of Initial Operation Clearance (IOC) configuration and the last two will be of final Operation Clearance (IOC) configuration. Direct development of Pre-production aircraft will help reduce development timeline and also accelerate flight testing and trial phase so that from the first flight of the first pre-production MWF aircraft till it cleared for production, whole program can be rounded up in five years time.

Work on the assembly of first Medium Weight Fighter (MWF) will start from 2021 on wards and it should be ready for first flight by end of 2022 or in 2023. If ADA manages to have its first flight by 2023 and also manages to wind up its developmental flight trials by 2028 it should be ready to enter production by 2029-30. ADA is yet to select a production partner, while HAL has been tasked to procure assemble jigs and other ground support equipment to start work on the development of first Medium Weight Fighter (MWF) aircraft it is still not clear if HAL will be in charge of manufacturing of first four pre-production aircraft.

With IAF agreeing to procure nearly 201 units of Medium Weight Fighter (MWF) aircraft, it is likely will see heavy interest from many private players who will be very keen on becoming part of the supply chain of the MWF support ecosystem. HAL which is in charge of the development of Tejas Mk1A fighter jet is also keen to start production of it by 2024 and already has sub-contracted the whole fuselage from front to rear and even wings to private defense players in India.

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