Dr. G. Satheesh Reddy, current Chairman of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) while speaking to the local media has said that developmental design work on the upcoming Tejas AF Mk 2 Medium Weight Fighter(MWF) is complete and efforts are to start work on the first pre-production jets by end of this year so that first flight can happen by end of 2022 or early 2023.

Reddy also stressed that MWF-AF will have higher Indigenous content then Tejas Mk1A aircraft being built for the Indian Air Force. MWF-AF will feature UTTAM Aesa Radar, Electronic warfare suite (EW suite),  onboard oxygen generating system (OBOGS), Full Touch Digital avionics, next-generation line replacement unit (LRU), improved quadruplex digital fly-by-wire Flight Control System (FCS) along with more powerful Mission computer system.

While MWF-AF will still have a GE supplied Power plant, Reddy stressed that it has been done since IAF is happy with the reliability of the engines and spares even though they were other willing suppliers of the engine. MWF-AF will also be equipped with DRDO developed aerial weapons like Astra BVRAAMs, SAAW, BrahMos-NG, Rudra and various guided and unguided drop bombs including Glide and Precision bombs.

When asked about the difference between MWF-AF and Naval-Tejas Mk2, Reddy stressed that both are an independent program developed as per requirements set by Indian Air force and Indian Navy and are developed from scratch and are totally different from each other even though they will share many of the equipment with each other including that of GE supplied power plant but developmental work has been carried out by two separate design team but both will be Medium Class category aircraft.

When asked about the status update on Tejas Mk1A, Reddy said that UTTAM AESA Radar which has been integrated with LCA-Tejas LSP-2 aircraft after successful completion of air trials onboard leased business jet is still in the race to equipped onboard Tejas Mk1A by next one year even though HAL has placed orders for ELTA’s ELM-2052 Aesa but he stressed that radar will be available within one year to be equipped on production Tejas Mk1A, while HAL officials told that they are pressing ahead with integration work with ELTA’s ELM-2052 on Tejas Mk1A and will consider (UTTAM AESA Radar) if Customer is ready to equip them on later batches .

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