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SOURCE: ARUSH SINGH / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

The Aeronautical Development Agency and the Indian Air Force (IAF) have secretly teamed up to design and development which will not only stop the fast slid of the Squadron level of the fighter fleet of the IAF but also push modernization of the entire fleet with great export potential said an IAF officer associated with the program. MWF has been designed as per the requirement of the IAF and will be a technological leap from LCA-Tejas Mk1/A towards AMCA which is the 5th generation fighter jet program to go active soon.

MWF with a targeted weight of around 17.5 tonnes will be powered by an engine of 98 Kilonewton (Kn) thrust which will be supplied by an American company which will be the right balance of power and energy required to run the avionics and carry all its weapon and fuel load without any difficulty.

MWF will be replacing Mig-29A and Mirage-2000 fleet which makes up around 120+ 4.5 generation fighter aircraft which were procured in the mid-’80s and will be retired from the fleet from 2035 onwards. While MWF will be developed to replace aging Mig-29A and Mirage-2000 fleet, it is likely that they will continue to operate with them when it is operationalized since both Mig-29 and Mirage-2000 fleet, recently have been upgraded and IAF plans to procure more 21 Mig-29 air-frames to make up falling numbers will ensure that they remain inactive duty in IAF fleet well past 2040.

IAF had told ADA that it has an initial requirement of 201 MWF fighter jet but later scaled down to 100+ units so is to allow IAF to place orders for 83 Tejas Mk1A variant which will be a parallel program initiated by HAL based on the baseline LCA-Tejas fighter jet. Tejas Mk1A and MWF will be developed from 2021-22 time period parallelly and will enter production from 2025-26 onwards.

ADA is planning to later introduce an upgraded MWF infused with AMCA technology to develop a second variant of the aircraft to secure more orders of the same aircraft said the same official. AMCA program is likely to receive much need boosts to the program after the full-scale model is ready for Radar Cross Section (RCS) measurements at the ORANGE (Open Test Range Facility for Radar Cross Section Antenna Measurement) facility at Dundigal and Kautilya Advanced Research Centre at RCI, Hyderabad.

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