IAF after placing orders for 83 jets upgrade Tejas Mk1A jets, has requested a host of new weapons that it plans to integrate and test this year for which HAL has been assigned as an integration and testing partner and DRDO/ADA have been assigned to develop software coding that will enable these weapons to be integrated with the Mission computer and Weapons control computer so they work as required.

The first major weapons system that will be tested and cleared for operational usage will be the indigenously developed Astra Mk1, Beyond visual range air to air missiles for which captive flights trials of the missiles already has started and launch trials for at least 3 missiles have been planned this year before it can be cleared for operational usage.

The second major indigenous system that will be integrated is the long-range, stand-off, precision air-to-surface weapon “SAAW” that is capable of engaging ground targets like hardened bunkers and runways with a range of 100kms.

IAF recently placed fresh orders for a 1,000kg version of the French HAMMER (Highly Agile Modular Munition Extended Range) medium-range air-to-ground weapon that would be the heaviest weapon to be deployed on the LCA-Tejas fleet. The trial of the missile system might take place by end of 2022 or in 2023 but the system integration work will be done in the coming months.

It has been confirmed now that MBDA UK made ASRAAM a Within Visual Range Air Dominance weapon that will be integrated and tested on LCA-Tejas aircraft in 2022 that will come as a boost to the aircraft’s offensive and defensive capabilities.

New generation Anti Radiation Missile (RUDRAM) is reported also going through an integration process for the LCA-Tejas fleet. RUDRAM is a tactical, air-launched missile that can detect enemy radar positions and attack them with high accuracy. RUDRAM has a range of 200kms after Sukhoi-30MKI, LCA-Tejas will be the second aircraft type to get these missiles integrated into.

A last-mile hurdle will be to clear the internal Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-23 gun that has been taken up at the Nashik unit of the HAL for which a dedicated LSP aircraft have been deputed. Ground Gun trials have commenced and 2022 will see the first round of trials from the aircraft itself.

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