Recently at AI 2021 HAL singed a deal with IAF to supply 83 Tejas mk1A. HAL plans to deliver these 83 by Dec 2030. it’s the culmination of a long struggle= that started in 1983 to build an indigenous jet. Now HAL is planning to build the Tejas mk2/MWF total 200 with first deliveries starting in 2026 (hopefully). This looks good on paper but with HAL patchy rec0ord it seems difficult that HAL could deliver as promised.

What HAL is promising next is even more ambitious and hard to digest that it can deliver or not. So, what is next,

Tejas mk2/MWF (201 no) planned 2026 roll out 2. TEDBF(57 no) planned 2028 roll out+ ORCA (100 no roll out?) 3. AMCA mk 1 (40-45 no) planned 2032 roll out 4. AMCA mk2 (160 no) planned 2035 roll out

While Tejas mk2/MWF, AMCA mk 1 /2 are not major concern only problem is where is the money to buy. However, that can be solved if the deals are spread over several years. The problem is actually with TEDBF or Twin-Engine Deck Based Fighter for Indian Navy (IN). Now it is known to everyone that building just 56 jets is not an economically sensible job,to amortise the investment atleast a 100 more Indian AIR Force (IAF) variant supposedly known as ORCA or Omni Role Combat Aircraft needs to be built.

 It is the same reason bcoz of which MDL wants IN to issue order for 3 more Scorpene submarine, L&T is requesting Indian Army to order another 60 more K9 Vajra SPH to amortise its investment at Hazira facility. Also, it is the same reason hat Tata Airbus are planning to build atleast 100 C295, including or excluding the 56) already contracted with IAF. If plans go ahead to build the 56 TEDBF for IN then definitely 100 ORCA need to be built for IAF. But if these are built then it means chances for 201 Tejas mk2/MWF look slim even if built noswill have to be limited to 100 only.

Not to mention the production schedule for Tejas mk2/MWF being pushed due to ORCA. This will also push the development and production schedule of AMCA mk 1/2 especially mk2 limiting their numbers further.If IAF wants Tejas mk1/mk1A/mk2 (MWF) as well as AMCAmk1/2 and IN wants the TEDBF too, then notwithstanding the timeline for delivery, where is the money to buy so many of these jets. Even if IAF decides to buy all Tejas mk1/mk1A/mk2 (MWF)/ORCA/ AMCAmk1/2 then the squadron strength of IAF will touch 62 much more than the minimum 42 and maximum 52 that IAF needs to manage a two-front war with {Pakistan and China. It’s a different matter that IAF still has facility to maintain so many squadrons, a setup built during the WW2.

It is in this situation the non-stealthy naval version of AMCA can come in. reports say IN has rejected the naval AMCA for the future INS Vishal (70000 ton planned). INS Vikramaditya/INS Vikrant hat are flying Mig 29k will continue to do so since they optimized only for ski jump ops.  It is a known fact that developing an air force specific jet from aa naval variant is easy that building a naval variant out of air force jet. This is a problem that plagued the HAL and even after somehow developing a Naval LCA out of air force variant NLCA remains sub optimal, meaning it is only used to flight test concepts and technology now.

As such developing the non-stealthy naval version of AMCA not only removes the need to develop the ORCA and allows for building the total 201 Tejas mk2/MWF as planned, but also helps in designing the air force of AMCA a much easier task. As for stealth it is basically the paint and few sharp edges on jet’s body and hidden weapons bay that help reduce the RCS.  The non-stealthy naval version of AMCA also helps speed up production timeline of Tejas mk2/MWF as well as the AMCA k/2. High time HAL/ADA/ADE/IN/IAf sit together and give the idea of developing the non-stealthy naval version of AMCA as TEDBF a serious thought.

Disclaimer : Articles published under ” MY TAKE ” are articles written by Guest Writers and Opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. IDRW.ORG is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of IDRW.ORG and IDRW.ORG does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same. article is for information purposes only and not intended to constitute professional advice .

Article by JOYDEEP GHOSH,  cannot be republished Partially or Full without consent from Writer or
Note: If you have personal opinion and want to contribute for” MY TAKE ”on Defence matters kindly email us at