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The latest visuals from October 2023 reveal a significant change in the hardpoint configuration of the TEDBF: the Astra missile pylons, which were previously located under the fuselage, have been relocated to the wing root position. This strategic adjustment raises several questions about the underlying reasons and potential benefits.

One of the primary reasons for shifting the Astra pylons to the wing root position is likely related to structural integrity and load distribution. The wing root is a structurally robust part of the aircraft, capable of handling greater stress and load. By relocating the missile pylons to this position, the overall stress on the fuselage is reduced, which can improve the aircraft’s durability and lifespan. This change also ensures that the center of gravity remains optimal, contributing to better flight stability and control.

Aerodynamic efficiency is crucial for fighter aircraft, as it directly impacts performance, fuel efficiency, and maneuverability. Placing the pylons under the fuselage can increase drag, especially when multiple missiles are carried. By moving the Astra pylons to the wing roots, the TEDBF can achieve a cleaner aerodynamic profile, reducing drag and potentially improving speed and fuel efficiency. This adjustment helps maintain the aircraft’s agility, which is essential for both air-to-air combat and evasion maneuvers.

The relocation of the Astra pylons to the wing roots might also be aimed at improving the integration and operational effectiveness of the weapon systems. Wing root positions can provide better missile launch dynamics, ensuring more reliable separation and ignition. This change can also facilitate easier maintenance and quicker re-arming, as the wing root positions are more accessible compared to the under-fuselage pylons. Additionally, this configuration allows for a more versatile loadout, enabling the TEDBF to carry a wider variety of weapons and sensors.

The TEDBF is designed to operate from aircraft carriers, where payload management is crucial due to the limited space and the need for quick turnaround times. By placing the Astra missiles on the wing roots, the TEDBF can carry additional payloads under the fuselage, such as fuel tanks or other munitions.

The Twin Engine Deck-Based Fighter (TEDBF) is a critical component of India’s ambitious plan to modernize its naval aviation capabilities. Developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), the TEDBF is designed to replace the aging MiG-29K fleet and enhance the operational effectiveness of the Indian Navy.