SOURCE: RAJESH AHUJA / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
From its rollout in 2016 to the serial delivery of four aircraft for the Brazilian Air Force in mid-December 2021, the Gripen-E program was able to stick to its scheduled timeline largely due to great corporation between Saab and the Brazilian Air Force, but Gripen E FOC is estimated only in 2026 and aircraft to be delivered in first lost all of 36 aircraft that were ordered in 2014 will be of IOC Configuration and slowly will be later upgraded to FOC Configuration from 2026 onwards.
Tejas Mk2 ceremonial rollout has been planned by end of this year and the first flight will commence within one year after its rollout with plans to windup its developmental trials by 2028 which could be quite similar to the Gripen-E program turnaround time but it’s no brainer that the first lot will be in IOC Configuration and it will take some time before HAL and its partners can start delivering FOC Configuration aircraft to the air force sometime in 2032 onwards.
Indian Air force off late has been giving a cold shoulder to the Tejas Mk2 and AirChief was not even talking about it until a few days back in public forums and called it an interim solution. the air force is yet to spill out how many Tejas Mk2 units it plans to order and whether it is ready to actively participate in the program or will stick to its earlier rigid stand on inducting jets that are fully combat-capable.
Tejas Mk2 is much superior in design and configuration and expecting a fully developed jet in less than 6 years no doubt will be an uphill task for the program and the partners that are involved in it but the ecosystem that was created by the Tejas Mk1 program will help it keep it in on a course that could require some active participation from the air force and not step-motherly treatment in favor of the AMCA program.
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