DRDO chief Dr. Samir V. Kamat has confirmed that the LCA Mark 2 fighter aircraft prototype will be rolled out within a year and developmental flight trials will be completed by the end of 2027. On September 1, 2022, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) cleared ?10,000 crore for Tejas Mark 2, which includes prototype development and flight testing.
The 17.5-tonne single-engine aircraft will take its first flight by the end of 2025. Plans are to complete initial developmental flight trials in two years post which the IAF will take care of the weapons certification process once it enters production from 2029 onwards.
DRDO plans to clear only basic air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons systems since the LCA Mark 2 fighter program won’t have any IOC or FOC certifications. Weapons and systems will be cleared over the next five years in multiple phases.
The IAF is planning to procure 108 units of LCA Mark 2 fighter jets to replace initially 60 Mig-29UPG from 2032 onwards and later Jaguar and Mirage-2000 from 2035 onwards. This is a significant development for India’s defense capabilities. The LCA Mark 2 is a more advanced version of the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft, which is already in service with the IAF. The LCA Mark 2 will have a longer range, a higher payload, and more advanced avionics. It is expected to be a major boost to India’s air defense capabilities.