Five years ago General Electric of the US bagged the hotly contested $800-million tender to supply 99 engines for India’s Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA). Engine selected was F414-GE-INS6 which generates 99kN of Thrust which was supposed to make it into India’s Tejas Mk-2 Concept which was just the enlarged variant of the basic Mk-1 design but the Mk-2 concept has evolved in the last few years and now will be classified as a Medium Category fighter jet with higher maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) which is closer to a Mirage-2000.

Thrust levels in the F414-GE-INS6 engine according to experts still have the ideal thrust levels to comfortable power a 13-tonne aircraft with all the weapons and fuel but IAF is counting big on the Mk2 to replace the whole bunch of the mid-medium tier aircraft like Jaguars, Mig-29 and Mirage-2000s which will also mean it will require more thrust over the years since it will be in the force for next 40 years or so.

Mk-2 will literally be replacing Air Interceptor and Multi-role fighter jets like Mirage-2000 and Mig-29 which have played a crucial role in the air defense of our western sector, this alone shows that the Mk-2 will be playing a crucial role in the mid-tier of India’s fighter fleet and it needs to be perfect secondary backup to the Rafale and Sukhoi-30 fleet.

AL-31F engines which generate a 123kN class of thrust is already manufactured in India and also comes with thrust-vectoring nozzles which will improve flight performance of the Mk-2 considerably. A higher class of thrust engine will also enable Mk-2 to accommodate for the potential weight increase in the future due to upgrades and modernization.


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