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In a significant development for India’s aerospace industry and defence capabilities, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is gearing up for the inaugural flight of the Tejas Mk2 fighter jet by December 2024. The announcement comes from CB Ananthakrishnan, the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of HAL, in an interview with Economic Times.

The Tejas Mk2, also known as the Medium Weight Fighter (MWF), is poised to be a game-changer in India’s defence landscape. The aircraft is being developed as a more advanced iteration of the Tejas Mk1, incorporating cutting-edge technologies, enhanced performance, and improved capabilities to meet the evolving needs of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

CMD confirmed that intense work is already underway at the HAL facility, and the manufacturing of the prototype is on track to meet the deadline for the inaugural flight.

The Tejas Mk2 will be powered by the GE F414 engine, HAL has already obtained eight GE F414 engines, which will be integrated into the initial prototypes of the Tejas Mk2. The Made in India GE F414 engines, under a Transfer of Technology (ToT) agreement with GE, will start delivery from HAL’s engine facility in Bangalore starting in 2026.

Ananthakrishnan also revealed that the IAF has expressed a demand for 120-130 Tejas Mk2 fighter jets. The order for 99 GE F414 engines is just the beginning, as the requirements extend beyond these numbers. Notably, the scope of this engine’s utilization extends beyond the Tejas Mk2. The indigenous development of the Twin Engine Deck-Based Fighter (TEDBF) for the Indian Navy, as well as the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA), will also be powered by the F414 engines.

The Tejas Mk2, with its advanced features, multi-role capabilities, and robust design, aims to fulfil the IAF’s requirements for a next-generation fighter jet. As the development of this aircraft progresses, India’s aerospace industry is set to attain new heights, showcasing technological innovation, engineering excellence, and the nation’s commitment to self-sufficiency in defence production.

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