SOURCE: RAJESH AHUJA / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
17.5-Ton Tejas MKII was supposed to be an Indian shot at the development of a multi-role aircraft that could have replaced the ’80s purchased Jaguar, Mig-29, and Mirage-2000 fleets that makeup nearly 200 jets in the Indian Air Force but the Air Force seems to be so keen on acquiring MRFA and AMCA than it seems to have lost focus on the Tejas MKII program that it has been sidelined now only to be called as an Interim solution till AMCA arrives by mid-2030.
The air force has set requirements for 2 Squadrons of AMCA MKI and 5 Squadrons of AMCA MkII, due to the high cost that are usually associated with the 5th generation fighter jet programs but the same air force is keen on spending nearly $20 Billion in acquiring a 4.5 generation platform when 5th generation platforms like F-35A can be acquired almost at same costs to the country.
Even with recent orders for 83 Tejas MkII and assumed orders for 100 Tejas MkII and assured orders for 140 AMCA, things don’t still add up unless 114 units of MRFA jets are considered for fleet rejuvenation by 2040. Moving away from 4.5+ Gen aircraft like Tejas MkII for 5th gen AMCA makes sense but what doesn’t make sense is that IAF still wants to acquire 4.5+ Gen in the same period of foreign origin.
Tejas MKII’s role in the Airforce seems to have become an Interim solution so that it doesn’t hurt the prospects of India acquiring 114 jets of foreign origin. Tejas MkII was to be the backbone of the IAF with nearly 200 jets inducted from 2028 onwards and the biggest type after Su-30MKI in the country, but for some reasons prospects of its crossing, even 50 units mark might be an uphill task.
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