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The Tejas MkII, India’s next-generation fighter jet program, is facing a revised timeline and a renewed focus on indigenous content. Recent developments indicate a pushback in the first aircraft rollout, which was previously scheduled for December 2023. With funding delays and a focus on greater self-reliance, the program is now aiming for a first rollout in late 2026 or early 2027.

The initial disbursement of funds for the Tejas MkII was later than expected, impacting the program’s overall schedule. This, coupled with HAL and DRDO’s commitment to higher indigenization, has necessitated a revised timeline. The first flight, originally slated for December 2024, is now likely to occur sometime in 2028. Production is expected to begin only in early 2030, marking a significant delay from the initial projections.

The revised timeline also reflects a shift in focus towards greater indigenous content. The program now aims for over 80% of the aircraft to be built using Indian components right from the first aircraft, compared to the earlier target of 65%. This ambitious goal is driven by a desire to reduce dependence on foreign suppliers and mitigate potential disruptions caused by ongoing global conflicts.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) remains committed to the Tejas program, recently deciding to procure 97 additional Tejas Mk1A aircraft. This move indicates confidence in the platform’s capabilities and serves as a buffer against potential delays in the MkII program.

The revised timeline and increased focus on indigenization present both challenges and opportunities for the Tejas MkII program. The extended development timeframe necessitates efficient resource allocation and management. However, the focus on indigenous content is a positive step towards achieving greater self-reliance in the critical domain of fighter aircraft technology.

The Tejas MkII program is a complex undertaking with ambitious goals. While the revised timeline and increased focus on indigenization present challenges, they also offer opportunities for learning and growth. The program’s success will hinge on effective project management, technological innovation, and continued collaboration between HAL, DRDO, and the IAF. By overcoming these hurdles, the Tejas MkII has the potential to solidify India’s position as a leading player in the global aerospace industry.

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