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Dubai Airshow 2021: India pushes Tejas

18th November 2021 - 10:28 GMT | by Leonid Nersisyan in Dubai

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Tejas Mk1 took to the air on 14 November as part of the flying display during the Dubai Airshow 2021. (Photo: Indian Air Force)

The Tejas Light Combat Aircraft was prominent in the flying display at the Dubai Airshow this year, as manufacturer HAL eyes first deliveries of the Mk1A variant by early 2023, and work continues on the more advanced Mk2.

India is keen to promote its indigenously developed and produced Tejas single-engine Light Combat Aircraft at overseas exhibitions, and the Dubai Airshow is no exception.

An Indian Air Force (IAF)-piloted Tejas Mk1 has been a daily feature in the flying display, and three aircraft are on static display.

A spokesman for manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) told Shephard that the first of 83 Tejas Mk1A aircraft on order for the IAF should be delivered in Q4 2022, or Q1 2023 at the latest.

Tejas model displayed on the Hindustan Aeronautics stand during the Dubai Airshow 2021. (Photo: Leonid Nersisyan)

Meanwhile, a representative of the state-run Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), one of the driving forces behind the Tejas design, mentioned the development process of a more advanced Mk2 version of the Indian fighter.

A first Tejas Mk2 flight prototype is being built, the DRDO spokesperson told Shephard, expressing confidence that the prototype will be completed in 2022, and the maiden flight of the aircraft will follow in 2023.

Indian designers plan to complete the Tejas Mk2 by 2026.

The Tejas Mk2 will feature a new Uttam AESA radar (which could also be installed on the latest and upcoming production batches of the Tejas Mk1A) and a General Electric F414 INS6 engine to deliver better performance than the F404 IN20 used on the Tejas Mk1A.

Other planned improvements in the Tejas Mk2 include stealth measures to reduce the radar cross-section of the aircraft, a radiation-absorbent coating, as well as a new integrated EW system.

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