Second Prototype of Tejas Mk2 likely to be delayed due to fund crunch

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited has started fabrication of the indigenous Tejas Mk2 multirole combat jet featuring a much more powerful engine, greater load carrying capability, next generation electronic warfare system and an array of superior avionics that is expected to be rolled out by end of this year with its first high speed trials will start in 2023 but the approvals for the funds that came from the initial seed amount meant for the original Tejas Mark-II program is still being used to fabricate the prototype, after which ADA the nodal design agency won’t have money left to fund fabrication of the second prototype.

ADA has some funds to place orders for some of the components but it won’t be enough to place orders for all the components and systems that are required for the fabrication of the second prototype. Without sanction of additional funds, purchase order might not be issued in time, that could mean delays in the supply leading to further delays in rollout of the second prototype that was planned in 2024 to 25.

ADA has plans to build 4 pre-production Tejas Mk-II, that will be used extensively for the flight and developmental trials for the program and with previous funds allocated it can manufacture the first Pre production Tejas Mk-II and could require fresh funds for the development of the last three that will be near production models that will be equipped with all components and systems that IAF had sought from the project.

Last year Indian Air Force accepted a comprehensive design review of the Tejas Mk-II, that cleared the way for Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to start releasing drawings for fabricating the Mark too prototype. In February, Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) approached Defence Ministry for additional funds but is still waiting for fund clearance to build additional 3 prototypes.

ADA had been sanctioned 2431.55 crores in 2009, that was for the development of the re-engined Tejas Mk1 platform with a more powerful F414 engine but the program in the last 7 years was scaled up and design changes meant funds that were given for the development of 14 tons aircraft which now has become a 17.5 tons aircraft requires fresh funding since the simple re-engined program is now turned into the new full scale aircraft development program.

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