How Powerful is NAVY Tejas MK-2 new Design?
The naval LCA project was approved by the Indian government in 2003, with the first stage of development comprising two LCA Navy Mk 1 flight test articles – a trainer prototype (NP-1) and a fighter aircraft prototype (NP-2) – and a static test article, all built to the Mk 1 design. Since then, another trainer, NP-5, has been approved; its airframe is under construction.In addition, two more Mk 1 fighter aircraft prototypes are planned to be built – although the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) is yet to formally fund these test articles.
The second stage of the LCA project involves building two Mk 2 flight test articles – NP-3 and NP-4, both in a single-seater configuration. The concept design of the definitive Mk 2 version is understood to have been completed. The Mk 2 is, in essence, a major redesign of the Mk 1 for enhanced mission performance and improved maintainability.The Mk 2 will incorporate a more powerful General Electric F-414 INS6 engine as well as landing gear, arrestor hook, and internal layout developments, a reduced nose droop to improve aerodynamic performance, and other drag reduction features.
It will also feature a fuel dump system, increased fuel capacity, a retractable inflight refueling probe, and an onboard oxygen generation system.The avionics suite will feature the new Uttam active electronically scanned array (AESA) multimode radar, an upgraded flight control computer, and an improved cockpit layout. Defensive systems will be enhanced with a new integrated electronic warfare suite.
Crucially, unlike the LCA Navy Mk 1, which was adapted from an air force variant, the LCA Navy Mk 2 will be optimised ‘ab initio’ to be a carrier-borne naval fighter aircraft, according to a project official. It is understood that the Mk 2’s first flight is now expected to take place around 2020.According to industry sources, the Indian Navy has a requirement for over 50 Mk 2 airframes, to be formed into two squadrons.” as stated in recent article in this article on IHS Jane.The LCA (Navy) Mk2 is being designed primarily to provide air defence to the fleet onboard Carrier and meeting all the mission objectives set out by the Indian Navy. Significantly improved aircraft performance largely better than AF-Mk1 and integration of a full suite of weapons are capabilities inherent in the design.
Both LCA-Navy Mk2 and AF-Tejas Mk2 will be powered by a single GE 414 INS6 engines generating 99 kN class of Wet thrust but LCA-Navy Mk2 engine will get some special treatment to maintain optimal performance at harsh topical sea conditions of Indian Oceans while operating from Indian Aircraft carriers as agreed by GE. LCA-Navy Mk2 will also get a redesigned landing gear and associated structure with increased internal fuel as critical driving factors in its design.
LCA-Navy Mk2 will get 8 Hard-points along with lightening pod on Right Air intake and a GSh-23 Gun on the left Air intake. Availability of Dual Rack Pylons from Tejas Mk1A on wards will also allow additional weapons carrying capacity for Close Combat Missile (CCM) like ASRAAM.
Other features will be Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar, Unified Electronic Warfare Suite, On-Board Oxygen Generation System, Smart cockpit, Fuel Dumping System, In-flight refueling probe, Redesigned lighter Arrestor Hook System. While IRST System will be featured on AF-Tejas Mk2, LCA-Navy Mk2 might not get one.
The Mark 2 may feature an indigenously developed active electronically scanned array (AESA) fire control radar named Uttam. The Mk2 will also see the incorporation of a new electronic warfare suite which is being jointly developed with Israel.
The external stores capacity will be increased to 5,000 kg (which is 4,000 kg in Tejas Mk 1).
The naval version will also equipped with a new electronic warfare suite which is being jointly developed with Israel.It will also have a new glass cockpit with larger 8×12 inch displays.The MK2 will have some 20-30% parts in common with the Mk1 and these parts are already in the production.
The ADA chief has argued forcefully in the defence ministry, and Parrikar has accepted the need for a step-by-step approach to naval fighter design, rather than attempting a huge technology jump by designing a fifth-generation Naval AMCA.
Compared to this our naval tejas is still at its infancy. The readers should also keep in mind that unlike the west, we had no prior experience of developing fighter jet (HAL Marut was a great effort but the program was killed by effective lobbying of foreign companies). Coupled with the sanctions imposed on us due to pokhran tests, our fighter jet program was further pushed back.
The Naval tejas is a fine lady, but she needs a bit of reworking and ingenuity of the engineers and designers to overcome it’s weight issue. But that will take time and so the navy has to choose a fighter to plug it’s operational gap after the retirement of Sea Harriers in March this year From Dassault Rafale and F-18