Post Balakot attack, IAF wants MWF-Mk2 Program to be Fast Tracked

With the Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) MMRCA program getting serially delayed and recast more than once.IAF Top Brass in its assessment of its vulnerabilities, post-Balakot attack in February wants to fast track development of local indigenous fighter jet program and has asked both HAL which is working on upgraded Tejas Mk1A and ADA which is working on Medium Combat Fighter (MCF) to fast track the program and also ensure that the program stick to their original schedule as agreed up with the Indian Air force

Mark-2 MWF will continue to have the legacy LCA-Tejas Mk1 and Mk1A design elements which will be powered by single F414-GE-INS6 engine supplied by General Electric which has already started to arrive in India from 2017 on wards. MWF will exceed the performance of Upgraded Mirage-2000 when Inducted into air force but actually will replace Mig-29 first. MWF will also be replacing Jaguar fighter-Bomber which are due to be retired from service from 2034 on wards

Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) will deliver 16 TEJAS fighters in the final operational clearance (FOC) configuration to the Indian Air Force (IAF) by the end of this year, said HAL chairman R Madhavan. He added that 16 TEJASs have been delivered in the Initial Operation Clearance (IOC) configuration already. An additional eight are being produced as trainers reports Neelam Mathews for AINOnline.
The TEJAS received its FOC  during the Aero India show in Bangalore, for induction into the Indian Air Force as a fully weaponized fighter. Following the major Vayu Shakti Air Force exercise in February, the Chief of the IAF, Air Marshal B.S. Dhanoa, reported, “It is a fighter jet and behaved like a fighter. It did well both in air-to-air combat, as well as air-to-ground combat.”

MWF fighter jet program will be replacing entire Mirage 2000, MiG-29 and Jaguar fighter fleet from Indian air force inventory of nearly 200 jets and since it will need to be operated in contested environments where stealth features will come in handy to improve the survivability of the platform and the pilot. MWF cannot be classified as a stealth aircraft but measures to reduce its RCS will ensure its survivability.

IAF has a sanctioned strength of 42 squadrons but it is down to 31, IAF plans to add 36 Dassault Rafale, 18 Sukhoi-Su-30MKI and 21 Mig-29UPG as Interim measures to raise squadrons levels and in long term plans to procure 83 more Tejas’s baseline version Mk1A, and 201 MCF and 114 Multi-role Medium Combat jets. IAF plans to have at least 200 brand new jets being inducted from 2025 onwards till 2030 and another 100 by 2035.


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