Tejas Mark-2 will perform surgical Balakot-type strikes inside enemy territory

While Tejas Mark-1 was envisioned for combat air patrol over Indian Territory, Tejas Mark-2 will have the capability to conduct Balakot-style surgical strikes deep inside enemy territory, much like the Mirage 2000.

Representative image. News18

New Delhi: The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has cleared the Tejas Mark-2 project, which is to be completed at a cost of over Rs 10,000 crore. Tejas Mk-2 LCAs (Light Combat Aircraft) would replace aging fighter fleets, such as the legendary Mirage-2000s used in the Balakot strikes, Jaguars and Indian Air Force (IAF) MiG-29s.

The Tejas Mark-2 is said to be twice as powerful as the Tejas Mark-1, as it has a new powertrain – the GE-414 engines – compared to the GE-404 engines of the Tejas Mark-1, giving it autonomy twice that of its predecessor. .

Moreover, Tejas Mark-2 was designed to carry out operations such as Balakot strikes, deep in enemy territory and this is also what differentiates it from Tejas Mark-1.

“While Tejas MK I is intended for combat air patrol over Indian Territory, MK II will have the capability to conduct surgical Balakot-type strikes in enemy territory as it will carry heavy weapons like Crystal Maze and Spice missiles,” Girish Deodhare, Program Director (Combat Aircraft), Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), had said earlier.

In retaliation for the despicable Pulwama terror attack, India had bombed a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist training camp at Jabba Top in Balakot, Manshera, in the heart of Pakistan on February 26, 2019. The mission has was carried out using a package of IAF Mirage 2000 aircraft.

“The LCA Mark 2 fighter jet development project has been cleared by the government. This would pave the way for designers to develop an advanced 17.5-ton single-engine aircraft. The development of new aircraft is to be completed by 2027,” Deodhare said Wednesday.

Deodhare had also explained in the past that the indigenous Tejas Mark-2 fighter jets would have the capability to conduct Balakot strike type operations as they would be equipped with Beyond Visual Range missiles which have greater range and radars. Virtually jam-proof AESAs in order to be suitable replacements for the aging Indian Air Force (IAF) Mirage 2000 fighters.

The new jet will carry Astra-II BVR air-to-air missiles with a range of at least 150 km.

The IAF chief also welcomed the CSC’s decision on Thursday. “Tejas Mark 2 will fill a critical capability void. Therefore, it is essential that all stakeholders work in tandem to ensure the timely introduction of this aircraft into the IAF,” the IAF Chief said. , Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari.

“Given the rapid depletion of IAF fighter squadrons and the phasing out of MiG 21 aircraft in the years to come, it is essential that project deadlines are met,” Chaudhari added.

“This decision will give tremendous impetus to the local design and development of our next-generation fighter aircraft. welcoming the decision.

(With agency contributions)

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Christine E. Phillips