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AERO INDIA: ADA shows models of Tejas Mk II

India's Aeronautical Development Agency has displayed models of the Tejas Mk II light combat aircraft at Aero India.

Both the Air Force and Naval versions of the Mk II are on display, giving the world its first glimpse of this aircraft, which is likely to fly in 2015 or 2016.

Both variants of the Mk II Tejas are nearly identical to their Mk I counterparts. This is consistent with comments by Hindustan Aeronautics chairman Ashok Nasik in December, when he said the Mk II would see a complete reconfiguration of internal equipment to create a more agile aircraft. "The Mk II is only on the drawing board," he said.

The primary difference in configuration will be the Mk II's length, as it will be 13.7m long compared with 13.2m for the Mk I.

Two changes in the Mk II stand out: structural weight improvements and aerodynamic improvements. Though the official weight of the Tejas Mk I has never been published, numerous critics have said the aircraft is overweight and lacks the agility expected of a light fighter.

The ADA also cites a number of additional upgrades, including a higher thrust engine. HAL has said that the Mk II will use the General Electric F414 engine, which will also be used by later versions of the Mk I (early versions of the Tejas are powered by the GE F414). Long term, the Mk II could be powered by India's indigenously developed Kaveri engine, which is now undergoing testing in Russia after years of problems and delays.

Other improvements will be increased internal fuel capacity, and an in-flight retractable refuelling probe compared with a fixed refuelling probe on the Mk I. The Mk II will have improved avionics, an electronic warfare suite, a new flight computer, and an onboard oxygen generation system.

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