Slow entry of the Tejas Mk II will extend Indian MiG-29 life
The Indian Air Force has recently embarked on a significant initiative to extend the service life of its MiG-29 fighters. This is being accomplished through a comprehensive overhaul process known as the “Second Life Extension” program. This ambitious initiative is slated to extend the operational lifespan of the MiG-29UPG fighters until 2037, marking a significant milestone in the nation’s defense strategy.
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This monumental task of life extension for the MiG-29s will be undertaken independently by the Indian Air Force. The 11th repair plant of the Logistics Command, situated within the confines of Nasik Airport in the country’s western region, is where this significant operation will be executed. This division has a specialized focus on the maintenance and repair of Russian and Soviet equipment, making it uniquely qualified for this task.
Prior to this development, India had intended to retire all MiG-29s by 2027. However, this decision has now been reevaluated, resulting in an extension of their service life. Instead, the Tejas Mk II fighter, which was initially projected to succeed the MiG-29, will first supplant the SEPECAT Jaguar attack aircraft upon its introduction in 2029. Subsequently, from 2035 onwards, the Tejas Mk II is expected to gradually take over from the French Mirage-2000 and MiG-29UPG.
Since their induction into the Indian Air Force in 1986, the MiG-29 fighter jets have been instrumental in bolstering India’s defense capabilities. This life extension program underscores their enduring importance in the nation’s defense framework.
The differences between MiG-29UPG and MiG-29
The Indian MiG-29s, also known as the MiG-29UPG, are upgraded versions of the base Soviet and Russian MiG-29s. The upgrades include a new avionics suite, improved radar, and increased fuel capacity. These upgrades allow the Indian MiG-29s to operate more effectively in modern air combat scenarios.
Another key difference between the Indian MiG-29s and the base models is the addition of a new engine. The Indian MiG-29s are equipped with the RD-33MK engine, which provides increased thrust and fuel efficiency. This engine also allows the Indian MiG-29s to operate at higher altitudes and speeds than the base models.
The Indian MiG-29s also feature several weapons and systems that are not found on the base models. For example, the Indian MiG-29s are equipped with the R-77 missile, which has a longer range and greater accuracy than the R-27 missile found on the base models. The Indian MiG-29s also have a new electronic warfare suite, which provides improved protection against enemy radar and other electronic systems.
What is Tejas Mk II?
Tejas Mk II is a single-engine, multi-role fighter aircraft developed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) in collaboration with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force and Navy. It is an upgraded version of Tejas Mk I with enhanced capabilities and features.
The aircraft has a length of 13.2 meters, a wingspan of 8.2 meters, and a height of 4.4 meters. It has a maximum takeoff weight of 17,500 kg and can reach a maximum speed of Mach 1.8. The Tejas Mk II has a range of 3,000 km and can operate at an altitude of up to 16,500 meters.
The Tejas Mk II is equipped with a variety of armament, including a 23mm twin-barrel GSh-23 cannon, air-to-air missiles such as the Astra and Python, air-to-surface missiles such as the BrahMos and Harpoon, and precision-guided munitions such as the Spice-2000 and Griffin. It also can carry external fuel tanks and reconnaissance pods.
The Tejas Mk II features a modern glass cockpit with a large-area display (LAD) and a head-up display (HUD) for the pilot. It also has a fly-by-wire flight control system, digital avionics, and advanced electronic warfare capabilities. The aircraft is designed to be highly maneuverable and agile, with a high angle of attack and thrust-to-weight ratio.
The Tejas Mk II is expected to enter service with the Indian Air Force and Navy in the coming years and will play a key role in India’s defense strategy. Its advanced capabilities and features make it a formidable fighter aircraft that can operate in a variety of missions and environments.
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