India’s Tejas MK2 fighter will fire with SCALP EG and SPICE

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NEW DELHI, ($1=73.92 Indian Rupees) – India is starting production of the HAL Tejas Mk2 fighter jet, with the first units expected to leave the production facilities in 2023, BulgarianMilitary.com has learned, citing a source from the Indian Ministry of Defense. The new heavier fighters [heavier than the Tejas MK1 – ed.] will be armed with various anti-aircraft weapons.

Photo credit: Kuntal Biswas

Tejas MK2 will be armed with an Israeli air-to-ground missile Crystal Maze or Raptor is developed for the Indian market with a range of 100 km, weighing 1,100 kg that carries 80 kg warhead. It was developed in the year 2003-04.

The Indian fighter will receive more weapons from Israel, such as the SPICE bomb by Rafael. The SPICE Family of stand-off, autonomous, air-to-surface weapon systems enables precision, high-volume strikes in GPS-denied areas.

The cruise missile that will improve the combat capability of the Indian fighter is SCALP EG, which is made by MBDA. The warhead that carries this missile is 450 kg. The missile hits targets at a distance of up to 560 km. It is used in the Tornado, Saab Gripen, Dassault Mirage-2000, and Dassault Rafale aircraft.

The Ministry of Defense of India claims that Tejas MK2 is already in production, although its production is not going according to plan. India cites the epidemic in the country, as well as around the world, of the coronavirus infection Kovid-19 as the main reason for the delay. According to preliminary analyzes by the end of this year, or at the latest at the beginning of next Tejas MK2 should be ready and rise into the sky.

The Tejas MK2 features improved range and durability [compared to the MK1], including the onboard oxygen generation system [OBOGS], which is being integrated for the first time. The MK-2 will be a heavier and much more capable aircraft than the current variants of the LCA, with the aircraft being 1350 mm longer, including canards, and capable of carrying a payload of 6,500 kg compared to 3,500 kg of the LCA.

Meanwhile, Indian manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Limited [HAL] added that it has already built 10 MK1 fighters, but is still waiting for weapons systems from Israel. This delay could lead to the delivery of eight fighters instead of 10 by the end of 2022.

BulgarianMilitary.com reminds you that India has signed a contract for the purchase of 83 Tejas MK1A fighters, and the company is expected to supply between 16 and 18 fighters a year to the Indian Air Force.

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