First LCA Tejas Mk.II prototype next year?

Report & Photo(s): By SP's Special Correspondent August 21, 2013

The first prototype of the LCA Tejas Mk.2 could be rolled out in 2014, it has been revealed. In an exercise to locate and certify line-replaceable units for the evolved Mk.II jet, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has revealed to prospective development partners and suppliers of a hydraulic pump, among other components and systems "HAL-ARDC is taking up for development and qualification of certain LRUs required for catering to LCA-Mark 2 version. The first prototype aircraft is slated for built during 2013-14, while series production(s) are planned for induction to fleet which is stated to be taken up in two phases commencing from 2016 onwards."

The timelines appear optimistic, especially since 2014 is when the LCA Mk.I will only be attaining final operational clearance towards squadron service. That being said, work has indeed begun in right earnest at Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and HAL to build a mock-up of the new jet before getting started on metal cutting for the prototype. A whole raft of tenders and request for information have flown out from both agencies for several different kinds of metal, composites and systems to put the new jet together.