The Indian government has approved production of the Medium Weight Fighter (MWF), also known as HAL Tejas Mk2, and allotted new funds to the program.
Around ₹10,000 crore ($1.25 billion) was sanctioned to the project, according to the Hindustan Times, after the country’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) gave the go-ahead to further develop the aircraft.
Four prototypes of the jet are expected to be completed during the coming years, with the maiden flight scheduled for late 2023. The rollout is now expected by the end of 2022.
The Tejas Mk2, which is a stop-gap measure before the home-built HAL AMCA fifth-generation fighter jet becomes available, is expected to enter service in 2026.
It is also expected to replace the Indian Air Force’s ageing MiG-19, Mirage 2000 and Jaguar jets, while also improving on the performance of the Tejas Mk1.
Development of the Tejas Mk2 started in 2009. It was envisioned as an upscaled and improved version of the Mk1, featuring an extended fuselage with bigger fuel capacity, additional canards for improved maneuverability, and a more powerful General Electric F414 engine.