MWF Tejas :-Why Tejas Mk2 (MWF) Will Be Important
With the Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) MMRCA program getting serially delayed and recast more than once, there was a feeling in various quarters that the Tejas Mk2 design should perhaps evolve further than what was initially envisaged to provide an indigenous option for the IAF’s requirements. Thus, the IAF and the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) sat down to redefine the Tejas Mk2 with more elaborate modifications such that it could function as a medium weight fighter for ground attack roles while continuing to be nimble in the air to air (A2A) role. In fact, the version of the Tejas Mk2 currently envisaged has been rebadged as the Medium Weight Fighter or (MWF) and is being designed as a replacement for the Mirage 2000 with a view to surpassing its capabilities in almost every respect
Tejas Mk2 also known as Medium Weight Fighter (MWF) looks very much similar to Tejas Mk1. However the main differences are prolonged fuselage. The overall length of Tejas Mk2 is 14.7 meter from increased from 13.2 meter in Tejas Mk1. While studying the aerodynamics and its constrains in Tejas Mk1, it was observed that it was unable to comply to Area ruling because of short length. So it was decided to take care of this concern of Tejas Mk1 by increasing the length. Other aerodynamic issues such as elevating canopy, redesigning pylon, putting short range missile on wing tip etc is freezed in Mk2 design. All this will reduce aerodynamic drag and will improve transonic acceleration by a very good margin.
The constrains of limited seven hand points in Mk1 is addressed very satisfactorily by providing 11 hand points . The payload of 3.8 tons is increased to 6.5 tons. All concerns of Mk1 are not only addressed but user Indian air force’s expectations are surpassed.
Another noticeable change is addition of canards for handling at low speed and short take off etc. In my opinion, these changes are made so that designers may not have to work very hard on naval LCA Mk2 and Air force MWF may relatively easily be converted into naval Tejas Mk2.
Another big issue which is addressed is increasing fuel capacity from 2.5 tons to 3.3 ton which will give it a big boost in ferry range and combat radios. Supersonic fuel tanks are also developed. It offers a big fuel capacity with minimum addition of drag. This will further add to range and mission capability to carry out operation in large geographical area.
The another most important change will be the replacement of current GE 404 engine with higher power GE 414 IN6 engine. Tejas Mk2 will have GE 414 IN6 engine with some 60 KN + dry and 98 KN wet thrust engine which will give Tejas Mk2 and ability to carry more load and faster speed. It will be a fully home grown plane with American engine which may be replaced by K10 in future.
It is not only a betterment but was necessary. In fact, ADA had considered canard in LCA Tejas as one the short-selected design concepts in the 1980s. Later the idea was dropped because that was the first time India was developing a Flight Control System (FCS)- that too for a highly unstable aircraft like Tejas; so adding canard i.e. an extra control surface would have increased the complexities and risk with no significant aerodynamic advantage relative to the complexity. Now that a robust FCS has been developed, adding canard is an incremental development challenge that ADA can handle.
The canard is ‘close-coupled’ (meaning it is located just above and forward of the wing)
A close-coupled has many positive aerodynamic effects like:
i) It increases wing lift. For Delta wing design aircraft (like Tejas), close-coupled canard benefits even more- increases lift both in low speed flight and high (transonic) speed flight.
ii) It creates better aerodynamic stability of wing vortices
iii) It reduces wing-loading
iv) It gives an extra control surfaces for pitch and roll control, and on the ground, as air-brakes.
v) It reduces take-off distance.
vi) A good area ruling that includes the canard helps to reduce various aerodynamic drag (wave drag, trim drag etc.) hence enhancing its performance.
vii) Compensation for shift of CG with respect to CL (as said in 1st point)
At least Four RCS reduction measures will be incorporated in the air frame design so that ” Semi Stealth ” can be achieved with help from the use of fully internal electronic warfare system to defuse radar frequency (RF) and infrared (IR) threats while on the mission.
MWF will also get a stealth coating paint which has been developed specifically for the AMCA program but only at certain sections to manage absorption of all radar frequencies. Critical RCS reduction measures in the air frame will be
1) Wing and Canard edge alignment to reduce drag and also reduce friction heat and improve RF deflection,
2) Air intakes ducts will have twisted design so that engine blades can be carefully hidden inside the intake duct.
3) Radar-absorbent materials on the critical sections of the fuselage will be used 4) Sharp edges at front fuselage will also help reduce radar cross-section.
MWF fighter jet program will be replacing entire Mirage 2000, MiG-29 and Jaguar fighter fleet from Indian air force inventory of nearly 200 jets and since it will need to be operated in contested environments where stealth features will come in handy to improve the survivability of the platform and the pilot. MWF cannot be classified as a stealth aircraft but measures to reduce its RCS will ensure its survivability.
MWF will be getting new AESA Radar, on-board oxygen-generating system, Internal advanced electronic warfare (EW) suite, larger Multi-functional displays, the upgraded digital flight control computer (DFCC), Infra-Red Search and Track (IRST). Missile Approach warning system (MAWS) and Higher thrust engines which makes it distinctively class apart from the baseline LCA-Tejas fighter jets.
After building huge inventory of heavy category fighter like SU 30 MKI and developing light weight Tejas MK1, Entire focus of India is now centered on acquiring medium weight fighter like Rafale or other MMRCA. Tejas Mk2 is a surprising sweet option which has emerged for Indian air force.
Radar, Infrared track and search system and electronic warfare:
This area is also got a big boost. New Uttam AESA radar will have much higher range than current MMR and it will virtually be Jam proof. It will replace Israeli ELTA 2052 radar in Tejas Mk2. BEL has started work on development of Infrared track and search system which will go into Tejas Mk2. This will give Tejas a great capability to see enemy even without putting its AESA radar on to keep its presence secrete. An Israeli company is already short listed to co-develop electronic warfare suite. Same suite for Mig 29 is already been developed. Development of EW suite for Tejas Mk2 is unlikely to face any challenge. Missile approach warning system is already been developed which will go into Mk2. Sensor fusion is a gray area and yet much clarification has not come.
Tejas Mk2 will come with huge weapon load of 6.5 tons. Designers have already surpassed all expectation of IAF by providing 11 hand points and some of them may be used with multiple hangers carrying two missile of each one. This is a combination of huge payload and huge number of hand point will give this plane an extraordinary flexibility to carry any sort of mission with missiles or bombs and strike a target far away.
During exercise Gagan Shakti, Tejas proved its ability to bomb targets with high Precision. Bombing and its accuracy is already been proved and it is a proven capability of Tejas Mk1 which will go into Tejas Mk2. It has Impressed Indian air force winning lots of admiration from senior IAF officers. India has already developed glide bomb of 100 KM range with which enemy positions can be attacked from far away. India’s own smart area airfield weapon can strike runways from 100 km away and make runways useless.
R 73 and derby missiles are already tested from Tejas Mk1. Python was also tested from Tejas Mk1 but it was found a bit unsuitable. Home grown Astra Mk1 with 80 KM range is already been tested and integrated with Sukhoi 30 MKI. This will go into Mk1 as well as Mk2. There are in talks with France to integrate Meteor with Tejas. France is ready to do that provided the Radar is Indian and not Israeli. With arrival of desi Uttam AESA radar, the way to integrate Meteor will clear. Meanwhile India has done few successful tests of her indigenous solid fuel duct ramjet engine missile which will have about 130 to 150 KM rage some 30 KM lesser than meteor. If either of the two goes into Tejas Mk2, they will be more than a match for enemies of India for decades to come. Meanwhile Israel has offered I derby, the upgraded version of Debby. India is already using Mica of France on Mirage 2000. So India has a great flexibility and multiple options to integrate missile and other weapons on Tejas Mk2 like no other nation has with options of Russian, Israeli, European, French and Indian weapons.
DRDO has already tested anti-radiation missile with more than 100 KM range so as SAAW. This will give Tejas MK2 an additional punch which its competitors are lacking. Tejas will have enviously high weapon choices not available to any of the plane of its class. It will simply outsmart any other plane in the area of weapons.
BVR and WVR engagements:
Tejas with more powerful engine, improved aerodynamic will be much faster though not as fast as Russian planes like Sukhoi 30, Sukhoi 57 and Mig 29 but will outmatch most and its competitors and match F 16 in speed. With low wing loading and higher thrust to weight ratio, Tejas Mk2 will be a great dog fighter which will outmatch all its competitors including F 16 exclusive of Chinese Sukhoi 30s and Sukhoi 35s. However, here is a catch. Tejas with a very small frontal RCS of 0.1 Sq m to 0.2 Sq. meter and top class AESAS radar will see them first and will shoot them with either Meteor, SFDR, Atsra or derby which are very long range missiles.
Against its Pakistani counterparts like JF 17 block 3 or F16, Tejas Mk2 will be more than a match. With very low Frontal RCS and powerful Radar like either ELTA 2052 or Uttam, it will be able to see these planes more than 100 KM away which shall be atleast 30 KH higher than those planes can see Tejas Mk2 even with AESA radar Installed on them. Tejas Mk2 will lock and shoot JF 17 or F 16 from a distance of more than 120 KM either with METERO or India’s own Solid fuel duct ramjet missile with ultra-long range. With state of art infrared track search system, Tejas Mk2 will be able to track these planes even without using its AESA radars.
In within visible range face off, Tejas Mk2 will easily be able to defeat F 16 with higher T/W ratio, Low wing loading and Canard combo which will give it a great maneuverability. It will have no problem in shooting down F 16 with R 73. Even Mig 21 did it recently. JF 17 does not count and it is futile to compare both the planes.
Tejas Mk2 is an upgraded version of Tejas MK1 . All shortcomings of Tejas Mk1 are addresses in Tejas Mk2. It will have a very high ferry range, combat radios and a very decent payload. It is designed for High maneuverability unlike some bomb trucks. Tejas Mk2 can do 9/-3.5 g with high AOA. Mark-2 MWF will continue to have the legacy LCA-Tejas Mk1 and Mk1A design elements which will be powered by single F414-GE-INS6 engine supplied by General Electric which has already started to arrive in India from 2017 on wards. MWF will exceed the performance of Upgraded Mirage-2000 when Inducted into air force but actually will replace Mig-29 first. MWF will also be replacing Jaguar fighter-Bomber which are due to be retired from service from 2034 on wards
Source:- Defence Forum India