India's Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) is currently in a blur trying to meet two heavy-duty milestones in the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme -- the first flight of the carrier-borne LCA Navy in the next few weeks and initial operational clearance (IOC) of the primary air force variant of the light fighter by Christmas. But with a decision finally made recently that the GE F414 will power the MK-II, work has officially started at ADA on a part of the programme that will finally deliver a full-fledged multirole fighter plane -- the Tejas MK-II.
The next one year will see most of the Tejas team focused on the landmark induction of the LCA into operational service with the Indian Air Force. But a wing of ADA, headed by Principal Director H Siddesha, will kickstart a string of parallel processes to get the souped up MK-II variant of the fighter jet going.
Along with a team from GE, ADA will shortly begin multidisciplinary design optimisation (MDO) of the Tejas airframe for its new engine, and therefore, operational envelope, computational fluid dynamic (CFD) studies of all new components, failure mode, effect & analysis of aeroengine components, fresh numerical master geometry & inboard drawings, a digital mockup of the entire MK-II, and of course, a wind tunnel model.
Immediately, however, the team will embark on the all-important tasks of F414 engine-airframe bay interference studies and clearance, powerplant and fuel systems design and optimisation, integration and then ground tests.
The first flight of the Tejas MK-II is scheduled for the second half of 2014, with full rate production to commence in 2016.