First LCA Tejas Mk.2 Prototype Next Year?

As the LCA Tejas Mk.1 fights through its crucial final stretch, it has been revealed that the first Mk.2 prototype is likely to be rolled out next year. As part of its effort to identify and certify LRUs for the improved combat jet, HAL has declared on April 9 to prospective development partners/suppliers of a hydraulic pump: "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 inducting to fleet which is stated to be taken up in two phases commencing from 2016 onwards." (sic)

HAL suggests here that series production of the Mk.2 commences in 2016 -- that'll be bare months after the Mk.1 enters squadron service with the IAF, so I'm inclined see this as typical HAL/DRDO optimism, especially given that there's substantial work that needs doing on the Mk.2, not least airframe/fuselage changes to house and operate the new F414-GE-INS6 turbofan and allow higher performance requirements.

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