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Update: India to integrate indigenous IRSTs into fighter aircraft

A model of the Tejas Mk2 fighter aircraft was displayed at Aero India 2023, featuring an IRST, the small black object in front of the cockpit. (Janes/Akhil Kadidal)

India's state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is testing an indigenous infrared search and track (IRST) system that has been developed for the Indian Air Force (IAF) Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Mk2.

HAL told Janes at the Aero India 2023 show in Bangalore, held from 13 to 17 February, that the Tejas Mk2 variant is expected to feature an internally mounted IRST sensor alongside a missile approach warning system (MAWS), and an improved cockpit.

Kaushik Sorabh, HAL LCA Mk2 project manager, said the design of the IRST is similar to the Passive Infrared Airborne Track Equipment (PIRATE) IRST system, which was built primarily for the Eurofighter Typhoon platform and developed by Eurofirst, a consortium led by Leonardo.

Sorabh added that, like the PIRATE, HAL's new passive-ranging IRST is a long-range dual-band system that is capable of tracking multiple targets with a large field-of-view (FoV). The IRST is equipped to handle air-to-air and air-to-ground target tracking.

HAL said it plans to test the system on the LCA Mk2 once the platform is developed and ready for trials. The first LCA Mk2 aircraft prototype is expected to fly in 2024.

This article, originally published on 21 February 2023, has been updated with new imagery.

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