LCA Tejas is far superior than Mirage-2000 and the Chinese JF-17
After building light combat aircraft (LCA) – Tejas – India’s target is to build fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) indigenously. This is what H Siddesha, project director and technology director of LCA at the Aeronautical Development Agency of Ministry of Defense said here on Friday.
Siddesha was in the city to deliver a guest lecture on the inaugural day of Footprints X7 – Gujarat’s largest technical event organised for three days by the students of M S University’s Faculty of Technology and Engineering for the seventeenth consecutive year.
FGFA, which is under development, is very much a future requirement for the Indian Air Force (IAF) upgrade programme. “It should take flight in 2028,” he said.
Talking about Tejas, which has been inducted in the IAF, he said, IAF has placed an order of 123 Tejas Mark 1. “Every year, 16 Tejas aircrafts will be built on two assembly lines. By 2024, all the aircrafts will be inducted in the IAF whereas Tejas Mark 2 version will be ready by 2021,” he said, adding that Tejas is superior than France’s Mirage and China’s JF-17 fighter jets.
“So far, Tejas has taken 4,000 flights and in none of them it has met with even a minor accident which is a record in itself.
The technical staff can replace engine of Tejas within 45 minutes and the cockpit and flight control system are world class,” he said, adding that although some countries have evinced interest in procuring Tejas from India, the government is yet to take the decision on whether it should be exported. On the inaugural day of Footprints, Dr Ulrich Bez, former CEO and current non executive chairman of Aston Martin also delivered a guest lecture while a workshop of ‘Biped Robotics’ where participants were taught how to make an autonomous robot capable of running, walking and even doing 180 degree split was taught to the participants.
Ravi Gupta, a former scientist with DRDO says that there is a generation gap between Tejas and JF-17. “JF-17 is an upgraded version of MiG-21, developed by China for Pakistan. Tejas is far far superior in terms of avionics and manoeuvrability. Tejas makes use of composite materials, while JF-17 is all metal. Tejas also boasts of a glass cockpit where data is available to the pilot in real-time digital format,” Gupta tells FE Online.
Says Colonel KV Kuber, Independent Consultant Defence and Aerospace, “The induction of Tejas is a proud moment for India and IAF. It is also a big leg up for the entire supply chain that has been established around Tejas. Increasingly Indian defence players will compete to be a part of the Tejas supply chain.” “As far as the JF-17 is concerned, there is no comparison of Tejas with that Chinese aircraft. Tejas is in a class of its own,” he said.
Tejas shares in common feautures with the French Mirage is that both are delta winged single engined multirole aircrafts. Nothing more or nothing less than that.
Our engineers at ADA have studied the design of Mirage and made an aircraft exactly the way our pilots wanted it to be with all the 21st century available expertise.
As a result, the Tejas is a far more technologically superior aircraft. Though it’s not combat proven like the Mirage since it is in its early service days, it is no less of an aircraft than the French contemporary.
The Tejas’ avionics – radar, laser and inertial navigation system – enhances the accuracy of these weapons. Its highly rated Elta EL/M-2032 multi-mode radar provides multi-role capability, allowing the pilot to fire air-to-air missiles at enemy aircraft; and also bomb ground targets with a highly accurate navigation-attack system. The pilot operates his weapons through a head-up display (HUD), or through a helmet-mounted sighting system (HMSS) by merely looking at a target. Experienced fighter pilots say the Tejas is the IAF’s most “pilot friendly” fighter.
Although it is one of the world’s lightest fighters, the Tejas’ weapons load of 3,500 kg compares well with most IAF fighters, including the Mirage-2000, Jaguar, upgraded MiG-27 and the MiG-21. Depending on the mission – strike, photoreconnaissance, or air defence – its eight hard points can carry missiles, bombs, fuel drop tanks or a targeting pod. It can bomb targets and fire missiles as accurately as the Sukhoi-30MKI. The latter scores mainly in its longer range and bigger weapons load, both stemming from its much larger size.
The Tejas’ likely adversary, the Pakistan Air Force’s F-16 fighter, has a slightly larger flight envelope, but the Tejas’ superior avionics give it a combat edge over the PAF’s older F-16A/Bs (currently being upgraded in Turkey); and superior to their new JF-17 Thunder light fighter, co-developed with China. Only the PAF’s 18 new F-16C/D Block 52 fighters, flying since 2010-11 from Jacobabad, may be a match for the Tejas.