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Tejas LCA vs. JF-17 Thunder: A Comparative Analysis of Indigenous Fighter Jets in India and Pakistan

India’s foray into fighter jet production is exemplified by its two homegrown aircraft, the HAL Marut and the IAF Tejas LCA. While India is one of the few nations capable of producing its fighter jets, the IAF Tejas represents a significant stride towards the government’s ‘Make-in-India‘ initiative. This domestically developed fighter jet is the only active Indian-made fighter in the Indian Air Force’s fleet.

The Tejas LCA, or Light Combat Aircraft, is a single-engine multi-role supersonic fighter designed to replace the aging Soviet-era MiG-21 Bison jets. Despite being classified as a Gen 4 fighter, it is among the most advanced homegrown fighter jets.

On the other hand, the JF-17 Thunder, co-developed by China and Pakistan, serves with the Pakistan Air Force and is considered a homegrown fighter, albeit with Chinese collaboration. The Pakistani JF-17 Thunder is continuously updated and competes with the Indian Air Force’s HAL Tejas LCA as an advanced indigenous fighter jet.

Here’s a comparison of the Indian Air Force’s Tejas LCA and the Pakistan Air Force’s JF-17 Thunder:

Tejas LCA:

•The Tejas LCA program was initiated in the 1980s to replace aging Soviet jets, with its maiden flight taking place in 2001.

•It was inducted into the Indian Air Force in 2016, and the first squadron was named the “Flying Daggers.”

•The Indian Air Force has placed an order for 123 fighter jets, including 40 Tejas Mk 1 and 83 Tejas Mk 1A. Two squadrons of the fighter jets are currently active.

JF-17 Thunder:

•The JF-17 Thunder, also known as the CAC FC-1 Xiaolong, is jointly developed by Pakistan and China.

•It is primarily designed for the Pakistan Air Force as an affordable, modern, multi-role combat aircraft.

•Designed by Yang Wei, China’s “ace designer,” the JF-17 has seen manufacturing in Pakistan, with 70 Block 1 type jets and 33 Block 2 type jets produced locally by 2017.


Tejas LCA:

•The Tejas fighter jet is a lightweight and simple aircraft with a delta wing arrangement, making it easy to maintain.

•It is powered by a single General Electric engine, providing 53.9 kN (12,100 lbf) thrust dry and 90 kN (20,200 lbf) with afterburner.

•The Tejas has a maximum speed of Mach 1.8 (2,222 km/h) and a range of 500 km with drop tanks.

•It can carry a variety of weapons, including laser-guided bombs, air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles, anti-ship missiles, and features Israel’s Elta EL/M-2032 multi-mode fire control radar.

While both the Tejas LCA and JF-17 Thunder showcase advancements in indigenous fighter jet production, they serve distinct purposes within their respective air forces and exemplify the capabilities and goals of their countries’ defense industries.

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