New Delhi: Indian-made Tejas and Chinese JF-17 Thunder a multi-role fighter jointly developed by Pakistan and China will be up against each other for the first time on at the air show in Bahrain between 21-23rd of January. This is the first time the Indian-made fighter will fly in an air show outside the country. More importantly, it will have a chance to prove how good it is against the Thunder.
Defence ministry officials say Tejas is better than the JF-17 Thunder on at least half-a-dozen counts. But this would be the first time it can be proved.
The performance will be technically evaluated. A telemetry unit an automated communication system to collect data and measure the performance is being set up in Bahrain.
The Air Force has agreed to raise a squadron 20 aircraft. Bengaluru-based Defence Public Sector Undertaking Hindustan Aeronautics Limited claims 15 aircraft are flying, of which a handful are prototypes and rest are test aircraft. The Tejas project has been in the eye of controversy for long. Besides the delay in producing the aircraft, questions have been raised about its effectiveness.
But an internal comparison by the manufacturers shows “Tejas is as good, if not better, than the JF-17 Thunder,” a senior Defence ministry official told. The engines of the two planes are at par. The JF-17 uses a Klimov RD93 engine while the Tejas is powered by the GE-F404-IN20 engine. But in other areas, Tejas has a distinct edge, official say.
To start with, Tejas can fly longer distances – 2,300 km in contrast to the JF-17, which flies 2,037 km. It can also carry more fuel about 2,500 kg in comparison to about 2,300 kg the Thunder carries.
The Tejas can also be refueled in air, which the JF-17 cannot. This further increases the range and the endurance of Tejas. The Tejas gets air borne faster – in just 460 meters, compared to the more than 600 metres the JF-17 requires.
“Another major positive for the Tejas is its airframe: the JF-17 has conventional aluminium and steel alloy frame in comparison to Tejas’ Carbon Fiber composites. This not only makes the Tejas lighter but also very crucially reduces its radar signature making more difficult to detect,” the official said.