The push for India’s struggling Tejas light combat aircraft comes at a time when its air force is at its weakest
Indian combat aircraft ‘Tejas’ is undergoing major advancements, after which it will be able to compete with the Pakistani JF-17 fighter jets, top Indian officials claimed.
The single-engine fighter must undergo at least 43 ‘improvements’ out of the 57 ‘weaknesses’ detected in its maintainability to ensure it can land and take off again within an hour, officials asserted.
Further claims were made by Indian officials of the light combat aircraft being able to “thrash the Pakistani JF-17 ‘Thunder’ fighters in reach, punch and ability to kill and survive in an engagement.”
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“The Tejas, after the 43 improvements, will be more than able to outgun the similar JF-17, which Pakistan is inducting with China’s help,” an official said.
However, this would only be possible once the Tejas is ready with an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, mid-air refuelling, long-range beyond visual range (BVR) missiles and advanced electronic warfare capabilities.
All this could take up to another three years at the very least, and even if defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics manages to ramp up its production rate to 12 jets from the existing eight per year; all the 120 Tejas planned so far for IAF will be inducted only by 2026.
The push for India’s struggling Tejas light combat aircraft also comes at a time when the air force is at its weakest operational strength since the 1962 war against China, which is causing anxiety within military circles.
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Pakistan was successful in securing its first ever export order for its JF-17 Thunder fighter at the first day of the International Paris Air Show where a contract was confirmed to have been signed with an Asian country.
The indigenously built JF-17 thunder fighter has the capability to compete with any modern fighter jet, including the F-16, it was revealed earlier.
This article originally appeared on Times of India