It was 21st of January, 2016 when HAL-Tejas was flown in the international Air show of Bahrain. Hearts of Indian government officials were skipping beats while praying hard during the entire flight because it was a matter of their respect planted which was at huge stake. One technical or practical blunder could not only put the life of the fighter pilot but also their country’s dignity at the stake. Impulsively, it all went okay! The officials were amazed rather shocked, we must say. It almost seemed like mission impossible for them to make HAL-Tejas have a successful flight.
HAL-Tejas an Indian fighter jet had a real rough time while it was under construction because the Indian Air force wasn’t really serious about Tejas. In 1969 Indian government decided that Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) would carry out a project to construct a fighter jet. In 1975 the design was over and done with, but due to the very lack of concern of Indian Air Force this project was over-looked for many years. They might be thinking that they are not in need of such new projects until in 1983 they realized that their 21 fighter jets were not of any exercise anymore. So, the idea of making a fighter jet of their own once again was born from dust like rising of a phoenix. This idea stared off from the installation of Aeronautical Development Agency, which was a governmental organization. It consists of experimental laboratories, workshops, industries and research centers allied with the air defense. Among all of these HAL was the one dominating and capable of carrying out good projects, for the same very reason HAL was given this project of making a fighter jet named “HAL-Tejas”.
The project was carried out with the splendid speed of a tortoise and the jet was completed after a long span of whole 27 years with the hard work of some amazingly intelligent brains of India in 2010, but it still struggles to go through some of the testing and experimental exercises.
Now lets’ take a deeper look into Tejas’ competencies:
Fighter jets are put into the category of generations based on their performances, built up material composition and the armor/ gadgets used its quality and carrying quantity. Tejas comes in the fourth generation (4G) but due the excellent composition material body latest gadgets used the Indian Force considers it as a 4.5th generation bird.
Tejas is a multi-model performing fighter jet. It simply means that it can perform pretty well while fighting with the enemy belonging from the skies, oceans or land. Being a fighter jet doesn’t stop it from attacking the enemy on the land borders and sea ports.
It is a single seated jet; solely one man show!
It has a maximum flight thrust of up to 1,476 mph i.e. 2376km/h
& 1,283 knots.
It can mark an attack on the opponent during its flight with maximum distance of 500 km.
Upper Limit Altitude:
The max can fly, escaping from the affects of gravitational force,
is up to 54,134ft i.e. 16,500 meters (10.3 miles)
The max range Tejas has got is up to 1,864 miles i.e. 3000km, utilizing its full-fuel capacity.
One American General Electric F404-GE-IN20 Turbo Fan Engine (developed 19,000 lbs along with afterburner) is installed in Tejas.
It can cost up to 25–30 Million US Dollars. This is quite cheaper than what the other similar jets would cost; they would cost almost 80-90 Million US Dollars.
43.31 ft i.e. 13.20 meters
26.90 ft i.e. 8.20 meters
14.44ft i.e. 4.40 meters
Weight when empty:
12,522 pounds i.e. 5,680 kilograms
29,762 pounds i.e. 13,500 kilograms
Due to above all of the competencies describes Tejas has become very famous in the international defense market. Still, having all of the mentioned capabilities Tejas is having a tough time to really prevail the agreements with the foreign consumers. Tejas might be a good choice but in the eyes of foreign consumers JF-17 Thunder is still on the top demand for most of the Asian and African countries that are looking forward to making their air defense safer, stronger and enhanced. Now where did this JF-Thunder come from? Let us have a look at its history…
Without doubt, Tejas has a real strong contender flying against right next to it; in its neighbors’ broad blue world. In 1995, Pakistan with the collaboration of China kicked off with project of making a fighter jet. In a very short span time they were able to put the newly constructed JF-17 Thunder to an experimental testing session in March 2007. The performance was astonishing and PAF ordered for almost 200 more of the thunders for their fighting batch of jets.
JF-17 Thunder has not only all of the mentioned capabilities but much better than described for HAL-Tejas. For example, let us rewind all of the described properties of HAL-Tejas one by one:
JF-17 Thunder has also crowned it’s place in the fourth generation’s (4G) category.
JF-17 Thunder is a lightweight multi-model performing fighter jet. Along with fighting in the air and making it look like a piece of cake for itself it can do the same demolition with enemy’s tanks and ships.
It is also a single seated jet like Tejas. The one man show (as I said before)
It has maximum flight thrust of up to 1,218 mph i.e. 1960 km/h with 1,058 knots.
It can mark an attack on the opponent with maximum distance of 1352km which is almost twice than that of Tejas’s combat capacity.
Upper Limit Altitude:
The max it can fly, escaping from the affects of gravitational force, is up to 55,512 ft i.e. 16,920 meters (10.5 miles)
The max range JF-17 Thunder has got is up to 2,164 miles i.e. 3482km, utilizing its full-fuel capacity.
One Russian originated RD-93 Turbo Engine (developed with 18,973 lbs with afterburner)
It can cost up to 25– 30 Million US Dollars.
48.98ft i.e. 14.93 meters
31.00ft i.e. 9.45 meters
15.49ft i.e. 4.72 meters
Weight without any load:
14,517 pounds i.e. 6,585 kilograms
27,304 pounds i.e. 12,385 kilograms
By looking into the competency comparison of Thunder and Tejas; other than the engine’s efficiency Thunder is a better choice for most of the Asian and African countries basically because of its potent performance in a combat and its lightweight formation.
Other than that there are some other reasons too for which Thunder is put as the first choice over Tejas by international consumers.
Pakistani engineers and pro-technicians are working on the very new version of JF-17 Thunder (Block-II). Block-II is said to be much better because of its high-quality material composition, fighting capabilities and advanced armor/ gadget used. Along with it professionals are also working on the Block-III version of JF-17 Thunder. On the other side of border, HAL-Tejas is still undergoing the process of the testing and verification experiments. They will start work on the second version of it names as Mark-II in 2019.
So, we can say that for an emergency combat our JF-17 Thunder will be all ready and set while HAL-Tejas is still under the process of becoming a ready to fight jet.
There is also a second reason for why JF-17 Thunder is at the higher position over HAL-Tejas in the international defense market. Indian’s war equipment never did a good job after being sold in a combat/ battle field or even for a customary schedule duty. For example one of the Latin countries, Ecuador, bought seven of the armed helicopters (Dhruv) from HAL and them later they were added to the Ecuador’s armed force in 2009 but sooner four of them were destroyed by falling to the ground due to technical issues. Soon Ecuador canceled this agreement with India and hence this all made the rating of Indian war equipment lose its position in the international defense market. This didn’t make any good impact also because Ecuador was the very first international consumer of Indian’s war equipment.
While JF-17 Thunder seems to have many fans from other borders including Egypt, Argentine, Malaysia, Burma, Sri Lanka and Nigeria; but due to political interference from our loving neighbor Sri Lanka stepped back from making any deal with us upon JF-17 Thunder.
While having high morale and reliance we really wish that our thunders will protect borders and skies not only of Pakistan and China but also of our fellow neighbors.
~May the thunders be in your favor!~
i) An article named “JF-17 Thunder bazi le gaya” by Syed Asim Mehmood, Daily Express.
ii)Compare Aircraft Results: Comparison of HAL Tejas Multi-role Aircraft vs Chengdu JF-17 Thunder (FC-1 Xiaolong) Lightweight Multi-role Fighter.
Picture Courtesy by www.PAFwallpapers.com