India’s Tejas LCA vs Pakistan’s JF-17 Thunder Fighter Jet: Which one is better?

By Jagran

21 minutes, 1000-kg laser-guided bombs: On 26 February 2019 at 3:30 a.m., 12 Indian Air Force Mirage-2000 fighter jets entered Pakistan’s airspace and dropped 1,000-kg laser-guided bombs on Jaish-e-Mohammed terror launch pads across the Line of Control (LOC). The next day, Pakistan Air Force deployed its F-16 Falcon and JF-17 Thunder fighter jets against IAF’s Tejas LCA.

In this article, we have underscored the difference between the Indian Air Force’s Tejas LCA and Pakistan Air Force’s JF-17 Thunder.

Difference between India’s Tejas LCA and Pakistan’s JF-17 Thunder

Key Areas Tejas LCA JF-17 Thunder 
Manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group/ Pakistan Aeronautical Complex
Role Multirole Light Fighter Multirole  Combat Aircraft
Produced 2001- Present 2008- Present
Units Produced 34 150
Unit Cost 23-42 million USD 25-32 million USD
Maximum Speed 2205 km/hr 1960 km/hr
Maximum Height 52,500 ft. 55,500 ft.
Mid Air Refueling Present Absent
Required Take Off Distance 460 m 609 m
Landing Distance 750 m 823 m

Tejas LCA:

In the 1980s, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) started the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme to replace the ageing Soviet sourced MiG-21. In light of this, the indigenously built fighter aircraft- Tejas- was inducted in the IAF. An order of 20 jets was placed initially by the Indian Air Force and the first Tejas Squadron was formed in the year 2016 with the name ‘Flying Daggers’.

As of 26 January 2020, IAF has placed an order of 40 Tejas Mk 1, including 32 single-seat and eight twin-seat aircrafts. Further, IAF has also initiated procurement of 83 single-seat aircrafts in MK 1A configuration.

JF-17 Thunder:

In the year 1995, Pakistan and China inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for joint design and development of a new fighter- JF-17 Thunder- jet to meet Pakistan Air Force’s requirement for an affordable, modern and multi-role combat aircraft. USSR’s Mikoyan (known for its MIG Series of planes) joined the project in the same year to provide ‘design support’.

As of 2017, Pakistan Aeronautical Complex manufactured 70 Block 1 type and 33 Block 2 type jets in the country for Pakistan Air Force.


Tejas LCA:

1- It is ideally a single-seat fighter jet and if required, can be manufactured into a twin-seat fighter jet.

2- Tejas LCA is famous for its delta wing arrangement.

3- It is powered by a single General Electric engine rated at 53.9 kN thrust dry and 90 kN with afterburner.

4- IAF’s Tejas LCA has a length of 13.2 m and a wingspan of 8.2 m.

5- The weight of Tejas LCA is 6500 kg (dry) and has a maximum takeoff weight of 13000 kg.

6- It has a maximum speed of Mach 1.8 and can travel 500 km with drop tanks.

7- Tejas LCA can carry laser-guided bombs, air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles, anti-ship missiles, and has Israel’s Elta EL/M2032 multi-mode fire control radar on board.

8- The maximum T/W (thrust to weight ratio) of Tejas LCA is 1.00:1.07.

9- Sustained Turn Rate (STR) of Tejas LCA is 16 degrees per second.

10- Instantaneous Turn Rate (ITR) of Tejas LCA is 30 degrees per second.

11- Tejas LCA’s radar is ELM-2032, having a detection range of 150 km.

12- Tejas LCA is made up of composites with 45% by weight and 95% by surface area.

13- Tejas LCA has an in-service life of 9,000 flying hours and can be extended up to 12,000 hours.

JF-17 Thunder:

1- It is available in both single-seat and twin-seat configurations.

2- It is powered by a single Klimov RD-93 afterburning turbofan engine with digital electronic engine control (DEEC) and has a 49.4 kN dry thrust and 85.3 kN with afterburner.

3- JF-17 Thunder has a length of 14.93 m and a wingspan of 9.48 m.

4- The weight of JF-17 Thunder is 6,586 kg (dry) and has a maximum takeoff weight of 12,383 kg.

5- It has a maximum speed of Mach 1.6.

6- JF-17 Thunder can carry air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles, laser-guided bombs and China’s Airborne Pulse-Doppler Fire-Control Radar on-board.

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