India’s homegrown fourth-generation Tejas MK1A fighter jets are believed to be more reliable than Chinese combat aircraft, according to a report by US Magazine.
Developed by the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Tejas is a single-engine, fourth-generation, multirole light combat aircraft.
The fighter has been designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) in collaboration with HAL’s Aircraft Research and Design Centre (ARDC) for the primary use of the Indian Air Force and the Navy under the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) program.
While the Tejas is being showcased as a flagship project under the Modi government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative in the defense sector, the fighter jet has had its share of controversies since its maiden flight in 2001.
Long delays in its development and inadequacies in performance were cited as big drawbacks in the Tejas program in the past. However, of late, the government has given utmost importance to the Tejas in a bid to project it as the future aircraft of the Indian Air Force.
When compared to China’s fifth-generation J-20 stealth fighter, the Tejas Mark 1A lacks many features. However, with further improvements, it can beat the more advanced fighters of its class possessed by China and Pakistan.
The fighter jet could see upgrades including, active electronic scanned array (AESA) radar, air-to-air refueling, long-range BVR missiles, advanced electronic warfare to jam enemy radars and missiles, and multi-tasking abilities.
According to Foreign Policy magazine, the fighter is a shining example of international cooperation. The F404 engine powering the Tejas was supplied by US company GE and the fighter’s radar and electronic warfare equipment came from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).