India's fighter jet Tejas catches SL attention

19 April 2016 08:55 am - 16     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


India's Light Combat Aircraft Tejas, which was several years in the making, has now caught the attention of foreign buyers with Sri Lanka and Egypt evincing interest in the indigenously built fighter jet.

Sri Lanka had recently rejected Pakistan's JF-17 aircraft built with Chinese help, while Egypt had last year signed a contract for 24 French-made Rafale fighter jets.

The two countries are interested in the current version of the Tejas and not the upgraded one which will be rolled out later.        

However, state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, the manufacturer of Tejas, is focusing on delivering the aircraft to the IAF first.

"While there is an interest which has been shown (by other countries), let us get the product first to our own customer. The confidence that will come to others when our own Air Force flies it will be immense. So at first, we should at least meet the initial requirement of the IAF," HAL chairman T Suvarna Raju told PTI.

Refusing to share information on which is the countries that have evinced interest in Tejas, he expressed confidence in his marketing team and said they are equipped to take forward the talks. However, Defence sources said that the two countries which have evinced interest in Tejas were Sri Lanka and Egypt.

He said the "current version is more than enough" for smaller nations.

Two things that go in favour of the Tejas are its lower cost and flying ability.

"We have proved its flying ability and the aircraft, for that class, is a terrific one. We did take some time but we need to remember that DRDO and us did everything from the scratch," Raju said.

Raju said that the upgraded version of Tejas, with Active Electrically Scanned Array Radar, Unified Electronic
Warfare Suite, mid-air refuelling capacity and beyond the vision range missiles, will cost between Rs 275 crore and Rs 300 crore.

Sources said enquiries by foreign countries came during the Bahrain air show in January, the first time that Tejas flew outside the country.

The decision to send Tejas abroad was of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who has put his weight behind the aircraft.

LCA Tejas performed 8-G (gravity) pull, vertical loop, slow fly-past and barrel roll at the air show, which the
Indian officials described as "historic".

Interestingly, soon after the announcement of Tejas' participation in Bahrain, Pakistan had withdrawn its JF-17 aircraft from the show despite having paid the initial installment which ran into a few millions US dollars.

Tejas is perhaps the world's smallest lightweight, multi-role single engine tactical fighter aircraft.

JF-17 has been developed jointly by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex and the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation of
China. However, experts feel that the aircraft has been assembled in Pakistan from readymade Chinese kits.

HAL is likely to hand over the fourth Tejas aircraft to the Air Force by June end. The four aircraft will make up the first squadron of IAF which will be used for training and familarisation.

Rather than wait for LAC Mk II, IAF had decided to go for an upgraded version of the existing Tejas with over 40 modifications.

IAF plans to acquire 120 Tejas aircraft, with 100 of these having major modifications.

As per the production plan, six aircraft will be made this year and HAL will subsequently scale it up to eight and 16 aircraft per year.

The LCA programme was initiated in 1983 to replace the ageing MiG-21s planes in IAF's combat fleet but has missed several deadlines due to various reasons.

  Comments - 16

  • Anton Wednesday, 20 April 2016 05:03 AM

    Do not buy indian crap.

    Wiren Tuesday, 19 April 2016 12:42 PM

    Indian houses, indian jets, indian agreements, indian kidneys. ....what next? Indian puppets in a puppet state?

    Prem Tuesday, 19 April 2016 05:33 PM

    While those in Diyawanna castle are bluffing India is tying to succeed in space.

    sham Tuesday, 19 April 2016 09:11 AM

    It will look like a Maruti in the air via DM iOS App

    Citizen Tuesday, 19 April 2016 09:47 AM

    Minus hidden spy Cameras please.

    lonpol Tuesday, 19 April 2016 09:52 AM

    It will definitely come down as flyover

    axehead Tuesday, 19 April 2016 09:54 AM

    It is no surprise that the Sri Lankan government would settle on the Tejas, after the hue and cry India made about Sri Lanka wanting to buy planes from Pakistan. India will never let SL do what they want, Chinese warships can't visit our country , we cannot buy planes from whom we want, what next ?

    Saman Ganegmuwa Tuesday, 19 April 2016 09:55 AM

    Sri Lanka should never buy any fighter jets at this moment from any country. It is ridiculous to buy fighter jets when we don't have money for recurring expenditures

    Nithin Sunday, 24 April 2016 12:37 PM

    Anyone who is saying that JF-17 is better than Tejas,then the should have to read the news of Bahrain Airshow. The much hyped JF-17 withdrew itself in a last moment after hearing that Tejas will be participating. The features of Tejas is much more advance than the JF-17.Though it is true that Tejas took long years to be developed but it is due to India's insistence of making Indigenous Jet engine Whereas JF-17 which took ready made components off the shelves and build it quickly. JF-17 had several crash history in past while Tejas has none.

    Sam Tuesday, 19 April 2016 10:07 AM

    There is no point buying crap from india. Get some quality jets from Russia or china if it really needed...

    Chaney Tuesday, 19 April 2016 10:42 AM

    please dont buy some substandard Indian crap via DM Android App

    theja Tuesday, 19 April 2016 10:42 AM

    get ready for lot of repairs SLAF god bless you

    Mike Tuesday, 19 April 2016 11:12 AM

    Still prefer the JF-17 you this maruti , If the Tejas was this good why is the IAF looking to purchase french and American jets . Always look for lessons in the past . India is not an option for Sri lanka , At the time of War it was Pakistan that helped with unlimited support . JF-17 is the future for the Sri lankan Airforce , Its a proven Aircraft and has seen battle.

    Raj Tuesday, 19 April 2016 11:47 AM

    Why do we need unreliable Tejas? Did they test it in any war? An easy way out is enter into a defence fact with US they might deploy few F22s and B52s!! Then even indians will keep away from Sri Lanka!! No poaching! If Trump asks some money, we will pay it!

    Lawry Tuesday, 19 April 2016 11:51 AM

    Eat the Mattala airport and this fighter jet.

    Nuke Tuesday, 19 April 2016 11:55 AM

    Go for russian built aircrafts instead of some crap which produced failures for years

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