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India’s Tejas vs Pakistan’s JF-17 in low-cost fighter showdown

The recent test flight of India’s homemade Tejas Mk 1A light combat fighter jet pits it directly against Pakistan’s JF-17, in a heated subcontinent contest for air supremacy and global sales. Both fighters are built for similar military missions and requirements, and are poised to compete on budget fighter world markets.

The Tejas Mk 1A demonstrated significant upgrades in its first flight in March, including new active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, updated avionics, a comprehensive electronic warfare capability and minor changes to the internal structure and outer mold line, The Warzone reported.

India’s Tejas jet is closer in size and weight to lightweight combat jets typically developed from existing trainers like the <a href=«» https:>Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI)

FA-50 and Sweden’s <a href=«» https:>Saab Gripen. However, India’s light fighter program has suffered from delays and issues with the <a href=«» https:>General Electric F404 turbofan engine, which is reportedly underpowered for the Tejas.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has been working since 2016 on an upgraded version of the Tejas Mk 1A with a reported budget of US$5.9 billion. The IAF received two Mk 1A aircraft last month and is now contemplating increasing the initial order to 180.

The Warzone mentions that the Tejas Mk 2 is now being planned as a “second generation” version, with many envisioned improvements on the Mk 1 and Mk 1A.

The Tejas, which first flew in 2016 and is part of India’s four-decade-old drive to build indigenous military aircraft, are estimated to cost US$37.8 million per Mk 1A unit.