The government had informed the Lok Sabha on Friday that Malaysia is procuring 18 Tejas fighter jets while the US, Argentina, Australia, Egypt, Indonesia and Philippines too have shown interest to procure the light combat aircraft (LCA).
Last year, the Indian government had awarded a Rs 48,000 crore contract to state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for manufacturing 83 Tejas jets to be delivered by 2023.
The indigenous Tejas fighter jet was in the news recently after becoming Malaysia’s first choice. This Indian aircraft competed with the developed aircraft of China, Russia and South Korea, and due to its features, it overshadowed all the aircraft.
Defence expert Qamar Agha said that if compared to Sukhoi, Tejas is much lighter.
“Tejas is fully capable of carrying a load of eight to nine tonnes. It can fly with as many weapons and missiles as Sukhoi, which weighs more. Its biggest advantage is its speed. Despite being light, its speed is unmatched. These aircraft can fly as fast as the speed of sound, i.e., Mach 1.6 to 1.8, up at an altitude of 52,000 feet,” he said.
Agha added: “The Tejas Mark-1A is also costlier than the Sukhoi-30MKI fighter aircraft because many latest equipment have been added to it. For example, it has radar developed in Israel. Apart from this, the aircraft also has an indigenously developed radar. It is very light and its fighter power is also better. It is a multifunctional fighter aircraft.”
Tejas is fitted with an active electronically-scanned radar for critical operation capability. It can refuel in the air and be ready for war again. It can target enemy aircraft from a distance. Not only this, it also has the ability to dodge the enemy’s radar.
“At a time when there is a shortage of fighter jets in the Indian Air Force fleet, Tejas should be welcomed,” the defence expert said.
Tejas made its first flight in January 2001. The aircraft was inducted into the squadron of the Indian Air Force in 2016.