Aircraft Comparison : HAL Tejas VS IAI Kfir

Background :

  • Both fighters belongs to LCA ( Light Combat Aircraft ) Category .
  • Both fighters have similar unit price . Cost of Tejas Mk-1 is around 24 million USD per unit and the cost of IAI Kfir Block-60 is around 20 million USD per unit.
  • Both fighters are relatively cheaper to procure and maintain compared to western Light category fighters .
  • Both fighters are very affordable for smaller & budget-conscious countries .
  • Both fighters offer all-weather Multi-Role capability and can carry a wide range of weapons including BVR ( Beyond-Visual-Range) & WVR  (Within-Visual-Range) missiles .
  • Tejas Mk-1 is a unique pure delta wing design developed by HAL while the Kfir Block-60 is based on the Mirage III/5 delta-winged design and is developed and produced by the Israel Aircraft Industry (IAI)
  • Tejas Mk-1 entered active service in July 2016 and is now part of Indian Air Force’s No.45 squadron “Flying Daggers” while the Kfir first entered service in 1975, seeing extensive combat duty with the Israeli Air Force before being retired in 1996.

 

Please Note : 

  • Fuel Density of 0.81 kg /l  was used to convert total fuel capacity to kilograms.
  • Specification & Performance data for both aircraft were derived from reliable sources.
  • Weights with 100% internal fuel was used to try to simulate the aircraft going into    combat with full internal fuel after dropping their External Fuel Tanks.
  • The weights of the armaments were not included as the RATIOS and DIFFERENCES   BETWEEN BOTH AIRCRAFT will remain the same if they will be armed with the same type and same number of armaments.

So lets begin the comparison with the help of various evaluation benchmarks !

1 . ‘Maneuverability’
To compare maneuvering capability , we need to consider both aircraft’s  LIMIT LOAD FACTOR , WING LOADING and POWER / WEIGHT RATIO. Note that Lower Wing Loading (LWL) means that the aircraft is more agile and vice-versa, and a Higher Thrust-to-Weight Ratio (TWR)  means the aircraft can climb faster (better climb rate) and carry better weapons load .
Tejas-Kfir_Maneuverability

Summary  : 

  • Thrust-to-Weight Ratio (TWR) : Tejas has significant 17% advantage in terms of TWR which means it can climb faster than Kfir and can carry more weapons compared to Kfir.
  • Positive Limit Load Factor : Favors the Tejas slightly by 7% as it is rated up to 8G while the Kfir is only limited to 7.5G.
  • Wing Loading : Favors the Tejas with 10% lower wing loading compared to the Kfir which means that Tejas can turn tighter and its more agile than Kfir . This quality gives Tejas a good edge over Kfir in WVR (Within Visual Range) combat (Dogfights).

 

2 . ‘Combat Range & Payload’
The Kfir’s IntFF was multiplied by 0.87 to reflect estimated 13% more fuel consumption of its J-79 Turbojet Engines as compared to its more efficient version, the F404 Turbofan Engine.

For Range, INTERNAL FUEL FRACTION (INTFF) was used as a rough indicator of how far each aircraft can go based on the available internal fuel .
Tejas-Kfir_Payload

Summary  :

  • Internal Fuel Fraction : It favors the Tejas by a third (33%), indicating  it can travel 33%  farther for the same engine fuel efficiency.
  • Payload : It favors the Kfir this time as it can carry a commanding  54% (2,306 kg) more load than the Tejas.
  • Tejas can travel further, but the Kfir can carry more load ( 4,282 kg  payload capacity of Tejas is not poor though ) , So in short their performance in this aspect is somewhat similar.

 

3 . ‘Armament and Avionics’

Here we would compare the performance in terms of Within Visual Range (WVR) and Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air combat using the  Avionics and Weapons    available to both fighters .
Tejas-Kfir_Avionics

Please Note that ,

  • The Radar Cross Section (RCS) values are for ‘clean configuration’ aircraft, with no fuel tanks or weapons attached to hard-points .
  • Detection range of the AESA radar of Kfir is estimated to be  25% higher than the detection range of the EL/M-2032 Multi Mode radar of Tejas .
  • Tracking range is assumed to be 85% of the Detection Range.
  • 3,000 kph Closing velocity (equally divided to each aircraft) was used for calculating ‘First Look, First Shot advantage’.
  • Missile impact is based on top speed of main BVR missiles.
  • Other data were taken from reliable websites.

 

Summary :

  • WVR  Performance : Advantage goes to Tejas because of  its comprehensive ‘Fly By Wire’ system which reduces the workload on pilot and helps balancing the fighter.
  • BVR Performance : Almost EVEN for both fighters because while the Tejas has less capable radar, it has a much lower RCS than the Kfir, actually giving Tejas  a theoretical  two second advantage in terms of Firs Look, First Shot capability.
  • Tejas’  RCS is estimated to be around one-third of the RCS of a Mirage 2000, thanks to the extensive use of composites on its external surfaces .

 

CONCLUSION : 

Based on the analysis , its evident that Tejas Mk1 is more agile and maneuverable than Kfir and its radar cross section is much lower than the Kfir.

While the Kfir has better payload capacity and radar , in overall performance Tejas is a much better performer in BVR & WVR combat compared to Kfir .

 

Sourced from : rhk111’s Military and Arms Page

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