- Comparison is between Tejas Mk-1 & JF-17 Thunder Block 2 for their Beyond Visual Range (BVR) & Within Visual Range (WVR) performance .
- Both fighters belongs to the 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 JF-17 Block 2 is around 25 million USD per unit.
- Both fighters are relatively cheaper to procure and maintain compared to other fighters in ‘Light’ category .
- Both fighters are very affordable for smaller & budget-conscious countries .
- Both fighters can carry a wide range of weapons including BVR ( Beyond-Visual-Range) & WVR (Within-Visual-Range) missiles .
- Tejas Mk-1 is a unique Compound Delta wing design fighter developed by India’s HAL while JF-17 was derived from China’s J-7 aircraft which is a licensed copy of the Soviet Union’s MIG-21 Fishbed fighter .JF-17 was developed jointly by China and Pakistan.
- Tejas Mk-1 entered active service in Indian Air Force’s No.45 squadron “Flying Daggers” in July 2016 . I could not find any clear information available about Induction of JF-17 Block 2 but i am assuming it could have entered service around mid-2016 .
Please Note :
- 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.
- Fuel Density of 0.81 kg /l was used to convert total fuel capacity to kilograms.
So lets begin the comparison with the help of various evaluation benchmarks !
1 | WVR (Within Visual Range) Combat Performance
Below is the comparison of the General characteristics and Within Visual Range (WVR) /“Close Combat” capability of both aircraft based on their Performance and Weapon Systems .
Tejas Mk-1 has better maximum speed , Better Internal Fuel storage capacity , Better Max. Engine Thrust compared to JF-17 .
JF-17’s Hybrid FBW flight control system means it would be harder to fly the JF-17 at the edge of its performance envelope compared to Tejas which has Comprehensive FBW (Fly By Wire) flight control system.
Tejas also has a much Lower wing loading & better TWR ( Thrust-to-Weight Ratio) compared to JF-17 which means Tejas will be more Agile compared to JF-17 in close range combat scenario ( dogfight ).
Based on the above comparison , we can clearly say Tejas has an upper hand in WVR ability because of its Helmet Mounted Sight/Display (HMS/HMD) feature and HOBS (High Off-Boresight ) shoot capabiliy which the JF-17 lacks .
Performance of cannons is equal because both fighters uses the same type of cannon Gsh-23 .
2 | BVR (Beyond Visual Range) Combat Performance
Below is the Comparison of the BVR capability of both fighters based on the type and range of their radar systems & BVR missiles . We will also consider their radar cross section and other parameters which can affect their BVR performance .
Based on the above comparison chart , we can say that the radars of Tejas Mk-1 & JF-17 Block 2 have almost similar detection range ( estimated range figures are derived from reliable sources ) ,while the BVR missile integrated with the Tejas has better range compared to the BVR missile integrated with JF-17 .
Tejas’s RCS (radar cross section) is also reportedly much lower than the RCS of all-metallic JF-17 airframe . Tejas’s high usage of carbon composites (which do not reflect radar waves), a Y-duct inlet which shields the engine compressor face from probing radar waves, and the application of radar-absorbent material (RAM) coatings are intended to minimize its susceptibility to detection and tracking.
While JF-17 Block 2 is without doubt a very capable Light combat aircraft , it lacks HMS (Helmet-mounted Sight) & Comprehensive FBW flight control system (JF-17 uses Hybrid FBW ) which could have made JF-17 more capable and comparable to Tejas .
Based on the above comparison , it is clear that in any BVR/WVR combat scenario , Tejas will be able to perform much better than the JF-17 . In Part 2 , we will discuss and compare Engine , Payload & Range , other Important features of Tejas & JF-17 .
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