Ask any aviation experts, they would agree on the fact that a comparison between Indian LCA Tejas and Sino-Pak collab JF-17 Thunder is a cardinal sin. Aviation experts agree that both are at different generations and a comparison is not right. Let us take a look at both fighter’s specs and decide if a comparison between the two is worthy. let’s start with a parameters comparison.
Now coming on main parameters :-
1. Tejas has a quadruplex digital fly-by-wire control system to ease pilot handling and also has roll,yaw and pitch FBW while JF-17 has only pitch-axis FBW. FBWs replace conventional manual flight control of an aircraft with an electronic interface. The movements of flight controls are converted to electronic signals transmitted by wires (hence the fly-by-wire term), and flight control computers determine how to move the actuators at each control surface to provide the ordered response.
2. The programming of JF-17s software codes was done with simple C and C++ languages while Tejas has Digital Flight control Computer which runs on ADA Programming language.
3. The JF 17’s conventional controls offer less options for pilot’s relaxation but LCA’s controls give the pilot many Automatic features like the ‘get you home’ feature and automatic landing.
4. The EW suit of LCA known as ‘Mayavi’ includes RWR (radar warning receiver), UV MAWS (Ultraviolet Missile approach warning suite), LWR (laser warning receiver), Chaff Dispenser, ECM (Electronic Countermeasures Suite), TRD (Towed Radar Decoy) and Litening Targeting Pod. The EW suite of JF-17 known as ‘Defensive Aids System (DAS)’ includes RWR, EW suite, MAWS, Radar Jamming Pods, Targeting pods like FLIR and Chaff Dispenser.
5. Tejas has 8 hard points ( an advantage of being a delta wing fighter ) while JF-17 has 7 hard points to carry weapons in the battlefield.
6. Tejas has lesser wing loading than JF-17 which is advantageous for Tejas as it provides higher maneuverability during dogfights. It also has Instantaneous Turn Rate (ITR) & Sustained Turn Rate (STR) than JF-17. Tejas can also take up higher G’s than JF-17.
7. Tejas has Elbit DASH Helmet Mounted Display System which enables pilots to aim their weapons simply by looking at the target. DASH measures the pilot’s Line-of-Sight (LOS) relative to the aircraft, and transfers its information to other aircraft systems. Aircraft, sensors, avionics and weapons are thus enslaved to the target. JF-17 does not have a HMD/S.
8. Tejas has a indigenous ‘on-board oxygen generating system’ while JF-17 has only 2 hour capable oxygen on board.
9. Tejas at current level is 65 %-75 % indigenous while JF-17 has nearly 90 % Chinese parts which are all assembled at PAC for PAF.
10. Tejas employs CFC materials for up to 45% of its air frame, including in the fuselage (doors and skins), wings (skin, spars and ribs), elevons, tail-fin, rudder, air brakes and landing gear doors. Composites are used to make an aircraft both lighter and stronger at the same time compared to an all-metal design of JF-17.
11. Tejas has significantly less RCS than JF-17 adding to its stealth feature of Tejas due to use of composites and design features.
12. Tejas requires a very short runway and “rockets off the runway and into the air in a mere 500 metres”. Such a feature is not possessed by JF-17.
13. A full authority digital engine (or electronics) control (FADEC) system consisting of a digital computer is present on Tejas which control all aspects of aircraft engine performance. It is an added advantage of Tejas over JF-17 which does not have this feature.
14. Empty Weight of JF-17 is 6,586 kg while for Tejas it is 6,560 kg. JF-17 RD-93 engine provides 49.7 kN / 51.2 kN dry thrust while Tejas General Electric F404-GE-F2J3 afterburning turbofan provides 53.9 kN dry thrust. This results in better thrust to weight ratio adding to maneuverability.
In all above parameters we find Tejas scoring above JF-17. Tejas will also feature an AESA Radar most probably Uttam AESA Radar which is developed ingenuously while JF-17 will possess an AESA radar only in Block-3 version.
Here I want to highlight some cool features of JF-17 as well :
The hydraulic brakes of JF-17 have an automatic anti-skid system which prevents it from skidding off the runway. The position and shape of the JF 17’s inlets is designed to give the required airflow to the jet engine during maneuvers involving high angles of attack.