“LCA Far Ahead Of JF-17 In Contemporary Technology”: IAF Western Commander

The Indian Air Force’s Western Air Commander, Air Marshal NAK Browne, whose area of responsibility includes the northern sector with Pakistan, indicated today that the PAF JF-17 was inferior to the yet to be inducted Indian Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas. “The LCA is ahead of the JF-17 in terms of contemporary technology. It will achieve final operational capability by the end of next year. The airplane is our design, uses our software, and is fully under our control. I’m not sure what in the JF-17 is under the PAF’s control. What do you do if you don’t have access to codes,” he said.

Air Marshal Browne, a seasoned SEPECAT Jaguar pilot who has extensive experience on virtually every variant of the MiG-21 as well, was asked today if he was apprehensive that the F-16 — a contender in the MMRCA competition — was the principal air defence platform of the Pakistan Air Force. He replied, “The configuration of the F-16 on offer to the IAF is substantially different from what has been made available to the Pakistanis”.

In an interaction with reporters ahead of India’s 78th Air Force Day, Air Marshal Brown — positioned to take over as Chief of Air Staff in July next year — said, “We are aware of the new F-16 inductions by the PAF. We have a sense of what’s happening. The new F-16s they have and are getting are certainly a challenge.”

“The assymetry between the capabilities of both air forces was a certain amount in the past. That has somewhat reduced now. The PAF is going in for a fast-track induction of beyond visual range air to air missiles (BVRAAMs) and precision guided munitions (PGMs). These are things that actually tend to reduce the gap,” the officer said.

“But they won’t catch us up,” he added.

Also Read: Mihir Shah‘s 2007 analysis of the JF-17 here.

39 thoughts on ““LCA Far Ahead Of JF-17 In Contemporary Technology”: IAF Western Commander”

  1. I respectfully disagree with Mr Brown with regards to the degree of control the PAF has over the JF17 since its a joint effort with the Chinese. The chinese have nothing to gain by withholding any access codes to the PAF since they are the only customers for the JF17.

    Regards superiority of LCA over JF17 well that will be known in due time once the LCA has done its time. Being conceived in the 1980s and finally in 2010 a good 30 years down the track the LCA is nearing fulfillment of final IOC with the IAF.

    The JF17 made use of China's extensive experience in reverse engineering to come up with a decent looking fighter in a fraction of the time it took to develop the LCA and might be a match for the MIG 21s but nothing else.

    The road ahead for the LCA is long and arduous if one looks at how the ALH has fared in service with the tri services.

    The LCA is bound to have its share of gremlins glitches etc also HAL ability to maintain quality control on every single LCA that passes through their factory.

    Operational flying with the IAF will finally reveal how well the LCA stacks up with its contemporaries.

    I wish the LCA every bit of success in its operational role with the IAF and hope it meets and where possible exceeds IAF expectations.

    Go well Go LCA.

  2. Good to know that atleast one IAF person is not critisizing the Tejas. Its very early to say if Tejas are superior to JF-17 as both of them are unproven.Only difference is that JF-17 is already inducted.Tejas have been very late but thankfully there has never been any recorded crashes or malfunction.I think its a very positive statement and just the confidence booster the Tejas needed. Go Tejas Go !

  3. perhaps Jithen should educate himself about the two projects before passing off opinion as fact ?

    fact is, the LCA was from day one designed to counter the PAF F-16's, in 2010, it has not only matched that requirement, it has surpassed it. items developed for LCA has already found its place in cutting edge products like the Su-30mki. when the LCA Mk2 is inducted into the IAF, many of its features would be better than those on MRCA's.
    sure, the LCA took this long and the JF-17 didn't. that's because the JF-17 is all said and done, little more than a souped up mig-21 bison. if we wanted to develop an obsolete aircraft like it, ADA would easily have completed it by 2000.

    the technologically equivalent aircraft to the LCA is in fact the J-10, which china did develop quicker but as we all know, it's much easier to buy an israeli design and then get russian experts to scale it for the AL-31 engine than it is to design an aircraft from scratch.
    oh, did I mention that the JF-17 is itself a complete copy of a mig design called mig-33 that mikoyan sold after the soviet union broke up ?

    as for the JF-17 itself, last heard PAF has rejected chinese radars as inferior and was in the market for french radar systems, which the french have so far refused to sell. ladies and gentlemen, this is an aircraft that was hastily inducted into the PAF and issued IOC so as to win a brownie point again those 'eendians', WITHOUT, hold your breath, a working radar or the capability of delivering ANY kind of weapon except dumb bombs. no long range missiles, no guided weapons and so forth.

    it's not TOO hard to form an opinion about its capability, is it ?

  4. First of all we can't compare development of Tejas with JF17 as both have been developed for very different purposes. If we have to compare, then JF17 should be compared with SU30MKI, where we collaborated with the Russians to develop a new AC customized for IAF. PAF did something similar with the Chinese for the development of JF17.
    Primary reason for building Tejas is for India to gain expertise and capabilities in development of state of the art fighter jets whereas JF17 owes its existence to replace obsolete ACs in PAF arsenal at the shortest possible time. This is also the reason behind time gap of induction of these two ACs in their respective air forces.

  5. Pak is hoping to upgrade JF-17 with french RDY-3 radar and Mica AAMs. RDY -3 itself is an export varient of RC-400 and is smaller and much less capable to RDY-2. JF-17 therefore even in an upgraded avatar would be less capable than IAF's upgraded Mirage 2000 having RDY-2 or even PAF's own F-16 blk 52.
    The truth is that Pakistan doesnt have the money to equip JF-17 with expensive avionics. Even the upgrade their F-16s are getting costs more than an entire JF-17.
    LCA will get the best IAF can afford and will be at least on par with F16 Blk 52 and perhaps even better. Besides LCAs composite airframe and design is a generation apart. Novices often write it off as a simple delta wing when it is really a blended wing body with very intricate aerodynamics which came out of extensive computer modelling. Looks like even PAK-FA has taken a leaf from the design of LCA-N LEVCON controls.

  6. I'm not sure what in the JF-17 is under the PAF's control. What do you do if you don't have access to codes?

    Einstein, would they invested millions without having access to the codes? "oh yaar, we have the super dhamaka islamii Jf-17 thundaaar!!!…..Abdul, codes terre pass hain?" Bloody cock!

    I was taught two very important things when I served.
    1) Assumption is the mother of all asses.
    2) If you need to assume, then assume your enemy knows much more than you.

  7. I agree with anony @9:27. We needed better engines, looks like we got it with GE414 IN. Need specs of this engine, although my research has taken me to different versions of F414, so leave it to Shiv here. LCA tejas needs weight reduction further, do not know how they are shed beyond 600 KG (removing telemetry equip) here. So ADA needs to figure this out. One more thing is Mk2 from the assorted articles I have read, say that its fuselage and wings will be extended. Considering this, does the extra thrust from the new G414 offset the new weight gain (remember New GE 414 is 50-60Kgs heavier than 404). So, keeping my fingers crossed. I sometimes feel that we need to hear first hand information from ADA rather than HAL.

  8. It is great to hear that x is better then y. None of you can explain why. Both planes are not top of anything and just look at the weapons, engines and weapons… All bought from third parties. Yeah, I heard about TOT or made by… Putting parts together in a few decades is hardly something to be proud of. If the Indian Tejas is that good then why upgrading the Mirage2000H? Why buying Mig29? Why busy with the fastest deal called MRCA? Let us be realistic. We all love planes but let us keep it clear. Nothing is super.

    The ACM is lowering himself by shouting from the rooftops. HEard that before… The IAF needed desperately Israeli PGM's to reverse Kargil. And we know about how far the heavy armed MKI's went inside Pakistan…

    Have fun but stop dreaming.

  9. @ deviation blue thanks for your insight on my education or lack thereof it. We are all entitled to opinions and these are formed from analysing facts present. With regards to your facts that lca was conceived to take on and beat F16 sure that could be true no harm in having ambitious goals while planning these projects our research agencies have a distinguished record in this arena look no further than the akash project that was meant to surpass patriot system/ Arjun tank meant to surpass m1 abrams/ hs748 AWACS project meant to surpass E3 AWACS and now LCA meant to beat F16 well it better beat hammer the F16 after 30 yrs of development. I for one would love to watch a face off between this two fighters at red flag. So mr deviant blue before embarking on a mission of running down others opinions be mature enough to understand it. My earlier comments related to paf control over access codes to jf17 and the fact that lca is yet to enter operational service with iaf so it's too early to say if it's all that it claims to be though I wish it would be. Btw those f16 a/b models with paf are being upgraded and the bar has been moved vis a vis lca. As for lca vis a vis the new F16 block 50 series delivered to paf no problems lca will run rings around it:-)

  10. Got to love the fact you posted a Chinese profile artwork for an Indian jet. Btw, check out that artist's Jf-17 profile.

  11. The thuder is causing some sleepless nights. Its sad to see a seriour IAF officier lower himself to this. Maybe it was done to motivate his guys saying, don't worry these are not that good. But the worry is there? The gap will continue to narrow until IAF gets 5th gen PAKFA. Everything else is game for the Thunder. Cheap, aquired in large numbers (250 in 10 sqdns), off bore capability,low RCS, in-flight refuelling, BVR and operating over its own space with AWACS control..you have a an interesting challenge. That is the goal of PAF and it seems that have already achieved it.

  12. Hi,

    In most article I have read, it is stated that LCA was conceived in 1983, and that is correct it was conceived in 1983, and that is all.

    But the work only started 10 years later around 1992, so the critical development effort is approx. 20 years, not 30 years as stated by many.

    India did not have center like National Flight Testing Center, and many other the that were needed to develop a fighter jet from scratch.

    In my opinion, LCA project will not only deliver a capable fighter aircraft, but it has established a framework of goverment agencies, supporting education institution, supporting industries and the required infrastructure which will support the india's defense requirement.

    Without projects like LCA, India will never move forward, and will never realise the capability of the country.

  13. Seriously how much learning has come as a result of LCA? Considering so many of the systems including the composits are foreign (engine, radar, landing gear, etc…). Do you think we could have had the same learning, by producing more of the MKI, upgrading it, etc? for a less cost?

  14. well again i have read in articles that LCA doesnt have an high angle of attack.
    Hopefuly the F414 engines would help it achieve this.
    Regarding JF17 , lets not underestimate that AC.
    The problem with us Indians is that we talk a lot and just keep on doing so.
    Instead of prematurely trying to compare these 2 AC , we should keep quiet and develop the LCA ASAP.It should be left for the world to decide which aircraft is better.

    ***But I do have an intution that LCA would be an formidable AC…..****

  15. The Pakistanis have no hang-ups about importing foreign components and WILL get the best avionics they can afford from the variety of suppliers in the European market. The JF-17 has already proven as a good budget option for a modern figter as seen from the interest shown by other countries. At this point it is at least on par with the LCA; maybe better when you consider it has already been inducted and is being developed further into new variants.

    I have no doubt that the eventual Tejas mk.2 will surpass the JF-17, but how long will that take?

  16. Am I the only one who seems to notice that the JF-17 is a 3rd generation aircraft? Don't believe me? Here are some REPUTABLE sources from Western sites:

    1. Flight Global: "Even the Chengdu JF-17 Thunder – an inexpensive aircraft pitched to developing nations such as Pakistan as a third-generation platform – is powered by the Klimov RD-93." (Note they correctly identify the J-20 as 5th gen, and j-10 as 4th gen in the same article):

    2. From GlobalSecurity (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/china/fc-1.htm):
    Quote: "the owlet dragon/FC-1 airplane had achieved the third generation fighter aircraft synthesis fighting efficiency"

    Other Sources:

    3. Webster's Quotations, Facts and Phrases: "JF-17 Thunder which is a Third Generation fighter"

    4. "Air Force officials told APP that the aircraft has comprehensive combat capability of a third generation fighter" – From the Institute of regional studies (Pakistan)

    5. From The Chinese Embassy (http://pk.chineseembassy.org/eng/xnyfgk/t253073.htm):
    Quote: "Pakistan Air Force officials told APP that the aircraft has comprehensive combat capability of a *THIRD* generation fighter."

    6. From The News Pakistan (http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=95173):
    Quote: "The JF-17 Thunder is a light combat aircraft, a single-engine fighter with all-weather capability, which Pakistan has developed with the help of the Chinese. It is a *THIRD-GENERATION* fighter that has been so designed that it can take on the fourth-generation fighter aircraft."

  17. Jf has only one datalink which is not secure nor jamproof. The software are written in C++. This makes is more vulnarable to virus and worm attack. As C++ is very famous language the number of people who knows the structure and keys of these language is obviously more. Countries from USA to Russia have made their secret programing language and the structure of these language is known only to top scientist who write the code. Even China and India have their secret programing language. The structure of these language is not known to others hence it is difficult to hack or create virus or worm attack. Pakistan may say that using C++ will help them but the truth is that C++ was not made considering military use, It has serious security issue and being famous gives another disadvantage As structure is known to all. China made the software code of Jf in C++ to reduce the cost and make it affordable to 3rd world. China will not give the software code to pakistan and hence will charge pakistan on every instal.

  18. jithen is correct. The LCA is designed by the mother of all agencies: Dept of Rubbish Dev Org. 30 yrs to design and develop an aircraft that the IAF under duress calls 4th gen but frankly thinks is slightly better than the obsolete Mig 21s. The claims of DRDO when it comes to Aakash, Arjun, LCA, Arihant, AWACS/AEW are criminally absurd. This white elephant cannot deliver what it claims. It has exposed the country's defenses. We neither have imports nor what the DRDO produces. It is one thing to be nationalistic, it is another to be ignorant and blind to gross incompetence and utter lack of accountability.

  19. arslan
    The blog also says that chinese airforse is also buying it. but that not true. that raise the credibility of that blog, isnt it…. hehe

  20. all ya dum PAKIs. answer this, why your porky/PAKIland went lookin for french avionics on JF-17?

    France refused to sell you under US/Indian pressure.

    Your slopeheaded chink masters have'nt been able to develop a jet fighter engine for last 30 years and still nowhere near it.

    the chink engine, a copy of russian engine conks out in just about 30 hours.

    you ain't forgotten your "made in china" communication/media satellite, which went dead in space just in 6 months.

    you dum stupid idiotic PAKIs, pick up your beggin' bowl and go beg in the name of taliban

  21. This is a blog and not a place to fight, if you cannot give meaningful inputs then don't post.

    JF-17 is a clean fighter made by China-Pakistan, the fighter was developed not to compete for world dominiation or a world beating fighter, but it is something that China has developed seeing export market.
    If you look at the cheapest Multi role fighters made in the world,
    The americans have F-16 which most of the world is using, and the competetive aircraft is maybe Mig-21 from Russia or Mig-27,
    The british equivalent is Hawk which is more of a strike aircraft and less of a fighter.
    So then China and pakistan collaborate together to make JF-17 which is supposed to be simple clean fighter (some say reverse engineered) as per what I feel, China never wants to induct JF-17, it is focusing on J-10 which is 4.5 gen fighter, also they have Su-30MK which they are also reverse engineering.

    Now the main market with big potential for Chinese weapons is Africa, poor nations with lot of potential, and they are always at war, but they really cannot afford expensive weapons, and they do not want sophisticated weapons. The literal definition of weapons in africa is having bigger and more sticks than your opponent,

    So if one country has say 10 F-16, America might not give F-16 to its enemy, but then these countries surely can buy JF-17 from China, at cost of 10 F-16s they can get 50 JF-17 which in a way multiplies the force 5 times by number, and maybe the actual balance 1:2 considering that F-16s are better and advanced but still few JF-17 can account for F-16 shot down.

    Also dont forget that Pakistan has F-16 and surely they will evaluate the JF-17 against F-16 to see the weakneses etc.

    Also presently pakistan is being shunned by most nations for weapons, and this development and production of JF-17 has given some impetus and confidence for their aircraft industry. And sometimes numbers do make up for quality of aircraft. A few good quality and excellent aircraft can be overwhelmed by sheer number of aircrafts coming at you wave after wave.

    So, since both JF-17 and Tejas have no combat experience, lets give them both benefit that they are excellent aircraft, and also that they are both built for different markets.
    JF-17 is made as cheap aircraft made primarily for export market, and for the planes that pakistan is inducting, they want to have some avionics so that they can stand a chance and give good account of themself against indian aircraft such as Su-30 MKI , Tejas and possibly MMRCA

    Tejas was meant as air superiority fighter something like what GNAT was, shall and nimble. It was meant to be a deterent against threat of F-16 which pakistan has. India is presently not looking to export Tejas, but in Costing, it might be between JF-17 and F-16 and in terms of effectiveness much above JF-17 and F-16 block 52 which pakistan has.

    I do not know how capable F-16IN (Block 60) are that have been offered to India, but its best we do not take F-16IN .


  22. My d**k bigger than yours says I….Mine bigger than yours says you….in the end all we both do is piss with it more than anything else….

    These comparisons are worthless…Pak cant afford anything else….India developing this to gain experience…..In a war …Sukhois and Mirages will be the primary weapons of choice for India….F 16s, J-series and Mirages again for Pakistan

  23. Dear Bodhisatva
    The comparisons are useless as its not just the weapons but the men who wield them and their tactics
    You are right, in event of a war, it will be Sukhoi-30 MKI and Mirages V/s F-16 and J seriies.
    There are good chances of Pakistan and India using JF-17 and Tejas respectively as it gives firsthand experience about the strengths and weaknesses about the plane and how it behaves in action. Theorotical and Simulation situations do not really help developers to develop the plane.
    So there is chance that Tejas might at some point be pitted against F-16, JF-17 and J series to get good battle experience for Tejas and also to understand the short comings, that experience might be put in developing a better plane say Tejas Mark 2 A

    Many situations in war might surprise, During 1971 war, M-48 Patton tanks were considered the best in the world and as per military brains, there was no way that India could contain Pakistan attack as we had nothing to tackle the M-48 tank, everyone knows what happened next.
    Even no one gave a chance to Folland Gnat against Sabre jets.. but Gnats proved to be small size menace.

  24. why everyone in india is in a state of denial about pakistan inducting a very capable warplane which is being considered a rival of mig29 in market by russians.russian even considered once not to provide engines for jf17.why would they do that if jf17 is such a piece of crap according to you INDIOTS.lca may be a good ac but u cant degrade a potent warplane just to satisfy yourselves.u cant be an expert just by reading few biased articles on the net.paf has always given priority to the quality of aircrafts.your biased comments are not going to do any harm to jf17 you all b happy with your non operational tejas yes that is the reality not yet operational like your long range ballistic missiles.just wanna say SUBBAH HOGAYI MAMOO

  25. Well the LCA is India's indeginous while JF17 comes from China. So for one LCA gives india the huge benifit of learning, trying and creating infrastructure for high end hardware. What we have learned and created cannot come any other way.

    Another important thing is the strategic use of LCA. LCA is not the mainstay aircraft of IAF while JF17 is. In case if India goes to war with Pakistan, Su30MKI, MiG 29s and Mirage2000s would be doing all the lead work where as LCA would be used in more ground strike role, like destroying less important strategic targets like fuel dumps, bridges etc. Being small and advanced would mean that LCA would be able to do this job very well and we will not have to rely on planes like MiG27 and MiG21 like we did in Kargil. Kargil can be used as a kind of example where we can see that we had to use Mirage2000s for the job while both MiG21 and MiG23 were ineffective and also more prone. LCA can do this job well. And for those who think that this is not an important task need to go check again.

    Other key advantage the India gets with LCA is that since its capable it can be used for anti-tank operations or be kept on runaways against surprise attacks. In case PAF break through, they will be able to destroy only LCAs and if they are caught by Radars then LCA can engage them as it would be good in close air combat.

    JF17 on the other hand has to be the main backbone of PAF. In ways its better than LCA; saying that Chinese technology is inferior to Indian technology would be a mistake. I am sure JF17 has longer range. Smaller planes have smaller wing so less fuel can be stored, this means that LCA would have to carry fuel tanks, which means that of 7 hardpoints we would be using 2 leaving us with 5 hardpoints. I am also sure that the 2 extreme hardpoints can carry only AA missiles which is mostly the case and so we would have 3 hard points with us to use. Which is not that great.

    I do like the design of JF17 and it looks more promising. The feedback from IAF has not been that good for LCA. But as already suggested, only time will tell which is better.
    Just giving a different view of things.

  26. I hope this can clear some confusion

    LCA Tejas Falls Short of Earlier Expectations

    Nov 25, 2010

    As India’s homegrown Light Combat Aircraft (LCA Tejas) nears critical initial operational clearance next month, Indian air force officials say the aircraft will fail to meet performance requirements laid down by the service for the limited-profile Mk.1 platform.

    According to an Indian air force source associated with the long-delayed indigenous fighter program, when the Tejas passes this milestone in December, it still will not be the fighter the air force had agreed to accept for limited squadron service. Performance specifications that the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) has not been able to attain include sustained turn rate, speed at low altitude, angle of attack and certain weapon delivery profiles. Exactly how far off the performance is from the specification remains classified.

    These shortfalls come on top of a thrust deficiency that necessitated the selection of a more powerful engine, General Electric’s F414-INS6, this year for a proposed Mk.2 version.

    “We are still working to get the platform on track for initial operational clearance,” says an air force officer. “It appears the exercise of resolving certain performance parameters will spill over into the post-induction phase,” he notes. “There was a very committed effort toward envelope expansion, though we have fallen short in certain key specifications, which we will continue to work on.”

  27. The comments are more interesting than the news :). Anyway, what does one expect the Air Marshall to say? He has to plug for his aircraft. Nothing wrong in it. Pakis and Chinese plug for their plane, why not Indians? Don't give a damn about the JF-17. This is about the LCA.
    Some said, lot of equipment in the plane is imported. Only people who have no idea about engineering will say this. Even if everything down to the last screw is imported the most difficult job is integration. Getting that expertise alone is worth it.

  28. The services do not yet realise that their opposition to Indian products is going to prove very costly. Already their stock with those who spend time on defense matters has sunk to great depths. If they do not mend their ways, we should start new outfits to take care of 'Indian' interests. While importing the shiny toys the services should use only acronyms like IA, IAF etc which could read as Imported ……

  29. so many complaints on DRDO!!. I feel it is better than corrupt HAL. Anyway notice that all these govt agencies (including ISRO) have one common thing- all have kerala people. I wonder why others are not interested in these orgs? When we can possibly make our nation free from corruption, influence, or so. To develop a nation we need a strong mind than anything others, do we have it, it measures our today's capability and our future.

  30. LOL.

    JF-17 is a real fighter that has been in production and induction for years now.

    LCA Tejas is a hypothetical pipedream that will come into the IAF (if it ever does) only when the PAF would already be inducting their fifth generation stealth fighter under advanced development in China.

    End of comparison.

    1. Why China uses very less aircraft and insist Pakistan to buy more. Why 7 countries evaluated and no one purchases even single aircraft. Forget about tejas. What great about jf17 is ..its a copied piece, one can do it easily. Chineeae have much access to Russian aircraft programmer. Not only aircraft, project 77 or MBT al Khalid Pakistan MBT is modified t70 where China transferred entire technology's and infrastructure…

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