According to world-renowned air defense experts, the Pakistani JF-17 Thunder fighter jet is a much better aircraft than the Indian Tejas in many respects. That’s why it has a better prospect of sales over Indian LCA Tejas. The Argentine Air Force is considering buying the Pakistani JF-17 Thunder.
The Argentine Air Force chief, Brigadier Xavier Isaac confirmed that Argentine reconsiders the new Block-III variant of JF-17 from Pakistan.
The fighter jet has already completed successful sales agreements with Nigeria and Myanmar. It will take a long time for the Indian fighter Tejas to reach this target.
It has appeared as an effective, low-cost, single-engine fighter option for developing countries in the global market. Its block-III version is in the final stages of development and features an AESA radar.
Compared to Indian HAL Tejas Mk-1A, the Pakistani fighter jet JF-17 Thunder has a clear edge. That’s why it been successful in world defence market.
Also read this article on Pakistan Defence Industries
According to air defence experts, there are ten main reasons of Global market success of Pakistani JF-17 Thunder over Indian Tejas.
(1) Indian Tejas has a very small range of weapons integrated with it. It’s mostly weapons are Indian and some Western.
(2) The JF17 essentially slots into the Chinese supply chain, which has a broad range and variety of proven and demonstrable weapons. So people buying the JF-17 already have Chinese weapons or are comfortable with buying Chinese weapons. Chinese weapons have a proven successful track record.
(3) China has a Security Council Veto and any country buying weapons from China can have significant influence over any Security Council decisions (same with US or French or Russian weapon sales). India has no such Veto.
(4) The JF-17 is just a better-slotted plane. if a country looking to replace Russian MiG 21-27, Chinese J6, J7 or American F4 F5 & F104. Want to upgrade from trainer jets, then the JF-17 offers the right capability and the right price point.
(5) Indian Tejas is just a very confused aircraft. it doesn’t fit any known market segment.
(6) Pakistan’s JF-17 Thunder is a modest fighter jet but whatever advancements it brings are solid and practically proven.
(7) Indian Tejas is a nightmare, nothing about it is proven. There has been too much mixing and matching and it inspires zero purchaser confidence.
(8) Issue of re-export of any fighter jet is very important. Pakistan’s JF-17 uses mostly Chinese but some Italian (avionics and radar) and Russian (engine) equipment. All of which are cleared for re-export to 3rd countries.
(9) Indian Tejas uses American engines, Israeli radar, and a mishmash of avionics from countries that will never authorize re-export.
(10) Indian Tejas also suffers from the fact that currently there is no major operator of this aircraft. Even the Indian Air Force only has a handful of these jets in service. This reason reduces the confidence of any potential buyer.
The JF-1 program has seen great success. More than 120 fighter jets are in service at the operational air bases with just as many on order. This makes logistics, spare parts, servicing, training, upgrades, and weapons integration a smooth process. This explains why Myanmar and Nigeria have chosen JF-17 Thunder over other options on the market.
Since Pakistan shot down Indian fighter jets in Operation Swift Retort, demand for JF-17 has risen sharply. This will earn Pakistan a handsome amount of foreign exchange.
According to defence sources, Azerbaijan, Iraq, and Argentina are likely to place orders for advanced variants of the JF-17 Thunder. Many countries are motivated by an affordable price tag, smooth availability of after-sale services and generous financing options and a number of other potential customers.
(BY: FLIGHT LIEUTENANT BEHZAD HASSAN)