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Pak's JF-17 aircraft of present, but Tejas aircraft of future: IAF Chief

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LCA Tejas of India.

NEW DELHI (PTI): Air Force Chief B S Dhanoa has said if Pakistan's fighter jet JF-17 is an aircraft of the present, then India's indigenously developed Tejas is the future.

JF-17 is a lightweight, single-engine, multi-role combat aircraft developed jointly by Pakistan and China.

"There is a very good article in one of the aviation journals. He (the author) says JF-17 is not as technologically advanced as Tejas. So, he said JF-17 aircraft is of today because they have fielded much more squadrons than us, and Tejas is the aircraft of the future. It has much better systems.

"It depends on how we equip it. I am sure we can come up with a better plane," Dhanoa said on Thursday in response to a question on which one is a better aircraft.

Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), was inducted into the Indian Air Force in July 2016. It was also pressed into service during the Air Force drill "Gaganshakti 2018" held this month.

Asked whether there were issues regarding Tejas during the exercise, Dhanoa responded in the affirmative. He said this could be because of moving the jets from Bengaluru, which has a temperate climate, to hot desert during the operation.

"But HAL got it up in less than six hours and thereafter, Tejas matched with other aircraft detail for detail," he said.

Replying to another question on whether Tejas can be compared to Rafale, the Air Force Chief said every fighter jet has different capability.

"If all the fighter (jets) of the Indian Air Force were high-end fighters then we have to be very rich. You got to have fighter jets which are high end and medium capability and low-end. So, Tejas comes in the medium capability aircraft (category)," he said.

Dhanoa added that the Air Force is moving towards making the aircraft better.

On Lockheed Martin's F-35 fighter jet, Dhanoa said the IAF has not evinced any interest nor has it talked to anyone that is keen on this aircraft.

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