- Students’ Column
- War and Military
The major rival brothers in the world, who have been fighting against each other since their birth, used to fight with foreign weapons earlier, but now they want to fight in a new style, that is with their indigenous weapons.
Pakistan, as a member of US led military pact CENTO and SEATO, started receiving high tech weapons of that time with money to keep an eye on India and launch an assault when needed. Seeing this, India began to import weapons from Soviet Union and started upgrading its force. Both the countries started filling up their inventory at the same time and today both are facing the problems of their ageing fighters aircrafts.
India is in urgent need of replacing its ageing MiG 21 whereas Pakistan is in need of replacing its ageing Nanchang A-5 bombers, Chengdu F-7 interceptors and Mirage III/5 fighters.
India decided to start a project of making an indigenous fighter aircraft that can serve in all purposes of the air force, whereas Pakistan joined later an already going on Chinese project of development of a fighter aircraft.
Both India and Pakistan claim their aircraft as indigenous, but as on April 13, 2011 none of the aircraft is 100% indigenous as India is using american GE engine to power the fighter and Pakistan is using almost all the technology from China and engine from Russia in their version of the fighter.
It is believed that when India will complete its Kaveri engine project which was supposed to power LCA earlier, then LCA can be proudly claimed by Indians as an indigenous aircraft. India couldn’t use indigenous engine in the prototype of LCA due to a delay caused by technical difficulties in the development of the engine.
If India completes the engine, it will become the fifth country after US, UK, Russia and France who can make their own engine.
Today both LCA and JF-17 are reality and not on papers anymore. Tejas was inducted on 11 Jan, 2011 whereas JF-17 was inducted last year in Pakistani air force.
Both Indians and Pakistani have already started loving their new weapon, but in this new love they commit a mistake of comparing these two planes with each other. JF-17 will be Pakistan’s main fighter accompanied by their upgraded F-16s, whereas LCA Tejas will be India’s additional aircraft for medium role combat missions after Indo-Russian 5th generation fighter aircraft PAK-FA, Under-development indigenous 5th Gen AMCA (Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft), Indo Russian 4.5 Gen Su-30MKI and to-be-inducted 126 4.5 Gen MRCA Dassualt Rafael (Multi Role Combat Aircraft).
While Pakistan and China claim there aircraft as indigenous and result of 50-50 partnership between China and Pakistan, there are lot of foreign companies and organizations involved in making it a success.
After the U.S and European companies cancelled their participation in the development of the westernized Chengdu J-7 variant known as Super 7 which is openly based on MiG 21 design, China launched a program to develop an indigenous evolution of this Mig 21 based design. which was named as FC -1 (Fighter China 1)
To expedite its development, in 1998, China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation (CATIC) purchased the abandoned Mikoyan MAPO Izd 33 design, research and test information and data along with other research and technical assistance which was developed under Project 33. This doesn’t mean that the design was now based on Mig 33 or that FC – 1 is the continuation of Soviet Project 33. The Project 33 started in 1980 and was stopped in 1986 taking the note of changing Soviet Union’s Air Force’s demands. Though later the improved version of the same design was introduced at the 1994 Farnborough Air Show as the briefly used marketing name for the MiG-29ME export model of the MiG-29M.
Although engineers from the Mikoyan Aero-Science Production Group (MASPG) have provided technical, research and design assistance on the FC-1 project, its aerodynamic design is quite different from that of Project 33. The wings are attached at mid-fuselage on the FC-1, whereas the Izd 33 is a low-wing design. The FC-1’s platform resembles that of the F-16, while that of the Izd 33 is similar to the MiG-29. The FC-1’s inlets are ‘D’-shaped and angled, but those for the Izd 33 are rectangular and slab-sided. Given the FC-1’s heritage of the ‘Super 7’, J-7, and MiG-21, some analysts believe that the FC-1’s internal structure is more likely based on the MiG-21 than on the Izd 33, which some have called a “single-engine MiG-29”.
Looking at the pictures one may say that the JF-17 Plane uses Soviet era’s MiG 21 airframe which is highly debatable. Although avionics and other basic things are superior in JF-17 than MiG 21.
In October 1995 Pakistan was asked to select a Western company before the end of the year which would provide and integrate the avionics in FC-1 for them (Source: http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/1995/10/18/21419/pakistan-nears-fc-1-avionics-decision.html).
Avionics suites were being proposed by FIAR and Thomson-CSF, based on the Grifo S7 and RC400 radars respectively (source: http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/1999/07/14/53912/china-and-pakistan-agree-on-super-7-fighter-development.html).
Russia’s Klimov offered a variant of the RD-33 turbofan engine to power the fighter. Russia earlier had denied China from transferring the engine to Pakistan as it was against Russian policy and India’s interest, but later, for some reason, Russia had no issue in China supplying those engines to Pakistan. To international media they replied in diplomatic parlance, Chinese were in such a hurry that they had not heard the last word from Russia on this subject. It is believed that Pakistan is unsatisfied with the engine and a new deal for a different engine, most probably to have Snecma M53-P2 could be finalized.
Rather than using the Ada programming language, which is developed dedicated for military applications, the software for the aircraft is written using the popular civilian C++ programming language which students use to develop programs in high schools, this might give an edge to Pakistan where software industry is not very skilled and C++ resources can be easily trained in large numbers (source: http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/stuck-in-sichuan-pakistani-jf17-program-grounded-02984/).
In India’s LCA case: Airframe, Radar, Avionics, Cockpit, landing Gear, Ejection System, Flight Simulator, Software, Propulsion (when Kaveri will come) all are home made.
The pictures below are posted so people can compare JF 17 design with MiG 21 and MiG 29.
Comparison According to 2008 Aviation Source Book, Aviation Week & Space Technology, January 28, 2008 and DRDO TechFocus February 2011″. DRDO. February 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
Now among these two aircrafts it is very difficult to comment which one is better, as these aircrafts don’t belong to the same category. In terms of development, India’s LCA offers something new to the world, new design, new weapons, new systems and, in future, a new engine. While LCA was never made to be India’s Sukhoi but it does gives the platform to India for further modification and development of new projects Whereas Pakistan’s JF-17 is a modification of many previous technologies.
LCA program was started in 1983, whereas JF-17 program was started in 1989 as Chengdu F-7, which was later changed to Fighter China project in 1991. In 1995 Pakistan reportedly joined the project.
Though China has kept development and production of JF-17 on for delivering them to Pakistan and my be to other countries, it prefers J-10 fighters over JF-17 for its own airforce.
Both LCA and JF-17 are 4th generation fighter aircraft, but advanced composite frames and high tech electronics/avionics made international expert call LCA-Tejas a 4.5 Gen aircraft during Aero India 2010, in Bangalore.
While JF-17s are very much needed to serve depleting Pakistani Air Force as a main fighter along with F-16s, LCA is mainly a research project India has carried through these years. LCA was never made to compare with Sukhois, but it has faired very well on international level and now India has a platform and can develop more aircrafts on this platform as the plan of AMCA (Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft, an indigenous 5th gen stealth fighter) has already been cleared by the government.
While India has achieved self reliance in Air Fighter technology, Pakistan has achieved an experience of working in joint venture. It is the first major project of Pakistan with an international joint venture. India has previously worked with Russia in a partnership on development of world’s only supersonic cruise missile, Brahmos. Presently, India and Russia are also working on the development of 5th generation fighter aircraft PAK-FA, in a move to regain the air dominance which was taken over by the americans with their 5th gen F-22 which outsmarted Sukhoi 30 MKI, also a product of Indo-Russian partnership. India and France are also working on Surface to Air Missile “Maitri” project.
A Little bit of Fun and Sarcasm
“JF-17 Not as advanced as LCA: Nawaz Sharif, Former Prime Minister of Pakistan”(jpeg)
“I have heard it is very advanced plane, but it is not ready yet.” said Nawaz Sharif to retired Air Commodre Pervez Khokhar. Praising the JF-17 without mentioning Chinese cooperation, he further added in light mood, “I am saying you buy this plane from us, though it is not as advanced as your LCA, but it also has a glass cockpit like yours and can drop bombs for you,” he said in sarcastic mood.