File Pic of Nirmala Sitharman
File Pic of Nirmala Sitharman

Indigenous LCA Tejas better than Pak-Chinese joint venture JF-17 fighter jet: Nirmala Sitharaman

ANI | Updated: Feb 23, 2019 21:18 IST

New Delhi (India), Feb 23 (ANI): Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today said the indigenous LCA Tejas combat aircraft was better than the Chinese-Pakistani joint venture JF-17 Thunder in terms of performance and far more superior than the MiG-21 planes that it is going to replace in the Air Force. 
In a Facebook post, the Defence Minister blamed the UPA government for not being able to overcome political unwillingness and indifference at the cost of national security.
Sitharaman said due to the "huge delays", the country had to spend Rs 20,037 crore to upgrade the MiG-21s, MiG-23s, MiG-27s, Mirage-2000s and the Jaguar fighter jets apart from revising the phaseout dates of the MiG-21 plane squadrons. 
"A realization of Prime Minister’s “Make in India” vision, Tejas is intended to replace the ageing fleet of MiG – 21 aircraft of IAF and it is pertinent to mention that the indigenous Tejas is far more superior than MiG 21 in terms of technologies and performance when compared to JF-17, is at par with Swedish manufactured Gripen fighter jet," the Defence Minister said. 
The Minister listed  the advancements of the LCA Tejas and said: "agility, lightweight, use of composite materials, Advanced Avionics Suite, Advanced Flight Control System, Advanced Electro-Mechanical System and safety features will enable the indigenous fighter jet to execute operations in extreme tropical conditions."
"Even though the challenges in development of LCA were numerous, the political unwillingness and indifference at the cost of national security could not be overcome under United Progressive Alliance’s government," she said.
"The huge delays in development and induction of LCA resulted in a cost of Rs. 20,037 crore in order for the IAF to upgrade MiG-BIS, MiG-29, Mirage- 2000 and Jaguar aircraft while phasing out of MiG 21 had to be revised," the minister said.
Sitharaman cited the Public Accounts Committee report headed by Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Malliakarjun Kharge which pointed out that the LCA programme sanctioned in 1983 with a development of 8 to 10 years against IAF’s requirement of induction by 1994, IAF received only nine out of 200 fighter and 20 trainer aircraft envisaged in Air Staff Requirement (ASR). 
"The observations of PAC Report clearly state the amplitude of indifference and failure of the UPA government," Sitharaman said.
The Defence Minister said the signaling of combat readiness of Tejas was done on February 20 by handing over the formal declaration of Final Operational Clearance (FOC) Certificate and Release to Service Documents (RSD) to the Chief of Air Staff at the sidelines of the Aero India 2019 show in Bengaluru in the presence of Defence Secretary, Sanjay Mitra.
"HAL is listed to make 123 Tejas jets; of these 20 are called the IOC version and another 20 the FOC version. FOC version Tejas jets have 39 upgrades over the existing IOC. While the IOC version is still being supplied to the IAF, the FOC version production would commence now after this certification," she said.
The remaining 83 are the Tejas Mark 1A, which will come duly equipped with four improvements as requested by the IAF. (ANI) 

iocl