Wednesday, January 06, 2016

India’s New Fighter Jet Will Make International Debut in Bahrain

India’s Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) will conduct a flight demonstration during this year’s Bahrain International Air Show held from January 21-23, The Business Standard reports based on information obtained from India’s Ministry of Defense.

“The show will witness flying demonstration of the ‘Tejas’, the latest and state of the art Light Combat Aircraft, the ‘Four-plus’ generation and highly cost effective fighter aircraft,” a defense ministry spokesperson said on January 1.

The display and flight demonstration of the Tejas fighter jet can be interpreted as a direct response to Pakistan’s attempt to sell its jointly-developed Pakistan Aeronautical Complex/Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation (PAC/CAC) JF-17 Thunder combat aircraft on the international arms market.

However, whereas Pakistan has already inducted the JF-17 into the Pakistan Air Force, only one fighter aircraft has been delivered to the Indian Air Force so far. “A fighter participating in an international air show is scrutinized like a Miss Universe contestant. Every mole of the Tejas will be scrutinized in Bahrain,” cautions an Indian military aviation expert interviewed by The Business Standard.

The Tejas LCA, developed by the Aeronautical Development Agency in cooperation with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), only achieved initial operational clearance in December 2013.

As I reported previously, the supersonic, single-seat, single-engine multirole light fighter aircraft has been under development for the past three decades. The date for final operational clearance was originally December 2015. However, this date has been postponed to March 2016.
05/01/16 Franz-Stefan Gady/The Diplomat
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