×

F-16s, Made in India

Why Second Best Is Best

A drill team performing at Jamnagar Air Force Station, Gujarat, India, March 2016. Amit Dave / REUTERS

India is in the market for a new fighter plane—actually, about 200 new fighter planes. The country's fleet of MiG 21s is aging and increasingly prone to accidents, so it is seeking a replacement capable of air superiority and ground-attack missions. Initial reports suggested that the indigenously produced Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) might play this role. The Tejas, however, has been plagued with problems; a government investigation identified 53 design flaws, including underpowered engines, excess weight, poor maneuverability, lack of fuel capacity, underperforming radar, and maintenance shortcomings. Thus, despite a development process spanning more than 30 years, the Tejas remains unfit for combat duty. A Tejas Mark II will supposedly address many of the first edition’s shortcomings, but flight testing is not expected to commence until late 2018. 

Indian leaders are therefore looking to foreign manufacturers to produce a single-engine fighter in India, in accordance with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s

Loading, please wait...

To read the full article

Related Articles

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more.

Continue