Our Bureau
06:28 AM, October 26, 2015
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Indian Air Force Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (Image: Tejas website)

India has offered its Tejas Licght Combat Aircraft (LCA) to Sri Lankan Air Force’s bid to replace its ageing Israeli Kfirs and MiG 27s.

Tejas will be competing against Pakistan’s JF-17 fighter (a variant of Chinese FC-1 Xiaolong Fierce Dragon),” Sri Lankan Sunday Observer news website reported.

India has offered brand new, indigenous design, ‘Tejas’ supersonic jet fighter to the Sri Lanka Air Force even as SLAF commander Air Marshal Gagan Bulathsinghala prepares to visit Pakistan early next month where he is likely to study Pakistan’s own supersonic jet offer to replenish Sri Lanka’s air defence capability. Air Force officials, however, insist that the SLAF commander’s trip to Pakistan is a routine official visit and that Sri Lanka is not committed to buy the Pakistani JF-17 ‘Thunder’ multi-role fighter, the website said.

Both the Pakistani JF-17 Thunder and India’s LCA Tejas are second rung light fighter-bombers very similar in terms of flight performance and weapons payload and, possessing very modern ‘smart’ technology but are relatively cheaper when compared with the aircraft of similar specifications manufactured by the big powers.

SLAF officials argue that, despite their high price tags, given the emerging global geo-political scenario, Sri Lanka needs to replace its currently ageing fleet of supersonic jet fighters with a new generation of high technology aircraft.

Although there is some debate in the defence establishment here whether or not the country needs such expensive, high-powered aircraft for its limited aerial defence requirements, Air Force officials, however, claim that given the currently emerging global geo-political conditions, the country needs to be well equipped to deal with a variety of possible threats, and thus requires high performance aircraft of the latest generation.

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