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DEFENCE AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST quest47c4isr@gmail.com

July 3, 2009

ANALYSIS - TEJAS v/s THUNDER

Tejas / Light Combat Aircraft (IAF)

The Tejas (formerly known as LCA; Light Combat Aircraft) is India's second indigenous jet fighter design, after the HF-24 Marut of the 1950s. It's the world's smallest, light weight, multi-role combat aircraft designed to meet the requirements of the Indian Air Force as its frontline multi-mission single seater tactical aircraft during the period 2000 - 2020.

Development began in 1983; the basic design was finalised in 1990; the first prototype rolled out on 17 November 1995. On 04 January 2001 at 10.18 a.m. the first LCA Prototype TD-1 (Technology Demonstrator-1), finally took off on its first flight from Yelahanka AFS. The configuration is a delta wing, with no tailplanes or foreplanes, and a single vertical fin. The LCA is constructed of aluminium-lithium alloys, carbon-fibre composites, and titanium. The design incorporates "control-configured vehicle" concepts to enhance manoeuvrability, and quadruplex fly-by-wire controls. Both prototypes are powered by General Electric F404-GE-F2J3 engines, but an indigenous engine, the GTX-35VS Kaveri, is being developed for the production Tejas.

The Tejas (LCA) is a small, lightweight, supersonic, multi-role, single-seat fighter designed primarily to replace the MiG-21 series of aircraft of Indian Air Force as its front-line multi-mission single-seat tactical aircraft. The LCA integrates modern design concepts like static instability, digital fly-by-wire flight control system, integrated avionics, glass cockpit, primary composite structure, multi-mode radar, microprocessor based utility and brake management systems. Short takeoff and landing, high maneuverability with excellent maintainability and a wide range of weapon fit are some of Tejas' features.

Two aircraft technology demonstrators are powered by single GE F404/F2J3 augmented turbofan engines. For maintenance the aircraft has more than five hundred Line Replaceable Units (LRSs), each tested for performance and capability to meet the severe operational conditions to be encountered. Major subsystems like fly-by-wire digital flight control system, integrated avionics, hydraulic and electricalsystems, environmental control system, fuel system etc., are being tested to ensure performance and safety. Following satisfactory subsystem test results the flight test program of the Tejan began in 2001. Production will start in 2007 The Tejas has been designed and developed by a consortium of five aircraft research, design, production and product support organizations pooled by the Bangalore-based Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), under Department of Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO). Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is the Principal Partner in the design and fabrication of the LCA and its integration leading to flight testing. Several academic institutions from over the country have participated in the development of design and manufacturing software for LCA. National teams formed by pooling the talents and expertise in the country are entrusted with the responsibility of the development of major tasks such as development of carbon composite wing, design, design of control law and flight testing. Several private and public sector organizations have also supported design and manufacture of various subsystems.


Various international aircraft and system manufacturers are also participating in the program with supply of specific equipment, design consultancy and support. For example, GE Aircraft Engines provides the propulsion and Lockheed Martin the flight control system.
Tejas or Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)The Indian Tejas is the world's smallest, light weight, multi-role combat aircraft designed to meet the requirements of Indian Air Force as its frontline multi-mission single-seat tactical aircraft to replace the MiG-21 series of aircraft.


The delta wing configuration , with no tailplanes or foreplanes, features a single vertical fin. The Tejas is constructed of aluminium-lithium alloys, carbon-fibre composites, and titanium. Tejas integrates modern design concepts and the state-of-art technologies such as relaxed static stability, flyby-wire Flight Control System, Advanced Digital Cockpit, Multi-Mode Radar, Integrated Digital Avionics System, Advanced Composite Material Structures and a Flat Rated Engine.The Tejas design has been configured to match the demands of modern combat scenario such as speed, acceleration, maneuverability and agility. Short takeoff and landing, excellent flight performance, safety, reliability and maintainability, are salient features of Tejas design. The Tejas integrates modern design concepts like static instability, digital fly-by-wire flight control system, integrated avionics, glass cockpit, primary composite structure, multi-mode radar, microprocessor based utility and brake management systems. The avionics system enhances the role of Light Combat Aircraft as an effective weapon platform. The glass cockpit and hands on throttle and stick (HOTAS) controls reduce pilot workload. Accurate navigation and weapon aiming information on the head up display helps the pilot achieve his mission effectively. The multifunction displays provide information on engine, hydraulics, electrical, flight control and environmental control system on a need-to-know basis along with basic flight and tactical information. Dual redundant display processors (DP) generate computer-generated imagery on these displays. The pilot interacts with the complex avionics systems through a simple multifunction keyboard, and function and sensor selection panels. A state-of-the-art multi-mode radar (MMR), laser designator pod (LDP), forward looking infra-red (FLIR) and other opto-electronic sensors provide accurate target information to enhance kill probabilities. A ring laser gyro (RLG)-based inertial navigation system (INS), provides accurate navigation guidance to the pilot. An advanced electronic warfare (EW) suite enhances the aircraft survivability during deep penetration and combat. Secure and jam-resistant communication systems, such as IFF, VHF/UHF and air-to-air/air-to-ground data link are provided as a part of the avionics suite. All these systems are integrated on three 1553B buses by a centralised 32-bit mission computer (MC) with high throughput which performs weapon computations and flight management, and reconfiguration/redundancy management.


Reversionary mission functions are provided by a control and coding unit (CCU). Most of these subsystems have been developed indigenously. The digital FBW system of the Tejas is built around a quadruplex redundant architecture to give it a fail op-fail op-fail safe capability. It employs a powerful digital flight control computer (DFCC) comprising four computing channels, each powered by an independent power supply and all housed in a single line replaceable unit (LRU). The system is designed to meet a probability of loss of control of better than 1x10-7 per flight hour. The DFCC channels are built around 32-bit microprocessors and use a safe subset of Ada language for the implementation of software. The DFCC receives signals from quad rate, acceleration sensors, pilot control stick, rudder pedal, triplex air data system, dual air flow angle sensors, etc. The DFCC channels excite and control the elevon, rudder and leading edge slat hydraulic actuators. The computer interfaces with pilot display elements like multifunction displays through MIL-STD-1553B avionics bus and RS 422 serial link.


The digital FBW system of the Tejas is built around a quadruplex redundant architecture to give it a fail op-fail op-fail safe capability. It employs a powerful digital flight control computer (DFCC) comprising four computing channels, each powered by an independent power supply and all housed in a single line replaceable unit (LRU). The system is designed to meet a probability of loss of control of better than 1x107 per flight hour. The DFCC channels are built around 32-bit microprocessors and use a safe subset of Ada language for the implementation of software. The DFCC receives signals from quad rate, acceleration sensors, pilot control stick, rudder pedal, triplex air data system, dual air flow angle sensors, etc. The DFCC channels excite and control the elevon, rudder and leading edge slat hydraulic actuators. The computer interfaces with pilot display elements like multifunction displays through MIL-STD-1553B avionics bus and RS 422 serial link.Multi-mode radar (MMR), the primary mission sensor of the Tejas in its air defence role, will be a key determinant of the operational effectiveness of the fighter. This is an X-band, pulse Doppler radar with air-to-air, air-to-ground and air-to-sea modes. Its track-while-scan capability caters to radar functions under multiple target environment.


The special feature of signal processor is its real-time configurability to adapt to requirements depending on selected mode of operation. Seven weapon stations provided on Tejas offer flexibility in the choice of weapons Tejas can carry in various mission roles. Provision of drop tanks and inflight refueling probe ensure extended range and flight endurance of demanding missions. Provisions for the growth of hardware and software in the avionics and flight control system, available in Tejas, ensure to maintain its effectiveness and advantages as a frontline fighter throughout its service life.


For maintenance the aircraft has more than five hundred Line Replaceable Units (LRSs), each tested for performance and capability to meet the severe operational conditions to be encountered.Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is the Principal Partner in the design and fabrication of Tejas and its integration leading to flight testing. The Tejas has been designed and developed by a consortium of five aircraft research, design, production and product support organizations pooled by the Bangalore-based Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), under Department of Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO). Various international aircraft and system manufacturers are also participating in the program with supply of specific equipment, design consultancy and support. For example, GE Aircraft Engines provides the propulsion. The first prototype of Tejas rolled out on 17 November 1995. Two aircraft technology demonstrators are powered by single GE F404/F2J3 augmented turbofan engines. Regular flights with the state-of-the-art "Kaveri" engine, being developed by the Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) in Bangalore, are planned by 2002, although by mid-1999 the Kaveri engine had yet to achieve the required thrust-to-weight ratio. The Tejas is India's second attempt at an indigenous jet fighter design, following the somewhat unsatisfactory HF-24 Marut Ground Attack Fighter built in limited numbers by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited in the 1950s. Conceived in 1983, the Tejas will serve as the Indian air force's frontline tactical plane through the year 2020. The Tejas will go into service around 2007. Following India's nuclear weapons tests in early 1998, the United States placed an embargo on the sale of General Electric 404 jet engines which are to power the Tejas. The US also denied the fly-by-wire system for the aircraft sold by the US firm Lockheed-Martin. As of June 1998 the first flight of the Tejas had been delayed due to systems integration tests. The first flight awaits completion of the Digital Flight Control Systems, being developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE).


Senior HAL officials had said in March 2005 that the IAF would place a Rs. 2,000 crores (over US$450 million) order for 20 Tejas aircraft, with a similar purchase of another 20 aircraft to follow. All 40 will be equipped with the F404-GE-IN20 engine So far, Rs. 4806.312 cr have been spent on development of various versions of Light Combat Aircraft.

The first squadron of the indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) named Tejas will be deployed down south in Tamil Nadu, when the first batch of the 20 fighter aircraft are expected to be inducted by the Indian Air Force (IAF) in 2009-2010.

Light combat aircraft hot weather trial was successful conducted on 30 May 2008. Production version of LCA 'Tejas' took to skies on 16 June 2008.As of December 2008,HAL Tejas high-altitude trials at Leh were successful.LCA Tejas completed 1000 Test Flights on January 22, 2009. Tejas have completed 530 hours of in-flight testing. By February 2009 Aeronautical Development Agency officials said that the Tejas has started flying with weapons and integration of radars would be completed by March 2009. Almost all system development activity would be completed by that time

Mark 2 version

Due to the inability of the Tejas to meet the Indian Air Staff requirements the India Air Force will not order any more Mark 1 aircraft other than the original 40 aircraft it had ordered in 2005. It is still considering an order of up to 125 aircraft when a re-designed Mark 2 is developed. The Mark 2 will have a more powerful engine, refined aerodynamics and replacing other parts to reduce obsolescence according to an IAF spokesman. The Indian Navy Mark 2 version of the Tejas will be capable of much shorter take off and landing distance from an aircraft carrier.

General characteristics

Crew: 1

Length: 13.20 m (43 ft 4 in)

Wingspan: 8.20 m (26 ft 11 in)

Height: 4.40 m (14 ft 9 in)

Wing area: 38.4 m² (413 ft²)

Empty weight: 6,500 kg (14,100 lb)

Loaded weight: 9,500 kg (20,700 lb (in fighter configuration)

Max Take Of weight: 14,500 kg (27,000 lb)

Dry thrust: 53.9 kN (11,250 lbf)

Thrust with afterburner: 85 kN (18,000 lbf)

Internal fuel capacity: 3000 liters

External fuel capacity: 5×800 liter tanks or 3×1,200 liter tanks, totaling 4,000/3,600 liters

Performance

Maximum speed: Mach 2.0 (2,376+ km/h at high altitude) at 15,000 m

Range: 3000 km (1,840 mi (without refueling)

Service ceiling: 15,950+ m (54,000 ft (engine re-igniter safely capable)

Wing loading: 221.4 kg/m² (45.35 lb/ft²)

g limits : +8.5 g / 9g

Armament

Guns: 1× mounted 23 mm twin-barrel GSh-23 cannon with 220 rounds of ammunition.

Hardpoints: 8 total: 1× beneath the port-side intake trunk, 6× under-wing, and 1× under-fuselage with a capacity of >4000 kg external fuel and ordnance,

Missiles

air-to-air missiles:
Astra BVRAAM
Vympel R-77 (NATO reporting name: AA-12 Adder)
Vympel R-73 (NATO reporting name: AA-11 Archer)
Air-to-surface missiles:
Kh-59ME TV guided standoff Missile
Kh-59MK Laser guided standoff Missile
Anti-ship missile
Kh-35
Kh-31
Bombs:
KAB-1500L laser guided bombs
FAB-500T dumb bombs
OFAB-250-270 dumb bombs
OFAB-100-120 dumb bombs
RBK-500 cluster bombs
AvionicsEL/M-2052 AESA radar


JF-17 Thunder, FC-1 Fierce Dragon (PAF, PLAF)


The Joint Fighter-17 (JF-17) Thunder, also known as the Fighter China-1 (FC-1) Fierce Dragon (Xiaolong) in China (initially known as Super-7), is a single-seat multirole fighter aircraft co-developed by China and Pakistan.

OverviewThe JF-17 is designed to meet the tactical and strategic needs of the Pakistani Air Force with a minimal reliance on imports from other countries. In addition, the requirement was for the aircraft to have sufficient space for future upgrades and/or equipment specified by export buyers. The JF-17 is considered to be in the "mid-high-tech class" of fighter aircraft.

ProjectThe JF-17 is being built by Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation (CAC), and the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAIC) is expected to license produce it at a later stage. Initial reports claimed that the aircraft was based on the design of the MiG-33, a proposed single-engined version of the MiG-29, which was rejected by the Soviet Air Force. However, the FC-1/JF-17 is instead derived from the "Super Seven" project, not the Project 33 (not to be confused with the MiG-33) or the failed Chengdu J-9. Indications are that MiG assisted the program by contributing their light fighter design as well as providing additional design & development assistance. The project is expected to cost about $500 million (USD), divided equally between China and Pakistan, while each individual aircraft is expected to have a fly-away cost of $15-20 million. Pakistan has announced that it will procure 150 planes by 2015, which will replace the MiG-21 derived Chengdu F-7. Other countries which have expressed interest in purchasing the JF-17 are Egypt, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Burma, Zimbabwe, Morocco and Algeria.


History

In 1986, China signed an agreement with Grumman to develop an upgrade/replacement for the J-7 known as the "Super 7". The program was cancelled in 1990, primarily due to worsening relations with the US following the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. However, CAC kept the program alive by providing low-level funding from its own resources. After US sanctions were imposed on Pakistan in 1990, Pakistan also became interested in the project. In June 1999, Pakistan and China made an agreement to restart the program with Pakistan paying about 50% of the development costs. The project became known as JF-17 in Pakistan and FC-1 in China. The first prototype was rolled out on 31 May 2003, conducted its first taxi trials on 1 July, and made its first flight on 24 August of the same year. The prototype 03 made its first flight in April 2004. On April 28 2006, the prototype 04 made its first flight with fully operational avionics. Serial production was expected to begin in June 2006 and the first 16 aircraft would be rolled out in early 2007. Serial production from 2007-2008 will be at an annual 10-15 planes per year while in 2008+ it will be at 25-30 planes per year. President Of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf has declared in the Independence day speech on 14th August 2006 that the aircraft will be flying in the Pakistani sky on the 23rd March 2007.

SPECIFICATIONS JF-17 / FC-1


Role
Multi-role fighter

Crew: 1


Length: 14.0 m (45.9 ft)


Wingspan: 9.45 m (including 2 wingtip missiles) (31 ft)


Height: 4.77 m (15 ft 8 in)


Wing area: 24.4 m² (263 ft²)


Empty weight: 6,411 kg (14,134 lb)


Loaded weight: 9,100 kg including 2× wing-tip mounted air-to-air missiles [(20,062 lb)


Max takeoff weight: 12,700 kg (28,000 lb)


Powerplant: 1× Klimov RD-93 turbofan

Dry thrust: 49.4 kN (11,106 lbf)

Thrust with afterburner: 84.4 kN (18,973 lbf)

G-limit: +8.5 g

Internal Fuel Capacity: 2300 kg (5,130 lb)

Performance

Maximum speed: Mach 1.8

Combat radius: 1,352 km (840 mi)

Ferry range: 3,000 km (2,175 mi)

Service ceiling: 16,700 m (54,790 ft)

Thrust/weight: 0.99

Armament

Guns: 1× 23 mm GSh-23-2 twin-barrel cannon (can be replaced with 30 mm GSh-30-2 twin-barrel cannon)
Hardpoints: 7 in total (4× under-wing, 2× wing-tip, 1× under-fuselage) with a capacity of 3,629 kg (8,000 lb) external fuel and ordnance,
Rockets: 57 mm, 90 mm unguided rocket pods Missiles:

Air-to-air missiles:

Short range: AIM-9L/M, PL-5E, PL-9C
Beyond visual range: PL-12 / SD-10
Air-to-surface missiles:
Anti-radiation missiles
Anti-ship missiles: AM-39 Exocet
Cruise missiles: Ra'ad ALCM

Bombs:

Unguided bombs:
Mk-82, Mk-84 general purpose bombs
Matra Durandal anti-runway bomb
CBU-100/Mk-20 Rockeye anti-armour cluster bomb
Precision guided munitions (PGM):
GBU-10, GBU-12, LT-2 laser-guided bombs
H-2 MUPSOW, H-4 MUPSOW electro-optically guided glide bombs Satellite-guided bombs

Others:

Up to 3 external fuel drop-tanks (1× under-fuselage 800 litres, 2× under-wing 800/1100 litres each) for extended range/loitering time

Avionics

NRIET KLJ-7 multi-mode fire-control radar NVG compatible glass cockpit
Helmet mounted sights/display (HMS/HMD)
IRST (Infra-Red Search and Track)
Externally mounted pods:
Self-protection radar jammer pod
Day/night laser designator targeting pod
FLIR (Forward Looking Infra-Red) pod

The JF-17 / FC-1 in detail


In 1986 China signed a US$550 million agreement with Grumman to modernise its J-7 (Chinese copy of the MiG-21 Fishbed) fighter aircraft under the "Super-7" upgrade project. Western companies from the US and Britain were competing to provide the engine and avionics. The project was cancelled in early 1990, in the wake of the cooling of political relations with the West, as well as in response to a 40% increase in the cost of the project. However, Chengdu managed to continue the programme with its own resources and the project was re-branded as FC-1 (Fighter China-1).

Following the 1993 US sanction against China and Pakistan on the transfer of ballistic missile components and technology, problems of acquiring Western technology has driven Pakistan to seek helps from its Chinese ally. Beijing and Islamabad concluded a joint development and production agreement in June 1999 to co-develop the FC-1 fighter aircraft. According to the agreement, China Aviation Import and Export Corporation (CATIC) and Pakistan each contribute 50% of the development costs, which was estimated as about US$150 million. Chengdu was chosen to be the primary contractor, with Russian Mikoyan Aero-Science Production Group (MASPG) providing assistance in some design work as well as its RD-93 turbofan engine to power the aircraft. The first FC-1 rolled out from the assembly line on 31 May 2003, and its 15-minute maiden flight took place on 24 August 2003. So far four prototypes have been built, with the second for static tests and the rest in flying tests. The initial production of 16 aircraft is expected to start in mid-2006, and the PAF has a requirement for 150 aircraft under the designation of the JF-17 to replace its Chengdu F-7P fighters in current service. Pakistani aviation industry will also be involved in the production of some avionics for the aircraft. The FC-1 is mainly targeting the international market as a potential replacement for the second-generation fighters such as the Northrop F-5 Tiger, Dassault Mirage III/5, Shenyang J-6, MiG-21/F-7 Fishbed, and Nanchang Q-5 aircraft. CATIC and CAC are trying to persuade the PLAAF to acquire additional FC-1s to reduce the unit price, but a firm contract has yet been reached. In addition, CATIC/CAC is also trying to promote the aircraft to other potential customers including Bangladesh, Egypt and Nigeria.

Design

The FC-1/Super-7 was originally defined as a low-cost third-generation air-superiority fighter aircraft to replace the MiG-21/F-7 Fishbed and Northrop F-5 series in service with many developing countries. With the participation of MASPG, the aircraft was re-branded as a lightweight, high-performance, multirole attack fighter aircraft featuring fly-by-wire (FBW) flight-control, beyond-vision-range (BVR) combat capability and much improved aerodynamic performance. These has also steered the unit price of the aircraft up by 50%, from the original US$10 million to US$15 million. The aircraft has delta wings and a conventional tail, and might be capable of aerial refuelling without significant modifications. The aircraft can be tailored to meet the different customers with various operational and budgetary requirements from low-cost options fitted with Chinese indigenously designed avionics to higher-performance options incorporated with Western developed weapons and avionics.

Weapons

The aircraft has 7 stores stations, including one under the fuselage, 4 under the wings, and 2 wingtip mounted, with up to 3,800kg weapon payload. The aircraft can carry a special pod allowing day/night delivery of laser-guided weapons. In addition, it can also carry unguided weapons such as iron bomb and unguided rocket launchers. The JF-17 / FC-1 has beyond-vision-range (BVR) attack capability with the SD-10 medium-range air-to-air missile (MRAAM) developed by China Leihua Electronic Technology Research Institute (LETRI, also known as 607 Institute). The aircraft also carries two short-range AAMs on its wingtip-mounted launch rails. The options include U.S. AIM-9P and Chinese PL-6, PL-8, and PL-9.
Avionics The avionics suite onboard the FC-1/JF-17 is said to be Chinese design, comprising a head-up display (HUD), infra-red search-and-track system, night-vision goggle capability and ring-laser gyro inertial navigation system with GPS input. To achieve better aerodynamic performance, the FC-1/Super-7 is also equipped with a digital dual fly-by-wire (FBW). * Fire-control radar Italian FIAR Grifo S-7 on Pakistani built export versions. The Radar for Pakistan Airforce's JF-17 is not yet decided. However, early PAF JF-17s will most probably be equipped with Chinese radar which PLAAF will also be using. The JF-17 Thunder fighters in service with the PAF will be fitted with the Italian Grifo S-7 fire-control radar, which has 25 working modes and a non-break-down time of 200 hours. The radar is capable of look-down, shoot-down, as well as for ground strike, but lacks multi-targets tracing and attacking capability. SD-10 medium-range air-to-air missile* Navigation system : Global Positioning System* Head up display (HUD), infra-red search-and-track system, night-vision goggle capability and a digital dual Fly by wire (FBW).

Powerplant

One Russian-made RD-93 turbofans, rated 49.4kN dry or 81.4kN with afterburning. China has reportedly imported five RD-93s from Russia to power the prototypes, but agreement of further purchase and re-export of the engine in together with the fighter aircraft has yet been reached. China may seek to power the aircraft with an indigenously-developed powerplant.

At least 8 small batch production (SBP) aircraft delivered and a total of 275 aircraft expected. The first JF-17 squadron was to be officially inducted into the PAF fleet in the first quarter of 2009, however this has been delayed to September 2009.



Sidharth K Menon