Indian light combat aircraft Tejas needs one more year to become fully combat ready, reported Economic Times.
A contract has been signed between Pakistan and an Asian country for the export of JF 17 fighter. However, PAF Air Commodore dealing in sales and marketing, Khalid Mahmood refused to divulge the name of the country and delivery is likely to start in 2017.
The JF 17 fighter has been locally produced with the help of China are lightweight multi-role aircraft capable of Mach 2.0 (twice the speed of sound) with an operational ceiling of 55,000 feet.
The export order has brought major worries for Indian Air Force (IAF) authorities as the light combat Tejas will need at least one more year for combat.
The IAF is greatly concerned as it is down to just 35 fighter squadrons while at least 44 are needed to tackle a threat from Pakistan or China.
Moreover the much needed Tejas Mark-II which has a more powerful engine likely needs foreign collaboration if the premier prototype is to take to the skies by 2018-2019 according to expected deadlines.
According to a source, "Tejas Mark-II is still on the drawing board, with only the preliminary design review being completed till now. The critical design review is far off."
On the other hand an ongoing commercial negotiation for the acquisition of 36 expensive twin-engine Rafale fighters from France is expected to be sealed in a month and its delivery will take at least two years.
The utility of the Tejas which are progressing at snail's pace lies in them leading to a quicker development of the proposed fifth generation air craft fighter; advanced medium combat aircraft (AMCA).
OneIndia News (The article was first published in Economic Times)