"LCA Far Ahead Of JF-17 In Contemporary Technology": IAF Western Commander

The Indian Air Force's Western Air Commander, Air Marshal NAK Browne, whose area of responsibility includes the northern sector with Pakistan, indicated today that the PAF JF-17 was inferior to the yet to be inducted Indian Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas. "The LCA is ahead of the JF-17 in terms of contemporary technology. It will achieve final operational capability by the end of next year. The airplane is our design, uses our software, and is fully under our control. I'm not sure what in the JF-17 is under the PAF's control. What do you do if you don't have access to codes," he said.

Air Marshal Browne, a seasoned SEPECAT Jaguar pilot who has extensive experience on virtually every variant of the MiG-21 as well, was asked today if he was apprehensive that the F-16 -- a contender in the MMRCA competition -- was the principal air defence platform of the Pakistan Air Force. He replied, "The configuration of the F-16 on offer to the IAF is substantially different from what has been made available to the Pakistanis".

In an interaction with reporters ahead of India's 78th Air Force Day, Air Marshal Brown -- positioned to take over as Chief of Air Staff in July next year -- said, "We are aware of the new F-16 inductions by the PAF. We have a sense of what's happening. The new F-16s they have and are getting are certainly a challenge."

"The assymetry between the capabilities of both air forces was a certain amount in the past. That has somewhat reduced now. The PAF is going in for a fast-track induction of beyond visual range air to air missiles (BVRAAMs) and precision guided munitions (PGMs). These are things that actually tend to reduce the gap," the officer said.

"But they won't catch us up," he added.

Also Read: Mihir Shah's 2007 analysis of the JF-17 here.

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