Is HAL Tejas really a junk fighter aircraft?


Anonymous OP= Sadist w/o enough proof and evidence a.k.a TROLL.

So here it is for Ya’all sadists fanboys.


The answer is very long, but I assure you that it is to the point and will answer both questions in detail.

The LCA-Tejas is the replacement for the soviet origin Mig-21 fighter aircrafts, which have been in air for around 70 years with various air-forces across the globe, Indian Air Force being a major customer with considerable numbers still in service. The LCA has hit the production lines and 123 are on order.

But it is still a question if LCA is a worthy successor to the Mig-21? and if the country has gained anything from this or is it just another piece of junk?

This answer shall dig into the above questions.






5.How it has helped the country?


Mig-21: It was primarily designed and inducted as an Interceptor, Later it was modified as CAS and a airsuperiority fighter.

LCA: Point defense, multi-role fighter.

Inference: The primary job of an interceptor is to gain speed and height quickly and to intercept incoming threats. They are not primarily designed to undertake CAS and Air-superiority fighter roles whereas LCA from the first day was supposed to be a multirole fighter. The design of Mig allows it to travel at very high speeds with degraded performance at low speed where as LCA has a balanced performance in all speed regimes.

  • Little knowledge before going further:
    • Aspect Ratio(AR): Ratio of total lenth of wing(wing span) to Chord
    • Wing loading(WL): It is ratio of gross weight to be carried by wing to area of wing
    • Leading edge/Trailing edge :
  • Anhedral/Dihedral:
  • Chord: Line joining Leading edge to trailing edge
    • AOA: Angle between chord and Wind.
  • Critical AOA: AOA for which lift is maximum or angle after which lift starts decreasing rapidly.
  • Relation of AR with lift:
    • Lift Vs AOA for various AR:
  • Inference :
    • Higher AR will have higher Lift
    • More the AR less will be the Critical AOA.
    • Higher the AR, higher the induced drag

Aerodynamics of Delta Wings:

  • Lift generated by delta wing has two components: Vortex lift+Potential Flow lift (read Lift on a flat plate)
  • At lower angle of attack the lift is only the Potential flow component.(AOA=0*-5*)
  • At higher angle of attacks Vortex are generated by the leading edge, which flow over wing and creates a low pressure region over wing and hence lift is generated.(AOA=5*-20*)
  • At higher AOA the vortex starts getting disturbed and lift is decreased but can be controlled by certain measures.(AOA=20*-30*)

Delta wing shows low lift at low A.O.A because of following reasons:

  • More surface area for given amount of lift causes more viscous drag which decreases Lift/Drag ratio. More the ratio is better the lift.
  • At low AOA the formation of vortex is not uniform or flow separation or due to vortex burst(I oversimplified way too much).
  • Relation of WL with Maneuverability: The less the WL the better and faster will be the roll maneuver.


  • Wing Type:
    • Mig-21: Pure Cropped Delta with tail.
  • LCA: Cropped Compound tailless delta.
    • Inference: Mig had an extra control surface that added to the drag at high speed regime. Being pure cropped delta has it’s fair share of disadvantages as i mentioned above. Also due to the design the take off speed and distance is more for Mig-21 than Tejas.
  • AR:
    • Mig-21: 2.2
    • LCA: ~1.75(Wing span^2 / wing area)
    • Inference: Mig-21 focuses on more lift whereas LCA for less drag, no one wins in this department all matter of priorities. Trade-offs can’t be avoided.
  • WL:
    • Mig-21: 452
    • LCA: 247
    • Inference: LCA is a clear winner, this makes LCA more maneuverable in combat.
  • Thrust to Weight Ratio:
  • Mig-21: 0.7
    • LCA: 1.07
    • Inference: LCA wins, this gives LCA a better climb rate than Mig-21.
  • Wing Position:
    • Mig-21: -2* dihedral

Its 2 deg annhedral sir

  • LCA: Anhedral:
  • Inference: Anhedral position of delta wings generates extra lift. LCA wins.
  • AOA: This part is tricky.
    • Mig-21:30*
    • LCA:28*
    • Inference: Despite using dihedral swept back cranks LCA has AOA 2* less than Mig-21, but at the same time it is good in terms of existing 4.5 gen aircrafts. The reason for the following can be the pure delta of Mig-21 which are best suited in for high AOA but poor lift at low AOA where as LCA tries to keep the lift enact even at low AOA and low speed, so the reduction of 2* AOA in LCA is a trade-off for a wider flight envelope.


  • Inlet:
    • Mig-21: Inlet cone with Inlet at front of the plane.
  • LCA: Supersonic, Y-duct below and behind the wing.
  • Inference: Mig doesnot gives stealth due to the protruding cone and compressor RCS just visible at the front whre as LCA has two advantage:
  • Stealth by covering the Compressor RCS.
    • Continious suppply of air at high AOA.
  • Material Used:
    • Mig-21: Mostly metal or alluminium alloy
    • LCA: 44% is Carbon composite.
  • Inference: LCA is more lighter, stronger and stealthier.
  • Wing Blending: The Blending of wing with fuselage in LCA does two things:
    • Lower down the RCS.
  • Make fuselage a Lift generating object. This feature is not present in Mig-21.
  • RAM: Extensive use of RAM(Radar Absorbing Materials) decrease the RCS both of body and the Cockpit through canopy.


Needless to say from the day LCA was first flown it had never ever met with an accident, Mig-21 doesnot have a appreciable safety record which has earned it the name of “Flying Coffin”.


Well, probably what’s your say on these?

  1. We paid $2B for INS vikramaditya when it was projected to be several millions.
  2. We are paying more than $3B for FGFA but the work share and ToT is still questionable.
  3. We are major share holder in Mig-29 and SU-30 MKI developement and still the supplier doesn’t share spare parts of the same, result being more than 40% fighters being grounded at any given time and frequent crashes.
  4. We bought T-90S but it’s FCS, Armour and Air condition, RCWS all run on that developed by DRDO for Arjun MBT, same stands for T-72 CIA. Reason Russia didn’t share the ToT as per agreement.

Add up all these and the total financial figure can easily cross $10B. But still the media never shys away from calling this utterly over expensive, frequent maintainance and accident prone Russian equipments some sort of “Brahmastra” and the LCA which hasn’t met with an accident so far and an availability of 73% all the time a DUD. This is a bigger scam. Isn’t it?

Coming to Tejas:

1. It was meant to replace Mig-21 which was not a key fighter either.

2.LCA remains the cheapest programme with just $1B on it’s R&D. Atleast one-fourteenth of the budget of nearest contemporary and still comparable.

Can the OP produce any official reports to quantify the fact that an aircraft which is developed by an R&D organisation whose Total R&D budget is one-sixth of an E-retailing company’s R&D and having underpaid scientists as compared to it’s international peers is a SCAM.


Perhaps NO. Why?

Here is it :

    • Mirage: Flat i.e 0* w.r.t to horizontol axis.
  • LCA: Anhedral
  • Inference: For Delta Wings Anhedral placement creates more lift, which further help to counter the lack of lift during slow speeds in tejas but thats not the case with Mirage, suffers lack of lift during slow speeds.
    • Mirage: Small strake on the intakes above wing.
  • LCA: Crank (Marked in pink and dihedrally placed)
  • Inference: Mirage doesnot have any Lift increment device, the strakes it uses it gives a littlehelp in maintaining airflow at high AOA but not very effective , unlike tejas whose dihedrally positioned forward swept crank helps it a lot to maintain lift at high angle of attack(AOA) by delaying flow separation above wings.
  • BLENDING WING : Look at wing- fuselage for junction both :
    • Mirage: The junction is clearly visible.
    • LCA: There is blending of juction between wing-fuselage.
    • Inference: Now this feature does two things-
      • Makes the fuselage self lift creating object.
      • Helps to reduce the RCS and add stealth to aircraft.
    • Mirage is in disadvantage in this one.
  • WING-LOADING : The lower the better. Lower wing loading is a key deciding factor about the maneuverability of aircraft. Lower wing-loading helps in better dogfight.
    • Mirage:337 kg/m²
    • LCA: 247 kg/m²

Now comes the most complex of all but rather ignored topic the INTAKES. The topic is scientifically very critical in deciding the performance of aircraft.

  • The position of inlet:
    • Mirage: Beside the fuselage.
  • LCA: Under and Behind wing.
  • Inference: Putting the inlet sidewise, creates airflow moving over the surface of the fuselage develops a turbulent boundary layer, and ingesting this turbulent boundary layer into the engines may causes problems in the compressors if not it adds to drag. Also at high AOA this position of inlets does not ensure a good performance but in case of tejas the position of inlet behind wind ensures a considerable of amount of air supply to engine at high AOA which is not in case of Mirage.
  • Type of Intake:Further the intakes of Mirage are old gen intake comprising inlet cone but which doesnot helps to guard the compressor RCS, but Tejas uses Y-Duct intake that curtails the compressor RCS and gives a big RCS reduction to tejas and adds to tejas’s stealth which is not the case with Mirage.

Above: Inlet cone of Mirage; Below: Y-duct inlet design.

Conclusion: Where Mirage was primarily developed to replace Mirage III it was supposed to be a interceptor and good ground attack capability which are the strong points of mirage but lacks little bit in Air to Air and Stealth capability whereas the LCA was always supposed to be point defense fighter to replace Mig-21 , hence it was supposed to have a well balance of ground attack, Air to Air combat and Stealth. Though LCA lacks in terms of range but thats a trade off between aerodynamics, stealth and attack capability just like the Mirage which does just the reverse. It’s all matter of priorities. The following points proves that LCA is not copy of Mirage-2000 either!


Hell No, I don’t believe so!


Rest of the answer i am reposting one of my earlier ones:

IAF is at least of its air squadron power ever, this answer shall also look into this point if this situation was sudden or it was predictable.

HAL tejas a failure or Success?

Well its time to find out…


  1. History of developement: HAL Marut, MCA(Most of us won’t have even heard of it), LCA-tejas
  2. Technologies developed: Fly-by wire, engine, radar, aerodynamics, avionics
  3. contribution to the industry/ country .
  4. comparison of budgets with other fighter jets?

Let’s start with:

    • HAL MARUT:
  • The first supersonic fighter jets in Asia.
    • Served efficiently from 1960–1991 without any severe problems.
      • Also IAF was enjoying aerial supremacy in the region with the newly developed and bought 1200 Mig-21, during this time the PLAAF was not as strong as IAF. But Chinese realised “SOMETHING” that we (excluding navy) didn’t and are still denying from realising it.
      • It was first fighter jet developed, designed and manufactured in India.
      • It got some engine problems, GTRE did developed engine for it, it worked with complete efficiency but was incompatible with aircraft. Had there been foresightedness in airforce, governement and beuraucracy a little more funds would have given us a new engine for Marut. But Marut died a slow death given by beuraucracy, poor R&D funding(which still is poor), and lack of foresightedness.
    • HAL MCA(Medium Combat Aircraft): Say Hello to this Guy!!
  • It was the twin engined, vertical stabilizer less, 360 Thrust vectoring nozzle aircraft a.k.a twin engined MCA(big brother of MCA)
  • It was proposed in early 2000s.
  • But We did the same mistake again, IAF showed little interest in the program and the plan was shelved back in 2000s and the IAF insisted on the LCA and insisted for 126 MCA from foreign and hence started the saga of 126 MMRCA with tender being issued in 2001. The deal was signed for just 36 in 2016. We wasted 16 years again, had there been foresightedness and less corruption in the system , with proper absorption of public and private industry, this thing would have been already into the sky.
  • But, it never saw the daylight and remained a proposal.
  • The so called 1980 is just a media propaganda, it was the year IAF mentioned this matter, 1984 ADA was formed and 1990 finally funds were released so actual commencement was 1990 and not alleged 1980.
  • At last there was some ray of hope though tarnished by 1999 nuclear test embargos, Tejas took to the sky in 2001.
  • LCA was named tejas by then PM.Shri Atal Bihari Bajpayee. The programme went well till 2004, it slowed down after 2004 due to slack nature of then government, corruption throughout the reign rocked the entire country during this period, Let alone tejas it was just a small Fighter jet under developement.
  • 2014 BJP governement came back again with absolute majority and Defense Minister being Manohar parrikar, clearly stating that Tejas is his dream project.
  • Tejas programme in this two year period i.e 2014–16 saw a faster speed of developement with 123 strong tejas being ordered by DAC and in early 2017 it’s FOC started with successfull firing of Derby guided missile in guided missile mode.
    • Airframe and Aerodynamics(including stealth):
      • The exact RCS of tejas is unknown. But it is said that it is “1/3 of mirage”, considerably low as compared to other 4th generation aircrafts because of
      • High usage of carbon composites.
  • Being small in size adds to the lowering the RCS.
  • Y-shape inlets that reduces the heat signature of the engine.
  • .Use of RAM(Radar Absorbent material) paints
  • .Addition of AESA radar in mk1a and mk2 will ensure that tejas locks on to the target before target sees it which adds to the LO feature.
  • Radar waves normally enter the cockpit reflects of objects & possibly return to the radar and even the HMD of pilot itself contributes to RCS. To avoid this Tejas canopy is coated with a thin film transparent conductor of Indium Tin Oxide. The coating is thin enough that it has no adverse effect on pilot vision and can reflect the radar waves away from the radar antenna.
  • quadraplex digital fly-by-wire control system.

A little bit history about the kaveri engine:

  1. The GTRE GTX-35VS Kaveri is a turbofan project developed by the (GTRE), a lab under the DRDO
  2. T the Kaveri was originally intended to power production models of the Tejas LCA fighter.
  3. This was approx 202 mn $ project.
  4. Later on the project was divided into two category: K9 and K 10
    1. K9: Will be completely indigenous with only foreign consultation and certification.
    2. K10: Will be a joint venture with a foreign partner.
  5. Problems that occured:
    • Kaveri engine in its present form uses directionally solidified blade technology which is rather an old tech and it couldn’t tolerate the high temperature in its combustion chamber called “Kabini”. The solution was “single crystal blades”
    • The thrust generated was nearly 65 to 70% of what was needed.
    • Performance decay at high altitude.
    • A peculiar noise when in after burning mode..

Here comes the MMRCA deal which many think was a bad decision by the current leadership as it just bought 36 rafales. But if we look closely to the offset, it was boon to us as under the offset:

  • Snecma which manufacture the Rafales M-88 core agreed to help and certify the engine in 18 months.
  • DRDO has been given a virtual carte blanche to channelise offsets from the Indian Rafale deal to resurrect the Kaveri.Snecma, a partner in the Rafale programme, builds the Rafale’s twin M88 turbofan engines. Under the terms of the partnership , Snecma is working to modify, certify and integrate the Kaveri on a Light Combat Aircraft airframe before 2020.
  • A later phase in the partnership will involve modifications on the Kaveri for a twin configuration on India’s AMCA fifth generation fighter concept and an altered non-reheat version for the Ghatak UCAV.
  • According to DRDO chief the kaveri engine will be ready by next aero india.
  • Another good new is that altitude test and flying test bed trials have been completed. Official statement of MoD in Parliament” In a written reply to the Lok Sabha in December 2016, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre had called the effort of the GTRE in developing the engine as “an attempt to mastering one of the most complex technologies”. The minister said the altitude test and flying test bed trials for the engine had been completed and other developmental problems were being addressed to make the engine flight-worthy through in-house efforts as well with assistance from abroad”.
  • The engine will be first used on Tejas PV-1.Other uses will be
    • Ghatak UCAV(Dry variant or w/o afterburner)
  • AMCA
  • Tejas Mk2


Perhaps you have made this 74 Wind tunnel facilities across the country and other aerospace testing centres.

LCA was the principle project that compelled India to develope all this centres of excellence indigenously after being kicked out from Buffalo, USA after ’99 nuclear test.


  • Indigenous HUD.
  • EW suite for Tejas is under developement for LCA but since it is small it has to be compact other than that Tusker EW suite is the bigger derivative of the suite Mayavi EW for LCA and is used for Mig-29, jaguar and Su-30. Samyukta is also another EW suite that has used the experience from past developement of Mayavi and tusker EW.
  • Early version of tejas (PVs) had analog display now they fly on Digital display designed by DARE(DRDO).
  • Also DARE has developed the litening targetting pod for effective targetting of air version of brahmos.
  • It’s HMD is ELBIT designed, but its friend and foe detection is designed by DRDO.
  • UTTAM AESA (Further updates:Soikot Banerjee’s answer to Is India developing/working on AESA radars?)radar has given rise to many other forms of AESA radar such as that used on swordfish radar, AEW&C, recently successfully launched QRSAM.


  1. Private sector giants especially TATA SED and L&T have gained a lot of experience in electronics and manufacturing respectively.
  2. It has created a chain of MSMEs.
  3. Almost entire fuselage which includes wings, center of fuselage is made by private companies and HAL is only a integrator.


  1. Tejas is the most economical 4.5 gen aircraft programme ever with $1 bn spent on programme, whereas Gripen is 14 bn$ programme and F-16 even more.
  2. Tejas has never ever faced an accident whereas its competitor Grippen has faced Two accidents.

Given the amount of experience by spending the least amount of money compared to any fighter jet programme as shown by above facts and two failed attempts to develope or continue to develope a fighter jets, TEJAS LCA IS A SUCCESS.

The “SOMETHING” that i mentioned earlier is the thing that complete indigenisation is the only way you can survive for long and you can see how strong and thriving the chinese aerospace industry is now(you can abuse me as traitor, porkistani and whatever you may like).

But it’s time to accept that only R&D can give us what we call as self reliance and not so called ToT that we keep asking from other nations.

No nation will give critical technologies that have made them pioneers of their respective field. By giving critical tech to another company, no parent company in sane mind would create their own competitor. But w/o critical tech we can’t modify the weapon platforms according to needs as all IPR are reserved with the parent company, forget about creating a new one.

Hence LCA TEJAS is a success and the present squadron crisis was predictable and also preventable had there been foresightedness in IAF, beuraucracy to develope complete R&D infrastructure by consuming potential of both private and public sector also academic institutions to the fullest.

Hope this is sufficient for you, or else I can serve more but that will be on further requests. LOLz.

Footnotes:1.Soikot Banerjee’s answer to After the failure of Kaveri GTX jet engine is India still developing an indigenous jet engine?


3.Soikot Banerjee’s answer to Why can’t India develop its own AESA radar?


Pic credits: Google and Respective owner

Pic credits: Google

Pic credits:respective owners and google.

Data: Wikipedia

Written by Aviation #hub

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