JF 17 designed by Russia, developed by China and assembled by Pakistan is the pride of PAF. The JF 17 can fly higher than Tejas, for a longer distance and is cheaper than Tejas. But does it mean it is better than Tejas? Although Tejas isn’t the Front-line fighter of India and the JF17 in case of any air to air combat will be facing SU 30 MKI or Rafale in a clash between IAF and PAF but let’s assume that it’s a fight just between JF17 Block 3 and Tejas mk1a. So will the JF17 surely beat Tejas in any engagement anywhere.

If you go by Pakistani propaganda JF17 can even outperform the F22 Raptor but before we say something on which one is better let’s have a comparison:

Both Tejas Mk1a and JF17 block 3 will have an AESA radar. The capability of Chinese AESA radars is still unproven but if we assume that radars on Tejas and JF17 are equally capable, in BVR engagements Tejas will have the advantage due to it’s lower RCS and inherent stealth characteristics due to use of composites. A Tejas will always have the first strike advantage over JF17 even if they had same radar. Now take a look at some avionics:





Programming language



Makes it prone to hacking

Fly by wire

All aspect





Targeting Pod

Litening 4

Some Chinese junk

Tejas uses GE F404 engine which not only generates more thrust than RD 93 engine of JF17 but is also known for it’s world class performance. Whereas RD 93 is infamous for it’s smoky nature.


JF 17 uses PL 12 BVR with a range of 70-100 km but it needs constant guidance and due to smaller RCS of Tejas, the JF 17 can’t lock on Tejas at that distance and is likely to engage it’s BVR at 60km.

On the other hand, Tejas uses two BVRs, I-DERBY ER and ASTRA MK1 both having fire and forget capabilities and a range of 100 km. Due to higher RCS of JF17 it is likely that TEJAS will hit a JF 17 first.


Due to the strong influence of Russian doctrine, a strong emphasis on dogfights in the development of Tejas. Tejas uses PYTHON5 missile with all aspect strike capability whereas PL 5 WVR missile on JF17 have 40 degree off the bore sight. Also Tejas is more maneuverable than JF17 and can make tighter turns which gives Tejas advantage over JF17.


With BRAHMOS NG soon to be fitted on Tejas alongwith a lighter range of Nirbhay and other Russian missiles, Tejas packs a strong punch comparable to any Chinese, Russian or Western fighter. Also, if Brahmos NG gets integrated, it will be one of a kind combination which no other fighter will have.

But our friends across the border potray a different story. Some of the most common comments they make in a JF 17 vs Tejas debate:

1. JF 17 can avoid dogfights with Tejas by just flying higher than Tejas.

2. JF 17 was developed in 6-8 years whereas Tejas in 20-30. So We(pakistani) are better.

3. It gives Pakistan capabilities to make it’s own fifth gen fighter.

4. Tejas is like a Samosa ready to be eaten by JF 17.

5. JF 17 is pakistani indigenous fighter while Tejas is made of parts brought from everywhere.

I will let you guys analyse and comment Which jet is better and are these Pakistani arguments correct? In my opinion, Tejas is as capable as any Western platform and is more like a single engine RAFALE with slightly reduced capabilities whereas JF 17 is a promising poor man’s fourth generation fighter viz good for countries like Pakistan and Nigeria.

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