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India’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mk1A faces stiff competition from the Saab Gripen-E in the race to secure a fighter jet contract with the Philippines. While the Tejas offers a cost-effective option, the Gripen-E boasts superior performance capabilities, presenting a complex choice for the Philippines.

The Tejas Mk1A emerges as a more economical option, with a flyaway cost of approximately $43 million per unit compared to the Gripen-E’s $85 million price tag. This significant price difference makes the Tejas an attractive proposition for the Philippines, considering budgetary constraints.

However, the Gripen-E edges out the Tejas in terms of performance. It boasts a larger weapons payload, longer combat range, and potentially more advanced avionics and sensors. These factors could be crucial for the Philippines, depending on their specific operational requirements and threat perceptions.

The decision for the Philippines likely extends beyond just the initial acquisition cost. Other factors, such as life-cycle costs, technology transfer opportunities, and potential for future upgrades, will also play a significant role in the final selection.

India is actively promoting the Tejas Mk1A for export, aiming to establish itself as a reliable supplier of indigenous defence platforms. Securing a contract with the Philippines would be a significant milestone in this endeavour.

The outcome of the competition remains uncertain, as both contenders offer distinct advantages and disadvantages. The Philippines will need to carefully evaluate its priorities and weigh the cost-effectiveness of the Tejas against the enhanced performance of the Gripen-E before making a final decision.

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