The FA 50 is insufficient to the PAF because it has not provided promising results in terms of protection; the Philippines may look for newer fighter jets. The Tejas aircraft, built in India, may be suitable for its requirements because it is already in use by the Indian air force and has proven technology. It was proudly displayed at the most recent airshow, complete with an incredible aerobatic display.
PAF is now looking to expand its fighter fleet and is considering placing orders for 12 more fighter jets under its MRF acquisition programme, for which it is negotiating with Lockheed Martin for the F-16 Block-70 Fighting Falcon and Saab for the JAS 39 Gripen-C. However, Philippine National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana stated that the F-16 cost is prohibitively expensive, fueling speculation that the Gripen will be the front-runner for the contract. However, the recent sale of a Gripen-E to Brazil confirms that its fly-by-unit cost is around $80 million, and even the much smaller C version costs around $60-65 million, prompting PH to consider other options.
HAL is now stepping in to offer Tejas aircraft to PAF, which is expected to happen soon next month. Representatives from the Indian HAL company will pay them a visit and brief them on the aircraft.
The Tejas Mk-1A is an improved version of the Tejas Mk-1 and will be a 4.5 Generation fighter with long range BVR missiles such as Astra Mk-1/2/IR/3 and I-Derby ER, close combat missiles such as R-73, ASRAAM, and Python-5, and anti-ship/land attack cruise missiles such as Subsonic Nirbhay /Hunter ALCM, Hammer and Supersonic Brahmos-NG, laser
It will also have an Elm-2052 / Uttam AESA radar, enhanced electronic warfare capabilities, a pylon-mounted IRST, a more powerful mission computer, dual rack pylons, an aerial refuelling probe, simplified maintenance, and a lower radar signature.
The Tejas Mk1A has a fly-by unit cost of around $42 million, which means it could be used instead of spending nearly $2.43 billion for 12 jets quoted by Lockheed Martin and even more from Saab.
PAF may purchase a fleet of 12 Tejas Mk1A jets for half the price of the deal. One advantage is that both the Tejas Mk1A and the FA-50 are powered by the General Electric F404 afterburning turbofan engine and are compatible with Israeli weapons and sensors, which reduces the additional costs associated with ground crew training and allows Filipino pilots who have completed the FA-50 training programme to easily transition to Tejas Mk1A fighters.
Indian-built fighter jets are also being improved to make them better aircraft, with the latest avionics and weapons packages that will undoubtedly help the Philippines on the battlefield.