Have a Stealth Fighter Jet, why do Many Countries Still Use Light Fighter Jets?

Have a Stealth Fighter Jet, why do Many Countries Still Use Light Fighter Jets?
A prototype of Russia's new Sukhoi "Checkmate" fighter

International Military
- Currently, various countries are competing to modernize their defense equipment. This is done to increase combat power and provide fear to the enemy. One of the many modernizations carried out is by updating fighter jets.

Fighter jets can help a country's air defense from enemy threats. Today, various advanced fighter jets have been produced by aerospace companies around the world. Even though they have just entered the era of fifth-generation or stealth fighter jets, a number of big countries are now actually trying to develop the next generation of fighter jets.

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But the interesting part is the role of light fighter jets which is still needed as an air defense asset. Although the current popularity of well-known fighter jets continues to rise, the demand for light fighter jets continues to grow.

Reporting from the Eurasian Times, one example is India, the country already has a number of quite capable fighter jets such as the Mirage 2000, Jaguar, Su-30MKI, and the French Rafale. Even so, India is still developing the Tejas light fighter jet for its air force and foreign sales.

Apart from that, India is also in the process of developing its future fighter jet, AMCA. Not only India, Turkey is also currently producing Hurjet light fighter jets in the midst of trying to get the US F-35. Turkey's F-35 fighter jet deal to be purchased from the US was lost due to the purchase of the Russian-made S-400 air defense system.

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Even so, Turkey is trying to be independent by trying to produce its own fifth-generation fighter jet, called the TF-X. While China has L-15 jets, trainer aircraft, and JF-17 developed with Pakistan. China also has the J-20 stealth fighter jet in service and the J-31 is in the works.

Although China already has several powerful fighter jets in its air service, it still has high hopes for the light fighter jets it also wants to export. A light fighter jet itself is an aircraft that falls within the range of weight, cost, and complexity that is feasible for a fighter aircraft. The lightweight fighter jet maintains qualities carefully selected for cost-effective design and performance.

Several manufacturers have adopted the term 'light fighter' to refer to an air-to-ground attack aircraft that can be modified as a trainer jet. Although light fighter jets have only gained attention in recent years, they have had an efficient history dating back to World War II.

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Fighter jets in the light to medium range proved most effective during World War II. The shock factor and high capability of light fighter jets make it able to outperform heavy fighter jets in combat. Light fighter jets also have a lower price so that they can be deployed in large numbers.

Modern light fighter jets are designed to be equipped with a capable weaponry that meets key criteria for air-to-air combat effectiveness while reducing maintenance and operational costs.

The light fighter aircraft has a low radar signature due to its small size. Radar has difficulty detecting these fighter jets, making target acquisition a difficult process. Because of these characteristics, light fighter pilots have a much better chance of spotting the heavy fighter first and firing the first important shot.

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There are many criteria to describe a light fighter jet, but the most popular are single engine, low operating cost, lower range, low weapons package. According to Air Marshal (ret) Pranab Kumar Barbora, the former Deputy Chief of Air Staff explained to the Eurasian Times about the light fighter jet.

According to him, countries usually look at three categories of fighter jets when making aircraft or purchasing light, medium and heavy fighter jets. A light fighter jet is an aircraft built primarily for air defense but also has ground offensive capabilities, making it a multi-role light fighter.

He also added that for a country that is small or has a limited sphere of influence and limited security challenges, light fighter jets can be very useful. In addition, light fighter jets are also cheaper, easier to maintain, and have short takeoff and landing times. Therefore, it is very natural that there are still many countries that prioritize the use of light fighter jets.

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