Indian Military News, Reports, Data, etc.


timepass

Brigadier
Will Russia and India Build 'Stealth' Submarines Together?




In its latest bid to secure the Indian Defense Ministry’s (MoD) submarine procurement tender, Moscow has offered New Delhi a joint diesel-electric development project based on the Russian Amur-class submarine design.

In a bid to undercut its Swedish, French and German competitors, the Kremlin is going beyond a conventional licensing arrangement in favor of a technology transfer scheme: “We are not put forward [an idea of] usual licensed production of submarine, we are proposing to jointly devise a project with our Indian partners and jointly build the first pilot model on the basis of the Amur-1650 diesel-electric submarine project, equipped with an air-independent propulsion system," said Vladimir Drozhzhov, Deputy Director of the Russian Federal Service of Military-Technical Cooperation, in a press statement issued last week. The proposed vessel will be compatible with a submarine-launched variant of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, which was itself jointly produced by Russia and India.

Russia’s proposal was fashioned in the spirit of the MoD’s January 2019 procurement plan-- a subset of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make In India Initiative-- which calls for six conventional submarines to be produced by India’s indigenous defense industry in collaboration with an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). Drozhzhov added that our "our preliminary proposal is much more favorable than those of other foreign partners,” referring to its emphasis on supporting India’s domestic submarine construction industry. “This project can be successfully implemented in the interests of our countries."


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Zool

Junior Member
Tough times for India in getting its indigenous aircraft off the ground. The Tejas MK1 was deemed insufficient to replace the legacy MiG-21 Bison, and the IAF is now dragging its feet on the Tejas MK1A version (imported Israeli AESA radar, couple of other modifications). Talks of a Medium Combat Aircraft and scrapping the LCA are now in the ether, and that a MCA will finally be THE aircraft the IAF has been waiting for all this time.

I could never understand why India did not use the Tejas MK1 as a booster for the local defense ecosystem and mandate everything but the engines be indigenous in the first block production, not unlike China with the first J-10s. Use a PD Radar and other systems that local industry could actually design and build themselves, and iterate/evolve from there. But it seems to have gone wrong at the senior level; no leadership vision from PM Modi (the off-shelf purchase of 36 Rafale was a blunder for cost and future purchases), and the IAF seems to have a strong import lobby that once swayed East (Russian) and is now leaning heavily towards the West. Ironically, I think the large number of Indians who leave to go to the US or UK etc for a better life, lobby for US-Indian tie up at the defense level to the detriment of India's own self sufficiency and perhaps sovereignty.

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BENGALURU, AUGUST 12, 2019 08:42 IST

Last year, the defence PSU borrowed ₹1,000 cr. from banks in an unprecedented act for paying staff salaries and routine expenses
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) is working towards completing by December the first Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) made to the Air Force’s final operational clearance (FOC) configuration, according to R. Madhavan, CMD of HAL.

“Beyond that, we aim to produce one LCA every month,” he said. The FOC for the plane was given in February last. The IAF had bought 20 LCAs in the FOC version, having already received the first lot of 20 in the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) version, he observed on the sidelines of the Air Chief Marshal L.M. Katre memorial lecture here on Sunday.

“We have the capacity to make 16 LCAs a year [at the Bengaluru complex.] We expect that the firm order for the approved 83 planes also comes in,” he said. The order is worth around ₹59,000 crore.

However, after recent price negotiations on this purchase, HAL had not received any order yet. Right now, money was its first concern, Mr. Madhavan said. Fresh orders apart, the defence PSU urgently needs the cumulative arrears of around ₹20,000 crore from the IAF. Last year, HAL had to borrow ₹1,000 crore from banks in an unprecedented act for paying staff salaries and routine expenses.

“Until now we have somehow managed [our finances] with our funds and from bank loans. I hope something will come through soon for us to maintain the level.” Expectation is also on the revised estimates in the defence budget and some money from deliveries to the Army.”

Which was why, he said, even if the order for the 83 LCAs came in, “We can take it up only if it comes in with the money associated with it.” The money was needed for materials, besides design work taken up with development body, the Aeronautical Development Agency.

HAL, he said, was also keen on contesting for Malaysia’s tender for 12 fighter planes in the LCA category.
 

Air Force Brat

Brigadier
Super Moderator
Tough times for India in getting its indigenous aircraft off the ground. The Tejas MK1 was deemed insufficient to replace the legacy MiG-21 Bison, and the IAF is now dragging its feet on the Tejas MK1A version (imported Israeli AESA radar, couple of other modifications). Talks of a Medium Combat Aircraft and scrapping the LCA are now in the ether, and that a MCA will finally be THE aircraft the IAF has been waiting for all this time.

I could never understand why India did not use the Tejas MK1 as a booster for the local defense ecosystem and mandate everything but the engines be indigenous in the first block production, not unlike China with the first J-10s. Use a PD Radar and other systems that local industry could actually design and build themselves, and iterate/evolve from there. But it seems to have gone wrong at the senior level; no leadership vision from PM Modi (the off-shelf purchase of 36 Rafale was a blunder for cost and future purchases), and the IAF seems to have a strong import lobby that once swayed East (Russian) and is now leaning heavily towards the West. Ironically, I think the large number of Indians who leave to go to the US or UK etc for a better life, lobby for US-Indian tie up at the defense level to the detriment of India's own self sufficiency and perhaps sovereignty.
Yes, India's troubles are there own creation, the desire to "get a better deal", and I disagree that they ought to rely on indigenous production for their main line defense aircraft...

SO, while I do place a major amount of responsibility on the Russians for "jacking the Indians around", the Indians own this problem with the French, and it does indeed give insight into "why" the Russians might have been giving them the "idiot treatment"!

India needs to buy those damned Rafales, and license build whatever else they want in the process, if they expect anyone to take them seriously... you know if you don't do what you say you will, pretty soon you wind up with 0 credibility...

I'm simply making an observation that many posters have come to the same conclusion long ago, and I'm sure my Indian friends will agree and are equally frustrated by the lack of decisive leadership...


Building and buying indigenously work great if you have the tech and manufacturing ability to "back it up"? So you build what you are able to, and buy the rest of what you need, J-20 being a case in point. Looks like hopefully the J-20 will soon be flying the indigenous WS-10, that's how its done....
 

Brumby

Major
Yes, India's troubles are there own creation, ....
I agree that in general a lot of the problems are self inflicted. However its source and accountability is a lot more difficult to establish.

I remember years ago with the original Rafael deal, the Indian government was insistent that the French would be held accountable for the performance of its local Indian partner even though it did not have management responsibility over it. I said at that time such terms would be a deal breaker because no responsible party would agree to it. Were the Indians insane or did they simply purposely self sabotage? If you take that example and extend such attitude across a range of programs it becomes rather emblematic. Heads have to roll before any meaningful changes can seen but until then the Indian bureaucrats will carry on with business as usual.
 

Zool

Junior Member
Yes, India's troubles are there own creation, the desire to "get a better deal", and I disagree that they ought to rely on indigenous production for their main line defense aircraft...
Can you offer a few reasons as to why you believe India should not rely on an indigenous fighter for "main line defense"?

Obviously, looking at it from India's perspective, I would disagree for a number of reasons. One would be that the IAF has a target of 42 Squadrons of which they are current operating in the low 30's. Attrition of old airframes like the MiG-21s, MiG-27s, MiG-29s, Jaguars, Mirage 2000s and even initial batch Su-30MKIs continues at a rate far exceeding any current replacement plans. Aircraft that should have been retired are still in operation as a result.

The LCA (Tejas MK1 and now MK1A) was intended as a way to shore up numbers as a cost effective 'Point Defense Fighter' to protect Indian Airspace en masse, while freeing the fewer, more expensive heavies to push the attack into enemy airspace. This plan had/has the benefit of rebooting India's efforts to establish an independent aircraft industry that was previously dropped like a hot potato with the Marut program (no follow through or continuity of development). It also provides India with a local replaceable platform should an actual conflict break out for any significant amount of time; imports would not help India facing combat attrition, it would need a locally produced platform and a reserve of pilots to operate them, to hold its own.

Nevermind the financial aspect of keeping capex within the local economy and MIC rather than outsourcing capital to support another countries military development.

SO, while I do place a major amount of responsibility on the Russians for "jacking the Indians around", the Indians own this problem with the French, and it does indeed give insight into "why" the Russians might have been giving them the "idiot treatment"!
In what regard do you place responsibility on the Russians for "jacking the Indians around"?

I do agree the Indians own the problem with the French in the way the MMRCA was scrapped, and 36 aircraft bought 'off the shelf'. Their then Defense Minister had stated during negotiations that additional Su-30MKIs could be an alternative to the Rafale's, and shortly after in a press interview the IAF Chief said that there was no alternative to the Rafale's for India. Talk about undercutting your position...

India needs to buy those damned Rafales, and license build whatever else they want in the process, if they expect anyone to take them seriously... you know if you don't do what you say you will, pretty soon you wind up with 0 credibility...
Its debatable... At 36 airframes and no significant bargaining position for more, and not so hot offset and TOT conditions. I could explain how the French have really worked the Indian's over in this deal, not meeting industrial offset benefits for Indian industry and the whole 'Snecma SuperCharged' Kaveri Engine let down, but it would be a whole other subject that you can Google yourself when you have the time. Also, Rafale combat ready induction into IAF starting late 2020 (first physical delivery later this year), in the age of 5th Gen and J-20. Rafale in IAF could have merit, but not as it has actually come to fruition imo. By the way, those funds for the Rafale are just one root in the problems surrounding the Tejas program and article that I posted.


I'm simply making an observation that many posters have come to the same conclusion long ago, and I'm sure my Indian friends will agree and are equally frustrated by the lack of decisive leadership...


Building and buying indigenously work great if you have the tech and manufacturing ability to "back it up"? So you build what you are able to, and buy the rest of what you need, J-20 being a case in point. Looks like hopefully the J-20 will soon be flying the indigenous WS-10, that's how its done....
Silver bullets don't win wars and cannot make up the bulk of a combat force structure. Especially when they are imported silver bullets. The Russian's illustrated this with the T-34s. I really do think the Indian's would have been better off following the J-10 path of iteration as I mentioned in my previous post. But let us see where the Tejas story goes and if India's Squadron Strength rises towards 42 or stays in the low 30s.
 

Brumby

Major
IAF to buy SDRs from Israel to ensure secure communication between fighter jets

The Indian Air Force (IAF) bombed Balakot on February 26 this year. The next day, it fought off a determined effort by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) to attack Indian army installations. During both battles, the IAF, when it came to safe communication, found itself deficient. And in future, it could lead to costly failures.

Immediately after Balakot, the IAF has decided to quickly buy Software Defined Radios (SDR), and integrate them with the aircraft fleets. This emergency purchase of SDRs from Israel will be for the Mirage-2000, MiG-29 and Sukhoi-30 fighters of the IAF.

The SDRs will ensure secure communication not just between fighters in the air, but also between fighters in the air and the ground installations and importantly between the fighters in the air and the AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) - the eye in the sky. If there is an attempt to jam, communication can shift to another frequency and continue.

Besides conversations, it will provide secure data linking. This means everyone will know who - whether it is the fighter pilot, the AWACS controllers, the ground plotters - is where. This will help in better "combat control."

"Whatever we were talking could have been heard," a senior official said about the Balakot operations and after. The radios will ensure no one can pick up our communication. And importantly, the data linking will ensure we know who is where."

A small number - about 400 - are being purchased, as is possible during emergency acquisitions. Once the SDRs arrive, it will ensure that for the IAF, silence will truly be golden.
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Seems inconceivable that the IAF with a big defense budget do not operate with secure communications.
 

Air Force Brat

Brigadier
Super Moderator
Can you offer a few reasons as to why you believe India should not rely on an indigenous fighter for "main line defense"?

Obviously, looking at it from India's perspective, I would disagree for a number of reasons. One would be that the IAF has a target of 42 Squadrons of which they are current operating in the low 30's. Attrition of old airframes like the MiG-21s, MiG-27s, MiG-29s, Jaguars, Mirage 2000s and even initial batch Su-30MKIs continues at a rate far exceeding any current replacement plans. Aircraft that should have been retired are still in operation as a result.

The LCA (Tejas MK1 and now MK1A) was intended as a way to shore up numbers as a cost effective 'Point Defense Fighter' to protect Indian Airspace en masse, while freeing the fewer, more expensive heavies to push the attack into enemy airspace. This plan had/has the benefit of rebooting India's efforts to establish an independent aircraft industry that was previously dropped like a hot potato with the Marut program (no follow through or continuity of development). It also provides India with a local replaceable platform should an actual conflict break out for any significant amount of time; imports would not help India facing combat attrition, it would need a locally produced platform and a reserve of pilots to operate them, to hold its own.

Nevermind the financial aspect of keeping capex within the local economy and MIC rather than outsourcing capital to support another countries military development.



In what regard do you place responsibility on the Russians for "jacking the Indians around"?

I do agree the Indians own the problem with the French in the way the MMRCA was scrapped, and 36 aircraft bought 'off the shelf'. Their then Defense Minister had stated during negotiations that additional Su-30MKIs could be an alternative to the Rafale's, and shortly after in a press interview the IAF Chief said that there was no alternative to the Rafale's for India. Talk about undercutting your position...



Its debatable... At 36 airframes and no significant bargaining position for more, and not so hot offset and TOT conditions. I could explain how the French have really worked the Indian's over in this deal, not meeting industrial offset benefits for Indian industry and the whole 'Snecma SuperCharged' Kaveri Engine let down, but it would be a whole other subject that you can Google yourself when you have the time. Also, Rafale combat ready induction into IAF starting late 2020 (first physical delivery later this year), in the age of 5th Gen and J-20. Rafale in IAF could have merit, but not as it has actually come to fruition imo. By the way, those funds for the Rafale are just one root in the problems surrounding the Tejas program and article that I posted.




Silver bullets don't win wars and cannot make up the bulk of a combat force structure. Especially when they are imported silver bullets. The Russian's illustrated this with the T-34s. I really do think the Indian's would have been better off following the J-10 path of iteration as I mentioned in my previous post. But let us see where the Tejas story goes and if India's Squadron Strength rises towards 42 or stays in the low 30s.
The Indians at present lack the design/production capacity to fill their squadrons? yes? and here we can again look to China and their Su-35 buy?? why? they needed capacity and capability NOW! even though China has and continues to build a great many beautiful and capable Flankers, they cashed out a chunk of capital in order to buy the capabilities offered by the Su-35, and to acquire those capabilities in the very near term, not 10 years down the road..

All the while they continue domestic production of the J-11, J-15, and J-16's, each in its own right very capable aircraft, and very well finished

It is insanely expensive to design/test/produce any fighter aircraft, the cost goes up as your desired capability and performance increases...

The Indian's like the Chinese need capacity and capability now...

The Russians did not allow the Indians even a modest amount of participation in design and development of the Su-57, they weren't allowed a "seat at the table"?, for instance no Indian pilot was ever allowed near the Su-57?? I'm not an expert, nor do I intend to become one on this subject, but the poor management of the Su-57 project by both parties?? robbed each party of an opportunity to have already been flying and deploying the Su-57, with a "pathway forward" to adding 5th Generation aircraft to both fleets..

So neither party met the spirit nor letter of their agreement, so no aircraft are currently deployed in a combat squadron on either team??


I say the Indian's need the Rafale for the same reason the Chinese bought the Su-35, capacity and capability now and in the near term. Yes India has the capability in the future to produce/procure advanced fighter aircraft, but they don't have the luxury to wait until they have the capability to produce their own, they need to "armor up" right now

anyway, those are just my own opinions, I'm sure they won't move forward and resolve these pitiful and maddening negotiations, and yes, I think they better buy those Rafale's
 
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Zool

Junior Member
The Indians at present lack the design/production capacity to fill their squadrons? yes? and here we can again look to China and their Su-35 buy?? why? they needed capacity and capability NOW! even though China has and continues to build a great many beautiful and capable Flankers, they cashed out a chunk of capital in order to buy the capabilities offered by the Su-35, and to acquire those capabilities in the very near term, not 10 years down the road..
The Indian's like the Chinese need capacity and capability now...
I say the Indian's need the Rafale for the same reason the Chinese bought the Su-35, capacity and capability now and in the near term. Yes India has the capability in the future to produce/procure advanced fighter aircraft, but they don't have the luxury to wait until they have the capability to produce their own, they need to "armor up" right now

anyway, those are just my own opinions, I'm sure they won't move forward and resolve these pitiful and maddening negotiations, and yes, I think they better buy those Rafale's
So, you had said that you disagree India should rely on indigenous production for their main line defense aircraft, and I asked for what reasons do you think so, giving a few of my own on why they should (including the original purpose of the LCA program and where current IAF Squadron Strength is vs Sanctioned)...

I don't want to put words in your mouth, but I read two trains of thought from you to answer why India should not have its own indigenous aircraft fighter program:

1)They need Capacity and Capability NOW!

This stuck out to me because you said it four times in one form or another. But on its own I don't think it is a very solid answer to my question, in context of some of the information I provided re challenges facing the IAF. It sounds urgent but bombastic. Here's why I say so:

What qualifies as NOW? What is it they need NOW? What can they afford? And is it a viable path to maintaining (or getting back to) the force structure that the IAF says they need to defend India? Sustainable over the long term or in the face of conflict attrition?

If you mean India needs these fighters (Rafale? More Su-30MKIs? F-35?) NOW as in this year, well they are only slated to begin first delivery in September. It will take two years for all 36 aircraft to be delivered. 2021. For 36 Rafale. That is two squadrons. It will likely just cover the retirement (and other losses) of aircraft from the period 2019-2021.

The MMRCA (1.0 anyway) began in the early 2000s with RFP issued in 2007. Over 12 years ago this process began. The IAF began the process already under strength at around 39 Squadrons if I remember correctly. The urgent requirement has always been there, and likely always will to some degree. India needs a 5th Gen counter to the J-20 NOW etc.

There is a MMRCA 2.0 under review currently, and if it were to actually go somewhere, India would not see aircraft delivery begin until 2024 at the very earliest. But they need planes now...

My point is, this is nation defense planning, NOW is a relatively useless term. India needs to structurally put in place a defense ecosystem that they can indigenously sustain and build on for self sufficiency. It requires long term implementation and not short term splurge. Which to be fair, they did attempt with the beginnings of Tejas and MMRCA. But they overshot on Tejas with wanting the latest foreign systems (which continues today...MK1, MK1A, MK2...) and not iterating as I keep mentioning. MMRCA was handled about as bad as a negotiation could be. Poor leadership (or no leadership overall; fun fact, India does not have a typical Military Defense Chief, it has a political committee, and their PM Modi railroaded the entire process with MMRCA 1.0).

Final point of interest: India's Defense Budget 2019-2020 is about $45B USD. For all branches. Most of that goes to staff, salaries etc. Those 36 Rafale cost about $9B USD or $250M USD per aircraft (including service and spares). It makes every sense that India would put those kind of resources into its own program to keep funds in house and have future self sufficiency. If it hasn't happened already, that is the type activity that needs to happen NOW.

2)India does not currently have the capability to produce advanced fighter aircraft

I mean, I think the reality says otherwise. And 'advanced' is a relative term. India designed and built a fighter back in the 60s, the HF-24 (with heavy assistance from a contracted aero engineer). If they had of kept up with funding their design staff and working on the various systems things would be different today, but they didn't.

Tejas was started in the 80s and ironically ran into a major stall due to US sanctions on India (Indian designers were buying time on US wind tunnels for testing). First flight eventually took place in 2001.

I know I'm repeating myself but I will say once more: India was and is capable of putting up a fighter capable of replacing the existing MiG-21s, MiG-27s & Jaguars using more traditional (less advanced, however you want to term it) components and systems. Engines are difficult due to particular material science and manufacturing technique, true, so import those while you run a tandem research program. But BEL (Indian Electronics Company) has had Pulse Doppler Radar and other mission systems they could have started with (and again to be fair some they have used like the FCS). On top of the boom in dual-use consumer electronics technologies. But for the demand for cutting edge systems from the start, my bet is they would have been further ahead with Tejas today and in good numbers.

So I would say there was/is enough capability to replace the hundreds of aforementioned legacy aircraft to arrest the decline in fighter numbers and build a MIC that can iterate in technology from block to block and design to design. Plenty of successful industries and designs start out in a world where they are not immediately cutting edge but evolve to that level, see Samsung for a commercial entity or J-20/Type 055 for military projects. India has its issues but they were not incapable of this.

The Russians did not allow the Indians even a modest amount of participation in design and development of the Su-57, they weren't allowed a "seat at the table"?, for instance no Indian pilot was ever allowed near the Su-57?? I'm not an expert, nor do I intend to become one on this subject, but the poor management of the Su-57 project by both parties?? robbed each party of an opportunity to have already been flying and deploying the Su-57, with a "pathway forward" to adding 5th Generation aircraft to both fleets..

So neither party met the spirit nor letter of their agreement, so no aircraft are currently deployed in a combat squadron on either team??
Okay, you are referring to the Su-57/FGFA program India was evaluating. Fair enough. Its still an evolving story and I too do not know all of the details. I do remember debating BarBrother(?) about the program on certain points though, and my position that modifying the airframe to add a second seat among other Indian requests, would be unlikely based on the presumption of superior mission systems and situational awareness in a 5th Gen aircraft.

There were also insinuations of Russia being uncomfortable with India having too much exposure to the aircraft before fully investing, at a time when India was potentially going to sign -and has since signed- significant military agreements with the US (COMCASA, BECA and LEMOA). For what its worth, I'm not aware of any Indian Pilot having been allowed an inspection of a F-35 cockpit either. I could be wrong though. In any case I can see difficulties from both the Indian and Russian perspective.


That's my take though - I don't see perpetual import of aircraft as a winning strategy - From the viewpoint of their force structure, their economy or their freedom of action geopolitically. Then again, it would be a big win for their primary arms dealer and perhaps even their rivals. Always two sides to the coin!
 

Brumby

Major
So, you had said that you disagree India should rely on indigenous production for their main line defense aircraft, and I asked for what reasons do you think so, giving a few of my own on why they should (including the original purpose of the LCA program and where current IAF Squadron Strength is vs Sanctioned)...

I don't want to put words in your mouth, but I read two trains of thought from you to answer why India should not have its own indigenous aircraft fighter program:

1)They need Capacity and Capability NOW!

This stuck out to me because you said it four times in one form or another. But on its own I don't think it is a very solid answer to my question, in context of some of the information I provided re challenges facing the IAF. It sounds urgent but bombastic. Here's why I say so:

What qualifies as NOW? What is it they need NOW? What can they afford? And is it a viable path to maintaining (or getting back to) the force structure that the IAF says they need to defend India? Sustainable over the long term or in the face of conflict attrition?

If you mean India needs these fighters (Rafale? More Su-30MKIs? F-35?) NOW as in this year, well they are only slated to begin first delivery in September. It will take two years for all 36 aircraft to be delivered. 2021. For 36 Rafale. That is two squadrons. It will likely just cover the retirement (and other losses) of aircraft from the period 2019-2021.

The MMRCA (1.0 anyway) began in the early 2000s with RFP issued in 2007. Over 12 years ago this process began. The IAF began the process already under strength at around 39 Squadrons if I remember correctly. The urgent requirement has always been there, and likely always will to some degree. India needs a 5th Gen counter to the J-20 NOW etc.

There is a MMRCA 2.0 under review currently, and if it were to actually go somewhere, India would not see aircraft delivery begin until 2024 at the very earliest. But they need planes now...

My point is, this is nation defense planning, NOW is a relatively useless term. India needs to structurally put in place a defense ecosystem that they can indigenously sustain and build on for self sufficiency. It requires long term implementation and not short term splurge. Which to be fair, they did attempt with the beginnings of Tejas and MMRCA. But they overshot on Tejas with wanting the latest foreign systems (which continues today...MK1, MK1A, MK2...) and not iterating as I keep mentioning. MMRCA was handled about as bad as a negotiation could be. Poor leadership (or no leadership overall; fun fact, India does not have a typical Military Defense Chief, it has a political committee, and their PM Modi railroaded the entire process with MMRCA 1.0).

Final point of interest: India's Defense Budget 2019-2020 is about $45B USD. For all branches. Most of that goes to staff, salaries etc. Those 36 Rafale cost about $9B USD or $250M USD per aircraft (including service and spares). It makes every sense that India would put those kind of resources into its own program to keep funds in house and have future self sufficiency. If it hasn't happened already, that is the type activity that needs to happen NOW.

2)India does not currently have the capability to produce advanced fighter aircraft

I mean, I think the reality says otherwise. And 'advanced' is a relative term. India designed and built a fighter back in the 60s, the HF-24 (with heavy assistance from a contracted aero engineer). If they had of kept up with funding their design staff and working on the various systems things would be different today, but they didn't.

Tejas was started in the 80s and ironically ran into a major stall due to US sanctions on India (Indian designers were buying time on US wind tunnels for testing). First flight eventually took place in 2001.

I know I'm repeating myself but I will say once more: India was and is capable of putting up a fighter capable of replacing the existing MiG-21s, MiG-27s & Jaguars using more traditional (less advanced, however you want to term it) components and systems. Engines are difficult due to particular material science and manufacturing technique, true, so import those while you run a tandem research program. But BEL (Indian Electronics Company) has had Pulse Doppler Radar and other mission systems they could have started with (and again to be fair some they have used like the FCS). On top of the boom in dual-use consumer electronics technologies. But for the demand for cutting edge systems from the start, my bet is they would have been further ahead with Tejas today and in good numbers.

So I would say there was/is enough capability to replace the hundreds of aforementioned legacy aircraft to arrest the decline in fighter numbers and build a MIC that can iterate in technology from block to block and design to design. Plenty of successful industries and designs start out in a world where they are not immediately cutting edge but evolve to that level, see Samsung for a commercial entity or J-20/Type 055 for military projects. India has its issues but they were not incapable of this.
upload_2019-8-14_17-24-44.png
The existing IAF force composition in terms of mix and capacity probably both by default and design is dependent on foreign supply for some time. While India has the ambition to move its aerospace industry to self-sufficiency longer term this unfortunately has not progressed as quickly or substantively as envisaged. Is it due to a lack of a national plan, poor leadership, simply bad execution or all of the above? I leave you and others to make the judgement as I don’t have an answer. What we do know is that if the IAF intends to meet its capacity objective it has to take significant decisions quickly as the timeline is already in deficit primarily due to aging airframes.

The pressing issue is whether the Tejas can be produced in sufficient numbers to meet the sunset plans of the Mig-21/23/27 and secondly a decision on sourcing the additional 6 squadrons.
IMO, the IAF had been pursuing a dual track approach and that is primarily to source the front-line heavy fighters externally and then progressively to acquire the technology from TOT arrangements. The second track is to build up the indigenous supply chain base through the TEJA program. Both of these tracks as we know are facing different issues. The Indians unlike the Chinese do have more options and technological support but may well be detrimental because the programs are more ambitious rather than taking an incremental approach. The Indians clearly have made a number of missteps in the process and whether the Indian bureaucracy is a major contributor I have my suspicion but no facts.
 

Xsizor

Junior Member
Registered Member
@Zool
The HF-24 met its untimely death due to India's lack of an aerospace industry or culture ( absolutely zilch). They made the aircraft ... sure, But it was dependent on foreign Engines (British?). Sounds like Tejas, ain't it ? India is what China was 40 years ago. (YES. FORTY). It lacks the political will, financial wherewithal, technological base and most importantly clear roadmap or long term plans. Sounds like India is truly the lab rat for "aspiringsuperpower-lowermiddleincome-democracy" test which also gives a huge dose of reality check for a China and chinese who might have the occasional second thoughts about their political system.
India's problems are simple to explain and structural. There isn't a lack of talent or skill in India and Indians deliver a lot more that what is expected of them. But alas, they are entrapped by a dysfunctional political system and institutions that would not be out of place if teleported to somewhere in the Soviet block during the 70s.
 

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