Monday, May 21, 2012

Six Tejas Squadrons By 2022

Photo / ADA

The Ministry of Defence informed Parliament today that six squadrons of the LCA would be inducted by 2022 -- the end of the 13th plan period. Full text of what was said:

"There has been delay in the manufacturing of indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas. This is a design and development project and the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) is the nodal organization for the development of Light Combat Aircraft, Tejas. The Initial Operational Clearance-1 (IOC-1) for the Tejas has been achieved on the 10th January, 2011. Presently, LCA development activities leading to final operational clearance are in progress. The deliveries of aircraft are scheduled in the 12th plan period. It is planned to induct six LCA squadrons by the end of 13th Plan."

The Indo-Russian multirole transport aircraft (MTA) also came up in Parliament today. The Defence Minister said, "The review of the Multi-role Transport Aircraft (MTA) programme by the Government is an ongoing process. After signing of the Inter-Governmental Agreement in November, 2007 for Design, Development and Production of MTA, Government's approval was conveyed for signing the Share Holders Agreement between HAL and Russian partners on 30th August, 2010. The same was signed on 9th September, 2010. The Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association was signed on 25th November, 2010. For implementing the "" 'programme a Joint Venture company has been incorporated between Indian and Russian partners on 50:50 funding basis in December, 2010. The investment for the programme has been worked out to be $771-million at 2012 Price Level. The CEO of the joint venture has also since been appointed for implementation of the programme."

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

MOD/IAF/ADA/DRDO... Never learn. Once again they have set a timeline that they probably will not achieve. Given their history, I would rephrase this title as "Six Tejas Squadrons after 2022).

Shiv, thanks for reporting what you know. We appreciate your efforts in sharing the information with the rest of us.

Mr. Ra said...

Hurrah! I hope that includes the Tejas Mk2.

Anonymous said...

Arram se DRDO koi jaldi nahi hai... paisa to janta ka hai... apne jeb se kya jata hai.

Anonymous said...

Truly Pathetic ! ! !
6 squadrons in 10 years - not even one squadron per year.

Anonymous said...

Dear Shiv,

I am an IAF fighter pilot, thus would like to remain anon. I would like to take you and other bloggers on a short trip down the memory lane. In 1985, we were on a school trip to banglore. Being from a Sainik School, the itineary included defence establishment. We were taken to LCA wing, the ADA had just come into being and the new name was being stenciled around. We were shown a cardbord cutout of the LCA cockpit and given a small brief. Afterall we were school kids. The briefer told us that, by the time some of you join IAF as pilot the LCA would be flying. I joined NDA in 1990 and became a ftr pilot in 1994. The LCA was no where near. We all flew Mig21 in MOFT, and some continued to fly the same ac thereafter. The LCA was late in coming. In 2001, I was in IAM for centrifuge trg and once again visited ADA. This time the briefing was more specific on LCA cockpit and capabilities,and we were told that the LCA is around the corner. A lotsa time has passed since, I have flown more than 3000 sorties in mig variants, lost many friends along the way,the LCA is still awaited. I am almost done flying, having reached the end of my productive flying carear, and now I hear, like i have heard for many years that the LCA is around the corner. Dr Sarsawat claimed in an interview recently that the LCA sqn will be operational in IAF colours by the year end. Now your post- quoting MOD- 6 LCA sqns by 2022. I am willing to bet my pension that none of these things is going to happen. My suggestion is that you start a sticky, we dont have to go back too far, start from 2012. We must refer these proclaimations back to the pronouncers. We should ask Sarsawat in dec 2012 , why he lied. If he says that he could not have forseen the delays than he should not have been the DRDO chief in the first place. similarly MOD should be continuously reminded of 2022 for 6 LCA sqns. Its only the press that has the tools to bring out accountability. Otherwise Dr sarsawat will make tall claims, collect his padama vibhusan, or some other such awards and retire.

Shiv Aroor said...

anon@12.25AM: Thanks for your thoughts. Do tell us more!

Anonymous said...

No match for JF 17
Till 2022 Pakistan will have 200 JF 17 and they will be having just 6 squadren.

Anonymous said...

No match for JF 17
Till 2022 Pakistan will have 200 JF 17 and they will be having just 6 squadren.

Anonymous said...

I feel it would be a good idea to develop LCA to its full potential , it seems there are lot of wasted interest who do not want LCA. Six squadrons in 10 years i would be ashamed. It is high time develop LCA mark 2 in next few months with two prototypes try to get the older version GE 414 engine which may not be the latest IN5S6 and try out the performance by quickly conducting the tests and handing over to IAF so that they can let us know the deficiencies and simultaneously develop an assembly line like McDonnell Douglas and Mass produce this plane with 40 may be 50 planes a year a cancel Rafale as we cannot afford that plane considering how much they are asking for mirage upgrade.The AESA radar has to be made ready soon that would put the investment in the country.

TIMBAKTOO

Anonymous said...

I feel the IAF pilot has no right to blame Dr. Saraswat. He delivered what he promised in missile technology which is his expertise and the country should be proud of him. ADA definitely comes under him and he has some not all the influence on HAL and it is wrong to blame Dr. Saraswat for that. What he did is remarkable and must be appreciated without any Bias. I entirely agree with you Sir there has been considerable delay in LCA and a definite planning and strategy is required with private sector taking some load and helping in some subsystem and HAL should do the final assembly , that they are good with. THE NEED OF HOUR IS CANCEL ALL EXPENSIVE PROJECTS AND DEVELOP LCA TO ITS FULL POTENTIAL AND MASS PRODUCE IT.

TIMBAKTOO

Rohan said...

If they keep this promise at least we can say we completed SOMETHING. Not on time, not in budget, not cutting edge. But at least we can say we finished.

There is no one party to blame for this, as the fault lies equally all around. HAL / DRDO / ADA are lead by imbeciles. Anyone more concerned about impressing the Babu's than proudly putting out a good product cannot be trusted to produce. The IAF has always been wishy-washy in its requirements. It has been clear that they would prefer to buy an Off-the Shelf foreign product rather than set a goal and wait for a product to develop. Instead of waiting they have constantly delayed by changing requirements and performance criteria. The LCA has fallen victim to the same problems facing the Eurofighter, F-35 and B-2 programs. As the development timeline stretched out, technology moved on, combat scenarios were changed, the aircraft had to be re-designed. In the end you get a product too expensive to use or too outdated to buy...

Anonymous said...

Everyone including the IAF is sick and tired of the loud mouths in charge of the LCA programme. The LCA Mk1 is yet to get its FOC. LCA Mk2 is expected to get FOC around 2015 but no substantial work has been done for the Mk2 aircraft. MOD is still banking on HAL to deliver just 6 squadrons in ten years. What sort of shitty production rate is that? It shows MOD has no clout where HAL is concerned. There is no urgency in either HAL or MOD. They are not bothered if IAF have enough fighters to fight a two pronged war. HAL will take on all aeronautical products in the country but deliver none on time or in quantity. To get the MOD and the lethargic HAL behemoth moving, the Chinks and the Pakis must do a favour to the IAF by giving it a bloody nose. Then only we will see some lazy butts being kicked out of HAL and the whole setup revamped. Until then, it is another chai biskoot day at HAL.

Anonymous said...

In the year 1980,when Mrs. Indira Gandhi returned to power,she took the decision to design and develop a light and agile, state of the art fighter aircraft, to be in service in a span of 8 years i.e. in the year 1988!!! Today in 2012 we are still in the LSP stage. After all these years and millions in cash, the IAF will have a 3&1/2 generation ac.

akshay said...

by 2022... this will be the most outdated of the front line fighter aircraft among our enemies.... real or perceived.. why potentially waste pilots in it?

Anonymous said...

The pilot has a viewpoint and it is partly based on having flown the MiG series and lost a lot of good friends. Can't blame him for having a viewpoint, but it is not necessarily the only one or the only correct viewpoint. Why did we ever acquire the MiG series? That might be the original error. In 1961 the HF 24 was ready. But by then Pakis had the F-104 courtesy America and the only country that could supply us with an affordable plane to counter the F-104 was Russia. The fact is that the IAF has soldiered on heroically with the MiG because they got nothing better, They got nothing better because national technology was so backward, National tech was not backward because the scientists and engineers were morons and the pilots clever. That is the mistake that is made too often. India was and remains "backward" in many ways. Only the armed forces were given the best tech that could be bought (given geopolitical constraints). This is like one set of people being allowed to use Mercs and BMWs because that was essential for national defence while the rest of the country went about in bullock carts and bicycles. This is literally true. In 1971 India was flying fast jets while 80% of transport tonnage in India was by bullock cart at least on one leg of the journey. Now how many Indians realize that? Everyone in the nation - the civilians and the armed forces have a duty to understand this rather than whine and complain about the other Indian for being a stupid liar like this pilot does. He was given the best the country could afford and as long as you look at India as being populated by stupids among whom you are one of the heroes this is the attitude you are going to have. But this is the wrong thread for talking about that.

Among educated Indians I believe there is ignorance of Indian history as well as a sense of Indian inadequacy that shows up in many ways and this pilots views are a classic example. If history has screwed you personally you cannot be blamed for cursing - but look at the pilots of WW 1 and early WW2 going in to battle on unproven aircraft and finding out that something was wrong. Ultimately technology is not about asking why some technologist lied - which is emotional nonsense, but how the country can get its act together so that the technologists understand the pilots needs and the pilots understand the technologists constraints.

The unfortunate fact for India is that Indian defence has been maintained with foreign tech so the Indian armed forces have become accustomed to a higher level of tech than available within the country from even before independence. i don't think they realise it and I don't think half the people in the armed forces even understand that "national strength" is a combination of national technology feeding the national armed forces. However without those foreign arms we would have had no defence at all. China went the nuclear way because they decided "balls to foreign arms". They too are not yet there - but for an insight into why that is so, that you need to have some inkling about technology. Flying a plane gives you little insight into designing and building the plane I guess.

The nation is grateful to our men and women in uniform for using imported arms well and giving the nation military capability higher than is possible with Indian technology, but sooner or later even the Indian Armed Forces will have to be brought up to speed and make to wake up and smell the coffee about the harsh reality of national power as national technology integrated into the armed forces. If you live in a country flying the Mirage 2000 while the only available car is the Premier Padmini you may not figure out the difference in technology that made the Mirage 2000 in France and the Premier Padmini in India. This is true of India in 1985 when this pilot went on his trip.

Clearly this pilot, who is a patriot in every other sense of the term doesn't get it. Yet.

Anonymous said...

Dear friends,

I am the IAF pilot who wrote the remarks as anon at 12.25, and I understand that my annonymity is not an issue here but my viewpoint is. I respect all those who countered my submission and humbly accept their criticism. However, I stand by my comments. I would welcome a debate on this issue because the LCA belongs to the citizens of this country who pay for its development, thus in true sense they 'own' this aircraft and they would 'give' it to the IAF. I would respectfully like to conter a few points expressed here and would gladly engage in a healthy discussion on this issue.
Anon at 8.05 from Timbukto- stated that i had no right to blame Dr Sarsawat as he had delivered Missile technology , his forte. I totally agree and apologise for the critisism. However, Dr sarsawat was under no duress to make a claim about LCA entering IAF service by dec 2012. He said it in a TV interview and later in a lecture he delivered. Now could someone please tell me why he made the statement knowing fully well that it is not going to happen. We all have to wait a few months to find out which one of us is telling the truth.
Anon at 7.05 pm stated that- the country has given the best to the armed forces even in the worst of the times. I would once again respectfully disagree and would like to point to woeful and inadeqaute defence equipment in 1962 war with China and even as late as Kargil conflict when the Army chief Gen VP Malik stated , " we dont have what we need but we will fight with what we have." If the country thinks that Mig 21 in 2012 is the best the country can afford, then I would like to disagree. 10/33 fighter sqns in the IAF comprise mig 21 ac. I agree with him that flying a plane does not automatically qualifies one to comment on aeroplane development. I never made any tall claims. I, like the rest of my countrymen are eagerly awaiting our beloved Tejas. It is the people involved in developing the LCA, who are making the claims. I would accept it if Dr Sarsawat was to say that the challenges we face in developing the LCA are immense and we would take 20 years to surmount them. Similarly, if the MOD was to say that developing a fighter plane from the scratch under foreign sanctions is an uncertain proposition, therefore we will provide 6 LCS sqns to the IAF by 2050 (or the year they think it would be possible). No one expects miracle, not the IAF, nor the tax paying citizens. Most people understand technical challenges. BUT, is it too much to expect a little honesty while making forecasts and promises.

To conclude, my fellow citizens have every right to demand answers from the armed forces and other agencies involved in developing weapon system for the armed forces. A little more probity from the citizens is bound to enhance accountability.

I would gladly answer further querries, but would ignore the slur.
Jai Hind

Abhiman said...

Though I empathize with the IAF pilot's angst, I must humbly point out that DRDO/ADA is not entirely responsible for the delays.

The delays occurred because of events totally beyond the DRDO's control.

In the 1990s, the consultancy contract for the Tejas' digital FBW system was awarded to Lockheed Martin. After the 1998 nuclear tests, our engineers were thrown out of their facilities with the work half-done. Under Dr. Kalam's leadership, the work was completed indigenously and the Tejas flew in Jan 2001.

Culprit : Lockheed Martin
Delay : 1.5 years

Later, in Jan 2004 the IAF woke up from its slumber and demanded changes in the wing loading. So, DRDO had to go back to the drawing board (sort of) and come back in Dec 2005 with the changes.

Culprit : IAF
Delay : 2 years

Also, after the nuke tests sanctions were lifted only in mid-2000s. The testing of Tejas was very slow as we could Not get any further consultancy from them (like how we're getting from the US Navy for Naval Tejas's landing gear).

Culprit : US sanctions
Delay : approx 1 year

So, if you add up the delays they amount to 4.5 years -- for reasons BEYOND DRDO'S CONTROL.

Mr. IAF pilot, we respect your dedication to the nation but we also request you to read up on LCA Tejas's development history for once, instead of tabloid reports in Indian Express, or Times of India.

Anonymous said...

A) What is the IAF? a guinea pig? Please understand that war is fought with weapons, these have got to be better than the enemy`s weapons.
b) The HF 24 was the original widowmaker for the IAF, it was very hastily phased out after 1971, check your history.
c) make own weapons...good judgement, keep yourself weaker than say chinese because of HAL/ADA etc...bad idea. Wonder what Timbaktoo will feel if he comes on receiving end of say chinese bombing after they have shot down outdated Tejas with say J-20 etc, He will blame IAF.
d) Rather..i say to all patriots..dont blame IAF for telling it like it is. Send your MIT educated son/daughter to join HAL, ADA DRDO etc make India strong. HAL cant even make the HPT 32 good enough, IJT programme is still in shambles, all it does is licence manufacture with ill-concealed foriegn tech.
d) A country which needs forign tech is not bad..every one except say US, France (a handful) are importing. (and the chinese are just stealing theirs) Think about
it. Posters dont over-react..we are getting there, but not with sub-standard stuff..Insist on quality and performance, dont get carried away by claims of manufacturers. They are like political manifesto`s - designed to sway weaker minds.

Anonymous said...

Forget about JF-17. The tejas in 2022 will be facing stealthy J-20 which will enter service with PLAF in 2018 and by 2022 several hundreds of those, discounting even the hundreds if not thousands of J-10B. And we all know, China can manufacture them out in numbers just like chinese fortune cookies (may not be so fortunate for the receiving end though).

dashu said...

mr anonymous above @ 7.50 PM
what are u talking about man ?? you just have to admit that this saraswat fellow is a big mouth , he is such a joke . he is not quick enough to assemble foreign components also ,I hope you might be knowing what are the components am talking about

dashu said...

One can easily understand from all these big tall claims that DRDO is clearly suffering from low credibility ,alas this fellow mr saraswat doesnt get this and he keep shooting from his mouth rather than showing products

Anonymous said...

The IAF pilot again.....

its good that we are having this discussion, afterall as I said earlier- we all are stakeholder in this effort. The LCA belongs to the people of this country and not the IAF. A little more probity from concerned citizens would bring in accountability from the armed forces and other agencies. My replies to Abhiman..

Sir, I have read LCA development history and have followed its development with keen interest. Beside reading books by authors like AM Philip Rajkumar (The Tejas stoty), I also had the good fortune of working with LCA stalwars- W/C Kotiyal, W/C Tarun Banerjee, G/C Harish, G/C N Tiwari, W/C P Singh, W/C Venugopal. All these people are test pilots who were associated with LCA and I got to serve with them in various capacity. At the risk of revealing my identity and inviting trouble, let me state that I am a test pilot myself, a graduate of ASTE. I do understand a little bit about aircraft development in particular and LCA development in general. I ought to be careful about revaling too much, lest I be accused of a crime. I sincerely belive that the citizens have a right to know as a huge amount of national revenue is spent on these programs .
Now coming to Abhiman's point. At no statge I blamed DRDO for delays. I merely stated the obvious delays. Even if we concede that the delays happend for reasons beyond DRDOs control, though that can be a seprate line of argument, the outcome (or lack of it) is for everyone to see. My point being, at least now, dont make promises that you can not keep. Even if we start fresh today and start holding people accountable for promises unfullfilled, its still a begining. I would welcome Mr Abhiman in Dec 2012, and would hate to say "I told you so". If the DRDO feels there are going to be delays because of - sanctions, scintific challenges, funding- they should say so. It should not happen that in Dec 2012, we hear things like that the LCA could not be made ready for Sqn service for x y z reasons. And let me tell you, from the people involved in testing LCA, the technical challenges have been briefed to the DRDO leadership. So, the announcement came as a surprise to the testing team as well.
In sum, LCA is our pride, LCA is like our own child, the development of LCA is something that we should genuinely feel good about. However, there are no advantages, whatsoever, of making claims that can not be achieved.

Jai Hind

Anonymous said...

The pilot continues...

The forecast are based on progress review. In case of LCA there are progress reviews conducted weekly, monthly, qtrly and annually, attended by people concerned of varying seniority. Each aspect of the programe is briefed by the subject matter expert. Each team lays down challenges and projected dates for the next milestone. Its usual and sensible, to take the activity that is going to take longest as the projected date of completion (PDC). It is incorrect to make claims that can not be fullfilled, more so after the domain experts have stated otherwise. It is akin to fooling your own countrymen. An unrestrained blamegame and interagency bickering will not take us anywhere. The need of the hour is - probity and inquiry. Its high time we start holding people accountable for what they promise. No one should be allowed to hide behind a thin veil of national security. Our security lies in accountability of public money.
Jai Hind.

Abhiman said...

Mr. IAF pilot, thanks for taking the time to reply. It may be a privelege for me.

Please also note that in all the delays I mentioned, were UNFORSEEN.

DRDO didn't anticipate the nuke test way back in 1987, nor about IAF's sudden requirement in 2004. Uncle Sam too didn't tell DRDO about the sanctions it would impose in the future.

May I also add that IAF gave some sort of financial go-ahead to DRDO only in 1993, when it was supposed to come in 1990 (this is as per Rajkumar's book).

That's another 3 years of delay. Now totals upto 7.5 years of delay beyond DRDO's control.

When people blame delays (either DRDO or extraneous ones) they forget these constraints.

I believe DRDO did not overpromise. Its just that the Indian public has been fed with so much biased and one-sided flak against the DRDO all these years, that people just fail to hear the true story.

Besides, if you look across the world, delayed projects are the norm and not an exception.

Some examples :

1) The US F-35 fighter jet is years behind schedule and is tens of billions of dollars over-budget. Some US Congressmen have even called for its cancellation after seeing its a bottomless pit of promises and billions of dollars gone waste.

2) The Russian PAK-FA has been going on since the early 2000s. Its only after India decided to become the cash-cow, has it picked pace. And even then it is Not expected in operational form before the next decade.

These were first time projects for the US and Russia, just as Tejas was a giant leap for Indian aviation.

The difference is that the Air-Chiefs of USAF and Russia don't come on private news channels and flay their indigenous projects. It happens only in India.

Anonymous said...

WE SHOULD LEARN HOW TO STEAL LIKE CHINESE. Reinventing the wheel is all heroic but could be critical mistake.

Anonymous said...

Abhiman,

I am currently in the US for some air force work and I see their service chiefs and other 4 star generals criticise their def programs openly, viciously and regularly. So you are wrong there. Secondly, you are again dragging the argument to the past, whereas I had said that, even if we ignore DRDOs omissions in the past (i can live with not blaming DRDO), why make promises now. I am privy to material that clearly states that it is impossible to achieve squadron service this year. In fact by most optimistic forecasts it is possible by june 2013. The DRDO leadership is part of the evaluation. Then why lie to the nation. Just this specific point. We can not ascertain for sure who actually was to be blamed for the delays in the past, lets accept those delays as part of developmental challenges. But now, we know our chalenges, tasks, hurdls. We can make our forecasts based on what we know. Unforseen events can only delay the projected dates and not advance it. Then why make false promise. why lie to the nation.

Shiv send me your postal address, I might send you some documents that would reveal the truth like daylight.

Anonymous said...

The term 'Flying Coffin' was originally used for F-104 phantom of USAF and M-26 mauradar was called 'murderer'.

Still the US didn't go overseas to buy proven planes, they stuck with their own and made them work.

Imagine the hooplah in case a single 'Tejas' crashes. The program may be shelved.

While SAAB Gripen had crashed on a show to prove how wrong its criticizers were. Still the Swedes went ahead with their own aircraft.

Anonymous said...

Dear Abhiman,

DRDO is creep, accept it.

Abhiman said...

I think it has been known for quite a few e=years that HAL can only manufacture 8 Tejas units a year.

So, I don't know who made the claim of one Tejas squadron entering service this year.

Yes, LSP 7 and LSP 8 can enter service in the IAF this year itself. They may join a newly formed squadron (if that's what is meant ?)

I think IAF must have accepted the Tejas after the IoC itself. Did it ask Rafale to undergo all the stringent tests that its making Tejas undergo ? Why take the French word for it ?

The F-16 was inducted in 4 years from first flight and incremental upgrades were made from time to time. The pragmatic Americans knew they had NO time to waste against new Soviet MiGs and Sukhois round the corner.

No why can't the IAF do something like this ?

If IAF can fly those rusting MiG-21s and MiG-27s, that are far less manoueverable than even the Tejas PV-1 which flew 10 years back, surely the IAF can show some pragmatism and order mass production of Tejas units. The fine-tuning can be done in parallel.

Anonymous said...

Point wise reply for Abhiman's post

At the outset, pl accept my gratitude for engaging in this debate. I assume that as a concerned citizen, you have a right to ask hard questions.

"So, I don't know who made the claim of one Tejas squadron entering service this year."...... the claim was made by Dr Sarsawat, read my post.

"Yes, LSP 7 and LSP 8 can enter service in the IAF this year itself. They may join a newly formed squadron" ..... The LSP 7/8 are rigged for testing. They can not get into sqn service, at least not as yet. There is huge amount of testing yet to be done. DRDO knows it, still go around making tall claims.

"I think IAF must have accepted the Tejas after the IoC itself. Did it ask Rafale to undergo all the stringent tests that its making Tejas undergo ? Why take the French word for it ? "...... The IAF will accept the Tejas for Sqn service after it meets FOC or at least a part FOC. The French Rafale along with other MMRCA contenders was put through an year long gruelling trial process. The details are on this blog itself. The selection process is now the global std for downselecting ftrs. Shiv has reported extensively on MMRCA selection.

"The F-16 was inducted in 4 years from first flight and incremental upgrades were made from time to time. The pragmatic Americans knew they had NO time to waste against new Soviet MiGs and Sukhois round the corner.
No why can't the IAF do something like this ? " ...... In its current state the LCA can not aim and fire ANY weapon. It has been tested for weapon release but the aiming part is as yet inconclusive. Its like dropping bricks, they wont go where you want them to. Additionally, not all the weapons and not the entire envelop has been tested. Now would you like to induct a fighter that can not even fight. Most western ac are inducted in tranches, but from version 1.0 itself the aircraft is weapon capable, the upgrades are incremental in avionics, WCS etc. LCA at FOC will be version 1.0 and it will have to grow from there.

"If IAF can fly those rusting MiG-21s and MiG-27s, that are far less manoueverable than even the Tejas PV-1 which flew 10 years back, surely the IAF can show some pragmatism and order mass production of Tejas units. The fine-tuning can be done in parallel." ..... IAF flies those old and rusty migs because the government has not given it anything better. remember my earlier post, "we will fight with what we have". The migs old as they may be can fire weapons, to replace them with toothless LCA will be premature. LCA needs to prove itself as a weapon platform before it can be inducted. Avionics development can occur after sqn induction but not weapon validation. The need of the hour is to invest energy in LCA development and not just make statements and blame the IAF.

I am no fan of western ware and neither are a large number of my brethen. LCA is my pride, LCA is my 'Abhiman', if I may say so. The day LCA is inducted into 45 Sqn (designated sqn), I will pull out the Red Lable that has been sitting at my bar counter for a long time now. I won it from a friend in an LCA related bet. In India we have abundance of talent but lack of focus. If the ministery is serious, they should constitute a joint IAF/HAL panel to oversee the project and demand weekly feedback. Accountability for delays must be fixed while all material assistance should be provided. Only then the radiance of Tejas will light up our skies.

Jai Hind

Abhiman said...

Mr. pilot, Dr. Saraswat only said that Tejas will be inducted this year. He didn't say one squadron i.e. 18 Tejas units will be inducted this year.

He said and I quote, "LCA will be inducted this year in the armed forces where our own squadrons of Air Force will be flying this aircraft," he said.

Maybe a new squadron will be formed for Tejas and gradual induction will begin.

Just as the Hawk jets began arriving one by one from UK, so will the Tejas. Similarly, the first 2 Typhoons were inducted into the RAF in a newly formed squadron. And these 2 intercepted a Russian bomber.

So its not that only after 18 units are raised, will a formal induction ceremony take place.

Now, LSP-7 and LSP-8 shall be handed over to the IAF for their trials THIS YEAR itself. These will have an induction into the air-force. They'll no longer be in the hands of HAL or ADA.

Thats what Dr. Saraswat meant. No one ever said a squadron full of Tejas will join the IAF in 2012.

About Tejas being so "toothless" it can't be inducted : The Eurofighter Typhoon was cleared by RAF for ground attack much later than it was inducted. It was initially just an air interceptor.

The Tejas in its present avatar can do the following :

1) Fire laser-guided bombs to precisely hit a target.

2) Fire dumb bombs.

Hence, Tejas can easily start replacing the tottering MiG-27 squadrons (and retired MiG-23 squads) if not the MiG-21 right now.

In next door Pakistan, they inducted a bare-basic JF-17 and immediately started replacing their A-7, J-7 and Mirage-III fighters en masse.

--------

If we go by strict procedure, the IAF must induct every foreign jet after making it go through FoC clearance. The MRCA tests were definitely not as rigorous enough.

The same thing has happened in Arjun vs. T-90 tanks. The latter's gun barrel exploded once, killing 3 soldiers, its thermal sight-seeing overheats, its electronics have conked out in the Thar heat --- YET the army inducts it in the thousands after Kargil.

But Arjun ? It is made to undergo battery after battery of tests over years. Only when the DRDO force-begged a belligerant Army to conduct trials against its preferred T-90 --- and pummelled it --- did the Army reluctantly order 124 tanks.

Similarly, the IAF continues to fly crash-prone MiGs. It refurbishes them, it "upgrades" them but won't let go of them. But Tejas is still made to go tests even 1 1/2 years after it attained the crucial IoC !

Why doggedly stick to exacting standards, if you can fly those Soviet-era MiGs ? Isn't this hypocrisy on part of the IAF ?

Anonymous said...

Dear Abhiman,

The Hawk ac flew for India only after they cleared FOC in UK. The FOC was approved by a team led by G/C Hora. The eventual ferry of first two hawks was delayed substantially till the issues were resolved to the satisfaction of IAF. Thus induction after FOC. Within 6 months of first Hawk arrival, we had 12. All of these flew in the induction ceremony and bagan training young pilots a few weeks later. You very well know that, HAL can not match this timeline.

LSP 7/8 will be handed over to ASTE for user trial and not induction. The promised induction will take place when the ac are handed over to the 45 Sqn, the end user. I am okay with a small batch of 3-4 ac being handed over to start crew familarisation, writing of SOPs etc. However these 3-4 ac should be inducteed only after FOC.

LCA can fire LGBs but crew trg on LGB is very expensive proposition. In a Mirage Sqn we get only about 2-3 LGBs per year for the entire sqn. For the rest other non guided conventional weapons are used. LCA can release dumb bombs and not aim and fire. The same can be said of rockets and guns. its firing without aiming. The weapon trials are still a work in progress. You can not hand out an untested platform. You have also agreed that it can not be exploited in air to air role as yet.

If the IAF decides to phase out 'tottering' migs, I wont disagree with that. In fact thats the operator wants, a safe ac to fly. So I am with you that the migs should be retired immdtly. If in the bargain the sqn strength reduces to 24 sqns, it would generated more pull on the LCA. The case in point is HPT 32, the pilots were always suspected HPTs flt safety record. The voices of the operator were generally subdued, till the horrific crash at AFA that took away two young instructors. If the IAF had pegged HPT withdrawl with new replacement- two things would have happened. One, we would have lost some more people. Two, since HPT were still flying there would have been no Pilatus deal. I agree with you Abhiman that the Mig 21, 27 should be retired immedtly. LCA delay should not be the reason we should hang on to legacy platforms. However, the question being debated here is LCA delays and not the migs or the Arjun tank.

The PAF or RAF will do what they think best. The IAF will do what the IAF thinks best. In any case, the IAF only offers a viewpoint, its the MOD that makes the final call. If a case can be made for LCA induction before it is ready, then so be it. I am sure IAF will move fwd from there, having recorded its objections.

In any case, december is not very far. Hopefully the LCA story would be more clearer by then. We shall know by the years end, how closer we are to inducting a Tejas, that matches the claims of its performance. I would be happy to reengage in december.

Abhiman said...

Mr. Pilot, the IAF has placed an order for the LSP units (this excludes the 40 jets on order).

Now if they're on order, then aren't they meant for eventual induction ? (after all the testing etc.)

On other issues it has been reported in the media that Tejas is capable of firing precision guided munitions on designated targets (meaning aim & fire). Thats what the old MiG-23 squads did and the current MiG-27 squads do, right ?

I'd also like an answer to this question thats bugging me for quite some time : Why will the first Tejas squadron be based in Sulur ?

Unless there's a real threat from the Sri-Lankan Air Force or (God forbid) a renewed LTTE, shouldn't the Tejas squads be raised around the Chinese or Pakistani border ????

Anonymous said...

Sulur is near Bangalore and when Tejas a/cs are being flown vigorously by IAF base, in case in problems arise they can easily be sent to Bangalore or the engineers from Bangalore can easily come to sulur to sort out the problems.

In case of Tejas having minor problems based in Leh or Jaisalmare and engineers in Bangalore will be time consuming. Once these are sorted out then North India will be lucky enough to base the pride of nation Tejas.

Abhiman said...

This is the most ridiculous alibi ever given to house the first squadron at Sulur (it has been dished out earlier too).

If that's really the case, then please calculate the distance of ANY Indian airbase from France, where Rafales are manufactured. What will happen when the first 18 jets (produced at France) show problems ? You'll fly them to the nearest French island off the African coast ?

PLAF and PAF have lined up their
J-10 and JF-17 jets along India's border (J-10 is along Tibetan border and JF-17 is along frontline bases).

Only IAF will treat Tejas like a bachcha and have not 1 or 2, but 18 jets stationed close to HAL faaar faaar away from where they're actually needed.

There was a statement that the first squadron would be based at a new airbase in Gujarat. But since then, all we've heard is Sulur.

Prodyut said...

Abhiman

Firstly,the Martin B26 Marauder was not called "the murderer" but "the Baltimore Whore".Why? Because it was made in Baltimore and its wings were so small that it had "no visible means of support".

Now about this business of "unforeseen" problems etc The project of creating the MiG 21 replacement in 15 years time was not given to HAL but to an Organization that did not exist,to people who had NEVER designed ANY aeroplane before, with INSISTED Technology that DRDO had NO experience of and NO plant to make the prototypes.... the list can go on but the point is after that to say UNEXPECTED is "lawyers Arguments". No one asked any of the many Programme Directors to make misleading statements.My entire sympathies with Mr.Pilot. This business of "just round the corner" was probably to stymie any corrective action which should have been taken decades ago.

Prodyut
ps you can read my views in Vayu and also in TKS Tales ( the LCA arrives.

Anonymous said...

It appears that easy availability of imports are negatively influencing the development of indigenous products. The three services of British vintage are not confident of domestic efforts. The nation has no choice if these services do not support domestic efforts. Like our repeated calls for competition to HAL, let us also ask MoD to raise a new force (Indian Marines) which will only use domestic platforms. Competition does no harm.

Anonymous said...

IAF is a part of the Government. Then how come IAF shows all characteristics of a customer and not a partner. How come services people are so concerned about amount spent on domestic development, which is a national priority. If only world class equipment wins wars then with imported equipment we should be able to pulverize the Chinese whose supply lines are more than a thousand KMs away. Let us engage in a debate. There surely will be more light at the end of it. Why not talk about inter service co-ordination ?

Anonymous said...

TKS and Mr Pilot are joining a debate which has been going on without IAF participation. A monopoly service makes many assumptions which are not necessarily accepted by the public. If the monopoly service does not get the hang of public mood, some surprises are around the corner.

Anonymous said...

An Agni V has been tested after several decades of effort. That will be true for any major system. If anybody thinks that a modern plane can be developed in a few years, they are highly ignorant, whether they are from DRDO or from IAF. There will also be some setbacks. That does not mean that the nation gives up on domestic efforts or engages in demoralization of the developers.

Anonymous said...

Trip down the memory lane.

I am the 'IAF pilot' in this thread of comments. We engaged in a very spirited arguments with Mr Abhiman, who is a regular commentor on this blog on issues specific to DRDO. We are now nearing end of 2014 and the LCA is nowhere near Sqn service. Our RM has revealed this in the parliament. He also confirmed something that we were arguing in 2012.

Jaitley admitted as much in parliament when he declared that HAL's "inadequate production facility" was capable of building only four LCA Mk Is per year, instead of a projected eight platforms. The IAF, for its part, wants HAL to build 14 LCA Mk Is a year to boost its depleting fighter squadrons.

I would like to hear what Mr Abhiman has to say now