Thursday, June 07, 2012

DRDO Chief Takes A Spin In A Gripen

Photo | Saurabh Joshi/Stratpost

Photo | Saurabh Joshi/Stratpost

Photo | Saurabh Joshi/Stratpost
Dr Vijay Kumar Saraswat, chief of India's Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) took a spin in the backseat of a Saab Gripen-D on May 31 at Linköping, Sweden. Saraswat was in Sweden to attend Aerospace Forum Sweden, a seminar where he made a detailed presentation on India's unmanned programmes.

The Gripen was, until early last year, a contender in India's $12-billion medium multirole combat aircraft (MMRCA) competition. It was one of the four aircraft that were eliminated from the reckoning in the competition's first downselect. A week before his sortie, India's air force chief, Air Chief Marshal Norman Browne, did a sortie in a Rafale (the aircraft that emerged on top in the competition, and for which a final contract is currently being negotiated with maker Dassault) at the Saint-Dizier air force base in France.

The DRDO chief's sortie has less to do with the MMRCA competition and more, perhaps, to do with Saab's own interest in engaging with the DRDO in a variety of programmes, presumably the Tejas Mk.2, unmanned air vehicles (including UCAVs) and others.

Somehow, considering where the indigenous fighter programme is right now, it might have been a more impactful photo-op if Dr Saraswat had chosen to make his fighter debut in the Tejas Mk.1 trainer. The Gripen and Tejas are variously compared too. Who knows, maybe he'll do it now.

Incidentally, I did a sortie in a Gripen-D too (likely the very same aircraft) in October 2009, with Saab test pilot Robin Nordlander.

Stratpost editor Saurabh Joshi was at the flightline during the DRDO chief's flight and took these photos he's been kind enough to share with me.

24 comments:

Anish Jose said...

He is not dare to fly on Tejus. He know well about Tejus.

indian said...

gripen will be new Tejus MK2...i hope

Anonymous said...

Just fire him and forfeit all retirement benefit.

Anonymous said...

How did he fit into the cockpit?

Anonymous said...

I hope you realise who is a test pilot and why they are called test pilots.. this is the dumbest comment from you. Please don't get down to chorgupta level

Mr. Ra said...

Some collaborations with SAAB/Gripen in the offing?

Anonymous said...

Joy rides in advanced fighter aircraft by non-aviators is a gimmick....just another photo op.

Anonymous said...

The scandinavian politics of not giving... Nobel Prize to M K Gandhi... ascribed to anglo-Saxon heritage of supremacy... wants to kill lca/lca-II... and is using this idiot to spear head... lca programs demise...

Abhiman said...

I sincerely hope that the Tejas Mk.2 proves to be the Gripen-killer.

SAAB is probably anxious that once the Tejas comes out in the market (whether or not the IAF accepts it), its Gripen will be dead.

So, its influencing DRDO to accept SAAB-made tech in Tejas Mk.2 so that it can remain profitable at least via Tejas !

The saying goes that, "if you can't bean them, join them."

SAAB seems to be doing exactly that.

Anonymous said...

Frustated that he can not take a spin in Tejas..
A loser....

Anonymous said...

Relax... no one is going to Kill Tejas we require around 400+ planes no one can offer that any where in the world at that price as per the fight he will know just what is required from Tejas

Anonymous said...

Tejas Mk-2 as Gripen Killer. That would be awesome. Anybody who follows Fighter aircrafts (open source) knows the current status of Gripen and Tejas program. Tejas mk -1 is yet to fly with IAF squdrons. We keep reading about IOC and FOC. We will be happy if that happens soon. The way things are going, Tejas mk-2 becomes a Gripen killer by 2050. by then the Gripen will die of pld age. Its good to aspire for paradise but one should not live in fools paradise.

Anonymous said...

LoL, some bloggers are saying that tejas will be a gripen killer. They are living in a fool's paradise. Frankly speaking Gripen is a battle proven(Libya war), air worthy jet (not superior than rafale or eurofighter) which is in service of some nations. Whereas there is no such existence of tejas. The prototypes are inferior than the trainers. Our HAL babus are squeezing billions of tax payers money in the name of an indigenous, lightest-ever fighter jet programme. The Tejas development is itself is a scam greater than 2g/coalgate/tatra/bofors etc. The govt. should declare through RTI on how much money has been spent on tejas or what are its shortcomings and its current status. If anyone in this blog refer me as paki,chinki etc i have no regret.

Anonymous said...

Now he will come out with Tejo-Grippen hybrid plane

Anonymous said...

All that Tejas needs to be at par with Grippen is a powerful engine. Rest can be done

Anonymous said...

Hoping he would be able to make a deal with SAAB to sell its tech to make LCA-MK2 or may be a joint venture between SAAB and ADA.
That would be the best thing to ever happen :)

A for those who are accusing him of not flying in tejas trainer and insulting this man. let me remind you he is behind India's long range missile development projects. his contribution is beyond ADA.

Abhishek said...

12:06..watch the movie aviator..you will know what r&d is.Sorry to inform you nothing is going waste in tejas program.

Abhiman said...

Mr. Anonymous, when the Gripen first inducted in 1996, Sweden already had the option of just purchasing F-16 or Mirage-2000 to counter the looming threat from Russia.

They could've made the same silly argument you're making that Gripen is an "unproven" jet. Let's spend billions to buy an F-16 or Mirage-2k-V or whatever.

But the Swedish knew that the Gripen has to be given a chance to prove itself. And it did over the years (though I've to say emphatically, that the so-called Gripen-NG is a sham product, cobbled up only for the MRCA sweepstakes).

Similarly, IAF has to give Tejas a chance to prove itself. IAF must induct upto 200+ Tejas units to replenish its depleting fleet of Mig-21, Mig-23, Mig-27 and MiG-29s. Only then can the Tejas prove itself.

The ball is in the IAF's court now.

Writing a cheque to purchase Rafales or PAK-FAs is the easy way out. Spending 20 years in collaboration with DRDO to indigenously develop fighters is the REALLY hard part.

Unfortunately, IAF has still not learnt this lesson.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with abhiman, the IAF must place an order for 200 LCAs instead of buying foreign fighters. Although the LCA mk-1 will attain FOC by 2014 at the earliest and mk-2 FOC probably will by by 2024. In the meantime we can ask our neighbours to behave themselves till we sort our domestic production. As abhiman said the mig series fighters are too old and need to be replaced, the IAF should in the meantime manage with the leftovers. The ball truly is in IAFs court. The sweedish were facing a Russian threat in 1996, though the Russian empire was crubling. We are facing a combined chinese paki threat, but dont worry LCA will soon take care of that.

Anonymous said...

Abhiman Grow up baby, face the realities.

sntata said...

To Anonimous-9-41
Fire whom u idiot, Saraswat? Have U gone mad?

Joy said...

@sntata

I totally agree with Anon 9-41. Yes Saraswat! That guy in the picture. He needs to be fired! He's gotta go. Incompetent fool!

Anonymous said...

@sntata 10:57

eat a crow, if u did not get it ...

Anonymous said...

I think the govt should invest $10.2 billion dollars to encourage private defense firms in India They will introduce world class fighter with in no time.