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43 Comments

  1. 1

    Anonymous

    In the past you used to be an honest journalist. Since when have you become a paid journalist of the paid media? What is the sense and logic of creating a Pvt aerospace industry with taxpayers' money, when there is already an institution owned by the Govt with years of experience to do so? The Govt, IAF and media needs to explain this move to rope in Pvt Cos in everything related to defense.Let HAL put up it's hands if it's order books are overflowing. Which isn't the case.
    What's the logic and rationale for AVRO replacement? To create Pvt Aerospace industry with taxpayers' money in a nation where more than 80% don't get two square meals a day or where more than 500 million do not have even basic health, hygiene or toilet facilities?
    When HAL already has an ambitious RTO program in place, wouldn't this AVRO replacement in JV with a foreign firm helped this program in a major way?
    Who is stopping the Pvt Cos to invest their own money and compete in defense programs? Why do they want the taxpayers to foot the bill for their entry in defense? Isn't this theft and corruption? Isn't this the duty of journalists like you to expose and bring to the notice of the public? Why are you acting on the contrary? Is it because your employer is directly or indirectly owned by these very same firms who are hell bent on character assassination of state institutions?

    Reply
    1. 1.1

      Anonymous

      Interesting points. But why this unnecessary mudslinging? What qualifies you to stamp people as honest journos? For all we know you're an armchair general.

      Reply
  2. 2

    Raj

    Make in India also does not mean "made only by HAL", a non competetive and inefficient firm. I think the private companies must be let in to this game if Indian aerospace is going to have future.

    Reply
  3. 3

    Anonymous

    Look who's talking. Couldn't even deliver a trainer aircraft. Cost and time overruns. And they want more orders. HA

    Reply
  4. 4

    Anonymous

    you have made your point Mr. Srinivasan, but no thanks..

    Reply
  5. 5

    Anonymous

    HAL does not figure in the list of Aerospace Companies to whom the RFP has been sent by the IAF! And therefore this pathetic & meaningless plea by an ex-HAL employee needs to be rubbished!!!

    Reply
  6. 6

    Amit Vora

    First thing I noticed is this-
    IAF is the customer and HAL should not have a say on what it needs. Its like telling the customer what your needs are and what you can purchase.
    Second – if what HAL says is correct where the prime is still the OEM, then it is truly a screwed up deal. No other country does a deal like that.
    What should have a happened is this (chinese do this all the time) – You select TATA as the prime and make them responsible for everything. It would be TATA's job to go out and get the requisite material, TOT etc and provide that to IAF. This way, TATA grows internally in India.

    The way the current deal is structured, the foreign partner would rip all the benefits as TATA is just a supplier of parts and nothing else.

    So, HAL may be incorrect in saying what IAF needs, but it is correct when it comes to how the contract is structured and how it is truly bad for India if it goes along with it.

    Better way would have been to create a small company subsidiary from HAL which partners with TATA….then this company goes ahead and signs the deal with IAF to get what they need.

    Anyways, when I read some of these contracts, it baffles me why Indians don't involve lawyers in writing the RFPs. It is a standard in every major US (federal and state) contracts.

    Reply
  7. 7

    Anonymous

    Half sucks. Tata, Mahindra should given chance to build aerospace industry.

    Reply
  8. 8

    Anonymous

    I thought that HAL itself formulated from Tata Airlines,and that is how Tatas remained in the HAL Board !So how can he say that Tatas have been able to diversify into aviation through membership in the HAL board ?

    Reply
  9. 9

    Anonymous

    Just read in another prominent Indian defence blog that there is a possibility of the whole procurement of such aircraft might be scrapped as there is no nessisity for such aircraft as India is already using the c-17 globe master and Hercules, and the avro fleet is used sparingly and we are already in a joint venture with Russia for multi role transport aircraft and the avro is only used for communication and transport purpose only and only the engines of the aircraft need to to be changed for prolonging it's life, what do you say for that when there is no nessisity y build such aircraft,we can have another jet fighter built with the private industry don't you think please answer

    Reply
  10. 10

    Dalip Bhati

    Mr Sirinivasan is a higly biased BIASED person with no national cause in sight he has set forth illogical arguments amounting slander

    Reply
  11. 11

    Dalip Bhati

    i am an ardent and regular follower of your blog why you have failed to mention about the success of Glide bomb in time

    Reply
  12. 12

    Satpathy

    The IAF has been the least strategic of the three wings of the Indian Armed Forces regrading its acquisitions. I wouldn't just stop at that. The IAF has also been the most irresponsible in its acquisitions strategy to date while having the luxury of gorging on the largest proportion of India's military's capital acquisitions budget !

    The IAF's startegy or lack thereof for the last three decades has hinged on pointing the finger at someone else and blaming everyone other than itself and its bankrupt strategists as an excuse for buying off the shelf ! They ought to take a leaf out of the India Navy's playbook and learn how to do more with less.Leveraging indigenous resources and skills as a multiplier to extend their budgets and with methodical long term planning.

    As some news outlets have rightfully commented, the IAF first needs to justify the purpose the AVRos or their replacements will serve in the future, now that they have upgraded the AN-32s, with a dozen odd C-130Js and most likely another dozen or so C-17s. Just because a platform is nearing obsolescence hardly justifies why it needs to be replaced with another platform.

    Lastly, the IAF has never, ever taken ownership of any project with HAL,ADA. The IAF planners stayed in their ivory towers in the clouds and lost their opportunity to steer and engaged customer. That in itself is a sure recipe for failed projects. It has itself to blame as much as anybody else for the lost decades in India's indigenous military aviation industry.

    Everyone talks about making HAL, ADA, DRDO more accountable. here's hardly any talk about making the Masters' @ IAF accountable. Their time is up and
    its their turn "To be found out and exposed".

    GAME ON !!!

    Reply
  13. 13

    Anonymous

    i agree with mr.srinivasan. capacity built up with public funds cannot be allowed to idle under the assumption that the private sector will be more efficient. the private sector must produce small planes , under ToT, and establish credibility before being entrusted with the production of military aircraft.

    Reply
  14. 14

    viva nuntius

    US won World War II against Japan thanks to many reasons, one of them being their ability to ratchet their military industry complex output. In times of combat, especially a protracted one, HAL or for that matter no single company can deliver all needs. Therefore creating private players only means widening the military industrial base. If anything, HAL if it's really patriotic should help other private players to grow. Such growth could aid creation of not just jobs, but likely export capacity increase. Unfortunately HAL is more worried about itself as a company than a nation. It sees private players not as an asset to country or competition in professional space, but as a threat to its existence. As regards to PM's call, well, it's "MAKE IN INDIA" and not "MAKE IN PSU".

    Reply
    1. 14.1

      victor raj

      USA is the only nation to have gone for more than 70 wars in the last 50 years, that is even without a land conflict like Kashmir. Why? Because of the same private companies you are so proud of. That doesn't mean I am not in favour of private players in India. Just mentioning something that is avoided by all the media.

      Reply
  15. 15

    victor raj

    what Mr.Srinivasan says is 100% correct. If private companies are able to do it alone instead of partnering with foreign firms at least it makes some. Even though this particular replacement for Avro deal is a waste of money from IAF. Just let HAL to upgrade it. Your judgement to go against him doesn't make any sense at all. We cannot agree to whatever IAF wants. Spend that money wisely somewhere else especially when MTA India's own aircraft is on its way.

    Reply
  16. 16

    vijay A P

    HAP does not have any IIT's because they pay around 25k for a senior scientist. Why do you think USA has such fine aircrafts, is it because of NASA alone. Not every defense aircraft manufacturing company in USA have their own lab with the best scientist. The basics.
    HAL does not even have good scientist and want to build state of the art aircrafts for IAF. Which will never happen.

    Private companies can hire IIT's to work for them sand make sure that if not the best good aircraft will be developed and manufactured.

    Unlike HAL they still have not given any indigenous aircraft to IAF even after providing such monopoly over manufacturing aircrafts.

    One thing for sure, if HAL says they are the only organization in India that possesses the facility and experience to design and manufacture aircrafts, then WHY IS HAL AFRAID OF COMPETITION WITH PRIVATE COMPANIES.

    Answer: The moment private companies enter aircraft design and manufacture in India, HAL will be closed or keep only to clean aircrafts.

    Reply
  17. 17

    Manoj K.

    First of all, IAF should justify the need of AVRO replacement.

    Secondly, why should a foreign company be the principal & Indian company be just a vendor ?

    Thirdly, why the expertise & assembly line of HAL be kept idle ? Instead, why Govt is not thinking of Joint Ventures where HAL manufacturing facilities can be used by Indian private companies ?
    Why there has to competition between HAL & Indian private companies rather than developing by cooperation with each other ?

    Reply
  18. 18

    Anonymous

    anon@11.58 pm.

    Sir, please disclose your name when getting personal.

    To state that HAL must keep the keys to our country's aircraft manufacturing capability by locking out all competition is absurd, self centered and not in national interest.

    To create credible alternative to HAL, to instil the pressure to perform while creating a culture of excellence and commitment to innovation, HAL must be stripped of their current status of lead integrator for the MMCRCA project in addition to continue to deny its entry into the Avro project from which it stands currently excluded.

    The MMRCA project like the Avro project must be given to a qualified private player whom the government must assist create long term infrastructure and capacity to match HAL with the aim of challenging it.

    Both Russia and USA have taken this path and over decades achieved much success, about time we did the same.

    HAL must have serious competition and it must be forced to evolve or face the consequences.

    Tax payer does not buy your argument anon @ 11.58 or that of Mr. Srinivasan.

    By the way the letter has found its way to Mr. Parrikar as well so we will see how this goes.

    Reply
  19. 19

    vinz

    R. Srinivasan is a concerned private citizen who happens to have the email ids of the folks at MoD.

    He is not involved with the process, the tendering or the rationale of the project.

    Why are the musings of a private citizen in the news?
    And why are we all spending time commenting on it? 🙂

    Reply
  20. 20

    Shiv Aroor

    A nice healthy discussion going on the ex-HAL director's letter. Including allegations that I'm a paid agent! All is well with the world 🙂

    Reply
  21. 21

    joydeep ghosh

    @Shiv Aroor

    my reply a bit too large is titled, hope you have patience to read

    The MoD Quandary Over Avro Replacement

    The MoD is in a quandary, there are several reasons

    1. Avro 748s (over 60 are in service) have been in service with IAF for close to 50 yrs & are nearing end of life and need to be replaced

    2. MoD in a bold move decided to award the contract to private companies but only the Tata consortium showed guts to respond. As such the tender will be cancelled and fresh one will be issued.

    3. Problem started when it was decided to make 56 planes from scratch, a complete no-no since it will require setting up a green field project, it not possible for any company to set up a large greenfield project for just 56 planes.

    4. As far as my understanding goes only when a greenfield project that makes a minimum of 70-80 aircrafts and services upto 400 planes over its lifetime can a aircraft manufacturing unit be considered economical and profitable.

    5. Even if 56 planes are assembled in CKD/SKD condition with minor parts sourced from India, still making 56 planes is uneconomical proposal, unless a full fledged aircraft MRO facility is attached.

    6. We must keep in mind that 100 An32 being upgraded will remain in
    service till 2030 only.

    7. As C17 entered service the IL76/IL78 were relegated to medium tactical transport and will have
    to be replaced.

    contd…

    Reply
  22. 22

    joydeep ghosh

    contd…

    So what needs to be done:-

    1. MoD should invite Lockeed Martin to set up a MRO and then a greenfield project in partnership with a private player. The MRO facility can become that largest in eastern hemsphere to service C130Js across Asia, Africa, Oceania

    2. As India didn’t sign CISMOA and other deals with US that lead to some equipment not being installed on 12 C130J-30SH; we can surely repeat the alternative arrangement with C130Js as were made with C130J-30SH.

    3. So how many C130Js can be made in this facility apart from doing MRO , the answer is 125:-
    a.56 for IAF to replace Avro
    748
    b.28 for IA that will form base for future fixed air wing of IA
    c.14 for IN that will form base for future fixed air wing of IN
    d.7 for use of NSG to allow them not to depend on others to move around during standoffs
    e. 7 for use of NDRF as that will allow them to reach places quickly during natural emergencies
    f. 7 for use of ICGS/BSF/ITBP as they too need a dedicated transport to move around
    g. 4 for RAW/IB/NIA to allow them to conduct operations wherever they want

    MRO Facility & Jobs for 50 Years
    With C130J MRO facilities being set up in India for C130J-SH and C130J operating across Asia, Africa, Oceania it will be a really good business prospect. This will result in creation of thousands of jobs in India for the next 50 years. C130J which has already been in service for over 50 years is so robust that it can wither the test of time and be in service for atleast another 50 years.

    With 125 C130J Do We Need Indo Russian MTA
    Yes, we need it too. Along with 56 Avro HS748, 100 An32, and 24 IL76 and IL78; the total aircrafts that need replacement is 180. So even after 125 C130J are churned out there still will be requirement for 60 more similar aircrafts, which can be easily fulfilled by the Indo Russian MTA in variety of roles including mid air refuellers.
    Indo Russian MTA as Passenger Jet What Happens to RTA-70 (Indian Regional Jet)
    The Indo Russian MTA an HAL/IL initiative apart from meeting the requirement of 60 transport aircrafts in India, can easily morph into a passenger jet. The Indo Russian MTA as a passenger jet design, if adopted can and will stop HAL/NAL from duplicating their efforts (RTA70), instead effort can be put towards developing more indigenous products and cutting down imports.
    If only the ideas put forth ring a bell with IAF, MoD and the planners, it will certainly result in India becoming more self reliant in aircraft design and development.

    Oh just learnt that either Lockheed/Boeing/Airbus are to setup a MRO in Gujarat, with a deal as early as next month. Hopefully its Lockheed for C130Js

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/Lockheed-Boeing-and-Airbus-take-off-for-Gujarat/articleshow/45569469.cms

    hope my views are well understood

    thanks

    Joydeep Ghosh

    Reply
  23. 23

    saffronbandit

    During Saint Antony's sojurn in the MOD,the favorite tactic to derail a project was to send in an anonymous letter alleging kickbacks.
    Now it looks like it is the "senior retired expert"category appealing to the nationalistic and anti big biz house sentiments.
    With the DAC postponing the decison ,the Air force has basically got screwed.If the MOD ask for RFP again, another 2-3 yrs will be wasted.
    Now that the Mig 21's are going , the title of the "Flying Coffin " has a prime contender in the Avros – these a/c are disasters waiting to happen . God forbid it does happen, the PM and RM will have to live with their conscience's for the rest of their life's.
    The more things change , the more things remain the same…..

    Reply
  24. 24

    Anonymous

    First ask this person what did he deliver in the '40 years' he worked with HAL ??? HAL cannot even produce a world class helicopter let alone a aircraft on it's own in these 40 years. He should be ashamed to say that he worked for '40 years' at HAL.

    Reply
  25. 25

    rushil

    If existing public aerospace infrastructure is truly underutilised as the author claims, then why are they not able to keep up with production schedules for even one aircraft?
    The CAG report on the pathetic rate of Su30MKI production from last week is an ideal example.
    I'm all for a national champion in aerospace. But HAL is by no means even a contender for that role.

    Reply
  26. 26

    Anonymous

    Someone so senior in using a Gmail account to send an email regarding something so important is foolishness. It is open to all sorts of access from Google or other government(s).

    Reply
  27. 27

    sundeep

    When we are talking of making lobbying legal in different sectors of the economy and make to make it more transparent, I don't feel lobbying by a retired government employee is any way wrong as compared to the private sector doing it. Moreover most of his comments do actually make perfect sense, such duplication of capital and infrastructure. One may surely argue about competitiveness in the likes of the american aviation industry where for a single requirement multiple options and prototypes are pitted against each other by bidding companies. If we want this then we should surely be content with very slow advancement of weaponry and stop dreaming of we catching up to say a China in terms of technology prowess. The world today is much more changed and invests every capital very judiciously, its no more the Cold war er, where humongous capital gets funneled to get the d best and the brightest technology. Nowadadays, Government come with multiple handicaps like elevating 3/4th of a 1.2 billion population out of poverty and that too fast, because everyone now, knows how the rich and the middle class enjoy their lives(in short the aspirational levels have risen for all). So with all these handicaps, the reasons given by Radhakrishnan sir, don't seem out of the place at all.
    where one might contradict is that due to reasons of strategic reasons one might not want to put all eggs in one basket. So in that point one might argue that yes, there is a chance that the person in question might be wrong.

    Reply
  28. 28

    Anonymous

    Pathetic HAL cant even make single engine propeller aircarft what the will manufacture modern transport aircraft,32 years of making lca,20 years of making kaveri engine.HAL shouldnt even have the right to manufacture aircraft in the first place.It should be divided and should me sold off to private companies ur wasting tax payers money.

    Reply
  29. 29

    Parthasarathi

    The main problem with HAL. is they can't deliver. They are making Sukhoi 30 MKI and Hawk from almost CKD. kits. Or in lay man's term they are just assembling these planes. It is true that over the years few components are indigenously built but still most of components are imported. They can't even make a single engine propeller driven basic trainer but trying to stop the competition. Unpatriotic cowards !!

    Reply
  30. 30

    Anonymous

    The IAF has been caught with their pants down in this. It is very valid to ask for what they are going to use the aircraft for??? Can India throw 13000 crores to please somebody's whims and fancies?? When there is a economical option of re-engining the aircraft why do you need a replacement. It seems HAL bashing is the fashion of the day. But HAL better knuckle down to delivering and behaving like a true corporate body instead of a privileged entity with a captive market.

    Reply
  31. 31

    Anonymous

    Unfortunate that a company like the Tatas have not understood the spirit of the Make in India campaign. Tatas still have a trader mentality. They do not display any eagerness to invest in developing aviation technology. Their attempt has been to set up assembly plants and make a decent commission after sending bulk of the profits to the foreign company. This a hardware version of body shopping of the software industry. At best a few hundred Indians will get some low skilled jobs without any increase in technical know how.

    Reply
  32. 32

    Anonymous

    The overhaul of the Avro is already in the process and we have to think of a question? Is there a necessity araised for another flying machine and do the government want to spend too much of money on this project. The NEW Defense Minister has to take a call on this and make a full-stop to this conversation which is not necessary.

    Reply
  33. 33

    Anonymous

    When all and sundry Ex-IAF people can was eloquent on the need for imports, why an ex HAL man cannot speak his mind. Why is it so difficult to digest Mr Aroor. Where were you when the IAF mafia virtually snuffed the life out of the evolving domestic aviation development effort. Have you heard of things like 'crony capitalism'. How do a small group of private companies become eligible for a chunk of the IAF goodies. First, you exclude the most worthy contender and then you award the job on nomination basis. What do you think the courts or CAG are likely to say on the matter Mr Aroor.

    Reply
  34. 34

    Jean Luc Picard

    The Purpose of IAF is the Defence of India by what ever means necessary, It is not responsible for improving the manufacturing sector of India.

    Therefore if its AON is in line with military needs of India. It is justified in its request and must be equipped with whatever its needs are.

    If its trying to promote India's aviation sector, it is only doing so out of good faith and good will.

    Whats wrong with IAF getting more tactical air lift capability ?

    Whats wrong if they want to integrate a Communications squadron and a Tactical Airlift squadron so it is more efficient ?

    Russian MTA,C 17 Globe Master, Il 76 are Turbojet powered engine (which is more likely to be damaged in un prepared landing areas like Daulat Beg Oldie.

    C-130J is too costly and is designed for Special units and Airborne troops and we only have ten with spare parts at the mercy of the US.

    In wartime, once we have captured an objective and need to supply and reinforce it, we need a fleet of aircraft. these should be hardy and must have some airlift capability to bring in equipment to set up a forward base HQ.

    During peace time it can be used in disaster relief and can ferry men as well as engineering vehicles.

    If its made in India there will never be a problem of spares and repair.

    if HAL is soo concerned then it must focus and use its unique skill in high technology aircraft and not burden itself with producing not so advanced tactical airlift planes.

    Reply
  35. 35

    Anonymous

    @Anon@4.15 – please say why HAL is the most worthy contender? On what basis? With regards to your gratuitous comments – I'd be inclined to say crony socialism where you go home with a salary no matter what your performance, output or circumstance.

    If GOI has an iota of sense it will introduce serious competition to get HAL to deliver as a world class aviation manufacturing company given the state support they have got since independence.If not privatize them.

    Our national security and independence is too precious for us to put all eggs in one basket. Perform or perish. Same mantra for all.

    Reply
  36. 36

    Indian

    Absolute rubbish by Srinivasan. Let HAL learn to build paper planes, build a trainer later and then talk about Avro replacement.

    Reply
  37. 37

    Anonymous

    #Facepalm…What is with this diatribe blaming Shiv Aroor for the mail which he rightly put into the public sphere.

    Couple of issues:
    1. HAL is sweating from the balls because the C-295 is a fantastic aircraft with a proven pedigree. This takes the easy cake away from its own RUAG Dornier line of which the HAL does screwdriver assembly. The order size will definitely grow with even the Navy & CG showing interest for their MPA's. Not to mention the BSF etc.

    2. Even after a decades of plastic models, the HAL has yet to get the Indo-Russian MTA of to any kind of a start. Yet manages to vacillates when Private Cos do the same. Sigh

    3. Somebody please please please tell the HAL to avoid showing its own Prime Minister/Defence Ministry in poor light and the fact that it is the IAF which being the Warfighter calls the shots on its doctrine and not the otherway round.

    4. Avoid such lousy-ass lobbyists who are scrapping the bottom of the barrel.

    Reply
  38. 38

    Anonymous

    HAL needs to have competition. How it is achieved is for Government to decide. I think it is good crease a second aerospace company first that will have volumes though with variety.
    HAL first needs to treat IAF as a customer , only then their can be progress.
    I am sure IAF is praying to all the Gods that LCA production pieces will be delivered quickly, that IJT will pass FOC soon, LUH is ready Q2 2015, HTT in 2015 !
    This Gentleman (writing letters to Govt on Avro) needs to show these deliveries not simply write letters.

    Reply
  39. 39

    active123 Active

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    Reply
  40. 40

    Concerned Citizen

    Not going by the comments made by Mr Srinivasan – which aren't entirely off track, by the way – the Avros are basically glorified air-taxis with no tactical or operational role. When you have (a) an MRTA with basically the same capabilities coming in the near future, (b) an option to induct more C-130Js which are already serving satisfactorily and (c) an up-gradation programme for a sizable fleet of An-32s, why exactly do you need to further diversify your inventory? That notwithstanding, if at all the IAF needs a VIP air-taxi, then the service life of the Avro airframes is still at-least another 10 years, considering that they fly barely 400 hrs a year. So an engine replacement with a glass cockpit upgrade should be more than satisfactory. But the IAF top brass, sadly, seems to be tilting heavily towards foreign options for reasons best known to them and want to replace an already superfluous aircraft with a variant of completely unrelated capability – capability which is being met with procurement programmes already underway. IAF is not supporting indigenous capability creation in any meaningful manner but is doing it's best to suffocate it as has been repeatedly proved, again for reasons best known to them (As if nobody really knows what those reasons are). Mr Srinivasan rightly points out that this exercise will not serve to meaningfully build up indigenous capability but will only create Indian vendors for sub-assemblies – and push true indigenous capability in the manner of Brazil, even further into the future. 'Treason' is only one of the many epithets that come to mind.

    Reply
  41. 41

    Anonymous

    The 295 isn't the only bid placed, right? Even Alenia has proposed the Spartan but which Indian company have they joined with?

    Reply

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