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50 Comments

  1. 1

    Anonymous

    To me…..till now it is just a bed time story..!

    Reply
  2. 2

    ajnabee

    That means they have even not desided the basics and requirements.

    Like all HAL/DRDO projects it will take decades.

    What's say shiv. Give some of your comments on this project.

    Reply
  3. 3

    fighterclass

    HOLY CR** MAN !

    You just SHOT THE BALL OUTTA THE PARK !! This is the best defence report I've seen in a long long time ! fully worth the wait and the goading ! I'll read it again to get all the details.

    jeetay raaho brother ! your wife seems to be lucky for you !

    Reply
  4. 4

    Kartik

    Hi Shiv,

    Thanks for this article that gives us a heads-up on what is happening in this program..I hope that the IAF doesn't make the mistakes it made the first time around for the LCA, by simply stating its requirements and then not doing any Project Management at all.

    If this project has to succeed, it requires that the customer, IAF and the DRDO's R&D establishments, the program management house, ADA and the production house, HAL will need close synergy. closely tracking developments in this program will give the IAF a feeling of ownership for the NGFA, something it lacked sorely till recently for the LCA where they were detached and simply thought of it was a tech demonstrator that would eventually die out. And from the perspective of ADA/DRDO/HAL, it will give them insights into operational requirements, IAF's technical expertise and any changes to the ASRs required will be communicated quickly instead of being done after the design has begun.

    Also, do you know whether any foreign collaboration is being sought or not ? I mean, Saab has expressed interest in joining a 5th generation fighter project in both South Korea and India. taking Saab's engineering expertise and making them a partner would give tremendous advantages to India and ensure that the timelines are met, and realistic timelines are set, not just some wildly underestimated ones. It will also bring in another risk-taking partner, that way reducing the risk for Indian partners alone. I would really appreciate it if you could write another follow-on article on the NGFA (MCA) with more details in this regard.

    Reply
  5. 5

    Sparsh

    Shiv,

    There seems to be a great deal of overlap between the goals of the NGFA and the FGFA programs in terms of the technologies to be developed and the final product.

    Any comments from official sources (or your own opinion for that matter) on this?

    Reply
  6. 6

    fighterclass

    also, it will have an internal weapons bay I hope ? a large one ?

    Reply
  7. 7

    Anonymous

    You luckky [email protected][email protected],just got saved your a$$ .I was getting ready to kill you tonight if you fail to put the article down.

    A lot of insights which matches well with my sources.

    My 2 cents,
    for FGFA,Indian collaboration will be mainly centred in avionics and composites.
    Definitely the work share will be put into MCA. There were few modles already tested in wind tunnel including the tail less delta wind and differential intakes,……

    Certainly MCA will turn up as one of the best fighters designed in this decade. MCA will definitely live upto the expectations with user taking the due responsibility in the project from the wind tunnel testing stage.
    MCA will awake all the hidden metalurgical industries and other electronics industries in india.
    P.S: One indian private sector known to you all for its effort in rebuilding the defences came up with a revolutionary technology which I donot intend to put that up in public before it becomes official.They wanted to be part of the development from the initial stage.

    I cant say that this MCA will replicate a FGFA, but MCA will be a trend setter for indian industry.

    Reply
  8. 8

    abhisek

    Hope it will not be a delayed project like Arjun MBT and LCA.

    Reply
  9. 9

    Anonymous

    Another never ending story from DRDO is about to begin.

    Reply
  10. 10

    Anonymous

    "There is no Plan B for engines."

    Now that is the most worrisome part – am sure the airframe designers have a LOT to learn in terms of LO/VLO/Stealth, but some of that will come from FGFA learnings. The toughest part will definitely be getting Snecma to provide SCB and high TeT transfer AND for our folks to be able to pick that up and run.

    We'll give it 5-7 years for the first prototype, and another 7 for induction provided the IAF learns to work with DRDO agencies.

    Reply
  11. 11

    Anonymous

    Hope that they don't rely on foreign help much, especially when it comes to the important parts. This is what slowed LCA much. I also hope that this project is taken seriously right from the beginning. I also hope that this project is well funded from the beginning.

    Reply
  12. 12

    Gagan

    Shiv,

    I must say this is a wonderfully put together report. Kudos for a very well written piece.

    So the process for the MCA / NGFA has formally begun in earnest.

    The few worrying aspects are the ones which plagued the LCA program too
    1. The Radar
    2. The Engine.

    It is sad to see that these aspects are still unresolved after so much time and money. If in 2010 we are still talking of developing single crystal blade tech and Nickel alloys, I wonder when DRDO does come up with these techs where will the most advanced engine manufacturers be?

    Good to see that the IAF wants a completely Indian AESA, I have always felt that the defence forces will be the first to accept domestically built products, if the tech and the build quality is right. They tasked with an unforgiving task of defending the nation won't compromise.

    Reply
  13. 13

    Gagan

    Shiv,

    I must say this is a wonderfully put together report. Kudos for a very well written piece.

    So the process for the MCA / NGFA has formally begun in earnest.

    The few worrying aspects are the ones which plagued the LCA program too
    1. The Radar
    2. The Engine.

    It is sad to see that these aspects are still unresolved after so much time and money. If in 2010 we are still talking of developing single crystal blade tech and Nickel alloys, I wonder when DRDO does come up with these techs where will the most advanced engine manufacturers be?

    Good to see that the IAF wants a completely Indian AESA, I have always felt that the defence forces will be the first to accept domestically built products, if the tech and the build quality is right. They tasked with an unforgiving task of defending the nation won't compromise.

    Reply
  14. 14

    Anonymous

    Looks like the IAF has set the bar very high? It's fair to expect that there will be at least some failure (some goals will not be met). Is there a Plan B then?

    Reply
  15. 15

    the terminator

    Hi Shiv,
    A very good article indeed on the MCA/NGFA. Comments by Karthik is also worth for its insight.

    However for this project to fructify, project management goals have to be set firmly with emphasis on delivery on time.

    If inhouse relevant technology is not available, it is prudent to look for a reliable foreign partner, at least for critical technologies on a JV basis. The Saab firm have considerable expertise in the design and production of good combat aircraft. They also have access to cutting edge technology of other nations. On top of it they do not demand political milage unlike some others.

    The IAF should not only play its part as the end-user. It would be a good idea if it could second officers to co-ordinate and synergise the whole operation with the Defence Minister as the head of the whole operation. Any other lesser official from the MOD would be taken for a jolly good ride by the babooos in ADA,DRDO and HAL who have the penchant to boast but not the capacity to deliver. The LCA is a good example.

    Hope the NGFA becomes a reality within a given time frame.

    Reply
  16. 16

    yogi

    I don't see what's the point of this plane. We have 5th gen FGFA, then MRCA and LCA. That takes care of the three types that IAF needs. What exactly is this program going to serve? Also, the MMRCA is going to give us critical ToT (hopefully!!!), so this program should be done in quick double. Given that LCA is so Late I hope that MCA does not become Mahalate.

    Reply
  17. 17

    Anonymous

    Shiv,

    Would like to know more about LSP-3. What happened to Radar Integration?. Expecting a report on LSP-3.

    Reply
  18. 18

    Munish

    HAL is developing
    2 helis
    1 trainer
    1 LCA/ Naval LCA
    and now one MCA
    + FGFA

    How can they manage these many projects and complete all of them in time.

    Reply
  19. 19

    Anonymous

    Hmmm..Too large a wishlist?
    New composites and paint, new airframe design, new radar, new engine.
    Pipe dream? Sigh.

    Reply
  20. 20

    Rudra

    To Anonymous @12:25 AM

    Hey what is the revolutionary technology you are talking about? if you don't want to reveal it then its ok. But, can u give us a hint atleast. Man, its like my head is exploding from keep thinking of it. Thnx in advance.

    Reply
  21. 21

    riyaz

    hi shiv,
    nice one this time

    i have a few questions if you could answer-
    IAF and HAL has selected AL 31F 117S engine for its FGFA,choosing the same for MCA/NGFA would be more sensible as it would provide commonality with FGFA which would reduce cost of maintainence and also relying on a proven engine would not cause delay.what do u think?
    also according to u which a/c will win mmrca competition?and which engine will be chosen for Tejas mk 2?
    reply would be appreciated.

    Reply
  22. 22

    Anonymous

    "Sources say he was deeply incensed when given a brief on the Multi-mode Radar (MMR), pioneered by the Electronics Research & Development Establishment (LRDE) for the LCA Tejas programme"

    This is pure bunkum!!!! LRDE can not build airborne radars. it srewed up MMR along with HAL!!! its SV2000 supervision has no vision. dont put too glossy report before public on LRDE MMR capabilities. A clinical diagnosis always helps in identifying the disease!!!!!! By the way i am not that fu**ing buradaiah!!!!

    Reply
  23. 23

    saagnik

    chek this out……

    http://www.panoramio.com/photo/30832610

    picked the mca model out of aero-india09 and onto the skies

    Reply
  24. 24

    Anonymous

    The iaf is quick at critcising drdo but what contribution has the iaf made towards indigenisation these guys only want imported toys

    Reply
  25. 25

    Anonymous

    Nice report Shiv. Its kinda scary there is no mention of having a Plan B for the engines. What about the cup holders? Will they be from an Indian source? any plan B for them?

    Reply
  26. 26

    MRUGEN

    I Hope this bird flies early and meets all requirements and drdo gets a chance to prove that indeed they they can meet deadlines while delivering a world class product for the services.
    MCA like aircrafts will really rule the skies in decades to come and if it has low radar signature it will play a decisive role in a low intensity conflict scenario, probably with our unfriendly neighbours , where I believe the Air Force will give them a taste of their own medicine in "MCA Way".
    Jai Hind.

    Reply
  27. 27

    Zenith

    Good post Shiv….worth the waiting.

    Reply
  28. 28

    Anonymous

    ??? ???? LCA ?? ????? ???, MCA ?? ??? ?? ????. The technology base just isn't there, this is liek building castles in the air. Fix the LCA program and MCA will become easy.

    The iaf is quick at critcising drdo but what contribution has the iaf made towards indigenisation these guys only want imported toys

    Uncle ji why should IAF want to commit suicide by using typical DRDO HAL junk>? How about HAL/DRDO make items that match western counterparts in reliability and performance? In case you don't realize, IAF is not supposed to build weapons and systems, but to operate them. Why blame them for DRDO and HAL's failure?

    Reply
  29. 29

    Anonymous

    All those advocating for roping in a foreign partner should realize that we are already pursuing a 5th gen fighter program with the Russians in the FGFA. So, what is the point in initiating another 5th gen program with another foreign partner?

    The fundamental logic behind pursuing the NGFA/MCA project is to develop in house technologies and expertise in building an advanced fighter for the IAF. So, in that context the MCA/NGFA will be deemed infeasible/useless unless it incorporates 90-100% indigenous technologies. This is quite apparent from the IAF chief's attitude as well when he says that the radar should be 100% indigenous.

    I am sure the endeavor of all the parties involved in the development of the MCA/NGFA will be to make it as much Indian as possible.

    Reply
  30. 30

    Anonymous

    Our own countrymen are so great that they dont allow others to work and instead devote better part of their time criticizing others then do some thing about it.

    Reply
  31. 31

    Anonymous

    ??? Anonymous 10:46PM,
    LCA ?? ?? ???? ??. Final test flight ?? ??? ??. ???? ?? ????? ??? ??. DRDO, GTRE, LRDE ?? ??? ?? AESA radar ???? ?????. Engine ????? ??? ??? ?? ???? ?? ??? ??. ??? ?? single crystal blade ???? ?????.
    ???? ?? ????? ?????????? ?? ???? xerox ???? ???, ?? ???? ?? ??? ???? ??? ?? ??? ??? ??? ??? ?? ?? ????? ???? Africa ??? ??? ??? ???.

    Reply
  32. 32

    Anonymous

    The MCA, when it comes out, will fill the low-end/high-volume/high-flexibility part of the IAF stable, just like the LCA is planned to do over the next few years. So that's where this is positioned with respect to FGFA. Having said that, I note that:

    1. IAF is asking for too much! Don't the jokers know anything about gradually building technology / capability in the country? The larger the jump, the harder it's going to be for HAL/ADA to be successful.

    2. MCA is just in the drawing board stage, so it won't be here anytime soon. 🙁

    Reply
  33. 33

    Anonymous

    Private industry should design things if we want a quality products. Rope in TATA, Ambanis, L&T etc for this project right from the design stage and shut down DODO.

    Reply
  34. 34

    Anonymous

    The MCA is not too much of a jump from a successfully completed LCA program.
    The new additions are AESA, Stealth, electronics, engines etc.
    These are all aspects that Indian scientists and engineers are addressing now. Either through tie ups / co development / TOTs, but the tech level is getting attained.

    The LCA is 4 or 4.5 gen, the MCA can very well be a small but successful 5th gen fighter. I guess the MCA will fulfill more like the role that the LCA will play (Point defence 5th gen fighter). But clearly we need to know more about the MCA before we can comment more.

    Reply
  35. 35

    Anonymous

    those saying that pvt companies are great and will do the task on time should realize that pvt companies have such success with their current products (i.e car etc) because they can get assistance from foreign players when they want …they just add that to cost of your product ….ask them to design weapons systems…and they wont get that support…they might form a JV with that foreign company..thats a different story..

    Reply
  36. 36

    Anonymous

    Criticizing DRDO is a simple thing,what one shouldnt need to put more effort/energy for doing so.But we should put some effort/energy to take a look at what these folks in DRDO doing while spending our tax payers money.

    I do share the equal right with my other 600 million taxpayers in this country.Hence I took the pain to see whats happening behind the curtain.
    OF the most high end and strategic labs among the 52,the people you see who work there day and night with no mention of week days/week ends/festival holidays or what ever –they are getting a meagre 1/10th or 1/20th of what their counter parts outside the country are getting paid for the same or even less work.

    These few folks down here are not looking at the money they are getting paid,but they are looking at immortalizing the countries status in the known world. They are not after those high end luxuries,most of the time they had to work in a non- AC work shop while their counter parts with even less degrees and knowledge works in AC cabins and commute in a company sponsored luxury car.

    These few folks are those of high nationalist values unlike those who ran after foreign cos for few extra bucks while putting their country down.
    I would take every nut and bold designed and developed by the folks as a value added product ignoring all the rhetoric.
    I humbly request those with Indian blood to NOT criticize DRDO/BARC or any of the folks in that particular organization.
    HOw would it be DRDO mistake ,if bureacrats take money from foreign cos and manuplate the test results?

    Since you dont have guts to blame them, you always look for the scape goat? i.e DRDO?

    Fcuk this country political system.

    Reply
  37. 37

    Bower

    to Anonymous 10:59 PM

    India is not represented just by DRDO. India is also represented by Wipro, Tata, Ambanis, Infosys etc. – world class organizations with world class products. They, therefore, should have equal rights to help strengthen India's defense. So don't try to blame people who question the efficiency of an organization like DODO by labelling them unpatriotic. The aim of the defense forces is to win a war – doesn't matter it is won by local or foreign maal. In same manner, industrial aim of the country is to produce a system or systems: BOTH on time and of world class quality- doesn't matter its made by local experise or by imported one. I not only blame government but also the psych of people like you- who blindly stick to singular views on the rest of the world. Tata Nano wouldn't be possible without help from british axle makers and italian design hourses- nevertheless it is an Indian car. Boeing planes have parts made in china, India, etc. Still it is an American product.
    Coming to the salary issue- if an organization is world class; it will pay its employees world level salary: ask Tata how much they paid the desingers of Nano. The trouble is with the organization, not with its people: ADA, NAL, OFB. DRDO etc – are paper tigers – if they are open to competition, they will shut down in a short time.

    Reply
  38. 38

    Anonymous

    @ KArtik "something it lacked sorely till recently for the LCA where they were detached and simply thought of it was a tech demonstrator that would eventually die out".
    Come on – you are too quick to blame the IAF for not exerting adequate supervision ???? For Chrissake – how about holding DRDO / HAL acountable for not delivering on time as promised. The changing specs for the LCA were forced due to the unending timeline. You are happy to use Win7 and Office 2007, but want to force the IAF to stick to the equivalent of DOS and Wordstar bcos the "scientists" couldnt deliver on time?? Not fair.

    Reply
  39. 39

    Anonymous

    @ Anonymous @ 1059 pm.
    While I fully appreciate your concern for the scientists and designers at DRDO / HAL, please understand that the comparison works both ways. While it is true that they are less endowed than their compatriots in the private sector – they are far better off than their customers, the Indian Armed Forces. The average user of a DRDO product gives his backside in some godforsaken corner of the country, literally laying down his life for the rest of us. Can you blame them for wanting the best possible equipment that he can get rather than make do with substandard stuff because it is "Indian" and we need to keep on supporting the poor old scientists till they get it right. As for the work environment, I leave you with one comparison – DRDO Bhawan vs any of the service HQ. Come on….all the Rs 10/- meals, and subsidized campuses do come from the Indian taxpayer, and he's NOT getting his money's worth.

    Reply
  40. 40

    Anonymous

    while DRDO's success rate has not been what one would want to see….we have not set them easy tasks…we ask them to skip a generation when designing aircrafts…
    and for all the Tatas and Ambanis…do you think they develop every single piece of critical technology inhouse?? a lot of it is ToT…eg: Many parts of the Nano are made by Bosch!!the car was designed in Italy!!
    source:wiki

    Wipro and Infosys…their world class product is software..whose behaviour doesnt change with temperature pressure or speed!!!

    Reply
  41. 41

    Anonymous

    why again we need a 2 seater. we needs a single seat attack fighter.FGFA will be purely for air superiority. Other wise indian airforce will have no work horses

    Reply
  42. 42

    Anonymous

    Even Koreans are planning to use initially EL/M 2032 Elta AESA readymade and EL/M 2052 derived Korean made radars for their KFX 5th gen fighters. And here we have PV Naik complaining and asking for wholly home made radar instead of learning step by step.

    When 100% homegrown stuff fails to make mark, they say just get things done by collaboration etc. Now when LRDE is getting things done the collaborative way, PV Naik comes and lashes it.

    Reply
  43. 43

    Kartik

    To the Anonymous poster at 8:45 AM.

    Boss, comparing the progress on the LCA to Windows 7 and DOS is BS to be very polite. the LCA's technologies are concurrent with what is being used today on the Boeing 787 structurally and its avionics components are on par with any other 4th generation fighter. its FBW is better than any given 3rd generation fighter that had FBW in the first place. get your facts correct before criticizing the LCA project. today if there is any one reason as to why there can even be an IJT delivered on time (except for Russian engine delays) and IAF backing for the MCA, its because the LCA built up the capabilities.

    had they not gone for (in those days) futuristic technolgies, India would've built a JF-17 Bandar level fighter, basically 3rd generation, and inducted it in 1999-2000 or so.

    and then the IAF would've said "what junk DRDO produces, when we could've gone and bought the Gripen C/D instead", and then say it doesn't meet our expectations and ask for composites, FBW, internal EWS, the works. basically we'd have inducted a couple of squadrons earlier, but we'd be going through a lot of effort bringing the LCA to a technology level on par with contemporary fighters.

    oh and BTW, I don't use Windows 7, I use Vista, and it sucks. I want a reliable system with the basics covered. No need for fundoo graphics when you don't support drivers for so many softwares.

    Reply
  44. 44

    Abhiman

    In my view, the IAF must pursue the indigenous MCA only, and fully abandon the PAK-FA that it intends to purchase from Russia. This is in order to avoid wastage of money by importing a Russian fighter, and also to develop the indigenous industry.

    However, the biggest commitment by far has to come from the IAF, which has a poor record of being non-committal and lackadaisical in it's support of indigenous equipment. No matter what moralistic phrases AM Naik uses, he has to realize that the biggest commitment has to from from the IAF itself.

    It is very easy to sign a cheque, and demand specs that are gleaned from foreign brochures. The IAF must finally learn to burn the midnight oil with DRDO and show more commitment.

    Thank you.

    Reply
  45. 45

    Anonymous

    Sounds almost like the requirement for an F-22. Daunting task indeed. My best wishes to the Indian establishment to achieve this.

    Reply
  46. 47

    Jayanta Sarkar

    Is the detailed model has been designed?The model we can see in Wikipedia is official? or the vertical tailless with thrust-burners model is official?

    Reply
  47. 48

    Anonymous

    FGFA is not NOT an Indo-Russian joint venture. It is 100% Sukhoi venture. India will only be a pure buyer of this plane n will collaborate with the modifications for the IAF requirement as done in the case of MKI. So, basically it will be FGFA MKI.

    The Indian MCA project (now AMCA) is a joint Indo-Russian(MiG) project n NOT a wholly Indian endeavor as made out to be.
    Here is the Link in suuport of the above: http://www.ato.ru/content/migs-fifth-generation-fighter-builds-new-momentum

    Reply
  48. 49

    Anonymous

    The DRDO is dealing with a whimsical agency, the IAF. They would be well advised to clarify everything in advance and in writing because every new chief will come up with something new every time they open their mouth. Even a layman will notice that their statements are contradictory. At one time they say that they need an aircraft that delivers results no matter the origin of the equipment. At another time they say it should have domestic equipment. They do not mind sacrificing precious resources produced with the sweat and blood of ordinary Indians on imports but comment adversely on the money spent on domestic developments. It appears that talking loosely has become a habit for them. Their hubris may prove very costly for the country unless corrected at an early stage.

    Reply
  49. 50

    Anonymous

    DRDO should only develop products for those services which respect and trust DRDO. All else should be asked to survive on imports. Even though this advise is not in the interest of the country, there seems to be no way out while dealing with people who exhibit characteristics of neighborhood thugs.

    Reply

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