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5 Comments

  1. 1

    Siby

    Lets learn to walk first, then sprint..

    Reply
  2. 2

    Critical Thinker

    There is definitely merit in the argument that the IAF should be looking to limit the number of aircraft types in the air force. A maximum of 3 which include the Su-30MKI’s, Rafales and LCA’s (Mark 1 and 1A). This will offer many advantages mainly in terms of cost, training and maintenance burdens and agility where aircraft’s can be deployed to different theaters as and when they are required in a war scenario.

    I am also in favour of dropping the MRCA 2.0 program. Its pointless and a waste of money when an aircraft already exists in the inventory considering the IAF has now chosen to add twin engine fighters to the competition. It would be cheaper and faster to buy more Rafales with the India specific enhancements already paid for. Had this been a competition where only single engine fighters like the Gripen or the F-16 were allowed to compete then it may have been a good idea.

    I also believe the IAF should not restrict itself to only 83 Mark 1A’s. They should keep buying as many Mark 1A’s as posssible until the MWF comes online or the 42 squadron target is met, whichever comes earlier. This will enable HAL production lines to be active and help them achieve economies of scale for their vendors and sub vendors. The IAF would rather have some aircraft rather than no aircraft.

    You are correct in pointing out that many of the reasons that have been pointed against your argument are not correct. However there are a few arguments that can be made against your position. Fear of delays is certainly a good reason. You say that we should not doubt the capabilities of the scientists and engineers. On what precedent are you basing this statement on? Our scientist and engineers although capable have not been able to make any aircraft on time. This may not be their fault at all. Even if we have full faith in or scientists and engineers can we trust the services to not change the requirements. Based on lessons learned from past experience betting everything on one program does not make sense at all. Parallel programs are certainly a good idea from that perspective. To the IAF the Mark 2 represents a low risk option since it is more or less an incremental improvement to the Mark 1A.

    Another point of contention with your plan is that having an all stealth force is a very costly proposition. This is the reason the US are not replacing all their F-15’s with F-22’s. They are replacing all their other platforms with F-35’s because of the massive economies of scale their budget affords them. Despite this they are keeping the F-15’s. The US Navy is also not planning to part with the F-18 hornet anytime soon despite inducting F-35’s. Maintaining stealth aircraft is also very difficult and costly. For a country with a limited defense capital budget like India using resources wisely is imperative.

    Additionally some missions are not suitable for stealth aircraft. Normal patrolling missions can be done by more cheaper/older generation aircraft like the LCA/MWF. You dont want to use the life of your most critical stealth assets for mundane missions or missions where stealth is not required. To maintain stealth all weapons have to be stored internally. This also limits the amount of weapons that they can carry. They can carry weapons on the outside but then you would rather use your non stealthy assets for such a mission.

    You should start viewing the MWF as a natural progression of the Tejas replacing older variants like the Mark 1 and 1A rather than looking at it as a development program competing with the AMCA which is what your article sounds like.

    The IAF is large enough to hold 2 different types of aircraft for separate mission profiles. In the 2035-2040 period I hope the IAF will have a fully indigenous air force comprising of Indian made aircraft like the AMCA and the MWF only flying with Indian made weapons with Indian made sensors and electronic equipment.

    Reply
  3. 3

    G Kehr

    Totally disagree with this assessment. Yusuf is missing the wood for the trees!.
    AMCA is at least 20 years away.
    He is not factoring in skills which will be developed by manufacturing LCA and MWF.
    Learn from the Navy. Keep the manufacturing line going.

    Reply
  4. 4

    Ganesh S

    Btw how is it that f 16 adverts are being peddled here. Couldn’t you psuedo experts leave our indigenous projects alone.

    Reply
  5. 5

    Jacob

    Sir,
    Unlike how we plan ,design and manufacture aircraft, and think about engines to power them later, it might be a good idea to first identify the amount of thrust required with and without afterburners and then to identify the appropriate engine that would go into the machine with a tendency to over power rather than under power and then design the aircraft around these engines imho.

    Reply

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