Tejas Christmas For IAF?

With three limited series production airframes of the LCA Tejas now ripping it up in the skies over the IAF’s South-Western Air Command ranges in Gujarat, there’s hope that the residual initial operational clearance milestone (designated IOC-2) will be achieved before Christmas. The three aircraft will be performing all manner of weapons release, including firing the Vympel R-73 again. The aircraft will also tick off test points in nightflying, electronic warfare and sensor-weapon integration. My sources tell me the Tejas team is looking to declare IOC-2 in a time window between Dec 19-24. Here’s hoping it happens.
On November 6, Defence Minister AK Antony gave the DRDO an earful, making it amply clear that the team would get no further extensions on time and cost. And remember, after IOC-2, the IAF gets to fly the Tejas as part of routine squadron sorties. Also in the pipeline, the possible roll-out of four series production LCAs from HAL’s Bangalore facility next month. Let’s hope that lands on time too.
Lots on the Tejas over the next few weeks.

23 thoughts on “Tejas Christmas For IAF?”

  1. No more a light combat aircraft, enemies taking it lightly can do so at their own peril. Not even a single crash or mishap. Speaks volumes of Indian engineers and craftsmanship.

  2. NSR says – No crashes in so many flights is really incredible. If IOC-2 is successful, then MoD, IAF, and HAL should sit together and discuss about TejasI and Rafale. It is not worth spending $15 to 30 billlions on Rafale without 100% TOT. I think we should spend couple of billions on TejasII on a war footing and build a fighter bomber that is our own. Then upgrade it in tranches by collaborating with foreigh companies on individual subsystems. Give some $$ to GE to get complete TOT of F-414INS6 and then improve it for AMCA. India will be in good position.

  3. I have now retired and little out of touch with latest technology but the basics are still very strong and as per my calculations the air intakes of Tejas MK2 have to be 12% larger than Gripen NG. IOC 2 would be a landmark achievement and as soon IAF gets the limited series planes their anger would cool down.There are always delays in technology of that complexity.I feel the air intakes of limited series planes be also enlarged. I feel only 20 planes be build in MK1 configuration and quickly build and test MK2 and start a computerized assembly line. Develop a technology park where each and every component of the plane be built most ingenuously and some under licence so that there is a reliable suppliers line. I had suggested some suggestions to improve the MK2 and please follow those instructions and the program would benefit. Develop within a year MK3 the twin engined version which should have a flatter and wider front and air intakes infero laterally like rafale with levicons and back like YF 23 with engines separated and internal weapons bay in the center behind the cockpit.To me YF 23 was the best designed plane ever and had its own advantages over YF 22.MK 3 would have delta wing instead of diamond wing.The combined rudder elevator and the heat absorbing tiles and the aerodynamic design made the YF 23 a very unique plane and perhaps one of the best designs ever.This would help the plane to fly at great hights with very minimal heat signatures. The front can have a large AESA radar that can fry the radar of enemy planes.China has no help from others and have no choice but to develop the technology themselves and they keep on experimenting and further up they improve their products. ISRO was denied the technology and they developed everything on their own. This buying of technology from outside kills home made projects and keeps the dependence on outside technology.The suppliers like dassault are exploiting this situation. I feel sorry for ADA senior scientists that they are not given pension.I feel they should be rewarded for their services. I would pay new engineers an exceptional salary to hire as it is investment for the future with very honest and strict selection process be implemented and no scope for job reservation. You delver if not leave the job but the salary must be attractive and extraordinary as only monkeys get attracted to peanuts.


  4. Thanks for the update Shiv.
    The Tejas will be an asset to the IAF when it achieves IOC, of that there is no doubt. IOC, of course, means IOC, not some piece of paper which claims "all izz well".
    Two small quibbles :
    1. Anthony giving the DRDO an earful, making it clear that they would get no further extensions is a classic example of shifting the goalposts. The issue is not that DRDO / ADA are negligent in execution or effort – the working level scientists and engineers are slogging at full capacity. The issue is simply one of programme management. Instead of a professional process to generate a realistic timeline, the ADA senior management continue to pull dates / timeslines out of areas of their anatomy where the sun doesn't shine. The results are there for all to see – from NP1 to the trainer to IOC..all timelines are generated on a fire fighting basis – meeting to meeting – milestone to milestone. St Anthony can keep insisting that timelines are met.. in actual fact they cannot, simply because they have been generated based on their assessment of what he wants to hear, and not what is achievable. One of two things can happen – the SA will once again go to him hat in hand begging for forgiveness and swearing on his unborn grandchildren for one last final ultimate never-again shift of the milestone…or more likely, DRDO, ADA , CEMILAC and the IAF will collude to create one more ceremony with signing of more meaningless papers, St Anto will go home satisfied and focus on how to rescue Rahul Baba from the upcoming debacle, and operational fighter pilots will still not get to fly the bird for some time to come.
    The second issue of course, is your hope for four SPs next month. What are you smoking??? Unless of course you means a NP1 style rollout – borrowed undercarriage, smoke and mirrors, a flag waving partiotic HAL worker in the cockpit, and a first flight 21 months later, only a year and a quarter after the date promised by the ADA boss on the occasion.
    IF Anto wants to get a grip, he needs to ask someone to get into nittly gritties of a comprehensive timeline, keeping in mind that limited resources are being shared by LCA/NLCA/AURA/IJT/AMCA, with each generating independent unlinked timelines. Thereafter he should ask for one overall realistic timeline, and start axing people from the top down if promises are not kept.

    My two annas

  5. Really flabbergasted that there are Indians in government/MOD/IAF who would spend $15 to 20 or 30 billions on 126 Rafale but would not spend few billions and some extra time to get this fighter/bomber right. No one will give this kind of technology for free and other countries have had worse problems. Even F-35 have so many issues. There is a great danger that accelerated testing in few weeks may crash one and derail the whole project. So all of us, LCA/Tejas enthusiasts, have to pray GOD for his grace on this really wonderful looking and excellent fighter/Bomber. Good luck to HAL, ADA, and hard working project team. They must pay them pension – it is too cheap not to.

  6. Earfuls do not work even in military if unjustified/unfair. Will they ever work in Mil-Ind? Yeah, they will if the sun starts rising in the west just because some mantri huffs and puffs.

  7. Godspeed to Dr. Avinash Chander, the current DRDO Chief. Given DRDO's hard-work, Tejas Mk-1 shall indeed achieve IoC-II by December.

    The priority of DRDO should be to thrust down Tejas Mk1 down IAF's throat at any cost.

    The IoC-II can also be given with say, "95% parameters met", and for the remaining 5%, IAF's inputs can decide the remaining clearance.

    Let the IAF also get a taste of development practices along the globe. Keyword being "Tranche development".

  8. NSR says –
    "Defence Minister AK Antony gave the DRDO an earful"

    Wow, if the fish dies it stinks from the head first ( a proverb)…
    I do not know if any one remembers a daring king named Tipu Sultan.
    He is the first one who built missiles and terrorized the British Army…
    So he built missiles long before any could do that and he is in front of the development, deployment, fight,…
    It is the fiduciary responsibility of DM Antony to lead the effort by bringing together Chief Scientist, Service chiefs, DRDO, HAL, etc together and admonish everyone to work together to make it one of the best fighter bomber ever by solving together all the obstacles…
    Just by getting on some people would not do anything as India never had defense capabilities of any kind to bank on…
    So DRDO/HAL/IAF/MoD, please work together as no one give that technology for free even if we beg…
    Hope that people in these area reads and understands the severity of problems in developing a fighter bomber for the first time and work together for Bharat Mata…

  9. Dear Abhiman,
    "thrust Tejas Mk1 down IAF's throat at any cost" .
    Any cost? Unsafe platform in peace and unfit for war is okay for you? I'm guessing you have never needed to put your life in somebody else's hands just so that he could plug his system "at any cost".
    What you probably don't know or realise is that the IAF supports the Tejas – of that there is no question, notwithstanding what some of the ill-informed conspiracy seeking hyper jingoes on the net seem to think. Defence of the realm is a serious business, and much as you seem to know it all from the perspective of your cosy armchair, myriad babus and soldiers who are actually tasked with delivering the goods do know what they are doing. The IAF cannot "just refuse" to accept the LCA for their own machievallian needs, nor can it be thrust down their throats to soothe the ego of Avinash Chander or whoever.
    The priority of DRDO should be to understand the battlespace of the future and innovate to deliver the best possible product to the guy who is putting his life on the line for us all.
    You insist on the best possible value for money for your car, cellphone, laptop and will not hesitate to check every tomato you buy to ensure that you don't get one with a keeda in it, but a three / four star who is responsible for the lives of his subordinates in the short term and the very existence of the country in the bigger picture is vilified for daring to ask for the best or at least correctly functioning equipment for his boys?
    Uninformed Armchair philosophy to demonstrate ignorance for effect is great, but keep it for your addas and drawing rooms –
    Lastly, I would suggest you research development practices around he world before shooting off – the issue is not that the IAF needs to be educated by you on the same, but there are stark differences between our DRDO and PSUs and best practices elsewhere. It is not the people, our scientists and engineers, especially at the junior level are as intelligent , hardworking and dedicated if not more as their counterparts elsewhere. The problem lies in programme management and accountability at the higher levels, both of which are almost non-existent. As long as that continues, the yawning gap between the specs/timeline and reality will continue, and so will the the trust deficit between developer and soldier.

  10. @ Abhiman
    I am the IAF pilot that engaged you on a similar post on this very blog dated 21 may 12, titled 6 tejas sqn by 2022. There we argued that the tall claims made by hal/drdo on tejas induction by 2012 are unattainable, you disagreed. we are now 40 days away from 2014. We saw the Tejas at jamnagar, beautiful bird but far from induction. My riposte on your comments follows.
    "Godspeed to Dr. Avinash Chander, the current DRDO Chief. Given DRDO's hard-work, Tejas Mk-1 shall indeed achieve IoC-II by December."
    All the best, but looks less likely. Weapon release has some serious gltches.

    "The priority of DRDO should be to thrust down Tejas Mk1 down IAF's throat at any cost."
    Oh really "thrust down", now that would be painful. We'll see.

    "The IoC-II can also be given with say, "95% parameters met", and for the remaining 5%, IAF's inputs can decide the remaining clearance."

    Who do you think is doing IOC trials. The TPs from IAF are already involved. A cell in ASTE is monitoring/supporting these trials 24 x 7. The IOC II is 60 % of what IAF wants, you want it to be diluted further.

    "Let the IAF also get a taste of development practices along the globe."
    I agree

    "Keyword being "Tranche development".
    The current pgm is already tranche, IOC 1 IOC 2 FOC LCA Mk 1 LCA mk2 MCA AMCA.

  11. Anonymous @2:43. It is this very "holier than thou" attitude of the armed forces, that you so eloquently spell out in your post — that must be firmly addressed.

    The armed forces have always gotten off the hook of any scrutiny, or even any doubt on the premise that since they are the defenders with their lives on the line, therefore they must know best. Add to it, the near demi-god status accorded to them by the public, and the media and they became Holy Cows.

    While we all have respect for the jawans gaurding us, procurement decisions must be (and should be) questioned whenever there is even the slightest of doubt. Besides, these decisions have a direct bearing on the lives of the personnel, as well as on national security.

    1) It is your flawed assumption that Tejas is "unsafe" in peace. It has had over 2395 flawless test-flights endorsed by IAF an IN test pilots themselves.

    In contrast, this very IAF invited the makers of Gripen-C/D for the MMRCA gamble just 2 years ago. This jet has crashed atleast 2 times during its testing, and atleast once in active service. Had it been selected, what guarantees would IAF wrestled out of SAAB about its safety ?

    2) The three or four star general makes do with faulty T-90 tanks, whose barrel exploded killing 3 soldiers once (per CNN-IBN). Whose thermal-imagers routinely conked out in the Thar Desert's heat (till 2010 atleast). Which need air-conditioning that reduces its battery power and overall endurance. And a host of other issues that don't leave the Jawans manning it any safer.

    Contrast this with an Arjun that can withstand a point-blank hit from a T-90. Whose thermal imagers were perfected 5 years ago. Which is faster and more maneuverable than the T-90, and which can fire more accurately. Has a better BMS system. And doesn't need any air-conditioning. And is much cheaper too.

    The 5-star generals criminally induct more T-90s post-2008, whereas ask for an Arjun Mk-2 with an even higher bar to jump.

    What do you call this, if not something bordering on treason ?

    3) The IAF flies MiGs literally, "Ram bharose". Any time a fuel pipeline may snap, an engine may flameout or some spare-part may fly off its rails.

    Contrast this to a Tejas that can take on CAS and ground strike duties even today. Its smooth Fly-by-wire will protect pilots from any inadvertent mistakes they may make.

    But No ! IAF will fly Soviet MiGs for many more years, but will insist that a Tejas have next generation survivability and maneuverability of a Spitfire !

    Nowhere in the world is a fighter built to perfection ESPECIALLY IN THE FIRST ATTEMPT. Cases in point :

    a) The F-16, inducted just 4 years after debut flight. Later improvements have come about in tranches over the past 40 years.

    b) The Eurofighter. When inducted, it couldn't do A2A ! That came in later tranches too.

    c) Our next door neighbor, the JF-17. Inducted in just 6 or 7 years after first flight, though I strongly believe they have given it just some basic certification.

    Yet, the PAF enthusiastically begun replacing J-7 and Mirages with JF-17. It flies routine sorties and is based across India-facing air bases.

    And what does IAF do ? It wants AoA of Tejas to be 26.578 degrees and Lightning tests done under tsunami thunderstorms. Till then NO IOC-2.2.4 !

    After hat, it shall be based at Sulur, Tamil Nadu so that it can keep an eye on resurrections of LTTE's Prabhakaran.

  12. Abhiman thats what you did last time. When you lose an argument you make a strawman and than go about destroying it. Where in my post did I say that-
    LCA is unsafe.
    When did I say that procurement decisions should not be questioned. where did I say that Gripen is the right choice for IAF.
    I also have no disagreement with your fight with ficticious 5 star generals of army.
    In a very narrow precise sense I made a point that HAL, DRDO should stop making promises that they can not keep.
    Well I know sinse you can not answer that, you would launch a tirade against the forces, diffusing the discussion. Go ahead do that. Its not going to change the things on ground

  13. Abhiman,
    You seem to be motivated from national interest, but unfortunately you have no facts, but only hearsay and internet sensationalism. I am not in a position to address your issues on this forum since the rules do not permit it. If you can put up an email id we can take this further.
    Anon @ 2.43
    P.S. Anon @ 10.41, I think he was reversing offensively for me, not you 🙂

  14. Anonymous @9:48. Its not about "promises that can't be kept". Its rather about "asking for the moon, purposely changing goalposts (so that DRDO falters) and then pitching for imports". Period.

    That's why I gave the Arjun example, and that's exactly what's happening with Tejas.


    To Mr. Pilot @10:41 AM.

    As of 2011, Tejas could fire precision-guided munitions. So, even at that time it could have been inducted as a replacement for MiG-27s and MiG-23s atleast, if not the MiG-21.

    This would not be too different from Typhoon, which was just an air-defence fighter when initially inducted (and even pitched to Singapore for export!).
    A2G capability, some other crucial features came later.

    The question is, why can't IAF show such flexibility ? Does each and every ability have to be checked ? Can't that wait for the next tranche ?

    Be it Typhoon or Pak's JF-17, pragmatism is shown globally. Except by IAF.

    I think as many parameters of IoC should be ticked and the remainder can be attained by IAF's inputs later on. (I think the remainder shall be incorporated in Mk.2 version, with a bigger engine).

  15. @ abhiman. a) You sound like the Tata customers who allowed Tata to experiment on us from Indica 1 till the latest model. Millions of Indians didnt fall for it. You want to repeat that on a 30 billion dollar scale???? you mst be kidding.
    b) exactly how many sorties would you let your son fly on a non ops aircraft?
    c) what makes you think that the Mig-21 was the IAFs choice of ac? The ac is still in service because the DRDO/ADA failed to deliver in time.When your mum cant make food, you gotta go to a hotel kiddo.
    d) The F-16 programme was developed in time ( check your sources)
    e) Generals dont shift goalposts. They recommend. The MoD oversees all decisions. Financial powers to buy tanks and planes and such rest with the Govt and not the generals.
    f) Your posts border on slander. Please cook some meals in the kitchen before commenting on the food, the cooks etc.
    g) stop cursing the indian cricket team if you dont play even gully cricket.
    h) Micromax aur Galaxy Note 3 ya Iphone mein farak nahi hai kya? Bewakoof jaise post karta hai.

  16. Anonymous 6:09 PM,

    Really ??? This is your answer to Abhiman's arguments?? He has argued forcefully and with concrete arguments, but you declare that he has no basis to analyse, as he neither has any flying experience nor any aviation engineering background??

    Agreed, that there were and are chinks in LCA which ADA is trying to fix. A better approach would be enumerating its weaknesses as well as strengths. But unfortunately all you guys are interested in is tearing it down,all the time.

    This is the typical problem with this breed of tongue-tied, brain-tied and logically-handicapped fauji Jurnails and Karnails.They weave stories around concrete arguments, show their superiority by thumping their chest and come out as total stupids.Come on !!! Wake up and see the sunshine…

  17. One has been "tricked " by ADA promises so often in the past that one is inclined even at this late stage to look for the worms in the woodwork. What we will get on 20th of December can be anything from hell to breakfast.

    For such "cynicism" ADA management,and if I may mention it,particularly that in the past Century, are to blame.ADA, by its arrogance and "cleverness" systematically created its detractors.It then reaped it consequences.

    Let us not celebrate. It has been a painful birth and the overwhelming feeling must be one of relief rather than Triumph.The instances of sheer stupid Management decisions are too many to recount despite glib arguments and rewriting of History by paid journos may wish one to believe.
    What we may expect to get on 20th will be a Handling Flight.

    The SA's comment about production rates causes concern about re-equipping the MiG 21 squadrons which was the Raison de etre of the entire picnic .

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