Fork in the road to defence ties

In the past several years India has dashed headlong into military acquisitions without thinking through their implications. This is par for the course for the Indian government wedded to ad hoc policies and decisions concerning the most serious aspects of national life and security. But there are costs and consequences of what amounts to a casual approach to foreign and military policies.

That a country’s military supply relationship pre-determines its foreign policy may be a commonsense observation but it has, by and large, escaped the Indian establishment. The Soviet Union understood it early. The United States has come to this realisation lately, and is making up for lost time with a full-court press. Inclined to please Washington, the Congress-led UPA government has implemented a host of acquisition decisions – as much military as political in nature – with minimum thought.

Post-1962 debacle, Moscow offered India the supersonic MiG-21 fighter aircraft at a time when the Lyndon Johnson administration turned down India’s request for the F-104 Starfighter, offering the subsonic F-6 instead. Then when the Russians sweetened the MiG-21 deal with licensed production, Washington hummed and hawed and finally offered a limited number of F-104Gs. From the mid-60s to around 1990 – the apogee of our military hardware dependence on the Soviet Union when it met 90 per cent of the Army’s, 85 per cent of the Air Force’s, and 80 per cent of the Navy’s needs — India followed generally Moscow-friendly policies and was perceived as a Russian client state, our nonalignment protestations fooling nobody. The dependence did not diminish even as the Soviet Union fell apart, with India returning the favor by keeping the defence industry – the smaller, less powerful Russia’s only major surviving asset — afloat with a continuing spate of orders.

Looking at how Russia had worked India, Washington woke up in the Reagan era and sought to replicate the success Moscow had obtained. Defence secretary Caspar Weinberger arrived in India in 1984 offering, according to one of his advisers, Michael Pillsbury, “whatever India wanted”. It took the United States another 30 years to clear its mind and enter the game.

With the Manmohan Singh government accepting the nuclear deal on American terms, the way was cleared for instant rapprochement with the US. For Washington, however, India’s purchasing big-ticket American defence items was the necessary proof of good faith. Except, the IAF rejected the American F-16s and F-18s in the Medium-range Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) sweepstakes because, quite simply, these were late Sixties-early Seventies vintage fighter planes and worse, were outfitted with the less capable Raytheon APG-79 AESA (active electronically scanned array) radar rather than the more modern Northrop-Grumman APG-81 radar. The offer revealed the American tendency to pass obsolescing aviation technology.

With a view to keeping Washington interested, the Manmohan Singh regime approved a rash of “off the shelf” acquisitions of American hardware worth some $10 billion with no offsets requirements —  artillery fire locating radars, C-17 and C-130J transport planes, P-8I maritime reconnaissance aircraft, and M-4777 light howitzers. Still Washington bitched about the lost MMRCA deal. All this while Russia looked on as India changed horses mid-stream. The old horse that had pulled the Indian military wagon for nearly 50 years was being sidelined.

India’s relationship with the Soviet Union is a fairly unique one restricted not just to arms sales. Russian scientists and engineers have rendered seminal expert assistance to some of the most sensitive Indian high-technology projects with a minimum of fuss and almost no publicity. Thus, while Indian nuclear scientists are world leaders in pressurised natural uranium reactors, they had little experience of designing and producing small and compact pressurised highly-enriched uranium reactors to power nuclear submarines. The Russians stepped in and, voila! India has the Arihant-class nuclear submarine. A large number of even more secret collaborations can be cited. They have, time and again, helped save the Indian strategic goose from being cooked.

But with the Navy selecting the American Sikorsky SH-60R Seahawk helicopter for seaborne tactical operations and wanting it to be armed with the Indo-Russian Brahmos supersonic cruise missile – the only one of its kind in the world – the situation may reach flashpoint. To integrate this missile into the Seahawk platform will require India, which has developed the flight control and guidance avionics, and Russia the powerful scramjet engine, to share highly classified information about the missile’s innards with Sikorsky. Both DRDO and NPO Machinostroiyenia, the Russian Company in the Brahmos joint venture, will be reluctant to part with secrets-qua-proprietary information, especially because, in the circumstances, there will be no practical way to protect it.

The Indian government believes Russia doesn’t mind the new Indian policy of “diversifying” defence supplies, and if it does, can lump it. But with China, unlike India, having ingested Russian hardware technology and peddling Russian knock-offs at cheap prices to the world, Moscow has no other cash-rich customer to turn to. Whence Moscow has upped the ante with the visiting deputy prime minister, Dmitry Rogozin, offering more modern weapons co-development ventures of the Brahmos kind that the US will be disinclined to match. Putin, meanwhile, will soon be in Pakistan tweaking the situation some more. For starters, he is expected to announce a deal in the works since 2007, among other things, for the Klimov RD-93 jet engines for the Pakistan Air Force’s fleet of Chinese-built JF-17s.

Implicit in the diversification policy is the view that the country has reached a technology threshold where it can do without Russian “consultants”. One can only hope that this confidence is borne out because America is unlikely to transfer any critical technology or render help of the sort the Russians routinely have for cutting-edge DRDO projects. Combine this with the hopeless defence PSUs, the Indian government’s reluctance to implement the “buy Indian, make Indian” policy involving the Indian private sector owing to the politicians’ unwillingness to give up the petty benefits of PSU patronage and “commissions” from armament deals — defence minister A.K. Antony’s puerile efforts at stanching corruption notwithstanding, and the country may soon find itself up a creek.

[Published ‘July 20, 2012 in the ‘Ásian Age’ at www.asianage.com/columnists/fork-road-defence-ties-798 and in the Deccan Chronicle at www.deccanchronicle.com/columnists/bharat-karnad/fork-road-defence-ties]

About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
This entry was posted in Asian geopolitics, China, Defence Industry, Geopolitics, Great Power imperatives, India's China Policy, India's Pakistan Policy, India's strategic thinking and policy, Indian Air Force, Indian Army, Indian Navy, Military Acquisitions, Missiles, Pakistan, Pakistan military, Relations with Russia, United States. Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Fork in the road to defence ties

  1. Shalesh jain says:

    One doesn’t drown who taught us to swim…sir, you have brought out a complete insight of the GOI’s fickle-minded policies…Instead of these pro western policies, govt should solely concentrate on indigenous development of weapon platforms with the help of inputs from old friend–Russia …what they have given us and are willing to give is improbable for any other nation…..late spare supplies can be mended but they are much better than intrusive pacts and arms embargo…may the good sense prevail

  2. Ravi says:

    A superb article bluntly stating the facts. Despite many hurdles, India and Russia are becoming partners (BrahMos, FGFA, and numerous other projects whose status you have stated above), and are gradually deviating from the client-vendor relationship of the past. The US will never make India a partner in the true sense. It wants India as a glorified “rent boy” (especially given that Pakistan is getting out of control). Though the Indian media (which is controlled by MNC’s and other entities whose agenda isn’t exactly pro-Indian or even neutral), the US will pander to the Indian inferiority complex and lack of self-esteem by dropping bogus and opaque terms like “strategic partnership”, a relation I am still to fathom between India and the US. Defense deals with the US can easily come under sanctions, even without cause or reason and at any time, by a bill moved by some hick Senator or Congressman. The US is a valuable trading partner (though this issue of outsourcing and FDI in the retail sector is clearly not in India’s interest), with whom India should have a friendly relationship. The sticking point is that the Indians cannot seem to differentiate between friendship and shameless servility when dealing with Caucasians. The C-130 and perhaps even the P-8I and the C-17 are great buys. However, extreme caution should be exercised when having defense dealings with the US, and permitting US companies to integrate Indian components and systems into US defense systems bought by India.

    • Ravi says:

      CORRECTED POSTING
      ——————————–

      A superb article bluntly stating the facts. Despite many hurdles, India and Russia are becoming partners (BrahMos, FGFA, and numerous other projects whose status you have stated above), and are gradually deviating from the client-vendor relationship of the past. The US will never make India a partner in the true sense. It wants India as a glorified “rent boy”, especially given that Pakistan is getting out of control.

      Through the Indian media (which is controlled by MNC’s and other entities whose agenda isn’t exactly pro-Indian or even neutral), and statements made by US officials, the US will pander to the Indian inferiority complex and lack of self-esteem by dropping bogus and opaque terms like “Indo-US strategic partnership”, the exact meaning I am still to fathom.

      Defense items procured from the US can easily come under sanctions, even without cause or reason and at any time, by a bill moved by some hick Senator or Congressman. The US is a valuable trading partner, with whom India should have a friendly relationship (though the issue of outsourcing and FDI in the retail sector is clearly not in India’s interest).

      The sticking point is that the Indians cannot seem to differentiate between friendship and shameless servility when dealing with Caucasians (those from the West being at the top of the pecking order). The US wants India to change an act of Parliament like the nuclear liability matter. However, the US cites the “sanctity” of the India-specific Hyde act when responding to Indian requests to honor the Indo-US nuclear deal. The C-130 and perhaps even the P-8I and the C-17 are great buys. However, extreme caution should be exercised when having defense dealings with the US, and permitting US companies to integrate Indian components and systems into US defense systems bought by India.

  3. satyaki says:

    Bharat Sir,

    Isn’t it true that in spite of the “pro-US” elements around, our mil-tech links with Russia will far outweigh any such links with the US ? For example, wouldn’t we be paying heftily for the “consultancy” that we get in our mil-tech programs?

    Also, we do have cooperation programs like FGFA, Brahmos-2 etc with Russia that far outweigh anything that we shall have with the U.S. in the foreseeable future.

    Regarding the Sikorsky deal, weaponizing Sikorskys with Brahmos is less important than preserving the sanctity of the proprietary info. held by DRDO and NPO Mash. Hope the Navy understands this even if the pol. powers that be do not.

    Finally, are programs like Agni 4/5 self sufficient in the sense of being independent of any foreign consultancy ? I expect that this is so at least for our land based ballistic missile systems…

    • We do pay the Russians ‘heftily’ for “çonsultancy” in critical projects, but that’s because it is unavailable for love or money elsewhere Our land-based missiles are entirely and truly indigenous, however.

      • Ravi says:

        India is the only country which has built an SSBN, without having the experience of designing and building its own conventional submarine. This level of technology, which is not available for love or money, could never have been possible without the Russians. While the Arihant is on the verge of commencing sea trials and the construction on the second SSBN has commenced. In contrast, one need only look at the state of the Scorpene program. WRT the US, they will not only never provide cutting edge or strategic technology transfer to the Indians, the’ll try their best to ensure that India never obtains them from elsewhere or develops them indigenously.

  4. Ravi says:

    From:

    http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-07-19/india/32746566_1_maria-neacsu-mod-officials-c-edmonds-allen

    “Anca Maria Neacsu, the Romanian wife of alleged arms-dealer Abhishek Verma, was apparently hobnobbing with politicians and top bureaucrats on a regular basis before she and her husband were arrested by CBI in June.

    It has now emerged that Anca met MoS for defence M M Pallam Raju, defence production secretary Shekhar Agarwal and director-general of defence acquisitions Vivek Rae, one after the other in South Block, on December 7, 2011.”.

    Now, it has been claimed that all the IAF’s project plans and other critical information may have been compromised:

    “http://www.indianexpress.com/news/express-exclusive-air-force-plans-projects-leaked/977444/”

    The incompetence of the Indian external intelligence and counter-intelligence agencies is appalling (recall the Rabinder Singh case, where many of the intelligence officers who may have abetted in some way to his treason and defection still remain in service). Under the watch of the UPA regime Indian security and sovereignty has been mortgaged like never ever before. Politicians, bureaucrats, senior defense services officers, and the media have ensured that Indian defense systems like the LCA, Arjun, Nag (to name only a few), are throttled, staved of funds, and it’s personnel demoralized. Equivalent and many a time far inferior foreign systems are procured at a speed that boggles the mind. I for one wouldn’t be surprised if the Indian Army came up with a fresh list of demands that the Arjun tank (which out-shot the much touted Russian T-90 tank during trials) also have the capability of flying.

    Any self-respecting air force would have inducted the LCA and done the modifications and enhancements while the a/c was in squadron service. Even in its present stage, the LCA is certainly better than the Mig-21 M/MF (a gross understatement), which the IAF still possesses 4-5 squadrons of. For a jet fighter of the class of the LCA (whose fly-by-wire control system is among the best in the world), having approximately 2000 hrs. of accident free flying time is to the best of my knowledge unparalleled. Still its fate hangs in the balance.

    The Russians are not and were never angels. However the UPA regimes proximity and then slavery to the West has exposed the “coolie complex” of the Indians to the fullest possible extent. The fault solely lies with the Indians for having no moral compass, no credible value system, and totally lacking in honest introspection!

  5. satyaki says:

    Bharat Sir,

    Is there a danger that this consultancy pipeline will stop in the next few years ? We still remain a big cash cow for Russia’s mil-ind complex through FGFA, etc…though our stand on issues like Syria, etc (unfortunately) follows the West’s line…

    This political divergence is why I sometimes worry that Russia’s support may shift from us to Pakistan…though the fact is that Pakistan can never be as big a cash cow for Russia as us (unless financially backed by Saudi, etc..)

  6. No, realistically, there is no chance of the Russians switching over to Pakistan. But Moscow is in a position seriously to discomfit us by channeling miltech but short of diseupting relations with India.

    • Ravi says:

      Putin’s first visit after resuming office as President is to Pakistan. That is a “shot across the bows” directed towards India, and a warning signal to have a balanced foreign and defense policy.

      There’s an old saying “beware of what you wish for because you may actually get it”. For decades, many Indians have craved for close relationship with the US. Now they have it (naturally on US terms). The Indians might well come to deeply regret many of their thoughtless actions committed in their ecstasy.

      For example, read which party/family Abhishek Verma (the focal point of all the recent disclosures of treason, fraud, and money laundering) is closely affiliated to, the location of the HQ of his “non-profit” organization Verma Foundation, and the identity of a prominent long time patron of Verma Foundation in his biography at:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Abhishek_Verma23

  7. satyaki says:

    Bharat Sir,

    1. Regarding Russian “consultancy”, do you foresee it continuing for the next several years even if this blundering UPA or its variants end up in power at the center (of course, MMS won’t be there after 2014)…?

    2. What kind of miltech is Russia likely to pass to Pak ? engines for JF-17 type of thing or Su-30/35, nuclear sub/SLBM type of things ? The latter would probably no longer be short of disrupting relations with India….

    3. Is this current pro-US imbalance due to MMS or is its source the “dynasty “? This may be related to qn. 1…

  8. As I said, Russian expert help in critical projects will continue. No, it is unlikely Russia will go to the extent of onpassing N-sub tech to Pakistan. But, yes, Pakistan may secure other conventional mil hardware, like the RD-93 engine. The tilt to the US is MMS’ originally to which the Indian policy estblishment is increasingly open.

  9. satyaki says:

    Bharat Sir,

    Thanx for ur reply. Regarding Syria, isn’t what is happening worrying ? The so called “international community” is openly legitimizing terrorist violence in the name of ‘freedom’,”democracy”, etc…this violence is directly supported by sunni islamist elements and regimes…

    Shouldn’t we have stood with Russia and China on this issue instead of blindly following the wets ? What if a similar “uprising” complete with propaganda by the “international community” is launched by those supporting “azaadi’ in the Kashmir Valley ? Will we once again muster the will to put it down like we did around in the 1990s ?

  10. Ravi says:

    The “loyal” media is doing its bit too. IBN7, a part of CNN-IBN, re-touched photograph of the terrorist Abu Hamza (of 26/11 infamy) photo to show him wearing a saffron shirt:

    I have no political affiliations or preferences because I believe that across the board, Indian politics is a cesspool. However, from a purely objective viewpoint, this is clearly a case of mind control by the Indian media.

  11. Joydeep Ghosh says:

    @Bharat Sir
    http://zeenews.india.com/news/nation/should-uk-keep-indian-silver-worth-rs-210-cr_789649.html

    do you expect that the 44 tons of silver that were on SS Gairsoppa to come back to India, who are its rightful owners

    • Ravi says:

      It should since it was stolen from India. But do you seriously think that the GoI has the stuff the call the British Govt. out on the mat?

      • Ravi says:

        Do you recall the Quisling MMS has gone on record that the British colonial rule in India was one of the most glorious chapters in Indian history? So, he has tacitly endorsed the Jalianwallah Bagh incident, the “engineered” Bengal famine, and numerous other barnaric crimes against humanity committed by the British in India.

  12. shalesh jain says:

    @ravi …., “he(MMS) has tacitly endorsed the Jalianwallah Bagh incident, the “engineered” Bengal famine, and numerous other barbaric crimes against humanity committed by the British in India”……can u provide a link or a verifiable proof to support of your allegation??

    • Ravi says:

      @shailesh jain, my comments were an implicaton of MMS’s speech at Oxford in 2005::

      http://www.hindu.com/nic/0046/pmspeech.htm

      “Today, with the balance and perspective offered by the passage of time and the benefit of hindsight, it is possible for an Indian Prime Minister to assert that India’s experience with Britain had its beneficial consequences too. Our notions of the rule of law, of a Constitutional government, of a free press, of a professional civil service, of modern universities and research laboratories have all been fashioned in the crucible where an age old civilization met the dominant Empire of the day. These are all elements which we still value and cherish. Our judiciary, our legal system, our bureaucracy and our police are all great institutions, derived from British-Indian administration and they have served the country well.”

      What rule of law and judicial system came into play when Brigadier-General Reginald E.H. Dyer went scott free after Jallianwalla Bagh, and was held up as a hero by many if not most segments of British society for a crime which would rival any atrocity committed by the Nazi’s? What rule of law and judicial system held Churchill and the British government responsible for the Bengal famine in 1943, see:

      http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2031992,00.html

      wherein it is stated very explicitly:

      “In 1943, some 3 million brown-skinned subjects of the Raj died in the Bengal famine, one of history’s worst. Mukerjee delves into official documents and oral accounts of survivors to paint a horrifying portrait of how Churchill, as part of the Western war effort, ordered the diversion of food from starving Indians to already well-supplied British soldiers and stockpiles in Britain and elsewhere in Europe, including Greece and Yugoslavia. And he did so with a churlishness that cannot be excused on grounds of policy: Churchill’s only response to a telegram from the government in Delhi about people perishing in the famine was to ask why Gandhi hadn’t died yet.

      British imperialism had long justified itself with the pretense that it was conducted for the benefit of the governed. Churchill’s conduct in the summer and fall of 1943 gave the lie to this myth. “I hate Indians,” he told the Secretary of State for India, Leopold Amery. “They are a beastly people with a beastly religion.” The famine was their own fault, he declared at a war-cabinet meeting, for “breeding like rabbits.”………………..”.

      MMS’s views directly contradict Gandhi’s immortal speech during the Ahmedabad treason trial see:

      http://www.indiavideo.org/text/gandhi-speech-in-the-court-368.php

      wherein he stated:

      ……” “I have no personal ill-will against any single administrator much less can I have any disaffection towards the King’s person. But I hold it a virtue to be disaffected towards a government which in its totality has done more harm to India than any previous system. India is less manly under British rule than ever before. Holding such a belief I consider it a sin to have any affection for the system…The only course open to you, the judge, is either to resign your post and thus dissociate yourself from evil, if you feel that the law you are called upon to administer is an evil and that in reality I am innocent; or to inflict on me the severest penalty if you believe that the system and the law you are assisting to administer are good for the people of this country, and that my activity is therefore, injurious to the public weal.”.

      I hope this post of mine answers your questions and gives you some food for thought!

  13. satyaki says:

    @ravi and @Bharat Karnad: one of my friends from undergraduate days keeps saying to this day that media space may be even more important than physical territory. IMHO this is a very perceptive comment….

    Can nationalistic/conservative forces gain a good share of the media space in the near future in the midst of the prevailing environment ? I do not, of course, count hostile coverage as our media space. From my viewpoint of the media domain, such coverage is part of “dushman ka zameen”….

    A supportive platform for wide dissemination of conservative/nationalist views is of paramount importance…

    • Ravi says:

      @satyaki: Media and cyberspace are the new battle grounds, which are as important as air/land/sea warfare. One must “thank” the Vajpayee government for opening up the Indian media to FDI, which destroyed the fabric of the fourth estate. There’s an interesting article on how to destroy a Nation which is worth studying and drawing parallels to the situation in India:

      http://mddall.com/sbss/1103.htm

  14. satyaki says:

    @Ravi: indeed an interesting article, and indeed true that FDI in press was stupid. But what is past is past. Qn is how to recover lost ground from this stage. Or, are we doomed to become another South Korea style poodle ?

    Part of the fault lies with us. While it is true that politics is a cesspool, we should identify who among the political forces is the lesser evil. To me, it seems that BJP is better than a third front which in turn is better than the INC (at least till the dynasty is in charge) which is approximately as damaging as the communists. Though each of these groupings has its share of skeletons in its cupboard…

    • Ravi says:

      @satyaki: How can India recover lost ground when a sizable amount of Indians at an individual level have become so characterless, it’s impossible to humiliate them. They cannot differentiate between pride and ego, but are never short of holistic excuses to answer for their craven and shameless behavior.

      Patriotism is nothing but an extension of an individual’s sense of self-respect. The tragedy is that Indians are capable of performing at a world-class level right here in India. The only way this mess can be sorted is if a nation wide calamity strikes, which effects and changes Indians at an individual level.

      Can you imagine inviting the Pakistani cricket team to play in India, and that too in Bombay, after 26/11? The only answer I guess is to wait things out and till the situation changes for the better (which it will), and the power elite disprove the hype surrounding them. Meanwhile, core assets like defense (both strategic and tactical) should be kept intact and growing. Territory should not be lost or gifted away (such as the MMS plan to demilitarize Siachen) at any cost. MMS was given the accolades of opening up the Indian economy, a tribute which should rightfully have gone to Narasimha Rao. He’s now proven himself to be an incompetent Quisling.

      Now RG is planning to join Indian politics, and there are rumors that he is eyeing the defense portfolio. He should be given a chance to prove to one and all, a fact which is pretty well known, that his mind is the most underdeveloped region of India. Hopefully things will change, but such of the perils a nation has to undergo when it gained so-called Independence trough a mere transfer of power, and not by fighting for it. Anyway, this is a strategic and defense blog and not a socio-political one (though the two are inter-related). So, lets try adhering to the spirit of the topic of Bharat Karnad’s incisive and honest article.

  15. Ravi says:

    IF THIS IS TRUE, THIS IS VERY SERIOUS:

    “IDP Sentinel4:42 AM (edited) – Public
    IAF Declines to Induct Tejas LCA LSP Aircraft

    IDP Sentinel has learn’t that the IAF has declined to induct the Tejas LCA LSP aircraft because they don’t conform to IOC.

    This hasn’t been reported in the Indian press.

    IAF now plans to raise its first squadron using the Series Production (SP) variants of the aircraft, manufacture of which is yet to start.

    Which means several statements made by DRDO Chief VK Saraswat that the first IAF Tejas squadron will be raised this year (He even mentioned June once) were speculative.

    One of the reasons why ADA and HAL are having a hard time obtaining IOC-2 on the Tejas Mk-1 is because HAL has been manufacturing the 4th Gen Tejas using 2 Gen manufacturing techniques.

    Because HAL’s manufacturing process is outdated, variations between copies of Tejas aircraft are larger than can be accommodated by the FBW control system.

    Because of weight creep, the C of G of the Tejas is now significantly behind its C of P (Center of Pressure, where the lift acts) making it very unstable aircraft. Indeed, the Tejas is the most unstable fighter in the world.

    Tejas’s instability increases with the AOA, pushing its FBW system to its limit. Poor manufacture aggravates the problem at high AOA, which is why the aircraft has not yet met IAF QRs on AOA.

    Hopefully, HAL will SP aircraft will conform to more stringent manufacturing standards, allowing for AOA expansion.

    http://idp.justthe80.com/air-force-projects/fighters/lca-tejas

    A government which can spend billions of dollars on a 50+ year old design like the Swiss Pilatus trainer and buying an inordinate number of the C-17’s whose exact role is still unspecified, should immediately place an order for 100+ LCA Mk-1’s for the IAF. One can sympathize with HAL for virtually hand tooling every LCA, since it’s uneconomical to have a dedicated production line and proper standardization and quality control for a mere order of 40 a/c for the IAF. I guess the import lobby is out to do a “Marut” job on the LCA, albeit in a different way.

  16. Ravi says:

    IF THIS IS TRUE, THIS IS VERY SERIOUS:

    A government which can spend billions of dollars on a 50+ year old design like the Swiss Pilatus trainer and buying an inordinate number of the C-17′s whose exact role is still unspecified, should immediately place an order for 100+ LCA Mk-1′s for the IAF. One can sympathize with HAL for virtually hand tooling every LCA, since it’s uneconomical to have a dedicated production line and proper standardization and quality control for a mere order of 40 a/c for the IAF. I guess the import lobby is out to do a “Marut” job on the LCA, albeit in a different way.

    • Ravi says:

      Thakur’s arguments on the aerodynamics of the LCA display his lack of understanding of the basics of CCV concepts. If his arguments concerning the “flaws” in the LCA’s aerodynamics are true, why is it that the LCA has logged nearly 2000 hrs. of accident free flying time? Did they pass off high speed taxi runs as flying time? From knowledgeable persons I have spoken to, the LCA aerobatic display in the last Aero India show were a substantially truncated version of the maneouvers it can and has performed elsewhere.

      In aircraft stability, what is important is the proximity and placement of the CoG (Centre of Gravity) with respect to what is known as the Neutral Point. More specifically, a change in the AoA results in a “lift force” acting along with existing forces not on the CoG which only corresponds to the CoP (Centre of Pressure) in trimmed conditions (i.e., at equilibrium), but at a different point called the Neutral Point.

      Aircraft like the LCA, Eurofighter, etc. have their CoG aft (downstream) of the Neutral Point, which give them their exceptional agility. I’ve seen numerical simulations of the Eurofighter, with the CoG in front of the Neutral Point, and they fly like any ordinary (read, stable) delta or canard. I’m sure they must have made adjustments in the flight control system of the LCA (CLAWS) to account for the “hand tooling” of each LCA in the absence of a proper production line.

      If the IAF doesn’t accept the LSP’s, how does Thakur propose that the SP’s will ever materialize. Building the LCA is not merely building an aircraft, it’s goal is much larger, i.e. to build an indeneneous aircraft industry! IMHO this is yet another “hit job” by the shameless media.

  17. satyaki says:

    @Ravi…Agree that for now preserving and enhancing core strategic assets is what the establishment should focus on. Will this continue to happen (within the current set of obvious limitations) even under the likes of RG/PG or so ? I mean things like further Agni V development, induction , Nuke sub induction, etc…Maybe Bharat Sir would be able to answer this question better…

    • Ravi says:

      @satyaki: It’s very difficult to venture a guess. The rapidly expanding opinion (and perhaps decision) in the centres of power in India is that it should “align” itself to the US. When the dust settles, India might well be co-opted into a something even more demeaning than a poodle, and certainly not along the lines of South Korean (as a previous post of your suggested), but more akin to Haiti with the Italian Mama Doc in firm control, followed by the Baby Doc’s (RG/PG).

      One can expect drastically enhanced missionary orchestrated subversion, and eventually a break-up or territorial truncation of India. If the so-called “nationalistic” BJP made two of the most fatal strategic blunders in Indian history, what do you expect from the present Indian power elite and those most likely to follow? .

  18. akash says:

    Bharat have you even checked the size of the Brahmos, how can it even fit onto a helicopter, let alone a Sh-60? Please. Some technical fact checking would do you good

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