For more private phone camera recordings of the Tejas performing on previous days in Bahrain, see
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CackdUGFfFg and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSY72-PIiR8 — both with very clear views of the Tejas making a low pass and then going vertical Charlie. These visuals are what we have to make do with considering the BAS organizers stiff-armed the Tejas today which, incidentally, again pulled a tight 350 metre turn at 160 knots — bravura stuff!. (As soon as I get visuals of todays LCA performance, will put it up. It won’t be long!)
After being primed, ready to watch Tejas being put through its impressive paces — got on line by 4:30 PM IST, was tearing my hair out watching instead some dimwitted Bahraini (?) bimbos interview all manner of persons ranging from the UK military to mostly circus performers — magicians, rope-dancers, even as 6:10 passed and one heard Tejas taking to the skies, and the camera settled on passing shots of the Indian LCA pulling hard maneuvers — 8g turn, etc., before abruptly moving back to the bimbo on the dais for another ridiculous exchange, and then seemingly reluctantly back to cover the Tejas landing after its aerial stint.
The organizers of the Bahrain Air Show are obviously to blame and this visual neglect of the Tejas was apparently by design — there’s no other explanation. Because not long before LCA’s time slot, the camera lovingly followed every little twitch by many other aircraft, the last oh which was a French Mirage 2000! Is it too outre to infer that the French and the Pakis (and possibly the Chinese) jointly pressed the BAS organizers to truncate the live broadcasting of the full Tejas session?? Consider their stakes and the context.
Plainly nobody expected Tejas to come out so well, and prove itself beyond doubt as a low cost 4+gen fighter that developing countries (particularly in the neighbourhood, Iran, Africa, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, and the extended Indian Ocean region) may easily cotton on to if the Indian govt showed even the slightest strategic sense to sell it.
Paris and the govt of Francois Hollande is biting its nails, trying desperately to somehow get Delhi to sign the contract for the 36 Rafale combat aircraft in a deal that is manifestly unaffordable for India. Would the Quay d’Orsay want the Tejas to upstage the Mirage on show in Bahrain and, by extension, its successor the Rafale, by broadcasting to a discriminating audience in India just how good India’s own, locally designed fighter aircraft really is, and begin sowing doubts in the minds of Modi, Parrikar, and company about the Rafale contract on the anvil??
Then there’s Pakistan. As mentioned in an earlier blog, it hightailed its JF-17 Thunder jointly produced with China right out of BAS for fear of being shown up in very adverse light. But this fear seems to be stalking the French as well because the Tejas has gone, as a source said, from being “an oddity” to the real thing that can upset a lot of calculations in great many vendor states peddling military hardware. And Pakistan Army personnel are the palace guard protecting the sunni emir, Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, from the shia majority in Bahrain and if GHQ Rawalpindi says cut up the live videocast of Tejas at BAS, it’s a small price to pay to keep the minders of the praetorian guard happy.
And China must be aghast to find India coming up so fast with its Tejas. It has an open field with no competition. Suddenly it finds that its cut-rate combat aircraft, Soviet/Russian knockoffs mostly, may not be able to cut the mustard in the export market. Every incentive for Beijing then to concert with Islamabad and Paris to get BAS organizers to play ball.