Finally Tejas in IAF service!

Congratulations, Team Tejas! This is a historic day for the Indian Air Force with the first two Tejas Mk-1 light combat aircraft inducted into service in the ‘Flying Daggers’ No. 45 Squadron were handed over to the IAF in Bangalore. The 45 Sqdn will be home-based at the Sulur AFB in Tamil Nadu. This is the first time that indigenous aircraft will be featuring the IAF roundels. The last time this happened was when the HF-24 Maruts were in the air order of battle; these were retired in the late Seventies. The Tejas formation will be headed by the experienced Group Captain Rangachari, who had put the plane through its paces at the Bahrain Air Show earlier this year. The two aircraft will grow to four and soon 20. This is how particular aircraft fleet grow in air forces. Considering the stepmotherly treatment meted out to the Tejas by the air force, it is a surprise to many that this Indian aircraft survived at all. It will now thrive.

Many recall that the MiG-21 fleet started with just two aircraft flown in from Russia in late 1963 or thereabouts, grew to squadron strength around the time the hostilities broke out with Pakistan in 1965, eventually peaking to some 750-odd MiG-21 fighters in the IAF. For those hyperventilating about the initial small numbers of Tejas, they need to be reassured that this is normal. The US Air Force, which is considered gold standard by some, had just two JSF-35 Lightnings-IIs to begin with.

It is unfortunate though that Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar restricted the production of the Tejas to the DPSU — HAL, instead of also farming its manufacture, as advocated by me in this blog, out to private sector companies, such as Mahindra Aerospace and Reliance Aerospace which, once they get rolling, will be far more efficient in outputting the aircraft than HAL. It would, in the process, have established a competitive production scheme, helped in getting a larger number of Tejas in the air fast and speedily enlarged the Tejas’ force fraction in IAF, and gotten the best out of both the public and private defence industries. That’s the way to integrate public and private sector production.

Parrikar should also instruct the IAF to get the growing numbers of this aircraft to not just train in-squadron under forming at Sulur, but for the Tejas to fly out in pairs to various bases all over the country, including forward bases, to exercise as the air defence component against Mirage 2000s, Su-50 MKIs, and Jaguar aircraft in the aggressor role. It will speedily familiarize the rest of the IAF to the high-performing indigenous Tejas fighter, and sharpen the skills of the Tejas pilots by helping them to test, extend, and push its operational/fighting envelope.

And to ramp up its export potential, MOD and IAF should right away begin carting air attaches especially from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives, and from the embassies of other countries of Asia such as Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand and Malayasia, and from Central Asia, Africa, and Latin America, from Delhi to Sulur to begin with, and later to other air bases where the Tejas will be exercising with other combat aircraft, to see this Indian designed, developed, and built aircraft in action, and to naval air stations to watch the navalized Tejas in operations.

However the IAF naysayers are already cribbing. (See retired Air Vice Marshal Kapil Kak’s lament at They say the Tejas took 33 years to get into fullscale production. OK, but that is starting from a zero baseline. But consider that it has taken the Lockheed Martin JSF-35 over 25 years and it has problems galore, and is in fact rated a “lemon” by aviation experts. It is also said the Tejas will take another 15 years to be “combat worthy”! This is the kind of utter nonsense IAF often voices to dishearten the Indian citizenry and government in order to strengthen its case for continued import of combat aircraft. Parrikar better throttle this sort of bad mouthing in the crib, as it were, and tell the IAF brass in clear terms — no more imports after the Super Sukhois and FGFA! — and to get flying with the Tejas.

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 Afghanistan, Africa, arms exports, Asian geopolitics, Bangladesh, Central Asia, Defence Industry, Geopolitics, Great Power imperatives, India's strategic thinking and policy, Indian Air Force, Indian Navy, Indian Ocean, Latin America, Maldives, Military Acquisitions, SAARC, South Asia, South East Asia, Sri Lanka, Strategic Relations with South East Asia & Far East, Vietnam, Weapons, West Asia. Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Finally Tejas in IAF service!

  1. Sriram Datla says:

    Sir SULUR AFB is TamilNadu. I think you need to change that from AP to TN. Like you iam very happy to know that Tejas has been entered into active service. Finally what you and people like me wanted has attained fruition. A day to remember. After HF 24 now Tejas. I hope NLCA AND TEJAS MARK 2 also see the light of the day very soon.

  2. Vishak Bharadwaj S says:

    Why don’t you seek an appointment with Mr.Parrikar and tell him this?
    I’m sure, knowing you and your previous positions in the government, he would oblige a meeting for an hour. He needs some straight talk. He’s a straight up guy. He might listen

  3. Respected Bharat Karnad,
    I agree with most of what you have said, but not with the last line of your article.India should never get itself involved with FGFA.It is a nonsense Co-development.Russians are asking India to pay $6 billion for the co-development.The entire LCA programm for 3 decades costed as less the $3 billions.India has put in place an entire Aeronautical eco-system from scratch with Tejas Project for less than $3 Billion.FGFA Project will cost India $10-15 billion from start to finish and India will get only peanuts.We can very easily make the computers and other avionics equipment which is India’s share in FGFA project for just a few $ 100 million.Now post Tejas India also has to start developing another aircraft AMCA.The Rafale Cost france $30 billion to develop.India should be ready to spend something between $5-10 Billion on AMCA.

    But people like you, who are responsible for 1000 years of slavery, do not want India to develop AMCA and be independent in Aircraft design forever.YOU WANT INDIA TO BUY FGFA AND SUPPORT RUSSIAN DEFENCE INDUSTRY , JUST BECAUSE IN YOUR HALLUCINATIONS RUSSIA IS THE ONLY COUNTRY WHICH CAN CHALLENGE AN TREACHEROUS AND IMPERIALIST AMERICA.

    A country like France which wanted to establish its own Aeronautical Industry after WW2 did not participate in Panavia Tornado and Eurofighter Projects, despite the fact that French share in these Projects was equal to that of Britain.

    Well now you may say that trash the AMCA. India should not develop AMCA but should bankroll FGFA. Instead of developing AMCA, India should only develop UCAV. Well anybody having even an iota of technical knowledge will only laugh at your suggestion of a country leapfrogging to developing UCAV without developing manned fighters.

    • Punjabi Sardar says:

      5th Gen is notoriously difficult. Should we cancel all co development with Russia & Israel & become isolationist?

    • Veerpratap@ — Nonplussed by your jag on my supposed antipathy to AMCA. The one thing I have always and relentlessly supported and pushed is for full military hardware indigenization at any cost. Except, AMCA is still only at a definitional stage and, tech-wise, will constitute a Sixth Gen fighter. The FGFA is a technology bridge, which is how I see it, especially as Russians will be far more forthcoming than any other country in sharing relevant technologies and not for reasons of altruism but hardheaded geostrategics.

      Incidentally, my entire undergrad and grad schooling in the US with some of the pioneers of strategic thinking in the US (post-WW II) has made me appreciate that national interest, narrowly defined, is the only metric for a self-respecting country’s foreign and security policies. It is an analytic standard I have always used to measure, analyze, and evaluate Indian polices in the external realm. There’s reflection of no love or leanings in my writings for Russia or the US or any other country or for any ideology for that matter. Were you to peruse my books and other writings over nearly 35-odd years you’ll find this to be true.

      [However, feel free to disagree with my views and express contrary perspectives but do so with what’s stated above in mind. And, could we keep abuse and trash talk out of this blog. Please. Thanks.]

      • ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

        Re. “AMCA is still only at a definitional stage and, tech-wise, will constitute a Sixth Gen fighter.”

        Actually we seem to be missing the bus again. 15-20 years back even UAV/UCAVs were a frontier area where every nation was standing at point zero but our own people never applied enough human and monetary resources for these. Now every sensible country (even those who have not worked on 5th Gen) are raking their brains as to the basic contents of 6th Gen fighters, but again in our case even a 5th Gen AMCA took so long to be figured out.

        A few years hence every imbecile would be advocating urgent imports of 6th Gen fighters from USA.

        If we could jump straight to 4+ Gen LCA with nil experience of any type then there is no reason for France and Japan to not be able to work straightaway on the 6th Gen. Only we are again trying our best to be laggards.

      • Mongrelji@ — Have mentioned on this blog the fact that I rooted for India “leapfrogging” the LCA and getting into RPVs/drones (laying out the case for this in a 2-part article published in 1986 in the Illustrated Weekly). It a tech-trend read, I am most proud about. But the more one considers every aspect of aerial warfare, air to ground warfare, remote robotic warfare of the future, the more imperative it is, I have concluded, that the India will have to pass through and therefore acquire the competence and skills to master the intermediate basic aerospace, including combat aircraft, technologies to get to, or at least parallalely, develop remotely-controlled and robotic weapons systems, w/o the constraint of the man (other than at the hinterland controls) in the immediate flying loop.

      • Mongrelji@ — Have mentioned on this blog the fact that I rooted for India “leapfrogging” the LCA and getting into RPVs/drones (laying out the case for this in a 2-part article published in 1986 in the Illustrated Weekly). It was a tech-trend read, I am most proud about. But the more one considers every aspect of aerial warfare, air to ground warfare, remote robotic warfare of the future, the more imperative it is, I have concluded, that the India will have to pass through and therefore acquire the competence and skills to master the intermediate basic aerospace, including combat aircraft, technologies to get to, or at least parallallely, develop remotely-controlled and robotic weapons systems, w/o the constraint of the man in the loop.

      • andy says:

        One hates to go off on a tangent but since the AMCA and FGFA have been mentioned, it would be pertinent to note that AMCA is not going to be flying anytime soon.The ADA has said it would fly the first prototype of AMCA in 2023 or 2024 but that seems highly unlikely given that as of today even the engine,(around which any aircraft is built)has not been finalised.The best estimate is that AMCA would take to the air in the late 2020s and be inducted into the IAF by 2035.But this leaves a gaping hole in the IAFs capabilities vis a vis china.With China having completed flight tests of its twin stealth fighters and commencing series production, India needs to show urgency in acquiring the FGFA stealth fighter.

        China’s J-20 jet has advanced to the eighth prototype and, after flight tests, is ready for regular production. The other stealth fighter, the comparatively smaller J-31, designed for export to customers such as Pakistan, is also ready to roll out.

        In its latest report to the US Congress, the US Department of Defence says these fifth-generation aircraft “could enter service as early as 2018” and warns that the new stealth jets could allow the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) to dominate regional skies.

        The Pentagon report of May 2016, titled ‘Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China’, says: “China seeks to develop these advanced aircraft to improve its regional power projection capabilities and to strengthen its ability to strike regional airbases and facilities. The PLAAF has observed foreign military employment of stealth aircraft and views this technology as a core capability in its transformation from a predominantly territorial air force to one capable of conducting both offensive and defensive operations. PLAAF leaders believe stealth aircraft provide an offensive operational advantage that denies an adversary the time to mobilise and to conduct defensive operations.”

        Based on the latest prototypes, the Pentagon says these fighters feature “high manoeuverability, low observability and an internal weapons bay”. Plus, both aircraft have radars with advanced tracking and targeting capabilities, and protection against enemy electronic countermeasures.

        The report doesn’t say whether the J-31 will be solely for export, but it could be that the smaller stealth jet has been designed – like the American F-35 – with an eye on the export market.

        As Pakistan is China’s test market, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) will surely be the J-31’s first foreign customer.. One way or the other, the PAF will get its hands on the J-31.

        More importantly, the Indian Air Force (IAF)jwill have to surrender its leadership position in the region. During the 1960s and 1970s Pakistan – as a more or less loyal American sidekick – received the latest US jet fighters such as the F-85 Sabre, F-104 Starfighter and the F-16 Falcon. But with the arrival of the Russian MiG-29 multirole fighter in 1985 and the Sukhoi Su-30MKI in 1997,IAF has held the dominant position in South Asia.

        Even a single stealth squadron could give the PAF a psychological edge while also terminating the IAF’s 31 year record of possessing the most advanced fighter aircraftin the region. It is in this backdrop that India needs to fast track the FGFA procurement.

        It was during the MMRCA competition that the IAF started showing unhappiness with the FGFA.The IAF complained about supposedly sloppy construction, inadequate power plants and underpowered radar.

        It was a mystery why the IAF brass would trash its own future stealth fighter, especially considering its only alternative was the American F-35 which is experiencing major cost and performance problems. But now that a former air chief is under investigation for allegedly receiving kickbacks from Italian defence giant Finmeccanica, it indicates these complaints were motivated. Clearly, there was a lobby working against the Russian stealth jet to the detriment of the IAF’s combat readiness.

        In 2012, India slashed its planned order size from 200 to 144 planes. (This is in the backdrop of China planning for an air force fleet of 2300 fighters and bombers, as per the Pentagon report.)

        TheIAF’s nearly 300 Su 30 mki fleet will remain a potent force that can tackle the PAF’s threat but it will be an acute embarrassment for India if the Pakistanis acquire a stealth fighter before India does.Also IAF will be severely constrained in matching the Chinese stealth fighter fleet if things go horribly wrong on the LAC before India can induct the indigenous AMCA.

      • I am sorry for using foul language

      • andy says:

        One can only agree with when you recommend a step by step approach to mastering cutting edge technologies. The HF 24 Marut is probably the best example of over reach in Indian aviation history.

        The Marut was conceived to meet an Air Staff Requirement (ASR), that called for a multi-role aircraft suitable for both high-altitude interception and low-level ground attack. The specified performance attributes called for a speed of Mach 2.0 at altitude, a ceiling of 60,000 feet (18,290 m) and a combat radius of 500 miles (805 km). Furthermore, the Air Staff Requirement demanded that the basic design be suitable for adaptation as an advanced trainer, an all-weather fighter and for ‘navalization’ as a shipboard aircraft. It was directed that this aircraft be developed within the country. Nations with advanced military design and manufacturing capabilities rarely, if ever, put out specifications that are such all singing all dancing renditions.

        A military aircraft is designed to play one role well, a second role moderately well and sometimes , only sometimes, a third role in a limited form. Unfortunately out of lack of experience (and in my opinion a willingness to apply common sense) the Air Staff Requirement was too wide and reflected lack of clarity of aims and a complete lack of understanding of what it takes to design and build a fighter as opposed to flying one. It is like saying – I want a car that drives like a BMW 3 (Mach 2.0), suitable for both high and low altitudes (drive well on a race track as well on Delhi’s rutted roads), can carry payload like a Isuzu D-Max pick-up (low level ground attack payload) and have the toughness of a 4-wheel drive cross country mud slogger (capable of all weather capabilities & navalization). The combat radius of ~800 kms was beyond the ken of the most efficient fighter turbojet even in the USA of the 1950s. These ranges were not achieved till military turbofan engines like the Rolls Royce Spey (on the Hawker Buccaneer, 1960s) or Rolls Royce Adour (Sepecat Jaguar, 1970s) amongst others came into play. All weather was at best in an experimental rudimentary stage even in USA and USSR in 1956 and no IAF aircraft of 1956 even carried a gun ranging radar let alone a search & track one.

        While I don’t wish to be too critical these were overly ambitious specifications for 1955 even for the UK, France or USSR.It is worth noting that the ASR for the current Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Tejas, in mid-1980s, followed the same concept of all singing all dancing and (partly due to that) it is sadly still some way off from full operational service 30 years later. The only other aircraft of the 1950s and 1960s that was designed to similar specifications as the Marut and carried a requirement for navalization + all-weather was the legendary McDonnell Douglas F4 Phantom of the US Air Force and Navy. And let’s remember the Americans were then and today the foremost in aviation R&D, design and production know-how. And even with the Phantom the Americans lost out on maneuverability.

        Dr VM Ghatge, India’s senior most aeronautical designer in the 50s was the only voice against the Marut. He prescribed a more balanced step by step approach to building the nation’s aviation industry by first designing & building propeller trainers, then basic jet trainers, then light attack fighter-bombers and then a more advanced light multi-role fighter and to do this in stages over 2 decades. In retrospect his was, in my opinion, the more sensible approach. But Ghatge’s voice was drowned out.

        In mid-1980s the ASR was laid out for the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft. Once again it was an ambitious set of specifications calling for capabilities and technology such as fly by wire flight control systems, multi-mode pulse doppler radar and an afterburning turbofan engine in the 10,000 kgf class. These were technological assets which only the Americans (F-16 & F-15) had successfully put into service at that time, the French were about to (Mirage 2000) and the Soviets were still developing. Partly due to, once again, putting out highly stretched specifications and partly the bureaucratic approach of the agencies involved the Tejas took three decades to develop, has just been inducted into the IAF for operational breaking-in and is still maybe a year short of full scale operational service. The more things change the more they stay the same. 

        The current generation of engineers & designers working on the Tejas cannot be blamed for woolly headed thinking of 33 years ago. We should cheer them and support them as they work to put the country’s second indigenous fast combat aircraft into full operational service this year. Aerodynamically speaking the Tejas is a superb design and this time around with the adoption of the General Electric F404 afterburning turbofan we also have a winner of an engine. Jai Hind.

  4. andy says:

    Viva Tejas!
    This could be a seminal moment for the Indian aerospace industry.
    Particularly I want to thank Bharat Karnad for always standing by this project through thick and thin and always advocating indigenous arms production for the Indian armed forces,it’s only when indigenous efforts don’t fructify that one has seen you advocate imports.I have never seen any other strategist lament the demise of the HF 24 marut aircraft in the terms that you have.Keep up the great work.

  5. andy says:

    As for the foreign aircraft obsessed IAF brass(current as well as retired)instead of cribbing about delayed time lines for the development of Tejas ,brought about by their own penchant for ASQR changes midway through the project, they should be thankful to the ADA for creating a fine aircraft which is the equal of Mirage 2000 if not better.

    Not bad for an aircraft that was to be a replacement for the MIG21.

  6. Sri says:

    Hello Prof. Karnad,

    Thanks a lot for the post on LCA Tejas. I have two questions. 1) How do you think LCA Tejas will hold against China’s J-10 in one-on-one? 2) I have not heard anything about INS Arihant since February this year. Can you please let us know the current status and when it will be inducted into the Navy? Appreciate your help.

    • Sri@ — Unless the Tejas actually goes up against the J-10 in war, it will be a matter of speculation as to which is operationally superior. But I put my money on the LCA. Arihant will join fleet ops in 2017 — it is in the final stage of sea trials, with submerged missile firings with the boat underway still to be conducted.

  7. Siddappa says:

    Kudos are due to all folks, who worked on LCA. While everyone who worked on it has bragging rights, (Research Fellows, Scientists, Designers, Pilots,…), Let’s also caution ourselves,

    1) this is based on Fly-by-Wire, which is not unique design these days.
    2) only HAL is going to build it
    3) IAF still can raise technical glitches & above all
    4) Full Induction is quite some time away.

  8. andy says:

    @Bharat Karnad
    Just couldnt resist putting out the following piece,its a must read for writers and bloggers who face the same problem as its harassed writer must have faced.

    “They lurk anonymously in the dark alleyways of cyberspace. Emerging from their hideouts, they post deliberately provocative or off-topic comments on online forums. Their intention is to sow discord by disrupting normal discussions. Their affiliations are a mystery. These shadowy figures are known as trolls.

    Trolls have swooped down on the website and are now a regular presence at discussion forums here. Considering the dedication and perseverance with which they operate, by posting lengthy – and sometimes disjointed – rants, it makes you wonder whether they are on the payroll of agencies that are working to curtail the writers influence.

    Whether in responding to stories posted or to comments by regular readers, these trolls react lightning quick – almost in real time. You wonder if they get any sleep.

    So what’s a concern troll? This subtle beast attempts to sway a group’s actions or opinions while claiming to share their goals, but with professed “concerns”. The goal is to sow uncertainty and doubt within the group.

    A study published in February 2013 by The Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication suggests that abusive and negative comments below a story can make some readers look at the story in a negative light

    Timothy Campbell of Trollwatch says when trolls are ignored they step up their attacks, desperately seeking the attention they crave. “Their messages become more and more foul, and they post ever more of them,” he says. “Alternatively, they may protest that their right to free speech is being curtailed.”

    “The moderator of a message board may not be able to delete a troll’s messages right away, but their job is made much harder if they also have to read numerous replies to trolls. They are also forced to decide whether or not to delete posts from well-meaning folks which have the unintended effect of encouraging the troll.”

    So what can be done about trolls? “Do not feed the troll” is a simple formula. Attention is oxygen for trolls so if they fail to provoke you they will get more and more abusive.
    A Canadian study reveals that trolls are more likely to have narcissistic (egocentrism and preoccupation with prestige), Machiavellian (tendency to deceive and manipulate), psychopathic (lack of empathy and inhibition) and sadistic (pleasure of inflicting pain or humiliation on others) personality traits.

    The best way to deal with such denizens of cyberspace is to resist the temptation to respond to their arguments. As readers get more about netiquette they will learn to ignore trolls – just like tourists learn to ignore hawkers peddling useless trinkets.”

  9. Venkat says:

    I think we are being a little too critical on IAF. IAF has operated any indian aircraft given to them, of course they have their standards,
    – IAF operated only indian trainers till Pilatus . But then the HJT-32 killed 19 IAF staff in 17 crashes , HAL had no solution or response to solve the issues. This is not simply acceptable of a BTA. Who would like to see our rookie pilots killed like this ? IAF reactions are on expected lines & Govt did the right thing to get Pilatus.
    – IAF flew Maruts in wars it fought without reservations. Used the aircraft admiringly,
    – IAF has placed orders on (73?) on IJT a few years back (2010/11 ?) , it is no where to be seen.
    – IAF & IA fly Dhruv extensively.
    -IAF & IA are operating age old Cheetah, Chetak. I am sure they will induct LUH and LCH today if it were there !

    I also think the weapons supplied by Soviets in 70s & 80s at low prices has had some affect on local effort and strategic thinking. (The western arms were any expensive, few were bought).

    I think we need a retrospective on weapons of Indian origin used by indian armed forces. There are times when our local R&D simply stagnated. e.g. INSAS,105 mm indian field gun, Marut, Kiran.
    This mindset needs to change. We cannot simply blame top brass.

    As IAF operates Tejas, there will be improvement suggestions that need to be implemented continuously. This is a part and parcel of any product life cycle. HAL needs to carry out those quickly, not repeat HPT-32. HAL needs to ensure Tejas will grow & mature working together with IAF
    Tejas will be exercised with other indian aircraft in red vs blue, no doubt about that and every test pilot has praised its care free handling comparing it to Mirage2000. So we do have good bird here.

    • andy says:

      Today one can only wonder what could have been possible if HAL and other development agencies like DRDO had the focus and competence of ISRO and IAF had taken the various HAL ventures under its wings, as it were and worked closely with HAL right from the drawing board till full operational clearance,rather than asking for too wide specifications in the ASR and then watching from the sidelines, that would have been a long term view,like the Indian Navy which working with Mazagon Docks & Cochin Shipyard has built up some meaningful indigenous capability in design and construction after having started in the early 1960s same as the HF-24 marut.

      HAL and IAF need to work closely together instead of being at loggerheads and working in silos, the first step has to be taken by IAF and it would most certainly be favorable for Indian national interests.To develop a nations aviation industry you have to think in terms of a 50 year horizon and the concerned agencies have to work in tandem.

  10. Satyaki says:

    Bharat Sir,

    Wasn’t the K-4 test that was conducted on March 31 from the submerged Ins Arihant ? Could more such tests have happened since then ? How many more before the K-4 is operational ? I presume Ins Arihant would be inducted only with the K-4. The K-15 has too short a range to be useful.

  11. quickboy says:

    The real thing is you need to cut down more on Raffales and put at least 10-15 thousand crores into engine development….period…. And in the meantime allocate at least 2500 crores to HAL for another two assembly lines for tejas, Make them bigger and in a condition to manufacture larger planes later. Also make sure the spare parts for this one is produced exceeding demand … If that engine thing is not done with immediate effect, Well we will have Bharatji bloging a copy of this for and with some other project names 15 years down the line…. Let us see if our rulers have anything packed in between the ears or are simple hollow…

    • andy says:

      Although details are still sketchy,Economic Times has reported that as part of the Rafale offset obligation (around euro 3billion)French company Safran is in talks with DRDO officials to invest euro 1billion in reviving the Kaveri engine,this after assessments màde by them indicated that 25 to 30% work on the Kaveri remains to be completed.Safran is confident that work on the engine can be finished within 18 months, in time for induction into the Tejas mark1A.

      • &^%$#@! says:

        This offer resembles an earlier one by Snecma to “collaborate” with GTRE to re-design the Kaveri hot core and/or jointly design a new engine. This commenced with the ECO core affair, whose technology Snecma was unwilling to part with. Such offers are essentially bullshit, and are made to facilitate/con the path to getting the Rafale contract. Once the contract is obtained, all these will promises/contracts/…. will be forgotten.

  12. satyaki says:

    Bharat Sir,

    Just read a news item where the DRDO chief says that the A-5 test is delayed due to“problems with the battery” rather than political reasons. A crude attempt at covering his political masters’ kowtowing to you know who ?

  13. Tama Shah says:

    Dear Bharat Karnad,

    What are the potential security implications of privatizing the manufacture of indigenous military technology? In theory, many, but readers like myself would love to read more about the take of an expert such as yourself on the pros and cons of companies like Reliance, Mahindra, etc. getting into this business. Privatization is not necessarily an indicator of efficiency or non-corruption, as we have (hopefully) learned from the defense-industrial complex in the US.

    • India’s arms independence will make the country less a hostage to big power interests and policy whims and, for the first time in its history, genuinely strategically autonomous. That said, most Indian private sector companies, except for L&T, in the defence sector are at a nascent stage of development.

      FYI, the subject of Indian defence industry and ways of maximizing private sector involvement in it is treated in comsiderable detail in my new book ‘Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)’.

      • Tama Shah says:

        Thank you for the prompt response, and also for indicating that this topic is discussed in your last publication. I bought it, and then, I have been meaning to read it for over a month now. You added one more reason to my little quiver 🙂

  14. Sharad says:

    It’s a great achievement of HAL and ADA, and efforts from Parrikar, who pushed it hard to make it happen.

    Now, it is very important that this momentum to continue and efforts to realize MK2 version. If we take help from France (to develop Kaveri Engine) and Sweden to do necessary changes to integrate this engine, then I believe we can fasten the process to realize MK2 version! Off course, I know there is cost attached to it, but I think it’s worth putting into it, instead of waiting for years.
    And that too for…Tejas with kaveri Engine!

  15. &^%$#@! says:

    Parrikar and Modi have done nothing. The IAF agreed to accept the LCA and its variants (such as the MK-1A) with the full knowledge that HAL will not deliver. This will then give them (the IAF) a supposedly bona fide reason to run and buy some foreign a/c, and “normal service” will resume. The IAF and HAL have long been bed fellows in this import and screwdriver assembly culture. If anybody thought that HAL is not a willing partner to the MoD/IAF/arms dealers clique, they’re kidding themselves.


    I factually was unable to reconcile what DRDO does? Whether they are defence scientific research organisation or defence engineers. Both are different and require different knowledge. Mixing both makes them neither scientist nor engineers. Cap it with Government way of working. Just like file movements. Mr. Parrikar is so focused on Indian defence, this clarity must come now. An engineer can convert a scientific discovery into a corresponding machine but not visa versa. Thanks .

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