Indian Navy going down the way of the other two Armed Services

The Navy was different from the Air Force and the Army because of its institutional tilt towards indigenization of equipment it used, especially major hardware such as capital weapons platforms. It had the warship directorate as part of Naval Headquarters that, over the years, has acquired the capability to design everything from fast patrol craft, corvettes, frigates, missile destroyers, to aircraft carriers. The only demerit on can point to in this respect has been the curious lack of confidence of the sub-directorate for submarine design that, despite designing and developing the Arihant nuclear-powered ballistic missile firing submarine (SSBN) with Russian assistance, still wants some foreign, preferably Western, firm to hold its hand in the prospective Project 75i — the indigenous next-gen conventional submarine. It’s mystifying that this should be so.

According to stalwart submariners like VADM KN Sushil (Retd), the 75i designers got stuck, unable to decide on things like the diving depth. More likely, the problem of designer-diffidence is, perhaps, due to submarine design unit being unsure it can translate the design into actual engineering drawings to pass on to the production unit. This was among the crucial aspects in which Russian help was sought and given by Russia on the Arihant. This lack of confidence in producing a wholly Indian designed conventional sub, — design to delivery, is bad enough. Now the Navy has gone a step further in the slippery slope of dependence on foreign suppliers.

CNS Admiral Sunil Lanba, rather than doubling the effort and the resources to correct any deficiency and speed it to operational status, has publicly rejected the navalised Tejas under development as “over-weight” and unfit for duty on the first India-made carrier in its final production stage, and indicated his Service will soon look abroad for a combat aircraft. The Navy thus joins the Indian Air Force which has distinguished itself less in war — recall that it lost four aircraft in the first three days of the 1999 Kargil border war, an astonishing attrition rate for any self-respecting air force, than for its perpetual reliance on whatever fighter plane is available from abroad for usually exorbitant price, resulting in helter-skelter acquisitions that have bequeathed to the country a force of such great diversity and so little sustained punch as to be a bad and costly joke. Now the Naval brass, like its IAF counterparts, will set its Service and the nation on the course of ending even the semblance of arms independence.

Is it just coincidence that Lanba is trashing the Tejas at just the time when the US Government, Pentagon, and the Boeing Company are well into a concerted attempt to sell the Navy on the virtues of its aged — the plane is already some 50 years old — twin-engined carrier aircraft F-18 Super Hornet, after successfully peddling the F-16 to IAF, again at the expense of the Tejas Mk-II? The selling-point of both these spendthrift deals that apparently made an impression on defmin Manohar Parrikar and broke down his commonsense resistance to buying these obsolete fighter aircraft is that their manufacture in India will helm Modi’s ‘Make in India’ program in the defence sector. That the F-16 and F-18 are unlikely to survive the first encounter against intelligent missiles, better manuevering aircraft such as the Su-30 or MiG-35, leave alone the more advanced Su-PAK FA, or modern air defence systems, seems to be nobody’s concern. So, the nation will soon have aviation arms — air and naval, outfitted with aircraft that’d have been cutting-edge in the 1970s!! This even as the PLA air force is pushing the toggle on its J-20 incorporating the advanced design features and technologies stolen/copied from the US F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning-II, and the Pakistan Air Force is in the process of inducting more J-10s and, should things work out with Moscow, in the future possibly even Su-30 or even MiG-35 — after all, United Aviation Co., of Russia has to make up for lost sales to India.

Navy was also once known for its ship-handling skills and for top class ship-shore logistics management. I remember the ex-CNS the late ADM SM Nanda telling me how it was routine for Indian naval ships exercising in the mid-50s with the Royal Navy off Malta, HQ (UK’s) Mediterranean Fleet, to be severely tested by the RN. Such as when he was asked by the shore authority to maneuver his ship, INS Mysore he was then commanding, into a purposely configured tight space bookended by two RN warships, which he managed to do smoothly, winning encomiums from the RN Fleet Commander and his underlings. They were unaware, Nanda chuckled, that he was a tugboat captain in Karachi harbour before signing up with IN. It was Nanda, it must be remembered, who rescued the Service’s reputation after its dismal inactivity under ADM BS Soman in the 1965 conflict with Pakistan, with a smashingly aggressive profile in both the eastern and the western theatres in the 1971 War, crowned by the daring and devastating naval raid by a force of Osa-class corvettes towed to missile range, on the Karachi port to disable the Pakistan Navy — a perfect but more destructive counter to the smalltime shell-and-scoot mission by Pak naval craft against Dwarka in 1965.

Where’s the fabled shiphandling, onboard weapons handling, and ship-to-shore logistics management competence of the Indian Navy gone? What has happened?

Since 2010, here’s the list of 17 major mishaps, the list reproduced below from Wikipedia, without comment:

1) In 2010, three crew members on destroyer INS Mumbai were instantly killed when an AK-630 Close-in weapon system went off as safety drills were not followed.
2)January 2011: INS Vindhyagiri, a Nilgiri-class frigate, capsized after a collision with a Cyprus-flagged merchant vessel MV Nordlake near the Sunk Rock light house, following which a major fire broke out in the ship’s engine and boiler room. Everyone on board was evacuated as soon as the fire broke out and hence there were no casualties. INS Vindhyagiri was later decommissioned.
3) August 2013: Blasts ripped through the torpedo compartment of the submarine INS Sindhurakshak while it was berthed at the naval dockyard off the Mumbai coast. Fifteen sailors and three officers were killed. Other sources state that a small explosion occurred around midnight which then triggered the two larger explosions. The disaster was thought to be the Indian navy’s worst since the sinking of the frigate INS Khukri by a Pakistani submarine during the 1971 war.
4) December 2013: INS Konkan, a Pondicherry-class minesweeper under the Eastern Naval Command, caught fire at the naval dockyard at Visakhapatnam while undergoing repairs. The fire engulfed much of the ship’s interior before it was extinguished. No casualties were reported.
December 2013: In the second incident in the same month, INS Talwar, the lead ship of the Talwar-class frigates of the Indian Navy, collided with a fishing trawler injuring four of the 27 people on board the trawler and sinking it. The fishing trawler was operating without lights. The captain of the ship was subsequently stripped of command.
5) December 2013: In the third incident in the same month, INS Tarkash, again a Talwar-class frigate, suffered damage to its hull when it hit the jetty while docking at the Mumbai naval base. The navy ordered a board of inquiry.
6) January 2014: INS Betwa, a Brahmaputra-class guided missile frigate, ran aground and collided with an unidentified object while approaching the Mumbai naval base. The sonar system of the frigate was cracked, leading to faulty readings and an ingress of saltwater into sensitive equipment.
7) January 2014: In the second incident in the same month, INS Vipul, a Veer-class corvette of the elite 22nd Killer Missile Vessel Squadron, was detected with a hole in its pillar compartment which forced the ship back into the harbour while it was on an operational deployment.
8) February 2014: On 3 February, INS Airavat, a Shardul-class amphibious warfare vessel, ran aground while returning to its home base at Visakhapatnam, causing slight damage to its propellers. Following the incident, its commanding officer, Captain JPS Virk, was relieved of command pending the findings of a Board of Inquiry.
(9) February 2014: On 26 February, INS Sindhuratna, a Kilo-class submarine, had a fire detected on board when trials were being conducted which resulted in smoke leading to suffocation and death of two officers. Seven sailors were reported injured and were airlifted to the naval base hospital in Mumbai. According to the naval board of inquiry, the fire was caused due to problems in the cables of the vessel. This particular incident led to the resignation of Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Admiral D K Joshi on 26 February 2014, who owned moral responsibility for the incidents in the past few months.[28]
10) March 2014: INS Kolkata had a malfunction on board which led to a toxic gas leak killing Commander Kuntal Wadhwa instantly. According to the Indian Navy, the ship suffered a malfunction in its carbon dioxide unit while undergoing machinery trials, leading to gas leakage. Since the ship was not commissioned at the time of the incident, the enquiry into the mishap will be done by Mazagon Dock Limited, where the ship was constructed.
11) May 2014: INS Ganga suffered a minor explosion in the boiler room while undergoing a refit at the Mumbai dockyard. Four people suffered minor injuries. There was no fire and no equipment was damaged.
12) November 2014: A torpedo recovery vessel of the Astravahini class A-73 sank 30 nautical miles (56 km; 35 miles, off the Vizag coast during a routine mission to recover torpedoes fired by fleet ships during a routine exercise. The accident resulted in the death of one sailor while four others were reported as missing however 23 other personnel were rescued by SAR teams deployed right after the incident.
13) March 2015: A Dornier Do 228 aircraft belonging to the Indian Navy Aviation Squadron 310, on a routine training mission, lost radar contact and ditched at sea about 20 nautical miles (37 km; 23 mi) southwest of Goa on the night of 24 March 2015. The aircrew on board the aircraft comprised three officers (two pilots and one female observer). The lone survivor, Commander Nikhil Kuldip Joshi, was picked up by a passing fishing boat. The bodies of the other two officers Lieutenant Abhinav Nagori and Lieutenant Kiran Shekhawat were recovered. Media reports suggested that the female observer could be the first woman in India’s military to die in active service. Meanwhile, a Board of Inquiry was ordered to establish the cause of the accident.
14) November 2015: INS Kochi, a Kolkata-class destroyer, conducted BrahMos missile test firings whilst the airspace remained open to traffic, due to a communication failure.
March 2016: A fire broke out on the soon-to-be decommissioned aircraft carrier INS Viraat which resulted in the death of one and the injury of three others.
15) April 2016: A sailor lost his leg while two others were injured in an oxygen cylinder explosion on board INS Nireekshak. The explosion took place on 16 April while a diving bailout bottle, a small 12-inch (30 cm) oxygen bottle that is carried by divers in their diving helmet, was being charged. The sailors were admitted in the Military Hospital, Trivandrum as the ship was on it way to Mumbai from Visakhapatnam.
16) June 2016: Two people, a sailor and a civilian contractor, were killed by a toxic gas leak that occurred during maintenance work in the Sewage Treatment Plant compartment during the first refit of the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya at Karwar. Two other people were injured and taken to the naval hospital.
17) August 2016: A minor fire broke out at INS Dega after a MiG-29K accidentally jettisoned one of its drop tanks.
And then today you had the ill-fated Betwa, that last ran aground in 2014, and having undergone repairs, especially to its sonar system, was in the process of being floated back into the harbour from the drydock when, almost laughably, it tipped over and fell on its side, breaking its mast and possibly lot else.

With basic naval skills of this order, the Indian Navy doesn’t need enemy action to disappear.

This together with the virtual jettisoning of the naval LCA, the likely purchase of the aged F-18, and the search for a foreign partner for Project 75i, can the Navy any more pretend it is operations-wise, an equal of, and can strategically tackle, the Chinese Navy in its own Indian Ocean backyard? Or, even hold-off the minor Pakistan Navy whose Agosta B submersibles will soon be armed with Babar cruise missiles with conventional and N-warheads?

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.
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79 Responses to Indian Navy going down the way of the other two Armed Services

  1. Lt. Mukut Pathak (IN. Retd) says:

    Dear Bharat Karnad,
    You should not poke your nose in matters on which you have no knowledge. I can guarantee you that even with 98KN engine, LCA Mk2 will not be able to take off with full load from either Vikramaditya or IAC-1. You need to hold ADA/DRDO by their balls to prove their calculations. I am a retired ex-fighter pilot from IN and I know these calculations very well. Can you please show me one example of an aircraft with 62.5* swept wings being operated from Deck in the history of naval aviation or an aircraft which has an aspect ratio of 1.7 and tailless delta design being able to do so from Ski-ramp?

    • Northrop Grumman X-47B

      Tailess check
      Delta check
      Navy check

      Navy has itself to blame for the bad publicity following the mishaps. Tejas surely rests on Navy now hence such statement from the Chief is not helpful to indigenous development.

      • Lt. Mukut Pathak (IN. Retd) says:

        That’s why I said that you need to understand the subject matter better before making comments. Is X-47B actually tailless or does it have well defined separate set of controls to be used as elevators instead of elevons? Please check.

    • It is beyond logic that if the “calculations” are so straight forward why then Navy even started with the program knowing fully well what tejas is. ADA chief is also ex navy. The test pilots too. What is everyone doing?

      • Lt. Mukut Pathak (IN. Retd) says:

        This is what intrigues me also. It appears that ADA made lot of promises regarding the empty weight of aircraft and the likely weight increase for naval variant which they have clearly failed to achieve. And navy has taken a wise decision by cancelling the project. 36 yrs and we still do not have an FOC aircraft. The original aircraft have been retired to static displays like the aircraft which have been taken out of service. What a shame for ADA that even creating full 20 TDs/Prototypes, not even a single aircraft in active service. Can you please give us one example of an aircraft which after 35yrs and 20 prototypes has failed to achieve FOC status?
        More than anyone else I am for India and Indian products but what can you do when you are up against a mafia of cheats like ADA/DRDO who are the main cause of the mess that our armed forces find themselves in.

      • andy says:

        Kindly check how many times the ASQR has been changed for the Tejas and you will realise why it hasnt got FOC yet.Full funding for Tejas was approved only in 1993,23 years for a completely new fighter, inspite of mid development changes is not too bad.

    • siddappa says:

      Lt. Mukut Pathak,

      Armed Forces are our only hope of maintaining sanctity, when even mother nature inflicts wounds on us. So, no one is questioning their commitment. point is on owning up some responsibility of weapon systems.

      While we can rant endlessly about Quality, Delivery & mindset of Defence PSU’s & on the toys you people hoist into air.. I fear, Armed forces are turning into an adamant child asking for costly toys. would it become a partner in building them? 70 years of experience can be better-utilised in building than complaining
      Isn’t it time forces start thinking on Make In India?

      Bharat has been advocating for Armed forces to take up leadership role rather than a client role.
      With everlasting regards to our defence personnel,

      • kaniskharsh says:

        This is India, not the USA. Here, the Armed Forces cannot even buy a sock without sanction from an “under-secretary” in the MoD. This is what Mr. Parrikar and PM Modi have been trying to change in the last 2 years. The former in the MoD while the latter thoughout the Union government. Even you should appreciate the fact that a rot and inertia that has set due to 70 years of mismanagement, corruption that would shame even A.Raja and a general ambivalence with anything to with national security, change will take more than 2 years. If you actually see the amount of ground work done by Mr. Parrikar in the last 2 years or so amidst fierce oppositions from innumerable lobbies within the MoD, you will term the changes accomplished as a major miracle. His credentials and motivations will be further burnished by the upcoming policy changes regarding procurement. It all boils down to one choice that the PM made early during his first year of tenure, that “he would be better off working within the system and getting things done rather than completely disrupting the system and not getting anything done”.

        Sadly, instead of lauding a much needed shove in the right direction by the present dispensation under PM Modi, Mr. Karnad has left not stone unturned to label the PM as a CIA agent. Shows where one’s interests lie.

      • kaniskharsh@ — respondents are welcome to have their say. But your take that I have “left no stone unturned to label the PM as a CIA agent” is beyond the pale, if simple understanding of the English language is used as metric. I have been very critical of Mr Modi, as I have explained, because he was in a position to affect real change in the extant Indian system and policy universe, which he had promised. His Rightist ideological tilt too is something longtime Edmund Burke-ian conservatives such as myself were most enthused about. It led me to support with op-ed pieces starting in 2011, at a time, incidentally when there were very few around who publicly applauded his right-wing credentials and looked forward to a new ideological dawn of nationalistic policies. But as his record in office shows PM Narendra Modi seems to have a simplistic view of the international strategic reality. Departing from the policies of yesteryears should not mean indiscriminately embracing the US the West at the expense of the national interest. After all Washington (and European govts) will further their interests not look out for India’s — exactly the attitude I have recommended Modi adopt in reverse to milk benefits from dealing intelligently with the NATO states even as it uses the traditionally intimate ties with Russia to leverage US support for Delhi’s policies. Does such criticism amount to labeling Modi ” a CIA agent”. I appreciate your interest (owing to familial affiliations to the Indian armed forces) in defence-related issues germane to the nation. But uncritically backing the existing set-up and current set of policies may be to do yourself injustice as a concerned and responsible citizen. Indeed, as citizens we need to hold the govt-of-the-day’s feet to the fire just so it doesn’t deviate from what will maximize enduring gains to the country.

      • Kaniskharsh@ — Just so you know, American armed forces are even less able to “buy a sock” for themselves because the US legislature takes its oversight role far more seriously than does the Indian Parliament. [And, no abusive language please. Thanks]

      • Lt. Mukut Pathak (IN. Retd) says:

        INS Betwa tipping over has nothing to do with IN. The dockyard comes under PSU and controlled by civilians. Navy is forced to get its ships repaired/dry docked with PSU shipyards only by GOI. There are no penalties for shabby work or delays or accidents like INS Betwa. Imagine if it had been a private shipyard? It has been a failure of the dockyard and not IN. The running aground of ships also has to do with civilian leadership and not Navy. We have to dredge our port channels frequently but for want of bribes, the civilian leadership delayed awarding the dredging contract between 2012-2013. We have charts for navigation which show minimum depth available under the hull for navigation. The rivers bring in lot of silt and that changes the depth of the navigation channel everyday. What can you do when what is shown in navigation charts is very different from actual?
        Same Mr. Bharat Karnad was a very sober man when UPA-2 was in power and he has suddenly lost his mental faculties like Barkha Dutt and Rajdeep Sardesai ever since BJP came to power. Please read what he had posted during UPA time and what he is posting now. This change is not due to age but politics.

      • The UPA regime was a gone case and didn’t even merit strident attention. The BJP government under Narendra Modi, however, promised so much but has delivered so little in terms of making the requisite and much needed structural/systemic changes, and this w/o having a credible opposition in Parliament. It is the major thwarting of expectations and of the immense possibilities of the goodwill Modi came in with, that have been wasted. An absolute majority in the Lok Sabha of the kind Modi enjoys but has done little with, is unlikely to be replicated by Modi, BJP, or any other party in the 2019 and subsequent elections. Hence, the more thoughtful and legitimately worried section of the strategic community in the country has lots to be rueful about.

    • kaniskharsh says:

      I totally agree with you.
      However, I do have a question for you. Given that the Navy has been the oldest and the most vocal proponent for indigenous R&D and manufacturing, how would you rate the performance of warships, radars and other indigenous equipment procured by the navy ? Especially when compared to equipment bought from abroad. Does the indigenous equipment actually deliver on ground (or sea) ? Is the level of performance up to levels actually promised when soliciting orders ? Also, there have been reports about the sub-optimal serviceability of the Mig-29K’s of the Indian Navy. Various reports have pegged the serviceability to as low as 25%. So is there a lack of support from Russia as far as maintenance and troubleshooting of equipment is concerned ? If so, is that the reason for the recent subtle tilt of the Indian Navy from Russian equipment to Western ones ?

      Some other questions which are not so important (but I would be glad if you answered are)

      1.) Given that the LCA is an inherently small and light, is the over-engineered landing gear so much of a problem for carrier-operations. The Indian Navy has been operating aircraft carriers for the last 5 decades or so. Have not the ADA or HAL learnt anything about designing landing gears carrier-friendly landing gears per se. Or do the aero-dynamic characters of the LCA make it inherently unsuitable for carrier-operations (as you indicated somewhere below when you referred to wing sweep angles) ? If so, why did the Indian Navy deem it fit to invest more than Rs. 1500 crores in a program which it knew had to fail?

      Awaiting your reply.

      P.S : Are you a member of Quora ? If not, do join. You could provide a big boost (If you wrote about your experiences) to the still nascent but rapidly growing circle of Indian defense enthusiasts and strategic affairs commentators there.

  2. ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

    Re. “list reproduced from Wikipedia, without comment”

    And something that will have to remain without comment except in whispers. May be 10/20/25 years down the line a new breed of nationalists will study the history more closely and decide for themselves.

    But we should still be thankful to the Navy. At least they held out for so long, despite everything around them. Go guys, feel free, live your life, may be someday you will get to drive for the Americans too! 😛

    Didn’t I tell you people that I will be surprised if even 60 LCAs in total are produced. 120 was a figure only the more optimist among you were looking for and I was merely following you guys.

    • kaniskharsh says:

      83 Mk-1A’s have already been ordered in addition to the 30-40 Mk-1s ordered before. So I do not know what you are talking about. Other than that, you have clearly never had any contacts whatsoever with the members of the Armed forces. Know-towing to any other power, especially the USA, is a trait which is vehemently and ruthlessly cut-down to size in the IAF and the IN at least. Neither the IAF has forgotten Kargil when they had to make do with hand-held GPS devices nor has the IN forgotten 1971. These experiences have been ingrained deeply into the psyche and the institutional memory of these two services. The brass and file of these two is inherently suspicious when it comes to anything American. Please don’t reply with the standard “Bharat Karnad” bullshit of plum-post retirement jobs and children in America. If you take that as a parameter, then almost every middle class Indian will be anti-India pro-America slave according to you. If you believe in that, then you clearly have given up all hope on this country and would be better off living somewhere else.

      Cannot say anything about the Army though.

  3. Shail says:

    Teach us master.(and your acolytes too)..for you ppl are scientists, sailor and aviators par excellence with tons of combat experience in sailing and attacking peaks and what not!
    Those who do not know that political decisions rule in the procurement process, don’t understand fatigue and stress, sub-standard “indigenous” design and production capability and cant lead their dog on a walk , forget men in combat.
    Armchair warriors, who thrive on “wikipedia” and corridor gossip from old bosom buddies…yet comment on perceptions.
    Armchair warriors who take no risks themselves and are responsible for anything or anybody
    Armchair Warriors who have no skills themselves, yet comment on others
    For so many years … the Navy was his “blue eyed” service, yet suddenly today he has discovered wikipedia! Talk of a “palti-master”
    Advocates a 35 year old “indigenous” fraud design with 70%+ foreign content and sub-par design with major “concessions” ( does anyone understand “concessions” in war – Hey-dont shoot me – I am on a “concession”, and i cant shoot you – cause i got no weapons !!
    Remind me to check facts – how many of those wikipedia accidents were because of other than Naval personnel? – Lots – Facts dont matter here – How much have indigenous design and development bureaus failed us as a nation – doesnt matter – wont grab me eyeballs and comments –
    How much blame attaches to people working on extended duty schedules in poorly manned conditions hampered and hamstrung by terrible bureaucratic procurement procedures – doesnt matter.
    The whole point of this blog is Blame , Blame, Blame and truth and facts be damned – However a point to ponder here – Who gains if the Army, Navy and Air Force look like nincompoops? Who gains if readers perceptions are changed to denigrate the services? Did it really happen the way he says it? Was that the real story or an elaborate spin? Is it just mean mindedness mixed with lack of knowledge?
    Your guess is as good as mine —

    • Rt says:

      I am sorry to say you haven’t yet grasped the undertone of the writer. His case is such articles shall keep pouring if nation cannot supply arms for itself.

    • ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

      Re. – “Advocates a 35 year old “indigenous” fraud design with 70%+ foreign content and sub-par design”

      We have a patriot here, folks!

      FYI most of the test pilots of LCA had their careers cut short and were dumped upon by their parent services.

      And the 70% foreign content is only because of the imported weapons. Had these brand conscious officer class, been faithful to India we would have been exporting tech by now.

      China has already started to run slow. In next few years they will run faster. Our import agencies will end up importing inferior stuff in next 20 years.

      None of the aviation countries built up their aviation technology on the basis of imports, ever.

    • kaniskharsh says:

      Though I don’t agree with your comment about the LCA, which I believe to be a very good aircraft, I could not have put the other things in a better way myself. This Bharat Karnad and about 5 of his chamchas (who I think are actually Mr. Karnad himself under different ID’s) personal hobby is that of spewing venom against the Indian Armed Forces and levelling allegations so baseless and hilarious in nature that I have pretty much stopped reacting to anything he says. He did write some good stuff until 2011-2012 but after that…

      • ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

        Here is another one!

        Last time I had asked you to seek some answers from your armed forces family. Do you forget those. I will repeat for your ease.

        How did a service that prided itself in excellent operational record ended up with so many accidents in such a short period of time? That too just when the leadership in that service began to push for LEMOA.

        Will these services now get better if the Americans begin to help them out in operations?

        And why must that be the case?

        Why shouldn’t all these accidents be looked at as efforts at making just such an operational ‘inter-operability’ a reality? Wasn’t there a news a few days back that USN does not approve of the new aircraft carrier being made by India?

        What is all this supposed to lead to?

        Your avoidance of questions won’t make these questions go away. These questions will continue to be asked long long after all the critics are dead and gone.

      • kaniskharsh says:

        Stop seeing conspiracies everywhere. The Indian Armed forces operate a mammoth (for the lack of a better word) and a hugely diverse range of equipment. No matter what parameter you consider. Whether it is the place of origin or the age of the equipment. You should actually see some of the equipment used by the services. You would be horrified to find out how ancient and unreliable they are. Given the state of the equipment, and I am not just talking about headline grabbing expensive ones like warships and so on, I am actually surprised by the relatively less frequent accidents. Each accident more or less leads to the death or permanent disability of the personnels involved. That is why it is even more heart-wrenching and anger-inducing when you people level allegations of treason on the Armed Forces. For god’s sake man, it is not that only low level functionaries are killed in these mishaps. Even high-ranking officers are killed. These people leave behind salaries who are dependent on their paltry pensions. I am not absolving the Armed Forces of all responsibility but if you have followed the developments after these incidents, you would have known that no one is spared. Top commanders have been stripped of their ranks and been given “Dishonorable discharges” if their negligence has been proven. Do you know what a “Dishonorable discharge” means ? It is virtually the end of any officer.

        Critics like you are necessary for the good of our society and country. But you people should know when to be sensitive.

        As for the Americans, if you choose to read the Wall Street Journal, then you should do so at your own peril. I would not take their opinions very seriously. You should have seen the reaction of Naval officers to that sham of an article. Though some where angry, most of them where laughing to the point of tearing up. The American nincompoop had actually compared INS Vikrant to the super-carriers operated by the US Navy. The IAC-1 will certainly be found lacking when compared to carriers way above its class. With all that talks about catapults and so, the author did not even know what he was writing about. As for the Americans and their help, do not forget the US Navy has the most extensive experience regarding the operation of large carriers anywhere in the world. A little help or a constructive feedback never hurts. Friendly Armed Forces do that all the time. What I fail to grasp is that, to you people, why is help from Russia always welcome whereas the same on similar conditions is unwelcome from the West ? I am actually confused regarding that. It will be of a great help if you help me clear that out.

        I am not avoiding questions. It is just that you people, more often than not, level claims that could be dismissed by as much as google search. Further, your blanket dismissal and approval for anything done by the present dispensation and Mr.Bharat Karnad respectively, certainly makes your motivations to be suspect in my eyes (and vice-versa in yours, I am sure). Another trivial issue I have is with cluttered layout of the WordPress site. I just am not comfortable typing long replies into such small dialogue boxes. If you were on Quora or other such forums, it would be easier to debate and you would have a larger pool of recipient for your thoughts. But that’s just me.

      • Lt. Mukut Pathak (IN. Retd) says:

        I agree with you. This man is another write off like Katju and Mamta. Such retards, who are well beyond their shelf life, continue to write such shit articles. Mr. Bharat Karnad needs to learn lessons from Pandavas, when your time is over, head for hills.

      • andy says:

        Why the hell do you read Bharats articles so throughly if you find them disagreeable? Seemingly the whipping you got the last time around has not drilled any sense into you and you are back for some more.Kindly stick to quora kiddo..this is no place for a nitwit like yourself.Just because you are from a defense background (questionable)doesnt grant you any immunity here,

      • kaniskharsh says:

        Never asked for any immunity. I have been reading from Bharat Karnad from a long time now. It has become a habit. Moreover, it was always a breath of fresh air to read some contrarian views. But, thanks to people like you, this place has become the perfect place for levelling unsubstantiated allegations on just about anyone but yourselves. 2-3 years back, this used to be a place where one could come for a serious view on “Strategic Affairs”. Now this blog is just one among the countless “Conspiracy theories” site available on the internet. I fully agree with the Lt. Mukut on what he says about Mr. Bharat Karnad. I said the same words about him, in a rather uncivilized language I must say, on the other post which whipped the likes of you into a heart-attack inducing anger spree. Though the language of the comment is something I continue to regret, the essence of the argument remains the same.

        Oh and as for Quora, people like you won’t last a day there. People actually have fact based discussion and debates there. Something which, the likes of you, cannot ever be capable of. So a kind word of advice, stay off Quora. You will most certainly be banned in a jiffy if you even type half of the garbage you spew here everyday.


  4. Parth Paul says:

    Karnad sir, Vietnam defence minister is here, agreement on training vietnam pilots on sukhoi is signed but there’s no agreement or indication on brahmos sale after MTCR entry. If even the Modi govt is so scared of the Chinese, how will India counter China, which has deliberately made Pakistan a nuke nation. Plz meet Doval , Mr Modi, and enlighten them on need to make Vietnam a nuke nation asap.

  5. As far as indegenous Submarine development is concerned, India should buy Swedish Kockums company lock stock and barrel.We can even do a co-development with Kockums. or maybe even buy Spain’s Navantia.

    Italy’s fincantieri has a lot of experience in Submarine develompent.They developed Sauro class of Submarines.But recently Italy decided to buy German Type 212 Subs.But Fincantieri can develop a submarine if it is paid to do so.We can even co-develop a Submarine with Fincantieri.After all Russians were developing S1000 Submarine, which they wanted to sell to us.This project has been cancelled now.

    India should avoid buying Submarines from France, Germany and Russia at any cost.If India wants to create a design base in Submarine development, then we have to take risks and go for buying outrightly the entire shipyard or co-development with Kockum,Fincantieri or maybe Navantia.

  6. andy says:

    Just one question to those berating armchair warriors and substandard indegenous design & production capacity,did you ever wonder how the Arihant SSBN,the Agni series of missiles & the indigenous nuclear program has produced world class systems in spite of coming from the same background?.. The answer is pretty simple,there were no import options for them ,they had to be designed & produced in India.

    What’s tragic about this whole saga is that a country that can produce nuclear weapons,SSBNs and ICBMs cannot produce an assault rifle,a MBT or even a UlH,that satisfy the nit picking top brass of the armed forces.Why this so is blatantly obvious,its the C word.

    By some estimates around 70℅of indegenous efforts in designing & producing weapon systems has been rejected by the armed forces,by systematcally running down efforts firstly with overambitious SQRs,secondly by making changes midway through development,sometimes through sabotage (Arjun vs T90) and watching the tamasha from the side lines instead of taking the projects under their wings & seeing them through to their logical end.

    Its the Indian Navy that has built up some meaningful capacity in design of warships, by taking pride in launching India made warships, so its only natural to be shocked when the CNS publicly runs down the LCA Tejas.Worldwide weapons systems like aircraft are inducted and then progressively upgraded, even the Pakistani idiots do this better than the Indian military eg the JF17 inducted and then progressively upgraded ,but of course the Indian military is the holy cow and beyond any criticism,even if they dont follow the norms that prevail worldwide and systematically kill off indigenous efforts in favour of imported toys.To hell with the costs such ventures incur for the national exchequer.

    • Lt. Mukut Pathak (IN. Retd) says:

      IN has INS Vikramaditya operational and will soon induct IAC-1 in service. We will have assets worth over 30K crores idling without proper compliment of fighters. What is better in such a scenario? Induct fighters asap to make use of this investment in Carriers or wait endlessly for NLCA which even today has no definite timeline.

      • andy says:

        Good to see us agreeing at least on the IAFs ASQRs..but wrt to the air assets for the Vikramaditya and Vikrant, the fixed wing component is 24 and 20 respectively (IAC1 being 4500 tons lighter than Vikramaditya)thats covered by the 45mig 29Ks on order(which is also an imported A/c),if at all more aircraft are needed they would probably be for the 65000 tons INS Vishal that wont be in service till 2030 to 2035.If more fixed wing A/c are needed for IAC1 they would have to be the MIG29k or a smaller aircraft like the LCA due to the design constraints in the hanger and lift, unless other A/cs are permanently stationed on deck,which case wont be any good for the A/c per se.Plus as per a report tabled in Parliament IAC1 wont be ready till 2023 or 2024.

        Thus if the will exists the Tejas mark2 could be a reality,unless the Naval brass has also been bitten by the’ western fighter’s are the best’ bug.

    • Shail says:

      Mr Andy,
      SQRs are made based on the operational requirement for next few years. For the LCA was based on a 1990 induction. Then the world changed, technology advanced, adversaries got much better systems and counters, naturally the SQRs could not remain static. If the LCA is delayed by 20 more years , stealth will also come as an SQR – That is as politely as I can put it.
      A horrendously delay inducing and responsibility avoiding “tail clear” procurement process like India’s cannot be blamed on the services. Secondly, Look at Arihant – cross your heart – if the russkies had not helped, where would we be? is that “indigenous” ? spare me man! DRDO is third rate ! dont extol incompetents in the name of patriotism. Look at the missile programme – Bharat Karnad has himself stated umpteen times, the fusion test was a fizzle – , am sure half of the missiles wont work in war – thats par for the course with all DRDO stuff , – also there would have been huge unacknowledged cooperation from the russkies. Guys who cant make a lousy fighter to FOC standards in 35 years could fly a missile? The nirbhay dives into the sea in a test, Indigenous Arty guns barrels explode on the first shell being fired, Astra cant hit the side of a barn door! Desi bombs explode on wings, HAL couldnt make a basic trainer like HPT-32 reach reasonable safety standards – it killed so many pilots that people nearly mutinied and refused to fly it. Thats HAL ! wake up man, all DRDO does is advanced copy-paste, thats why even equador has grounded your ALHs. Its just that the Armed Forces have no options…..They pay with their blood for HAL, ADA, DRDO and Party, who just ask for more money and use it for foreign junkets to find more material to copy-paste instead of actual research.

  7. Lt. Mukut Pathak (IN. Retd) says:

    we need to learn from nature. A she monkey does not let go off its dead child but even she has to let go off it when it starts sticking and puts her own life in peril. NLCA is one such dead child. Its good that Navy has chosen to give up on it. I do have faith in LCA Mk1A and IAF will get a very potent point defence fighter in it but IAF has to share the blame equally for the mess they created? In 1983-84, It was IAF which decided that configuration of LCA has to be tailless delta. In 1985, IAF lost the Chairmanship of HAL and since then, LCA has been an orphan. As a retired fighter pilot I fail to understand the logic of fitting IFR to LCA. No one will ever take a high value asset like a tanker to within 200kms of the battle zone to keep it safe from sneak attacks by enemy fighters. So LCA will need to do atleast a flight of 400kms from its battle station to tank up and return back to battle station. How much time will it spend in the battle station before it is required to top up again considering its 2.4ton internal fuel capacity and even if include 2x1200ltr D/Ts?
    To top it all, IAF has asked for turn around time of 14minutes in AD role. This reminds me of the prophetic words of our present RM, “services write their QRs from comic books.” IAF probably has the largest library of comic books in its inventory.

    • Likely guess. IAF asked for IFR in Tejas as afterthought because JF17 got it.

      The basic logic of indigenous platforms is that you cannot fight a war on your terms with foreign weapons. Own platform also means you don’t pay by your nose for every upgrade. Hence own platform is more imp than best of breed subsystems which can be imported.

      As for any development project user involvement and ownership is must for success. Users have to be ‘team members’ not just ‘negative’ stakeholders.

      India does not need to import so many convensional weapons, if it does not constrain its nuclear program.

      It buys expensive hardware which its leaders just can’t use in its neighborhood given the mexican standoff it finds itself in.

      There is no alternative to indigenous development of platforms by PSUs or Private industry or both.

  8. ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

    For those interested here is something to think about.

    1) F-16 variant was offered to US Navy (rejected in favour of F-18). Only some tweeking was to be done. Details here:
    The rejection was primarily because USN wanted F-18 for its ability to be jazzed up with the USAF was not willing to have done. USAF the lead for the F-16 program refused to laden up the F-16.
    But the history is besides the point. The point to be considered is that later the F-16 was developed into the F-16XL which is what LCA too could have done. The similarities and differences are best summed up here :

    2) The very fact that the able officer is not willing to even factually write the sweep angles says where exactly his priorities are. LCA has two distinct sweeps in the leading edge. I think 45* and 62.5*. F-16XL had 3 distinct angles, 50* to 70* in most of the wing with the wing roots just as thick at may be 40* plus.

    3) This is not all. Here is what the naval aviation really is capable of, edge of the experimental envelop, in capable hands:
    In capable hands that is. Not with somebody who will eat whatever is served, without ever applying their minds.

    The point is LCA could easily have been developed had it not been killed like the Avro Arrow. And the killer is the same in both cases.

    So may be the navy should try to talk down to others when they have gathered, what it takes to save their subs and ships from blowing up or toppling over.

    • Lt. Mukut Pathak (IN. Retd) says:

      LCA is 50* and 62.5* sweep angles. F-16XL had lower sweep on the outer wing. A naval deck based is not just about flight ability but also about lot of other requirements. IN committed for NLCA when IAF was reluctant to support LCA. No one can doubt the credentials of IN regarding equipment which developed and made in India. But what can IN do when ADA has repeatedly failed to deliver on any of its timelines. To hope against hope is foolish.

      • ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

        IN brass, can just sit around and tweedle its thumb all day for years together. Ain’t that, what it actually did?

        Will you be happy with an Aspect ratio of 2.66 to 4 and a sweep of 34* to 45* ?

        Look someday a non-congress, non-bjp govt. is going to come and a white paper will be written on LCA. If not that then a nationalist insider will speak out the truth. Enjoy your F-18 and F-35 till then, like your predecessors.

  9. raj says:

    f18 tomcat? that’s the f14. F18 isnt 50 yyears old. F18EF was designed in 1993 . get some of tour facts straight.

  10. Lt. Mukut Pathak (IN. Retd) says:

    @Andy, from where did you get the figures of 20 & 24 for Vikky and IAC-1. You are grossly wrong about the numbers. IN as on date short of 60 fighters for the two carriers. The best wartime serviceability is assumed to be 75%, so 100 fighters means that we will have only 75 available for deployment on carriers. And Vikky+IAC-1 can carry that many between themselves.

      • Lt. Mukut Pathak (IN. Retd) says:

        I chose not to respond to this as this information has come from IN and they probably have a good reason to publish these numbers for the air wing of Vikky. The airwing of IAC-1 is going to be bigger than Vikyy.

      • andy says:

        And we are supposed to believe you and not a paper published by the IN,what the hell do you and that idiot kanishkharsh take us for ,some sort of nitwits?The fact that you have been in service doesnt make you the resident expert here,I have met people from the Indian armed forces who are the worst sort of idiots ,so get the halo you are trying to build around yourself out,its not going to work on this forum.You profess to be a naval fighter pilot but dont even know the benchmark tonnage per aircraft is 1000 tons(including fixed wing and rotary wing)

      • Lt. Mukut Pathak (IN. Retd) says:

        First you need to educate yourself about Loaded displacement and just Displacement of a ship after that you must learn to read and apply your mind to what you write. If 1000tons per aircraft is a thumb rule, Vikky should carry 45 aircraft. You also stated that IAC-1 will have lesser displacement than Vikky. Is that correct for Displacement or loaded displacement?
        What all the factors which decide the air wing of a fighter? How many fighters did HMS Hermes now Viraat carried during Falklands war. Did your 1000ton/aircraft formula apply there? Stop reading comic books and read some better books to educate yourself.

      • andy says:

        One has seen ex Admirals put across their contrary point of view with utmost civility on this forum(welcomed most graciously by Bharat and all the others)so displaying rank wont impress anyone here.

        But here you are asking him ‘not to poke his nose’,using words like ‘retard’,advising to ‘head for the hills’in other words displaying boorish and totally third class etiquettes.What did you expect in return?a garland?

    • andy says:

      My dear fellow the answer to your original question has already been provided by the link to an Indian navy published document,now you can keep arguing about displacement till the cows come home and I will keep asking you to check out the link provided.So there!!

      • Lt. Mukut Pathak (IN. Retd) says:

        HMS Hermes had sailed out with 26 Harriers from RN and RAF and 22 helos. In the war zone it transferred 10 Helos to other ships and thruout the war it had a compliment of 38 aircraft. So your theory of 1000tons/aircraft falls flat. The wartime compliment is never advertised. The war time compliment of Vikky is much more than what the IN has posted in the link you provided. Same is the case for IAC-1. In fact IAC-1 will carry a larger air wing bcoz it has been designed as a carrier right from keel up unlike Vikky which was converted from a cruiser to Carrier role. The Hangar space and deck width of IAC-1 is more than that of Vikky.

      • andy says:

        I am really sorry to say this but I do not have access to classified naval info as you are pretending to have,even if I did I wouldn’t be airing it on an open forum.

        Till such time that I do get access to such information I am going to accept what the Indian navy has published rather than a self proclaimed ex officer whose credentials cant be verified here,so kindly go through the provided link pubished by the Indian navy because that is what is going to be believed on this forum.

      • Lt. Mukut Pathak (IN. Retd) says:

        If you have guts in you, try and put a commissioned Rank before your name in an open forum like this. This is what third rate guys like you do when they lose an argument.

      • andy says:

        Plus comparing a STOVL carrier with amphibious capacity like the Hermes aka Viraat,carrying a compliment of Sea Harrier jump jets with a STOBAR carrier like the Vikramaditya or IAC1 carrying a compliment of mach2+ MIG29Ks is just not right.

        I am sure that the deck of the Hermes could be crammed with a lot of aircraft since a lot less space is required for the vertical landing sea harriers, but this is not the case for IAC1 or Vikramaditya, since landing MIG29Ks requires arrestor cables and hooks, eating up a lot of deck space,therefore cramming the decks of the STOBAR carriers is not as simple as on the STOVL carriers like the Viraat.

      • Lt. Mukut Pathak (IN. Retd) says:

        My humble suggestion to you. Please do not make a fool of yourself by commenting on things on which you have no knowledge. Do you know that Sea Harrier also takes off from the ski ramp and when we do vertical landing on deck, a very large space around has to be kept clear to avoid damage by down blast of engine nozzles. Pls stop making a fool of yourself here.

      • andy says:

        On the contrary it is you who has tied yourself into knots and lost the argument a long time back.What back up have you provided for your own silly comments?dont see any links that you have put up.All you are banking on is the lt you put up against your name to carry you through,I am sorry to say this is not a naval base.

        Where did you see me write about take off, my comment was purely for the landing aspect ,vertical landing for the sea harriers and arrested recovery for the MIG29 K.Its you who is made a fool of himself by talking about monkeys on a strategic affairs forum.

        Ultimately when nothing seems to work just make a show of bravado by talking about ‘guts’ now if this isnt third rate behaviour what is?Its time you headed for the hills like the Pandavas instead of reccomending it for others.

  11. LCA Tejas Programme Director CD Balaji has termed Indian Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba’s remark slamming delay in aircraft’s meeting of the timeline for its full development hurtful.

  12. Madanjit Singh says:

    Karnad needs to be educated about suitability of engine thrust parameters for carrier borne aircraft

    • Dear Admiral Madanjit — it is just the sort of deficiency in the navalised Tejas the IN should, as stated by me, have invested all its resources to remedy. The N-LCA is the first time India is designing such an aircraft. There’s always a learning curve in every aspect of the design to delivery scheme for every new product that needs to be traversed until the skill and competence levels get to a threshold when the learning curve gets shortened to the point of disappearing. But surely you know that.

  13. Shaurya says:

    @Lt. Mukut Pathak To your limited argument of the CNS putting ADA/HAL on notice for Mk2, I am in agreement. The chief did the right thing. ADA better deliver under some agreed timelines.

    As for the CNS desire for “another” type of aircraft outside of the types envisioned for Vicky/IAC1, opposite the acquisition of a western fighter

    As for the rest of this comments on Bharat, they are hogwash.

    @Bharat: Excellent compilation and putting the IN on notice that their evolution and commitment to Made in India is sliding. Critical projects like SSN will not be done by uncle and the increased rate of incidents have to be taken note of.

    It is one thing to be a patriot and support the armed forces and the government. Another to keep your mark purely as one sees Indian interests and be non-partisan to any institution, party, leader, or ideology. The charge that Bharat was soft on UPA is laughable.

    • Lt. Mukut Pathak (IN. Retd) says:

      Please understand that IN does not have any choice as on date about any foreign fighter for Vikky and IAC-1 other than more MIg-29K which they do not want. Rafale-M, F-35B/C, F-18E/F or even Sea Gripen do not meet the requirements of IN. So it is either LCA or more MIg-29Ks.

      • andy says:

        Re:”NLCA is one such dead child. Its good that Navy has chosen to give up on it.”

        Re:”So it is either LCA or more MIg-29Ks.”

        So what is the CNS doing cribbing about the LCA mark2 in public,when he knows he doesnt have a choice?you know it,I know it, even the taxi driver in Timbuctoo knows TINA to MIG29k or LCA for Vikramditya & IAC1,but the CNS still goes ahead makes such a stupid statement & you initially supported it but backtracked when the obvious was pointed out wrt design of hangers and lifts for both Vikramaditya and IAC1,And how come you are putting out contradictory statements on the same thread?

    • For a fair assessment one has to do a comparison between Indian and ‘foreign’ weapons companies’ projects to say which are delayed and which are not.

      Foreign is not a panacea. It’s an excuse. Buying what you can’t use in rar when you can better spend that tax payer’s money instead on other things is clearly foolish.

      By far the most delayed and price escalated project publicly known is the INS Vikramaditya. It is also an example of corruption in the higher officer ranks of Armed forces.

      We also have the delayed Scorpene project. It’s added ignominy is dataleak which NAVy was supposed to be taking seriously. In any other country the vendor would have been made to pay dearly by now.

  14. Shavet says:

    Thanks for sharing this information. I can’t comment how fit or unfit is Texas MkI for Naval operations but it would be a big misfortune for our country if the tax payer ‘s money is spent on purchasing obsolete war planes.

  15. Karnadji If India wants to learn how to make submarines on its own then Indian Navy has no other choice but to go for Single hull design.There 5 western nations making single hull submarines and only Russia makes double hull Subs.
    Competition gives customer the better product and services .if India go in for double hull then India will have to rely upon Russians, something which you want India to be always.

    India is self-sufficient in developing Helicopters because HAL developed ALH Dhruv with German MBB help.INDIA could develop a heavy MBT Arjun because of german technical help.Arjun tank is basically a second hand German Leapard Tank.
    India is more or less self-sufficient in developing Aircraft with Tejas Project only because of American help.

    Now when it comes to developing Submarines, India has no other choice but to rely on western technical help if not American.

    Bharat Karnad likes to scream about Russian technical help in INS Arihant submarine Project.Well then why can’t India still develop a conventional Submarine.
    Karnadji also like to remind us that AmericANS will not help us in making nuclear attack Submarines. Well go ahead with Russian tech help regarding Nuke attack submarines and 20-30 years down the road India will still not be able to make a conventional Submarine.

    Russian technical help has come only in selected fields and India has paid a VERY VERY heavy price for that.Russians have done more damage to India than any good generally in the long run!!!!

    • Riadh Baloch says:

      The Dhruv is a bad example because it has been an unmitigated disaster all of your export customers have grounded them and asking for money back. At the end of the day nobody wants flying coffins like your Migs.

    • kaniskharsh says:

      Exactly man. Mr. Karnad and his Followers , on this forum, murder facts and rational logic in cold blood.

      • andy says:

        You think anyone cares for your opinion?..Werent both of you batting for the Rafale over theSu30mki the last time we had a run in?Especially the low servicability of the SU30..well chew on the following..

        The hype about the high %age of servicability for the Rafale that so enamoured the IAF and the Rafale supporters has been exposed and how.Can still see the French laughing all the way to the bank,having fooled all these dunceheads in India with their sales pitch.Kya topi pehnai..kinda suits the likes of both these jokers.

      • kaniskharsh says:

        Deflecting topics to which one has no counter is an art one should learn from Mr. Karnad and his followers. It is highly likely that all of you are ardent supporters of one particular politician and his “shoot and scoot” tactics.

        However, I am digressing. How could you think that I would be the least concerned as to you and your ilk’s opinion about me ? Don’t overestimate your prowess.

        Coming to the Rafale. The contract clearly notes that Dassault Aviation is obligated by law to maintain 75 % serviceability of the IAF fleet failing which there will be severe penalties. Of course, to you, such declarations are not worth the paper they are written on I guess. Nothing anyone can do about that. The report, though it does not cast any aspersion on the Rafale itself, does raise a lot of questions as to how good the French are at maintaining their warplanes.

        The last time we were discussing, the debate was on Russian equipment versus Western equipment. Do care to check the following link which is from the same source from which you posted about the Rafale :

        That is about the aircrafts belonging to the Indian Navy. Moreover, until then, Mr. Bharat Karnad supposedly considered the Navy to be more “nationalistic” than the IAF or the IA

        So any chance of foul play by the IN is ruled out.

        The Sukhoi 30 MKI fleet had hit absolute rock bottom as far as pilot confidence was concerned. The only reason the IAF did not ground these birds was because they had 2 engines and also due to the enormous pressure from the MoD brass who were willing to go the extra way so as to not ruffle the Russians. Then, Mr. Parrikar came in. He heard the IAF out and then bluntly told the Russians that they could either help or stay shut up. Then French and Israeli help was sought (which the Russians had strongly objected to earlier and Mr.Anthony had followed their dikat without a word). And that is how you are witnessing a decent serviceability rate of 60-64%. That is projected to rise further as the IAF is committed to maintaining a 75% serviceability rate across the fleet. The Mirage-2000 in this regard is a dream. As close to ideal as one can get. Incidentally, my cousin (formerly IAF), flew both the Mirage and the Sukhoi. While the latter offered decisively better performance on almost every parameter (according to him), it was the Mirage which was loved by the ground crew. The pilots had also just gotten familiar with the MKI (2008-2009 ) and the FOD to the engines were one of the many teething problems reported by the IAF to the Russians for trouble-shooting. The other major one was, as far as I remember, erratic behavior of the FBW system (the aircraft tended to pitch and roll erratically when TVC system was switched off after use and even mid-flight sometimes). This was considered normal for a new platform (and to be honest, the Indian climate does not cut any sort of slack to any machinery much less airplanes). But the lackadaisical approach showed by the Russians (they could put Indian PSU units to shame) irked the IAF no end. Add that to the woes being faced by the Navy and the IAF from the last couple of years and the writing on the wall was clear. The Russians were taking us for a ride and thought of us as their personal pet-dogs who would lap up whatever substandard equipment they threw at us. An informal joint-services decision was taken to the effect that Russian products were no longer to be given priority and were to be chosen only if they offered un-paralleled advantage over competing equipment. The Navy went about implementing this with an even higher thrust on Indian products. The IAF chose the Indo-Israeli-European route. The Army too made some vague assurances about indigenous equipment. The Tejas was just not anywhere near completion l then. The Arjun saga is well known and documented to early followers of this forum.

        In hindsight one can say that the responsibility, for the debacle made of national security, could be laid at the feet of both the Armed Forces and the government of the day. The Armed forces (especially the Army) were unable to overcome, to a large extent, the large nexus of procurement officers-middle men-defence equipment manufacturers. The government of the day made absolutely no effort whatsoever to push the Indian defence complex into making better products or lean on the Armed Forces to prioritize Indian equipment. The rot has set in deep and thus removing it is not going to be easy and quick. Mr. Parrikar and Mr. Modi have an enormous tasks on their hands and it will take time to clean it all up. I only wish that both of them knew the solution to every problem ailing our national security apparatus and country at large (which Mr. Karnad claims to btw). But they do not. But they are damn as well trying their hardest to solve them.

        I do not think that the above will, in anyways whatsoever, change your mindset about the present government or the defence establishment. However, you should keep this in mind, there are people out there whose very lives are on line and who know and worry much more about our nation than you ever could in your entire lifetime. These are the people who are going to fall to the first bullets/missiles of the enemy. They are doing their job. Diligently. Silently while you and I debate about their abilities to protect us without ever even having fired a gun or gotten hit by enemy snipers or enemy A2A missiles. I for one, trust these people with my life. If you do not, then you better leave this country. No point in staying in a country when you do not and cannot trust its first line of defence.

        This is the last time I am going to comment on this forum and/or reply to you and/or Mr. Karnad’s, frankly, absolutely ludicrous claims backed by no facts or rational logic whatsoever. As they say, “it’s just not worth it man” .

        Have a good day.

      • andy says:

        @VP cho.. and kan..

      • andy says:

        Since having a family linked to the armed forces seems to be a big thing with you,FYI my immediate family comprises of a retired Lt.General and a serving navy Captain aside from a couple of others,which fact I had brought to the notice of another reader a few months back on this very forum,so can be verified,lest you may think I am making it up to gain brownie points.That out of the way,I have stopped letting the above fact cloud my judgement regarding what ails Indias national interest since a long time now.Its ok to be starry eyed about the armed forces,especially when one is young and naive,maybe I was too at some point,so can empathize with you to an extent but when one grows older and becomes more aware of the facts, the reality is brutal to say the least.

        The only way out of the quagmire is to have a robust indegenous arms industry if India wants to weild any meaningful hard power,which fact Bharat has painstakingly highlighted since long and I concur.If you thoroughly read what he has written over the years, this fact will be obvious.But how can a meaningful indegenous arms industry become a reality when the armed forces will keep rejecting all efforts?This is what happens when all departments work in silos and consider themselves sovereign,with no regard for any overriding national interest.The forces keep blaming DRDO and vice versa,with national interest going for a toss.I strongly reccomend that you read Bharats book ‘Why India is not a great power,Yet’ to get some perspective.

        Regarding the Rafale, one doesnt have anything against the aircraft per se but why splurge $9 billion on just 36nos when better options are available for much less?Plus if someone thinks the French will put in more efforts to keep IAFs Rafales in the air than they do for their own airforce it would be the height of naivety.As for the penalties,one will know when they are enforced or wether theres some loophole provided in the contract.Au revoir.

  16. Vijay says:

    Please get your facts right, Mr.Karnad. F-18s are not “Tomcats”, F-14s are. The boats that raided Karachi harbour were Osa class, not Petyas. Elementary errors that cast credibility issues on the author and the piece.

  17. Riadh Baloch says:

    There is no such thing as a “F18 Tomcat” and the Pakistan Air Force has not inducted a single J-10/FC20. Pakistan is operating F16s, JF17 Thunder and the Mirage III/V Rose aircrafts for combat operations at present. And you call yourself a defense analyst?

    • Riadh Baloch@ — Sorry, F-18 Tomcat was a slip. My wrong. Of course, it is Hornet. Thanks for pointing out the mistake (which correction inserted in text).

      • raj says:

        super hornet. really not the same thing.

      • Even so, the fact remains that the F-18, derived from the YF-17, is a Seventies vintage planform, architecturally — optimised for threats and the competition of that time. Its limitations in the air warfare milieu of the 2020s and beyond are already quite stark.

  18. Jaguar says:

    Your comments are filled with half-truths which have been manipulated to mislead a reader. It’s a pretty laughable work of penmanship if it weren’t so vitriolic. However you lost the plot even in that when all you could offer was problems and not a solution. You also gave away you inherent bias and hypocrisy when you tried to portray only all that is not well. Clearly a mundane stuff from yet another presstitute who is peddling his charms to all and sundry in hope of a prospective client. Wish you luck in that!

  19. Saikumar says:

    It is always easy to list a compiled report fm wikipedia and patch up against the Navy. It is amusing to note that the LCA navy had american engine F404 alias IN 20 in its prototype versions which after 7 yrs was decided to b replaced with F18 engines fm GE F414 which still is doubtful to have enough power to the increased wt of Lca navy owing to its much strengthenef undercarriage additoo of arresting system etc etv that r major challenges apart fm aerodynamic challenge to a full delta wing. I wud reqhest that the professionalism of the Navy b best protected by condemning such judgemetal articles.

  20. The holier than thou Armed Forces senior ranks bite the dust. How shameful can things get? Surely CBI had some evidence to arrest Mr S P Tyagi.

    Disgraceful .

    Former Navy Chief Arun Prakash makes the point about no choice but buy Indian since budget does not permit foreign in this conference where former Airchief Mr S P Tyagi also spoke.

  21. andy says:

    For the people who doubt that corruption is rampant in the armed forces and procurement of foreign military kit is a money making racket here is some food for thought

    • Reproducing the reaction of former naval aviator, VADM Shekhar Sinha (retd), to this piece in the ‘India First’ website:

      The reports suggest that Navy will continue to support the further development of the Tejas till it becomes compliant of the NSQR. Possibly the timeframe of Vikrant becoming operational and Tejas Navy becoming operational are not in consonance at present which could impact envisaged force levels. One cannot dump the project when it is just about becoming a reality. One is aware of the delays and mismanagement but Tejas is Indian baby.

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