Carrier aircraft muddle (augmented post)

(Navalised Rafale)

[This blog post re-published by BloombergQuint Sept 18, 2017 as “Personal Feud or Technical Flaw, why was Tejas rejected?” at https://www.bloombergquint.com/opinion/2017/09/18/personal-feud-or-technical-flaw-why-was-tejas-rejected

———–

Trust the Indian armed services to make it difficult for themselves and the country at every turn. There’s a big muddle ahead, this time because the Indian Navy decided to issue an RFI (Request for Information) from suppliers for 57 twin-engined aircraft for its indigenous carriers, thereby shunting out, and deprioritizing in its plans, the naval Tejas. This because the naval brass decided that the weight problem — some two ton over mark — couldn’t be solved in time for it to grace the deck of  the IAC-1 Vikrant by when it is commissioned in 2021-22, and that this requirement has, therefore, to be met by imports.

The two aircraft in the fray are the Boeing F-/A-18 E/F Super Hornet — the main carrier plane with foldable wings of the US Navy until it is progressively replaced by the F-35C, and the Maritime Rafale Dassalt has been pitching for with SAAB’s Sea Gripen as a distant third, and not in the reckoning for reasons adduced below. SAAB’s offer to jointly develop with India was made in December 2015 at a time when the Navy was committed to the Tejas. Two years later the Rafale and F-18 are being pushed hard, the navalized Gripen prototype is ready, and the Indian Navy has soured on the home-grown LCA.

If there’s a problem with a new aircraft what do more advanced, strategic-minded, navies not habituated to the easy import option do? Well, take the F-35C. After repeated take-offs, the US Navy discovered a serious design flaw that made the catapult-assisted takeoffs so rough, and so disoriented the pilots just when the aircraft is getting airborne as to potentially prove fatal. The redesign, it is estimated will take several years, and the rectified plane won’t be available until 2020 or later. The US Navy tasked its ‘Red Team’ to work on the design modification and get the improved aircraft for trials fastest. Couldn’t the Indian Navy have constituted its own Red Team to work intensively with the LCA design team to trim its weight?

This was not feasible for many reasons, among them : (1) A personal mountain of a reason — bad blood between the lead test pilot in the naval LCA program, Cmde Jaydeep Maolankar, and Rear Admiral Surendra Ahuja, Assistant Controller Carrier Project and Assistant Controller Warship Production and Acquisition at NHQ. By all accounts, Maolankar is a top rated flier dedicated to the Tejas but Ahuja, with no flying experience, is nearer the seat of power and who, perhaps, to spite Maolankar, a batch mate, whose failure to make it to the next rank — however that was managed — was the talk in naval circles, convinced the naval brass that the LCA was no-go, and that its prospects are bleak.

[ ERRATA — My Wrong. Rear Admiral Ahuja is a certified test pilot, cleared for catobar flying from carrier deck, and among the first to operate the MiG-29Ks, as well as a number of other combat aircraft and even transport planes. This was a grievous error on my part of not researching more fully into RADM Ahuja’s career. Apologies.]

Many senior Admirals claim such skulduggery in promotions is not possible because there’s an Appraisals Board, etc. to prevent abuse at the level of promotion boards. In that case, how to explain the Armed Forces Tribunal in July this year holding Vice Admiral PK Chatterjee guilty of passing over many officers with excellent career records — all from the nuclear submarine arm, including Cmdr SS Luthra who had approached the Tribunal, to clear the upward path of his son-in-law Captain A V Agashe? (See http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/tribunal-slams-nepotism-in-navy-imposes-rs-5-lakh-as-fine-on-vice-admiral/articleshow/59851886.cms ). Whence the Navy’s formal rejection of the Tejas. On such personal rivalries hang the fate of nations striving to be self-sufficient in armaments! And (2) It would mean giving up on a chance to import another foreign aircraft and forego all the goodies in train. Easier then for the Indian Navy to give up on the Tejas.

Having desperately hunted for excuses to reject it, Ahuja, possibly driven as much by institutional impulse as personal animus, finally found it in the aircraft’s excess weight and, rather than proposing remedial measures and doubling on the navy’s commitment and investment in an Indian designed and developed carrier aircraft, recommended ditching the naval LCA. Should the Modi government and MOD, assuming Arun Jaitley tomorrow takes over fully as Defence Minister, not instruct the Navy to rethink the import decision? Nah.  Jaitley doesn’t know the business end of an aircraft if it bumped him, even less the business end of aircraft development or the value of fostering indigenous aircraft design and development capability. Then again, when have the military services caviled from tilting always and every time toward expensive foreign imports and pushing the nation deeper into the military hardware import hole?

Why expensive? Because 57 is not a large enough number of aircraft to interest profit-driven foreign suppliers, and certainly not Boeing, especially not if in trying to service PM Modi’s flagship ‘Make in India’ program it is also required to make it in India which, in terms of economies of scale makes no sense to anybody. And buying this small lot of aircraft will mean the country paying through its nose for them.

The reason the Swedish SAAB Company will be happy to produce the Sea Gripen in India is because it is also very confident about selling some 200 of its air  force variant in competition with the F-16 in the new single-engined aircraft sweepstakes to equip the IAF, with attractive talk of fully transferring to India “all source codes” — the design-wise know-why element. But there’s yet another problem. Assuming the Sea Gripen is generally of the same size as the air force variant, then this aircraft, as stalwart naval persons will tell you, will barely fit on the lifts in the IACs that carry the planes on to the deck. Except, Sea Gripen is single-engined, doesn’t fit the 2-engined NSQR, and is not acceptable to the Navy. Boeing would be interested too if the IAF picked the F-18 for its fleet, except Boeing is unlikely to onpass source codes and other ‘black box’ technologies to any Indian private sector company or public sector firm, like HAL. Besides, it will be the 2-engined oddity in a single-engined aircraft buy by the IAF. But this plane too suffers from structural features that make it unfit for the Indian carriers — the wings of the F-18 do fold but at the wingtips when, to be accommodated in the elevator, the fold would have to be at the fuselage end.

The joker in the pack is Dassault, which’s hell-bent on selling its ‘Maritime’ version to the Navy to complement the initial sale of Rafale to IAF as a means of beefing up its wedge in the door strategy to sell in piecemeal lots at progressively higher prices more and more Rafales to the Navy and air force without having to go through the rigmarole of transfer of technology under ‘Make in India’ obligations. Senior naval persons inform that teams from Dassault and Boeing have visited Vikrant, taken measurements, and may come up with some solutions. Such as tilting the aircraft just a bit to get them onto the elevator and the hangar below-deck, for which purpose some re-engineering of the hydraulics in the elevators may be needed. So Rafale will be configured, equipped  with foldable wings if Dassault espies any chance of selling its naval variant.

All said and done, the fact of the matter is the entire race is going to be reduced to a two horse field. Here’s how. Washington will turn the tourniquet to prevent the Swedes from bagging the IAF deal. Ashley Tellis, of Carnegie Washington, the prime mover of American aircraft to the Indian armed services, Indian MOD and the only foreigner (albeit of Mumbai origin) — as I revealed in a piece I wrote last year and on this blog (look it up!)  to have the readiest access imaginable to Prime Minister Modi, has made this plain. In a recent article, he mentioned the fact that between 40% and 60% of the Gripen is composed of components, sub-assemblies and assemblies, including the power plant, sourced from America, that will need US government clearance! Does anybody in Stockholm or in Delhi really believe Gripen has an easy run into the IAF fleet, leave alone the run of the Vikrant deck?  But bring the canny French in with their Rafale and the competition becomes more interesting, less predictable.

But the Modi govt, having taken flak for the 36 aircraft Rafale buy and with the 2019 elections looming, will not allow the sourcing of the F-18s without the “make in India” component. This option could become available if India is willing to pay a horrendous price for it. So, it’s ruled out. The one and only solution then would be the default option of buying more improved MiG-29Ks for IACs 1 through 3 at enhanced cost — improvements in the aircraft, as Admirals reveal, that have been made at India’s expense, on the basis of enormous and invaluable 4 years’ test flying data accessible to the Russians.

But why blame the Russians, the Americans, the Swedes, the French and anybody else selling military equipment for taking advantage of India? That’s the logic of the armaments business. What is hurtful though is how the military services do next to nothing to correct the situation other than justify “immediate”/”urgent” need to line up the next series of imports and, absolutely incomprehensible why the Govt of India — whatever the party in power — is loath to implement drastic measures to end such abject dependency. Such as laying down a ‘No Imports’ Iron Rule which alone will compel the armed services seriously to turn to making indigenous projects successful because they’ll be bereft of other options. To make such decisions will take quite stupendous political will, but that’s what Narendra Modi was supposed to muster. No?

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 arms exports, Asian geopolitics, civil-military relations, corruption, Decision-making, Defence Industry, DRDO, Europe, Geopolitics, Great Power imperatives, India's strategic thinking and policy, Indian ecobomic situation, Indian Navy, Indian Ocean, Military Acquisitions, Military/military advice, society, South Asia, Strategic Relations with the US & West, Technology transfer, United States, US., Weapons, Western militaries. Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Carrier aircraft muddle (augmented post)

  1. raja says:

    Resp.Sir,
    We will buy equal amounts of F18 and Gripen.It will contribute new concepts to produce our AMCA…Advanced Multiple Combination Aircraft!

    • san man says:

      The F-18 SuperHornet seems like a decent choice, given that it’s still a state-of-the-art aircraft (the F-35, by contrast, seems like an overly expensive boondoggle). Even if India doesn’t get the source codes, etc, these aren’t absolutely necessary to meet our defense needs. My fear is of a conflict with China in the near/medium term, and so we need such top-line aircraft ASAP in order to buy ourselves more time. In the long run, India’s technological and economic base will grow, so that we can catch up and be a much stronger adversary that gives China pause for thought. But it’s the near/medium term where we are acutely vulnerable to Chinese aggression. I’d like to ask what is the substance to the rumors that India could acquire the Tu-22M3 “Backfire” bomber to fend off the PLAN?

  2. Venkat says:

    Let us not assume our government is so foolish that an ego between two mid level officials screws up such an important project.
    More ever let us not make fun of F-35 issues, it is more than a generation ahead in concepts of anything that flies today and the Americans have been making fine aircraft for more than century.
    It would be great if you carried an article on possible aircraft carrier battle scenarios , then work out what aircraft and weapons would be ideal fit.
    That would make this blog interesting not these gossips.

      • Venkat says:

        Be positive . LCA is a great plane, fantastic effort. 6 squadrons are ordered.
        Let us hope work on mark 2 starts and the plane flies quickly. Lessons from mk 1 will be applied.
        artillery program. Every kind of game was played. Finally MoD & Army got fed up, we have Dhanush & ATAGS.
        Light utility , combat helicopters : LUH & LCH chosen
        Infantry assault rifles, indigenous design will be chosen.
        Helmets, BPJs : local companies selected.
        Knee & elbow caps : RFI called, sure local companies will get selected.
        Look at the variety of bombs being tested with SU-30.
        Submarines : we make our nuke. Am sure lessons from scorpene to reduce noise, improve build quality is already being applied.
        We have a long way to go in localisation , but we will go for local systems everywhere possible.

      • abc says:

        You have “augmented” your article a few times, added an Errata after belatedly discovering that RADM Ahuja is a test pilot after writing that “he has no flying experience” ! Kindly research your articles before rushing to promulgate them & write only on issues where you have indepth knowledge.

  3. Viv S says:

    Well, take the F-35C. After repeated take-offs, the US Navy discovered a serious design flaw that made the catapult-assisted takeoffs so rough and so disoriented the pilots just when the aircraft is getting airborne as to potential prove fatal.

    Yeah.. no. The takeoff phase is catapult-driven with limited pilot input. And the oscillations are only faced by lightly loaded aircraft – which isn’t a configuration that operational F-35Cs take-off in (aside from check-flights). The idea that its ‘potentially fatal’ is ridiculous.

    Assuming the Sea Gripen is generally of the same size as the air force variant, then this aircraft, as stalwart naval persons will tell you, will be too big for the lifts in the IACs that carry the planes on to the deck.

    Perhaps you should looked it up instead of consulting ‘stalwart naval persons’. Or even emailed the Saab PR office (you’ll find them a very helpful bunch).

    For the record, the Gripen E is just about 0.5 m wider than the Tejas. Which is enough for the Vikramaditya’s forward lift as well as those on the Vikrant.

    The real problem with the Gripen is that the AF variant is scheduled to IOC in 2023 & FOC in 2026. The naval variant exists only on paper with the Brazilians having scrapped their plans to co-develop it. Propelled by the same 414 engine, its unlikely to have any significant payload advantages over the Mk2 variant of the naval Tejas.

  4. VJ says:

    Not sure if modi govt is aware of corruption in IAF /armforces.But if they do know and still bending on toes of these officers then its really serious problem for India’s future.

  5. Atul says:

    US DefSec threatens Sweden to stop military cooperation !!
    http://www.defensenews.com/global/europe/2017/09/01/mattis-reportedly-threatens-swedish-defense-cooperation-over-nuclear-treaty/

    Shape of things to come in future if it goes against US interests ???

  6. Tiger 5 says:

    Bharat you should write only on subjects that you have first hand I’m depth knowledge – I see a lot of conjecture here and to top it all you doesn’t have a clue of the ground realities pertaining to tne Naval TEJAS – very poorly argued article – some bits and pieces picked up from the DRDO sources doesn’t make it the truth

  7. Sir, We are like this only. Kindly dont have too many aspirations. muddling through & pontificating ‘gyan’ is our fortay. We shall muddle through this one as well. Cheerios!

  8. Reasoned says:

    Professor ,Don’t be taken in by the sham of TOT by the SAAB, they want to grow their MIC on the shoulders of Indian import addiction, same as Russians,they will do/say anything to get their plane selected that’s why they’ve been the most active in the PR and partnering with Modis patrons(Adanis) ,SAAB do not have any intention or even capability to transfer knowledge given Gripen is the United nations aircraft with most of the components coming from other countries.

    Americans do not want another country with MIC challenging it, they do not want to repeat the mistake of helping china, by tethering India to import cycle and keeping Indian MIC at the sub standard level Americans would not have to worry about Indian ascendancy, keeping India perennially asking for American assistance is the Washington’s policy..

    No one is going to give India Technology, look what the French are doing with the Kaveri, rather than giving technology they are substituting the Kabini core with the M-88 to keep the import cycle alive. To produce military hardware India has to go through the ardous process of research-development-testing again and again, improving iteratively and inducting after each iteration is the only way to go forward.

    Military will cry about “urgent” need, “dire” situation and “dwindling” numbers to assuage import addiction, they will try to reject the projects who are reaching their fruition, decline hardware for few drawbacks or even dunk perfectly fine equipment in favour of imports , at each and every juncture Indian state must persist by giving clear signal of indigenisation.

  9. KP says:

    Isn’t Ahuja a Harrier Pilot? What do you mean “no flying experience”? Secondly since when have RAdms started deciding on the induction plan of ships and aircraft? Rejecting the Naval Tejas had already been announced by the the CNS. Also the IAC cannot wait for DRDO experiments.
    It seems this article is meant to scuttle the chances of Ahuja becoming a Fleet Cdr. Bharat may well succeed.

  10. KK Venkatraman says:

    With due regards, Mr Karnad, it’s easy to blame the services when you are not in the cockpit, or at the butt end of a malfunctioning rifle or in a tank cupola.

    Every soldier would certainly take pride in an indigenous weapon but certainly not at the cost of undue risk to his life or an endless wait for the equipment to be operationally worthy.

    The Soviet weapon design bureaus sent their Design teams to Afghanistan after heavy losses in the initial stages to rectify design limitations observed. Try changing the work culture of DRDO/ HAL/ OFB. Year after year they churn out weapons and equipment which are not accepted by third world countries even as aid.

    You have madr a conjecture and made it seem that personal whims and fancies were responsible for rejection of Naval version of LCA. Your argument would have been tenable had you considered other aspects such as another two year delay before the design of the aircraft carrier could be finalised if the aircraft is not finalised now and the imported content of the indigenous LCA as well as the technical issues involved.

    As India’s self professed foremost conservative strategist, it was expected that a well researched article would be posted and not personal biases and conjectures.

  11. ResumeNuclearTesting. says:

    Sir, in light of the DPRK test, a question has been bothering me – has India been using any of its unsafeguarded power reactors to produce weapons grade plutonium? It is a relatively easy step to use one or two of the eight this way. Are we doing so?

  12. MoD, GOI, Indian People, are not strategic, Security oriented people. Make in India in defence for most is a commercial (and not a security) endeavour at its core. Hence do not be surprised if both Gripen and F-16 make a staged entry into India with 100+ fighters each, and Tejas doing 100-200 over the next 12 years. Heck even that toad hawk fighter might get 50-80 pieces.

    Fighter force of 2030 might look like a mish-mash of:

    250 odd Su-30 left over w upgrades.
    36-72 Rafales
    108-144 F-16s
    108-144 Gripens
    144-180 Tejas
    72 Hawk Fighters

    cheer up!

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

    Indian Navy cannot afford sinultaneous purchase of the twin budget depleters EMALS + 57 navalized fighters. But purchase of one can become the excuse for the other. Also the pertinent point is that the 57 navalized fighter RFI is not restricted to a twin-engined fighter.

    But a 65000 ton AC with steam catapult armed with NLCA will beat any and all other combinations hands down. This will save all the Indian projects and ultimately enhancing the capabilities of Indian Navy at very reasonable costs. This will spare the cash for installing nuclear propulsion on both the AC and the newer subs.

    Here is what the French had accomplished by following exactly this route in naval aviation:

    In nuclear submarines too the French has excelled by following the domestic route.

    In AC too they have nuclear propulsion, because of the domestic route. Though they have only one AC but then they are not an expeditionary force.

    This route make so much sense that Chinese too are copying it. Net result, would be that even the EMALS on chinese ships will be domestic versions.

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

    This video shows several carrier launches of the F-35C, the first of which shows the pilot subjected to vertical jarring so severe the helmet visor snaps open. Another show the pilot’s head hitting the canopy. (US Navy video) –

    “The Pentagon’s red team found the problem was due to several factors central to the plane’s design, and recommended several fixes that will take several months to several years to fully fix. The report states that long term actions to address the problem will not take place until 2019, at which point they’ll take 12-36 months to implement.
    Redesigns to the plane, as well as to carriers, may be necessary to fully address the problem.
    A Pentagon deficiency report in 2015 stated that extreme movements in the cockpit during launch risked pilot health.
    One hundred and five pilots completing catapult launches rated their level of pain or discomfort on a scale of one to five. Of the 105, 74 pilots reported “moderate” pain or a 3, 18 pilots reported “severe” pain or a 4, and one pilot reported “severe pain that persists” after launching from an aircraft carrier.”

    …………..

    https://news.usni.org/2017/03/23/f-35c-tests-offer-proposed-fixes-catapult-problem-carrier-trials-continue-fall
    “This is a very stiff airplane, even though the oscillations about the same magnitude as you would see in a Super Hornet, it beats the pilot up pretty good,” Bogdan said.
    “He’s hurting after doing three or four of these [launches] and in some instances even banging his half-a-million dollar helmet on the canopy. That’s not good for the canopy or the helmet. So we knew we had an issue there.”
    According to a December Pentagon’s director, Operational Test & Evaluation report,
    “fleet pilots reported that the oscillations were so severe that they could not read flight critical data, an unacceptable and unsafe situation during a critical phase of flight. Most of the pilots locked their harness during the catapult shot which made emergency switches hard to reach, again creating, in their opinion, an unacceptable and unsafe situation.”
    The report said the Navy had told the JPO the problem was a “must fix,” deficiency.
    “What we wanted to try and figure out was do we need a complete redesign of the nose gear or can we do other things? Well, the testing at Lakehurst has shown us that there are a couple of things we can do to mitigate this problem,” Bogdon said.
    Those were changes on securing the pilot in the cockpit and adjusting the tension of the pull back bar on the catapult that compresses the strut of the nose gear.
    “We were pulling that down to the max load of the airplane, not recognizing that was causing the biggest oscillations and you can actually launch this thing at low weight with a lot less tension on that catapult bar,” Bogdon said.
    “We’ve proven that out. Whether that reduces that enough, I don’t know. We have to take that out to the field and check it out. If [it doesn’t work] we have to take it back to the drawing board and structurally look at what else we need to do.”

  15. ResumeNuclearTesting. says:

    Sir, was reading your book Nuclear Weapons & Indian Security 2002 ed. and at page 320 and then again at page 376, you indicate that India had designed and deployed 100 kiloton fission weapons with a mass of 250-300kg. Is this the case still and how much fissile material would one use?

  16. harri says:

    So a tussle between 2 mid rank officers is enough to tilt a billion dollar defence deal… Wow, just wow. Start from the rest of the analysis, just this one bit makes me want to smoke whatever you’re smoking.

  17. Think about it says:

    Dear Sir,
    While we all would want indigenous products flying off our decks, spare a thought for- those who would like to come back alive in those cockpits and airframes. Having lost quite a few close friends and course-mates to single engine aircraft off deck, which they had to fly because some intelligentsia types and know-it-all defence journalists put doubt in every mind and not allow the govt to get the replacement. All I will say is that those flying them, the pilots, deserve a proven aircraft and technology which should be future ready and could be supported in its entire service life. Let’s see some young Karnads flying indigenous aircraft off Deck and we will have the right answer. It’s easy to experiment with others’ lives when one doesn’t lose one’s own. I am sure there are more compelling reasons than what you have come out with. A sensational piece most certainly. Namaste

  18. Ranveer says:

    Dear Bharat Ji, Your articles are expected to have positive contribution in improving the system. However, this article of yours not only proves doing otherwise but also creates doubts about your past credentials. Your Errata on R Adm SS Ahuja’s qualification and experience itself substantiates that. Your perceptions were partly based on your wrong presumptions on R Adm’s inexperience. There is vertical specialisation in military to an extent but we can’t get Flag Officers directly from cockpits or bridges to take strategic decisions. Defence Procurement Procedures are in place and these are so far best amongst the procedures of all departments of the government. These procedures are meant to ensure optimum solutions for force structuring. It will be important if one example be presented where one officer alone has swung any major platform selection in defence procurement in last fifteen years with biased views. As you may be aware, such proposals go under scrutiny of many professional directorates in the Service Head Quarters, DRDO, executives and financial hierarchy in MoD & MoF before CCS takes decision. Therefore, coming out with such story may not be in the national interest. I am sure both R Adm Ahuja and Cmde Jaydeep Maolankar will disprove the very projected meaning of your article. Both these officers are out standing professionals of the Navy but your article has put both of them in bad light. It is not fair. It must be recognised that Indian Navy’s thrust and commitment for indigenisation is established for decades beyond any doubt.
    On 01 Nov 2016 sir you wrote, “That such a great home grown aircraft as Tejas is thus being slowly, and with great deliberation, strangled by the Indian govt and IAF, just as these two entities had in the 1970s killed the other Indian MADE and extraordinary supersonic combat aircraft the Marut HF-24 Mk-II (also known as the HF-73), reveals just how devoid of strategic vision and will, of confidence and faith in India’s capabilities and in self-respect, the Modi govt is. That the imports-happy IAF never felt even a twinge of self-doubt when flying foreign aircraft when desi aircraft were there for its nurturing, is by now an old story. $30 billion in the Tejas programme would result in a 4.5-gen combat aircraft (more than equal of the ’70s vintage F-16] that would wipe the floor with the competition in the global market, especially in Africa and Latin America. But that would mean NO repeated pleasure trips to the IAF brass and MOD officials to the US and to oola la! – Paris, etc., no Green cards, no offshore accounts, no palatial residences for CASs after retirement, no, etc. etc.” However, on 07 Nov 2016, it was reported that Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) accorded Acceptance of Necessity (AON) for purchase of 83 indigenous LCA for the IAF. There are already firm orders for 40 Tejas for the Air Force and there is reported plan to have 123 LCA. So what is the truth? Is project of indigenous aircraft being strangled or being supported by Military/Government? IAF can’t be expected to have only Tejas in its inventory because it is indigenous.
    There is always room for the improvement and that should be done but we must be fair in calling names. I will agree that Indian Military Force Development is not as sound as should have been. The reason for this is not the lack of intent or presence of ill intent in Military hierarchy. There may be inefficiency or constraints there. But DRDO’s inability to meet the requirement in time, poor work culture in general in production/manufacturing units, sluggish decision making in ministries and fluid political set up at executive level are very much contributory in this regard.

  19. Rao says:

    Bharat,
    Didn’t believe your story on bad blood. So, met few research personnel and retired crowd with some knowledge/linkage with the N-LCA development. Was wowed !! The hate for Ahuja is considerable and severe.

    Seems deliberate moves to derail N-LCA development totally is being put in process !! Even that testing going on in Goa is under threat. Such a waste of opportunity !! One would have at least expected it to be developed into a T-45 Goshawk aircraft-carrier flight trainer equivalent. That would have helped Indian Navy in saving forex from sending its pilots to be trained at US Navy installations on T-45. But even that is not being considered as a limited development. A complete closure of the fighter program and wastage of enormous amount of research, that has gone into developing it, is downright criminal negligence !! This is Marut-2’s story replay !!

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