Localisation of Defence Production


Has finally the Indian Air Force (IAF), which has long opposed the large-scale induction of the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), been given charge of manufacturing the Tejas in the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) complex in Bengaluru? What will be the management scope? Will the chairman and managing director of HAL work for some IAF boss or will IAF informally look after only the factors causing delay in FOC or for speeding up the production or for cutting down the cost to reduce its price? Will IAF also be responsible for MK1A, MK 2, Tejas naval version, and development of country’s next fighter program — Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) — a single-seat, twin-engine, canted twin-tail configuration, a stealthy all-weather multirole jet fighter? Feasibility study on AMCA and the preliminary design stage have been completed. But, the project awaits approval to begin airframe design, development, and finalization stage as the domestically manufactured Kaveri engine (an upgraded GTRE GTX-35VS Kaveri 90 kN in partnership with French engine-maker Snecma) is still going through developmental phases at the Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) in Bangalore.If someone has some information, please share.


Made in India Defence Wares and its Acceptability: But for the policy and mindsets of the effective decision makers of IAF and Indian army, India could live with and depend on the home developed fighters, helicopters, tanks, artillery guns, missiles and weapons with very limited import, much lower than present 70%. Unfortunately, both IAF and Army don’t take pride in using India made machines and equipment or participate wholeheartedly with their developers and manufacturers in real time to avoid delays of integrating the developments they suggest or require. Like in every product manufacturing project, a high power project team of the best talents from the organisation involved with designs and development such as DRDO or its concerned research establishment, the manufacturing companies such as HAL or concerned Ordnance Factory, the IAF or Indian army as users, must be placed in a simultaneous manufacturing management team that sort out the issues related to the project in their areas without delay as and when it comes. This is the way today’s management in all sectors runs. But at present moment both IAF and Indian army start the process of their procurement with intention of importing the best wares getting built and available at the point of time with the most developed nations, be it USSR, France, UK, USA, South Korea, Japan, Israel or even China. With the sensitivity of defence, the political bosses yield. They project and show total lack of trust in locally manufactured wares. If pushed by ministry or minister, the procurement affair becomes a blame game or fight between the manufacturing units and user decision makers.Under this condition, it will be very difficult for India to grow as manufacturing of defence items.The government must ponder over it seriously. Both Tejas fighters and Arjun tanks have not gone in desired serial production for the above reasons. While India Army keep on ordering T-90 tanks, Indian Force is waiting to finalise the import order of single engine fighter from Boeing, Lockheed or Gripen before the FOC of Tejas.Let us fully understand that handing over of HAL, ADA of DRDO to IAF or Tank, artillery factories to India Army will be disastrous move. Interestingly,’the Indian Air Force (IAF), which has long opposed the large-scale induction of the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)’


@nsitharaman @narendramodi With all my 45 years in manufacturing, I and many will not like to put HAL and ADA under IAF. Flying aircraft and manufacturing are very different art and engineering. Don’t kill HAL, restructure it with talented consultant. Let IAF change its lust for all costly imported planes, otherwise India will never become a manufacturing nation.

HAL must have ADA as its R&D and prototyping unit and get into fast forward mode of development MK-II and then 5th and 6th generation fighters and its manufacturing keeping the cost under control. However, it must also work on development and manufacturing of right Kaveri engines in a separate plant with an independent R&D unit of its own. For sorting out the differences amicably, an accountable high power simultaneous engineering and management team must oversee execution of all new projects. The handing over of HAL, ADA or DRDO to IAF will kill the local manufacturing for ever. Let a better sense prevail in nation’s interest.


HAL- Change of Hands:As reported in Hindu, HAL’s aircraft division will be headed by a serving three-star officer or an Air Marshal of the IAF, and effectively give the IAF control over the country’s indigenous LCA project. In addition, three institutions — Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) and Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) — which are under the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) are likely to be brought under the direct control of the Chief of the Air Staff. Thus, the entire development cycle of the LCA will have the IAF’s oversight and will ensure timely execution and prevent blame games over delays. This change may bring the speeding up of Tejas Fighter project. However, I don’t consider it as a right restructuring of HAL. It appears to be hasty decision against the norms of the best management practices. Will other laggard DPSUs also come under military rules? How technically sound is the hierarchy of IAF or armed forces to manage manufacturing and research organisations?


A Welcome Collaboration of HAL: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) successfully demonstrated flight of a 10 Kg Rotary Wing (Helicopter) Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (RUAV). The RUAV is developed in association with IIT Kanpur and is the first outcome of HAL’s tie-ups with academia. To achieve self reliance in the aviation field and to enhance its R&D efforts, HAL is working closely with premier educational institutes and has established chairs at IITs in Madras, Roorkee, Kharagpur, Bombay and Kanpur and IISc Bengaluru. HAL’s Rotary Wing R&D Centre (RWR&DC) is involved in design and development of rotary wing platforms for military and civil operations.

Advance Light Helicopter in its different variants (ALH-Dhruv, ALH-Rudra, ALH Wheeled version) is one of its star products and in service with the Indian defence forces. The Light Combat Helicopter is also designed and developed by this centre and is under production for the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force. The centre has now partnered with IIT-Kanpur to embark upon design and development of a rotary unmanned air vehicle for defence and para-military forces and homeland security.


Some Good News about Tejas Fighters: As reported, the naval version of the indigenously built Tejas Light Combat Aircraft August 2, underwent a series of successful tests to check its capability to land on an aircraft carrier, “India has joined a select club of countries including US, Europe, Russia and China to have the capability to produce aircraft which can operate from an aircraft carrier.” The project was in abeyance for long time.

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