Defence Matters


Rafale Deal: I have certainly few pertinent questions not for ministers but for the IAF decision makers who decide on import, technologies and add-ons in the contracts, that were hard to understand, appreciate and digest.Deal,made in 2015 was for procuring 36 ‘off-the-the selves’ Rafale fighters.

1.Should it have taken three years to start the delivery with one fighter and over five years, in exact word 67 months, to complete the delivery of 36 fighters?

2. Would not the technologies drastically have upward improvements in 67 months in present fast changing world?

3. Who soever have decided on the add-on technical features and inclusions such as radars, avionics, missiles, etc., the best and costliest available in global market must ponder over if the cost incurred was justified.

4. Was it necessary to limit the fighters by buying fitted with missiles- Scalp and Meteor, the first one a long range ground attack missile, the second a beyond visual range air-to-air missile, the best in its class? It suggests India would keep on buying Scalp and Meteor missiles.

5. Would not Rafale have been with capability of firing Indian missiles such as BrahMos?

6. Why should not instead IAF collaborate and contribute in developing and productionising of Indian fighters such as Tejas Mk-1,> Mk-2, > and then fifth or sixth generation AMCA faster and better in large numbers with India made missiles with all spare parts locally available? Why the gentlemen in IAF and ministry be in doubt about the capability of Indian talents that can be pulled out from IITs, IISc, and other institutes of excellence from all over the world?

7. Is it because import provides multiple personal benefits to some with vested interests?

8. Are my questions pertinent?


HAL requires a restructuring to be a full-fledged defence fighting equipment manufacturer.

1. HAL must be restructured to have its own full fledged R&D including integrating ADA or technical group working on aerospace research in DRDO into it. HAL should make its R&D as strong as Boeing,Lockheed or Airbus by attracting the best talents from the aeronautical engineering departments of all IITs or similar colleges in the country or experienced ones from abroad if necessary.

2. HAL can be depended on to manufacture all fighters and other aircrafts as well as all types of helicopters for India Air Force, India Navy and Army.

3. The manufacturing of the engines for its aircrafts such as Kaveri series and helicopter engines such as Shakti series must come under its wings including its research and development, if necessary with tie ups with the best possible foreign companies or and consultants.

4. As a system, a simultaneous engineering and management team of designers, manufacturers and users must be formed to execute the project such as Tejas Mk-1, Mk-2 or the fifth generation fighter till its induction in services.

5. HAL must have a strong outsourcing team to develop and use the potentials of the manufacturers from the private sectors or even the foreign ones.

Presently HAL have many activities such MRO etc.that can go under a separate organisation.


Upto last March 2018, HAL had handed over 9 serial production Tejas fighters to the newly formed 45th Squadron. Those fighters participated fully in Gaganshakti and got good review from IAF too. But between March 2018 and to date in mid August in 5 months no additional serial production Tejas got added into squadron. I do not if waiting for FOC, if the serial production is continuing , suspended or stopped. Even Chairman Suvarna Raju who took a flight in two seater Tejas and talked to media about it performance but never specifically mentioned the rate at which HAL is producing in this fiscal year. Can HAL manufacture any more than already handed over to IAF or will have to wait for the FOC about which B.S. Dhanoa informed the media recently that the Final Operation (FOC) for LCA Tejas Mk-1 was likely to be achieved sometime in 2019 which is further way off from June-July 2018 What was initially claimed by both HAL and ADA in media. As per Ajai Shukla of Business Standard, FOC may take more time. “ADA, which falls under the Defence R&D Organisation, is still struggling to obtain final operational certification (FOC) for the Tejas Mark 1, almost five years after obtaining initial operational certification (IOC) in December 2013. Business Standard learns that about 1,100 test points still remain to be cleared before the Tejas is granted FOC. This would normally require about 200 test flights, given that a well-organised flight test programme clears 5-6 test points in each test flight.

However, lack of coordination between ADA designers and the National Flight Test Centre (NFTC), which is headed by a senior IAF pilot, means this seldom happens. That has slowed the progress towards FOC.

“We will be lucky to obtain FOC by end-2019,” says an officer close to the Tejas project.”

What can one conclude about the working of HAL, ADA and IAF? Are they working to meet this critical requirement of the country or the delay is the indicator of inefficiency with which these organisation work as habit? The government, prime minister, defence minister, ministry appears to be working as just observers and no say of their in this sordid affair. IAF is interested in buying a big number of similar fighters from US, Sweden or France. This delay of Tejas may continue till the final decision on import is made.


Why should the shifting of the venue of the high-profile Aero India to Lucknow from Bengaluru be a controversy and that too political one? Why should Karnataka and its politicians ruling as well as others plead to stop this move that is aimed at inviting the industrial entrepreneurs in defence production to come in UP to take advantage of the second defence production corridor planned in UP after the first one in Tamilnadu? UP had been in laggard in industrial production and must get certain attractive events to allure the industrialists. The national growth planning must as much as possible balanced among the region. Let the politician shun this divisive calls in national interest and let there be no politics with the Aero India.

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