Defence Matters 4


Russian President came in, talked with Modi and took away a business of at least 5 billion US $ for exporting S-400 air-defence shield systems from Russia.Every time such deals happen with one or the other countries, the member of Security Council I feel bad and morose about it, as I have been a manufacturing engineer even now. A question crops up: Can India be called a Superpower ever with such one way dependence on the two-three present Superpowers? Where has the drum beating of Make in India Policy gone? Will ever the Indian PM visit a country and sell some pricy wares? We shall keep on buying frigates,helicopters, nuclear plants, and our PSUs such as HAL or naval dockyards and even Atomic Energy Commission that established locally built plants will never be able to grow big enough and reliable enough to manufacture and export these critical technologies based wares.India is destined to remain laggard for years to come. These purchases are just against the policy of strategically critical Make in India policy. It seems those who are deciding these purchases hardly understand how it damages the future of Indian manufacturing and the pride of a country.


I saw A good article in India Express today that should let the government realise that it must not agree to the crazy needs rather demands of the defence forces to import everything- missiles, totally weaponised aircrafts, helicopters, tanks, FRCVs, ships and submarines instead of getting them manufactured in DPSUs, dockyards in public as well as private sector units. Let there be top level discussions on these topics and up the challenge of developing and manufacturing in the country.Let the government understand appreciate that till the time India keep on importing its all defence requirements from US, Russia, France and even UAE under the pressure from those governments, it must not even dare to call a superpower and a seat in security council. I wrote comment for the article, “India can be the source for global artillery requirements if the government so wishes. The guns from Tata Power as well as Bharat Forge manufactured from DRDO technologies were found to be superior than many global supplies. Ordnance factories Dhanush is also good. However, L&T and Mahindra are also manufacturing them with a tie up with South Korea and US respectively. But for the lust for import of India Defence, many defence equipment can be manufactured in India.”


If this is true, HAL has produced only one Tejas in last six months. Either HAL is incapable or there is some conflicts of interests that has caused this situation. The defence minister and even PMO must take a notice of it and come out with corrective steps. Nirmala Sitaraman must come out with a statement on the subject.


Shekhar Gupta, the well- known journalist on last published a column in Business Standard on last Saturday that must be read by everyone interested in working of the defence ministry and particularly that of HAL: “HAL has a simple business model: The government buys a foreign plane, adds a co-production deal and gifts it to HAL.It’s done a great job in many areas, also as an ally of ISRO and Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), but self-reliance is a big NO. It’s just a PSU bureaucracy fattened on “room service”, or what we’d call in Hindi, “paki-pakayi”. The IAF has a healthy scepticism of its abilities. Don’t be taken in by the current chief saying he will buy 12 squadrons of the Tejas. What he isn’t telling you is, that given HAL’s record, by the time half of these are delivered, manned fighters will be obsolete, at least in the Tejas category.” For a reference, I shall include an older story at HAL facility that HAL itself has forgotten: “ Prime Minister Nehru brought in the legendary German aircraft designer, Dr Kurt Tank, to head the design effort for India. He brought his core team, and created an exceptional design capability for HAL in a short span of time. It is another matter that the country squandered that wealth of capability and experience created. The HF-24 was an exceptionally advanced design for its time. Dr Kurt Tank’s leadership and programme management was outstanding. At a time when technical wherewithal in India was extremely limited, he ensured that the programme was managed very efficiently. The first flight of the prototype took just four years from the drawing board, and the series production commenced in less than 10 years.” Will Modi Government be able to make HAL a world class aerospace co competing with the global biggies in next ten years and always look for importing all fighters and helicopters?


The offset portion of the Rafale deal has been very frequently covered in media in recent time. A large number of Indian companies and research units are involved. It speaks of the way the ecosystems for the manufacturing of fighter aircrafts are expanding slowly and steadily. It will help the various projects of DRDO, ADA and HAL to manufacture Tejas M.K.-1,M.K.-2 and then AMCA. It will also revive the Kaveri Engine project for indigenous fighters that had come to standstill. Here is a clear picture of the Rafale offset portion in schematic diagram:

The latest of Open Magazine deals with some revelations on the controversy created by Rahul Gandhi about Rafale deal:


India successfully conducted an interceptor missile test off the Odisha coast Sunday night, achieving a major milestone in developing a two-layer Ballistic Missile Defence system. We all must congratulate the India missile developers and manufacturers. I presume Indians have mastered missile technologies and have reached the take off stage where it can meet all requirements of defence and security.However, I fail to understand why our defence forces and government have kept on buying it from Russia, France, US and Israel. Can someone knowledgeable throw some light? Are we not confident of our engineers?

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