Bharat Karnad: Stop wasteful military deals

Discussion in 'Indian Air Force' started by AVERAGE INDIAN, Nov 2, 2013.

  1. AVERAGE INDIAN

    AVERAGE INDIAN EXORCIST Senior Member

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    Reduction of the Rs 4 lakh-crore fiscal deficit will require a drastic winnowing of defence expenditure programmes. The wasteful military procurement system that fetches, as it were, as much chaff as grain, offers obvious targets for excision. Among them the egregiously wrong-headed deals for the Swiss Pilatus PC-7 turboprop trainer and the French Rafale MMRCA (multi-role, medium range combat aircraft).

    Consider IAF’s priorities: It bought PC-7s for $1.5 billion, an amount the Chinese Air Force spent to secure the entire production line from Russia of the latest, most advanced, Tu-22M3M strategic bomber! This Pilatus purchase, moreover, was approved by defence minister A K Antony at a time when Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bangalore, had its new HJT-44 turboprop trainer up and ready. Brazening out such mindless splurges, Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne advised closure of the HJT-44 line to enable purchase of more PC-7s!

    IAF has at most tolerated licence-manufactured foreign fighter planes but sought stubbornly to kill off indigenous combat aircraft projects. In the past, it buried the Marut Mk-II, the low-level strike variant designed in the 1970s by the highly talented Dr Raj Mahindra, who won his spurs under Kurt Tank, designer of the Focke-Wulfe fighter-bombers for the Nazi Luftwaffe and of the original HF-24 at HAL, buying the Jaguar from the UK instead. History repeats itself.

    French and Israeli pilots who have unofficially flown the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) have gone gaga over its flying attributes. The Tejas will come equipped with an indigenous AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar — the heart and the brains of any combat aircraft, enabling it to near-instantly switch from air-to-air to air-to-ground missions. The Flight Control System (FCS) of the Tejas is so advanced, it can deal with the sort of turbulence in flight that its counterpart onboard the Eurofighter — supposedly technologically superior to the Rafale, plainly cannot, as per an expert familiar with the FCS in both aircraft. This deficiency nearly ended in disaster for the Eurofighter on several occasions but was not disclosed by EADS to IAF during the jockeying for the MMRCA contract. The larger, heavier, longer range Mark-II variant of the near all-composite Tejas, in fact, fills the bill of “MMRCA”. An LCA version of Tejas has already been flown weighted down with ballast to mimic the Mk-II plan-form. The fact that the Mk-II variant was coming along well, besides, was known to the IAF-MoD (ministry of defence) combo. So, how come the tender for MMRCA was not terminated midway? the above claim in the paragraph claim needs more verification

    The Mk-II’s chances were scuppered by IAF-MoD on the ground that Tejas was not operational. But the LCA has been prevented from entering squadron service after it obtained the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC)-1 last year, because of their insistence that IOC-2 and subsequent clearances be done by HAL rather than permitting the clearances to be obtained by the designated Tejas squadron, flying the aircraft, at the Sulur base in Tamil Nadu. The latter procedure will allow our fighter pilots to test the plane’s flight envelope and performance, and to provide feedback to designers — normal practice of advanced air forces inducting a new locally-produced aircraft. Further, rather than restricting the initial off-take to just 46 aircraft, MoD should order the full complement of 7-8 squadrons worth of Tejas to facilitate economies of scale and the farming out of work by HAL to private industry, thereby growing it. In the interim, additional “super Sukhois” could have been procured for a total force of some 70-plus of these planes, inarguably the finest combat aircraft now flying.

    The fact is the original price tag for the MMRCA deal of $12-15 billion is set to balloon to $26-30 billion. Why? For one thing, having won the MMRCA contest, the French company, Dassault, doesn’t want to abide by the contract requiring the plane to be manufactured at HAL under license with transfer of technology (TOT). Dassault maintains it cannot guarantee Rafales made in India unless its chosen private sector partner, Reliance Aerospace, is tasked with its production. The arrangement with Reliance, however, is to have it import all of the most high-value assemblies and avionics as “black boxes” for the duration of the Indian production run, keeping over 500 French firms employing a workforce of 7,000 people, according to a French newsletter, L’Úsine Novelle, in the clover for the next few decades!

    The real kicker here is the fact that while India will pay for full TOT — amounting to tens of billions of dollars — no meaningful technology (flight control laws and source codes) will, as in past such deals, ever actually get transferred. New Delhi as always will pay up, not caring whether India gets what it paid for or not and, even less, whether it will ever become self-sufficient in arms. It may be better to simply buy 126 Rafales off the shelf if the IAF deems it such a critical need, when it is not, rather than pay through our ears for technology we won’t get.

    The conjoined Mk-II Tejas-Super Sukhois option will make Rafale redundant, and is the reason why those Indians who have pocketed French baksheesh (which totals a very hefty sum, indeed) will resist it. But for the country’s good, the best thing that can happen is that the Pilatus and Rafale contracts are immediately junked.

    What about self-sufficiency that our politicians and uniformed brass keep yakking about? Alas, that’s only public speeches and posturing. When has the government ever insisted, or compelled the military to go with, a home-made product at the expense of a foreign item, and the armed services told that otherwise they would have to make do with nothing at all?

    Militarily ignorant political leaders are easily stampeded into making capital acquisitions owing to public fear of a “growing gap” in aircraft, tanks, or whatever, generated with the help of a gullible media. Rather than laying down an iron law favouring indigenous hardware Antony, like his predecessors, has played into the institutionalised distrust of the Indian military of indigenous weapons platforms. IAF is merely the worst offender.

    Stop wasteful military deals - The New Indian Express
     
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  3. drkrn

    drkrn Senior Member Senior Member

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    Re: Stop wasteful military deals

    why military products in specific.


    never does a journalist goes on stage and asks indians to use only indian made products.we use cadbury for functions,pepe,levis etc. for fashion

    most of well known women beauty products are foreign,even our soaps we use foreign.our CAD is mostly due to consumers in the country who rely more on foreign vendors..

    tejas mark-1 overhyped.
    tejas mark -2 supposedly on board

    super sukhois is only for strategic nuclear command...

    you pointed out that "never a strategic tech has been transferred" to india.can you name one such....
    afaik we always used to import or tot.

    if you point out russian delay in transferring the techs,i think the issues are resolved.


    regarding china..1.5 billion$ for tu-22m bombers....i am not aware of this.thanks

    lca-fcs.if you are referring to the software for flight stability (fly by wire),yes its very good.this was certified by f-16 test pilots who made a test run in f-16 using our software.dont know about eurofighter.i even doubt that looking at their successful campaigns in Libya,rafale in specific.

    AESA on LCA??????????way tooooo long,distant future.,looking at its small size,i doubt that it has enough power to harbor an AESA
    by the time lca mark 2 comes into market,4.5 gen planes will be or being replaced with 5th gen.

    i am particularly interested in indigenous systems for armed forces,but we need to accept that ours is not yet ready to handle the threat
     
  4. arnabmit

    arnabmit Homo Communis Indus Senior Member

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    Stop wasteful military deals | idrw.org
    SOURCE: Bharat Karnad for Express News Service

    Reduction of the Rs 4 lakh-crore fiscal deficit will require a drastic winnowing of defence expenditure programmes. The wasteful military procurement system that fetches, as it were, as much chaff as grain, offers obvious targets for excision. Among them the egregiously wrong-headed deals for the Swiss Pilatus PC-7 turboprop trainer and the French Rafale MMRCA (multi-role, medium range combat aircraft).

    Consider IAF’s priorities: It bought PC-7s for $1.5 billion, an amount the Chinese Air Force spent to secure the entire production line from Russia of the latest, most advanced, Tu-22M3M strategic bomber! This Pilatus purchase, moreover, was approved by defence minister A K Antony at a time when Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bangalore, had its new HJT-44 turboprop trainer up and ready. Brazening out such mindless splurges, Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne advised closure of the HJT-44 line to enable purchase of more PC-7s!

    IAF has at most tolerated licence-manufactured foreign fighter planes but sought stubbornly to kill off indigenous combat aircraft projects. In the past, it buried the Marut Mk-II, the low-level strike variant designed in the 1970s by the highly talented Dr Raj Mahindra, who won his spurs under Kurt Tank, designer of the Focke-Wulfe fighter-bombers for the Nazi Luftwaffe and of the original HF-24 at HAL, buying the Jaguar from the UK instead. History repeats itself.

    French and Israeli pilots who have unofficially flown the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) have gone gaga over its flying attributes. The Tejas will come equipped with an indigenous AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar — the heart and the brains of any combat aircraft, enabling it to near-instantly switch from air-to-air to air-to-ground missions. The Flight Control System (FCS) of the Tejas is so advanced, it can deal with the sort of turbulence in flight that its counterpart onboard the Eurofighter — supposedly technologically superior to the Rafale, plainly cannot, as per an expert familiar with the FCS in both aircraft. This deficiency nearly ended in disaster for the Eurofighter on several occasions but was not disclosed by EADS to IAF during the jockeying for the MMRCA contract. The larger, heavier, longer range Mark-II variant of the near all-composite Tejas, in fact, fills the bill of “MMRCA”. An LCA version of Tejas has already been flown weighted down with ballast to mimic the Mk-II plan-form. The fact that the Mk-II variant was coming along well, besides, was known to the IAF-MoD (ministry of defence) combo. So, how come the tender for MMRCA was not terminated midway?

    The Mk-II’s chances were scuppered by IAF-MoD on the ground that Tejas was not operational. But the LCA has been prevented from entering squadron service after it obtained the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC)-1 last year, because of their insistence that IOC-2 and subsequent clearances be done by HAL rather than permitting the clearances to be obtained by the designated Tejas squadron, flying the aircraft, at the Sulur base in Tamil Nadu. The latter procedure will allow our fighter pilots to test the plane’s flight envelope and performance, and to provide feedback to designers — normal practice of advanced air forces inducting a new locally-produced aircraft. Further, rather than restricting the initial off-take to just 46 aircraft, MoD should order the full complement of 7-8 squadrons worth of Tejas to facilitate economies of scale and the farming out of work by HAL to private industry, thereby growing it. In the interim, additional “super Sukhois” could have been procured for a total force of some 70-plus of these planes, inarguably the finest combat aircraft now flying.

    The fact is the original price tag for the MMRCA deal of $12-15 billion is set to balloon to $26-30 billion. Why? For one thing, having won the MMRCA contest, the French company, Dassault, doesn’t want to abide by the contract requiring the plane to be manufactured at HAL under license with transfer of technology (TOT). Dassault maintains it cannot guarantee Rafales made in India unless its chosen private sector partner, Reliance Aerospace, is tasked with its production. The arrangement with Reliance, however, is to have it import all of the most high-value assemblies and avionics as “black boxes” for the duration of the Indian production run, keeping over 500 French firms employing a workforce of 7,000 people, according to a French newsletter, L’Úsine Novelle, in the clover for the next few decades!

    The real kicker here is the fact that while India will pay for full TOT — amounting to tens of billions of dollars — no meaningful technology (flight control laws and source codes) will, as in past such deals, ever actually get transferred. New Delhi as always will pay up, not caring whether India gets what it paid for or not and, even less, whether it will ever become self-sufficient in arms. It may be better to simply buy 126 Rafales off the shelf if the IAF deems it such a critical need, when it is not, rather than pay through our ears for technology we won’t get.

    The conjoined Mk-II Tejas-Super Sukhois option will make Rafale redundant, and is the reason why those Indians who have pocketed French baksheesh (which totals a very hefty sum, indeed) will resist it. But for the country’s good, the best thing that can happen is that the Pilatus and Rafale contracts are immediately junked.

    What about self-sufficiency that our politicians and uniformed brass keep yakking about? Alas, that’s only public speeches and posturing. When has the government ever insisted, or compelled the military to go with, a home-made product at the expense of a foreign item, and the armed services told that otherwise they would have to make do with nothing at all?

    Militarily ignorant political leaders are easily stampeded into making capital acquisitions owing to public fear of a “growing gap” in aircraft, tanks, or whatever, generated with the help of a gullible media. Rather than laying down an iron law favouring indigenous hardware Antony, like his predecessors, has played into the institutionalised distrust of the Indian military of indigenous weapons platforms. IAF is merely the worst offender.

    =====================================

    Feel there are lots of misrepresented facts in here...
     
  5. aerokan

    aerokan Regular Member

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    misrepresented facts like?
     
  6. indiatester

    indiatester Regular Member

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    Possibly things like, HTT-44 does not exist. HTT-40 also has not been proven, so I don't think a production line exists for that.
     
  7. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Top to bottom there are only mistakes.

    Apparently, LCA Mk1 with ballast is equal to Mk2 and that in turn is MRCA. He doesn't even know the reason for the ballast.

    And IOC-2 should be done by IAF? The elections should be run by the armed forces too.

    French and Israeli pilots on LCA? HJT-44? Tu-22 - advanced? Lol.

    French baksheesh, Russian baksheesh, American baksheesh, DRDO baksheesh bah! They can't think of anything original.

    These people still don't understand the meaning of ToT.
     
  8. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    HJT 44 up and ready. Stopped reading the article after this line. Read it for comic value.

    Untested items being built fir the first time are being compared to established products. Big joke

    Sent from my GT-N7100 using Tapatalk
     
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  9. Godless-Kafir

    Godless-Kafir DFI Buddha Senior Member

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    If you dont want the Rupee to die, start buying Arjun, LCA, LCH and ALH...and TATA artillery.
     
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  10. Defcon 1

    Defcon 1 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Which company computer did you use to type this?
     
  11. Godless-Kafir

    Godless-Kafir DFI Buddha Senior Member

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    It is not, the NAVY has shown the way.. the army and IAF is more corrupt and delaying these projects. I am not saying MMRCA should not be bought, it is required but stuff like Rifles, artillery, LCH all can be procured locally. This will help reduce the deficit.
     
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  12. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    On the artillery front MOD should give a fair trial to the three offerings from the pvt sector Tata L&T and the Kalyani. This can be a big game changer for pvt sector in defence deals.

    Sent from my GT-N7100 using Tapatalk
     
  13. Defcon 1

    Defcon 1 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Dude no one is delaying these projects. You are simply not properly informed about these.

    LCA: IOC-2 is still not given. The aircraft can only perform 6Gs. It has not fired a BVR missile till date, it hasn't performed wake penetration and lightning tests. Even the EW tests will be carried out in november. How can one buy Tejas at this stage?

    LCH: Still under development TD-3 hasn't even flown yet. How can anyone buy it?

    Arjun: Already in production. mk-2 version still in testing. If mk-2 passes tests, the production of some 100+ mk2 will continue till 2020.

    ALH: In production for a decade. Still production rate of 32 per annum not achieved. This is one product which has a high demand but HAL has not been able to meet it, showing incompetence. No foreign product has been brought instead of ALH

    Rifles: We already have INSAS which is being widely used.

    Artilliery: What you said would have been correct if indigenious products were being snubbed in favor of foreign ones. However, take a look at 145 light howitzer deal with the US and you will find that the real reason for these delays is that decision making in mod is very slow, it has got nothing to do indian products. Even foreign arms manufacturers are feeling frustrated.
     
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  14. Godless-Kafir

    Godless-Kafir DFI Buddha Senior Member

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    There, you could not come up with a better reason? It is corruption and the media is throwing rats now and then on deals. The latest Augusta heli deal is just tip of the ice berg.

    I have been following Defense stuff since 1998 from the time BR was started.. These thing now make more sense when the corruption is reveled from the inside. The Arjun is a great tank, when Pakistan and China can go for worse then why do we act like we require world standards when Russian stuff is clearly tainted? It all been bribed and favours have been bought. Face it.
     
  15. Defcon 1

    Defcon 1 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Did you even read my post clearly. Did not I say that howitzer deal with US is also delayed? According to you corruption favors foreign maal right? How come US deal is not progressing?

    What about the rest of the post. I have answered about each weapon system you were blabbering about.
     
  16. rohit b3

    rohit b3 Regular Member

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    Dont understand why people are soo much fond of IMPORTED stuff.

    In US, you tell them , this product is 'Made in America", and the buyers will pay more for it

    In India, you tell them, this product is IMPORTED, and we wud pay more for it.

    Maybe all the facts in this article arent right. But if we dont give enough chances to our home grown products, they will never prosper.

    Even if we ASSUME that Tejas,Arjun,etc are SHIT today(which they arent) , we still need to buy them in respective numbers which would furthur take our R&D skills to the next level.

    Meanwhile we do have those IMPORTED products in our inventory which would fill any shortcoming if ever it arises. And we have enough of them.


    Anyways, personally i think DRDO's end products are superb. The standards set by the armed forces and years of testing is the proof. Unless they are Top class, they arent indcuted.
     
  17. Godless-Kafir

    Godless-Kafir DFI Buddha Senior Member

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    I dont think i need to explain more, i dont need an weapons specific argument. The LCAs final ASR was always tampered and improved from thrust to EWSP requirements. The TWR has always been world class but they needed more when the Engine was in the drawing board even in the US. SO where do u get more power from? Its almost like a trap, given the Kaveri does not perform but there was no 90+kN engine anywhere either. Why do you need that thrust even when no one makes an engine with that thrust!!

    LCH: It does not fly yet but helis are not like fighters, they can be ready much faster than the time it take it procure but why do we need the heavier Apache? The US is not selling pakistan the latest version in any great numbers... This is not a doctrine of any value.

    Mirage 2000 upgrade: why did you forget that? 3 billion upgrade with no engine refit and it takes till 2020? what sort of an date is 2020-22 for a refit? Nothing spokey there i am sure.

    Arjun...Yup in production but limited and the Army wanted to buy more Russian tanks, why? Retor fit the t-72 at escalating refit costs which can be used to buy more arjuns instead..

    Rifels: Not really, the INSAS is on its way out and they are looking to replace the main rifel with a foreign one. I am sure you must have heard that news for sure!!?

    ALH: I am sure its not for the production rate, the army sets tenders for chopper suited for Leh even when the ALH is able to lift 200+ kgs to high altitude. Watch the videos.

    Artillery: Delayed? Ya did not i tell you why it is delayed? Because money has bought many a favours in India.
     
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  18. Defcon 1

    Defcon 1 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Ok. Following defence since 1998 and this is the level of knowledge.
     
  19. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    If LCA's ASR wasn't "tampered" with, then PAF F-7PGs would have been more advanced, which it currently is.

    Because heavier Apaches have longer range, larger payload, better electronics and better weapons.

    We are inducting LCHs too, current orders are nearly 200.

    It will be a better aircraft than LCA Mk2 in many areas.

    The reason it will take so long is because in order to support indigenous capabilities, IAF wants it modified in India, so HAL can use that experience on LCA, MKI and Rafale when the time comes.

    Because even Ajai Shukla is of the opinion that we need Russian tanks in the North East, not Arjun.

    The upgrade cost of the T-72 will still be considerably lesser than half the cost of a brand new Arjun. Arjun Mk2's are pegged to cost 40 Crores according to the makers. A T-90S still costs Rs. 12 crores. This does not include the massive infrastructure costs required for Arjun. So, the overall project costs will be 5 or 6 times the cost of a T-90.

    The new tender is too small. We have a million plus soldiers and the order is for 66000. Regardless, DRDO is making two new guns for the armed forces. They will take at least a few more years before it is fully ready and tested. They said it will be ready in two years only recently, which mean another two years or more of testing. The current tender seems to be a stop-gap.

    IA has done that before too, when they ordered 100000 AK-47s as stop-gap before INSAS became operational.

    The transfer of technology will meanwhile give OFB the kind of experience required in new manufacturing techniques for the future DRDO-mainstay rifles meant for F-INSAS.

    ALH is good. But HAL is not able to produce in enough numbers. Orders are in the hundreds anyway.

    Foreign helicopters will also be inducted so as to bring in more experience and money to HAL while still fulfilling the military's priorities.

    Artillery is delayed because of normal red tape which is a norm.
     
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  20. Godless-Kafir

    Godless-Kafir DFI Buddha Senior Member

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    Yup, this level you will reach only when you have given up following. I was 16yrs old when i started following LCA and hopeing it will fly in a few months now i am 32yrs old.. go figure.
     
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  21. aerokan

    aerokan Regular Member

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    What Bharat Karnad is asking the govt is to simply 'manage' the defence spending in better ways in resonance with the future budgetary challenges that India is going to face (huge budget cuts in the future). If anyone thinks budget cuts are not coming, they need to understand that there will always be a blowback when govt. mismanaged the country for several years with disastrous policies.

    Let's take LCA for example, which most of our esteemed technical experts here tend to bash upon endlessly.

    What IAF did is to change the ASR's repeatedly and MOD/govt's delayed funding of the project and lack of foresight to indiginize the aircrafts faster caused the LCA to be still struggling to be part of an operational squadron.

    What could have been done instead?

    IAF can clearly fund the project in advance like Navy did. Once the project is funded, IAF can clearly establish the order with a defined ASR.

    For example, IAF places an order of 225 LCA's right at the start with a promise to release the funds in three installments each of which cater to each of the tranches. MK-1 will have the initial ASR frozen and will be asked to deliver 75 MK-1's within x set of years and MK-II of 75 planes within 5 years of the first release with upgraded ASR. Another ASR change to cater to the delivery of 75 MK-III's with stealth after 5 years of MK-II delivery starts. IAF dishes out ASR upgrades as needed every 5 years or so to be ahead of the game. The agencies dealing with the development of the craft gets a large order in advance with specific set goals and the suppliers will be aware of the requirements well in advance because of the promised order at the start itself. Every agency can plan better if there is what to expect and the IAF can always put pressure to cut the numbers if the quality requirements are not met.

    This way economies of scale can be achieved with a 'continuous improvement' strategy. Ofcourse, some older MK planes can be dished out to friendly nations and can always be sent to defence expo's and show some unique features like apple showing it's 'fingerprint scanning' capabilities (even though it's useless) and can always point to the market that we are going to get a newer and upgraded version soon and ask the other countries to buy the newer versions of the planes. I am pretty sure that there will be countries who are willing to purchase and that will reduce our total expenditure on R&D costs. This is where govt. can pitch in and help mediate between IAF/Navy/Army to extract an agreement in favor of getting better indigenous capability along with expanding manufacturing production lines to cater to large volumes in PPP mode.

    As BK pointed out, i still don't get why we need RAFALE when we can get MKI/PAKFA and LCA-MKII combo starting 2016 when we can get both big bad boys in terms of quality and LCA's in quantity with very low total lifetime costs. Or is it mandatory that we need 'Medium' weight fighters rather than the achieving the objectives within the limited defence budgets which can be used effectively elsewhere?
     
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