China's defence industry offers lessons to India

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by LETHALFORCE, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    China's defence industry offers lessons to India


    China's defence industry offers lessons to India
    Ajai Shukla / New Delhi July 18, 2011, 0:31 IST

    In a closed-door discussion here on Thursday, a leading authority on China’s military modernisation explained how that country’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA, the term embraces navy and air force, too) has transformed into a top-rung, largely indigenously equipped force in barely a decade, even as India’s military languishes as the world’s biggest importer of defence equipment.

    Tai Ming Cheung, who spoke to the Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis, is a professor working with the US Pentagon’s Minerva Project, in which academics like him pore over Beijing’s Chinese-language releases to track military and technological developments within the PLA.


    Tai noted both China and India were “catch-up countries”, attempting a technological leapfrog by taking just decades to reach a technology level that Western countries had taken more than a century to achieve. China still trails the US and western European powers, but is catching up fast, powered by an official science & technology (S&T) roadmap that the leadership backs. From a global innovativeness ranking of 24 in 2004, China jumped to six in 2009. It now targets fifth place by 2020, with global leadership in the high-tech arenas of space, nuclear, information technology and biotechnology. By 2040-50, China aims at S&T parity with the US.
    “Until the late 1990s, the Chinese approach to defence S&T was in a much worse state than what India is in today. They have been able to deal with a lot of these issues in the last decade alone,” says Tai.

    The change
    India largely plays by established rules — technology denial regimes, and an intellectual property rights (IPR) regime to safeguard technology leads. While, China has benefited from its willingness to defy rules. Beijing’s opportunism was evident in the early 1990s, from its large-scale recruitment of out-of-work scientists from the former Soviet Union. Its careful strategising is evident from an innovation plan endorsed and pushed from the highest levels of the political and military leadership.

    “Hu Jintao (the Chinese president) always talks about S&T being a key component of the race for comprehensive national strength. China sees S&T as a zero-sum game; they can’t afford to depend upon foreign countries for critical technologies. Stealing, reverse engineering and cloning is acceptable,” says Tai.

    At the start of the 21st century, in its first step towards becoming an innovative military builder, China embarked on a process of “creative adaptation”. Using its imitative capabilities, its aerospace industry indigenised critical parts of the Russian Sukhoi-27 fighter (an earlier version of India’s Su-30MKI), developing it into the “indigenous” J-11B fighter. In this high-end imitation, the basic platform remained Russian but key avionics, including the fire control system, were Chinese.

    “It is all about being able to absorb technology from outside,” says Tai. “In catch-up countries, it is initially all about absorptive capacity, not about invention. The equipment has already been built elsewhere.”

    Emboldened by Russia’s passive acceptance of the Su-27 IPR violations, China embarked upon its innovation path, the first step of which was ‘incremental innovation’. As evident from the J-10A, still China’s frontline fighter, this involves developing a basic platform and then incrementally indigenising and improving it, batch by batch. The J-10A initially contained many Russian and Israeli components, which the Chinese gradually indigenised.

    From here, China moved to ‘architectural innovation’, transforming existing systems by rearranging their architecture. A commercial example is the iPad. Most of its components had been around for a while, but Apple rearranged these into a radical new product. In a similar way, Chinese engineers juggled existing technologies to build a missile that specifically targeted US Navy aircraft carriers, the Dong Feng 21B anti-ship ballistic missile. The DF-21B has surprised US defence planners not just technologically but also operationally, forcing them to cater to a completely new operational threat.

    The third level of innovation, with which China is currently struggling, is ‘component innovation’. In this, improved components — microprocessors, precision engineered parts, digital components, etc — are used to improve platform efficiency. But this requires advanced scientific and technological skills, making such innovation difficult for a catch-up country.

    “The Chinese have not been able to develop a world-class turbofan engine; their microprocessor capabilities are still relatively poor. So, they don’t yet qualify as a component innovator,” says Tai.

    But on January 11 this year, when the Chinese J-20 stealth fighter made its first flight, there was a global firestorm of speculation that China had conducted a coup in “disruptive innovation”. This ultimate form of innovation combines architectural with component innovation, assembling improved components into a creative new design. But Tai dismisses such talk: “The J-20 is not really a “disruptive innovation”. It lacks the component level innovations and is, therefore, merely an architectural innovation.”

    Contrast
    Nevertheless, China’s defence industry has achieved major recent successes, triggered by its restructuring at the end of the 20th century. Earlier, the Chinese defence industry was separated, Soviet style, between research and development (R&D) and manufacturing units. When the R&D developed a product, the defence industrial ministry — called the Commission for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (Costin) —would assign a factory to build the equipment. But when the factory got the blueprints, there was confusion because they had not been involved in the design.

    “The Chinese leadership saw that this did not help the national interest; it only helped the defence industry. One of the first reforms was to overturn the power of Costin and allow the military a central role in overseeing the defence industry. If you don’t have end-users, particularly war fighters and the acquisitions community, playing a central role, then you’re not going to have innovation. If you’re just going to have industry administrators, then they are going to be looking just at their interests,” says Tai.

    The result has been surging growth in the innovativeness of Chinese defence industry. In 1998, they filed for 313 patents. In 2008, it had gone up to 11,000 patents. In 2010, 15,000 patents were applied for.

    India’s defence industry today mirrors its Chinese counterpart in 1998. The R&D element (the DRDO) functions separately from the manufacturing element (the defence PSUs). India’s military has little say, and no oversight, in what is researched and manufactured. And the Indian ministry of defence’s department of defence production is an accurate mirror image of China’s Costin, pushing back the innovative private sector to safeguard the interests of the state-owned enterprises.
     
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  3. maomao

    maomao Veteran Hunter of Maleecha Senior Member

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    LOL Yeah sure :D

    P.S: If building Crap/Junk that too by stealing, and then inducting are called lessons - then I think we will pass. ;)
     
  4. no smoking

    no smoking Senior Member Senior Member

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    That is the problem of indian industry exactly.
    With india's current industry capacity, there is no way your industry can built top-quality products in massive scale. Just as chinese, most of your industry's output is so called "Crap" and "Junk".
    So, the only way to make them better is to give them opportunity of producing, which means you have to accept their crap in a short period. With this opportunity, they can train their workers, improve their R&D, reform their system.
     
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  5. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    ^^

    I have to admit, PRC has a practical approach. DFI probably is not the right place to seek admiration for copying and patent violations and neither am I going to support this, but when it comes to the end, PRC has achieved a lot more than India.

    I'd rather go for ethical correctness, but if defense industry can be seen as preparation for war, then what is unfair in (love and) war?
     
  6. Virendra

    Virendra Moderator Moderator

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    1st and biggest lesson - self reliance.
    They're probably not as worried about means as they are about meeting the ends.
    We should focus on the same goal - self reliance, but achieve it in our own way. No copy paste.
     
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  7. nitesh

    nitesh Mob Control Manager Stars and Ambassadors

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    There is nothing to learn from PRC industry, they have no innovation. So called industry which has to copy a bike design from Indian company, where there constructed roads go out of services in some days, copied engines which go bust in 30 hours, so buying engines again from Russia. Avionics are developed by DRDO and are used effectively in planes, MKI mission computer is Indian, MiG27 upgrades were done locally, MiG29 upgrades include Indian avionics. DRDO has done great things, more has to come. there order books stands at 1lakh crore and increasing. Indian approach is much batter in doing things. We need not to resort to petty thif levels to get our things done.
     
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  8. redalert

    redalert New Member

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    dont be ignorant... u cn always learnn frm thm... and you have to agree there reasearch is far more advanced thn our... atleast thr army uses and is happy with thr standard issued rifle... this is jus one example... if you'll look un biasdly u'll find more such succesful programmes in china thn in india
     
  9. nitesh

    nitesh Mob Control Manager Stars and Ambassadors

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    ^^
    It is not about being ignorant, it is about looking through facts. There is no point in overestimating someone's capability like no point in underestimating too.
     
  10. agentperry

    agentperry Senior Member Senior Member

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    we need to learn how they do things with such a speed and accuracy. they are capable of inducting platforms steadily and upgrading them too. there industry is just what our auto industry is. also whether they have r&d or not we should have it that coherent with indian context.
     
  11. maomao

    maomao Veteran Hunter of Maleecha Senior Member

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    When have you produced great Quality stuff? Please go to a thread called Jokes thread and post your self-proclaimed achievements there!!

    As per our Industrial capacity, you know nothing! Thats why this stupid comment from you. :D

    We are way ahead in quality, yes we lack quantity, that will be taken care soon, while chinese will be using their so called "great quality products" , which no decent country would ever like to use, until they are tagged by US or EU companies! LOL
     
  12. kickok1975

    kickok1975 Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Your comment is a joke itself
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2011
  13. nimo_cn

    nimo_cn Senior Member Senior Member

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    Another point I want to add is that the term of IP though has done a great job in inspiring people to create, has also been regularly manipulated by technologically advanced countries to prevent countries like China and India from catching up with them. And in their process of developing, they had never gone for ethical correctness.
     
  14. Godless-Kafir

    Godless-Kafir DFI Buddha Senior Member

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    There is no way the Indian Army or Airforce will ever accept the quality of equipment the Chinese PLA put up with. The qualitative requirement of IA is very high, when the disqualified the Gripen even though it was cheaper and went it for the more costly Rafael and Eurofighter that shows the quality they look for. They will never buy the J-10 or J-11 type fighter if HAL manufactures. They did not accept even the F-404 engine and they want more thrust with the F-414 for the Tejas.
     
  15. maomao

    maomao Veteran Hunter of Maleecha Senior Member

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    Thanks you for your considerations ;)
     
  16. maomao

    maomao Veteran Hunter of Maleecha Senior Member

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    Deleted double post....as I posted twice laughing at Chinese tech.....:)
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2011
  17. no smoking

    no smoking Senior Member Senior Member

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    Obviously, you don't understand the sentence 'just as chinese, most of your industry's output is so called "Crap" and "Junk"' means chinese output is also crap.

    You can tell me what indian product with hgiher quality is dominating market. It seems you are the one has no idea about industrial capacity. It is not hard to gather a group of top talent to produce some top quality products, what matters is the average quality of any of your industrial departments. Further more, producing something with acceptable quality in masive scale at acceptable cost.
     
  18. SATISH

    SATISH DFI Technocrat Stars and Ambassadors

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    Well I dont believe in blindly copying the tech as defence tech is something very advanced and requires deeper understanding.

    When the Russians gave ToT to china for AK 47 they just did not give the sheet metal reciever technology. When the Chinese got the ToT for the AL 31 the Russians did not provide them the SC tech. Small things like these make huge difference in defence production and research.

    I would rather stick to reinventing the wheel and achieive things slowly instead of half baked reverse engineering knowledge. It might be slow but is far more effective.
     
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  19. maomao

    maomao Veteran Hunter of Maleecha Senior Member

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    All Indian products re better than Chinese products (not products made by US and West in China), be it routers, bikes, small electronics, semi-conductors et al. And, please don't tell me you are champs in electronics market - as I had mentioned earlier the even semi-literate helper at my place refuse to use chinese products for free., they are that bad and cheap crap. Moreover, you may keep living in denial, however Chinese junk is known to be cheap and worthless world over!

    The whole argument about superiority of quantity over quality is "Bull SHIT", and even you this, only because china is able to produce in large quantities does not mean quantity wins over quality. :)
     
  20. ashicjose

    ashicjose Regular Member

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    do you know bro even BSNL using chinese electronic products.
     
  21. bigtiger

    bigtiger Regular Member

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    Isn't it amazing that generous Indians paid $40 BILLION to China in exchange of the worthless crap? That's over 1500 rupees per man, woman and child.

    Isn't it even more amazing that the entire world paid $1.5 TRILLION to China in exchange of the worthless crap? That's about the same as India's GDP.

    References:
    The Hindu : News / International : India-China trade surpasses target
    List of countries by exports - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    List of countries by GDP (nominal) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2011

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