US doubts HAL's capability

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by Yusuf, Feb 19, 2011.

  1. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    NEW DELHI: The US seems to have committed a howler in the race to bag the "mother of all defence deals", the $10.4 billion project to acquire 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft for IAF, which is in the final lap now.

    Washington has expressed serious doubts on the ability of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) to handle projects like the MMRCA, dubbing it "untested and suspect". This drew a sharp response from a defence ministry official, who pointed out the defence PSU was already engaged in producing a frontline "air dominance" fighter like Sukhoi-30MKI with Russia's help.

    As per the MMRCA contract, which India hopes to ink this year, 18 jets will be bought off-the-shelf from the foreign vendor finally selected, while the rest will be manufactured by HAL in India after transfer of technology.

    Two American fighters, F/A-18 'Super Hornet' ( Boeing) and F-16 'Falcon' ( Lockheed Martin), are in the race to bag the project, which is the largest fighter deal going around the world at this time. The other jets, which have undergone the gruelling field trials by IAF, are the Swedish Gripen (Saab), French Rafale (Dassault), Russian MiG-35 (United Aircraft Corporation) and Eurofighter Typhoon (consortium of British, German, Spanish and Italian companies).

    The Financial Times on Friday reported that US ambassador to India Timothy Roemer, in a confidential cable last year, had held India's aviation industry as "two to three decades behind the US and other western nations" despite some advances.

    "The potential for HAL to successfully partner with US firms on a truly advanced aircraft remains untested and suspect," said Roemer, in the cable now leaked by WikiLeaks and "seen" by the British newspaper.

    After a trip to HAL facilities in Bangalore in February 2010, Roemer also expressed surprise at the lack of automation and safety precautions at the HAL plant. US companies need to "approach partnerships carefully to understand the management and technological experience of Indian firms", he said.


    Read more: US doubts HAL's capability - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...ability/articleshow/7524987.cms#ixzz1EO5RznAW
     
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  3. chex3009

    chex3009 Regular Member

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    Rather than doubting HAL's capability they are just skeptical about HAL's commitment to follow proper timeline on any hi-tech project and ability to handle and absorb hi-tech stuff.

    But they will have to change their statement in less than a decade's time.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2011
  4. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    I dont think the assessment as a whole is inaccurate by the US. But yes, this is how india is. We dot things our way and we are yet to automate. That does not mean we cant make planes here. They cannot apply western standards to India. But that also does not mean we cant get the job done here.
     
  5. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Have a TOT and hey presto!

    But then the US aerospace industry will go bonkers!

    and so, India has no expertise!
     
  6. amitkriit

    amitkriit Senior Member Senior Member

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    USA is expecting a country which has no scarcity of manpower to automate it's manufacturing process, how thoughtful is that?
     
  7. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Looks like the US is not very optimistic about being selected for this project. By US I mean US companies. Hence they are trying to look for excuses so that US products don't look bad. HAL should not go for unneeded automation when we have so much manpower and we can create many jobs by not automating most of the manufacturing process.
     
  8. venkat

    venkat Regular Member

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    yosuf sahab !!! In which area HAL lacks automation?I dont know why HAL management allows photoshoots to Jurnos without a proper dress rehearsal? I dont have to tell what goes on the kitchen of a hotel!!! if you go and watch once you will not touch that food again!!! In earlier days in cinema halls, Coffee and tea cups used to be dipped and cleaned in the same old basin containing murky water!!!

    1. Automation in the field of manufacturing of metal parts...use of 5 axis CNC milling machines,CNC
    lathes, EDM machines, CNC punching machines ,CNC Laser engraving ,cutting machines,sheet
    metal bending ,,etc HAL may be having them...
    2. Automation in welding area? certainly not required as HAL doesn't have a VW production lineup..
    3. Automation in the area of riveting? dont know how far its feasible...
    4. Automation in the area of finishing? chromatization,passivation,anodization and finally
    painting....these process by nature require automation to maintain the required quality.
    5. PCB manufacturing....since lot of chemicals are involved the process require automation
    6. PCB assembly.....SMT and PTH technologies can be automated but for huge volumes like cellphone
    pcbs... and not an a/c communication set or a Radar. For new high density packages like
    BGA,TQFP,LGA automation is compulsory.
    7. a/c cable looms? definitely requires human labour...cant be automated...only the quality checks of
    looms can be automated.
    8. material transportation ? use of fork lift trucks,hydraulic lifting tables etc..?

    9. use of s/w packages during initial modelling,simulation and final design etc?

    10. use of ERP packages for integrated material management and control and all other IT services?

    unlike in USA and Europe ,I dont say our labour is cheap ,but We have abundance of labour and dont need to automate everywhere. How will one generate employment and feed several hundreds of these mouths?
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2011
  9. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    addressing the post to me venkat means you missed the point I made.

    I know what the americans mean and I know how india works. I have supplies in govt PSUs and know others who do the same.
    The job gets done though not in the prettiest of manners like in the west. But its done.
     
  10. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    I hope parts for other things we bought are not impacted if US is not chosen?? Since,Phalcon, C-130,P8-i,Apache,javelin etc... so many things have already been bought. Either way USA can still throw a monkey wrench even if a European plane is chosen(METEOR is US-European joint collaboration and on almost all European plane's BVR).
     
  11. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    This is being misunderstood what USA is not saying India is not capable of building these things but India has flaws in Infrastructure and supply chain to do it efficently.
     
  12. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Ok just the other day I got an inquiry from a well known PSU. I said I will email you my quote. The guy on the other side said, sir please fax. I said what the ..... to myself. I asked him why not email, he said this is how we work.
     
  13. amitkriit

    amitkriit Senior Member Senior Member

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    I was reading somewhere that one major concern regarding MMRCA deal is that one of the bidders from USA might legally challenge the process and decision in court, to deliberately delay the procurement. If HAL can work with Russian companies then they can work with US companies as well. US is either being cynical or it is trying to discourage it's companies from directly getting into collaborative ventures inside India.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2011
  14. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    then payment would be delayed, the bigger issues maybe parts or possible change in relations,TOT.USA would not like the deal to go bad they have their reputation and many other countries to sell too.
     
  15. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    USA maybe speaking from experience after working on LCA and GE414 engine??
     
  16. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    USA does very few joint ventures or TOT even with their NATO allies, this is not a policy only for India's MRCA. Even customization maybe an issue(p8-i) USA ships usually straight from factory to customer.
     
  17. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    We only negotiated a deal that will be made in US only. So I don't think it has to do with the engine.

    You should take a walk around big PSUs. Its the basic culture of doing things. Its different from US.

    When I was working in AOL, the way they got about business and how we guys did was totally different. We still did a good job of it. But they could not get the way we went about it. they were only here to train for some time and they then left.
     
  18. venkat

    venkat Regular Member

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    yousuf ji!!! my post is to all those critical of PSUs....yes Internet is still a luxury and a heavy security risk.so fax is preferred for short crisp quotes.only top executives and some privileged ppl will only have internet facility in the office. maintaining and generating email accounts on a massive scale is a rigorous ,time and money consuming task. if you send your quote using yahoo,gmail,hotmail...there is always a security risk and most phoren companies do not respond if the above accounts are used. The problems plaguing our country are also plaguing our PSUs too. especially the latest generation cares too hoots to work ethics and work culture in PSUs.True,there needs lot to be done in PSUs with regards to state of the art tech products development,quality,timely delivery,cost consciousness, accountability , less of trade union interference,corruption etc..etc.. Already , PSUs are feeling the heat of competition from pvt industry,which is a good sign!!!!
     
  19. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    You are not getting my point. I am saying the PSUs have their way of working and it does not mean they are not good enough. Over 100 MKIs made in india, stealth warships etc... But the way things are done are different. The western guys cannot comprehend that.
     
  20. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Neither have I been inside a Lockheed-Martin or Being plant, not have I been inside HAL plant. Yet, it is a reasonable guess that in the US, there will be a fair bit of automation, more than in India. However, this is MMRCA, an Indian requirement. India will award this contract to whosoever it wants to. Whichever company/country offers the best conditions, which will depend on things such as, but not limited to, cost, ToT, KT, domestic job creation etc., will get the award. So the US needs to understand that if they want to work with India/HAL, they will have to be willing to accept the ground realities.

    Moreover, this deal involves a lot of money. Why should India not think about doing business in a way that as much of the money as possible can be brought back to India by creating jobs at HAL facilities? Moreover, US companies need to find a way to work with India while not violating whatever domestic laws they have. The onus is on them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2011
  21. mattster

    mattster Respected Member Senior Member

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    I think that Russians are a lot less automated in their build process. Whereas the US is ahead in defense automation.
    Hence it's only natural that the US has it's doubts about HAL.

    Any foreign partner of HAL probably has those same feelings. The lack of a strong manufacturing base and the skill sets associated with it are also a factor.

    Automation is not just about saving money by reducing people, it is about quality and consistency and metrics.
     

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