Tejas near IOC; but induction? The Tejas mk-1 is nearing compeltion of its development. LSP-5 all the gizmos that are going into the production model of tejas. The frantic pace of missile tests, countermeasures, drop tank testing and gearbox certification says that all the hardware are in place. once the developer ADA verifies their performance, LSP-7,8 will be handed to IAF for testing and Trials. In such heightened expectations, the reality tends to get blurred. The User IAF is not going to order anymore than 20-40 Tejas mk-1 aircraft.The IAF is expecting an improved Tejas mk-2 with various next generation systems such as indian AESA radar, new engine and other stuff. So whatever we are have developed and testing now would be no more than demonstration of technological competence. Knowing the User's past attitude towards induction of weapon systems, prefering a completely developed product to a phased upgade approach. The platform tejas mk-1 now is will be carried forward the same till there is any dire need for upgrade. The programmed induction of tejas Mk-2 could suffer this same inertia hence runs the danger of being held hostile to failures in AESA, other development efforts. MRCA alias MMRCA requirement relevence and Developments to tejas By 2001, the Indian Air Force had projected a requirement for 126 multi-role combat aircrafts and approched the MOD for the mirage-2000. the proposal was shot down and told to wait for tejas which had just made its initial flight. It was expected to fill up some 400 number of combat aircraft in IAF. Besides the IAF had just inked a deal to licence assemble 140 Su-30 mki multi-role aircrafts in HAL, in which the mirage-2000 had been found to be costly but low on performance compared to Su-30. Yet seeking the same plane for another requirement was a choice that seemed prudent in IAF eyes. But not for the GOI which had further plans such as lobbying for the LFI design with Russia. But change of gaurd in centre and consensus with Russians on su t-50 resulted in favor of acquiring a single engined fighter to make up for shortfalls that result from prolonged Tejas development, that was the MRCA program in 2006. Fast forward to 2010, we have Tejas program staring at IOC around Dec 2010- early 2011. But IAF is not going to order no more than 20-40 of the planes. The reason or perhaps excuse given is redesign of air-inake, which might have taken a year or so to modify , test and certify. But add to that air show tricks sorry combat manouvers cannot be performed using the present aircraft configuration, the culprit GE supplied F404 f2j3 engines that produced 50/75 kn of thrust. Anyway Kaveri Engine which was conceived to produce 13% more thrust was holding the tejas programme to its hostage, hence delinked from the initial prototypes and production models. These in turn were decided to be powered by GE F404 IN20 engines which produced 85 kn in bench testing, just as much the GTRE gtx-35vs kaveri had hoped to acheive. IAF after this order would order no more and required the aircraft to have a new engine, which necessiated changes to fuselage, add to that larger wing with heavier load, add to that more internal fuel naturally resulting from wing and fuselage modification. All these design changes have been factored and a time frame for production has been pushed back to 2018. In a nut shell, technology thats been developed for 2010 IOC has been effectively put off till 2018, while keeping the developer busy all the while. http://www.hindu.com/2008/12/05/stories/2008120561301400.htm http://*************directory.blogspot.com/2010/06/lca-tejas-mk-2update.html Is the IAF justified in making such demands on Tejas also needs to be analysed? When it was realised that Tejas would not be available post 2005 even, RFI was released to generally accepted light category fighters namely F-16 bk-52, Mirage 2000, Mig-29 ovt and Jas -39 c/d gripen. Of all these the only aircraft very contemperory and had a similar profile to Tejas was Gripen. Branded as cheap and affordable, the aircraft was built with the same goals Tejas was developed to meet, amazingly with the same technology needing to be developed. But Gripen induction started in 1996, while tejas still languished for first flight. Thus procuring 126 gripens would have been ideal. But the pace of the Indian bureaucracy meant that tejas program caught up, confident in tejas grew and outpaced that had been achieved by the four contenders. IAF finiding itself in a hard place of not being able to shun Tejas from the competition did something detriminal to the very essence of quick procurement, it raised the bar. Thus the Max take off weight of 20 tons had to go higher bringing two other manufacturers raising the competition to MMRCA. Theoretically had the IAF selected Gripen, it would have been akin to acknowledging its own lack of technical competence. As we know other than Tejas, most other aircraft were fabricated around an existing engine at least in a prototype stage. SAAB chose F404 for gripen, whose empty weight after development stands at 6500 kg and max take off weight at 12,500 kg with a combat radius of 1600 km. The Aircraft has been accepted into sweedish air force. On contrast IAF wanted a 5500 kg fighter with the same engine, same take off wt and same combat radius. When Saab with all its experience has prefered to stick to 6500 kg empty even after using 30% composites. Sadly ADA with its limited experience has max-ed out the weight reduction possible for a machine of this complexity, since 45% composite already employed. But IAF remains stubborn not to accept Tejas or make sensible choices that may expose its past unrealistic expectations from contemperory technology. While IAF is willing to compromise with 1970s airframe like the Super Hornet, there is little doubt a latest airframe like Tejas or Gripen would prove to be superior. The last time IAF abandoned Indian programme to go for Jaguar, it ended with a 1960s airframe, which became obselete soon after induction whose original orders still languish in HAL till date. In such circumstances, do we need foreign weapons systems that would soon be abandoned by their manufacturer once new programs start, while the IAF languishes with it for half a century in service. Legacy of HAL at stake Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Banglore through hook or crook has become South Asia's largest or perhaps the sole Aerospace enterprise, courtesy - Socialist, Spineless politicians and beareaucratic Babus. By late 1970s, after consolidation by Indira Ghandi, HAL had become the alpha and omega of Indian Aerospace. It was showered with Ratna awards, its tp brass regularly received national awards, there was no academic participation in R&D. It was an end in itself. HAL by then had settled into a nice rhythm where first India buys some planes off the shelf from Russia then gets licence to manufacture them in HAL, to offset the Russian leverage buys an aircraft with similar aircraft from europe and licenced to be manufactured by HAL. The hot gas produced by Licence production kept HAL going until ADA was formed. Instead of working with the agency, HAL considered it a challenge to its turf which meant ADA had to hire people outside HAL and kept functioning not as close as they need to have. Though the prime contractor for Tejas, until recently HAL's participation in the programme has been minimal, compounded its manpower shortage which needed to cater to an array of programs. To maintain its Technological excellence on par with ADA, HAL has looked no further than its dirty old method of Licence production through TOT from western Europe. I wonder what it stands to gain that the Su-30 mki licence production with 100 % TOT couldn't give that it needs 60% TOT from MMRCA contenders. one reason could be that the idle manufacturing facility that catered to Jaguar assembly. the top to bottom is only bent on holding onto their jobs while keeping their bigger heads intact.Probably their Cool idea is replacing russian mig-27 line with Su-30 now Jaguar line with MMRCA to duplicate the previous cycle, how much pathetic can this agency get. the worse part is they can't even leave upgrade programs alone, e.g RD-33 engines for mig-29 upgrade, Jaguar upgrade. They didn't even leave the LCA tejas Mk-2 programme alone. http://kuku.sawf.org/News/59037.aspx Vested Public Relations Sabotoge http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_channel.jsp?channel=defense&id=news/awst/2010/11/22/AW_11_22_2010_p34-270650.xml&headline=LCA%20Tejas%20Falls%20Short%20of%20Earlier%20Expectations http://indiadefenceonline.com/2315/lca-faces-huge-cost-escalation/ Even at this Twilight hour, there are vested interests that try desperately with sensationalism and so autentically realistic propaganda to destroy the Programme's public image. But has such a thing happened in countries like Sweden, Brazil when they tried to invent Systems that cater to their particular demand. Their achievements stands in testament to their decisions which in stark contrast to India's. All of these factors have led me to only a single question Debate Question:Would IAF have worked with ADA & MOD to induct 80-120 Tejas in Mk-1 configuration if there was no MRCA alias MMRCA competition? scenarios that could topple MMRCA The Gripen comes out as the one that meets all parameters and emerges L1.What if the Govenment was so hell bent on tejas that it refused to entertain an aircraft that would duplicate its capabilities. the evaluation report is scrutinised in parliament that ends in a JPC which results in a conclusion "the capabilities afforded by the newer aircrafts are offset by their higher procurement and operating costs, thus recomends air staff to buy Mk-1 to plug gaps till mk-2 is developed" A CAG report implicts rules had been bent and the purpose of the procurement had been compromised by waiting till 2015 to induct and with unit prices at $100+ million was unacceptable to the excheaquer. The IAF sees that tejas mk-1 meets its operational requirements perfectly, goes in for standardisation orders the equipment that it was impressed with in the trials to be integrated with tejas mk-2, and absolves the MMRCA to escape complexing of logistics.