Flying low

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by Neil, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. Neil

    Neil Senior Member Senior Member

    Jun 23, 2010
    Likes Received:
    That the decks have been cleared for the Indian air force’s deal for trainer jets is good news in the ‘short term’. But strategically speaking, this is bad news for the country. Why? Because no nation can dream of being a superpower by depending wholly on imported military hardware. Such dependence gives leverage to foreign arms producers that can armtwist consumers like India during a crisis.

    The PC-7 Mk-II, built by Pilatus Aircraft Limited, Switzerland, is the successor of the Pilatus PC-21 basic turboprop trainer. The focus of this piece is not on the induction of the Pilatus trainer aircraft in the IAF. Neither is it inclined to question issues such as the cost and quality of the craft. This article deals with the abject failure of an aspiring superpower to manufacture even a basic trainer for one of the largest air forces in the world.

    In stark contrast, the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Kamra, had built 327 Mushshak three-seater light aircraft “for training, communications and observation” and logged more than half-a-million flying hours by 1999. The most impressive aspect of Pakistani military aviation is that Islamabad has managed to train its pilots with its own trainer aircraft. Islamabad has also succeeded in exporting aircraft to Iran, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Syria.

    India’s indigenous military aviation scene looked pretty rosy till the 1970s. The Indian civil aviation department — now the much-maligned ministry of civil aviation — had designed and developed a two/three seater light aircraft named Revathi as a basic trainer for pilots. But the situation does not look as rosy at present. India’s indigenous light combat aircraft, Tejas, is more than two years away from being operational. Incidentally, the Chinese are way ahead of India in this respect, owing to their determination to attain self-reliance. India, on the other hand, missed the aviation bus by refusing to infuse healthy capital investment into research and development.
    One example would suffice to prove this point. Beijing initiated a basic trainer aircraft — 6A — in 1957, but the trials proved to be a disappointment. Modified versions followed, and a total of 1,796 models were built by 1986, mainly for the Chinese air force, but also for foreign customers such as Albania, Bangladesh, Cambodia, North Korea, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Vietnam and Zambia. Today, unlike India, China does not have to depend on imported machines to train its rookie pilots.What then is the solution to the import-afflicted air force of New Delhi?

    The answer lies in learning lessons from nations such as the United States of America, Russia and China. India will have to shell out money for time-bound research and development projects. This will help it avoid banking on the ‘goodwill’ of private operators or of foreign suppliers.
    State-of-the-art fighter aircraft are not built in a day. An enormous human resource initiative and financial investment are required for this. The Indian Institutes of Technology in Kanpur, Kharagpur, Mumbai as well as other engineering colleges across India are known to have departments of aeronautical engineering. If India wants to avoid bankruptcy, then it should pledge to make a 10 billion dollar investment on a war footing to have its own production line of fighter aircraft in place. Else, disaster looms large over India’s dream of becoming a superpower in the future.

    Last edited: Jan 5, 2012
  3. agentperry

    agentperry Senior Member Senior Member

    Oct 24, 2010
    Likes Received:
    like to repeat what lurkerbaba once said- pussy cant be superpower

Share This Page