Where would MWF be produced? I read here:What option does HAL has to start production of MWF before they complete full development testing, say around 2024-2025.
I think they should have the confidence to test the major parameters like top speed, max AOA, str etc on early(1st or 2nd) prototypes in 1-2 year from rollout in 2022 (unlike lca which attempted these parameters during the last leg of foc testing). So they can achieve ioc and make sure no major changes required to the airframe later on. And start production run simultaneously carry out development testing for foc. I am not suggesting something as extreme as concurrency like in f-35.
I say this because if MWF delivery start from 2025-2026, there will be less of a reason to order 114 mrca(or whatever its called now) anf IAF can make do with a second batch of 36 Rafale order. If AMCA is not available when mig-29 and jaguar retires we can order a third batch of 36 more Rafales.
The point of all this is keeping twin engine fighters IAF inventory low because these fighters are OPEX intensive.
IAF for the same budget can get more fighter aircraft which is necessary as they transition into theatre command structure
It sounds like at best 8 MWF could be produced each year until Mk1A production ends. Who knows when that will be (start date/ramp up/actual production rate/exports all uncertain)?
If India wants IAF to fly Indian fighters I think that GOI needs to order MWF as soon as possible. Preferably a large order of 100+ so HAL can enjoy some economy of scale when pricing the product and has time to organise production. Otherwise GOI will need to buy a load of MMRCA aircraft from wherever.
People have mentioned on many occasions the danger of increasing capacity then leaving it idle after a number of years. Well, even if a production plant cost $500 million, so what?
Deal for 100 foreign medium fighters - $12-15 billion
Deal for 100 MWF - $7-9 billion + $500 million for a production plant
Even if the plant was never used again after 100 MWF were produced, $billions would have been saved going down the MWF route rather than the MMRCA route.