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Indian Military Aviation News and Discussion
GE-414 is selected for LCA. I think DRDO is more than happy about it. DRDO is obsessed with Kaveri-Sncema joint venture and it can bring a closure to Kaveri development. Rafale selection in MMRCA is needed for Kaveri-Snecma joint venture. If they had selected EJ-200, Eurotyphoon would have been given first preference in MMRCA. DRDO knew it. It nailed GE-414 for LCA II as a temporary measure. In the future, if the US refuses to supply spare parts to GE-414 or provide a replacement engine, Kaveri engine will get a chance. It looks like AMCA will be powered by Kaveri.
7 October 2010 Last updated at 08:29 ET

[url="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-11492777"]India to buy advanced fighter jets from Russia[/url]

Quote: The deal has been announced by the Indian Defence Minister AK Antony India will [color="#ff0000"]buy [/color]<not co-develop- Arun> 250 to 300 advanced fifth-generation stealth fighter jets from Russia over the next 10 years, Defence Minister AK Antony has said.

Fifth-generation aircraft are invisible to radar, have advanced flight and weapons control systems and can cruise at supersonic speeds, officials say.

Mr Antony told a news conference in the Indian capital, Delhi, that Russia would also supply 45 transport planes.

India is a top buyer of Russian weapons and the two countries have strong ties.

"We have a 10-year programme and it is quite challenging (but) we have very good experience in military co-operation," news agency AFP quoted Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov as saying at the conference.

The deal, which could be worth up to $30bn, is believed to be the richest in India's military history.

The agreement is expected to be signed when Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visits India in December, officials say.

This is potentially a huge deal, which could dramatically increase India's military capabilities, the BBC's defence and security correspondent Nick Childs says.

The two sides have been in talks for some time.

The fifth-generation stealth fighter is currently being developed in Russia and the prototype flew for the first time earlier this year.

At the moment the United States is the only country that has a fifth-generation stealth fighter actually in service.

[url="http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=4866205&c=air;%20budget;%20policy&s=TOP&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter"]India to Buy 250-300 Fighter Jets From Russia[/url]


Published: 7 Oct 2010 18:50

NEW DELHI - India has agreed to buy up to 300 advanced stealth fighter jets from Russia that it will help jointly develop and manufacture, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said Oct. 7.

counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov that Russia would supply the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) as well as 45 multi-role transport aircraft.

"India will receive 250-300 most advanced FGFAs," Antony said. "These are the two major projects for the next 10 years which will be a shining example of Indian-Russian cooperation."

Hindustan Aeronautic Ltd (HAL) and Russia's United Aircraft Corp and Rosoboronexport signed a joint venture last month to develop the multi-role transport aircraft in a project worth $645 million.

Serdyukov said previous success in the co-production of the BrahMos cruise missile would spur the FGFA's joint development by India's HAL and Russia's state-owned Sukhoi Company over the next 10 years.

"The FGFA have been designed by us, the price has been fixed and the draft of the agreement has been given to India. Once it is signed, HAL and Sukhoi will participate," Serdyukov said.

He did not disclose details.

Experts say each 30-ton FGFA is worth up to 100 million dollars.

Indian Defence Production Secretary R.K. Singh said the costing would be worked out in stages.

"At present a 300-million dollar preliminary design contract for the FGFA program is currently under the (Indian) government's consideration," Singh told AFP.

The draft agreement is likely to be signed during a trip to India by President Dmitry Medvedev in December.

Moscow is New Delhi's largest military supplier but recent frictions over cost escalations and delays in the delivery of a refurbished Russian aircraft carrier have strained cosy bilateral ties.

"We have a great volume of (military) projects and so it is natural to have some delays," Serdyukov said.

The minister also said Russia was waiting for New Delhi's clearance to supply 22 attack helicopters and 15 heavy lift helicopters.

"As soon as we get the contract we will provide them," Serdyukov added.

India plans to mothball its mainstay MiG-21 Soviet-era fighter jets, which have earned the sobriquet "flying coffins" because of their dismal safety record.

India is also in the process of acquiring 270 Sukhoi war jets worth 12 billion dollars and is poised to hand out a contract for 126 fighter planes as part of a separate 12-billion dollar deal for which six global aeronautical giants are in the race.

The announcement of the FGFA agreement came a day day after Antony, in a clear reference to China, warned of the danger posed by regional "neighbours" who were building their military capabilities at a "feverish" pace.

"Some nations are keen to incite threats to our unity and integrity (and) thus to successfully meet such challenges, the need for us to be vigilant and prepared at all times goes without saying and is unquestionable," he said, without naming any specific country.

India has longstanding territorial disputes with China and is suspicious of Beijing's close relations with Pakistan.
[size="2"]Not only Akula but Oscar class vessels are also being readied for delivery to India. The FGFA, MTA co development is truly a strategic tie up, and that transcends to nuclear co-operation in all fields[/size][size="2"].[/size]

[url="http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article814932.ece"]Russia may offer strategic technologies: Hindu[/url]

Quote:Vladimir Radyuhin Russia may offer India strategic defence technologies to retain dominant position in the Indian crowded weapons market, said a Russian expert.

“Growing international competition for the Indian defence market will push Russia to expand its cooperation with India into new sectors where it has no rivals, such as strategic weapons and technologies,” said Konstantin Makienko of the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST) ahead of the 10th session of the India-Russia intergovernmental commission on military-technical cooperation.

The IGC commission will meet in New Delhi on October 7 under co-chair of Defence Minister A. K. Antony and his Russian counterpart, Anatoly Serdyukov.

The Russian expert suggested that the two countries could diversify their defence ties into [color="#4169e1"]nuclear submarine technologies[/color] despite continuing international restrictions against India.

“India's de-facto joining of the nuclear club makes such restrictions rather pointless.”

In fact, Russia is already helping India acquire nuclear submarine capability. Next March, Russia will hand over an Akula-class attack submarine, Nerpa, to India on a 10-year lease.

Its design has been largely incorporated in India's first indigenously built nuclear submarine, INS Arihant, launched last year.

Cooperation in strategic weapons will be in line with Russia's long-time policy of offering India advanced defence technologies.

“Russia is interested in strengthening India's defence potential without any limitations,” said Mr. Makienko, adding Russia was not prepared to supply China high-end weapons systems that India received.

The fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA), which India will build jointly with Russia, is one example of this policy.

“The FGFA programme will enable India to join the exclusive club of nations who have such weapon systems,” he said. “It will give India an overkill capability over China, not to mention Pakistan.”

The FGFA project marks a further shift in Indo-Russian defence ties from a buyer-seller relationship to joint design and construction of new weapons systems.

[b]Top destination [/b]

In coming years India will remain number one destination for Russian defence sales, according to the Russian Centre for Analysis of International Weapons Trade (CAIWT). “In 2010-2013 India will account for 54.4 percent of Russian weapons exports estimated at over $15 billion,” the CAIWT said.
The GE F414 option will only transfer jig and fixture, for the teh "F" model, and not the later versions that continue to evolve "E" version and nothing to speak of ceramic blade tech. Europeans have on teh other hand offered the complete technology from physics to jigs of SCBlade, as well as share research into ceramic blade tech that operateds at temp beyond the current Single crystal blade engines (much superior thrist, SFC as well as thust to weight ratios)

What can India expect in terms of controls on F414, when even very recently the marine turbine engine was refused by US govt. The GE F414 decision (if true) is causing lots of heartburn in IAF. It is such a blantently wrong choice for India. It will not only styme LCA operational value in realsistic time frame but also block MCA/NGFA prospects to success.

[url="http://www.defpro.com/daily/details/502/"]Eurojet may transfer single crystal blade technology to India[/url]

Quote:Eurojet technology is "a generation ahead of the competition." Company may be looking for long-term relationship with Indian industry

07:04 GMT, February 5, 2010 As 8ak ([url="http://www.8ak.in/"]http://www.8ak.in[/url]), a media partner of defpro.com reports, Eurojet management yesterday confirmed that, if required, they are willing to transfer their single crystal turbine blade technology to India. This is currently not under the scope of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) engine request for proposal (RfP) and a separate commercial agreement would have to be signed.

Under the license-production of the Russian Sukhoi Su-30MKI, it is believed that Russia transferred some of this technology to India. However, Harmut Tenter, Managing Director of Eurojet claims their own technology is a generation ahead of the competition. This is a complex process in which the entire blade is a single giant crystal which is grown, instead of having been cut. As a result, the blades can withstand up to 200 degree higher temperatures while also improving the efficiency, longevity and performance of the engine.

Regarding possible offsets, Tenter points to the good working relationship of European companies, such as with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the gearbox of the ALH Dhruv helicopter, which is among the most advanced in the world. According to Tenter, Eurojet will happily partner with any company that the Indian Ministry of Defence designates, including HAL. In addition, Eurojet is open to partnerships within the Indian private sector. Meanwhile, in the UK, Rolls Royce has won a US$1.4 billion contract to maintain the Eurojet engines in their Eurofighter Typhoons. In this light, 8ak asked Mr Tenter if there could be a role for the Indian private sector in engine maintenance; he replied that this is entirely possible but remains for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian government to decide.

While low initial orders would mean that the volume may not justify setting up a complete production facility in India, Mr Tenter says this is something they could consider in the future, even in areas unrelated to the current engine order. Eurojet, like EADS, has repeatedly claimed that they are looking at long term partnerships and Mr Tenter points to the success of Airbus as an example of a successful, trans-national European consortium. Perhaps this was a hint that India needs to follow a co-development/global supply chain model, rather than pursuing a 100 per cent indigenous one (for example, look at the state of the Indian Saras regional aircraft).

On 2 February, after the LCA test and demonstration, Indian Defence Minister A.K. Anthony declared an additional 8,000 crores (approximately US$1.8 billion) to be devoted to the LCA Tejas programme. It is believed that a significant portion of this is for engine technology. While Snecma has offered to help resolve the problems with the Kaveri engine, the need of the IAF is immediate and it is felt that even the Indian research agencies cannot justify the delay that would arise from waiting for the Kaveri-Snecma engine to be developed. This means that only GE's F414 and Eurojet are in the competition for the LCA engine. GE has many advantages but would require redesigning the Tejas, whereas Eurojet claims that no redesign would be required with its engine. However, Shiv Aroor has pointed out that no proof may exist to support this claim.

Some analysts feel that India would be more susceptible to sanctions from Eurojet, since it is a consortium of companies from four countries, than from the US. In response, Tenter said European companies do not impose end-user controls on India and have proven to be reliable partners even during crises. As an example he pointed to the Kargil war, during which work on the Dhruv continued uninterrupted. This was even before Germany, the lead nation in the Eurojet consortium, signed a defence co-operation agreement with India in 2006, further improving defence collaboration. Tenter added that, should India choose Eurojet it would enter a minimum 40-year relationship akin to a marriage and that Eurojet and their partner countries would take their commitment very seriously.

Reading a two-year old article on the Kaveri-GE-Eurojet dilemma, it seems that even though the issue was just as urgent two years ago, no action has been taken since. 8ak believes that whether GE or Eurojet wins, the issue must be resolved quickly and the long-delayed Tejas must be brought into commercial production. The export of the Tejas will give India great international repute and the country’s local industries the boost it needs.


By Manu Sood, Editor at 8ak.in
Why is India going to choose F414 if it does not include Single Crystal Blade technology and tooling? (a.k.a screw driver technology).

OTOH the european EJ200 offer includes the option to fully transfer the know how from physics to lab and onwards to manufacturing!

This is making the Indian patriots in India and abroad go nuts at this pushing down Indian throat a jet engine that does not serve Indian needs and Interest.


Price Talks Imminent On GE F414 Engine For India LCA[/url]: Aviation Week

Quote:By Neelam Mathews [email="mathews.neelam@gmail.com"]mathews.neelam@gmail.com[/email]

NEW DELHI Price negotiations will begin soon for 99 General Electric F414 fighter jet engines selected to power the Mk II version of the Indian Air Force’s Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).

India’s Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) awarded the contract on Oct. 1, and it is expected to be signed in a few months (Aerospace DAILY, Oct. 1).

The F414 engine was in the running along with the EuroJet EJ-200. The contract’s value cannot be confirmed until it is finalized, a Defense Research Development Organization spokesman says. “We could always go for more [engines],” he adds.

The selection follows earlier GE engine buys for the Indian Air Force (IAF). In 2007, India purchased 24 F404 GE engines, and in 2004 the country bought 17 F404 engines to power a limited series of operational production aircraft and LCA naval prototypes.

The F414-GE-INS6 is the highest-thrust F414 model. It boasts Full Authority Digital Electronic Control (FADEC) and additional single-engine safety features. “GE keeps infusing the latest technology,” a company official says. “If, for instance, we have a version 12 of the blade, the customer gets just that.”

Helping seal the deal was GE’s offer to provide increased technical manpower and base workers in India to help develop the engine, officials said.

The contract requires 8-10 engines to be provided in fly-away condition, with the rest to be delivered in semi-knocked-down condition and assembled in India. The agreement also contains a 30% offset clause and will tap some of the 24 Indian companies that GE has certified. “The deliveries will depend on when the development phase of the LCA is over,” and official says.

A remaining point of contention is the technology transfer clause.

“The requirement and conditions were not clear,” an engine manufacturer says. “You cannot offer a product unless you know how it will be used. Besides, you need to consider which of the two technologies are more advanced.” GE requires U.S. government clearance for transfer of technology. “[color="#800080"]We can almost be sure [size="3"]there will be no transfer of crystal blades of the F414[/size],” an analyst says[/color].

India has expressed interest in the F/A-18 and F-16 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA), which can carry an active electronically scanned array radar.

[url="http://www.indiandefencereview.com/#tab9"]Defence Research : India's Achilles Heel - IDR[/url]

Quote:By [url="http://www.indiandefencereview.com/author/Col-Anil-Athale/1"]Col Anil Athale[/url]

IDR Issue: [url="http://www.indiandefencereview.com/search.php?search&search_type=idr&search_data=Vol%2025.3"]Vol 25.3[/url] Jul-Sep 2010 | Date: 06 October, 2010

While India seems well set on the path of becoming an economic power house, this castle is being built on shifting sand. India remains vulnerable as ever to the rouge nations in our neighbourhood and manipulating super powers (both existing and aspiring). India displays its utter dependence on matters of defence on borrowed plumes on the occasion of every Republic Day parade on 26th January.

Bulk of the equipment on display is of foreign origin. In matters of developing new weapons India has fallen behind countries like Brazil, South Africa and of course China, her regional rival and competitor. Even if one is to discount Pakistan with its screw-driver technology, even a tin-pot dictatorship regime like North Korea has bettered us in missile development.

It is indeed wrong to think of defence research in isolation from the general problems associated with scientific research in India. In fact one of the causes of defence research lagging behind is this artificial divide between general research and defence research. The high walls and fences surrounding all Indian establishments are more than symbolic of this lack of interaction and connectivity between the two fields. The lack of connectivity between universities and research lab is another example. India may not be an island nation, but its scientific establishments surely are! It was indeed sad to hear the Defence Minister of India say that he intends to give priority to ‘indigenisation’, if this is the aim of a rising economic power in 21st century, then even God cannot save us.

In India, defence research has come to mean ‘reverse engineering’ — dismantling an imported product and then copying it. Great emphasis was also paid to ‘import substitution’ or indigenisation of components of imported products. In addition, most of the emphasis has been on licensed production and transfer of technology. All this gave an illusion of scientific prowess. This approach ensured that there is no incentive to creativity. This killed the initiative of scientists to create anything new.

The syndrome can best be understood when we see the spectacle of Indian factories year after year churning out MiGs, SS 11 B-1 wire guided anti-tank missiles and small arms that use technology that is 40 years old. License agreements prohibit any innovations and improvements. So when a newer Sukhoi-30 or MiG-29 or homing anti-tank missile comes on the horizon, we again import the technology and begin ‘license’ production. After all this we blame the aeronautical and other engineers from our IITs for being unpatriotic and migrating to the developed world!

To compound the above follies, we then created public sector monopolies and banned all private industry from so-called ‘strategic’ sectors like aviation or arms production. There has been some improvement of late but it is still a case of too little and too late.

The final folly was to make the armed forces the ultimate arbiters of defence technology. A soldier by the very nature of his profession is conservative when it comes to new technology. Even a great leader like Napoleon rejected steam ships and submarines when presented to him by the American Robert Fulton. The Emperor did not believe that ships without sails were possible. British historians credit the survival of their country against the threat of Napoleonic France to this short-sightedness.

The centralised, bureaucratic DRDO that lacks accountability then completes the circle.

There are three facets of the problem faced by the defence research in India. First is the peculiar civilisational apathy and mindset that is unique to India, second is structural and organisational weaknesses and third is political vested interests and corruption.

Civilisational Flaws

Indian civilisation is essentially pacifist in nature. This is despite the fact that the essence of ancient Indian philosophy is the Bhagvat Gita, that has the Kurukshetra War of Mahabharata as a backdrop. Two factors seem to have contributed to this, one was that since most wars were internal conflicts, the Sages strived to keep the wars limited to armies and second was the influence of Buddhism/Jainism in later periods of Indian history.

All nations and civilisations have a peace constituency, but nowhere is it as dominant as in India. The Sanskrit saying Yato Dharma, Tato Jaya (If we are righteous, then victory will be ours) best sums up the Indian thought.

Warfare soon degenerated to righteous methods- Dharma Yudha, thus leading to stagnation in means (weapons), tactics and strategy. This worked well as long as the clash was within the subcontinent, but when faced with outside adversary armed with better weapons and intent on total war, and not war as contest of valour, the Indians had no answer. But the mindset is so deep rooted that even in the 21st century these notions continue to hamstrung realism while dealing with security threats.

Average Indians would want even their armed forces to be non-violent and somehow defend the country without bloodshed, wanting to eat an omelette without breaking eggs so to speak.

This mindset also heavily influences the scientific talent and institutions in India whereby any research linked to defence is both looked down upon and actively discouraged.

Historically, India was at the apex during the agricultural epoch of the history of mankind. Since having reached the very top of agricultural economy, whole attention was towards perfection of existing technology and skills. Is it any wonder that weapons like swords, bows and arrows, mace and spear, seen in the Mahabharata era around 1500 BC, were also the mainstay of armies of Shivaji in 17th century- a period of 3000 years.

Thus there was no incentive to be inventive and all benefits and profits were seen in refinement of existing skills. In no small measure, this gave rise to birth based ‘caste’ system where son followed the profession of his father. It was practical. There were several exceptions and peoples changed their professions but the norm was to follow traditional way of life. Most of India’s so called castes are actually professions- carpenter, barber, blacksmith, goldsmith, doctors, farmer et al. The disastrous result of this feudal approach was that war was seen to be an activity exclusive to warrior caste, with the rest of the society being a bystander.1 Despite its huge population, in all its major wars fought, the Indian armies were generally numerically inferior to the invaders. The only exception to this rule was the wars fought by the Marathas and the Sikhs, where there was mass mobilisation. Feudal Europe was in similar state before the Napoleonic concept of ‘nation in arms’ revolutionised warfare. Europe changed but India continued on its earlier path.

The social stagnation and Brahmanism where the intellectuals or soldiers became hereditary also created a gulf between the artisans and theoreticians. This phenomenon is common to many Asian civilisations. It is this separation of thinking from skills that led to technological stagnation and India missed the industrial revolution. In the Indian context at least, this baneful aspect of Brahmanism, ie disdain for manual work or dirtying one’s hand, continues. The delinking of shop floor workers and scientists/engineers is no where as pronounced as in India.

The result of this weakness of agricultural civilisation was that it was regularly overwhelmed by Pastoral People with the same weapons as they were hardier. It is a historical truth that produced its own effects in further weakening of the country. For instance the Jazil (a large calibre musket) and war rockets2 were in use by the Indians as early as the 18th century and could have possibly turned the tide against the British, but there was very little attempt to improve these. No effort was made to build bigger rockets or tie several together for greater effect. Launching rockets using iron tubes could have similarly made them accurate- but there is absolutely no evidence of Marathas or Tipu Sultan having tried these improvements/innovations.

In more than one sense this Indian philosophical and civilisational weakness is the mother norms of all root causes that plague Indian advances in defence technology. This in turn explains the rational behind the other two weaknesses ie organisational and political and therefore needs a clear understanding.

Dr Sri Nandan Prasad, who has spent a life time in study of military history has put it succinctly that the most potent and deep acting source of military weakness are the Indian ethos itself.

“Rooted in an attitude of anti-predatory universalism (Vausdheva Kutumbakam or mother earths family that includes all living beings), contemplative passivity and inherent moderation, the Indian psych presents almost an antithesis to total war.”

He compares various battles between Indians and foreign invaders and between two Indian rulers and concludes that while the former were total war the later were continuance of politics and diplomacy with an odd day or two of violence, almost as an interlude.

Indians are yet to understand the true nature of international politics/threats.

“The Indian achieved universalism and transcendental cognition thousands of years before the world was ready for it: the Indian has paid the price for thousands of years. He has lost battles but may win the war, unless the war ends in a nuclear holocaust.”3

Organisation and Structural Impediments

In 1947 immediately after independence India went about building institutions of learning in field of science and technology. The Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) made a name for themselves as many of its alumni went abroad and made major inventions/discoveries. Research laboratories were set up to deal with each branch of science. These were created in splendid isolation from existing universities and had no linkages with students, teaching or industry. It was a sort of bureaucratic job of doing science ‘10 to 5’ on daily basis. Advancement was based on seniority with very little accountability. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), was set up on the lines of these national laboratories with an added clause that since they were to do ‘defence research’ all their activities were cloaked in secrecy with not even modicum of accountability.

The recruitment of personnel to man these institutions followed a similar bureaucratic norm. With low wages (compared to private sector or abroad) and stagnant promotions based on seniority, the DRDO never really attracted talent. The talented graduates of the IITs voted with their feet and migrated to the West. In any case there was very little cross fertilisation and co-operation between these institutes and defence research.

Essentially like in economic development, India adopted a Soviet style ‘Command’ model for scientific activities including defence. To compound the folly, India also created a separate defence industry in state sector, in isolation from other industries. This was in addition to earlier existing Ordinance factories that manufactured arms and ammunition. In short India created a model of state monopolies from research to development and manufacture. Like all such monopolies, it was an inefficient model that consumed resources but produced very little out put. The armed forces, the sole consumers, were out of loop for decision making, administration or accountability. DRDO is an independent empire. The DRDO activities fitted the classical Parkinson Laws on bureaucracies where the work expanded to suit the time available.

The typical decision making loop went about something like this,

  • The armed forces made threat assessments based on inputs from external affairs ministry, intelligence agencies and its own assessments.
  • Based on the threat assessments it worked out the kind of force levels and equipment that is needed to counter these threats.
  • These demands were then placed to the political head for considerations.
The DRDO came into picture at this stage and would be charged with fulfilling the needs. To justify its existence and get budgetary support, the DRDO often made tall promises and accepted impossible qualitative requirements and deadlines. In reality the process works in even more bizarre fashion. The technologically innocent staffs at the service headquarters consult glossy foreign magazines, look at the adversary nation’s armaments and formulate requirements that would give us a superior system. Thus the so called qualitative requirements often ended up with marrying the Russian ruggedness with Western sophistication and would demand a system that defies laws of science.

The inability of the DRDO to deliver is virtually preordained and leads to the demand by the forces for imports. It is easy to criticise the forces for their inability to promote and encourage indigenous research and development and opt for imported systems. But it must be remembered that the job of the armed forces is to defend the country and not promote indigenous research. Generally a compromise is worked out that sanctions limited imports to meet minimum needs and simultaneously continue with the DRDO effort. This has had one terrible consequence, forever concerned with shortage of equipment; the armed forces have been sacrificing lives to conserve equipment. Lives are cheap, equipment costly and unavailable.

A slight variation of the above scenario is agreement for licence production or the latest buzz word-offset… ie making some parts of the equipment in India. In all these permutation and combinations, where is research or development?

Vested Interest and Corruption

Some time in early 1970s, as the Indian policies lurched to left, open donation to political parties were banned. But political parties need funds to fight elections and there is no public funding of candidates in India. It is a well observed fact that huge amounts are spent in each elections ye the source of these funds remain a mystery. The defence deals are ideal for kickbacks and fundraising since the amount involved are huge, in billions of dollars and the transaction can be kept hidden from public on grounds of security. It is reported that Indians hold the largest deposits in Swiss banks estimated to be in excess of $ 800 billion or more. It may well turn out that the largest chunk of these funds are defence kickbacks and are possibly held by political operators. The reluctance of the govt of India to make any serious efforts to either track down these funds or get them repatriated, tells its own story.

The vested interest in import of defence equipment makes sure that there is little incentive to reform the system of defence research and development since that would undercut a major source of political finance. Thus the vicious cycle of dependency continues. In this game there appears to be a consensus amongst the political parties across the divide for no serious effort was made to reform the system even when the current opposition party was in power.

The politician can get away with this crime since as mentioned earlier that the common man is least interested in matters of defence except in times of war. The politicians also believe that it is a risk free approach since many of them are pacifists who abhor war and conflict. In fact the general atmosphere in the country is such that it is easy to hoodwink people and pass of inefficiency in defence as desire for peace. George Washington’s famous saying that if you want peace be prepared for war, has not many takers in Gandhi’s India.

In 1991, India abandoned the earlier ‘licence permit raj’ and embraced major economic reforms that brought in private sector in to main-stream and encouraged competition. India reaped the fruits of this development and its economy has been consistently growing at 6 to 7 percent per annum, nearly double of the earlier much derided ‘Hindu Rate of Growth of 3.5 percent’. Yet it would be fair to say that these winds of change have hardly been felt in the defence sector. If one is to be reminded that close to 40 percent of national budget is devoted to defence, this inaction is strange to say the least. This again reinforces the point that vested political, bureaucratic and corrupt interests have kept the defence sector from much needed reforms. Given the perilous security situation that India finds itself in today, surrounded by failed states and object of machinations by a rising super power, this inaction could well cause us to lose our freedom, again.

An Action Plan

The picture painted in this article may well appear to be excessively gloomy, but the situation is indeed ripe for major change and leap to revolutionise our age old weakness. We are fortunate to have a squeaky clean Defence Minister, our private sector has come of age, we have a world class IT industry and a skilled manpower that has shown our prowess in making world class products at the lowest cost.

But to reap the benefits of our assets there has to be clear understanding of role of innovation, research and development. The three are distinctly different functions and one of the major drawbacks of our system has been to centralise them under the DRDO.

Let us take the issue of innovation and incremental improvements in existing products, be they small arms or aircraft or any other platforms. The need is to breakup the DRDO monolith and attach the personnel dealing with say small arms to the production factories. Here they must work in close co-ordination with the shop floor workers and engineers. A direct link must also be established between the manufacturers and users. For instance we introduced (finally) the INSAS (Infantry Small Arms System) that has been under trial since the late 1980s. One is yet to see an improved version of the same even after a decade. This will considerably shorten the time of productionising the newer versions.

The issue of research is more difficult to resolve. Thomas S Kuhn, 4the American philosopher of science in his work on scientific revolution, emphasizes decentralized structures. In India we copied the Soviet model and created vast scientific bureaucracies with hierarchical institutions. It is time research activity is diffused and decentralized to universities and other learning institutes. Only at the level of production process is centralization needed. The research component of the DRDO should be separated and attached to various and IITs and its newer avatars. This will help to fulfill the original conception of the IITs as MIT (of the USA) like powerhouse of generating technology and not graduate producing factories as they have become today.

Most scientists get just one big idea in their career. Innovators like Thomas Alva Edison are exceptions. When we recruit people for permanent jobs we are in effect carrying on the burden of unproductive individuals for decades. Not just that the individual is unproductive, s/he also blocks the way for new talent, blocks new ideas. Little wonder the permanent staff at our research establishments has turned national and defence laboratories into mortuaries of science.

Research organisations need to be built around project-based contract employees with a bare skeleton permanent staff. Generous funding, constant movement between teaching and research and tax breaks can cater to the financial security of scientists. There is no substitute to enforcing accountability.

Another major positive change that has taken place is that after the nuclear deal with US, India is finally our of the international dog house as far technology is concerned. The private sector has all this while (except some brave exceptions and the nation needs to be grateful to them) shied away from defence field for the fear of being black listed and suffer losses in other business. Since soon this would end, an active private sector participation is to be expected. This will offer the much needed competition to the defence PSUs (Public Sector Undertakings). Many of these industries have excellent facilities and workforce, they should be freed from excessive control and permitted to get into other areas of interest, why can’t they become like the General Electric or Siemens?

A word on rewards for work is appropriate here. In India we have made it a habit creating icons out of science managers rather than genuine scientists. Awards and rewards given under the general term of ‘contribution to progress’ — a most unscientific and vague term — are a norm. Thus, one finds the science mafia perpetuating itself under the guise of ‘eminent scientists.’ We must have a clear-cut criterion of quantifiable and identifiable achievement before any award is given.

An IIT alumni writes,

“Being an IITian myself, I can assure you that IITs are one of the best organisations in terms of intellectual capital but are miles behind in terms of research work. In fact, it is the failure of Indian politics which is the root cause for the brain drain which occurs every day. The best brains from the IITs prefer to go abroad and do research. I think the people in power really need to develop a futuristic vision instead of looking at short term gains of winning some election by providing some reservation. It is a good thing to be proud of Haragobind Khurana, Chandrashekhar and Amartya Sen but what is he more important is to ask ourselves the question: Why did we lose such brilliant personalities? I think we should try to hold on to the talent in India if we are planning to become to one of the economic superpowers.”

There is often a lament that country ‘X’ is not prepared to give you technology. It must be clearly understood that technology transfer is clear two way traffic- unless we have something to give, we will not get anything. A better way to generate new ideas was suggested by this author at a national seminar in IIT Delhi in Oct 2000. The armed forces should invite the final year students on visits to their establishments, experience the life of soldiers (sailors and airmen) and also see the equipment. Let them then carry out their final year projects on some new idea they generate. Given the brilliance of Indian mind, I am sure if implemented we would soon begin to generate cutting edge technology of our own.

Final words on the issue- two recent news items mirror the concerns that have been expressed earlier. A news report of July 5, 2010, quotes that the Indian Armed Forces have issued a global RFI (Request for Information) for procurement of UCAVs (unmanned combat aerial vehicles) on the lines of the American Predators5. I wish to share an experience with the readers- it was in 1979 while on a tour of Bangalore from Staff College that we were shown a drone or unarmed aerial vehicle under development- it is now 2010 and even 31 years after it yet to see the light of the day.6

Why can’t the IT majors, small engine manufacturer and ADA, (Aeronautical Development Agency) get together and mass produce the UCAV ? They need not have a range of 100s of Kms, and as a beginning could just have ability to drop grenades or simple bombs!

'Defence Purchase Delays Due to Kickback Scandals'

[url="http://news.outlookindia.com/item.aspx?696173"] 'Defence Purchase Delays Due to Kickback Scandals[/url]

I am sure the Defense Minister's ranting about the importance of home made products fell on deaf ears.

[url=""][url="http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/Print/613669.aspx"]'Indian jet deal could create 27,000 jobs in US'[/url][/url]

Quote:Press Trust Of India Washington, October 16, 2010 The Obama Administration is eyeing on the lucrative multi-billion dollar tender for medium multi-role combat aircraft of Indian Air Force as this has the potential to create a whooping 27,000 jobs in the US.

At a time, when unemployment rate continues to be at low ebb and US President Barack Obama is struggling to create fresh jobs; such a deal bagged by an American company could give him a big political boost.

Two major fighter jet manufacturing company – Boeing and Lockheed Martin – are vying for the $10 billion Indian tender; which is expected to raised by the US officials during the November India visit of the US President.

"If either jet wins, we estimate that it could bring 27,000 jobs to the US," Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake told a Baltimore-based think tank, thus indicating the important US attaches in bagging such a deal.

"Equally important, it will help seal our strategic objective of working wing-to-wing with India to bolster global security and stability," Blake said.

India is the world's largest democracy, one of the world's fastest growing economies, and a rising power in Asia and beyond.

It has vibrant democratic institutions, a free press, a robust civil society, and an innovative private sector, he said.

"India's commitment to the values cherished by their people and espoused by their founders – democracy, pluralism, tolerance, openness, and respect for fundamental freedoms and human rights – animate our continued efforts to build a more peaceful, prosperous, inclusive, secure, and sustainable world," he said.

"These common values and our increasingly convergent interests have driven an unprecedented transformation in Indo-US relations in just one decade.

After the Cold War, President Bill Clinton seized upon India's rapid economic emergence and liberalisation to lay the foundation for this transformation through his iconic five-day trip to India in the year 2000," Blake said.

"The Bush Administration built upon the Clinton legacy, with the US-India Civil Nuclear Deal – a landmark achievement for both of our countries.

Today, the wide scope and the intensity of our bilateral engagement is unprecedented and yet still growing," he said.

"President Obama had called India our "indispensable" partner for the 21st century.

That's why the President and Secretary Clinton are now forging a new strategic partnership with India that will help shape the 21st century," Blake said.

Arun, I admit you may be right but the operative word is "may be". The reason is that the criteria for LCA Mark-2 engine may have been lots of power and quick & cheap delivery rather than technology absorbtion. Euros were playing fast and loose is evident from the fact that their bid went up by US$ 400 million that is around 60-70% when evaluated. Their asking price for full TOT is also unknown, it just assumed to be extra. They are just grand standing after losing.

I think kaveri-2 programme is where the tech will actually be sourced. Euros are welcome to bid there. Also it will be lesson to them to be careful in financial bids for MRCA. DRDO was also involved in evaluation, and I suppose they would know about the value of tech and would have added or compensated for it. so perhaps, one has to wait for more info. Though I see (now) even MRCA going to US.
[quote name='Arun_S' date='16 October 2010 - 11:25 PM' timestamp='1287251241' post='108898']

[url=""][url="http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/Print/613669.aspx"]'Indian jet deal could create 27,000 jobs in US'[/url][/url]



more technical advantages are from eurofighter then from f18.
Will be interesting to watch UCAV that goes by the name [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MiG_Skat"]Mig-SKAT


Another joint development & production possibility
DRDO's Diwali gift! Kaveri passess critical tests onboard IL-76 in Russia


Great news !!

Tejas with Kaveri engine, AESA (indigenous) radar and Astra BVR will be a killer.


Advanced Medium combat aircraft (AMCA stealth) with twin Kaveri engines, Aesa Radar and Astra long range BVR will be even better.

This is really great news.

Does any body have the parameters of K9 engine? especially its thrust.

FORCE Nov 2010

Quote:‘There Will Be Design Changes in LCA Mk-2 and all Design Changes will Lead to a Weight Penalty’

Air Marshal Philip Rajkumar (retd)

In your opinion what are the shortfalls the LCA could be facing currently because of an underpowered engine?

Lack of engine power leads to lack of performance. The main shortcoming would probably be in manoeuvring flight and the ability to take off with the required load from runways in hot and high conditions. There will be increase in time to climb to height and it won’t accelerate as fast. So the Indian Air Force (IAF) in its wisdom has said that they are not happy with the performance of the LCA with its current engine. One of the points mentioned is that the sustained turn rate has been lower than specified. One must understand that the performance parameters laid down in the Air Staff Requirement (ASR) have been arrived after a lot of debate in Air Headquarters. I don’t understand the argument of reducing the payload to meet performance. The IAF requires a certain level of performance to be delivered for the payload that is being asked for. Engine power is important and having arrived at the conclusion that thrust on the current GE-404 engine is insufficient, it is the GE-F-414 that has been chosen.

Now thrust is proportional to fuel consumption and increased thrust will lead to increased fuel consumption which will have a bearing on mission performance. Having a more powerful engine does not automatically increase performance.

What changes will the choice of a new engine require for the LCA Mk-2?

With regards to the LCA Mk-2 there will be design changes and all design changes will lead to a weight penalty. The outcome of this design exercise that ADA is undertaking on the LCA Mk-2 is yet to be seen. The LCA Mk-2 will have a slighter longer fuselage and may carry more fuel as well. Will the weight go up, will they add more fuel, will the aircraft be able to offer the performance demanded by the IAF with an engine offering more thrust and higher fuel consumption are questions I cannot answer, as these details have not been made public. We could however use this opportunity to lengthen the fuselage, look at the wave drag to improve aerodynamics, put a wider chord on the wings to generate more lift, etc. However, this would then essentially result in a new aircraft but it will be a more capable aircraft and this is a good opportunity to do so. The slightly larger LCA Mk-2 can also include essential operational equipment without which the LCA Mk-2 will not be able to fulfill its operational role. These changes would lead to increase in the All Up Weight (AUW) and result in the LCA Mk-2 being different from Mk-1 by 25 per cent.

By when do you see these changes being completed and the LCA Mk-2 taking to the air with the GE-F414 engine?

I will be extremely happy if the LCA Mk-2 flies by 2015 and all these changes are completed in the next five years. If they are changes in chord of wing and length of fuselage, then the FCS will also need changes. All these would again require flight testing, though not as extensive as that of the LCA Mk-1. This will require a flight test schedule that will take 2 to 2.5 years in my opinion. The LCA Mk-2 would then attain operational capability by 2018 and enter operational service with the IAF by 2020. If we can achieve this, it would be commendable.

Is it also time to review the role of the LCA in IAF, considering it will be operating next to the Su 30 MKI and MMRCA followed by the FGFA?

The LCA will be a frontline fighter capable of protecting itself and carrying out a useful strike role. But its theatre of operations will depend on the threat levels it will face. If we develop the LCA Mk-2 with the necessary Electronic Warfare (EW) and countermeasure dispensing capability, I don’t see why it cannot be used in any theatre of war. Given our geographical size and the need to face two fronts, we still need numbers with the IAF talking about 40 squadrons. The LCA will be the 3rd tier after the Su-30 MKI/FGFA and MMRCA. The IAF says that they will take 40 LCA Mk-1 aircraft and those aircraft are important for the simple reason that it will enable both ADA and HAL to obtain spares consumption data as to how many maintenance hours are required per flying hour. This data can be accumulated by using the LCA Mk-1 over this decade to put product support in place. The hope is that by the time the LCA Mk-2 is ready to enter service; all these problems would have been ironed out. The LCA Mk-1 could also be used to create an Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) if required to feed pilots into the system as the IAF will be inducting large numbers of aircraft over the next two decades. The LCA Mk-1 will serve the IAF extremely well for at least the next three decades.

What needs to be done to improve performance and reduce the weight of the LCA?

The way to go about increasing the LCA’s performance is by reducing its drag and weight including structural weight but this is a long drawn out exercise. The entire aircraft has to be instrumented so we can measure the loads existing in flight and then compare the data with design loads that have been catered for. A particular part of the structure could have been made too strong and another part too weak. So we have to perform a structural optimisation exercise that usually results in reduction in weight. The aerodynamic optimisation will lead to some configuration changes. Unfortunately our aeronautical institutions from the days of the HT-2 have never undertaken the task of measuring the aerodynamic loads during flight and optimising the structure. We did not do it for the ‘Marut’ or the ‘Kiran’. I have always maintained that performing a structural optimisation exercise is the way to go. I am told that it is a time consuming exercise, but we have to start from somewhere. There is no easy way out. You can also reduce weight by looking at the Line Replaceable Units (LCA), Head-Up Displays (HUD), and Mission Computers etc.

Will the selection of the GE-F414 benefit any of the competitors in the MMRCA contract for the IAF?

The aircraft using the GE 414 engine in the MMRCA competition are the F/A 18 Super Hornet and the Gripen. If they factor in this development it will definitely benefit as the cost of acquisition of these aircraft would come down a little bit. Certainly if the GE 414 is made in India it will bring down the cost of that acquisition, maybe by about 10 per cent.

Do you see the Snecma-Kaveri engine entering service in the LCA?

I definitely do not see the Snecma-Kaveri engine powering either the LCA Mk-1 or Mk-2. However LCA Mk-1 will be used as a flying test bed to put the engine through its paces, before it enters service. However we have to develop the Snecma-Kaveri engine because we cannot call ourselves an aeronautical power in any sense of the word unless we have our own engine. As we speak the Kaveri engine is getting ready to fly in Russia which will give us an enormous amount of confidence. After the 100 hour programme we will have a significant amount of data. With the French coming in the Kaveri will now become a reality and it will get test flown on the LCA airframe at some point of time. My estimate is that this will happen sometime between 2015 and 2018, once we sign on the dotted line. That is the engine that the MCA will be designed around and it will power this aircraft.

What needs to be done to ensure that MCA flies with an Indian engine?

The first thing that needs to be done is to complete the 100 hour Flying Test Bed (FTB) programme on the existing Kaveri engine. That is an essential pre condition. The data generated from the 100 hour FTB programme, will enable us to communicate much better with the French as we would have flown an engine, compared to the static test beds so far. We will also be able to extract more out of the French if this is done. The next is to develop this engine as soon as possible and put this in a flying test bed and keep it ready by the time the MCA gets designed. If we get our sums right then we can fly the MCA with an Indian engine between 2020 and 2022. This will also require a large number of designers and currently there is a serious manpower constraint in the design bureaus of HAL, ADA and elsewhere. You just have to look at the number of projects ongoing currently, HAL is now developing the LCH, LUH another helicopter in the 10 tonne class followed by programmes for the LCA, MCA, FGFA, Multirole Transport Aircraft (MTA), Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT), Hindustan Turboprop Trainer (HTT-40) followed by upgrades for Jaguar, Mig-29, Mirage 2000, etc. All this, requires a large number of designers working concurrently as these programmes are being run side by side.

Received by email comments from friends:

[size="2"][color="#0000ff"][size="2"] [/size][/color][/size][size="2"][color="#0000ff"][size="2"][color="#0000ff"]
Quote:The thing is AM Rajkumar is not definitive, he says so as much. Which may mean he is no longer involved with the program, unlike what I had originally presumed. Still, given his vast knowledge of the program and contacts, some of his estimates may be correct, but its still a point to keep in mind that the definitive changes in the MK2 have not been released, so the changes he is talking about may/may not occur. From what I can gather so far, most of the heavy duty changes in the Tejas Mk2, will be internal vs external, starting from an AESA radar. The fuselage extension and wing modifications are likely for carrying increased fuel as well, to offset the more powerful (and thirstier) Ge414 engine. Other changes include repositioning some of the avionics and control surfaces, plus the FBW hardware will be modified. Its a pretty good touch up of many aspects of the Tejas, but not a total rework by any means. HAL is already outsourcing substantially, to companies like Quest and several others. The amount is likely to go up in the future.

My view:

>> Basically, if its a 25% change, we are getting a Gripen NG in all but name. Best we buy Rafale or EF asap, and tie up the MMRCA quick.

That is exactly what I was thinking. the 5.5 tonne dry class LCA is RIP as IAF has now put in more aggressive requirements.

I had a long discussion with a key end user karta dharta, and that talk was enlightening as well as a bit disappointing, in that HAD/ADA is at difference with services in terms of mindset and vision. {dont have time to recount what was discussed. much of that I will keep close to my chest}. IAF will be happy to get it NOW as it is now (all warts and all), and get better contious improvement program (CIP) improved craft over time. Make an engine ourselves and use that as bedrock fro next aircraft.

IMHO bottom line is that LCA that is not in operation service is for all practical purpose a dead horse. All this talk of 2018 or 2025 in first service (not qty) does not score high in my books for both IAF and ADA/HAL.

w.r.t. LCA airframe being overweight, a good 100 - 150 kg can be reduced if India gets its landing gear from outside (instead of making it in home).

As for LCA-mkII, wave drag un-estimation killed LCA's low alt supersonic dream, so improving that is obviously important.

Increasing engine thrust dies not automatically translate into higher fuel requirement since, fuel consumption is a function of pilots thrust demand, and max thrust is not required all teh way from T/O to landing, but only during T/O and few minutes into combat. SFC is almost constant for 50-100% thrust regime.

Higher fuel capacity IMHO has come in because IAF wishes to have an expanded role LCA with longer legs / endurance and not sacrifice aero performance due to external tank (la. conformal tanks)

increasing wing span will make LAC-II fly like LCA-I.

The key piece missing is no talk of Thrust vectoring/

Watch out LCA replacement will come out in the form a similar sized UCAV. Its engine thrust of ~ 5 tonne (la kaveri). No kidding.

TSP getting chini bandar in qty is a problem that needs to fixed quickly by getting LCA's in qty.
Re Arun

My layman understanding is that if we use a 10-15% more powerful engine the fuel consumption will also go up by 5-15% even if we dont use the full power because deceasing thrust while flying does not decrease fuel consumption of turbines in same proportion as the SFC goes up. On the other hand LCA contemplated Kaveri while GE might be more fuel efficient engine??).

But inspite thereof, ii seems from Subramanium PD-ADA commnents that they are NOT contemplating major (or even any) changes to fuselage, wing etc compared to comments of HAL or PRajkumar. I think that they-ADA will put in a powerful engine with change of intakes and take it up from there. Perhaps that is why we have not seen any diagrammatics of changed LCA Mark-2 because there ain't any.

If any serious changes were contemplated then Naval LCA which started its life in 2003 may have also been changed.
[quote name='Raj Malhotra' date='13 November 2010 - 01:52 PM' timestamp='1289636074' post='109221']

Re Arun

My layman understanding is that if we use a 10-15% more powerful engine the fuel consumption will also go up by 5-15% even if we dont use the full power because deceasing thrust while flying does not decrease fuel consumption of turbines in same proportion as the SFC goes up. On the other hand LCA contemplated Kaveri while GE might be more fuel efficient engine??).[/quote]

Recall that bigger thrust is comign from an engine whose core is bigger(to deliver the power) that invariably also has bigger bypass flow, meanign more efficiency in normal day to day flying. Hence my thought that it will have better SFC.

Quote:But inspite thereof, ii seems from Subramanium PD-ADA commnents that they are NOT contemplating major (or even any) changes to fuselage, wing etc compared to comments of HAL or PRajkumar. I think that they-ADA will put in a powerful engine with change of intakes and take it up from there. Perhaps that is why we have not seen any diagrammatics of changed LCA Mark-2 because there ain't any.

I beg to differ.

LCA -2 that is bigger in wing span, longer, lesser wave drag and different internal fuel load and weapons load hard-point, is from a controls perspective a different beast and extensive flight control test need to done to open teh envelop. Yes hardware development is not that much different but flight testing regime will be repeat of LCA-1.
[quote name='Arun_S' date='16 November 2010 - 01:34 AM' timestamp='1289850977' post='109258']

LCA -2 that is bigger in wing span, longer, lesser wave drag and different internal fuel load and weapons load hard-point, is from a controls perspective a different beast and extensive flight control test need to done to open teh envelop. Yes hardware development is not that much different but flight testing regime will be repeat of LCA-1.


I agree but the point is whether they are going for bigger wingspan etc? or they have dropped the idea?
[quote name='Raj Malhotra' date='18 November 2010 - 11:47 PM' timestamp='1290103742' post='109303']

I agree but the point is whether they are going for bigger wingspan etc? or they have dropped the idea?


Previous reports indicated larger wing span. Which seeems logical since it is no more a 5500 Kg (dry) airplane but due to new requirements and technical constrains LCA-II has become a 7,000 Kg (dry) aircraft.

I expect its MTOW to be about 12 tonnes, quite close to medium weight MRCA !
[quote name='Arun_S' date='09 October 2010 - 02:40 AM' timestamp='1286571747' post='108750']

[size="2"]Not only Akula but Oscar class vessels are also being readied for delivery to India. The FGFA, MTA co development is truly a strategic tie up, and that transcends to nuclear co-operation in all fields[/size][size="2"].[/size]

[url="http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article814932.ece"]Russia may offer strategic technologies: Hindu[/url]


Arun, are you saying Russia is going to transfer TN warhead (the one that would work) to India? Frankly I think that it would good idea for both Russia and India. US developed France & UK nuke arms. China set up Pakistan and NK. Russia will not be able to play the game alone and needs to use India to balance out the world power

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