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Tejas far behind competitors, not enough to protect Indian skies: IAF

Discussion in 'Indian Air Force' started by stephen cohen, Nov 10, 2017.

  1. Guynextdoor

    Guynextdoor Lt. Colonel SENIOR MEMBER

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    Tejas was never supposed to be an equal to F16 anyway, I mean different classes. Else why would we even have an MRCA contest?
     
  2. Hellfire

    Hellfire Devil's Advocate Staff Member MODERATOR

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    You are heading in the correct direction here mate. Project LCA and its evolution will be the backbone. Unfortunately, due to geopolitical considerations and technology gap, as also evolving security challenges and the mismatch with economic progress has resulted in a situation wherein we need a fighter yesterday and we can get LCA day after tomorrow. A foreign fighter is available off the shelf tomorrow. So we go for tomorrow and then go to day after.

    I listed the example of the IPE to illustrate how the nexus of politicians-babus-governemental sector and ignorant public has worked in tandem and at cross purposes in name of indigenisation to achieve precisely the opposite. They have effectively denied an entry to private entities, created unionised environment that does not perform and does not work and refuses to allow anyone to give tasks to private sector and has full incentive to ensure prolonged programs to ensure their own time linked promotions and perks and NFUs otherwise. Heck, once St Anthony decided to award Project 75I to L&T or some other firm (L&T had capability then too).. he was mulling, as MDL was overbooked. (or was it CSL?) and DPSUs threatened to go on strike over this!!!

    Also, by sub par and under performing, they also get the added benefit of 'being conduit' with OEM for outright purchases of shortfall .... strangely, in aftermath of the Uri attack, whole Lots of 5.56 mm INSAS ammunition was being recalled as being defective!! I am impressed by the quick pace of detecting defective ammunition by OFB and immediate orders for submission of the same and backloading to OFBs. The only catch was, there was no replacement ammunition in supply chain

    Then we read the Govt procured Rs 14000 crores worth of ammunition overnight to make up the shortfall

    Am I being a conspiracy theory believer now?
     
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  3. Hellfire

    Hellfire Devil's Advocate Staff Member MODERATOR

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    Why are you mixing Tejas and Project LCA?

    And sorry LCA was meant to be exactly of same role and capability as F-16 AFAIK

    Poor developmental record changed the parameters.

    Typical Indian outlook. Don't achieve the target? No worries, change the target.
     
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  4. Hellfire

    Hellfire Devil's Advocate Staff Member MODERATOR

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    An interesting read. This will point to exactly what I have been saying - that the DPSUs are dragging their feet and members should stop making IAF the scapegoat, (as intended by all concerned as services are barred from responding; so people like me do that and get the brickbats for our efforts :D)

    The Tejas One Year After Induction – HAL must take ownership of the project

    July 12, 2017

    On 1st July 2016, No. 45 Squadron of the Indian Air Force (IAF) inducted the first two Serial Production models of the Tejas Mk.1 Light Combat Aircraft. More than a year has since elapsed since these first aircraft were inducted and they have now been joined by three more with a sixth scheduled to join shortly.1 Built to IOC (Initial Operational Clearance) standards, these aircraft are the first of 20 destined for No. 45 squadron while an additional 20 will be built to FOC (Final Operation Clearance) standard.2 Steady but somewhat slow progress is being made towards achieving FOC, with the Tejas Mk.1 crossing a major milestone on 12th May 2017 when aircraft LSP-4 successfully fired a fully-guided Derby Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air missile. Gun trials are scheduled to commence in August 2017.3

    Yet, despite assurances from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), slow progress has been made in establishing adequate production facilities.4 HAL has not yet been able to meet the target of eight aircraft per year, much less an enhanced production target of 16 aircraft per year, although the establishment of a second production line using its BAE Hawk production facility will help in this regard.5 Furthermore, despite the prospect of having to produce 83 additional aircraft to an enhanced Mk.1A standard, HAL has not acted with the requisite alacrity to take control of this project and bring it to fruition in the shortest possible time.

    HAL’s Stymied Opportunities

    When the history of the Tejas is written, there will always be questions as to why HAL was not entrusted with the design of the aircraft and the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) not formed as part of HAL (rather than as a separate agency). Indeed, up until the late 1970s, HAL had a reasonable degree of success in aircraft design and was poised to achieve further levels of competence when its design efforts were abruptly, and, in the case of the HF-24, prematurely, ended.

    In 1948, HAL began work on a basic piston-engine trainer to supplement and then supplant the Tiger Moths and Percival Prentice aircraft then in service. The result was the Hindustan HT-2, which served with distinction from 1953 until its retirement in 1990. Over 170 of these aircraft were built, with a dozen being used to form the Ghanaian Air Force in 1959.6 Its successor, the HPT-32 was less successful, with a high accident rate, though with an otherwise respectable service record. HAL now pins its hopes on the HTT-40.

    In 1959, HAL received permission to proceed with the development of a basic jet trainer to replace the Vampire T.55 and the T-6 Harvard. The resultant aircraft – the HJT-16 Kiran – first flew in 1964 and in a modified version continues to this day as the IAF’s basic trainer. Although the Kiran did have a somewhat protracted development period before entering service and its Mk.2 variant was late in coming, it was a success. It entered bulk production and serves the IAF competently.7

    Simultaneously, HAL had laid the foundations for fighter production with a licence agreement for the Folland Gnat being signed in 1956, with production peaking at four aircraft per month. This light fighter formed a considerable portion of the IAF’s frontline strength until the late 1970s.8

    The HAL Ajeet, while intended to improve on the Gnat’s performance, was only marginally successful since, by 1975, the desired performance could only be achieved with more powerful engines and advanced avionics. While four squadrons of the Ajeet served between 1975 and 1991, the type never achieved its potential. An attempt to turn the Ajeet into an Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) failed thanks to a lack of support, a lack of reference to the Gnat T.1, and the loss of a prototype.9

    HAL’s ultimate misfortune was the untimely demise of the HF-24 Marut. This promising aircraft saw service with three IAF squadrons and proved to be a very effective weapons platform, yet fate was unkind to it and HAL suffered as a result.10 The HF-24 was designed around the Orpheus B.Or.12 engine – rated at 6,810 lbf (30.29 kN) dry and 8,170 lbf (36.34 kN) with afterburning – which was being developed for the proposed Gnat Mk.2 interceptor and a NATO light-weight strike fighter. Unfortunately, the British authorities cancelled their requirement for this type. And India, unwilling to provide the modest sum required to complete development, was stuck with the non-afterburning Orpheus B.OR.2 Mk.703 rated at 4,850 lbf (21.57 kN).

    Despite some half-hearted efforts to find a suitable engine for the Marut, the IAF was never entirely supportive of the project. An attempt to integrate Adour turbofans (used in the Jaguars and Hawks) was confounded by an IAF demand that the thrust of the Adour be increased by 20 per cent. In addition, a very realistic and cost-effective proposal to create a strike-fighter based around the Marut airframe and the R-25 engine (the HF-25) received no sanction. While efforts to procure RB.199 turbofans were seriously considered for a Marut Mk.3 – the HF-73 – the project itself failed to materialise.11

    With this design pedigree, it might have been expected that HAL would be tasked with developing the Tejas. However, this was not to be. The ADA, formed in 1984, received the opportunity and resources to undertake this project. And that effectively decimated HAL’s design capabilities, while simultaneously robbing the ADA of the experience and infrastructure of HAL. The Tejas project has had to therefore overcome the obstacles that inevitably arise from a separation of the design and production agencies, while at the same time overcoming those that arise from an inexperienced design team.

    Unfortunately, the Tejas has also been the subject of somewhat harsh and overbearing assessments from the Comptroller Auditor General (CAG), which has tended to overemphasise the negatives while inadequately appreciating the problems in re-creating the ecosystem required to support a fighter project.12 For this project to have achieved a level of indigenization equal to 59.7 per cent by value and 75.5 per cent by component is commendable and ought not to be downplayed.13

    HAL’s New Opportunity – The Tejas Mk.1A

    On 8th November 2016, the Ministry of Defence’s Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) cleared the production of 83 Tejas Mk.1A aircraft at an estimated cost of USD 7.5 billion.14 It should be noted that DAC approval does not equal authorisation of the requisite funds for production for which latter the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) is required. Nevertheless, at one stroke, the DAC approval offers HAL an opportunity to become an integral participant in the development of the Tejas – as opposed to remaining just the production agency. It also offers HAL the opportunity to develop variants of the aircraft which may prolong the production run beyond the total of 40 aircraft currently authorised (20 IOC authorised in 2006 and 20 FOC authorised in 2010) and 83 aircraft approved by the DAC.15

    The Tejas Mk.1A – for which a prototype, previously designated Tejas Mk.1P, was proposed by HAL – is designed to correct many of the existing shortcomings in the FOC standard aircraft.16 Planned to be equipped with an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar and electronic warfare systems currently missing from the FOC standard Tejas Mk.1, the Tejas Mk.1A may be the ultimate development of the basic Tejas airframe given its lack of internal volume without necessitating major redesign.17 While there is a proposed Mk.2 variant of the Tejas with upgraded General Electric F414 engines, this seems to be some time off in the future and remains a project essentially in potentia18.

    It would appear, from statements emanating from HAL, that the Mk.1A has been proposed to the IAF by the company itself rather than the ADA.19 However, development of the Mk.1A will require close collaboration between HAL and ADA. To date, HAL has issued most if not all public statements regarding the project, with ADA working towards the FOC. However, despite HAL floating a tender for AESA radars for the Tejas Mk.1A and for jamming pods, it has not seemed to have moved with any degree of alacrity on the project.20

    It is interesting to note that despite the statements of HAL’s Chief Managing Director T. Survarna Raju that tenders would be opened for AESA radars and jamming pods by the end of March 2017, no news in this regard has been forthcoming to date. This would suggest that meeting HAL’s timeline of flying the Mk.1A by 2018 with production starting by 2019 may be optimistic, though this may not necessarily impact the desired production target of 123 Tejas Mk.1 and Mk.1A in IAF service by 2025.21 In this regard, the question remains as to whether HAL has fully committed itself to developing the Mk.1A in a timely fashion. Indeed, it would be naïve to expect CCS authorisation for the 83 Tejas Mk.1A until at the very least the flight of the first prototype.

    Yet, HAL has an opportunity to reclaim its position of producing indigenously designed aircraft as well as be a participant in the further development of the Tejas. Besides the Mk.1A variant, which should be accorded priority, the two-seat trainer version of the Tejas offers the prospect of emerging into a Lead-in Fighter Trainer (LIFT) in the league of the Korean KAI T-50 Golden Eagle while retaining the core combat capabilities of its single-seat stablemate. This would fill a gap in the IAF’s existing training programme, which, while adequately equipped with basic and advanced trainers, is compelled to use two-seat variants of combat aircraft for roles more usefully satisfied by a LIFT. Moreover, HAL would invariably participate in any upgrade of IOC aircraft to FOC standard.

    The stakes for HAL and ADA are very high. The Tejas project is a litmus test of the ability of Indian designers and production agencies to produce a viable combat aircraft. On the very threshold of success, it behooves both agencies to work in synergy to ensure that not only is production scaled-up to meet the target of 16 aircraft per annum, but also to ensure the successful and prompt completion of the Tejas Mk.1A project. The Tejas project has come too far to be allowed to stumble or fall at this stage.

    https://idsa.in/idsacomments/tejas-one-year-after-induction-hal_sbmaharaj_120717
     
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  5. Guynextdoor

    Guynextdoor Lt. Colonel SENIOR MEMBER

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    'Target Change' was done more than a decade ago and the IAF has a specific effective role for it. AMCA will be the mid cat fighter with all the experience we have gained.
     
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  6. Hellfire

    Hellfire Devil's Advocate Staff Member MODERATOR

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    I will hold my tongue on that. The project will die. Thanks to HAL and ADA itself.

    Offshoots in terms of tech will come. No platform.

    You may have noticed I dont post on aircrafts thread. Reason is - you all speculate and do a great job at getting into details. I only will say ... AMCA? What is that??
     
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  7. Guynextdoor

    Guynextdoor Lt. Colonel SENIOR MEMBER

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    I think LCA will:
    - Probably end about 200 jets
    -Probably give India's first indigenous AJT by modifying the trainer, saving us billions and maybe adding 100 to that list

    It's ok for a first project.
    You know why I think AMCA will eventually roll out? Because unlike the Marut we will not be canning our projects. As long as projects keep rolling, even if there are delays products will come out (like ALH) and in evolutionary terms the next one does become easier (like LCH that came out of ALH)
     
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  8. randomradio

    randomradio Colonel Technical Analyst

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    @vstol jockey @Hellfire

    The IAF is attacking the LCA the same way they attacked PAK FA. The arguments are all red herring.

    Clean Tejas vs drop tanks. The DM should have asked for the F-16s range without drop tanks and CFT. :lol:
    In case the IAF insists on keeping the CFTs, then ask them what's the climb rate and turn rate of this CFT packed F-16. :biggthumpup:

    The 3T payload of Tejas is when operating from a significantly high altitude like Bangalore. Both Gripen and F-16 will suffer the same fate from Bangalore. The Mk1A will fix this problem quite a bit, probably 5T, even 6T if given the right amount of thrust, above 65/95KN.

    That depends on the availability of hard points, not payload. Tejas, F-16 and Gripen will most likely carry 2 500Kg bombs during wartime.

    Only the Mk1. The Mk1A should bring it down to way less than 10 hours.

    This is a problem that can be fixed during production. Tejas may not match Gripen or F-16, but service life can be raised to about 30-35 years without life extension.

    I am not a huge fan of the Tejas, I understand why they need an imported SE jet, but not at the cost of making red herring arguments. And IAF has done the same with PAK FA as well. They are comparing a non-production development aircraft with the yet to fly FGFA. Hellfire, this is what I mean when I said the IAF has no vision. They want aircraft that they can quantify after 10-15 years of service, which means they want to be 10-15 years behind the best in the world.
     
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  9. randomradio

    randomradio Colonel Technical Analyst

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    IAF doesn't want the F-16. And they will make the call. GoI can't make a political deal there unless IAF shortlists it.

    Anyway, this is your M-2000 production. The requirement from the 80s is now going to be fulfilled in 2024, after it failed in 1984 and 2004. It's all financial, not politics. If we could afford it, MMRCA Rafale would have begun 2 years ago.

    Mig-29 purchase gave way to MKI production. M-2000 production plan from the 80s has now become SE MII.
     
  10. Zarvan

    Zarvan 2nd Lieutant FULL MEMBER

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    I really hope those couple of years don't get multiplied by 10
     
  11. randomradio

    randomradio Colonel Technical Analyst

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    Going beyond 123 is very unlikely.
     
  12. Hellfire

    Hellfire Devil's Advocate Staff Member MODERATOR

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    PROJECT LCA will Form the backbone. I agree. Tejas will get killed the way it is being handelled by HAL and ADA right now. Just because it will forever remain behind the tech curve we are looking for vi’s-a-vi’s ChiPak.

    If as other members have highlighted the willingness of French to help fructifies (without Modi & Co shooting themselves in the foot) ... then number you have given is fair.

    You see, I have a problem with substandard product. It is what LCA is, today. I look at the time and the failure and time needed to get it on line. The tardiness in project execution in a fast paced and technologically advancing environment in immediate vicinity, do not allow me the luxury of waiting for their highnesses to get done with their tea and biscuits (and knitting as applicable) to work on today’s technology next week. That beats the logic.

    If you read the idsa report, you can see the immense strides HAL is making in ramping up their speed of delivery. That is why I lament the whole circus in name of indigenisation being played out to stall acquisitions and undermining the indigenisation by not putting in the infrastructure and policies/support to achieve it.

    Isn’t it evident?

    Now the brass tacks. What ADA and HAL are not getting (or do they get it and are doing the usual, playing along?) is that the window to push in LCA is small and fast closing. For them. The future of Private Sector in India is plateauing. Defence is the only sector left. By their dragging their feet in effort to enhance production of LCA to deliver a full squadron before time (what stops them from delivering before time if they want?), they are allowing ‘criticality’ of equipment to crop up, thereby creating a space for foreign equipment (already in form of F16 and Gripen). This will, of course, have to be in Pvt partnership with Indian entities by Foreign OEM.

    Interesting thing is, more platforms will suddenly be needed ... and logic of multiple lines and aircraft’s will not work out (as making more lines of LCA will be touted as cost ineffective due to a license production under MII if Indianised SE will be well in place by then and suddenly IAF will be looking at a 5th Gen AC and will be blamed for not accepting LCA). This will enable private firms to continue producing the SE at the time, and then, the technology offshoots will be given to Pvt Sector to redraw plans

    Now, where is AMCA? Hell, foreign firm winning SE contract will partner with Pvt firm and get an existing 5th Gen platform in.

    There ... just killed your program.
     
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  13. Hellfire

    Hellfire Devil's Advocate Staff Member MODERATOR

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    @Guynextdoor

    Of course, all of the above being done to achieve indigenisation which IAF has just scuttled. GoI makes a political decision of F16, IAF is blamed, IAF gets Rafale in return, too honchos of HAL and ADA think they will side step into emerging Aerospace base in private sector, PROJECT LCA and ancillaries are absorbed elsewhere and Tejas does a 45 squadron like Arjun :)

    Elections need financing, corporates provide that, to pay your voters too.

    Corporates need Business, Defence is the only one, other than Pharma, that has tremendous growth potential in India.
     
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  14. Hellfire

    Hellfire Devil's Advocate Staff Member MODERATOR

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    True. The deal has been made. French TE for F16s ;)



    Always said a political decision will be taken.
     
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  15. Guynextdoor

    Guynextdoor Lt. Colonel SENIOR MEMBER

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    Arguably same points can be raised about both ALH and PSLV. But both are successes not because they're best in the world (hell PSLV is waaaay down that list compared with competitors). But they have been superlative because they fall under the 'workhorse' catgory. The LCA will be just that. It will be effective as long as our enemy is Pakistan and fields joke jets like JF 17 Thunder and Sabres in large numbers. It will be a SOLID backbone that will continue to do point defence. Fact- 5th gen fighters will be limited threat for 20 years. We all know that they're going to be under development for a fair amount of time before they will be fielded in numbers. Plus, you really can't counter a 5th gen fighter with another 5th gen fighter. I think for another 20+ years the LCA should have a good solid role to play.
     
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