Tejas
Light Combat Aircraft Tejas | PTI Photo/Shailendra Bhojak
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Air Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria, the new Chief of Air Staff, claimed in a press conference that the days of importing jets were over and that the Indian Air Force will now throw its entire weight behind the fifth generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft. This seemingly innocuous statement reveals the deep malaise in our defence thinking, born from a lack of institutional handover of knowledge.

To understand what could go wrong with the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA), we need to look at what went wrong with the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), the homegrown Tejas. After all, the only reason we still fly the “flying coffin” MiG 21s is because of the inordinate delay in the induction of the fourth generation Tejas – the aircraft whose maiden flight took place in 2001 but which is yet to be operationalised 18 years later. This is when the US, Russia, and China have started fielding fifth generation fighters with the US operationalising the F22 back in 2005.

Misplaced priorities

To start with, both “light” and “indigenous” had become anachronistic even before the Tejas took its first flight. When the aircraft was conceived in an era before fly by wire (fbw) system was introduced, “light” denoted manoeuvrability. Recall how the original Maruti 800 was once considered much easier to drive than the bulky Ambassador, but the entry of electronic steering made even a huge BMW 7 Series just as easy to drive as a minuscule Tata Nano.

This obsession with “light” meant that when, within the 4th generation, the emphasis shifted from kinetics to electronics, sometime in the mid-1990s, Tejas had neither the extra power nor the space to accommodate the additional electronics such as data boxes, secure network devices, built-in countermeasures and associated wiring. Moreover, it became painfully obvious that India, still a third world pre-industrial country, did not possess either the industrial depth or width to produce the entire gamut of electronics required to facilitate this change of focus in fourth generation aircraft.

Additionally, the need to be “indigenous” was born in an era before the collapse of the USSR, when India was subject to severe technology transfer restrictions, which were rapidly and progressively lifted after US President Bill Clinton’s visit in 1999. In short, by the time the very first Tejas flight came around in 2001, the rationale to be light and indigenous had both evaporated. More significantly, 18 years on, we still haven’t internalised these changes or learnt from our mistakes.


Also read: Indian Air Force should drop its plan to make more Tejas Mark-2s & focus on AMCA fighter jets


Rooting for a ‘deeply flawed’ AMCA

While Britain is moving forward with a sixth-generation aircraft, India is pondering rudimentary and deeply flawed designs for a fifth generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft, despite being so far behind the technology curve. Why is AMCA flawed?

For starters, much like the Tejas, the AMCA seems to focus on paradigms of combat that have long since been bypassed. Defence and foreign policy expert Pushan Das and I had written about this extensively in 2015.

A summary of the findings from our analysis are as follows: 1) Too much emphasis on engine thrust and thrust vectoring despite close-range air combat having moved away from G force manoeuvring to get into an attack position to Angle of Attack, which emphasises maintaining power and recovery from a steep manoeuvre.

2) A continuing emphasis on kinetics as opposed to understanding that a fifth generation aircraft is essentially a computer in the air, able to cut short the processing time, and reduce the ‘detect to kill chain’ (the time taken between detecting and killing an aircraft – essentially the ability to detect first and shoot first, and in the case of stealth, hopefully avoid being detected) by several tens of seconds (the difference between life and death).

3) The lack of emphasis on deep networking with other detection and attack assets, which form the basis of the fifth generation combat that allow it to hand over time-critical information to assets that may be better positioned or equipped to fire the first shot.

4) No thought was given to a new range of smaller but long-range weapons to be carried in sufficient numbers concealed within the body of the aircraft.

5) No thought was given to conformal sensors that blended into the aircraft’s body or new materials like cockpit canopies that allow the pilot to look outside but prevent radars from detecting the cockpit (which is a major problem as it is not stealthed up like the rest of the aircraft’s body) or frequency selective radome materials that perform the same function for the radar (allow the radar to function unimpeded, while preventing the radar’s flat surface from being detected by other radars).

6) A range chart that seemed horrendously muddled, implying that the twin-engine AMCA would cover the same range in twice the amount of fuel that an F-35 would with half the fuel.


Also read: Time to run IAF in a sleek, corporate way. It’s the Force that counted in Kargil, Balakot


Given these serious conceptualisation flaws that do not bode well from a project and risk management point of view, besides the industrial supply chain problems inherent in the Tejas, we now run a very high risk of chasing another white elephant. It’s one thing that the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) did not learn anything from its failures — natural given it is a public sector undertaking with no accountability or risk. But the Indian Air Force’s failure to internalise these lessons after so many crashes and deaths and capability shortages is simply appalling.

The author is a senior fellow at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies. He tweets @iyervval. Views are personal. 

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66 Comments Share Your Views

66 COMMENTS

  1. Please see a point to point rebuttal to this article @ the excellent website: delhidefencereview. I am not associated with this website, but am certainly an avid reader and hence felt it be best that I post this here.

  2. If Air Force is expecting HAL to develop any new aircraft, they must be prepared to wait for the next 30 years. And at the end of it they will get an egg that is obsolete and which no one wants to use. After starting Tejas in the early 80s these blokes took 30 or more years and at the end of it, the engine is imported, the avionics are imported, the radar is imported, even the ejection seat they couldnt manage to develop in India.

  3. No major battle is won by imported weapons. When supplies are cut off or the supplier nation finds that our conflicts are not in their favour then it becomes complicated. You call Tejas a failure, well F35 is a failure too. Nobody in the world has a perfect 5th gen. HAL is so idiot that they’ll make internal weapons bay without having missiles?? Is that even a point? F4 phantom didn’t have Cannons because they thought cannon fight is outdated but after what happened in vietnam they had to fit them with cannons. Why Astra missile separation launch was tested if there are no plans for a missile to launch from an internal weapons bay? Attacking ground units is one thing but when air to air fights break out stealth aircrafts play the role of a sniper, using radars to detect and using long range missiles to engage… If the opponent has a better radar it doesn’t matter because it wouldn’t be able to see a stealth aircraft from 60-40 kms. But what happens when the battle is not on your terms, you are forced to do dogfights, then you are dead already. I can see IRST already in the design how much sensors does a plane need? Data fusion is going to be in that design but not much info is made public. As far as Engines go, we can’t make that much powerful engine as the F35 that’s a fact. Defence Industries indeed needs a push but we’re not going to remain a market forever.

  4. Mr Iyer are you listening to all the comments. Please do so.
    Attention “The Print’: — Why waste time on such article which does not go well with the readers.
    And request to the sponsor of this paid article (May be CIA/Lockheed Martin):— You guys do not hold such power any more, that you can influence India’s strategic decisions to your favour.

  5. Article by Abhijit Iyer Mitra in The Print makes point against indigenous fighter programs and admires F35. Delay (both development as well as production) and limitations (electronics, engine power and space) in Tejas are valid criticisms. But “Tejas being a ‘failure’ so provocatively mentioned in the title” OR ‘light weight and indigenous became anachronistic even before Tejas took first flight’ OR “ ‘India … still a third world pre-industrial country’ unable to produce electronics for 4th gen fighters” OR “Technology barrier has been removed and India will get western technology” OR “AMCA is seriously flawed (and by inference we should opt for F35 instead)” are grossly incorrect and biased in favour of import of foreign fighters. I’ve crystalised the criticism in three buckets and tried to address them:

    Is Tejas a failure?: In my opinion, Tejas program would be a success if it can replace MiG 21, for which it was designed, and if it can successfully challenge its PAF rival i.e. JF 17. Thankfully Tejas does both even though it is severely delayed. Tejas programme will be a big success if Tejas MWF is inducted in IAF killing the prospects of its rivals, F21 and Gripen E. It will be a huge success if it creates the fighter ecosystem that can create AMCA even with all the deficiencies pointed here. Going by the criticism, Tejas is likely to achieve the remaining two. It really creates significant barrier for F21 and Gripen E and their sympathisers and lobbyists are rattled.

    Is there no barrier to technology transfer & Indigenisation is not needed or worse still India is just incapable?: It’s really hard for me to believe that an analyst of Abhijit’s caliber claiming technology barrier is gone and Indigenisation is not needed. The best case is, technology barrier has been lowered for finished products (e.g. import of Predator drone is feasible), but it continues to exist in all spheres of core technologies (engine, radar, EW, networking, armaments, sensors and data fusion). Worse, the western powers continue to treat India as the dumping ground for their outdated technologies. Proposal to transfer F16 (it’s so old that it had to be renamed to F21 to sound modern!) production line and even with this relocation, denial of any meaningful technology transfer of even F16 components are case in point. Lockheed Martin (LM) did not even pitch any of their flagship product for any of the Indian tenders (MMRCA or Naval fighters), forget about transfer of any 5th gen technology.

    Fact is simple – no country will transfer their core defence technology even to their closed allies. Besides, no country has ever become a great power on imported weapons. Consequently indigenisation is a continued necessity. It is fair to say that India is behind the technology curve but just importing the finished platforms will merely increase this gap, whereas the indigenisation is helping narrow the gap. It’s a matter of time when India catches up. Tejas and AMCA and their associate programs (even with all their limitations) are steps in the right direction. In my opinion, India is no longer a ‘third world pre-industrial country’ and it can not just send satellites to the moon and the mars, but can shoot them down too.

    Is AMCA so bad and should we opt for F35 instead? In AMCA, there could be overemphasis on engine and kinetic aspects and even computing and networking aspects might have been ignored or range benchmarking is half of F35. It might be even delayed (and Pakistan too might field 5th gen fighter earlier). These criticism in themselves may be fair and should be incorporated wherever feasible. However problem arises with the conclusion – He seems to conclude that AMCA be shelved in favour of imported 5th gen fighter, F35 from Lockheed Martin. Computing and networking deficiencies are independent of platform under development and work on them can and will continue till they mature. In any case, these deficiencies are to be addressed (external help is fine too) and project itself must never be shelved in favour of say F35. Delayed AMCA would still replace the ageing fighters (say MiG 29, Jaguars and Mirage) in IAF fleet and chances are that it will be at least a match for Chinese 5th gen fighters, the real threat. Again AMCA creates significant barrier for F35 in IAF and their sympathisers and lobbyists are rattled.

  6. The writer abijit iyer is paid by lockheed from usa. He pretends to be “right wing” or pro Hindu to wriggle into the BJP sphere (ie nationalist/ patriotic). He only pretends.

  7. I really am totally losing respect for Abhijit Iyer-Mitra. He seemed like a sensible guy earlier, but of late, his articles are showing him up to be a really poor analyst.. and he seems like a guy with an axe to grind against the IAF and Indian programs in general. He’ll be happily extolling the virtues of other 4th generation jets, while they retain all the disadvantages of the indigenous jets that he’s running down. This is probably the last article he’s written that I’m going to read. Already a waste of 10 minutes of my life reading and responding to this article. A total hack job.

  8. ABHIJIT IYER-MITRA is the same guy who does not know whether the satellite A-SAT brought down was a geo-stationary or not. LOL this takalu guy is BS

  9. Well, there cannot be an article more I’ll informed than what the Print has published. It clearly exposes the entire extent to which the media can be paid and get them to write in favour of the vested interests.
    The author I wish understood clearly that fighter planes are not the kind of wonderful human babies to be created by God and delivered in 09 months through humans. If the due gestation period for the development and operational clearances are not allowed, then it must be unambiguously understood that the very purpose of having fighter planes would be defeated. After all, even the Rafale was conceptualised in the mid eighties.
    To summarize, I intend to seriously advise the author that he must first do the homework and fact checks before embarking on writing articles involving the techno-commercial and operational aspects. After all this is not just only about journalism which is mostly dictated by the vested interests these days.

  10. This is amazing. Every article that ThePrint ever publishes always rails against anything and everything from policy decisions to actions that the current govt takes. Sometimes though they gotta sit back and rethink their strategies. When it comes to national interests, building inhouse capabilities in core and strategic areas there’s no points in debating against these unless you want to look like a fool with a very shallow thought process.

    I fail to understand how can it be somebody’s case that a country should stop pursuing incremental progress in high technology areas and just think of procuring highly priced alternatives from foreign vendors thereby spending valuable forex! We have seen how incremental gains in knowledge has slowly led India to develop it’s own AESA Radar, homing in sensors for it’s missiles and even an entire BVRAAM of its own (Astra). If we went by the logic of this stupid article we would have been a completely import reliant nation much like our western neighbor who can’t produce even needles in their country (by their own admission).

    Lastly, the choice of the design and what will go in it’s warplanes is some of those things that IAF decides as it’s their men who use these machines and put their lives on the line in defending this nation. Mr. Abhijit you or I am nobody to really poke holes in their requirements. So please shut the f*** up.

  11. While it true the BVR A2A Missiles, SAMs are getting deadlier, it is also true they are not fool proof. A2A Missiles use algorithms that predicts where to intercept the target based on how it can manoeuvre. This is where agility enhanced by thrust-vectoring brings in unpredictability and can upset the algorithms. In other words, agility enhances survivability. That is why even F-22 Raptor includes powerful engines capable of super-cruise & Thrust vectoring. The threat of a Merge is real. Agility is still important in this day and age.

    The rise of electronics over kinetics is definitely true. But it is not at the cost of Kinetics. The convergence of these two, has made aerial warfare much more dangerous. Perhaps this is the reason why IAF kept changing their ‘Requirements’ to keep the Tejas relevant to the new world. But wish we had taken a block-by-block approach as was done with JF-17.

    The reference to the “industrial supply chain problems inherent in the Tejas” is also a function of the manufacturing volume. Any manufacturing investments in HAL or private players can only happen if there are certainties to the volumes, which only has occurred recently. The delayed decision making is the root cause. Now that this has been sorted out, expect the things to get better.

    The thrust of your article seems to be – that the focus on ‘Indigenous’ angle is irrelevant. However, the modern history is replete with experiences where in reliance on foreign suppliers is a strategic weakness. We have seen this post Pokhran tests. Secondary consideration is cost as well.

    The delays with LCA should also be attributed to lack of know-how and sufficiently mature aero-space eco-system. There is a vast difference between aircraft production and aircraft design. The later evaporated post HF-32 Marut’s demise. If we rely on imports alone and not bolster the indigenous capabilities, we will never be able to catch up with any one and saddled with perpetual strategic weakness. This is more fundamental than having to focus on 6th Gen air-craft, which, still have and evolving definition of what it is. The hard earned gains of LCA should be invested to provide more benefits ably supported by R&D and fundamental research. For this the Industry needs to sustain and AMCA is that focal point.

  12. Seems a paid article by a foreign vendor. Point by point if one analyzes Tejas then it is evident that it is a sucess. Not a single accident till now, no life lost and doing all the work which it is intended to do. When one is capable of making almost all sub components of contemporary quality such as fuselage, landing gear, AESA radar, control system, weapon management system braking system, oxygen generator, beyond visual range missiles, friend foe system and many others then there is no need to go for procuring costly aircraft from other countries. It took time but India has painstakingly developed all most all sub components including weaponry for fighter aircraft. This journalist is blind or knowingly blind and trying to discourage indigenous research. Air chief has been the test pilot for the Tejas and he knows how complex the project has been. During the development process of Tejas an entire ecosystem of fighter aircraft technology has been created which is of world class and building blocks for newer products are in place now. Next fighter will not take that much time and will be of world class. Obviously foreign players do not like that and have agents to publish such type of derogatory articles.

  13. The nation goes by the view of the IAF chief that we should start utilising our own efforts and technologies to have our own machines which can safeguard the nation…. Now it is the time to utilise the new innovations of the R&D institutions like DRDO, ADA, HAL etc.

    It is not clear where we failed in Tejas aircraft? How come Malaysia is interested in buying Tejas for its Airforce?

    If Tejas was a failure, then we would never see it flying in the sky with the arms and ammunitions firing successfully….

    I feel there should be limitations even for criticism of a product or its developers…..

  14. Another ill informed rubbish by Abhijit Iyer. All he has to do is read about Tejas MWF, which will have a more powerful engine i.e the GE-F414. This is the same engine in the Gripen NG too, and unsurprisingly the Gripen NG and Tejas MWF are matched spec to spec.

    I have hope that if such ignoramuses like Iyer can make it in life, I can be a CEO !

  15. Dear Mr Mitra,
    Please share the link (from known forum/debates), where it mentions that electronics has defeated the kinetics, specifically in close combat.

    Also, share the miss vs hit ratio of long range AAM, that too against well trained, brave and committed air warriors in their old jets (like Mig 21).

    And one humble suggestion, don’t think your Google search skills will make you an expert.

    You don’t even know why most of the electronics is switched off during actual hot pursuit and why everybody wants to have passive sensors in their jet.

    @@Bribe Payers: we are not getting impressed by useless article like this, spend your money at some better place

    #An ordinary Indian

    • Its ‘just for the heck of it’ article with no confirmed information of what are the features being planned for the aircraft. He’s just gone by some preliminary diagrams released by ADA. Totally speculative and useless.

  16. The Chief of Staff of the Air Force has in his position certainly wanted to send a message to the authorities who appointed him. It should start by reviewing all the projects in progress, analyzing them, or even their compatibility with the needs of the three components of the Indian forces, and submit to the next chief of staff of the three forces the projects to be maintained and those to be abandoned. But will he do it?

  17. Tejas was not a complete failure, that was near perfect fighter. The next version of Tejas is going to be much better than this. Those who are too afraid of failures never succeed. We are going to develop jets even if NextGen Tejas end up a failure. Your Lockheed Martin’s funded article is not going to change anyone’s mind here.

  18. As we know vested interests in the IAF are at work. Delay tactics in the form of change in specifications,requirements is at play. All is done to make a pie out of imports. All of this is no secret. Pak is much better off as it’s making in large numbers whatever it has designed and exporting also and at same time improving the products. We keep saying Tejas is better,but where are the numbers? And no one is accountable. There is a whole lobby at work, some of them are in every forum.

  19. It’s patently obvious that this article has been motivated by some interested party (ies). Tejas may be 30 years late but we have at least developed partially, if not fully, the manufacturing eco-system within India. Such self-styled armchair ‘gurus’ would do well to confine themselves to analysing subjects they know, rather than get into the technical merits of indigenous aircraft…. Our air force who are tasked with using these resources are better placed to judge the suitability of this aircraft.

    • A typical ‘shoot from the hip comment’ by a person who has no relevant technical knowledge of why the IAF chief is emphasising on indigenously developed aircraft. Does he understand the risks associated with importing the technology besides the costs? He doesn’t. But the Air Chief has full technical reasons to make such a statement. The statement also has typical political flavour to it. The Print as such seems to be funded by anti-India factions.

  20. Abhijit Iyer, Aakar Patel, Ajay Shukla… they are all overground workers of enemy nations trying to influence public opinions tonsuit vested interest. And to support them, there are certain tabloids

    • actually abhijit is as far from akar patel as one could be, he is a known right wing hawk. having said that this piece seems like a hit job on indigenous defence production.

    • The article is so obvious in its nature as a paid one. The low IQ ‘The Print’ team couldn’t even do a good job in concealing the paid nature of the article just as they are never able to conceal the paid nature of their ‘dukaan’

  21. The Print has become the face of the corrupt who are at loss due to the current regime. Losing credibility rapidly ThePrint… Keep it up..!!

  22. Hon. ACM has opened his card and mind on the very first day of his public address. It is like revealing his stategy till his retirement which is the real asset of his force . It is only the enemies and foreign Defence manufacturers, dealers are listening. Further it is the Defence policy of MOD & coming CSD. It is best to avoid contravency . For Indian public it is just patriotic.

  23. The author seems to have very limited knowledge about
    a. The capacity and capabilities of our scientists, engineers and R&D institutions.
    b. Earlier govt policies, approach, attitude and final aim.
    c. Earlier political dispensation, it’s directions to the administration and end purpose.
    d. Earlier govt foreign policy, it’s selection of of diplomats.
    e. Earlier govt Defence strategy, equipment purchase thinking, planning and execution.
    f. Last, the methodology adopted by the govt to delay projects by low budget allocation, least appointments, improper leaders appointed and….
    The approach of the IAF is most appropriate and timely. That’s the we can one day be a self dependent world power.
    Kudos to be IAF Check.

  24. It is surprising that nowadays people outside the field has become experts like Harsh Bogle is to cricket. Its a fack that tgere was an eerie delay in launching the Tejas. It is akways an advantage to be airborne with more hardpoints and avionics which definitely the smaller module would deny. But once the country delivers a combat effective fighter harmonising the elements of stealth and aggression, she could prove to be a good exporter in the days to come. But the alarming delay is an innocuous thing.

  25. IAF pilots rode the Russian MIGS, British Jaguars and French Rafael as well as mirage2000s, not you. They are the one’s who tested Tejas, not you ‘Mr. Author’. Better not make any comments, because they are the ones sticking their neck out, putting their life on the line, they know better than you, they can better analyse a jet than you. Who the hell are we (civilians) to give them any advice. Not very long ago, a comedian said, “everybody wants to change the world by telling them how to do their job”. Lol, get a life ‘Mr. Author’. If your’s is itching so much, write about the politicians who have accounts in Swiss bank.

  26. Only when IAF bosses were forced to accept Indian planes did the IAF accepted the Tejas. Earlier they raised weird objections and changed the specofications which added to the delay in development.
    The idea was to import planes and get a huge kickback as was the norm in the Dynadty days. Now IAF bosses have been kicked in their arses fair ans square and now things will move fast. Our scientists and engoneers are ok, the trouble was with the “babus”.

  27. Abhijit with a degree in political sciences your all technical jargons you used in this bullshit article shows that either it has been dictated some moron with shared vested interests with you or you git disillusioned with your primitive knowledge of Aero engine technology or ill will for DRDO. You better keep commenting on Konark Temple… Problem is that every joker talks about Science and Technology and R&D without understanding how difficult it is to do great work with meagre funding and low political will. Shame on you.

  28. Honestly never studied such an article where the Author thinks he knows everything from Soviet collapse period till the future prodution of AMCA. Never mind readers, we know why Tejas was delayed “70 years of dynasty rule” we also know why is Tejas being inducted now “5 years of nationalistic rule”, we also know why now India has howitzer, Apache, Chinook, Rafale, Multitude of submarine, Astra BVR in arsenal. Plus road boardering India China LOC i.e., approximately 3700 kms is completed and only 70 kms left.

  29. I think this reflects a defeatist attitude. Agreed that there was more than inordinate delay in the Tejas project and we are still not able to design its engines- they are being imported from America. Ok, but still Tejas is our own product.How long should we be reliant on overseas suppliers even for light variant fighters? These are replacement for MIG. Any Air Force would want a proper mix of light, medium and heavy fighters. We cannot have all Rafales- it would be unaffordable. We also require light weight interceptor aircrafts for defence. Tejas can be brought in to perform this role. It is factually wrong to state that Tejas has not been inducted in the Air Force. As per available information, 16 fighters have been delivered and are operational in IAF. The Author is a defence expert, he can confirm this. Now, we are planning Tejas Mark II- a variant in medium weight category, being touted as replacement for Mirage fighters. If we succeed in our endeavour, it would bring a great relief to the nation. Yes, I agree with the author that in the modern era, we cannot manufacture 100% components of the aircraft- these will have to be sourced from multiple suppliers, including overseas suppliers. Yet the design and the product have to be our own, so that we shall decide what to produce, how to produce and when to produce and what innovations are required. . This is the true meaning of self-Reliance.

  30. Abhijit! You tend to ignore the reasons for delay. It was the emphasis on commission based purchases rather than development of homegrown technology. It was this period when all the high technology departments were sabotaged one by one, forcing out dependence on imported machines. We had aircraft industry for 60 years, but why was it not allowed to grow?

  31. Seriously bro, you have kess than half the knowledge…but you explained as if you’re the backbone of AMCA….please try selling your propaganda based stories elsewhere…like im the fish market…. thanks….for sharing nothing but your anger …

    • How retarded can one be thinking and posting such article.
      If you keep on thinking like that sooner you have to make a habit of wearing Chinese underwear also because our indigenous industries will be wrapped up because people like you want “Phorun Maal”.

  32. I donot know why the people who don’t have technical knowledge about fighter aircraft are allowed to write such article.They always say about delay in Tejas but are not aware that since the conception of it west countries never wanted to successful reasons are obvious . Now when we are fully prepared to replace the MIG with Tejas people have problems why? because they can not see that our own developed aircraft will fly in the sky and dependency to the west will reduce drastically.Think and write

  33. Rather we have learned !!! Sold out Media persons like you are always ready to kill green shoot of home grown defence industry. We can afford to remain dependent on imports. Please don’t try to harm Indian industry. Jaychands like you are not less than terrorists !!

  34. If delay in commissioning Tejas is the only reason for abandoning upcoming AMCA, then we can never have any indigenous aircraft manufacturing. If we have messed up with Tejas ( and we know many reasons for it), we need to learn and amend ourselves and deliver on time next time aorund. By all accounts, in particular, now that IAF has owned AMCA, chances are very high that AMCA will be delivered on time. We need to go on that route. As regards aero engine, we need to decide fast if we can go with Safran or renew Kaveri program, as indigenous engine appears to be a distant possibility in short time. But we will have to soldier on, even if we import GE engines for AMCA for now. As regards technical specifications for AMCA design, it is a matter for IAF to decide in the light of its doctrine and requirements. It appears that IAF is excessively enamored of dog fights in an era of increasing long range stand off weapons but that is something for IAF to explain. By that logic, once we get Russian S500 missiles system, no PAF aircraft can escape it and with Brahmos and other missiles, we can ensure that no PAF aircraft can even take off or land back if it has taken off. That would reduce need for IAF itself! Tejas, AMCA are just a part of overall requirements of IAF along with Rafale, SU-30MIK etc. Just because UK is starting on 6th generation aircraft, does not mean that we start chest beating but then do what? This question Abhijit as usual has not answered. Like Pravin Swamy, Abhijit loves to analyze and pose tantalizingly serious questions but which take you nowhere.

  35. Do you think you are smarter and know more about avionics and technology advancements than the IAF chief knows? Unfortunately you are some journalist and you are not even related to the armed forces

  36. The moment I saw the headline, I knew who is the writer of this article. He is extremely pro US. Fot him, India shouldn’t try anyting but just import every weapon from US.

  37. Abhijit Ayer Mitra may be defense analyst but he miserably fails as a technology expert. Air Marshal has been closely associated with all the development works done by ADA and is aware of so called pitfalls. Home grown aviation industry is a necessity and impetus is required to back it. The impetus can only be given by IAF.
    The details where supposedly AMCA has serious conceptual faults are not very alarming. Also, assuming that no thoughts were given to modern ways of air war- fare speaks poorly of understanding the present and past military leadership.

  38. Are you working for the foreign lobby? What’s your hidden agenda? If the IAF ACM has shown keen interest he is more aware of the ground reality than you. AMCA by the time it’s inducted won’t be obsolete just like Sukhoi 5th gen can’t be described as junk vis a vis F – 22 or 35. Our AMCA could end up as gen 5.5 or 5.5++ u never know. Yes it took Tejas 3 decades plus but didn’t u know how fast the issues were redressed?? An eco system will be created soon. Moreover the latest offer from Safran is decent enough to manufacture the engines in due course of time.

  39. Understand that neither IAF nor DRDO scientists, nor even Defence ministry, nor any of the Defence experts have understood anything about the flaws of Tejas, while ABHIJIT IYER-MITRA sahab understands all.

    Time to award him Bharat Ratna and induct him as IAF chief.

  40. Tejas was the project on which technology also got simultaneously developed. A follow up aircraft such as Medium Weight Fighter can now be developed in about five years, which can replace Mirage.
    To understand the cost economics, the total development cost of Tejas was about Rs.5500 Crores plus a revision of about Rs. 3000 Cr (towards inflation for the delay in using the sanctioned funds). All that at today’s cost will not cross the Rs. 13,000Cr paid towards India specific development costs of Rafale. India Specific costs will be towards deltas like change of missile etc. While all this money of about Rs. 70000 goes abroad, in this case of Tejas the money involving similar amount is spent in the country to deliver about 128 aircraft. It is time that people start thinking that country with an economy like ours can’t afford those luxuries. We certainly need indigenous solutions.
    It is pertinent to mention that we have done much better in space and atomic energy where the foreign purchase options are not easily available. To that extent import lobbying is missing.

    To the credit of Bhaduria, he was a test pilot of Tejas and was closely involved in its development. Unlike others, he knows what all effort went into this aircraft and he knows how competent the design base now.

  41. It’s well known that even in today’s hi tech age, the man behind the machine plays a vital role and we can excel in that , if given a decently capable 5th Gen fighter. Bhadauria must be congratulated for putting his IAF and our GOvt in a spot and challenging them to deliver on time the 5th Gen AMCA . Why start a project with failures in mind , especially when we have developed quite a few building blocks in the Tejas program ?
    Let’s put our faith in a 100 plus Rafales in the interim , while the AMCA is being built.

  42. Just go for cheap unmanned drones. They stay longer in the air. Very little human cost, plenty of millenials playing video games

  43. India’s problem is that it is staffed with a large pool of third world standard scientists, who need a steady government job that pays the bills and allows their children to get a break in life. IIT is also a third world institute and if you look at QS or times world rankings IITs postgraduate programs are pathetic. From this pathetic pool comes most aspirants for the coveted DRDO and CSIR lab jobs, where a 30 year paycheque is gauranteed. Add to this mess, reservations, caste politics and turf wars and then you will understand the horrendous situation India is in. India’s best and brightest are taxed at 33 percent in the private sector and along with GST pay almost 50 percent of their wages as taxes. All to subsidise these third rate pool of scientists in these cesspools. Also anything of value delivered by these scientists so far has been with extensive German, French, Russian and Israeli tech know how and handholding. Modi realises this Hugh problem but it’s politically too costly. Meanwhile India’s best and brightest realise they cannot shoulder this tax burden forever and migrate. Remittance of foreign currency in 2018 hit record levels

    • The entire Print seems to be an urban nasal and anti Indian.
      They must quote their price at which they keep themselves selling to the western,pakistani as well as Chinese buyers..

  44. Developing a modern weapons system like a fighter aircraft or a submarine is still beyond the technological and financial capabilities of India . This despite a number of credible private firms getting added to the experienced public sector units. Between buying something off the shelf and creating it ourselves, the effort should be to move its production to India, under licence from the foreign manufacturer, with steadily increasing local content.

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