I was about to write something on the Rafale thread when another member expressed his apprehension that MMRCA would undercut the LCA. And somehow desisted. The reality as I see it is nuanced. In FY 11-12 (UPA years) the IA+IAF managed to underspend close to a Billion USD and the underspend was shoved under the carpet only because the IN was allowed to overspend. This had effect in the later budget allocations also. And underspending is said to be endemic to the system.
I wanted to point out to that member that a billion USD an year for next 7-10 years is one of the best investments that can be made in LCA. The point being there is simply no way LCA would get undercut except in the likely scenario that our establishment allows itself to become infatuated with becoming strategic munna of the Amerikhans. Everything these guys touch turns into a Libya or Syria - there is a choice vernacular swear word for it recently explained by oldies on the forum.
It is true that the whole system has a certain lag. The political system (only recently addressed), the military itself, DRDO/DPSU combine, even us fanbois. A lot of us are still apprehensive about the underfunding. The stock markets where real money (not just humble opinions) gets risked has pulled itself up by about a third of its erstwhile base, since the campaign to oust the last regimen started. The people have simply given up on petty partisanship having given up on a color revolution recently, the investors (Indian and foreign) have pulled up their socks and yet the concerns remain the same. LCA would get undercut for want of funds. No sir, you are fighting yesterdays war. Even the foreigners have noted this and seem to have adapted their strategies accordingly. For gods sake you are at the bottom of a multi-year upward trend in both the economy ergo also the defence budget.
Having ranted against the honorable armed forces and honorable fanbois, I will desist from attacking the politicos considering the recent changes in the scenario.
Re. 3. Can our existing structure be optimised by for e.g.
- Replacing the existing N/S/E/W/Central/ South-West/Training commands of the Army and Airforce into a (for e.g) East
(China oriented) and West (Pakistan) oriented joint Army-Air force commands, with the `South' being responsible for all other
tasks incl. training.
- Reduce the no of army formations but increase the firepower of each (for e.g. why can't artillery divisions simply be merged
back into Infantry divisions (who lack adequate artillery).
Thinking in general:
The specialization aspect is successfully working the intel wings and certain special schools (mountain warfare, COIN ops). But in the strike formations it may not be as effective because it will lead to a thinning out of the available resources for all sectors. One of the reasons why the armed forces are moving towards multi-purposed platforms, standardization and rapid attack formations that got seeded during the conceptualization phase of the so called Cold Start. Having said that I believe the armed forces do also recognize clearly the need for specialization in that they wished for and got sanctioned formations that would not get used except in the Himalayas and then again the wish seems to be that these formations be equipped with a considerably higher fire power to manpower ratio. The vast size and diversity at our borders demands that we follow a carefully thought out strategy - one that is focused on getting at least the minimum of the job done with certainty even in adverse circumstances, instead of aiming for the best results with uncertainty. From the 60000 foot view nothing seems amiss. But the inefficiency aspect still remains. Holding back of support in the initial stages or allowing a vested group to have more say or not monitoring the projects/outsourced work properly, are things that have come to stay. Unless there is a concerted effort by a bunch of task masters to force people into a talk-to-each-other-mode cutting across levels, this inefficiency will become endemic. And that will certainly end up making us a munna (no disrespect to the member of same name).
How much sense would it make to employ a Rudra-WSI in only one type of formation that can do with lesser fire power compared to a LCH, but needs some light lift capability. What if you need such capabilities in the other sectors. Maximum number of people should be able to work the maximum number of weapons humanely possible otherwise the capital asset is a cost to the extent of its under-use.