RKumar wrote:Sorry for my ignorance ... but still I see no point in having a new kind of AC plane. Especially when it offer not much on top of Su-30MKI. If we are buying only to get AESA, it is not good investment. I will put $10b bet on LCA/MCA/Engine development.
The main reason has always remained to beef up the number of squadrons - from day one.
AESA is a very recent entry - and, IMHO, is a bonus. (Given Indian politics they have been reluctant to do anything that might cause flu in in 'hood - including BD/SL/etc).
Having said that there are three aspects to ALL this:
1) No matter what happens to the MRCA the upgrades of Jags/MiG-29/M2K/etc will go ahead. Same is true for the LCA/MCA/FGFA. NONE of them are dependent on the MRCA. And, it is not that if the MRCA vanishes that those funds will make ANY difference on any other project. (IF it does please let me know.)
2) The MRCA - over time - has grown to be a beast of its own. It is THE ONLY component that will (supposedly) pull in 50% in offsets - that is a cool $5 billion - reinvested (if properly done) in India. No MRCA, no offsets.
3) There are funds (note that DM returns unused funds to FinMin every year) - however, they need to be utilized well. LCA etc need funds, but they also need better infrastructure/management BEFORE more funds are thrown at them. Funds by itself will not solve any problem.
On generic topic:
a) After thinking a little more I am not too sure if I should be more scared of the US Congress or the Indian politicians or a combo of them both
b) Upgrades as a way of living is not an option - it cannot be. Any modern fighting force will degrade very, very quickly (upgrade a radar, may need a more powerful engine, etc, etc, etc. Upgrades impact the original equipment and so they can only go so far before it has to be redesigned - thus a new item). An upgrade along with infusion of newer specimens are the ONLY way to keep pace. I really cannot see an alternative
c) Upgrades IMHO will not encourage better in-house techs. The offsets that the MRCA brings will force some thinking (at least). In 2008 Boeing/LM (I forget which) stated - openly - that HAL is in no position to absorb some of the newer techs in an offset arrangement. This - IF properly handled - should provide for an uplift of Indian companies. (And, it does not only apply to US techs - that was just an example.)
d) Which governments among all these vendors would be most interested in supporting research and supply of spares for themselves? And, which among them has the funds to do so at a sustained level?