Devesh Rawal wrote:
This is a good thing for the SH chances, when compared to the other top contenders that are in production runs.
Question: does this mean that if selected, all 126 for the IAF could also potentially be delivered in 4 years?
I don't think that the USN's rate of induction or Boeing's rate of production of Shornets are a good indicator for the MRCA. The USN has established training/simulation/infrastructure for the Shornet. They will face a lot less issues inducting them in large numbers for that reason.
OTOH, the IAF will have its own rate at which it can absorb the MRCA. They are continuing to induct Su-30MKIs and soon shall start inducting LCAs as well and these inductions will be on-going at the time that the MRCA will start coming in..so there will be limits on how many pilots and instructors can convert to the MRCA. Plus all the logistics, training, etc. that will be on-going at that time for ground technicians, mechanics, etc..
That apart, Boeing will need to transfer tools, jigs, drawings, manuals, etc. to HAL during the period when it will be building the first 18 direct-supply Shornets at it's St. Louis plant. After that, there will be a ramp-up period during which HAL will need to master the production of the Shornet. And while HAL has been licence building other fighters, with every new fighter comes its own production methods, and its own learning curve and in this case the fact that it will be a US fighter with US manufacturing techniques that will need to be mastered. And the curve will be steep no doubt, for HAL to be able to meet a target of fully inducing 126 MRCA's by 2022- i.e in 8 years at an average rate of 15 per year- will be slower at first and then ramp up to 18-20 per year as the production line stabilises.
I'd expect teething troubles during the first 2-3 years, similar to what we saw for the Hawk. So basically, comparing Boeing's capability to build and deliver Shornets on time to HAL which hasn't built any as yet, is not right IMO. Boeing are the baaps in this business and their Lean practices are actually being used at HAL now. If it was a question of Boeing delivering 126 MRCAs direct to the IAF (if the IAF was able to absorb so many per year- impossible for a new user) then I'd say yes, that Boeing could meet that goal.
All this applies mostly to Boeing and LM only- other contenders will bring their own sets of troubles and possible benefits as well. But of all the OEMs, IMO, Boeing (and LM too, but Boeing has a much better relationship with HAL) is the most capable of delivering on time and without escalations of the kind that we've seen with Russia and even France (Scorpene).