http://www.scribd.com/doc/39718239/VAYU ... -LCA-Tejas
Some Indian scientists n engineers felt that India had the capability n could design, develop, n mfg an a/c on its own with some help from outside. To this lofty goal, they set about their task with some funding managed from GoI with gr8 difficulty. The IAF clearly not interested in overambitious plans steered clear from identification with the project at that early stage.Did the scientists n engineers succeed in their objective?
Well, it was neither a total failure nor a total success. It was a mixed bag, as is not unusual in such projects. The scientists n engineers, however, did commit some cardinal sins:
>>They ignored Indian aviation history n ought to have taken cognizance of the failure of the Marut program - the engine. Overconfidence on the Kaveri without an appropriate backup (co-development with foreign partner from the beginning) did them in.
>>Design n development is one thing but productionizing is a different ballgame altogether. They should have co-opted HAL (the production engg agency) from the very word go.
>>IAF should also have been roped in early enough in the project.
There do remain some basic design flaws in the Tejas airframe structure n these have been rightly pointed out by the author in his article. These flaws are due to be addressed in the Tejas MkII re-design n re-test (hence the 4-yr delay).
So, on objective assessment, the scientists n engineers did demonstrate capability to put a airplane in air, though not of full war fighting capability.Then what was Tejas?
>One should consider it as a scientific TD effort n towards that objective there is no hesitation in saying that it has been a brilliant success. It has kickstarted the war plane design, development, mfg capability in India. Going forward from here, the concerned players can confidently claim that they will be able to deliver a fully fighting platform in the next endeavor n that is the single largest gain/takeaway from this continuing LCA saga.
>The Arjun n LCA saga should be a wakeup call for the IA n IAF. That, users are the primary stakeholders n it doesn’t pay to maintain arms-length distance n then be critical/cynical. They should get involved by dirtying their hands. The DRDO should learn that it does not pay to keep designs open n fluid indefinitely. This encourages users to keep shifting goal posts, creating nightmares for the designers. Design QRs should be frozen after TD approval.What are the lessons?
>The monies invested so far have not gone waste. Infrastructure has been created. A lot of learning has happened. Niche capabilities have been developed. Project development cost has remained well below world standards n comparable with China.
>The most successful Chinese a/c (comparable to western n our own LCA) to date has been the J-10 n don't forget it has taken them 40 yrs to reach here n that too without an indigenous engine as yet.
>The defense forces should realize there is no such thing as a perfect/ideal weapon. Weapon systems continuously evolve over their lifetime. They should be prepared to induct initial (suboptimal performing) models to be followed up by block upgrades. If they keep insisting on final product, then I'm afraid the product will never leave the lab.
>>No nation built up capabilities for free. There is always a price to be paid for building capability. Arjun n LCA should be treated as R&D investment (not expenditure) for future.
>Indian public should stop being cynical. We have not done too badly (even by China standards). Of course we still have a very long way to go. There are bound to be failures which have to be taken in stride n the price paid but that does not mean we stop persisting. China has had many more failures compared to us but they persisted. The J-10 PV n LSP trials have had 5 accidents in total out of which 4 were crashes. Persistence ultimately pays in such endeavors.
>I do not agree with Prof Pradyut Das's one-sided cynicism. I challenge him to have offered a rehashed/suitably upgraded Gnat to the IAF n see how the IAF would have accepted it even at lowest price.