What is well known (from Wiki) is that India wanted to develop a "Light Combat Aircraft" while developing 5 critical technologies.
The US and France did it. India of course wanted to go where no team has ever gone before I guess, and take more time for a first flight of an aircraft than any team has taken before.
What the LCA a technology demonstrator or a combat aircraft project?
If it was a technology demonstrator - India's operational readiness should never have been held up waiting for technology to come in its own sweet time. If it was a combat aircraft project then something should have been delivered on time.
The LCA was neither here nor there with no agency, developer or user, fully responsible for failures. Each delay was a defeat and defeat is an orphan. Everyone will bask in success of course, but this is the time to look at the mistakes that were made and never repeat them.
shiv ji, till 2001, when the phase 2 was sanctioned, LCA was a tech demonstrator
LCA as a fighting machine was given the go-ahead and funded only after the first flight took place and demonstrated the 5 target technologies.
I find it a little dishonest on the part of IAF to claim that delays in LCA led their plans go awry. they were after all in the best position to know that LCA the fighter project didn't even exist back then. in fact truth be told few in IAF actually expected the LCA to come as far as it has, most were waiting for it to fail, so to speak. it's a little difficult to digest that IAF long term planning was tied to an aircraft that they had no faith in.
more likely is that IAF goofed up on long term planning with or without LCA but LCA makes a nice hook to hang the blame-hat on.
coming to the discussion of who set the requirements, I think we know it quite well that IAF set the physical requirements (altitude, speed, payload, range and maneuverability requirements) in the form of ASR while the LCA design team in consultation with dassault decided how they would go about achieving those.
as for the F-16 design having alternate routes to FBW, let's not forget that not only was the F-16 a pioneer as far as FBW was concerned (and hence had to account for many things that could go wrong), it was also designed in the mid 70's.
an aircraft designed in late 80's, after witnessing about 2 decades of FBW being successfully used in a plethora of aircrafts, had absolutely no excuse or reason to provision for a non-FBW aircraft. a non-FBW design has no place in today's fighters and if we could not manage it we should have gone out of designing aircrafts altogether.
Das' arguments stem solely from the fact that he believes 3rd gen auto-ricksaws are the ultimate fighters. in that he seems to be in an exalted group of one.
it's like saying a computer designer should make provisions for an analogue design in his machine because that's what the first digital computer designer did. sorry to say, this is bull, juvenile quality bull.
about ajeet AJT, if memory serves right HAL did have a ajeet AJT design in easrly 90's but IAF rejected it in favour of foreign AJTs.