LCA News and Discussions

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby Rahul M » 04 Sep 2013 09:32

Sagar G, do be civil, whatever be your difference in opinion. this is an informal warning. next time wont be.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby member_27444 » 04 Sep 2013 09:37

I remember from my DGNP Vizag visit there used to be about 50 odd draughtsmen working on blue prints literally as they were ammonia prints in those days translating dimensions into English based drawings with about half a dozen Russians highly paid draughtsmen posing as engineers supervising them staying in 5 star hotels in Lawson's bay

So we do spend a lot of money and time translating manuals drawings etc etc
Later I have seen the same in BMP II Medak project as well

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby NRao » 04 Sep 2013 10:07

No matter what, the IAF cannot afford to sit on the sidelines and direct traffic by complaining. It is to their own benefit that they jump in and get dirty. The more dirty they get the better. And asking to lead HAL and the like is not sufficient.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby Karan M » 04 Sep 2013 10:23

Nrao that in a nutshell is the problem with the IAF approach to the LCA. They simply dont want to get involved to the level necessary. .its always somebody else's problem. But when it comes to imports the attitude changes. The legion of issues IAF has had with MiG in the past how many of those made it to the press? They didn't even stand up to MiG and respond back publicly re: the aircrafts design and production flaws plus abysmal spares support from time to time. Only the local assembly shop gets the stick. Basically the standards should be consistent and this hands off or passive aggressive attitude to local projects needs to change. The candy shop of imports is toxic and unsustainable.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby prabhug » 04 Sep 2013 10:55

A Cross posting Video of J10 from china thread

http://youtu.be/8l3G58jBOwQ

It not going this Vs that thread.But can somebody compare Lee Cee Yaa's aerodynamics with this.

Cheers

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby jamwal » 04 Sep 2013 11:36

Sanku wrote:
Prem Kumar wrote:If the IAF wants to truly benefit from the Tejas, they have to embed themselves into what comes out of the ADA/HAL stables.


Here is NFTC

http://www.ada.gov.in/nftc.htm


1. Wg Cdr (Retd) PK Raveendran (GD[FT])
2. Ms. Revathy Vivekanandan, (Sc/Engr 'F')
3. Shri.B Umashankar, (Sc/Engr 'F')
4. Wg Cdr. Prabhu. M [FLT TEST ENGR ]
5. Cmde.(IN) Maolankar JA [Test Pilot]
6. Wg. Cdr. A Kabadwal [FLT Test Engr ]
7. Wg. Cdr Ajay Kumar Lohany [FLT Test Engr]
8. Gp. Capt. Ashish Srivastava[FLT Test Engr]
9. Cdr. S Dahiya(IN)[Test Pilot]
10. Cdr. JD Raturi [Flight Test Engineer]
11. Gp.Capt.[Retd] R R Tyagi [Test Pilot]
12. Gp.Capt.K K Venugopal [Test Pilot]
13. Gp. Capt.(Retd) Suneet Krishna [Test Pilot]

So IAF embedding. Check.


So providing 13 personnel which includes 5 test pilots and 5 test engineers is enough for a project of this scale ? AFAIK, atleast one of them has retired already. How is this manpower help with management and design level feedback for the project
Please keep in mind that I'm not blaming IAF. It could be a turf war started by HAL/ADA. But I find it hard to believe that this small workforce is a fair representation of IAF

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby NRao » 04 Sep 2013 12:03

Even if the 13 were the tip of the ice berg a "check" itself represents the problem. It creates the very division we should nit have.

"turf" itself is an issue - why have it?

KM, yeah, heard -29 stories - many of them. I recall the days when IAF embedded people in Sukhoi to get the MKI built to specs. And watch the participation in the FGFA project!!!! $5.5 Billion + worth. Point being that is what it takes for such complex efforts. That is what the IAF has to provide on the home front. Not letters to the RM asking for Indian efforts to be terminated.

On the other side of the coin these Labs too need to produce. And they - today - are in a far better position than even a decade ago to do so.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby suryag » 04 Sep 2013 14:16

Flight update

From

LCA-Tejas has completed 2305 Test Flights Successfully. (03-Sep-2013).
(TD1-233,TD2-305,PV1-242,PV2-222,PV3-369,LSP1-74,LSP2-281,PV5-36,LSP3-157,LSP4-94,LSP5-210,LSP7-53,NP1-4,LSP8-25)

to

LCA-Tejas has completed 2306 Test Flights Successfully. (04-Sep-2013).
(TD1-233,TD2-305,PV1-242,PV2-222,PV3-369,LSP1-74,LSP2-281,PV5-36,LSP3-157,LSP4-94,LSP5-211,LSP7-53,NP1-4,LSP8-25)

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby wilson_th » 04 Sep 2013 14:39

All these accusations and finger pointing is the labor pains experienced on their First born. Let him come out and it will be much easier with subsequent ones.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby vishvak » 04 Sep 2013 20:40

We can decide on more desi ladaaku vimaan before later when we have to. Which is much better decision probably.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby Sanku » 04 Sep 2013 21:08

jamwal wrote:So providing 13 personnel which includes 5 test pilots and 5 test engineers is enough for a project of this scale ?


But I do not see how I am remotely implying that. The discussion was in context of flight testing part of manual preparation and since it resolved around NFTC, I thought it would be worthwhile to see how much IAF is involved in the same.

For the record, I have always been of the opinion that IAF should be embedded deeply in both ADA and HAL, which in turns means senior management functions should be given to serving IAF officers, both pilots and engineers. I also am of the opinion that ADA/part of HAL should be under a joint mgmt for LCA pgm, like say MiG.

A division of responsibilities in way the designer washes their hands of production and production unit from design is just a recipe for finger pointing.

=======================

I am also on record stating that DPSUs and DRDO is deeply uncomfortable with having to work under forces for both cultural and political reasons (turf battles)

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby Sanku » 04 Sep 2013 21:10

Karan M wrote:Nrao that in a nutshell is the problem with the IAF approach to the LCA..


No IAF is deliberately kept out by civvies together, MoD, DRDO and DPSUs. They dont want IAF involvement, only time they want IAF to be involved is when some one has to be blamed for civvies not working.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby Sanku » 04 Sep 2013 21:25

Kartik wrote:
Sanku wrote:Did I say they did? The issue is that people don't want IAF to wait for the manuals, that is apparently not a good enough reason. I am merely trying to highlight that a operational deployment is not possible without manuals.


You implied exactly that when you said that there is a difference in supplying manuals in Russian and not supplying manuals at all. Those Russian manuals would be a severe overhead since translation would be required for the average IAF maintenance tech or pilot.


Yes there is a world of difference between translating a document and creating a document. I am not sure what the problem with that statement is or what that it is supposed to imply. Its a statement of fact. That is how it is. What is wrong with saying that?

Each of them has a completely different impact on IAF, and how much of that impact they can handle.

I'm not going to offer excuses because I don't have the facts on what led to the delays. Some times there are genuine reasons for delays and some times there aren't. Without those facts, to castigate HAL is not fair. to be fair, the IAF HQ is not the world's most efficient either, as we've seen with the inordinate delays that are always seen with their RFP and RFQ releases.


Net net, reasons are fine, but in the end, something has to happen. If IAF is responsible for delays, even if given reasons, it is perfectly all right to castigate it.

I shall not hold back castigating IAF for scams like Augusta-Westland for example.


RFQ/RFI etc are given by MoD AFAIK, not IAF, however in the cases where IAF has mucked about with those, changed them repeatedly, done a poor job. The responsibility is on IAF at the end of the day.

If there is a defined owner of the task. The responsiblity for success and failure is with the owner.

The source is a reliable poster who was discussing about the issues the RMAF


I am not sure if that source is right. I have had some visibility into the process, and the basic pilot manuals existed in Russian. What IAF did at TACDE was to develop strategy and operations use manuals.

That is my information, and nearly first hand. So I am not sure where it comes from.

Why HAL? and what do you mean by that is how its done? HAL is the prime production agency, not the nodal agency. I.


I have already made this point in another post since, but allow me to repeat it here.

A division of responsibilities in way the designer washes their hands of production and production unit from design is just a recipe for finger pointing.


There has to be A delivery point, of all deliverables, and (HAL+ADA) needs to step up and be that. It can not be that one window says go to next and the next says go to first and when one of them does give something, it is at variance with the other.

Last thing we want is for HAL to say, "Oh the a/c crashed because the documentation says the allowed AoA is 26 and the pilot tried 25? -- Well actually ADA wrote the documentation and it was for LSP 3.141 while we are manufacturing at last specs given which correspond to LSP 1.21 onlee. Terribly sorry. We didnt know."

The communications channels are shot. HAL is treating as if it is doing ADA and IAF a favor by giving out some shop floor for science project.

Who owns the delivery and all the collaterals?

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby Victor » 04 Sep 2013 21:45

Sanku wrote:
Karan M wrote:Nrao that in a nutshell is the problem with the IAF approach to the LCA..


No IAF is deliberately kept out by civvies together, MoD, DRDO and DPSUs. They dont want IAF involvement, only time they want IAF to be involved is when some one has to be blamed for civvies not working.

The truth.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby Sagar G » 04 Sep 2013 21:49

Outright lie being peddled by people who are void of facts, the NFTC chief is on record stating that IAF was a "reluctant customer" and got itself involved only in 2006. It's only the hard work of the "civilians" which has made LCA a reality and not IAF. Tata was asked to name the Nano "Despite Mamata" we can call the LCA "Despite IAF".

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby ramana » 04 Sep 2013 21:57

Amyrao wrote:Russians follow GOST standards
Germans DIN standards

Indian Aircraft will follow which standards. ISI?



GHOST

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby NRao » 04 Sep 2013 22:04

Folks,

Times are changing. I do not subscribe that IAF has been kept out (it has not been), but, it is time to bury such things from both sides. Today there is enough core competency within the Mil Industry to generate a force of its own. A competency that was lacking even 5 years ago. the HTT-40 episode should not have happened at all - in this era. IF everybody gets together even this stupid documentation is not an issue. Cannot spend future solely discussing the past.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby Sagar G » 04 Sep 2013 22:10

"Both sides" NRao ??? I don't remember anybody from ADA or HAL making uncouth comments at IAF for doing what they did.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby SaiK » 04 Sep 2013 22:14

Leaving behind scams and bad data on the approaches thus far taken by IAF, there is enough reason for them to ask whatever it takes to ensure their capabilities are not put at stake by any process, document or guidelines. It is important for IAF to be a stakeholder, and perhaps be on ADA's toe from now on to get what they need. It is important for IAF to consider LCA from their requirements and uses rather as a portal where they make a complain, and forget about it.

At the same time, DRDO should make IAF participate that way, or do not proceed further. It is important to change the delivery architecture to capability enhancement based, and completely satisfying the ops and missions they have planed for LCA Mk1. Unless, we get FoC, there is no Mk2.

Unless Mk2 happens, there is no AMCA. we all should be focused in as one group and not as different entities to LCA.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby Philip » 04 Sep 2013 22:33

Saik has underscored the need for mutual cooperation,essential for success.It reminds me of first-aid training,lifting a patient/casualty,where the hands in a combined effort,lift the "wounded" bloke easily.

Acknowledged the need for the IAF to get involved,but then the ADA and HAL must not treat the IAF as merely draughtsmen or document writers,or aircraft "chaueffeurs".They're the ones who are going to fly these aircraft,not the ADA or HAL management or workforce.They are putting their lives on the line and have to be part of the core decision-making team right from the start.They alone have the combat experience,flying and operating experience,and therefore their needs as the actual users should be paramount from the start.We've seen in the JSF td. how the GM of the programme from the start for years admitted BS'ing his own govt. and forces and foreign customers too about the virtues of the aircraft,its dates of arrival and costs.We've seen much of the same with the LCA in the past too.

Anyway,looking to the future with a positive frame of mind,the bird has managed to fly over the mountain range from latest info.Shepherding it home safely is the task remaining.The three elements of the programme,ADA,HAL and IAF have to work together and cooperate with each other to achieve the common goal (at taxpayers cost too!).HAL should also not get sidetracked with other programmes which may sidetrack the LCA's progress.There is a potential order book of around 200 aircraft from the IAF and IN,a far more worthy and lucrative order than a few dozen HTT-40s,an aircraft yet to fly,when even the IJT is long overdue. The MOD should crack heads if any side is being obstinate,sack the "heads" of underperforming depts.,while monitoring the progress on a daily basis.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby member_27272 » 04 Sep 2013 23:41

Hello everyone, just a thought. How is this documentation, Training manual going to happen? I mean we have a few LSP's flying, the manual should be for the selected one, right? or IAF requires training manual and documentation for each version?

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby Lalmohan » 05 Sep 2013 01:12

btw - all aircraft have extensive volumes and volumes of manuals - flight, operations, maintenance, etc., etc., aircraft manufacturers have massive teams preparing these, aircraft operators also have to spend a lot of effort in updating and synchronising these with the OEM (continuous updates are provided) and regulators (continuously changing rules and regulations) and then there are modifications, changes due to modifications... this is not a simple matter of hiring a bunch of grads to write some software user manuals - requires a lot of knowledgeable people in the different parts of the chain to keep the paper work going

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby Karan M » 05 Sep 2013 01:35

Sanku wrote:
Karan M wrote:Nrao that in a nutshell is the problem with the IAF approach to the LCA..


No IAF is deliberately kept out by civvies together, MoD, DRDO and DPSUs. They dont want IAF involvement, only time they want IAF to be involved is when some one has to be blamed for civvies not working.



Enough of your BS already. It has become tiresome responding to the waste of forum bandwidth that are your posts. It is an absolute shame that you continue to troll so much and contribute so little.

It was Kalam and DRDO who got an ex IAF man to head the LCA, and many other services folk involved in many R&D projects. The biggest issue with lack of consistent support for local projects and deputation of IAF/IA personnel is the lack of a proper technology development stream within the forces. Only the Navy has it. As a result of which pilots, infantry and armour folks deputed for such national projects receive limited institutional support. Even to this day, several DPSUs continue to pick or are run by R&D services folk- BDL for eg. All these matter little unless there is a dedicated program management stream within the IA/IAF to coordinate with the civilian side to run programs. The talent within the services is poached by the pvt sector or goes waste and most program's continue to have ad hoc ism in terms of requirements and shifting support.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby Karan M » 05 Sep 2013 01:39

ramana wrote:
Amyrao wrote:Russians follow GOST standards
Germans DIN standards

Indian Aircraft will follow which standards. ISI?



GHOST


MiL standards for most items, avionics etc will follow ARINC, IEEE etc. many discussions have been held on developing a local Indian standard etc, but most result in the usual point that its more straight forward to leverage what is already there and commonly accepted.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby Karan M » 05 Sep 2013 01:52

jamwal wrote:
So providing 13 personnel which includes 5 test pilots and 5 test engineers is enough for a project of this scale ? AFAIK, atleast one of them has retired already. How is this manpower help with management and design level feedback for the project
Please keep in mind that I'm not blaming IAF. It could be a turf war started by HAL/ADA. But I find it hard to believe that this small workforce is a fair representation of IAF



Correct. NFTC has a very limited mandate and as such charter. They are fully occupied with test flying the aircraft. What the LCA suffered from is the lack of support before the aircraft reached the test flight stage. Many design changes, avionics systems could have been streamlined into a limited set of changes as versus what has happened in the program. Which is a huge number of EGRs engineering change requests in the past few years as the IAF project team got more involved with the program. A bit of rationalisation is also necessary. Based on IAF requirements, the LCA has gone through three iterations of its mission computing and avionics architecture. The MK2 will have a fourth, while. asking for the best possible is one thing it did add complexity to a program with limited resources. The MiG29s being upgraded or imported come with several systems that are equivalent to the earlier variants of the LCA. By asking for more changes between Mk2 and Mk1 and only ordering 40 of Mk1, one loses the advantage of having economies of scale and IAF maint. will have to stockpile the separate LRUs. The hope is that some of the MK2 systems can be leveraged for the Super30.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby Surya » 05 Sep 2013 01:55

yea - people picked off the streets would not know pellet vs pallet :P

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby SaiK » 05 Sep 2013 04:55

i think this whole documentation was about going operational, and SOP with LCA - from manuals, maintenance, LRUs, and service. the standards are part IAF and part what LCA is capable of enabling IAF missions. The reason, I was thinking there must be some new capabilities LCA is bringing on board in addition to regular maintenance and operations manual [if they are not significantly different from other a/cs IAF operates].

we did refer to MKI taking 50-70 hours to prepare for a mission. we need hours to various a/cs.. standard ops can't be applied to LCA, there are changes that LCA platform brings in. may be it is 100 hours to prep or it is just 5 hours to get ready, that we have no idea what we are talking in these documentation discussions.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby Philip » 05 Sep 2013 07:57

Yes,Kalam finally got an IAF man not as DG ADA,who would've had full control over the project,covering all aspects of it, but Project Director only,after years of the right man being chosen -pushed for by him as well,deliberately kept out by babudom,even after the PM signed on for his appointment.That is factual history.I've posted it,the repeat is merely for the record.

The LCA thus lost a decade,leading to extra costs too.The IAF did get involved later on,,esp/ in the last few years,when all concerned have ultimately realised that home designed and home-built is the only way to get out of the Catch-22 situ regarding def. imports,where we hold the inglorious world record of being its largest importer.For the second largest nation on the planet,with 60+ years of industrialisation behind us after Independence,that is a sad state of affairs.

Let's leave history behind us,as I've been saying and get on with the task of completing the project and not get sidetracked.The Air Cmde. part of the flight test team,who has written about the latest status in VAYU,alleging that since the aircraft was not designed by HAL,there is an attitude that it is "not their baby" and that the top brass at HAL were worried about future orders.Surely accelerating the LCA's development with a huge potential of 200,perhaps even more to replace legacy MIG-21s,Bisons and Jaguars,given the financial situ would keep it busy for two decades,as production would hopefully grow from 8-16 per yr. during the first decade.Even if the Rafale deal goes through during the term of the next dispensation,one wonders whether the original number,etc. would remain unaffected.Instead of feuding about the HTT,there should be more interaction between end-user and builder and the ADA on the LCA,bringing it to fruition according to the revised schedules given to the MOD.If HAL is worried about orders,a few more improved Jaguars wouldn't be amiss,until the Rafale deal is sealed.

Air forces worldwide are both downsizing and getting less ambitious as budgets get slashed,barring the Chinese who are relentlessly marching on.That is our acute problem,how to maintain the qualitative edge against them and Pak simultaneously.From IAF statements,the MIGs (Bisons) can be perhaps nursed along until 2020.From that date things get rough.We have to have the LCA in MK-2 production at the rate of 16 per yr. by then.Surely,with effective management and all-round cooperation that is not an impossibility as we have approx. 6-7 years left in which to achieve it.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby Sanku » 05 Sep 2013 10:03

Karan M wrote:
Sanku wrote:"Karan M">>Nrao that in a nutshell is the problem with the IAF approach to the LCA..

No IAF is deliberately kept out by civvies together, MoD, DRDO and DPSUs. They dont want IAF involvement, only time they want IAF to be involved is when some one has to be blamed for civvies not working.



Enough of your BS already. It has become tiresome responding to the waste of forum bandwidth that are your posts. It is an absolute shame that you continue to troll so much and contribute so little.
.


As before Karan, personal attacks can not substitute for meat on the topic, and being factually correct. Kindly stay on the topic and offer meaningful content instead of vitriol.

I will be happy to engage when there is content which can be discussed.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby suryag » 05 Sep 2013 11:09

Flight update

From

LCA-Tejas has completed 2306 Test Flights Successfully. (04-Sep-2013).
(TD1-233,TD2-305,PV1-242,PV2-222,PV3-369,LSP1-74,LSP2-281,PV5-36,LSP3-157,LSP4-94,LSP5-211,LSP7-53,NP1-4,LSP8-25)

to

LCA-Tejas has completed 2308 Test Flights Successfully. (04-Sep-2013).
(TD1-233,TD2-305,PV1-242,PV2-222,PV3-369,LSP1-74,LSP2-282,PV5-36,LSP3-157,LSP4-94,LSP5-212,LSP7-53,NP1-4,LSP8-25)

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby Ramu » 05 Sep 2013 13:48

But this IAF chap has something else to say.

P Rajkumar comments

7.It needs to be put into IAF sevice as soon as possible to gain more experience to iron out bugs which are sure to show up during operational use.

8.Programme management could have been better. IAF is to blame for washing its hands off the project for 20 years from 1986-2006. A management team was put in place at ADA in 2007.


Isn't he the same who got denied promotion etc by IAF due to his deep involvement in this project?
Apologies if I am wrong.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby Sanku » 05 Sep 2013 14:07

Ramu wrote:But this IAF chap has something else to say.


Why cherry pick, let me add a few more points
3. HAL feels wronged about being asked to play second fiddle to ADA. This pique continues to hurt the project even today.

12. According to me the project can be called a complete success only when the aircraft sees squadron service for a couple of decades. We will have to wait but it is progressing on the right lines and we as a nation have nothing to be ashamed of.


So since by the admission which is held as gold here, IAF has been on board since 2006 (which btw is now 7 years) -- and HAL not yet.

And since you are quoting from one IAF guy, you should quote the original blog as well and mention why IAF washed their hands off

http://tkstales.wordpress.com/2012/04/0 ... s-arrives/

I have never regretted stating my opinion and my assessments during that presentation. I am glad that we were not swayed by over enthusiasm. I am glad that our assessment of the time required for the LCA project were more real than what was then the current wisdom. I am glad that the up-grade project of MiG21BIS to BISON standard came about. I am however sad that our professional judgement on our courses of actions to fulfill the task allotted to the Air Force is now criticized by people who do not carry the responsibility of keeping the Air Force fit for its tasks. And above all, I am saddened by the realization that in this project of developing the LCA we seem to have not reached our true potential.


IAF in 80s DID NOT want a ambitious 4.5 generation project which lasts forever without any clear mandate on completion. It wanted a solution to its problems, a Mig 21 upgd replacement quickly to meet its threat levels. THAT was what was wanted by IAF.
My mind dwelt on the time of the later part of 1982. I had then settled down as the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) at Jamnagar, having moved there after a very exciting tenure at the Ministry of Defence as the project manager for the induction of Jaguar aircraft. We were living through a period of exciting times in the Air Force. The Jaguar had been inducted through a massive project of purchase and manufacture. Soon thereafter, the Government had also decided to purchase the Mirage 2000 which was really a modern aircraft. It seemed that at long last the Government was keen to equip the air force with the weapons it deserves.

One fine morning at about that time I received a call from my AOC in C Air Marshal JR Bhasin. The Air HQ desired that the DRDO would take on the task of designing and building a modern fighter aircraft that could be used by the air force. An outline of a proposal received from the DRDO was available with the Command HQ. The Air HQ had decided to seek field level opinion about the proposal and tabulate the wish list of the operators so that a consolidated response could be put out to the MOD and the DRDO. For this purpose a very broad based conference had been planned at the Air HQ where the operational commands and the VCAS and DCAS were to present their wish list in the form of a presentation. To prepare for the conference at Delhi, the AOC in C wanted all his field commanders and staff to apply their minds on the subject and then come down to the Command HQ at Jodhpur for a session of brain storming. He had sent a copy of the papers received from the Air HQ to me by post and I should get that by the next day. We had about four days to think about the task and to gather at Jodhpur.

I became rather exited. It is not often that one is invited to participate in shaping of the future. My base Jamnagar was one of the most active fighter stations of the Air Force. I knew that my unit commanders and their subordinate staff would be as excited about the project as I was. I called in my unit commanders and the Chief Operations Officer (COO) and informed them about the impending task. The anticipation for the detailed information to arrive was delectable.

The details were received through mail next morning. It was contained in a few pages of print. It described the intention to build a single engine tail-less delta plan-form aircraft powered by an engine designed by the GTRE. It was to have a multi-purpose radar designed and built within the country that was to be totally contemporary and to be highly capable in the air to air / air to ground / maritime roles. The aircraft was to be an unstable platform controlled by ‘fly by wire’ technique. It was also to contain all functionalities of a small agile low-observable fighter that could be found anywhere in the world at that point of time. Its projected weight was to be seven tons empty. It was to be designed and developed within about ten years. This dream, the DRDO felt, was achievable. Personally I disagreed with that statement.

Group Captain KN (Pinki) Pillai was at that moment commanding the TACDE based on my station. Wing Commander Sunil Gulati was commanding 29 Squadron. Wing Commander Jeff D’Souza was commanding 45 Squadron. Group Captain Ravi Kumar was my Chief operations Officer. We quickly got into a huddle to formulate a point of view on the missive we had received. The discussion soon heated up and we included other senior pilots and engineers from the units into the discussion. The source of the heat generated was the vagueness of the objective of the exercise.

Indeed, the write-up that we had received was rather confusing. The project seemed extremely ambitions. An airframe to be built with extensive use of composite material of which we had no previous experience, an engine that was still on paper, a radar set that was to be better than our imported best and yet be lighter in weight and perhaps a bit smaller in size, an electronic control system for an unstable platform (the struggle with the control laws for the Gnat being still vividly in our memory), a completely unconventional digital man/machine interface while we had no experience at all of the new fangled concept of a ‘glass cockpit’, and all this within a decade! It sounded implausible. At the same time, the paper sent down to us clearly gave us the impression that this super duper futuristic aircraft was what we were required to commit for in ten years’ time. Our Hunters, Gnats, Maruts, Mig21s would all start winding down in the nineties. If we did not start planning for these replacements realistically from now (the early eighties), we shall have undermined the ability of the air force to perform its task.

The vigor of our discussion soon pushed us into smoke and sparks rather than a beam of focused light and we had to draw back and ask ourselves whether we knew what we were talking about. What in our collective wisdom should be the focus of our comment? At last we summarized our views as follows:

We felt that the proposed aircraft was over-ambitious. We felt that we were not likely to succeed in building the aircraft within a decade. We hastened to add that we had no quarrels with the concept of dreaming big; we only needed to remain practical and credible in our endeavor.
We felt that development of critical technologies in radar and engine should be pursued with vigor but that effort must not be tied to an aircraft project clearly identified for time-bound induction into the air-force as the risk of delay or failure of the project would be too high

We reminded ourselves that in ten years time our force strength would decline. We felt that our energies would be better spent in upgrading our present strength of aircraft with better technologies in sensors and weapons. We felt that in the MiG 21 BIS we had the most optimized 7 ton fighter aircraft available in the whole world. It was however already more that 20 years old. It was therefore attractive as a target platform for substantial technological up-gradation. If we could modernize its avionics, give it a nav-attack system, add electronic self-defence capabilities, add more modern communications and add newer guided weapons and hopefully put in a modern by-pass engine into the airframe then we would have a formidable aircraft on our hands. We felt that we would be capable of handling such a development.

Having cleared our own minds, we got down to the task of preparing a presentation to convince the rest of the Air Force.

It is easy to have a gut-feeling. It is also easy to convince yourself that your feeling is based on logic and reason. Perhaps it is even easy to find support for the ideas you are feeling from amongst your friends and your immediate colleagues. It is quite a different thing how ever to present your idea in front of a large audience comprising your bosses and perhaps a segment of critical friends. It was therefore a hard grind to prepare the presentation that was to be given to the AOC in C at Jodhpur.

We started the presentation with a bald and bold set of statements laying out the three summary views we had arrived at. We were sure that such a start would shake up the audience. To substantiate the first point we put the outline of the proposed LCA as received under a microscope, put every goal stated to a comparative study with the standards achieved by the MiG21 BIS, the Mirage 2000 and a general study of achievements within public knowledge anywhere in the world. We talked of structural weight and structural volume, we talked of clean aircraft design and of drag and lift, and we talked of thrust weigh ratios and of range and endurance. We talked of Specific Fuel Consumption and fuel carrying capacities within the airframe. Bit by bit we tried to prove that to create a structure that was somewhat lighter than the MiG21 and then extract aerodynamic performance from it that almost equaled the Mirage 2000 (which was about two tons heavier) would need us to technologically improve our performance in every single element of design and construction of the airframe and engine by at least fifteen to twenty percent from our currently known capabilities or aspirations. (We were yet to build a single operational jet engine). We felt that a time frame of ten years for this scale of achievements was implausible.

We now took up the case of proposed sensors. The proposal put out by the DRDO did not include a laser rangefinder for air to ground role. The assumption therefore was that the onboard radar would have to provide primary range data for air to ground role as well as air to air role. The problem as we saw it was we had never designed any airborne radar of any sort. The radar on the MiG 21 was rudimentary. None of the aircraft of the older generation like the Hunter/Gnat/Mystere/Marut had any airborne radar. The radar fitted in the maritime Jaguars were yet to enter service. The radar fitted to the Mirage 2000 had come without any transfer of technology. It was not clear whether we were capable or creating a duplicate that would be even better in performance. The proposed LCA was smaller that the Mirage 2000. Even if we had access to Mirage 2000 radar, would it fit into the smaller volume of the LCA? There was no indication that this had been considered. Therefore, we were totally dependent on the success of the proposed MMR. If that failed or was subjected to any delay the whole LCA project would be endangered.

We also dwelt on the Kaveri as the proposed engine for the LCA. The engine was far from a reality. Even if the first few prototypes of the LCA flew on some other engine, to commit to a production run of an aircraft yet to be built based on a maiden venture on an engine yet to be designed needed a leap of faith we were unable to make.

Thus I made our first point: If the DRDO is confident of achieving everything they have aimed at, God-Speed to them. We are however skeptical about their time frame of one decade. Therefore, we recommend that the effort of the DRDO be taken up as a national project not related to Air Force funds and plans. If the DRDO succeeds in its venture and a useable aircraft is produced, the Air Force can always induct that product as soon as it is available.

We then moved over to the second point of our presentation. A modern offensive air weapon system like a fighter aircraft contains many technologically advanced components that in 1982 were not produced in the country. Apart from an aero engine and an air interception radar, many other things like secure communication, Electronic Countermeasures and counter-countermeasures, pilots’ man/machine interface, survival equipment for the aircrew, oxygen systems, intelligent weapons and advanced sensors and so on. If we ever wanted to be capable of independent and effective military air and space operations, it would be necessary for us to master these technologies. We therefore felt that any research and development under taken by DRDO in these fields should be vigorously supported by the Air Force. Successes in these fields would enhance our abilities across the board. There was therefore no need to tie any of these R&D to any specific project. R&D on all component development should proceed vigorously.

The third point of our presentation was centered on our need to get some useable and effective aircraft into the air force within a decade. We mentioned that the Gnat was a spent force, the Hunters were becoming difficult to maintain, the SU-7 and the Type 77s would soon finish their lives. We needed credible replacements and we saw no inductions on the horizon. We therefore felt that a midlife upgrade for the MiG21BIS Type 75 was urgently needed. We felt that an upgrade should concentrate on new electronics and weapons. We also felt that if a less thirsty engine could be found for induction that would increase its radius of action it would be very good. We felt confident that the talent available in India was capable of delivering such an upgrade. We suggested that irrespective of what the DRDO plans about a project called LCA, the MiG21BIS upgrade program must be taken up without delay.

Ramu
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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby Ramu » 05 Sep 2013 14:28

I thought the topic in discussion is - IAF was kept away from working with this project and how important it is to include them.

At this moment, I want to stick to the topic.
We all know the technical difficulties that ADA faced (as any other design organisation would) during those crucial 20 years.
Also HAL fitted well as hand in glove with IAF's strategies till the recent BTT revelations. I am not going to discuss that either.

Sanku
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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby Sanku » 05 Sep 2013 16:05

Ramu wrote:I thought the topic in discussion is - IAF was kept away from working with this project and how important it is to include them.

At this moment, I want to stick to the topic.
.


It is, and as we can see from the above, the IAFs perspective was vastly different from ADA, as a result they decided to focus on their challenges while ADA continued to focus on theirs.

The whole issue starts right there. There is no good reason in the world for the two views to be misaligned at the beginning itself.

But if you are going to to use Air Cdr Rajkumar's views, on the topic, then IAF is now on board the best it can since 2006. HAL is yet not. Best to talk about that now no?

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby Philip » 05 Sep 2013 17:29

Ramu.AM PR was not the one repeatedly chosen to be DG ADA,whose appointment was sabotaged by babudom.It was a close colleague.AM PR was much later appointed in the lesser post of Proj. Dir.The DG ADA would've had total command of the ADA, the LCA and other ADA projects.He would've been the one to assess the tall talk by DPSUs ,esp. on Kaveri (the core of the aircraft) and recommend/take effective and timely decisions in the interest of the project.

Anyway,as said before,all that lies in the past.We can't recover the lost decade+,cost,whatever.Right now the 3 entities responsible are supposedly working together,at least we hope.However,one cannot keep on blaming the IAF for further delays.It is akin,as one wit put it,to an expectant father who has been waiting in the hospital for news of the birth of his baby for years.From time to time the doctors tell him that the baby's arrival is imminent and is being held up due to niggling technical matters and that more time and money is required.The doctors are now telling him that he must enter the delivery room and assist in the birth,otherwise the baby's arrival will be further delayed !

PS:The IAF's main responsibility is to thoroughly and quickly put the aircraft through its paces after delivery,draw up SOPs and recommend any modifications for series production for MK+1 and MK-2 so that it can be inducted into combat service asap.

vic
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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby vic » 05 Sep 2013 18:50

IAF wants the baby to be born with Harvard degree and A Swiss account.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby SaiK » 05 Sep 2013 19:25

If that is the disconnect, that needs to be resolved by a high level meeting chaired by some babu who knows what is Harvard degree, and has a swiss account. None else can be experienced than a babu to handle this situation. I think, we should be ashamed to discuss an issue that can be resolved by collaboration. It speaks bad about the whole program.

time and again, we have repeated that LCA can't be viewed like a product that is obtained like from Russia or France. is this hard to understand? We are developing capabilities from r&d to production here.. and these have to include operational capabilities, and none other than IAF has the expertise. They have to come forward to help team LCA to thrash out this documentation issue.

this is getting very childish... if we can't move forward with a given set of challenges. i don't want the same behavior continued say 5 years from now... the world is looking at us. bickering on such issues, will only show holes in our capabilities.

NRao
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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby NRao » 05 Sep 2013 19:38

this is getting very childish...


++1.

At this stage we really cannot go back and keep on rehashing. Core stuff has changed enough for everyone to move on.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby ramana » 05 Sep 2013 20:34

vic wrote:IAF wants the baby to be born with Harvard degree and A Swiss account.



IAF has to fight while DRDO can dream.
So they have to be realistic.

The tks tales piece on their recommendation to IAF is firmly grounded in reality as expected from a fighting force that has to execute.

All,

Besides on the eve of LCA being inducted why all this childish rhona/dhona?

Despite lack of essential technology, infrastructure, engine, compostite mfg facility, sanctions, its ready to be produced in quantity.


Along the way the nation built up many capabilities.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions

Postby Sagar G » 05 Sep 2013 21:30

Karan M wrote:Enough of your BS already.............


Be careful saar you might get a warning for calling a spade a spade other than the usual pompous lecture from people void of facts.

ramana wrote:IAF has to fight while DRDO can dream.
So they have to be realistic.


Anybody who supports indigeniation isn't asking the IAF to stop doing there job and start putting there men in a production line instead but the uncalled for comments coming from some of the IAF guys along with the misplaced arrogance is something which is not acceptable at all. Being critical is one thing and being downright disrespectful in another, IAF has been latter till very late and yet continues to do so.

Navy has been working with DRDO since the 90's to make indigenous torpedoes but has yet to see them getting inducted (other than TAL which has seen some limited induction and it is still being worked on) but they keep silently working in the background supporting the endeavour rather than wasting time in creating a public scene. Take a look at the attitude with which Navy is approaching the LCA naval programme and compare that with that of IAF's. There are many more such examples, so if IN can do it with much less percentage of defence budget why can't the other two forces ??? Beats logic no ???


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