Raj,the basic problem is that we make tall claims about inventing or re-inventing the wheel when we do not have either the design capability or technical capability to do so ...on time.There have been many papers about how we squandered our capability when the HF-24 was developed under Dr.Kurt Tank's leadership.Had we progressively pursued its development with a more powerful engine,we could've had a desi fighter AND the MIG-21 in service.Remember that we in the 60s and 70s had the Gnat,MIG-21,SU-7 and HF-24 in service.There was enough space for both contemporary Russian MIGs (interceptors) and a desi multi-role fighter to complement each other.There would've been no need for acquiring the Jaguar.We lost that opportunity thanks to a myopic attitude all round.
The flawed approach by those in charge of our desi development has also resulted in us not being able to build even a basic turboprop trainer,the crashes of our earlier effort forcing us to buy in knee-jerk fashion the excellent Pilatus PC-7.Why we still think of reinventing the wheel when so many basic trainers are available worldwide,one can't fathom.Surely one wants our pilots to have the best foundation ,and identifying and acquiring through a JV the best of the best would've saved us many years and the lives of many rookie pilots.
Same story for the Hawk.I can't remember the debate aeons ago about the twin-seat Ajeet/Gnat trainer,why it was not considered developing that aircraft into an IJT/AJT,as it was in production.The La Fontaine committee looking into the reason for crashes in the IAF,before he became ACM in the '80s, suggested that we acquire at haste an AJT.We did,the HAWK....20 YEARS LATER!!! Poor ACM La Fontaine has also gone to that great hunting ground in the sky with the Hawk acquisition yet to be completed.
Our IJT has had a bad start with the crash two air shows earlier.The delay in finding a suitable engine,Russian-found,some delays,also delayed matters a bit.there has been little news about the IJT for some time.I am sure that the IAF is getting cheesed off yet again so will we have another firang IJT in the future if the IJT does not arrive on time?
Even a casual glance will see that it is the aero-engine problem right from basic trainers to IJTs,AJTs,fighters,helicopters,that has not been attended to and bedevilled programmes since the days of the HF-24.Like Tamilnadu,we are still waiting for "Kaveri" waters to flow! A revolution in attitude towards development of aero-engines,marine engines,engines for armoured vehicles,etc., by drawing up a master-plan for a new comprehensive engine R&D outfit to cater to the needs of the services is past time.One key factor is our backwardness in aero-engine mettallurgy,which we will have to beg,borrow or steal.If we remain focussed and relentless like the Chinese,we will succeed.Half-hearted R&D as has been conducted for decades will produce nothing worthwhile.