rohitvats wrote:Shiv - before I reply to your post, can you please clarify what you understood by 'only 36 a/c' part? I meant Rafale while your post talks about need for LCA. Are we on the same plane?
Rohit, I meant Rafale, like you did but as an afterthought let me explain how it applies to the LCA as well
What did Fali Major mean when he said:
having only 36 a/c adds to another type w/o offering the benefit of economy of scale.
Economy of scale in the case of the Rafale means that it will cost X Rupees for the Rafales, and Y Rupees for the infrastructure/training/maintenance. The idea is that if X is large (a larger order for Rafales) the Y part remains about the same, so when you scale up the order it becomes more economical. In other words the tip I pay to the barman is the same whether I have 3 drinks or one drink, so it makes more economic sense to buy three drinks. Fair enough, let me accept this as a valid economic argument. In other words a small, limited aircraft order of 2 Rafale squadrons is a mistake in terms of "economy of scale"
Now let us go back in time and check if the IAF has made this sort of mistake in the past, where the small order of planes was overshadowed by the pain and money for infrastructure, maintenance and training. It turns out that the IAF has done that in teh past with the Su-7, the MiG 23, the MiG 29 and the Mirage 2000. Once again the IAF has placed a small order for C-130s and C-17s and on the face of it - it looks like another blunder that does not offer the benefit of "economy of scale".
So why did the economy of scale argument not come up when all those limited orders were being placed? The answer is that those limited orders were placed for "operational necessity" and "operational preparedness" and we all must accept that operational preparedness is paramount and scores over bean counting like "economy of scale" - the bania argument.
Why do we need Rafales? You know the reason but I will repeat for the benefit of others. The IAF wanted Mirage 2000s. The government of Sonia Gandhi said "Let us have a competition and we will buy you the winner
". So the MMRCA fly off was held and the Mirage 2000 was never in it. The IAF had lost there and then and were led on a wild goose chase expecting to get 4+ generation when they asked for 3 plus gen. If the fukin government had shut its Italian trap back then and got the Mirages then the IAF would not be squirming and being called fools now. We now need Rafales because of 'Operational necessity". Those 36 Rafales will have to be bought for reasons of operational necessity, just like the Su-7, MiG 23s, MiG 29s and Mirage 2000s were bought in the past for "Operational necessity". Economy of scale is atta for rotis. Operational necessity is IV fluids. The economy of scale argument does not apply when it comes to operational necessity.
The economy of scale argument made by respected Fali Major sir is a bogey because the exact same "economy of scale" argument applies to the LCA as well. Give bigger orders, and make the LCA cheaper overall, and get an aircraft approximately on par with the Mirage 2000 the IAF wanted but cannot get now, but get the MiG 21++ that they originally wanted. They are also getting a plane designed to be multirole from the outset. Unlike the MiG 23.And the MiG 29. And the Mirage 2000. And the Su-30 MKI.
Remember the IAF is getting an extra 36 Rafales over and above this. So what is there to complain about?