chaanakya wrote:<SNIP>If IOC-1 or 2 config was good for IAF to begin with and there was no major changes in airframes then it makes sense to order in good numbers from the start.
But that exactly is the fallacy in argument being extended time and again on this forum! That LCA Mk1 is good for IAF in current form. When the fact of matter is that it is not.
From Srinagar in North to Naliya in Gujarat, there are many IAF bases which house Mig-21 M/MF, Mig-21 Bis or Mig-21 Bison squadrons. Airbases like Pathankot, Udhampur, Sirsa, Suratgarh, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Barmer are all equipped with at least one fighter squadron. And that fighter squadron operates Mig-21. And in Air Defense being the primary role.
So, every time you hear a news story about IAF fighters being scrambled to intercept unidentified object, 99% chance is that this fighter will be Mi-21.
As the things stand today at IOC-2 stage, IAF cannot order more LCA Mk1 and start putting these up in these air bases to defend the Indian skies.
There is still merit in the argument that LCA Mk1 at FOC, which IAF has been reluctant to induct in large numbers, can be placed in these bases to take on duties of existing Mig-21 squadrons (except Mig-21 Bison). But definitely not the IOC-2 stage LCA Mk1.
It having a superlative ability to drop dumb bombs with great accuracy, carry LGB and all other features (beyond a Mig-21, Mig-27 or Jaguar even) does not make it a platform to undertake the primary responsibility.
There is a reason why Mig-27 are in Jodhpur and Jaguars are in Ambala/Gorakhpur while Mig-21 squadrons are in Barmer/Uttarlai, Jaisalmer and Bikaner.
If LCA had no clear capability why even order for 20 planes were given? It goes againt your stated position that order should be given only for proven fully capable A/cs. beats me. However I always thought LCA would have been a story of progressive , iterative development. Most of the time I talked about Block mode or tranche in the context of LCA. But then it is opinion of Aam admi not to be confused with technical stalwarts and IAF experts here.The questions I ask is for my better understanding and not to form some opinion about any agency.
The whole LCA program started because IAF had projected a requirement to replace its Mig-21 fleet. And IOC and FOC are milestones in this development. And basis constant reviews, it is expected that program will satisfactorily progress from Stage X to Stage Y. Had IAF felt that LCA program program will not reach FOC stage for whatever reason, I don't think it would have ordered even 20 IOC stage a/c. What good would these have been if FOC was not forthcoming?
As for tranche development - that is an argument bandied about only because LCA Program has repeatedly failed to meet the deadlines set by its very on program managers!
In their wisdom, people on here are asking IAF to accept a product (on a scale larger than 20 @ IOC-2) which falls short of basic requirements as expected by the consumer and agreed upon by the developer. And treat this half baked product as some sort of Tranche X!
IAF's basic requirement of LCA is to carry A2A missiles and drop bombs...It has already signed up on 20 a/c with lesser capability for training role. One can understand LCA having a lesser performance radar in Tranche 1 and more powerful in Tranche 2. Or some other capability enhancement. But between what IAF is getting at IOC-2 and FOC, where does Tranche development come into picture?
If IAF had policy of replacing all Mig21/Bis with LCA as and when it becomes available then that should have been clearly specified.
The whole raison d'etre of LCA program was and is Mig-21 replacement. But in their over zealousness of wanting to develop every critical technology to 'bridge the gap' with west, the R&D establishment forgot the little thing called operational requirement of the user.
As ADA , the lead agency for development, is not responsible for production and money comes from taxpayers it does not have to worry about order quantity . HAL , the agency responsible for production, is not getting either the approved , frozen design nor firm order, is asked to set up assembly line for 20+20 A/Cs. It is also not getting any written future commitment from IAF and not sure if ADA would get FOC and when. So only way to set up production line is to burn taxpayers money without regard to scale or order.
The above is quite an interesting argument about production numbers and associated cost and stuff.
My question to you and others who talk about economy of scale and cost of manufacturing - How come we're missing the attitude that since LCA represents a great stride for Indian aviation complex, we'll do it, no matter what the cost! Even if we've to produce 40 a/c at higher production rate, we'll do it because it is important for India.
How comes hard nosed realities like economy of scale, cost of capital, per unit cost and stuff comes into calculation while emotional stuff about need to nurture indigenous product gets lost somewhere?
What about the hard-nosed realities of war and maintaining a fighting force which IAF faces? Why is it expected to 'adjust' and show leniency but same is not expected of HAL?