>>>Still reeling from how much more it costs HAL to 'build' SU30MKIs vs. buying them from Russia.
HAL Su-30 MKI is around $65 Mn compared to claims of the Russian one being at $45 (which I doubt).
Its plain and simple infrastructure cost build up - machinery and human resource. The Soviet Union had the benefit of ordering more than the entire IAF order for Flanker airframes, and then equal numbers were ordered by the PRC. In our case, our costing by HAL includes the cost of building up a lot of that tooling and infrastructure cost to India, which HAL then has to "bill" the MOD for. The indigenization for the Su-30 MKI, component wise, is fairly high.http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/w ... 954024.ecehttp://www.business-standard.com/articl ... 636_1.htmlhttp://www.thehindubusinessline.com/com ... 552865.ece
This of course does not refer to the raw materials which by agreement have to be sourced from Russia (but which we can supplant if MOD coordinates this and asks HAL to fund efforts accordingly).
Strategic choices in short, do not come cheap. We are at 73% indigenization (parts) for an aircraft which is very complex and has a 1500km strike radius (with heavy payload and IFR/buddy refuelling). This is a phenomenal capability as we work out all the niggles and serviceability challenges. The new Govt (Parrikar and co) understand these issues and will fund both HAL & IAF accordingly (order enough spares & stockpile the imported units which have long lead times to make).
We are gradually indigenizing what we can - some of the avionics & so forth. Adding our own capabilities - Brahmos, Astra, HADF pods - all this is related to the "HAL cost".
In contrast, the PAF's pride and joy, the F-16 is pretty much 100% imported. It will be a cold day in .. before they can even think of putting SD-10s on them or add cheap Chinese bombs..
This is the same approach we wanted to employ for the Rafale as well. But the costs there will again add up. The Russians basically made a 38.8 Ton capable fighter with a 8T payload and made it huge. The Rafale carries around the same payload in a smaller airframe. The packaging & precision is an order of magnitude higher in many airframe components & will require huge investments as well.
News reports put it all on HAL saying 2.5x the labor etc hours. They critically miss out whether that's the initial workup & the overall breakout for TOT and tooling investments at HAL and elsewhere (Bharat Electronics eg for AESA). HAL has got around a lot of the capex for the Su-30 by outsourcing more and more to the private sector (as versus a "vertical structured build up" as it was hitherto doing).In short, the "enemy is us", is somewhat an oversimplification - because even if Reliance or TATA were to make the Su-30, its fairly likely we would still be costing the Su-30 much higher than what the Russians would. You have to pay the piper, someplace.
My "bias" suggests the L&T and TATA workforce might be better trained and even more productive, hence costs would be cheaper, and aircraft available faster. Reason I say bias, is because TBH, I have no data on whether they can build something as complex as the Su-30, yet.
At $65Mn, the Su-30 is still very valuable, and we should now invest in the spares & basing infra as a priority. A 80% serviceable Su-30 fleet, some 300 airframes strong, with high grade avionics & weaponry, is enough to act as a PAF killer and a PLAAF deterrence fleet almost all by itself.