^^ Another plus is this:
India Today, May 2010
"One of the most important recommendations is the creation of a 17-member Defence Technology Commission (DTC) along the lines of the Atomic Energy Commission. It is to be headed by the defence minister and will comprise the three service chiefs and secretaries of space, atomic energy commission, defence and defence finance. "
My issue is this is still not enough as it will not provide enough insight into individual programs such as the MCA which are very service & domain specific. While DTC can come up with a set of higher level reccomendations, say "we need X SLBM able to avoid ABM and with range of YYYY km, etc", the actual drilldown into the MCA itself needs more work.
For that, we need (on the IAF end) an organization akin to AFRL:http://www.afrl.af.mil/
Now, this can also be accomplished - to some extent, not all, and avoiding resource duplication - by setting up dedicated cells in the R&D organizations, staffed by IAF/civilian scientists, dedicated to this task, say in ISRO/DRDO/NAL.
But the greater need is for an Integrated Aeronautics Commission, that should chart out the entire aeronautics development across the length and breadth of India, identify technologies, requirements, and work to fill those gaps, and also help in monitoring/auditing these programs.
Programs should be launched which maximize use of common technology across the board and also have a consistent program for national objectives ---> like building jet engines.
Otherwise, what we have is the current approach, where these activities are linked entirely
to specific programs and launched in parallel, and the program becomes dependent on them. This is a recipe for high risk. Case in point, Kaveri.
Once the requirement for a certain high level capability is required, then the program can be finetuned for specific platforms in turn. This will also mean more opportunities are identified to begin with, and multiple stakeholders are brought on board by the aeronautical commission with representatives from each (like DTC), and everyone is on the same page.
It is otherwise very disheartening to read (as in the Tejas story), that the IAF Program Manager for Tejas was treated shabbily as he was thought to be having a good time at Bangalore, when he was doing such an important job and that the Tejas Managers had to run around convincing people to allocate resources! If its importance was recognised at the highest level, by everyone concerned, then it is everyones responsibility and everyone contributes, and program management will also be more transparent and successful.
There will be an overarching vision and mission for the entire community, then. Starting from:
- Overall programs - planes and helicopters
- Local technology development required (engines, structures, radars, gadgets)
- Comprehensive plans to fill in the gaps
- Proper usage of offsets to either acquire technology or keep business running
- Look towards more ambitious, integrated aims to export aircraft
A lot of this is currently being done by individual organizations, trade groups etc but some is also not being done (eg long term engine development beyond military use). Even if original owners keep their responsibilities, a high level coordination committee can at least identify and align resources and commitment to such ventures, instead of case by case approvals and intra-organization politicking.
Just my thoughts.