deejay wrote:The IAF as per you has received a lot of increased budget enabling import because it seems it has a bias. So what are those items? Where are the equipment which were imported but could have been locally sourced? The C 130, the C 17, the IL 78's, the Phalcon AWACS, the Embraer, the Hawks, the Mi 17 V5's - which could be got locally and could we have avoided the import? If you buy, you are import passand, if you don't you are not learning lessons from Kargil or Parakram. So what do you do? You do the latter. Your decisions will be called costly and anti Indian MIC, at least you won't be called out for professional negligence. ]This Op Preparedness is the Bigger Picture and the development of a local MIC is an add on responsibility which I am not sure the IAF is against.[ Is it doing enough? What is enough? What is expected by the GOI out of IAF on these?
The VVIP deal was a scam and had nothing to do with - IAF likes imports. An ex Chief of IAF has been faulted there, but that was one Chief and not the entire spectrum of Chiefs. And that Chief if in the wrong was fraudulent and based on which should we identify fraud with the IAF ethos or biases?
The HAL - IAF trust deficit better be sorted out and that is a problem. But a lot of what you point out is conjecture and based on half truths pedaled around as news. The dependence on imports has to reduce but it is not just the IAF's baby. For the IAF, the first priority is and should always remain the Op Preparedness and there they know best (unless you think that IAF comprises of incapable people).
Reference your part in bold.
There is one fundamental problem with this approach of the IAF "op preparedness via imports" as versus working with local industry to create a sustainable alternative, and that is all the supplier has to do is mess up and IAFs op preparedness goes for a toss. Time and again it is the case - whether it be IAF struggling because there are no tires for the Su-30 MKI and then running to MRF to help it out or whether due to Russian incompetence or intransigence when IAF expands & finds Russia is not able to provide tooling or even ROH facilities in time to HAL (delayed by 3 years till this year).
Judging by your post & the attitude of many IAF folks, they consider development of a local MIC as an "add on responsibility" versus "op preparedness" which can boosted by quick fix imports. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to have yet struck them (if your post reflects their line of thinking) that op preparedness is always at risk when almost all of the platform is sourced from abroad (As versus a local platform with import content but design/developed local). If a HAL product has issues, IAF can make HAL look into the issue to whatever extent. When it imports, it cannot even guarantee support for purchased products which are always at hostage to monetary squabbles or political issues.
This has happened so many times that its not even rare:
1. MiG grounding during Soviet collapse - IAF then relied on Jags/Mirages & built up spares at HAL/BRD
2. MiG-29 grounding due to design/production deficiencies -slowly rectified
3. Mirage 2000 spares stuck till India struck a compromise with France
4. Su-30 MKI spares/Overhaul stuck till MOD/HAL managed to get them moving this year
In short, its not an add on responsibility to develop a local MIC, its directly tied to their mandate and they should understand it. Not a question of national pride but hard nosed reality.
Next, the local MIC cannot do it on its own, because the users unique perspectives are necessary. An engineer with even 10 years of experience will not know the conditions a fighter pilot faces when operating the equipment and what can make a huge difference unless the fighter pilot works with him (even on deputation). Basically, program management from IAF needs to buck up.
In the LCA, a huge number of delays were baked into the program by the IAFs lack of interest to engage with the team till 2007. All sorts of changes have been requested to the aircraft, systems, which could have been done earlier in parallel to the platform tests, but were held off because the designers were unaware these would be necessary from the IAFs operational POV since the original ASR could not address every minutae. Now it is these delays which add up to a significant time in turn.
Folks from the IAF deputed to these programs need to be retained as well, lest their experience is lost. Its not an add on sort of thing, and if the IAF continues in this manner - local platform development will continue to suffer. Nobody wants to work their heart out on a stepchild program which is used to negotiate for better imports for foreign OEMs.