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Chronicle of DRDO/PSU missed targets & extended timelines

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Re: Chronicle of DRDO/PSU missed targets & extended timeline

Postby Pratyush » 20 Jun 2015 11:14

But a start will have to be made some how, like it was done with the Tata Kestral. Once done, I am sure that the pvt entities can come up with own designs.

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Re: Chronicle of DRDO/PSU missed targets & extended timeline

Postby Avinash R » 20 Jun 2015 21:30

vnmshyam wrote:Probably a dumb question, is there any private org in India that could build an aircraft around kaveri, either a single engined or twin if the thrust is inadequate? Could leverage tech developed for Tejas ( fwb etc. without the extra fancy stuff) on license basis.

why not? if ambani is willing to take a stab it can be done. Start a JV, appoint a few experienced consultants and the most important part, dont let the MoD micromanage the project.

Now, Reliance Group seeks licence to make airplanes
Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group has applied to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), the nodal agency for foreign direct investment, for licenses to make defence and aerospace products.

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Re: Chronicle of DRDO/PSU missed targets & extended timeline

Postby Picklu » 20 Jun 2015 21:44

^^ The above mentioned Ch**ya could not keep RCOM viable when it was handed to him on a platter. Power, minerals - you name it, he has lost investors' wealth in it and now the hope is that he will satisfy the Indian Military? Bcoz he is private with connection and can play dirty?

Either our security or our tax money will go down the drain ...

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Re: Chronicle of DRDO/PSU missed targets & extended timeline

Postby Vayutuvan » 20 Jun 2015 23:33

Shiv: Wow. Very categorical. Let us wait and see watch.

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Re: Chronicle of DRDO/PSU missed targets & extended timeline

Postby shiv » 21 Jun 2015 07:35

vayu tuvan wrote:Shiv: Wow. Very categorical. Let us wait and see watch.

:D Interesting comment and very guarded and sensible, so +1 for that

This is not about you personally, but I have found (in general) that people on BRF and other public fora tend to get upset when they are told things that they do not want to believe in their heart of hearts. But when it comes to aircraft - it is better to face the bald truth. Now, in 2015 I am seeing some "movement" in the private sector which will make categorical assertions like I have made totally wrong in about 10-15 years. Not before that. I have been watching the Indian aerospace industry for too long to have any other hope in this regard.

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Re: Chronicle of DRDO/PSU missed targets & extended timeline

Postby Avinash R » 21 Jun 2015 10:51

Picklu wrote:^^ The above mentioned Ch**ya could not keep RCOM viable when it was handed to him on a platter.

Who says RCOM is not viable? Do you even follow the news? RCom Q4 net profit jumps by 46% to Rs 228 crore

Picklu wrote:Either our security or our tax money will go down the drain ...

Right now both our security and tax money are going down the drain due to the stellar efforts of OFB.

The poor workmanship of our DPSU turns even rugged weapons into crap. Case in point is the INSAS rifle which the OFB has successfully managed to sabotage and put the blame on DRDO, while conspiring to place a massive import order for IMI's Tavor rifle in lieu of kickbacks.

Ex-DG of ordnance board held in arms deal scam
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested the just-retired director-general of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and three of his associates for allegedly fixing several defence deals in favour of foreign suppliers, especially Israel Military Industries.

The CBI blew the lid of the scam and IMI was blacklisted. So now the armed forces have been saddled with a weapon which has been produced to be defective and its replacement cant be imported due to the blacklisting of the firm.

Due to the black deeds of the OFB babu the nation's security is threatened. Those corrupt commie slackers even get paid even without doing any work. see OFB factory at korwa which produces nothing and yet the workers are being paid for years. ... 09678.html This is how your tax money is being used or rather wasted.

In OFB if one is connected to the corrupt C system, he is promoted and the results are evident.

A fresh induction of talent from private sector can change the tide and even the slackers in OFB know it and are evidently afraid of it. Those traitors even prepared to strike work hearing rumours that TATA's had managed to produce a better product than them.

Tata gun, swadeshi bofors are different products: Gun Carriage Factory chief
In fact, the union leaders went to the extent of imputing a conspiracy to shut down GCF- one of the oldest defense installations in the country- and prepared to strike work.

OFB motto should be "We produce crap and cant beat our competition, So we will force the armed forces to buy our crap".

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Re: Chronicle of DRDO/PSU missed targets & extended timeline

Postby Picklu » 22 Jun 2015 18:13

^^ The point is not in support of OFB.
The point is to choose the proper private partner. There are successful private orgs with years of successful product development and collaboration history behind them.
Then there are some with money and connections from family ties and not so successful history.
Nobody is opposing Tata SED, L&T, Mahindra Defense, Bharat Forge, Ashok Layland or Godrej & Boyce. I wish I could put choota Ambani in that same group.

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Re: Chronicle of DRDO/PSU missed targets & extended timeline

Postby member_23694 » 23 Jun 2015 17:34

Not sure if posting in the right topic, still an interesting read ... 85523.html

When an air warrior fired ‘poetic missiles’ penetrating R&D hearts…
Written by: Dr Anantha Krishnan M

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Re: Chronicle of DRDO/PSU missed targets & extended timeline

Postby ramana » 23 Jun 2015 18:19

Picklu wrote:^^ The point is not in support of OFB.
The point is to choose the proper private partner. There are successful private orgs with years of successful product development and collaboration history behind them.
Then there are some with money and connections from family ties and not so successful history.
Nobody is opposing Tata SED, L&T, Mahindra Defense, Bharat Forge, Ashok Layland or Godrej & Boyce. I wish I could put choota Ambani in that same group.

Picklu, Why not start a thread on mil-industry complex in France and US to learn some lessons?

it would clear up many myths about Indian private industry jump starting or taking up complex projects in India without massive govt. and political involvement.

My thesis is both France an US heavily subsidize their private industry and most of the technology is developed in their Govt. labs.

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Re: Chronicle of DRDO/PSU missed targets & extended timeline

Postby Picklu » 23 Jun 2015 23:11

^^ Will try next week Sir. From tomorrow till Monday on a training program :( .. I will be glad if I even get to log on to BRF.

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Re: Chronicle of DRDO/PSU missed targets & extended timeline

Postby shiv » 25 Jun 2015 18:15

It takes two hands to clap.

One hand is the defence research and manufacture industry. This thread is to call out their bumbling.The other hand are the armed forces.

The thread to pinpoint lacunae on the armed forces side is linked below

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Re: Chronicle of DRDO/PSU missed targets & extended timeline

Postby shiv » 15 Jul 2015 04:42

This article deserves a place in this thread ... s-arrives/

The Tejas Arrives……
Posted on April 2, 2012 by tkstales

The morning papers on 11 Jan 2011 were full of details of the ceremony at Bangalore declaring the Initial Operational Clearance for the Light Combat Aircraft now named Tejas. It was certainly a happy moment. For those of us who are not so young any more, such happy news brings with it a flood of memories from the past but connected closely to the source of happiness at hand.

My mind dwelt on the time of the later part of 1982. I had then settled down as the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) at Jamnagar, having moved there after a very exciting tenure at the Ministry of Defence as the project manager for the induction of Jaguar aircraft. We were living through a period of exciting times in the Air Force. The Jaguar had been inducted through a massive project of purchase and manufacture. Soon thereafter, the Government had also decided to purchase the Mirage 2000 which was really a modern aircraft. It seemed that at long last the Government was keen to equip the air force with the weapons it deserves.

One fine morning at about that time I received a call from my AOC in C Air Marshal JR Bhasin. The Air HQ desired that the DRDO would take on the task of designing and building a modern fighter aircraft that could be used by the air force. An outline of a proposal received from the DRDO was available with the Command HQ. The Air HQ had decided to seek field level opinion about the proposal and tabulate the wish list of the operators so that a consolidated response could be put out to the MOD and the DRDO. For this purpose a very broad based conference had been planned at the Air HQ where the operational commands and the VCAS and DCAS were to present their wish list in the form of a presentation. To prepare for the conference at Delhi, the AOC in C wanted all his field commanders and staff to apply their minds on the subject and then come down to the Command HQ at Jodhpur for a session of brain storming. He had sent a copy of the papers received from the Air HQ to me by post and I should get that by the next day. We had about four days to think about the task and to gather at Jodhpur.

I became rather exited. It is not often that one is invited to participate in shaping of the future. My base Jamnagar was one of the most active fighter stations of the Air Force. I knew that my unit commanders and their subordinate staff would be as excited about the project as I was. I called in my unit commanders and the Chief Operations Officer (COO) and informed them about the impending task. The anticipation for the detailed information to arrive was delectable.

The details were received through mail next morning. It was contained in a few pages of print. It described the intention to build a single engine tail-less delta plan-form aircraft powered by an engine designed by the GTRE. It was to have a multi-purpose radar designed and built within the country that was to be totally contemporary and to be highly capable in the air to air / air to ground / maritime roles. The aircraft was to be an unstable platform controlled by ‘fly by wire’ technique. It was also to contain all functionalities of a small agile low-observable fighter that could be found anywhere in the world at that point of time. Its projected weight was to be seven tons empty. It was to be designed and developed within about ten years. This dream, the DRDO felt, was achievable. Personally I disagreed with that statement.

Group Captain KN (Pinki) Pillai was at that moment commanding the TACDE based on my station. Wing Commander Sunil Gulati was commanding 29 Squadron. Wing Commander Jeff D’Souza was commanding 45 Squadron. Group Captain Ravi Kumar was my Chief operations Officer. We quickly got into a huddle to formulate a point of view on the missive we had received. The discussion soon heated up and we included other senior pilots and engineers from the units into the discussion. The source of the heat generated was the vagueness of the objective of the exercise.

Indeed, the write-up that we had received was rather confusing. The project seemed extremely ambitions. An airframe to be built with extensive use of composite material of which we had no previous experience, an engine that was still on paper, a radar set that was to be better than our imported best and yet be lighter in weight and perhaps a bit smaller in size, an electronic control system for an unstable platform (the struggle with the control laws for the Gnat being still vividly in our memory), a completely unconventional digital man/machine interface while we had no experience at all of the new fangled concept of a ‘glass cockpit’, and all this within a decade! It sounded implausible. At the same time, the paper sent down to us clearly gave us the impression that this super duper futuristic aircraft was what we were required to commit for in ten years’ time. Our Hunters, Gnats, Maruts, Mig21s would all start winding down in the nineties. If we did not start planning for these replacements realistically from now (the early eighties), we shall have undermined the ability of the air force to perform its task.

The vigor of our discussion soon pushed us into smoke and sparks rather than a beam of focused light and we had to draw back and ask ourselves whether we knew what we were talking about. What in our collective wisdom should be the focus of our comment? At last we summarized our views as follows:

We felt that the proposed aircraft was over-ambitious. We felt that we were not likely to succeed in building the aircraft within a decade. We hastened to add that we had no quarrels with the concept of dreaming big; we only needed to remain practical and credible in our endeavor.
We felt that development of critical technologies in radar and engine should be pursued with vigor but that effort must not be tied to an aircraft project clearly identified for time-bound induction into the air-force as the risk of delay or failure of the project would be too high

We reminded ourselves that in ten years time our force strength would decline. We felt that our energies would be better spent in upgrading our present strength of aircraft with better technologies in sensors and weapons. We felt that in the MiG 21 BIS we had the most optimized 7 ton fighter aircraft available in the whole world. It was however already more that 20 years old. It was therefore attractive as a target platform for substantial technological up-gradation. If we could modernize its avionics, give it a nav-attack system, add electronic self-defence capabilities, add more modern communications and add newer guided weapons and hopefully put in a modern by-pass engine into the airframe then we would have a formidable aircraft on our hands. We felt that we would be capable of handling such a development.

Having cleared our own minds, we got down to the task of preparing a presentation to convince the rest of the Air Force.

It is easy to have a gut-feeling. It is also easy to convince yourself that your feeling is based on logic and reason. Perhaps it is even easy to find support for the ideas you are feeling from amongst your friends and your immediate colleagues. It is quite a different thing how ever to present your idea in front of a large audience comprising your bosses and perhaps a segment of critical friends. It was therefore a hard grind to prepare the presentation that was to be given to the AOC in C at Jodhpur.

We started the presentation with a bald and bold set of statements laying out the three summary views we had arrived at. We were sure that such a start would shake up the audience. To substantiate the first point we put the outline of the proposed LCA as received under a microscope, put every goal stated to a comparative study with the standards achieved by the MiG21 BIS, the Mirage 2000 and a general study of achievements within public knowledge anywhere in the world. We talked of structural weight and structural volume, we talked of clean aircraft design and of drag and lift, and we talked of thrust weigh ratios and of range and endurance. We talked of Specific Fuel Consumption and fuel carrying capacities within the airframe. Bit by bit we tried to prove that to create a structure that was somewhat lighter than the MiG21 and then extract aerodynamic performance from it that almost equaled the Mirage 2000 (which was about two tons heavier) would need us to technologically improve our performance in every single element of design and construction of the airframe and engine by at least fifteen to twenty percent from our currently known capabilities or aspirations. (We were yet to build a single operational jet engine). We felt that a time frame of ten years for this scale of achievements was implausible.

We now took up the case of proposed sensors. The proposal put out by the DRDO did not include a laser rangefinder for air to ground role. The assumption therefore was that the onboard radar would have to provide primary range data for air to ground role as well as air to air role. The problem as we saw it was we had never designed any airborne radar of any sort. The radar on the MiG 21 was rudimentary. None of the aircraft of the older generation like the Hunter/Gnat/Mystere/Marut had any airborne radar. The radar fitted in the maritime Jaguars were yet to enter service. The radar fitted to the Mirage 2000 had come without any transfer of technology. It was not clear whether we were capable or creating a duplicate that would be even better in performance. The proposed LCA was smaller that the Mirage 2000. Even if we had access to Mirage 2000 radar, would it fit into the smaller volume of the LCA? There was no indication that this had been considered. Therefore, we were totally dependent on the success of the proposed MMR. If that failed or was subjected to any delay the whole LCA project would be endangered.

We also dwelt on the Kaveri as the proposed engine for the LCA. The engine was far from a reality. Even if the first few prototypes of the LCA flew on some other engine, to commit to a production run of an aircraft yet to be built based on a maiden venture on an engine yet to be designed needed a leap of faith we were unable to make.

Thus I made our first point: If the DRDO is confident of achieving everything they have aimed at, God-Speed to them. We are however skeptical about their time frame of one decade. Therefore, we recommend that the effort of the DRDO be taken up as a national project not related to Air Force funds and plans. If the DRDO succeeds in its venture and a useable aircraft is produced, the Air Force can always induct that product as soon as it is available.

We then moved over to the second point of our presentation. A modern offensive air weapon system like a fighter aircraft contains many technologically advanced components that in 1982 were not produced in the country. Apart from an aero engine and an air interception radar, many other things like secure communication, Electronic Countermeasures and counter-countermeasures, pilots’ man/machine interface, survival equipment for the aircrew, oxygen systems, intelligent weapons and advanced sensors and so on. If we ever wanted to be capable of independent and effective military air and space operations, it would be necessary for us to master these technologies. We therefore felt that any research and development under taken by DRDO in these fields should be vigorously supported by the Air Force. Successes in these fields would enhance our abilities across the board. There was therefore no need to tie any of these R&D to any specific project. R&D on all component development should proceed vigorously.

The third point of our presentation was centered on our need to get some useable and effective aircraft into the air force within a decade. We mentioned that the Gnat was a spent force, the Hunters were becoming difficult to maintain, the SU-7 and the Type 77s would soon finish their lives. We needed credible replacements and we saw no inductions on the horizon. We therefore felt that a midlife upgrade for the MiG21BIS Type 75 was urgently needed. We felt that an upgrade should concentrate on new electronics and weapons. We also felt that if a less thirsty engine could be found for induction that would increase its radius of action it would be very good. We felt confident that the talent available in India was capable of delivering such an upgrade. We suggested that irrespective of what the DRDO plans about a project called LCA, the MiG21BIS upgrade program must be taken up without delay.

Having created the presentation, we polished it for a couple of days. The task of verbal delivery of the presentation was shouldered mainly by me and Pinky Pillai with able help from the rest of the members of the team. We had many talented young officers on the station. Our audio visual support for the planned presentation came to a high standard. We then proceeded to Jodhpur for the conference.

The other two major stations of the SWAC, Jodhpur and Bhuj, had kept their presentations simple. They functioned on the premise that the DRDO would deliver what ever was being promised. They just asked for a few additional items like laser ranger. The presentation at Jodhpur was an easy walk-over for us. We evoked a lot of opposition that we readily overcame. Our presentation was technically superior as we had much more resources and manpower than the other stations. After a day of debate we were chosen as the SWAC team for the presentation at the Air HQ.

The Gathering at the Air HQ was big. Mr Shahariyar, the Scientific Advisor to the Chief of the Air Staff was the organizer for the meeting as he represented the DRDO to the Air Force. However, the Directorate of Air Staff Requirements (DASR) under Air Vice Marshal JW (Johney) Greene took over the actual conduct of the conference, as ultimately they would have to become the nodal agency for induction of an indigenous aircraft.

In 1982, the SWAC was the youngest of the operational commands. We were therefore called upon to make our presentation after the other commands had had their say. The morning was tending to become a bit monotonous. It seemed to me that most of the presentations were based on thin air! At long last it was my turn. The auditorium was full of dignitaries. The Chief, Air Chif Marshal Idris Latif was present. All his PSOs and most of the ACASs and Directors were also present. There was a senior rep from the Navy. The HAL, the NAL and many other DRDO Labs were represented. The hall was actually overflowing with middle ranking officers, many of them standing two or three deep in the rear. The SWAC team took the stage. Very soon all the monotony of the morning was gone. The audacity and challenge of our presentation shook up the audience. I am however not sure whether the Chief took to our presentation kindly. He was an ardent supporter of the concept of the LCA. Our open disbelief of the DRDO’s claims and aims ran contrary to the theme of the conference. There was a frown on his face as we rambled on, and he left the hall before we came to the end of our presentation. He did however come back to be present during the vociferous Q&A session that followed.

There were some more presentations to be done after we finished. The day rolled on after a lunch break. Some time before the end of the proceeding and the summing up, I was told not to plan my departure from the Air HQ without checking with the DASR. We had planned to return on the following day. Pinky and I cancelled our plans and stayed back. Next day when we reported to the DASR, we were asked to prepare a paper summary of our presentation that included not only what we had said in the presentation but also the substance of the discussions that had followed. We struggled for a couple of days and submitted a paper. It was not a very hopeful one.

After returning to Jamnagar, we did not get involved with the LCA project at all. I had a station to command and that took all my attention. I enjoyed my job so thoroughly that I did not spare a thought for the LCA during my stay in Jamnagar. Apparently however, I did not do a good job of of my base command. I was overlooked by the promotion board. I was sent away as the CI of the Defence Services Staff College at Wellington. It was a slot for an AVM but I filled it in my lower rank hoping that the next promotion board will elevate my rank. Once again, I enjoyed my job and scarcely spared a thought for the LCA for the duration of my stay as the CI(Air) at the DSSC.

TheAir Force is ultimately a small society. Over a period of time and for any seniority band, every body gets to know (about) everybody else. From the DSSC at Wellington, I had many occasions to go down to Bangalore. There, I invariably met Ramu (then Air Commodore PM Ramachandran) who was then the Commandant of the ASTE (Aircraft and Armament Testing Establishment). He was a keen observer of the progress of the LCA project and, like most of us, wished it well. During one of these visits he told me that the DRDO had asked him to come and join the LCA team at a senior level. He was not however keen to leave the Air Force and go over to DRDO permanently. He was willing to do a limited tenure there on deputation. The DRDO had requested the Air Force for him to be deputed and the Air Force had declined to let him go. We had long interactions about the LCA, primarily laced with disappointment and lack of hope. The initial inputs for our 1982 conference had been put together by the HAL design bureau. A design study for this project had begun in 1983 but we had very little information filtering through on its progress The progress on Kavery was slow, the information on MMR was vague. Some other developments from the electronics fields were somewhat more encouraging. We had very little idea about the progress of the aerodynamic/structural development. NAL seemed upbeat about their progress on composites.

On 31 October 1984 I was in Nashik with the Industrial And Demonstration Tour for the Staff College students. The news of the assassination of the PM and the mayhem that followed stopped us on our tracks. A few extra days were spent at Nashik under high uncertainties. To keep myself occupied at that time, I spent a lot of time with my friend Wing Commander P Ashok. He was then the Chief Test Pilot with HAL Nashik. In the process, I ran into Sri Kota Harinarayana. Kota was then with CRE and was located in Nashik. He was a man on the go. Ebullient and enthusiastic, he spent a lot of his time on design studies for the proposed LCA, though he was not in the LCA development team as yet. At that moment, he had just completed a study of wing-leading edge- root extension on a MiG 21. He had proposed it and had been authorized to carry out the experiment. He was quite excited about it and he took me to see the aircraft that had been modified. To me, it looked like a small modification, somewhat like the HT2 leading edge root extensions incorporated to provide a stall warning buffet. The MiG21 LREX experiment had by then been completed and the authorized number of sorties had been flown by Ashok. I did not investigate about the results of the experiment. However Sri Kota Harinarayana was really full about all the theoretical studies he was involved in for the proposed LCA. He was indeed very keen to join in the LCA effort. Soon thereafter, we learnt that the development tasks for the LCA had been shifted from the HAL Design Bureau / NAL to a new entity called ADA and Sri Kota Harinarayana had been placed as the head of ADA. The ADA took in a fair number of people from the HAL design Bureau. The lead designers from HAL / NAL who had worked on the project so far slowly drifted away.

By the middle of 1985 I moved on from the DSSC to take over the command of Ari Force Station Kalaikunda. It was a hectic tenure that kept me busy. The LCA did not enter in my thought process except an an object of keen interest. I was involved in a flying accident in February 1986 and spent the next few month in hospitals or in convalescence, plastered up to my hip. In August 1986 I retired from the Air Force. I was then only 52 years old. I was sure of my abilities. I was interested in the LCA project. It seemed to me that project management for the project needed to be strengthened. I felt sure that with my recent experience of managing the Jaguar project I could contribute. I therefore wrote a letter to Sri Arunachalam, who was then heading the DRDO, offering my services. There was a very prompt response to that letter. The SA to RM welcomed my gesture and promised to follow it up after due consultation with ADA. It was a very sweet letter, but that was the last I heard from the DRDO.

After my retirement I had more time on my hand. I kept track of the progress of the LCA project to the best of my ability. However, for the most par we only got bad news. By 1990 it had become quite clear the the time lines for the Kaveri will not match the time line for the LCA. The two projects had to be separated. Yet, the DRDO seemed blind to this need. The MMR progress was uneven. Some collaborative effort was necessary. There was no indication in the public domain that this need was being recognized. We got to know that the project definition phase for the LCA had been completed by 1989. A full scale engineering development (FSED) phase-I was sanctioned in 1993. It is difficult to list what exactly transpired relating to the project between 1989 and 1993. A higher risk alternative of digital quad-redundant path had been chosen for the fly by wire system, but no investments were being made for testing the system being developed. Instead of harnessing our own capability, the DRDO plumped for American help. This decision blew up in our face in 1998. Time ticked on. It became obvious to us that project management for LCA was not adequate.

By 28 Feb 1993 Ramu had reached his age of retirement. He was then a full Air Marshal holding the post of Vice Chief of the Air Staff. Dr Abdul Kalam was then the SA to RM. He wanted Ramu to take over the LCA project in the existing vacancy of Director General ADA as he had done good work earlier on the very successful “Jaguar Darin” project. Ramu was willing to take on the challenge provided his name was proposed jointly by DRDO & Air Force so that he was not identified as an “Air Force” man or a “DRDO” man and he could function freely in the interests of the project. Accordingly, the SA to RM routed the file through the CAS who concurred with the proposal and forwarded it to the RM Sri Sharad Pawar in Feb 93. It is learnt that the same got approval from three out of the four members of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) within a couple of months but was held up by the PMO for more than two years on various pretexts. It was examined by a few more search Committees all of whom had concurred with the original selection of Ramu. Dr Kalam intervened again and Ramu’s appointment was finally cleared by the PM in Jun 95. The file was then passed to the Establishment Directorate for issue of an official letter of appointment. Even after another one full year, this letter had not been issued. It looked as if no one other than Dr Kalam was interested in strengthening the LCA project Management, and even he was powerless to enforce his will in the face of departmental apathy/antipathy. Ramu was determined not to pursue his own case but act only if the formal appointment letter was issued. That post still remains vacant after almost two decades! That was that.

Once again it is difficult to list what exactly happened to the project between 1993 and 1998 beyond the public domain information that the FSED Phase – I was in progress and what ever information is included in Air Marshal Rajkumar’s book on the Tejas. In 1998 USA imposed an embargo on all support for the LCA and confiscated all data and documentation in possession of our team working there on proving the digital flight control system on an F-16 simulator. It seems that the team had not taken the precaution of backloading all their data every day. A lot of hard work now had to be redone by the team on their return to India. Ultimately, the LCA Technology Demonstrator-I flew for the first time on 4 Jan 2001.

Notwithstanding the passage of 19 years between our first conceptual meeting in 1982 and the first flight in 2001, we were all thrilled. The Air Force sanctioned the building of 5 prototype aircraft and 8 limited series production aircraft to help the project progress. As an act of faith, it also ordered first 20 and then another 20 aircraft to be built with the GE404 engine as the power plant. It was implicit in this action that the aircraft will obtain its full operational clearance by the time it enters squadron service.

From that first flight in 2001, it took another decade for the LCA, now named Tejas, to reach a partial ‘initial’ operational clearance in January 2011. This clearance appears to be a decorative clearance. By now the 5 prototype vehicles and 6 of the 8 limited series production aircraft have flown. More than one year has gone by since this partial IOC. The project seems to have hit some rough patch. Full IOC is yet to come. Progress appears slow. We have brilliant people working in the ADA, NAL, HAL, ADE, NFTC and the host of other organizations involved with the LCA. But is the Project for the LCA being managed well? That is the question. The long gestation period for this very important national project saddens me. My grand daughter Prakriti was born about a year after the project definition for the LCA was completed. Prakriti will graduate out of the UCLA in a few weeks, while I wait anxiously for the Tejas to collect it’s matriculation certificate!

Now a days when I think about the Tejas, many scenarios, many ‘what if’ s if you like, cross my mind. What if we had allowed the HAL design team to handle the development without going through the ADA route? What if Ramu or I were allowed to take on the project management? in 1983 – in 1986 – in 1993 – in 1996 ? What if we had the guts to depend on our own people for the development of the digital flight control system, some thing that we were ultimately forced to do anyway? What if we had listened to internal doubts expressed in muted tones and then in thunderous debates that the Kavery project will not and cannot match with the Tejas project in good time? This obvious decision had to be forced down our gullet after a long period of wasted time. (Those readers who had not been aware of the Tejas Project at that time may like to look up the transcript of the Address made by Ramu at the ASTE Seminar on Flight Testing on 10 December 1997. The full transcript was published by the Vayu Magazine). What if we had realized a couple of years earlier that the MMR will need foreign collaboration to fit into the Tejas program? What if we had coordinated our testing program more tightly with the existing assets of ASTE and HAL Flight Test Division rather than creating a brand new set-up of NFTC for the purpose? (I hasten to add that NFTC and Phillip Raj Kumar who was tasked to set it up did perform excellently. I only wonder whether we could have saved some time and resources?)

I also wonder if my original presentation in 1982 had any effect on the responses of the Air Force in relation to the LCA project? I have never regretted stating my opinion and my assessments during that presentation. I am glad that we were not swayed by over enthusiasm. I am glad that our assessment of the time required for the LCA project were more real than what was then the current wisdom. I am glad that the up-grade project of MiG21BIS to BISON standard came about. I am however sad that our professional judgement on our courses of actions to fulfill the task allotted to the Air Force is now criticized by people who do not carry the responsibility of keeping the Air Force fit for its tasks. And above all, I am saddened by the realization that in this project of developing the LCA we seem to have not reached our true potential. I know we can reach where we aim to. It has taken a long time. We are not yet there. But, we must continue till we succeed. A definitive determination to be honest to the nation, Politically, Administratively, Technologically and Morally, would help. There is no room for defeatism.

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Re: Chronicle of DRDO/PSU missed targets & extended timeline

Postby ramana » 15 Jul 2015 22:54

Found an old comment by Dr. Prodyut Das on state of HAL before LCA was assigned to ADA in 1983....

in tkstales blog spot... ... continues/

prodyut on May 26, 2012 at 5:47 am said:

There is “more than usual” consternation, work wise, at my end but I will snatch some time to reply using sometimes the very source quoted i.e. Air Marshal Rajkumar’s ( AMPR) book Chapter 2.
It shows at least how different readings can be -especially if one has to read between the lines. I also use my own direct experiences as I have had the opportunity to come across most of the people involved, however fleetingly or infrequently, and heard them several times.

1. Circa 1979 the Air Chief -IH Latif- initiated a RFP for the MiG 21 which was to start phase out mid 1995. He wanted a “cost effective ” replacement which is the technical term for Cheap and Simple.

2. HAL was the natural contender. Far from the moribund “pansy” organization “refusing to take up” advanced work HAL in the period 1970 to 1983 i.e. the formation of ADA HAL was a pretty active place as the brief partial list below shows

a) Project studies-HSS,HF73,HF25,HF24M53, HAC 33. Some of them went up to mock up stage
b) Aircraft re-engining: Lycoming HT2 to replace the Bombardier. HTT 34
c) Aircraft new version- Ajeet, Armed Kiran Mk 1A, Mk2 with Orpheus engine, HF24 Trainer
d) New Aircraft: Basant, HPT 32, Ajeet Trainer which I count as a new aircraft
Not to mention,of course, all the license production of various aircraft-Dornier, Helicopters, Overhaul and so on.
They also had trained people who had cut their teeth on the HF24 programme and Raj Mahindra had led the design of the first Jet military aircraft. HAL had also built close to 2000 aircraft

3. Compared to the above DRDO had
i) no production facility
ii) no experience. If you discard the small Hovercraft built at ADE in the sixties (by Kalam) , no design experience
iii) no people. It’s air component was manned by people who had “bureaucratic “exposure approving schemes for “concessions’ detailed out by HAL design bureaux.
iii) No experience whatsoever of the Technologies they INSISTED on using.

4. How did they walk away with the task?
Fired by the success of ISRO with the satellite DRDO used their contact at the highest level i.e. PM to urge the development of a” world class” fighter. Compare ‘world class” with the IAF requirement as at 1 above.
The Air Force was highly skeptical but ,and I quote AMPR from memory “not wanting to sound too negative” the IAF issued an AST.
Since the Scientific Advisor is also a Secretary in the Ministry of Defence production as well as being the Head of DRDO and since all PSU defence unit are under the Ministry the structure exists to fairly easily pressure any PSU to “abdicate” in favour of DRDO should the SA put his mind to it. This is possibly what happened and the then Chairman “agreed” to the creation of ADA.

I detail this to rectify the possible slander that “ADA was created because HAL was unwilling”.

5. Using this AST as a Trump card HAL was asked to bid. Quite naturally any patriotic, professional Organization would say “no” if one was serious about the 15 years to service requirement in mind. This is the basis of saying “Nor Organization was willing to undertake the Development…”. “Gumption shown …” and such irritating phrases

6.The SR Valluri /Raj Mahindra combination would have been definitely better. I say this with full confidence because I cannot imagine anything worse than the present situation….unless there is a Tsunami in Bangalore. :mrgreen:

7. The replacement of the above by Dr. Kota Harinarayana is difficult to explain. He was of course younger and had a PhD. but AFAIK he had NO Industrial or Design experience compared to the many possible HAL people. In fact the sudden moving on of ( it is alleged he was pressured ) PD Desai ,Chief Designer MiG Nasik plant saw an opportunity for the incumbent to become the Chief Designer for about 3-4 years. Dr.KH is of course a true blue DRDO man of great personal charm.

8. The sum of Rs. 546 crores was the sum allotted for FIVE prototypes. In any case further sums were allotted as and when ADA was ready to proceed further. Delays due to funding was never a prime cause for the present situation.

9. At all forums ADA maintained a high profile about the New Fighter. I have heard several such expositions. This present slant of the prime task being to bring Indian Industry to scratch is a bit of rewriting. As I mentioned earlier no herder keeps a bull just for the bullshit. As Mridula has also put we have a Hans Anderson’s ‘Fairy tale “Emperor’s New clothes ” like situation where any one dissatisfied with the progress is branded as an Agent, traitor or dimwit.

10. Given the present sortie rate and the fact is ( i am not sure if the figure is any longer secret but why take chances) …kgs overweight and the time required to build the lightened prototype and considering a production rate of about four airframes a year in the beginning it will be six years i.e. 2017 for the Mk1 to IOC . Off course if we have another PR exercise with the current overweight A/Cs the matter is different. The Mk 2, a comprehensive aerodynamic redesign, will take at least another 4-5 years thereafter.

Quite knowledgeable and perceptive about IOC being 2017. its finally being forecast at march 2016.
And the bit about ad-hoc nature of dealing with issues as they rise and no Plan B type of production organization.
The meantime IAF suffers squadron depletion.


prodyut on May 28, 2012 at 11:42 am said:

Shto delaesh ? What is to be done?


What you have asked for is really the Das Comission Report. Since this is not going to happen anytime today I am, if you promise not to show this to anyone else, giving you part of the the Executive summary!

The problem goes right up to the top. Have you ever seen a bottleneck at the bottom of a bottle?

It seem to me that when the Political leaders- of all hues- are unsure of the results of the next election they go back to doing what we all do in similar circumstances i.e. try harder doing the same things.

Unfortunately the model they use is obsolete. The basis of Leadership is Education- most tyrants were surprisingly well read- and information. Today the Public greatly outstrips the Leadership in both. Unfortunately all Political Parties are still following the High Labour, High cost route. This makes them hungry for enormous funds-the cost of organizing a ‘spontaneous ” protest – especially if the protest involves the use of low yield explosives-would break the bank of many small kingdoms.

A possible source of these funds is public expenditure. In doing this the Political parties,whichever is running the shop at that moment- is beholden to the Apparat-which is permanent. Naturally the Apparat would then ask for its pound of flesh. Preoccupation with winning the election causes distractions from the task of Nation building.Nehru was free of this;Aviation grew. China is free of this; Aviation grows. This is a handicap we will have to factor in.

Keeping this in mind:

The politicos ,the Bureaucracy and the Armed Forces must identify the kind of War they must fight. No one does it. The Taliban ‘s guffaws is seriously disturbing the sleep of the Americans. We do it even less because our Bureaucracy has this thing about “keeping the Army in its place” and the Politicos are too busy biting their fingernails as they watch the TV.

With such a complex situation we can only try Kaizen approach. Small steps small improvements.

1. The three hats of the SA to RM is two hats too many. The head of DRDO, the Scientific Advisor and the Secretary Defence production must be three different people. I wonder who thought for this one. You know ” Down to Jehennum or up to the throne, He travels fastest who travels alone”. It is usually Jehennum btw.

2. Don’t tip the Baby out with the Bathwater.DRDO ,like the Curate’s egg is good in parts.If you see any of the chaps ( and chappies!) of the Sonar Group -give them a standing ovation. They are brilliant and right up there. There are others who do useful if unspectacular work. The big ticket projects are there it seems possibly because it was too tiresome to explain why we don’t have this or that project.

3. There is ,and I speak from my meagre interaction with their various groups, much eagerness at the level of troops but unfortunately their field leaders lack Technical expertise and passion. This sometimes leads to amusing delays. they should be more free with hiring help outside the Biradari. They usually hire some Professor they had been to college with.

Perhaps it should be mandatory for their middle rung to spend time in active service at the level of squadron or fleet or battalion. Something like a permanent three years or so. Our DRDO is modelled on the British system but their SA to Churchill- Lord Lindemann- actually flew spin tests on aircraft when it was quite a fatal sort of a hobby to indulge in. You know PMS Blackett,who people here quote liberally,fought at the Battle of Jutland as a Midshipman. Our people? Three years compulsory active service would be essential.

4. DRDO should reorient itself to solving simple problems that occurs in large volumes. Body armour, smokeless propellants, pilot locating beacons,GPS tentage etc. It should also see ways to keep the Customer happy. If it can grow tomatoes and vegetables in Ladakh so that the IAF does not have to airlift it at all that would be an appreciated contribution. Desalination plants,packaged meals, things that can detect hidden insurgents at night or day, zero smell insect repellents etc.. There is a lot of money at the bottom of the pyramid. Closeness to the customer

5. We should also change our Marketing strategies and philosophies. We need bigger markets for our products. MEA has to be involved. We must seek to provide not just isolated equipment but a complete solution e.g. A complete Air Defence Solution including tactics, training, equipment, and so on.

I hope you got the drift of my thoughts




prodyut on May 30, 2012 at 5:49 am said:

Mridula ( this is a re-post because the original got hidden somewhere-sorry!)

Despite everything I have said above I still insist that a lot can be done even with small changes. Engineers are forever seeking value for money!

I have already posted how DRDO was COMPLETELY unprepared and unsuited for the development of the LCA; In the required timescale it was a ridiculous decision- a”no brainer”. It was like ignoring your old apple tree and planting an apple tree when you want the apples next season.

All it needed was the then RM to tell the Scientific Advisor “What you are proposing defies common sense. I will not permit it.However since you insist I will also want a simpler ,lower risk project study -something that will carry the Customer along with them- to be done by HAL who is already geared for the work. If your wonder bus proposal does not progress to an extent satisfactory to the customer within three years I will have you replaced for giving me advise that is impractical.”. I don’t think RMs talk to SAs like that but the idea is conveyed.

You will note that NO change or action was needed but it would have saved a lot of bother and people would have got the message. Many of the things you have said would have automatically taken place.


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Re: Chronicle of DRDO/PSU missed targets & extended timeline

Postby ramana » 15 Jul 2015 23:00

And a response from a reader to Dr. Prodyut Das...

mridula dewan on May 29, 2012 at 10:40 am said:

Prodyut Sir,
Your views are extremely assertive and well thought out. I have some experiences of associating with few world class organizations. All these organizations continuously battle one demon i.e, Managing Radical Change. You mentioned about Kaizen. I practice Kaizen in my organization as well as in my personal life. I know the Toyoto story. What Toyoto is today is because of the kaizen movement they initiated in sixties. I am not talking about continuous improvement strategy. I am talking about radical change strategy. I am talking of Abortion/ Ejection/ Retreat/ Hive off as process of Business strategy. Aborting a dead business venture/ ejecting dead woods (un-productive manpower and assets)/Retreat from existing Business model and vision /Hive off non-performing Business. I can give you hundred of examples from Indian and world business fraternity who have adopted this strategy to turn around the company.That will not suit our purpose. Has there any Govt.controlled moribund research establishment who have adopted this process of radical change as business process to turn around and become world class. Yes there are. Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and The Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT). This space is too small to encompass all the details. I request you to read a book ,”World Class in India “authored by Sumantra Ghosal, Gita Piramal and Sudeep Budhiraja. Sumantra is regarded as one of the finest management guru of 20th century at par with Porter, Prahllad . World Class in India presents the stories of select Indian companies that have been able to spur their managers to overcome their resistance to change and begin the journey to becoming world class. The cases in this book have been chosen from a cross-section of industries in different sectors and range from family-run businesses to multinational corporations to government enterprises. They are drawn from extensive research done by the authors over several years and show how companies have transformed themselves bottom up, revamping their strategies, organisation and management.
Let me quote one passage from the case study of CSIR.
“ During the five decades CSIR had been existence , its contribution was often judged to be worthwhile but lackluster. On 1st January 1996, R.A. Mashelkar, the director general, and his colleagues proposed a new vision for improving performance and taking the CSIR labs into 21st century. Encapsulated in a CSIR Vision 2001 document, this involved change on several fronts—diminishing the reliance of CSIR on government grants while continuing to serve Indian Society at large , bringing about a greater commercial orientation, earning foreign exchange by doing work for international companies, and revitalizing an organization that had got used to functioning as a “Government Dept.” Unquote.

Sir see the power of leadership and vision . Theory of radical change at its best. When you read the case study the concept of abortion, ejection, retreat and hive off at its best. It is now a world class research organization .
Vision of Rajib Gandhi and Sam Pitroda created C-DoT. It started in 1984. It is a popular success story. Hence no elaboration is required.
What they did to make these two institutions world Class. Sumanta says :
• Accepting the challenge to change. It requires courage and conviction
• Building the Future. Beyond courage, vision has an equally significant role to play.
• Revitalizing People, Organization, and Relationship.
• Transforming Leadership Philosophy

Managing Radical Change… Six Keyholes to Success

• Competing fiercely in new global markets requires radically changing the way you operate. You have to rearrange the factory for streamlined flow, reengineer the way parts are made. You have to streamline information flow and rearrange the proximity of people. You have to design and deliver new products with unprecedented speed. You have to dramatically improve quality. None of this is easy..
• You’ve got to open up lines of communication. You’ve got to break down barriers between departments and put an end to the “we’ve always done it this way” argument. You’ve got to get your employees highly involved in assuming new responsibilities if you’re going to compete in the global markets in the next decade.
• Companies are finding it difficult to radically change. Becoming a high performance company requires overcoming organizational inertia. Often overlooked are outdated cultures, ineffective management styles, bureaucratic red tape, and a reward system that doesn’t fit. To implement large scale change, there must be a balance in six key areas: strategy, process, structure, staffing/skills, culture and organizational systems.
• Strategy provides vision and direction. New processes provide effective methods of operating. Structure provides the logical and physical architecture to support the new direction. Staffing and skills focus on human resources required. Culture focuses on new norms, beliefs and principles that guide human actions. Organizational systems measure and reward adherence to new principles and achievement of new objectives.

One commonality you will find between CSIR, C-DoT, DAE and ISRO that all have commercial involvement and timely implementation of projects.

What DRDO can do?
• Abort many of the unproductive projects
• Eject 30 % manpower through VRS
• Retreat from existing business model and recreate a new vision.
• Hive off LCA project and merge with HAL.
• Make DRDO another ISRO or DAE.

The French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery created a striking metaphor:” If you want to build a ship , don’t drum up men to go to the forest to gather wood, saw it, and nail the planks together. Instead , teach them the desire for the sea.”
That is what DRDO managers will need to become world class— not just concepts, tools and prescriptions, but the desire for excellence; the desire to be the best.

Pretty good summary.
The new DRDO chief had said he wants to shut down some unfruitful projects.

E.g. Sudarshan LGB a non performer from ADA was already shut down.

I think merging ADA with HAL wont happen as AMCA is in the pipeline. However need to bring in synergy and modern management concepts.

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Re: Chronicle of DRDO/PSU missed targets & extended timeline

Postby arun » 31 Jul 2015 16:30

X Posted.

Bharat Karnad writing in the Business Standard says that Defence PSUs should not be mollycoddled by the Government:

Not in the spirit of indigenisation : Notwithstanding the achievements of those such as APJ Abdul Kalam, the govt should stop mollycoddling defence PSUs

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Re: Chronicle of DRDO/PSU missed targets & extended timeline

Postby shiv » 12 Sep 2015 17:24

This article makes me feel so sorry

Fmr DRDO chief Saraswat rues India's inability to build UAVs
Former chief of Defence Research and Development Organisation(DRDO) VK Saraswat today rued the country's inability to build unmanned aerial vehicles and commercial aircraft, and said we have become slaves to the borrowed technology. He said more than the government, it was the industry's job to accelerate the pace of technology in the aerospace sector.

We have become slaves to the borrowed technology. Whatever changes you will do in the terms of policy in making things, unless you have intrinsic capability to design and keep pace with emerging technology in the aerospace and defence you will never be able to make things on your own. No wonder we take so many years to do I am surprised our UAV programme Rustom 1, Rustom 2 keeps getting. We can't make a UAV in this country, how can we built a civil aviation aircraft, Saraswat, a member of NITI Aayog, said.
He was speaking at a seminar on Opportunities In The Aerospace Sector and Policy Imperatives.

He said more than the government, it was the industry's job to accelerate the pace of technology in the aerospace sector. The former DRDO scientist added that the industry must not depend on the government all the time. Is the government responsible that we are not able to make a UAV aircraft. No, I don't think there is any policy that is required to accelerate UAV programme. Is the government responsible for not allowing the acceleration of the LCA (Light Combat Aircraft) production?

It is intrinsically the industry's job to take measures to accelerate pace of production and create yourself as a business entity. You cannot create yourself as an entity which will always depend on inputs from the government. We have to make the industry grow into all the areas of quality improvement, technology, skills to do that, Saraswat said. To give a boost to the local industry, the former DRDO Director General said, there should be an embargo on the Public Sector Undertakings that unless 16 per cent of their product is manufactured by the industry around it, they shall not be allowed to manufacture.

Saraswat said there is a lot of focus on aeronautic science in the country but little emphasis has been given to its commercial side.
As a society we give impetus to the aeronautical science. We are not giving impetus to aeronautics as a business. It is confined to academic discussion on various topics like engine and so on. Rarely have we ventured into the business part of it, the former DRDO chief said.
Giving an example of dedicated freight corridor undertaken by the Ministry of Railways, he said the investment required for the project is around Rs 2 lakh crore.
Investors are ready to invest in such kind of project, even if it is on the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model. But when it comes to the aeronautics, the risk averseness tendency of the industry comes out, he said.
Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent meeting with India Inc members, Saraswat said the former has also asked the industry leaders to take risk to convert the current global economic scenario into an opportunity. He said when investments are being done in different sectors, it should also be done in the aeronautics sector.

Why is it only in aeronautics that we are looking for a support system. Can't we not think of aeronautics as a means of transporting people, also in terms of business in transporting cargo, he said.

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Re: Chronicle of DRDO/PSU missed targets & extended timeline

Postby Gyan » 12 Sep 2015 19:58

The argument that HAL would have been great for LCA is not supported by HAL track record for IJT, LUH, HTT-40, Rustom-2 etc.

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Re: Chronicle of DRDO/PSU missed targets & extended timeline

Postby shiv » 13 Sep 2015 05:32

Gyan wrote:The argument that HAL would have been great for LCA is not supported by HAL track record for IJT, LUH, HTT-40, Rustom-2 etc.

That is an interesting list but incomplete

HAL's "track record" is for both original and licence production.

I cannot recall a fairly long list of pre-1947 aircraft that HAL did - but all were licence produced/assembled

Post 1947 we have the Vampire, Gnat, MiG 21, MiG 27, Jaguar, Su-30 MKI, HS 748, Hawk, Alouette 2 and 3 as "licence produced". Among de novo HAL/indian designs I would include the HF-24, HJT-16, Pushpak, Krishak, Basant, HT-2, HPT-32, Hansa, Tejas, Dhruv. A list of aircraft under testing, yet to enter service are LCA, IJT, LCH, Rustom 1 and Saras. Among those under testing and yet to fly are LUH, Rustom 2 and HTT 40. Among those planned for the future where no assembly of prototype has started yet are AMCA and UCAV. I would add here a couple of Indian mods of an imported design - ie Ajeet and Cheetal

If you leave out the 10 "licence produced" names we still get 18-20 names of designs that have entered service or are mature enough to have flown or to have been assembled as fullscale models - that is virtually one new design every 3-3.5 years since independence.

Problem is this is still less than what the West, Russia or China have done. It is far ahead of most other nations though

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Re: Chronicle of DRDO/PSU missed targets & extended timeline

Postby Paul » 13 Sep 2015 16:45

A chaiwala who worked for L&T was liason with HAL was saying till some years ago the HAL workers used to fry Pakodas in the afternoon tea break in the hangers on the side.

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Re: Chronicle of DRDO/PSU missed targets & extended timeline

Postby shiv » 13 Sep 2015 19:06

Paul wrote:A chaiwala who worked for L&T was liason with HAL was saying till some years ago the HAL workers used to fry Pakodas in the afternoon tea break in the hangers on the side.

The hallmark of a company that retains workers whether there are orders or not because the government pays and shareholder profits are not important. This needs to change. But the same workers will strike if the GoI tries to privatize HAL. That way those pakodas can be fried outside the hangars for hunger strikers

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Re: Chronicle of DRDO/PSU missed targets & extended timelines

Postby shiv » 09 Dec 2017 21:53 ... sus-192016
BBD Bag: Public sector undertakings producing defence equipment are managed at the top by people with little knowledge about the demands of the defence services, former Chief of Air Staff Arup Raha said on Wednesday.

They don't stick to the deadline and lack in quality control, he said.

Raha was delivering the "Think" lecture on "Statecraft and Diplomacy: Role of Military Power".

The Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry in association with The Telegraph had organised the meet.

"There is a timeline for producing weaponry and the process can't go on endlessly. Take for instance HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd)... there's labour problem because of unions, the quality control isn't good because there is no mechanism of certification by any external agency to check airworthiness," he said.

"So, we are taking risks. The problem is there's no fear of getting fired. Thankfully, efforts are now being taken to increase accountability."

The country's 24th chief of air staff (December 31, 2013 to December 31, 2016) spoke about the threat perception and India's preparedness to inflict "serous punishment" on those trying to disturb its sovereignty.

"If you don't stand up, you give in to a bully. And for that a nation requires great military capability," he said. "We need to have critical technologies. While some organisations like Isro (Indian Space Research Organisation) and (the) department of atomic energy has been top notch, the DPSUs (defence public sector undertakings) haven't produced much to meet the objectives that the nation has set for strategic independence."

As chairman of the chiefs of staff committee, Raha had been at the centre of several initiatives and policy-level dialogues on military capabilities and diplomatic role of the defence services.

Brushing aside allegations of corruption in major defence deals, the former air chief said the procurement process was elaborate in India and the financial bids for any deal were scanned by several organisations, including the finance ministry, the ministry of defence and the auditors among others.

"There may be small-time corruption here and there. But for major deals there are several tiers. You can't slap corruption charges on the bureaucracy or on defence services representatives. They are experts on the job and they bargain like Shylock."

The South Block has recently come under criticism for the Rs 59,000-crore deal to procure 36 Rafale fighter jets, built by Dassault Aviation, France.

Raha defended the deal saying 36 wasn't enough when the requirement is for 126. He said the shortage would create "inventory management problems", adding that in 10 years many aircraft with the airforce would be obsolete.

"Tejas is a good aircraft and we need to produce it in good numbers to fill the gap. We need to encourage indigenous aviation technologies. Even the US took at least two decades with the F-16. You need to give some time," he said.

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