I echo Karan. Great post. You have clarified much of the ambiguity. Just a few questions.
mody wrote:The HTT-40 carries some baggage. The IAF was never really happy with its predecessor, the HPT-32 and didn't want HAL to take up the design and development of HTT-40, when HAL actually took it up. IAF reluctance on this part is well documented. HAL went ahead anyways, funding the development from its own resources.
The unnamed sources claiming HTT-40 in current form is not acceptable, don't really know what they are talking about, or just deliberately putting negative perception out there with regards to HTT-40.
Once the current stall and spin tests are over, the HTT-40 will be ready for IOC. It is as per IAF specs and matches or exceeds the PC-7 in almost all parameters.
I agree that HPT-32 was a substandard aircraft. However does that justify starting a tender for a new BTA when the HTT-40 will soon achieve IOC? If the HTT-40 exceeds or matches the PC-7, what is the point in a global RFI?
mody wrote:The bigger problem is what happens, once the plane is ready production. The way the Indian defence purchase is structured, I suspect the RFP will be issued for only 38 aircrafts, which is the immediate requirement and not for 106 planes, which is the total requirement. If it really plays out this way, the price for HTT-40, will seem much higher the PC-7 and then all the usual suspects will write pages upon pages about how HAL is inefficient and how in reality the plane has an X% of foreign components and hence is not really indigenous etc. etc.
If the HTT-40 exceeds or matches the PC-7, why is the RFP being issued only for 38 aircraft and not 106 aircraft?
Does it make sense for the IAF to operate three different types of BTAs? PC-7, HTT-40 and un-named BTA?
The MoD will not place a large order, so the cost will obviously go up. But the MoD will gleefully waste money on a third BTA type! How is this logical? Our enemy is not Pakistan or China. We are our own enemy.
An Old Proverb ---> If there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm.
mody wrote:In India, we do not have any long term defence planning based on the capabilities that we really want to have. Long term procurement in multiple tranches, is very difficult in our setup. The problem is the way MoD and MoF are setup and the way the budget is set. In many years, the unspent capital budgets of the services are taken back to bridge the government deficits. Hence, instead of supporting domestic development and production, wherein the services would be funding the development for multiple years, before the actual production starts, the services are happier just getting a one time purchase of ready to use imported equipment. Government to government deals are even better. The services know that the government will have to pony up and make the payment for the imported equipment, as per the agreed upon payment schedule. For domestically manufactured stuff, the payment at times are deferred for want of cash and even the orders may be deliberately delayed for budgetary considerations.
None of this is directed at you Sir...I am questioning the infallible logic of the MoD! I am not shooting the messenger!!!
Q1. How much money has the IAF invested in the development of the HTT-40? I honestly want to know.
Q2. How is the unspent capital budget of the IAF sent back to the Ministry of Finance (at the end of the financial year i.e. March 31st) for the MMRCA purchase and then at the commencement of the new year (i.e April 01st), that money is budgeted back to the IAF? How is that justified?
Q3. Why is that payment schedules are followed to the letter for imported equipment, but the same is not true for domestic equipment? How does the MoD justify the excuse of want of cash
or budgetary considerations
for domestic equipment?
mody wrote:Can anyone imagine a private sector company functioning the way HAL does? Recently there were news, of HAL being owed hundred of crores of rupees by IAF, which had not been cleared by the ministry so far and government actually had to help out HAL with a one time payment, to just cover the salary payments. Which private sector company would function in this fashion.
Besides this, the MoD and MoF babus are more interested in just having the paperwork in order. Orders are placed in small numbers, because that's what the budget allows for. For example, only 2 squadrons of Akash MK1, were ordered initially. This was followed by an order for 6 additional squadrons. Now for additional requirement of 7 squadrons, the MoD is negotiating with the PSU's on price for the last 3 years. Argument is that the additional requirement is to cover for our requirement of SRSAM, for which the Akash was chosen over imported systems. Now MoD is comparing the price of Akash with imported SRSAM systems and asking for price reduction. For the earlier purchases, the requirement was against area or MRSAM type of system, to replace the Pechora SAM's and hence the price was deemed to be OK.
Q1. Is HAL incapable of having their paperwork in order? Please tell me they are able to do this simple task!
Q2. How is the budget justified for 110 MMRCA aircraft (a large order), 57 carrier-borne fighters (another large order) but yet the budget goes haywire when 106 HTT-40s are to be ordered? The process for acquisition is the same no? I am not referring to the technical specs of MMRCA vs BTA. I am referring to the paperwork and procedures that exist for both purchases.
Q3. I am honestly surprised that the Babus can actually whine and complain when it comes to local products (i.e. Akash SAM) versus phoren products (MRSAM type SAM) and question the manufacturer (in this case, BDL for the Akash SAM) on price. I have been advised that the entrance exam for the Indian Administrative Service is arguably the hardest exam in the world. The competition to become an IAS officer is cut-throat. The folks who get in represent the cream of the crop of young Indian minds.
However I am now deeply alarmed by reading the above. Simple economics teaches us that investing in the local economy helps not just the manufacturer (in this case, BDL for the Akash SAM), but all the subsidiary companies that support BDL in delivering the product to the end user (i.e. the Armed Forces). Simple economics teaches us that investing within the country saves valuable FOREX. Simple economics teaches us that investing within India keeps the money in India.
What in heaven's name is going on in the MoD?