Experimentation had led to the invention of the unpowered glider, and in 1903, the Wright brothers, who were IIRC bicycle makers built upon the concepts of a light and strong structure and the internal combustion engine and created the first powered aircraft. 11 years later, WW1 broke out and thousands of aircraft were manufactured to fight and concepts like recce, dogfights, air defence and bombing had all been "invented" before the end of the 1914-1918 war. By 1900, Europe and the US had already had 100 years of industrial development.
Remember the date 1800 (or 1799) by which time the "Industrial revolution" was starting in Europe. What was happening in India? Just 93 years before - in 1707, Aurangzeb had died. Elderly people who had live under Aurangzeb's rule were still alive in India at that time. India was in a flux and the east India company was expanding. 100 years later, by 1800 the East India company itself was a rich multinational ruling India. So by the time the British crown took over India in 1847, There had been virtually no socio economic progress for Indians.
I need to clarify that statement a bit. India had plenty of rich kings, some of whom benefited from trade with Britons. India also had a business class, typically family run businesses but learning had come to an end. One needs to recall that the entire business of the east India company was trade. Import of things from India and export to india. Export to India was manufactured goods from the new industries of Britain. It made no sense to have industries in India. Indians were the consumers. The only Indians who benefited were the traditional royals who collected tax and some Indian businessmen. The Kshatriya class ruler and his court were OK as were some (vysya class) businessmen. But the vast Indian countryside left out most people from the new changes. Because of British imports of steel and cloth, traditional Indian workmen, the shudras, the "engineers" and innovators who made things with their hands went out of business. carpenters, weavers, potters, metalworkers etc. Of course the cotton growers did well as did cotton traders. But the trading class were always going to be OK.
India's first engineers were trained in the mid 1850s. They were only civil engineers and only a handful were trained in the early colleges in Kolkata and Chennai (and Rourkee, I think). It was not until the 1930s that the first mechanical engineers were trained in India. So by 1940 India had a modest educated class of people who were from backgrounds like the royalty and armed forced (kshatriya), business (vysya) and some brahmins who served as accountants, clerks and scientific helpers to the British. India had virtually no "manufacturing class" (shudra). Oh we had millworkers, and railway workers. But no factories where goods designed by indians for India were produced. Of course in the middle of all this, about 90% of Indians were illiterate anyway (1930 figures). Compare that with about 80% literate in Europe and 90% literate in the USA at that time! By that time the fathers or grandfathers of BRFites today had been born.
In 1950 or so Britain had 9 million factory workers, 18% of the population. Check the comparison for India:
http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary. ... king+Class
.On the eve of World War I there were 951,000 factory workers in India. A quarter of a century later (1939) there were 1,751,000. During the period between the two world wars the total number of industrial workers, including artisans, remained virtually unchanged
India's share of industrial production and industrial output in the world is directly related to our shudras, the factory workers and engineers and even after independence we had a miniscule number.
India had 370 million people in 1950. We only had 10-15% literacy and about 2 million factory workers. Britain had 50 million people, about 90% literacy and 9 million factory workers. And they still had to import workers for their factories! Our literate people in 1950 were ruling class, business families, military officers and government employees. We hardly had any engineers. Our colleges had started producing mechanical, chemical and electrical and other engineers barely 15 years before 1950.
The fact that the HT-2 (a basic trainer aircraft) was made in India in 1951 is a flash in the pan. Almost pretence. We had nowhere near the industrial and social development of the west at that time. We had not built a single engine or a machine tool. I am certain the HT 2 was made using lathes, presses, and machines that were imported earlier for the WW 2 war effort. So while we are allowed to feel pride at the achievement of the HT 2 that achievement hides that decrepit state of out industry in that era. By 1950 India had missed out on 150 years of industrial development. Even if we thought that we were "getting there" the bald facts are that you cannot catch up with 150 years of industrialization in 10, or 20 or even 50 years.
It is easy to underestimate the level to which your country needs to be industrialized to produce even one single aircraft in house. An aircraft may have half a million different parts. Each part has to be designed and mass produced. The materials that make that part requires chemistry and metallurgy . Making the machines that will make that part requires engineers - and the humble machine worker.
The aicraft has wings. Those wings are made of aluminium, steel and some composites. Mines have to exist for those materials, The ore must be refined and the metal extracted and purified, and the metal then alloyed if need be and then formed by moulding, casting or shaping to form wing skin, internal wing structure, rivets, nuts, bolts. In the 1930s wings were often made of wood and fabric, so any European or American who learned about wings in the 1920s and 30s would learn about aerodynamics, but would be less skilled in the design of metal wings. But at east he would not be stuck in aerodynamics theory. The Indian engineer knew neither.
The wings would need a separate factory floor, but the nuts bolts and rivets would themselves need a separate factory and separate machines to fashion them. The glass parts of the aircraft like lights, dials would need a separate glass factory. For that a good quality glass manufacturing unit would first be required and machines places in that factory to make the glass. Some engineering skills are required to make those machines that make the glass that then if used in the aircraft. And the design skills and metallurgy for those machines that make the glass. Several separate factory units are needed for the glass alone. By the 1900s Europe and the USA already had factories manufacturing machines to make other machines. India had none in 1950.
Every one of these machines need motors. So you need machines to make motor parts and metallurgy to design the motor. You need copper, ceramics and ruber/plastic industries to support the motor manufacture. And you need skilled workmen to design and make the motors that drive the machines that make the machines that make the rivets, nuts, bolts, wings and glass.
Every aircraft has kilometers of wiring. Wiring needs a copper industry. Copper mines or a source of ore. Extraction and refining. Machines are required to be manufactured by a separate factory for mining, extraction and refining and another machine for creating wire out of coper metal. Once the copper is ready you need a separate plastics industry to make the insulation for the wires. For that you need access to the raw material (Petroleum products) refineries to extract the raw material and a further factory to make the insulation for the wires. And of course you need factories that manufacture the machines that make the insulation. And workers.
Then every aircraft has some parts that undergo great stresses. You need light extra strength materials for this. This may be titanium or tungsten - so you need a separate metallurgical line to handle those materials. Some like titanium cannot be welded like steel and do not agree to change shape as you want like copper. Handling them is a matter of research, experience and skill. Once developed the skills are passed from workman to workman (shudra to shudra) on the factory floor. They cannot be read from a book and chanted like a mantra. This is why production lines (such as submarines and aircraft- should not be closed down - but I will come to that later.
The aircraft has some fabric parts. Some places may have specialised fabric that needs special spinning and manufacturing processes to withstand stresses. So you need a separate factory unit for the fabrics and a separate line of industries that make the machines that weave and stitch the fabric.
Then you have the electrical and electronic parts - each category needing the same background knowledge and industrial infrastructure as I have detailed above. Finally you have insulation, seals and tyres, so you need an industry that can manufacture high quality rubber and synthetic materials. We all know how the space shuttle Challenger crashed because of a faulty rubber ring. Every time you fly your life depends on hundreds of such rubber rings and washers. And finally the engines. Any average engine is at least as complicated as the aircraft itself and each engine part requires all of the above and more
By 1900, when Europe and the USA were about to start making the first aircraft all the industries that I mention above already existed. They already had the level of industrialization, the engineering training and the workers to do all those things. India had zilch even in 1950, that is 5 decades later. When your daddy was born he was born into an India that was 150 years behind the west in terms of technology, education and industry. Nothing already existed and everything had to be built up from scratch. Why is anyone surprised or upset at the Indian aviation industry? Why does anyone even dare to believe that we can just get there in 10 years or even 50 years? Only ignorance of facts can make one think that way. It is India, not the industry alone that is backward. If you have an ignorant "educated class" of people who do not know their own country in addition to a fundamentally backward country, that is a formula for whining, self hate and imports.
When modern (modern????) India came into being in 1947, India was hardly different from Somalia or Afghanistan today in terms of development. Your grandfather, and maybe even your father was born by then. In Somalia. It was just called India. But we got a "modern" democratic system, a modern liberal constitution because we had free thinking "modern" people at the top leading a decrepit 1700s, pre industrial revolution nation. This was India around 1950. Compare with a USA that had already made the F-86 Sabre (1948) by then, and a UK that had already mad e the De Havilland Vampire (1946) and a USSR that had already made the MiG 15! (1948)
Now if you look at India's top leadership in 1947-1960, we had bureaucrats and leading politician-administrators (kshatriya class, brahmin advisors). We had business magnates (vysya class) but India was short of shudra manufacturing skills. The kshatriya-brahmin leaders and vysya business class who ran the nation had to equip the armed forces with weapons. But the weapons of 1950 were weapons like Sabres and Vamipres that were products of 150 years of shudra-engineering in the West. What choice did the Indian leadership have to maintain a modern armed force?
India just did not have the 150 year old industrial infrastructure and skilled shudra-engineering workforce and factories to make modern weapons. Your grandfather was alive at this time. The brahmin-kshatriya-vysya leadership of India had to use the nation's money to do deals with British, Russian and American Vysyas and give their competent shudra engineering industries a lot of money and work. This was fine as long as the scheming leaders of the west wanted to supply India with what we needed. But they squeezed us as and when it suited them.
What was the alternative? The alternative was to try and set up an indigenous industrial base to get our own engineer-workman-shudra workforce up to speed. We literally had 150 years catching up to do. As always, everyone wants to take credit for success, but failure is blamed on someone else. If you look up the relevant sources, you will find that test pilots in the west were being killed at the rate of 1 a week in th 1950s. These were all failures. But the west never gave up or stopped. The west never cursed their shudra engineers as incompetent bums who cannot deliver. When they delivered, the armed forces accepted less than perfect equipment (I will make a separate cross post of that below)
What do we do? We start with an industrial base that is 150 years behind the top 10 countries. We urgently do deals with western vysyas (business houses/MNCs) and give their experienced shudras (factory workers) business. And we spend some paise on asking our shudra to give us in 10 years or 20 years or 30 years military products that the shudras of the west developed using 150 years of experience. and when our shudra engineers are unable to bridge a 150 year gap in 50 years we have only contempt for them. Our contempt for them is largely because we as a nation consist of brahmins, kshatriyas and vysya-type thinkers leading the nation. We do not understand the practical engineering difficulties of the shudra. Just like a man may pay a prostitute for services, we pay a bunch of shudra engineers/technicians and expect results with no insight into why results are available abroad and not here. In our minds we Indians see ourselves as equal to the people of the west. So the failure of our products is not our failure. It is the stupid incompetents who have failed despite our paying them so much money and despite giving them 30 or 50 years. But we do not understand and do not want to understand that Indian industry and education simply cannot catch up with 150 years of industrialization in 50 years. And unless we spend and accept failures we will never ever get there.