Karan M wrote:<SNIP> The never meet the timeline crap also comes from constantly adding on to the requirements late and then forcing another set of changes late in the development cycle. Go look at the Arjun thread and see how that is carried out. Requirements come in late, delay starts as design has to be redone, program takes the flak for late redesign.<SNIP>
The above statement is not correct in it's entirety.
You're correct about delays due to scope creep late in the development - two instances that I know are modifications in armament load for the wing (I think this is where R-73 came in) and requirement for internal EW suite. And this happened in 2004 and 2005 respectively.
However, inspite of all this having happened, the IOC was promised in 2010 and FOC in 2012. With first squadron entering service by 2012 time frame. And all this is as per Standing Committee on Defense Report. 16th or 17th I think.
You quoted AM Philip Rajkumar from his book on IAF's lack of support for Tejas. The same book also mentions how he cautioned APJ Kalam against given timeline for first flight of Tejas. And was proven later when Tejas made first flight 6-years later (he had said it would take 5 years).
Even Dr. Saraswat - DRDO head then - claimed in an interview in 2012 that Tejas will enter IAF service in 2013 as all issues encountered in IOC have been sorted out and a/c is now in FOC stage.V.K. Saraswat, Chief of Defence Research and Development Organisation, said that Indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) ‘Tejas’ has entered into final operational clearance phase and will be inducted into the Indian Air Force by December 2013.
Speaking to press persons after participating in the Graduation Day programme at the Siddaganga Institute of Technology here on Saturday, Dr. Saraswat said that Hindustan Aeronautics Limited has begun production of the Light Combat Aircraft.
So, did he not know what he was talking about?
And one does not need go that back in time to see the missed deadlines - just look at the production timeline made earlier for SP-1 and SP-2. Sp-1 is full one year late with SP-2 being 6 months late.I don't subscribe to the view that lack of participation by IAF is THE factor which impacted the delay. Even by DRDO's own account, IAF has been on board since 2007.
What explains the slippages time and again from 2007 on wards?
My objective to bring this point is not to point fingers. When informed posters like you comment on the subject and bring out issues which have/had cropped up because of disinterest of IAF in the program between 1986 and 2006 ('IAF dropped the ball' as per Philip Rajkumar), it seems that this is the only reason which has been holding back Tejas program. And other posters take off from there and we end up having a whine fest.
Rohit Vats, of course its a mix of things. Note what I said: The never meet the timeline crap also comes
... also, as in not the only factor but a part of the overall challenge.
User involvement is a BIG thing which has not been acknowledged by the IAF for the most part and only the 30 year stuff gets bandied about.
Without user involvement at every stage, they simply cannot manage.
Lets go back and see the cribbing about "Serviceability" and "not meeting design requirements/ASR" in xyz.
These are directly related to IAF non involvement in the program. There is no internal EW suite in the aircraft - its on MK2. There was however a huge issue with avionics wherein IAF communicated to IAF after TD phase that it wanted an avionics change! Now they had valid reasons one surmises even though the Su's were flying with the same TD level suite, but the iterative development took place thereafter.
Speak to anybody from ADA/NFTC etc about when the ECRs - Engineering Change Requests have been created in the dozens post 2007 after IAF got heavily involved. These range from stuff like testers too complicated, to missing documentation with easily marked instructions (huge difference between a Scientist D working on the same thing for a decade as versus a new serviceing tech who has moved from Bisons to LCA). ADA guys wont know this because all the people they interact with are at their level and deployment intricacies require user input.
Now whats happened is there is huge amounts of stuff pending & its been a herculean task for ADA to figure out what is critical & what is good to have. The TPs remember are not looking at the plane from the 360 deg angle. They can only contribute (mostly) to the aircraft itself and not all its maint/servicing aspects. Documentation taken from IAF aircraft etc is not sufficient. There is a huge amount of stuff which is simply not documented & needs to be explicitly called out. In absence of the data, ADA designers and their OEM vendors went by assumptions based on general principles. That stuff now needs finetuning and is being done on a war footing now, whereas all this could have been done a decade back. Revisions for newer stuff would be easier (experience factor).
Next, the IAF's cynicism regarding the program (to an extent justified given the tech challenges) meant the plane had to first fly as TD, then FSED was launched (1&2) and funded. However, the problem here was that a lot of the stuff developed for TDs was simply not leveraged & had to be completely redesigned for SP - the mission avionics being an example. A "glass cockpit" was demonstrated, as versus a glass cockpit which the IAF took a key role in design from day 1 and was SP ready. (They did do the latter once they joined).
Now, the ADA had its own share of snafus (Kaveri linkage + radar w/HAL) but the above were a key factor.
The stated reasons - all PC without bringing in the acrimony for the politicos to crib about :Reasons for Delay
• First time development, integration and flight testing of a world class fighter aircraft.
•Complexity of system design and very high safety standards leading to extensive testing to ensure flight safety.
•Due to non-availability of indigenous ‘Kaveri Engine’ design changes were carried out to accommodate GE404 engine of USA.
•US Sanctions imposed in 1998 also led to delay in importing certain items and developing alternate equipment, since vendors identification and development to production cycle took time.
•Change in the development strategy of radar and associated changes on theaircraft.
•Incorporating configuration changes made by the user (for example R60 Close
Combat Missile (CCM) was replaced by R73E CCM which required design
modifications) to keep the aircraft contemporary.
•Major development activity of avionics was undertaken in order to make aircraft
contemporary, which took time but yielded results.
First two and last three points are directly related to developer challenges and also user input challenges.
Third is a developer failure. Fifth as well (though as mentioned above, quicker IAF acceptance of say Kopyo+ or 2032 directly may have speeded up things).
Fourth was a political decision. Tests to be done asap and weather the rest.
While the truth is that there are delay is also because of decisions which DRDO had/has taken which have impacted the timeline. Not to mention the project management part.
Further, while one understands learning curve and all that, what is the reason for DRDO heads to give timelines in the first place and not adhere to them? Nothing which comes from DRDO/HAL/ADA in terms of timeline has any sanctity because of always missing timelines which they themselves announce.
The timeline part is definitely true in that these orgs need to bite the bullet and not announce timelines which are impossible to meet. The answer as to why they did so relates to our dysfunctional system where there is no assured support for these programs and one always has to yank rabbits from the hat. These orgs constantly offer optimistic timelines. The problem is simply insecurity. If the IAF/MOD etc were part of the program as true partners, all this rubbish wouldnt arise since the insecure would not be thinking about how to save the program and accountability would be much higher as even if the occasional high flier tried to fib, he would be caught out. The IAF et al also have to face similar issues. The IAF suddenly announces an airstrip functional few days before CAG can censure them, not that the CAG cares about IAF resourcing and other aspects which it has to juggle.
The other part is simply R&D. Once you have a baseline product, you can estimate workplanning and times efficiently. Now LRDE has radar 1, radar 2 and then radar 3 will be more accurately estimated. With LCA, most systems were Block 1 themselves. Incidentally, they met avionics refresh timelines pretty well. Why? It was MK3, after TD avionics were revised twice based on user demand. Basically, more experience better the estimates. Otherwise, you think elbow grease and consultant PPTs will set the agenda. Reality begs otherwise.
Basically, get the IAF as part of the LCA without ego hassles and make it a given LCA will be supported as its a national priority and IAF is onboard and see things change. ADA etc will gladly appoint anyone who can get the program done and manage the myriad daily headaches.
Matheswaran claims "user should lead the program and program should even be cancelled if necessary" - with this sort of "parachute in program killers" sort of stuff, we are set for dysfunction. Former yes, latter just demonstrates he (and others) despite their claims, dont get the importance of the LCA. He also claims MMRCA was designed to bring in tech to India, this after umpteen decades of experience, that it does little on those lines. This is the state of affairs.
Hopefully we will get the right stuff with the AMCA..more experience with LCA/FGFA etc will grow the IAFs capabilities as well to manage programs and lead them.