In 2007, India began an official tender process for 126 multi-role, medium-range combat aircraft (MMRCA) with Paris-based Dassault at a cost of about $11 billion. It was the world’s largest fighter jet deal at the time. Since then the deal has unraveled. Negotiations stalled over price and quality and, ultimately, Prime Minister Narendra Modi opted to purchase only 36 “ready to fly” aircraft from Dassault. Even this more modest version of deal has yet to fully fructify. Since the original bid, the Modi government has added a “made in India” component as part of all future acquisitions.
Amidst the French fiasco and the reality that the Indian Air Force (IAF) is down to just 33 fighter squadrons, numerous producers of fighter aircraft have sought to woo the Modi government for a slice of India’s aviation pie. Competitors who are lining up include Boeing’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, SAAB’s Gripen E, Eurofighter Typhoon, RAC MiG-25, as well as Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Block 70.
The million strong Indian Army and Indian Govt. is considering around 600 modernization initiatives for the next five year plan. The F-INSAS as of today has been cancelled or should more correctly be said has been split up between two separate programs, because of budget restrictions. Now it has been divided into two separate components.
1- Arming The Soldiers with a new assault rifle along with providing protective clothing , personal equipment such as Rifle Sights, Night Scopes, Thermal Scopes, etc.
2- Providing C4I equipment to the soldiers like a hand held Navigation devices, computers and Battlefield Management Systems (C4I- Command , Control , Computer Communication and Information).
BY AIR MARSHAL B.K. PANDEY (RETD)FORMER AIR OFFICER COMMANDING-IN-CHIEF OF TRAINING COMMAND, IAF
The traumatic reality for the nation is that the Indian aerospace industry has been left far behind in the race with its Chinese counterpart and the way things are moving, there appears to be practically no hope of catching up!
The Indian Army’s aviation fleet is mostly a rusted inventory flogged by succeeding governments to a point whenwives of the army aviators had to express their concern over the safety of their husbands who fly these outdated machines. The impact that outdated aviation assets can have on our military capabilities barely needs elaboration. The proposed Kamov 226T deal with the Russians offers much hope. But will the Indian Government be able to negotiate the hurdles that involve negotiating with not just the Russians but also a host of other manufacturers and their governments.
The General lists some of these issues and goes on to opine that the deal remains crucial for Army Aviation and needs to be completed this year. If it takes the course that the Rafale deal is into, it would impact our force capabilities rather hard.
As the ship silently pierces through the high waves in the rather calm ocean . Invisible to the untrained naked eye under the shallow full moon the captain of the ship announces that all operational procedures are to be followed and proceed according to the orders. All hands were on deck. The only noise you could hear was the radio chatter in the background and the powerful 9,000 HP engine silently humming propelling the ship in excess of 25 knots .