It is unfortunate that we calculate air power in terms of finance/financial savings (“Affordable air power,” April 17). The Indian Air Force will never reach or become an air power just by inducting Tejas, a third generation aircraft. Tejas (including the Advanced Jet Trainer) should have been with the IAF a decade ago. Who caused this delay and forced the IAF to go for an AJT and a multi-role combat aircraft from outside India? Like it or not, a foreign-built combat aircraft is what the IAF needs. Finally, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited needs to produce a fifth-generation aircraft.
The suggestions and cost metrics presented by the writer once again bring to focus our role as taxpayers. Why are our armed forces intent on derailing indigenous programmes and going in for all things foreign? Let us take the case of the Arjun tank. Why did the Army rush to the more expensive and unreliable T-90s? This trend has continued for decades, resulting in mega-scams. The bureaucracy must allow our own bright engineers to work on finding indigenous solutions.
Although there is a wide consensus on leaving the decision-making process to the IAF based on its techno-economic feasibility study, the government should also play its part in coming to a wise decision considering the other benefits the country is going to achieve if Tejas is inducted into the IAF. These benefits will include the growth of the domestic aerospace industry, employment of a highly skilled workforce, the indigenisation of the defence sector, and so on.
The article is a vivid picture of our defence equipment procurement dilemma. After the crash of the sophisticated Hercules transport plane recently, the black box was sent to the manufacturer for decoding. This shows the extent of our dependence on foreign technologies. It is high time indigenous production of defence equipment became a top priority.
Mohan James Chacko,