Monday, April 21, 2008

LCA Tejas going to Berlin? Nope.

Looks like foreign air shows just can't get enough of the Light Combat Aircraft! After being listed erroneously as part of the flying displays during 2007's Paris Air Show and the MAKS-2007 in Moscow last August, the oblivious Tejas has been officially designated as part of the "equisite product display" at the ILA Berlin Air Show from May 27-June 1 at which India is official country partner. I remember the massive disappointment last year when HAL announced that the product display was indeed incorrect, and that there was no way the LCA was in any position to be ferried to France and back at such a critical phase of development.

Well, I hate to break it to you again – the Tejas isn't going to Germany either. I just spoke to the HAL spokesperson, who has confirmed that the LCA will not be present at the Berlin Air Show.

HAL is instead sending three Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH Dhruv) which will be available for demonstration flights. The people at the Berlin Air Show are wrong again – the IJT Sitara trainer will also give the show a miss. I truly hope there's some headway where the Dhruv is concerned. Not only is it HAL's most visible product, but also the one with the filthiest luck.

Other participants from India include DRDO, BEL, BDL, BHEL, OFM, MDNL, ISRO, BrahMos, L&T, Tata Power, Tata Advanced Materials, Accord Software & Systems, Saraswati Dynamics and CADES.

Photo Courtesy HAL

20 comments :

Anonymous said...

Well, I hate to break it to you again – the Tejas isn't going to Germany either.

Shiv, not just it isn't going to germany........It is going nowhere.

Another Arjun in the making.

Anonymous said...

absolutely. the tejas is a bloody dodo that will be like an advanced jet trainer when it's inducted. what a tragic project it is. should have been dumped long ago.

gagan said...

that's a little too harsh i feel. there is still hope. remember these are assets that will be built in numbers. and as these air force talkijng heads keep saying, there is no substitute for numbers. i just look upon programmes like the arjun, lca etc, as chimeras. if i go into hibernation for 50 years, and wake up, i will not be surprised if i find that the lca is still "near completion" or that the arjun has been accepted "in principle" by the army. what a load of baloney all this is. hubris and pride of self-reliance never had a worse enemy than our very own drdo, hal, nal etc.

Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, lets keep buying more of Goroshkovs, Su30s that are threatened to be grounded because of a lack of tyres, T90s that have weak torsion bars and what not. After all the former has scope for baksheesh, chai-paani and trips to Jhoomritalayya with Svetlana, the latter only the dealings with OFB/Garden Reach/Avadi.

Ankur said...

Lol. Has this debate got no end? I think it is like the 10th time I have heard it.

What I don't understand is why the Germans give a damn about the LCA. Or anybody else (non-Indian) for that matter.

Us Indians tend to get a bit uptight about it, but there is a certain element of pride that no amount of bitching can get rid of.

As a stand alone item, the LCA is in a crap project managed by incompetent morons, facing considerable technical and political challenges. But look at the wider picture and the potential self sufficiency, spin offs (political, economic and military) it has for the future is considerable and nothing to be sneezed at.

Anonymous said...

>>As a stand alone item, the LCA is in a crap project managed by incompetent morons, facing considerable technical and political challenges.

amazing..and your sum total of experience in managing billion $ projects is? the hubris displayed by teenaged posters and egotistical journalists never fails to amuse those of us who see the reality of defence PM first hand..but never mind we have u expert deshbhakts to tell all of us how to do things the easy way

Anonymous said...

>>As a stand alone item, the LCA is in a crap project managed by incompetent morons, facing considerable technical and political challenges.

amazing..and your sum total of experience in managing billion $ projects is? the hubris displayed by teenaged posters and egotistical journalists never fails to amuse those of us who see the reality of defence PM first hand..but never mind we have u expert deshbhakts to tell all of us how to do things the easy way

Anonymous said...

>>As a stand alone item, the LCA is in a crap project managed by incompetent morons, facing considerable technical and political challenges.

amazing..and your sum total of experience in managing billion $ projects is? the hubris displayed by teenaged posters and egotistical journalists never fails to amuse those of us who see the reality of defence PM first hand..but never mind we have u expert deshbhakts to tell all of us how to do things the easy way

Anonymous said...

what do u mean by the one with the filthiest luck?. Clarify before making such statements

Ankur said...

Lol. 3 posts! Our humble (anonymous) grandpa must be riled. But I also notice that you have quoted only the first half of my post! Nice.

Sure, my generalisations paint an important yet agonisingly costly project in a bad light, but there is no point in hiding behind the flag. I may not be directly involved in the project, but that does not change the facts.

The cost overruns, the redonkulously over-zealous initial estimates and the utter insistance to never take any foreign help are all massive failings of the LCA program (point in case being the Kaveri). There is no hiding that it is *not* cutting edge technology. And that the LCA is rather *late*. If management is not to blame, I don't know why the word "accountability" exists. The Air Force has not come out in flying colours from the saga either.

Neither have I said that *nothing* good has come of the LCA.

I realise that it is a complex story. The entire project is building a 4th (now possibly 4.5 if we get AESA) gen bird from zero initial knowledge and a non-existent R&D and manufacturing base. And the sanctions never helped. And *all* development efforts encounter difficulties.

However, I stand by my point that the LCA remains a worthwhile project in the *long run*. It has delivered critical indigenous technologies both directly and indirectly for the Tejas. It has built up a solid industrial base for all future programs. Although the Tejas is resigned to be a stop-gap product, that is realistic for a first attempt! We should still induct it, improve it and learn from the experience. Not to mention weaning ourselves off the whims of the foreign arms dealers. I am all for that.

And the *really* exciting products and projects will come after this, through the infrastructure that is now up and running.

Anonymous said...

"Filthiest Luck"- Choicest use of Adjectives but for what purpose ?

Anonymous said...

Dhruv took it in the chin with the sanctions. It was fully certified with the american engine, and now they are having to go through all the hoops and loops with the French engine and the newer Shakti. The CTS-800 was always the perfect engine for the Dhruv.

Anyway, the HAL nincompoops screwed up big time also. Thanks to the fiasco with the tail rotors , I doubt they will ever find a single civil customer (other than govt agencies) in a competitive market in the next 5 years.

Shiv Aroor said...

hi anon: "filthiest luck" -- reasons: the tail rotor glitch which grounded the fleet at a crucial time of negotiations with chile. the hard landing came before that. then the sarang chopper going down just before aero india. ergo, filthiest luck. basically, a great chopper, but hard up on the luck quotient. kapish?

sniperz11 said...

Aah... my heart gently weeps. Still, its ok. Looks like IAF and ADA still think that the Flight testing is more important. Thats at least some relief. I just hope they get it for Farnborough next. As for IJT, its understandable.

Did u ask if the LCA was planned to go to Berlin and cancelled later, or were there no plans at all?

Thanks for breaking the bad news Shiv.

A few questions,

1) Are the ALHs the Saarang team or other ALHs?
2) Will they be Shakti equipped Dhruvs?
3) Any Chance we'll take along a WSI Dhruv to Berlin?
4) Who are the potential buyers/tenders that are in the works that Dhruv can compete for?

Also, how will the aircraft be transported to Berlin? And if the LCA was taken, how would it be transported?

TIA

Shiv Aroor said...

sniperz: will find out and let you know. what i know for sure is that is isn't the Sarang team -- it's three ALHs from HAL's own stable. I suppose they'll be transported by heavy-lift. Let me check that up too.

aji said...

if anyone out there have any update on MMR, please.

Anonymous said...

Gotcha Shiv. Well thats some hard luck indeed. Do you know btw if the vibration related issues of Dhruv have been sorted for the naval variant and if the navy at all is interested in Dhruv anymore ?

Anonymous said...

Actually I'm glad we are not showcasing Tejas before it has matured fully. What we need is as many birds in the air to complete IOC by its target (end 2010) otherwise the air-force may start showing withdrawal symptoms just like the army is showing wrt Arjun. I don't quite agree with this attitude of tom tomming the product before it has been accepted by our own forces. I sincerely hope Tejas doesn't become another Arjun flying endlessly in loops, otherwise the crown of filthiest luck may just get transferred to Tejas

Anonymous said...

"absolutely. the tejas is a bloody dodo that will be like an advanced jet trainer when it's inducted. what a tragic project it is. should have been dumped long ago."

Yes ! I completely agree with the FILTHY ARMS DEALERS comment above !!!

Anonymous said...

I feel sad the way you all are thinking of project as complex as tejas..when india started with the IGMDP, the media was skeptical over its ability, but today we have success in Prithvi, Akash and Agni..we have matured enough to even conduct successful trials of missile defence system..LCA is one of its kind project for the nation and a developing country..we are building the base for further development of the aircraft industry in india..this project will succeed because we have lately realised the merits of joint venutre..realise that HAL Dhruv succeeded due to joint development of it engine Shakti and work with different europen and american aeronautical companies on its design etc..This was not done for Arjun MBT, and therefore the army has given the go ahead for MKII of Arjun tank..LCA would succeed as we are taking foreign help..after all ther is no point in reinvnting the wheel, but the process itself builds sufficient capabilities on the ground.