Wednesday, October 20, 2010

VAYU MAG: An Open Source Assessment Of The LCA

VAYU: Wisdom & Courage: An Assessment Of The LCA Tejas
Copyright & Courtesy VAYU Aerospace & Decence Review

33 comments :

Anonymous said...

What does "Open Source" mean in this context?

Anonymous said...

I am subscriber - I still haven't received this issue . SO lets see what the latest assessment of the Lost Combat aircraft is

Anonymous said...

a very honest assessment. We cannot continue to bury our heads in the ground and pretend that a grand failure has not taken place.

Maybe we should learn something from ISRO, which has many many successful projects under it's belt.

Anonymous said...

Typical indian mentality == the glass is always half empty. So negativity in the article as if nothing has been achieved.

Anonymous said...

Open Source means this article is based on results from Google.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:04. I agree. We should call a spade a spade. BUt we - like The West - are suffering from the NIH syndrome - Not INvented Here. But see what has happened when its Now Invented Here - the program goes on and on and on. I am a biog fan of the BBC Series Yes MInister. In that there are various excuses given by The Minister's Secretary to fob off any inquisitive soul. The whole LCA program clearly falls under The Concorde Excuse - a useful collaborative idea which was doomed to failure from the word go :) {Something like that - will check my copy of the book/ DVD once again)

Anonymous said...

How can the author say mirages delta are a devil for itself while the IAF and many airforce have relished its efficiency.. If he has so much experience in fighter analysis why he hasnt went and designed his own?.. any one can do analysis and point its failure with assumptions.. only if you get down on feet and do the work you can understand the real problem..... I was excepting assessment on LCA future road maps and its technology.. but ended up reading an article which criticizes the entire fighter as a failure.. Only when IAF close the project officially and call it as a failure we will take LCA has failure...

aatish said...

the assessment is both right and wrong.
the LCA should have been a minimalistic aircraft but no body told that to the IAF. they first wanted a MiG21 replacement, then changed ASR to include the capabilities of MiG23 & 27 too. Aaah, I missed... Mirage too. End result overwt, less accln, less top speed, needing a more powerful engine.. u name it. it all started in IAF HQ. If you change the goal post you have to wait longer.

varunn said...

this is still inconclusive, no clear impact of new engine in term of weight n performance its a pretty useless article as the writer does not know the role of the machine he is analyzing... we need to keep in mind few things to determine the success or failure of lca

: role
: strategic impact
: load n range
we need to understand lca is to replace mig 21 as quick reaction fighters to protect the territory, these type of aircraft rarely leave domestic air space as they hit in coming enemy aircraft with help of ground unit and awacs

i think the writer has failed to understand combat aircraft are invasive and defensive too. gnat was a success as its job was to protect Indian air space as the sabre was the invading aircraft. indian aircraft to enter Pakistani territory were the hunters and the Canberra bombers

MPatel said...

Excellent analysis, explained in laymans terms. It explains exactly what is needed in a fighter...a combat ready war machine. Reading this makes me understand why PAF have gone for the JF-17. They have created a war machine, that is effective, easy to maintain and cheap...whereas IAF wanted the best of everything!!! Its a pity. Also the comments wrt BVR combat are what the pilots tell you and not what you read on BR.

Anonymous said...

I like this article - But I don't completely agree with everything in it. All he really pointed out was that a government agency or a group of government agencies is not going to be run as well as a for profit corporation like Boeing or even L&T. We know this.

Cujo

Anonymous said...

The author is a mid-1960s vintage expert. When he argued for "no FBW" my suspicion was confirmed. Throughout the article there isn't a single test statistic. Looks like the authr wanted in on the LCA project but was kept out. Jealousy, envy, and rejection hurts. Some of the conclusions are laughable. Twin engine vs. single engine was the stupidest. So if you have a dust laden environment it will affect one engine only? So have a twin rather than a single engine aircraft? So a twin engine aircraft files on one engine and keeps the other wound down? Is he serious?

Anonymous said...

hoping for the day LCa is cancelled................

Kunal said...

Some Indian scientists n engineers(S/E)were of the opinion that India had the capability n could design,develop,n mfg an a/c on its own with some help from outside.To this lofty goal,they set about their task with some funding managed from GoI with gr8 difficulty. The IAF clearly not interested in overambitious plans steered clear from identification with the project at that early stage.
Did the S/E succeed in their objective?
Well,it was neither a total failure nor a total success.It was a mixed bag,as is not unusual in such projects.The S/E,however,did commit some cardinal sins:#They ignored Indian aviation history n ought to have taken cognizance of the failure of the Marut program - the engine.Overconfidence on the Kaveri without an appropriate backup(co-development with foreign partner from the beginning)did them in.#Design n development is one thing but productionizing is a different ballgame altogether.They should have co-opted HAL(the production engg agency)from the very word go.#IAF should also have been roped in early enough in the project.There do remain some basic design flaws in the Tejas airframe structure n these have been rightly pointed out by the author in his article.These flaws are due to be addressed in the Tejas MkII re-design n re-test(hence the 4-yr delay).So,on objective assessment the S/E did demonstrate capability to put a flying object in air though not of full war fighting capability.
Then what was Tejas?
>One should consider it as a scientific TD effort n towards that objective there is no hesitation in saying that it has been a brilliant success.It has kickstarted the war plane design,development,mfg capability in India.Going forward from here, the concerned players can confidently claim that they will be able to deliver a fully fighting platform in the next endeavor n that is the single largest gain/takeaway from this continuing LCA saga.
>The Arjun n LCA saga should be a wakeup call for the IA n IAF.That,users are the primary stakeholders n it doesn’t pay to maintain arms-length distance n then be critical/cynical.They should get involved by dirtying their hands. The DRDO should learn that it does not pay to keep designs open n fluid indefinitely.This encourages users to keep shifting goal posts, creating nightmares for the designers.Design QRs should be frozen after TD approval.
What are the lessons?
>The monies invested so far have not gone waste.Infrastructure has been created.A lot of learning has happened.Niche capabilities have been developed.Project development cost has remained well below world standards n comparable with China.
>The most successful Chinese a/c(comparable to western n our own LCA)to date has been the J-10 n don't forget it has taken them 40 yrs to reach here n that too without an indigenous engine as yet.
>The defense forces should realize there is no such thing as a perfect/ideal weapon.Weapon systems continuously evolve over their lifetime.They should be prepared to induct initial (non optimal performing) models to be followed up by block upgrades.If they keep insisting on final product, then I'm afraid the product will never leave the lab.
>>No nation built up capabilities for free.There is always a price to be paid for building capability.Arjun n LCA should be treated as R&D investment(not expenditure)for future.
>Indian public should stop being cynical.We have not done too badly (even by China standards).Of course we still have a very long way to go.There are bound to be failures which have to be taken in stride n the price paid but that does not mean we stop persisting.China has had many more failures compared to us but they persisted. The J-10 PV n LSP trials have had 5 accidents in total out of which 4 were crashes.Persistence ultimately pays in such endeavors.
>I do not agree with Prof Pradyut Das's one-sided cynicism. I challenge him to have offered a rehashed/suitably upgraded Gnat to the IAF n see how the IAF would have accepted it even at lowest price.

Kunal said...

Some Indian scientists n engineers(S/E)were of the opinion that India had the capability n could design,develop,n mfg an a/c on its own with some help from outside.To this lofty goal,they set about their task with some funding managed from GoI with gr8 difficulty. The IAF clearly not interested in overambitious plans steered clear from identification with the project at that early stage.
Did the S/E succeed in their objective?
Well,it was neither a total failure nor a total success.It was a mixed bag,as is not unusual in such projects.The S/E,however,did commit some cardinal sins:#They ignored Indian aviation history n ought to have taken cognizance of the failure of the Marut program - the engine.Overconfidence on the Kaveri without an appropriate backup(co-development with foreign partner from the beginning)did them in.#Design n development is one thing but productionizing is a different ballgame altogether.They should have co-opted HAL(the production engg agency)from the very word go.#IAF should also have been roped in early enough in the project.There do remain some basic design flaws in the Tejas airframe structure n these have been rightly pointed out by the author in his article.These flaws are due to be addressed in the Tejas MkII re-design n re-test(hence the 4-yr delay).So,on objective assessment the S/E did demonstrate capability to put a flying object in air though not of full war fighting capability.
Then what was Tejas?
>One should consider it as a scientific TD effort n towards that objective there is no hesitation in saying that it has been a brilliant success.It has kickstarted the war plane design,development,mfg capability in India.Going forward from here, the concerned players can confidently claim that they will be able to deliver a fully fighting platform in the next endeavor n that is the single largest gain/takeaway from this continuing LCA saga.
>The Arjun n LCA saga should be a wakeup call for the IA n IAF.That,users are the primary stakeholders n it doesn’t pay to maintain arms-length distance n then be critical/cynical.They should get involved by dirtying their hands. The DRDO should learn that it does not pay to keep designs open n fluid indefinitely.This encourages users to keep shifting goal posts, creating nightmares for the designers.Design QRs should be frozen after TD approval.
What are the lessons?
>The monies invested so far have not gone waste.Infrastructure has been created.A lot of learning has happened.Niche capabilities have been developed.Project development cost has remained well below world standards n comparable with China.
>The most successful Chinese a/c(comparable to western n our own LCA)to date has been the J-10 n don't forget it has taken them 40 yrs to reach here n that too without an indigenous engine as yet.
>The defense forces should realize there is no such thing as a perfect/ideal weapon.Weapon systems continuously evolve over their lifetime.They should be prepared to induct initial (non optimal performing) models to be followed up by block upgrades.If they keep insisting on final product, then I'm afraid the product will never leave the lab.
>>No nation built up capabilities for free.There is always a price to be paid for building capability.Arjun n LCA should be treated as R&D investment(not expenditure)for future.
>Indian public should stop being cynical.We have not done too badly (even by China standards).Of course we still have a very long way to go.There are bound to be failures which have to be taken in stride n the price paid but that does not mean we stop persisting.China has had many more failures compared to us but they persisted. The J-10 PV n LSP trials have had 5 accidents in total out of which 4 were crashes.Persistence ultimately pays in such endeavors.
>I do not agree with Prof Pradyut Das's one-sided cynicism. I challenge him to have offered a rehashed/suitably upgraded Gnat to the IAF n see how the IAF would have accepted it even at lowest price.

Anonymous said...

LCA design is "Blunt"? what? LCA is now 56** kgs, so it gets 69% marks! There, LCA is a failure, I will sleep on that! The article is inconclusive, just ranting on all the failures. I do not know the authors intentions here? An abrupt end!

Cheers,
Bharath

Anonymous said...

Did a quick google search of the author. Seems to be from MIT or was at MIT in the 80s. From his analysis it is quite evident that he knows the subject well enough to interpret the numbers. Another hit for the author was on the Gripen-NG flyer. Giving the author due credit for his knowledge, his assessments are probably right. But the question one needs to ask him "Tell what you have done for the nation". I am sure there is no project without its plusses. What are the plus for the LCA? The author believes it is non-existent. I dont concur. We live in democracy. So each man is entitled to his opinion, but I dont believe in his .. even if the author is/was a Professor at MIT!

Dhirendra said...

Even the EF, Gripen, Rafale and J-10 have delta wings though with front canards and they have extra ordinary maneuverability. I suppose LCA too can achieve them by copying the same techniques.

Mr. Ra said...

LCA has met its basic objectives. It is superior to and more capable than all variants of Mig-21.

It has better multi-role capabilities than all variants of Mig-21.

It is at least a generation 4.0 fighter.

It can be compared to the existing model of Gripen.

It is a stepping stone to LCA-mk2 and in some respects even to the AMCA.

Also J-10 is not much ahead of it, in-spite of being in a superior class.

LCA has been delayed much, but that was a well known possibility from the very start in a poor third wold country like India with all the odds against it.

Anonymous said...

(As hard as it is to accept)
Prof. Das is right!

..A is a dead Dodo.

Shiv: you know Das very well. Perhaps you could give us a few words of introduction on him.

- nanovacuum (US)

the terminator said...

LCA bashing hasn't stopped even after it has achieved so much in terms of indigenous effort. The LCA has made one of the emerging aeronautical engineering countries in the world.

The author in his zeal to criticize the LCA has gone overboard by making the effort of the Indian scientists and engineers into a sheer waste of time, energy and money. Such a analysis only confirms that he is another Indian obsessed with anything foreign is better than a desi product.

For all his wonted expertise in aircraft design and production, has he in any miniscule form assisted Indian effort to come up with a modern fighter.

It is too easy to be an armchair critic of anything and everything but when one slyly turns out to be a salesman for foreigners in their effort to mothball Indian R&D in aeronautics, then he no better than a Chinki or a Pakistani.

If he is as great as he wants us to believe, he should come up with a blueprint for at least a credible fighter of the Typhoon class. If he cannot it would be in his best interest to look for a aircraft maintenance job in China or Pakistan.

Karan Bhatt said...

The article did seem more like a rant. I am sure that the professor knows that we had to (re-) invent the wheel, and when you do that, you are not optimal. I think LCA was a toy project, which has allowed DRDO and IAF to grow up. There was a cost, and I do not think that we should put economics here: for the very fact that we learnt so much, is priceless. No country will ever give us their best technology, unless we put an effort into developing it ourselves. Like they say, no one gets an invitation to the high tables: you just barge in!

Anonymous said...

What is it with indians? Why can you not take unbiased analysis and look at yourself's? Proof of the pudding is always in it's eating and IAF is not eating it :-). Instead they will buy anything but LCA. Reality check. This is not BR. Remember there is a fine line between being a patriot and bigot(read shiv from BR).

LCA is not even comparable to Mig-21Bison at the moment....forget about it being comparable to JF-17. J-10 is something else altogether.

Rajat said...

This article only shows the negativities of the Tejas project.
So, it not a complete assessment

Anonymous said...

This is not BR. Remember there is a fine line between being a patriot and bigot(read shiv from BR)...LCA is not even comparable to Mig-21Bison at the moment....forget about it being comparable to JF-17. J-10 is something else altogether.

I know this is not BR, because you are not Dr. Raghu or Prof. Komerath, professors both, who write there regularly. MiG-21/JF-17? I thought LCA was just a Spowith Camel with a jet engine!

BISWAJIT said...

This is a classic example of mechanical engg people's mentality. :)

An aircraft is not just a tin can. You can't compare with other plane in terms of size and weight.

If turning radius is a issue then why india is having Mig-23.

Many people said same thing about su-7. Still it served it's purpose.

If you look at usa, just see how many fighter plane projects they scraped to come up with a modern fighter plane.

And FBW is not a joke. otherwise people would have been happy with pneumatic control system.

Some std dog fight maneuvers can only be made safely with FBW.

LCA is fine plane. It is india's first approach. we should be proud what we have achieved in our first attempt.

Prabhu said...

Hi shiv
Can you qualitatively assess the points made by the professor ? he has said the LCA is overweight.Can we compare the exact specifications of the Gripen and LCA

Cheers

Abhid-d said...

The Prof. has got his premise totally Wrong. The fighter is "LCA" only in name. But 6,500 kgs it is clearly no "LCA", but is in the category of Gripen C & D models.

Also, in his excitement to discredit the Tejas by comparing it with Gripen, he goofed on the empty weight. According to the Swedish govt's defence website itself, the Gripen C/D weighs around 6,800 kgs, and not 5,600 kgs as Prof. Das would like us to believe. The Gripen NG weighs even more : 7,100 kgs.

But he's blissfully quoting figures of the 12 years old Gripen A model !! And comparing that with today's Tejas !

Professor sahab himself may have to go to the classroom, and WE could be his professors !!

bookz said...

Our fear and loathing of failure is going to finish us off. Must have something to do with our primary school experiences.
Earthling to "the God who never fails"(the author of this farticle): This is not primary school. Failures are compulsory stepping stones to success.

This is our first combat aircraft. We need many more such failures. Till the day we succeed.

Anonymous said...

2-3 points

1)First remove cast reservation from defence research atleast

2) I don't understand why BVR is not important

the dog fight era is over (otherwise mig 29 is king)
no need to fly as fast as well, be stealthy, see first hit first, drop first. have a good EW suite simple

3) unreliablity of single engine?

then fools list is as follows f-16, f-35, j-10, jf17, gripen.
in fact single engine fighters are as good as their twin engine counter part

4)while its nearing ioc. this is a needless talk

5) delta wing? then what abt gripen, typhoon mirage2000, raphale.

Anonymous said...

The article is being taken apart nut-by-nut and bolt-by-bolt by BR's expert crew, especially one guy who designs airframes for a living. Pradyut Das is finding out what it mean to gas around. Nothing new. When Indranil Dasgupta (taking his scholar of strate studies status at U of Illinois too seriously) he was refuted so strongly on BR that he had to post a retraction on India Today. This was long ago, last century - in 1999 - before the arrival of blogs.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry but what is BR. could anyone post its URL pls

Anonymous said...

I think though LCA, grosely overbudget and late, was a very good first attempt in building infrastructure for aircraft industry in our country. If you study the development of variuos aircrafts in various western nations, you will see it required multiple attempts to develop a good, well rounded fighter aircraft. Besides, Tejas is a pretty good aircraft and with some more fine tuning can add significant teeth to our Air Force.