Thursday, December 23, 2010

COMING UP: Truths About The FGFA

On the day the FGFA preliminary design contract was signed, I received some pointers from an old IAF source of mine. I requested him to write a column (anon. of course -- he's still serving) for Livefist on how the IAF perceives the hoopla around the FGFA, and he has kindly agreed. He has permitted me to proofread his piece without editing it. Will be posted tomorrow morning.


indian defence forum said...

well it seems that there is a concerted effort in the media to malign the FGFA & india's relation with russia.......nobody even raises an eyebrow when india buys downgraded versions of american weaponry without critical technologies at hyperinflated prices..... but if it is russia then there must be some kind of deceit involved.....that's the view of the indian is really disheartening because if somebody stands up against this biased campaign against russia then he or she is quickly dubbed as being under the payroll of russian govt agencies.....truly disheartening

nothing more to say

Prashant said...

Hi Shiv,
I know its great to bring out the real picture to public and i would also like this to happen but the point is if you bring out all the facts about fighter configuration and expected weapons and avionics, the very idea of stealth warfare(invisible + surprise)is defeated. It has not been disclosed by Russians as of now then why from india. The out come of this might be that even the russians will stop sharing top secrets information. So please atleast remove the classified figures and expected weaponary. Remember that our enemy is also reading this.


Shiv Aroor said...

Prashant: read what i've written. i'm not posting a specs card. i'm posting a perspective on the aircraft programme. chill.

Shubham said...

Looking forward to reading it. Shiv can you please post an update/perspective on the various surface to Air Missile programs/ JVs that are active now?



Anonymous said...

Actions speak louder than words. If you con us by repeatedly raising the price beyond the contracted amount, no one will trust you. This in business parlance is known as erosion of goodwill. They are reaping what they have sown.
No other country has ever raised the price beyond the contracted amount.
This entire deal reeks of multi billion $ scam like 2G and CWG.

Anonymous said...

Why do we always smell a rat in almost every deal, whether, indigenous, whether bought from abroad or a joint venture...could be a genuine deal also!

Hrishikesh said...

Will be interesting to read.

Criticism if its constructive is invaluable but trying to pull everything down which we do or plan to do is destructive.

Have heard only negative things about LCA for the last decade, now the same has started for FGFA though there are umpteen benefits of both.

How I wish we could utilize these programs to build a vibrant aerospace industry in India and pour all the experience and enginering expertise gained into MCA/AMCA/UCAV.

Anonymous said...

I can't understand why our india project /indian purchases , each and every time has some problems. why defense ministry is not trying to do some better solution .

another good ex., Scropene:
other countries( malaysia , chile , brazil going to get it in 4-5yrs due to much bigger than original scropene size) have purchased scropene sub in 4 yrs time , but only india is still struggling to get scropene sub by 2015( i think order placed in 2007)

Anonymous said...

I am smelling a rat bcoz this has the potential of being the next mother of all Groshkov. The way this deal is being inked, it shows that this programme will be much higher than 30 (now 35 billion$). It's apparent that Ruskies have big time greased the palms of our babu-netas-sipahis.

If we invest this same amount in developing AMCA we will be getting something equally good if not better.

Why do we need so many 5th Gen A/Cs particularly when resources are required desperately for infrastructure, education and health?

Kumar said...

Guys, remember what our hon. Home Minister Chidambaram once said in his meeting with FBI Director Robert Mueller, "We must be able to say we had access, even if Headley did not speak."


The same goes with HAL/DRDO, do whatever it take$ just to say we have made it indigenously.

ArkAngel said...

Hope its not another one of those articles criticizing the govt for spending billions on "foreigners" instead of putting that money into the AMCA.

Atleast with the FGFA we get something tangible in return.
The AMCA is just a pie in the sky. Its the pet obsession with some jingoistic folk who believe Indian is some sort of technical/engineering/R&D superpower.

In actual fact our capabilities are not even half of what the Chinese are let alone the Russians or the Americans. Putting money into the AMCA would be like a super massive black hole - we'll end up with something thats a generation behind and a generation late!

Most Journos now days want to seem to be super patriotic by trashing anything thats foreign.

Can the technical education system even cater to building something as advanced as the FGFA on our own?
That s what we should be focusing on! An education system that in the future will be able to meet these demands.
We pump out bucket loads of engineers but only a handful are worthy. The number of PHDs are minuscule for a country our size.

Money need to be spend on R&D, improving our universities and ensure they act as a hub for innovation.
Get DRDO cooperating with the Universities.
Thats how you build a high tech defense industry.

Ofcourse this is not a sexy enough subject for most journos and doesnt bring in the TRPs as much as say, a story about how the govt is wasting money on foreigners.

The AMCA should be binned. Instead money should be put into a future stealth UCAV project for the 3 forces.

Anonymous said...

just in case of war with pakisthan whom will u trust russians or usa

Anonymous said...

fgfa is still to come but critising starts r we goin to do only a mouth fight ..

Anonymous said...

@arkangel please tell me 1 chinese fighterjet which was made indigenous ie. not copied or in other words made entirely by the chinese then how do u say they are advanced even u and i can make fighter jets if we have the blue print........... U must acknowledge the fact that we are trying to make indegenous 5 th gen jets not copies or based on existing fighter jets........ Do u kno j-10 got its design from israeli lavi and china had bribed some of ISRAELI engineers....... It is good to have such ambitious programmes....... within next few years i assure you the private companies will also join hands with DRDO to make the MCA....
So do not think china to be much ahead of india...

indian said...

hi shiva it great to hear it seem some thing cooking

god bless india becose india we can delay any defence deal to any extent ........

Anonymous said...

Friend u are talking as if solving a problem without knowing the concepts is better than trying to solve the problem using the concepts, we hv engineers better than chinese who only hv reverse engineers !!!!!

Anonymous said...

Friend u are talking as if solving a problem without knowing the concepts is better than trying to solve the problem using the concepts, we hv engineers better than chinese who only hv reverse engineers !!!!!

Anonymous said...


Even if we learn 25 - 30 Percent it is still better than JUST buying and learning Nothing

AMCA project will get a boost ONLY if we LEARN something in FGFA

We should be happy that Russia needs Indian Money AND we are getting a look in

Otherwise in the Joint strike fighter Programme ie F 35 How much have other countries like UK and Israel learnt

The officials of IAF HAL DRDO who are NOT a part of this FGFA team WILL criticise this project

parvas24 said...

FGFA is crucial to the country .... indispensible to the IAF .... our engineers and supprt teams and R& D should learn to design and manufacture such advanced aircraft ... why is it after so many years of independence we are still way behind in technology when India produces so many bright and talented engineers each year? not to mention the IIT's.....

parvas24 said...

atleast the Russians are willing to share their tech with us ... still we cannot learn then we have to fire our R& D engineers and staff for incompetancy ...

parvas24 said...

we should be able to manufacture all the componenets and even service the FGFA inside the country ... maybe take initial help from Russians ... that way we can even add or delete some features of FGFA if the IAF wants...

parvas24 said...

the HAL & IAF should encourage talented engineers to join and work for the country ... becos in the event of war ... if we cannot even service or produce spares for our fighters we would not stand a chance ...

Anonymous said...


Do you know which country is the hub of R&D outside USA? It is India, not China. All major MNCs have setup their R&D outfits in India, whereas the blue collared manufacturing base is in China. There is not even one single Chinese invention. The much tom tomed anti ship ballistic missiles are heavily dependent on Russian guidance systems.
Finally India does need to stop spending truckloads of money on "foreigners" when so many deserving and capable Indians are denied those funds which are actually earned from the sweat and toil of Indians.

Anonymous said...

The anonymous 7:55 is very correcrt. Just swap the positions. Think India is Russia and Russia is India. Would u share your years' of research with any other foreign country. NEVER. but Russia did. If we learn even 30% from the FGFA programme, then it worths a thousand billion Dollar lesson. Only Russia can provide us this opportunity and no body else in this world in spite of delays in projects. Can u name a single country who is willing to rent its nuke submarine to India.NONE my friend. Its only russia that always come to our rescue. Think of Kargil when US denied F-16 parts to Pakis but russia stood behind us firmly.

ArkAngel said...

@Anonymous 5:48PM
I'm not talking about the aircraft the Chinese are making. My point is the manpower, the skilled resources - which is the basic raw material for these industries.
We have a few IITs thats about it. What about the Universities? Do we have an Indian equivalent to an MIT?

Get back down to earth and face reality. China is way way ahead of India from missions to the moon, to power generation equipment to super computers!
Look at even Brazil. Do we have an Indian equivalent of Embraer?
How many passenger aircraft has Indian industry built & sold??

As far as china is concerned just look at the UAS/UCAVs they displayed at the recent Airshow China 2010. They even had one powered by a jet engine!

As i said before chest thumping and patriotism will only get you so far.
The only way to grow fast in the current set up is through technology transfers, JVs and joint development.
It worked for Israel. It can work for us.
We just need to get rid of our fossilized mindset & fear of the west.

ArkAngel said...

@Anonymous 9:33PM
Mate you need to get you head for out of the clouds.
Not one single Chinese invention you say?lol

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization data for 2009 Chinese companies filed 7,946 patent applications last year, compared to 761 by India! Financial Times had suggested that China would displace the US as the world's leading producer of scientific knowledge in term of volume by 2020.

This year, India has tumbled 18 places to 81st in a ranking of the technology capabilities of 91 countries, published online in Scientometrics. Brazil & China are running neck and neck halfway up the list.

And to your point regarding MNCs setting up R&D in India. The figures from last year show there are 920 MNCs that have operations in China, compared with 671 in India. The number of captive centers in China is 1,100, compared with 780 in India.

According to a Goldman Sachs report, China ranks third in R&D investment, after the United States and Japan with $100 billion, compared to $325 billion in the US and $123 billion in Japan.

The facts dont lie. You can choose to ignore them.

indian said...

it is nice to hear indian is only country whos failer are heigh compaire to other developing country like brazil..etc ?????

.touchwood if we learn anyting then we will be superpower it day dream

is any member who can update us that we made some thing with out foreign help ..heigh tech equi

Anonymous said...

Remember that no other country will give us such advanced fighter, nuclear submarine etc except Russia. Think before writing.

Mr. Ra said...

No two other nations in the world are more mutual friendly as India and Russia are. Politicians and businessman can attribute it to their own fudgy logics i.e. mutual selfishness, dire business needs, ground realities, glasnost, opportunism or USSR Vs Russia etc, but this mutual trust has withstood the test of all the vortex times.

So much so that I think that Russia may not object to fitting of some hyper Israeli equipments on the FGFA for India.

Anonymous said...

I agree with ArkAngel.....We really need to invest in our country and create an scientific environment where we can get best and brightest to do PhD in India and work on problem that we face be it high tech or low tech...rather than packing bags...getting PhD in MIT and Berkeley and working for BOING, LM, and NASA. Until this happens we will always be playing catch up. Now we are paying Russia for 5th generation design 10 years down the line we will be paying Russia or some one else for 6'th gen....

Right now in India, there are handful of institution where they are doing quality research IISc, JNCASR, TIFR Pune, and may be BARC, but thats about it. IIT's have long way to catch up in terms of quality of research. IITs are on right path but it will take time to become good quality research institutes from today's institutes imparting training to smart undergrads. I see some positive changes in IIT Bombay and IIT Kanpur. We need at least 100 institutes of IISc quality...that should be focus of HRD, MO finance and may be even MOD (they should allocate much more money for research than they do now) policy makers....

and..we are really behind China no matters what folks at DRDO or ISRO tell you. If they have couple success they start bragging like a high school kid...It was sad to hear them before GSLV launch with Indian cryo India's technology is superior than china...and so on...a little humility can go long way

Anonymous said...

Shiv, what’s up with you? You have been a good reliable source of info for a country starved of any meaningful insight in national defence matters. But lately your blog posts have started to take a distinctly pro US tinge. By targeting the FGFA you seem to be carrying forward the arrogant taunts of that Lockheed Martin guy who wished a derogatory "Good-Luck" on our tie up with Russia. Are a few five star dinner parties enough to change mindset of a journalist like you? By denouncing the Russians for every deal that we have, you are only digging the grave of a long and fruitful relationship.

Shiv Aroor said...

anon@1.29AM: you're free to judge. nobody is criticising the FGFA itself. wait for the IAF column in a few hours. and if you think i'm pro-anybody, you clearly don't read this blog enough. do!

Anonymous said...

@ArkAngel and Anon 12.44AM

We are going to build quality R&D and education institutes by investing 10s of billions of $s on 5th gen fighters development with foreign countries??? Are you aware that our defense budget is several times higher than education and health budget?

If you have to build MITs and Harvards u gotta invest in infrastructure and socio-economic institutions. This won't be possible if we have multi billion $ scams and megalomaniac defense projects aka white elephants. If we continue with such lopsided "development" of our country, pretty soon India will break up like USSR.

Indian brains and talent is much higher than that of Chinese. Fyi, India's moon mission is a bigger success than that of China's which has not been able to show even 1 pic taken by their moon probe whereas our Chandrayaan found water on the Moon. Btw, just check model minority in USA. Indians top the list whereas Chinese are even lower than Pinoys.
All those power gen eqp u r talking about r MNC products being manufactured in China. Can u give me the names of 5 Chinese global brands?
The way u r going gaga over China, makes me feel that u r not Indian but someone from one of our neighboring country which has of late become a satellite of China.

Anonymous said...

My take on the arrangement with the russians is as follows:

At the present stage the airframe is subtantially complete. However, the packaging of the sensors is still to be carried out.

Similarly, the computers, avionics etc need to be developed to the final configuration.

Finally, India has a say in who gets to buy the suitably modified plane.

Can the development cost be considered a premium for getting a chance to participate in an advanced programme and also to influence the list of users.

The article should be seen to represent the attitude of the user, whose confidence in indigenous developments is lower than that of the other stake holders in India.

The users also need to look forward and plan for a time when a substantial part of our requirements are developed locally.

ArkAngel said...

@ Anonymous 2:47 AM
Your talking about scams as an excuse? You should know that China is just as corrupt as India. India was rated 3.3 & China 3.1 with 0 being the most corrupt.

You want to talk about Chinese brands? Lets see LOL.....there are 3 Chinese cos in the Fortune 500 top 10 list!
Haier - is the largest white goods manufacturer in the world.
Huawei Technologies - now the world's second-largest provider of telecom equipment.
BYD - hybrid/electric car battery giant.
TCL corp
ICBC bank - the worlds largest bank is 5 times the size of SBI.

You sir need to get more "informed" rather than believing what you read & watch in the papers & news channels.

BTW, you dont have to keep shouting JAI HIND to be a patriot!.
LMAO China's satellite country .....just look at the live traffic feed to see i'm from.

parvas24 said...

we need 500 new MMRCA fighters ASAP...... do not care whether we copy them from western aircraft or russian ... just get them up and running... with lots of spares and ground crew .... war can come anytime espcially from CHINA which has been aggressive recently .... numbers do matter and so do quality training of our fighter pilots....

Our Air chief had mentioned earlier this year that more than 50% of IAF fighters and eqiupment is obsolete ...

Prepare well for the war and hope the Cabinet sanctions the deal ASAP ... as if God forbid war breaks out even in a years time .. we would have some numebrs to fight and defend the country....

Anonymous said...

Sorry to poop the part of those who trust indian research but lets not forget that the LCA took 30 years to develop :(