My Take


With Aero India 2019, just around the corner HAL CMD R Madhavan has said that company will be showcasing simulator of Supersonic Omni Role Trainer Aircraft (SPORT) which company believes will lead to the development of a 4++ Generation Lead-In Fighter Trainer (LIFT) which is usually used to train after Stage-III training which mostly involves Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT),interestingly it’s not the first time HAL has proposed development of LIFT jets and in fact its first proposal was HJT 39, Combat Air Trainer (CAT) which was showcased first in AeroIndia 2015.

HJT 39 was based on HJT-36 design also shared air-frame and came with same engines in twin-engine configuration along with avionics like Fly-by-Wire (FBW), Multi-Functional Dials (MFD), Head-Up Display (HUD) and Up Front Control Panel (UFCP) and several others common avionics and turnaround time for the project was just over 3 years once funding was cleared but the proposal was rejected by IAF back then and but 14 years down the line, MOD should be thanking its stars because HAL still hasn’t completed the HJT-36 program but announcement of SPORT LIFT should raise some eyebrows in MOD and IAF. Continue reading


Russia recently offered India Air Force, 21 Stored Mig-29A fighter aircraft which was recently surveyed by IAF officials which in their report asked Indian defense ministry and IAF to go ahead with the purchase of this air frame which will be upgraded with latest SMT Upgrade package and delivered back to India roughly around $25 million per unit.

There was a sense of confusion in India if the air frames offered to India were used or retired ones or air frames which were to build together from excessive spares from multiple aircraft. It is now confirmed that the air frames on offer to India were from a lot of 21 Mig-29A Classic design which never made into service with Russian air force due to financial issues after break of the Soviet Union in the early ’90s. Continue reading


An explosives-laden car had rammed into a bus carrying security personals in two different countries, in the region, yet both have a direct connection with non-state actors based in Pakistan. Islamic Revolution Guards Corps lost 27 of their security guards near the border with Pakistan which Jaish ul-Adl terrorist group claimed responsibilities for the deadly attack in Iran, while back home killing of 40 Central Police force again using Car-filled explosives, was claimed by Jaish-e-Mohammed both terror organization used the same tactics and both operate from Pakistan’s soil to target neighbors.

Off-late Pakistani Non-State actors have been embodied after the US Government started making plans to withdraw from Afghanistan and hand over power back to the Taliban, which is why there is too much chatter among all terror groups this day due to lax security of the American forces which are very keen to secure a face-saving exit strategy from the region. Continue reading


Off-late many countries have declared their intentions to join sixth-generation fighter development bandwagon and series of announcements have largely come from European countries, where at least Three independent 6th Generation fighter programs are racing against time to field a production-ready prototype by 2035 time-frame which can enter induction by 2040. The US, China, and Russia who all have their own 5th generation program are yet to announce any major projects of their own, yet they continue to explore and research what can be classified as 6th generation program so that it can have a clear advantage over 5th generation programs.

A sixth-generation jet fighter is supposed to be a conceptualized class of fighter aircraft design more advanced than the fifth-generation jet fighters, yet there is no clear cut explanation on how they plan to differentiate between 5th and 6th generation fighters and many European countries who have taken the lead are the ones who have skipped development of 5th generation fighter aircraft themselves raising big question mark if their 6th generation fighter jets actually will be any better then 5th generation fighter already under development and in-service?. Continue reading


The UK Ministry of Defense officials on the sidelines of Aero India 2019 will be briefing India about their new ‘Tempest’ Stealth Fighter Project which they claim will be 6th generation fighter which they are keen to develop jointly with India but the program and the circumstances around it has too many similarities with Russia’s FGFA program based on Su-57 which India recently pulled out.

The UK is increasingly facing uncertain political and economic future and their generous offer to India is more to do with what Russians wanted from India to make Sukhoi Su 57 fighter program a commercially viable project and four basic criteria laid down by the UK MOD suggests the same that the whole reasons behind offer to India were to calm down the domestic concerns about the program and to ensure the project becomes viable. Continue reading



In capital procurements, first we give RFI (Request for information) to various vendors. After this our air staff quality requirements and  INITIAL ESTIMATES (roughly called budget figure around which we can spend)is floated the form of RFP (request for proposal)

Now, various firms respond to us with their products which meet the requirements and budget (INITIAL ESTIMATES). We carry out technical evaluations of products offered to us and commercial evaluations of firms. Now we select products and respective firms (normally more than 1 to pressurize vendors on prices and other offers) which fits our technical requirements and then carry out commercial (price) negotiations to select the most financially viable(lowest bidder) product and then make FINAL ESTIMATES (total contract cost) (considering after sales services, infrastructure, training and add on required with that particular product) to sign the contract. Continue reading


There is an adage said in our society that ‘THE BEST PREPARATION OF TOMORROW IS DOING YOUR BEST TODAY’& this is what UK is planning on India.The failure of Eurofighter programme in getting more orders has hit Europeans countries so hard that they are separately working on their next Gen Fighter Jet Programme. In fact, the major blow to Euro group (UK, GERMANY, ITALY, and SPAIN) was TYPHOON’s defeat in MMRCA tender. It completely eroded their dreams into dusts. Now, they are also sure of India buying 110 more Rafale planes under MMRCA tender leaving Typhoon order book inert forever. Therefore, Looking at the current developments, there is a possibility that Euro group Consortium is inching towards extinction.

In early 2019, France & Germany announced a JV on Sixth gen fighter programme. These two countries have the most efficient & technological advanced work force compared to other countries in Europe. After BREXIT, UK is now a Solo player in the market &when Germany preferred to go with France on 6th gen Fighter development, British found it a mess& invited India for JV. But, the question raises, why Germans & French did not approach to India for JV while British did. Continue reading


After completing series of Pre-induction tests of Astra MkI Air-To-Air Missile last year, limited production of the Astra missile system has already begun and by next year the first batch will be delivered to IAF which will be integrated into Su-30MKI fighter jets and later slowly will make it into other fighter aircraft like Mirage-2000,LCA-Tejas and Mig-29 in near future,but DRDO is just not done yet.

A successor to Astra Mk1 will be Astra MkII which has been on drawing board for some time but due to the slow pace of development phase which bogged down Mk1 program, it is likely to have shorter developmental trials due to missile system carrying forward many of the systems which have already been developed. IAF and DRDO are yet working out technicalities of Astra MkII program it’s more or less confirmed that it will have longer range and will have additional capabilities making it a vital air-to-air dominance arsenal of IAF in near future. Continue reading


Top American defense manufacturing company Lockheed Martin India’s vice president recently while speaking to media said that they have proposed a “game-changing” partnership with India which will benefit multiple stakeholders not only in India but also in the US and beyond. Lockheed is seen as a front runner to supply 24 MH-60R helicopters to Indian Navy and is also keen to offer Indian Navy it’s S-76D helicopters to meet India Naval Utility Helicopter programme’s requirement for 111 helicopters.

Game Changing aspect which Vivek Lall was referring was India becoming a hub for F-16 production if IAF does select them in the first place and the company is keen on making its Indian manufacturing unit also the only unit which will not only cater to upgrade and modernization of F-16s operated world over, but also will manufacture early 200 jets for export market which Lockheed Martin plans to corner from its current operators. Continue reading


Former Defence Secretary Mohan Kumar recently told media that once the purchase of 126 Dassault Rafale was stalled under UPA government, Modi government had to renegotiate the deal and it was decided to go for 148 aircraft from 126 jets to 148 aircraft through the initial deal was for 36 aircraft in a fly-away status.

112 aircraft could have been made in India under transfer of technology and recent tender for supply of 114 aircraft under new tender suggests the current government is still on track to execute initial plans for the procurement of 148 jets in total. Continue reading


Sukhoi Design Bureau in initial days of MMRCA Tendering process had made an interesting offer to India, which if pursued back then could have saved India not only a lot of foreign exchange but also could have slowed down the fast depletion of the combat fleet of IAF if the offer had been actively pursued said a retired senior ranking employee of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited who doesn’t want to be named but did shed some light on proposal made by Sukhoi officials on development of single-engined Su-30 derivative.

According to the senior retired official, OKB Sukhoi in the ’90s had initiated an S-54 advanced trainer, based on Su-27 aerodynamics but the program never reached production stage but what India was offered was further advanced derivative which could have been an aircraft under Max. takeoff weight of fewer than 20 tonnes nearly half the MTOW of a Sukhoi Su-30MKI aircraft. Continue reading


Delays and fiasco seen with the LCA-Tejas program in India should come as a lesson for all the stakeholders that for future fighter aircraft programs like Tejas Mk-2 and AMCA, India will require higher participation of private players and better outsourcing of the aircraft equipment and components that can ensure smooth production line without any major delays and hiccups to the program.

Outsourcing of air frame components like the front, the mid and rear section including wings of the Tejas Mk1 to private players already has created a necessary support system which will further come in handy for the supply of critical components for the 83 Tejas Mk1A orders for which are likely to be placed by IAF soon. Continue reading


IAF quest to replace aging Kiran MkII Trainer jet got a major boost in 1999 when Public-sector company HAL was sanctioned 2,989-crore project to develop Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT) and a quick turnaround development circle and first flight in 2003 which was followed by the first flight of the second prototype in 2004 seemed like years of hard work on developing LCA-Tejas has finally created an talented resource pool in the country that was up for more challenges until 2007 and 2009 when both Prototypes suffered accidents and were grounded .

Troubled developmental phase not only included crashes but also several technical changes the program had to go through due to aircraft falling short of ASR issued by IAF. From Engine change to weight reduction followed up by wing re-alignments. Over the years, the program made little or very slow progress in the last few years and continued to fail crucial Spin Tests which HAL is still struggling with. Continue reading


Trump administration is almost done with its exit policy from Afghanistan and new truce or tactical withdrawal from the Afghanistan and power shift back to the Taliban is more or less confirmed and for the first time back in India, from Army chief, Ex-National Security advisers to various Defence analysts have now recommended Indian government to open a backdoor level channel for communication with Taliban so that it can protect its interests in Afghanistan.

While the Taliban knows it won’t be back in power in Afghanistan as it did after withdrawing of Soviet army from the country, US Military will stay in reduced numbers and many key countries like Iran, Russia, and India which previously backed Northern alliance in the country against Taliban will take no time to back Anti-Taliban forces if the Taliban starts harming interests of countries who have always played key roles in Afghanistan even when Taliban was in power. Continue reading


India’s ambassador to the United States, Amb. Harsh Vardhan Shringla was handed over first Boeing developed CH-47F Chinook Helicopter for Indian Air Force at transfer ceremony held in Boeing Defense facility in Philadelphia, which was also attended by Air Marshal A Dev, from Air HQ (Vayu Bhawan) and Consul General of India Sandeep Chakravorty including Air Attache Air Cmde Shivanand.

In his address, Ambassador Shringla lauded growing industry partnerships between India and United States & commended Boeing for their commitment to Make In India. Continue reading

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