SOURCE: Anand SG / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
Britain today has offered India proposal to take up co-production of military platforms and weapon systems to jointly become “world beaters” in arms exports with promised Total Transfer of Technology to boost strengthening of cooperation between the two countries.
British Defence Secretary in India has promised India to move heaven and earth in partnering and developing Britain has a reliable defence hardware supplier to Indian Military, but past instance of double talk and corruptions in military deals has already sowed seeds of mistrusts between two countries and they have been way too many instances where Britain proved to be an unreliable Defence supplier for India .
SEPECAT Jaguar Deal
IAF was the first export customer to procure Anglo-French developed SEPECAT Jaguar jet attack aircraft in the late 70s. India had decided to buy 40 Jaguars directly from OEM and rest 120 to be licence-built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in India.
Blueprints and other designs provided to India by BAE Systems to develop local licence-built SEPECAT Jaguar jet were not accurate leading to HAL engineers working with inaccurate specifications , repeated request to BAE Systems to provide accurate and detail Blueprints as per agreed terms was never executed leading to slight variations in Indian produced jets which were corrected on trial and error basis .
Operational and performance flaws found and highlighted to BAE Systems on Jaguar jets were never taken seriously leading to Indian Air Force and HAL teaming up to work together to come up with various fixes in the aircraft which BAE Systems bluntly copied without paying any royalty to HAL.
Following India’s Nuclear tests at Pokhran in May 1998. British developed and supplied Sea-King 42-B Anti-Submarine the US Helicopters and Sea Harrier fighter aircraft of Indian Navy came under the US imposed Sanctions since number of critical components in both Sea-King and Sea Harrier was of US origin leading to grounding of Critical platforms of Aviation
Arm of Indian Navy.
Sea-King 42-B which were procured from UK based Westland Helicopters which was British licence-built version of the American Sikorsky S-61 helicopter of the same name. Britain under instructions from the United States refused to provide critical spares for this helicopters to keep them operational. Britain also refused to send back a large number of un-serviced servo packs and gear boxes which India had to send for servicing back to India in fear that India might successfully service it back home.
Sea Harrier to for brief suffered spare shortage but HAL was later able to manufacture may spare locally to resolve the matter But Sea-King remained grounded till the sanctions were lifted by the United States and many in Indian Navy believed Britain could have provided the spares to India but Britain was more interested in proving its loyalty to the United States more than meet its obligation to India .
Sea Harrier Upgrade fiasco
When Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) showed no interest in sending a proposal to upgrade Indian Navy operated Sea Harriers, then India and Isreal teamed up, to come up with Limited Upgrade Sea Harrier (LUSH) program which saw Israeli Derby Missile and Elta EL/M 2032 radar used to upgrade 16 Sea Harriers with non-OEM support .
Denied to sell old British Sea Harrier FA.2
Indian Navy had decided to buy eight British Sea Harrier FA.2 fighter jets that were phased out of the Royal Navy in 2006. Indian Navy pilots and defence ministry representatives inspected and assessed the aircraft for technical and financial evaluation but the whole deal fell when Britain refused to transfer jets with Ferranti ARI.50019 Blue Vixen radar.
Without Radar, India could have been forced to go for the expensive LUSH upgrade program. by 2006 it was also clear that withdrawal of Sea Harriers from Royal Navy lead to a lack of spares coming from Britain and purchasing phased out jets had very limited utility in Indian Navy.