Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Why was India not offered F-22s or F-35s

The Indians cant seem to win. They spend a lot of money but get treated really badly. The Russians have been pushing Delhi around for a decade. Their strong-along games on the Admiral Gorskov is a classic case study of what not to do in defense procurement. Bharat (aka India) constantly complains to Moscow about the lack of Transfer of Technology (ToT).

Bharat is the only major military power of the world that has been unable to produce its own indigenous aircraft. Its Purchase Order of $10 Billion for foreign planes is an admission of its failure to create local planes. The legendry incompetence of the Indian Department of Defense has led to many fiascos like the LCA which has been in design for the past 25 years. Even if the new GE engines can replace the failed Kevari engines, the plane is 1980s vintage and has no military value. The Tejas can is unable to replace Bharat’s aging fleet of Flying Coffins (the arcane Russian Migs that cannot defy gravity in Bharat).

The US for all its talk about strategic partnership and “natural ally” has not offered Bharat (aka India) the latest arms technology. The F-18s are slated to be discontinued. Most NATO members do not want them. Bharat is ready to spend $10 billion. One would imagine that Lockheed Martin would go head over heels to appease Delhi. The standoffish attitude of Martin has surprise and annoyed many Indian arms purchasers.

If Bharat makes a decision against the Mig-35s there will be a huge cost of pay. Russia has already designed the FGFA, though it will allow Bharat a face saving paint job on the planes (all in the name of “joint production”. If Bharat does not buy the Mig 35s, that deal would be further jeopardy.

Lockheed Martin will not commit commercial suicide by giving up the “Coke Formula” to the Indians. The planes will be sequestered in separate hangers, and complete with intrusive surprise inspections and all. The Indian Navy has already decided that it does not want the F-22s. If the Indian Air Force does decide on the F-22s, it will then have to setup separate system of maintenance for the Russian planes (which make up the bulk of its fleet) and a more secure one for the US manufactured plane.

MUMBAI -- Field trials by six aircraft makers -- including Boeing Co. and Dassault Aviation SA -- for an estimated $10 billion Indian Air Force contract will likely be completed by July, an Indian minister said Wednesday.

"They (the trials) are expected to get over some time in June or July next year because testing has to be done across both the winter and summer seasons," M.M. Pallam Raju, junior defense minister, said on the sidelines of an industry conference.

Boeing is offering the F/A-18 fighter jet for the 126 multi-role combat aircraft deal, while Dassault has put up the Rafale.

Vivek Lall, vice president and India head for Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, said in October that the F/A-18 recently completed the second phase of trials in India's Leh, Jaisalmer and Bangalore areas.

The third phase will start in the U.S. in February.

Lockheed Martin Corp.'s F-16 Falcon, Russian Aircraft Corp.'s MiG-35, Saab AB's JAS-39 Gripen, as well as the Eurofighter Typhoon -- produced by a consortium of European companies--are also competing for the contract.

India plans to buy the 126 jets, as well as advanced helicopters and other defense equipment, to modernize its mainly Soviet-vintage defense forces. The Indian Air Force has 1,700 aircraft, including helicopters and transport planes, according to its Web site.

India, which is among the world's top arms importers, has earmarked 1.42 trillion rupees ($30.7 billion) as capital expenditure on defense for the current fiscal year through March 2010, up from 1.06 trillion rupees in the previous year.

Mr. Raju said 30%-40% of this year's defense budget has been spent so far.

Under current rules, foreign companies which receive import orders in excess of 3 billion rupees must draw at least 30% of that order from domestic suppliers or make a similar sized investment within India, in what is known as an offset.

"The offset obligation for this (126-fighter jet) order is 50%," said Mr. Raju. NOVEMBER 18, 2009, India: Fighter Jet Deal Trials Likely to End July. By DEEPALI GUPTA and SANTANU CHOUDHURY 

If Bharat does decide on the F-16s, this is the first time that opposing countries will get American Aircrafts. A Pakistani F-16 facing off an Indian F-16 would create for interesting comparisons.

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