PM Narendra Modi, while addressing the Nation recently, put more stressed on Self Reliant to cope with this Economic Crisis due to the impact of Coronavirus. Indian Airforce isn’t an exception. IAF is also facing several financial crunch and in the coming days the situation may get worse.
In the coming years IAF has big plans to modernize the Airforce and to replace its old fighter jets from a new one. In order to maintain the depleting squadron strength, IAF earlier released a RFI under MMRCA 2.0 (Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft) to procure 114 fighter jets.
But, its looks like Armed Forces will have to face major financial crunch in coming years. IAF might have to wait longer for MMRCA 2.0 to happen which is already running very late. But in any case IAF has to maintain its squadron strength in order to counter China & Pakistan.
Would it be a right time for IAF to scrap MMRCA 2.0 deal
MMRCA 2.0 will going to cost a massive amount of nearly 20 Billion Dollar. At this time it is not looking viable option to import 114 fighter jets worth 20 Billion Dollar.
Instead of purchasing 114 imported fighter jets, IAF may give a follow up to Dassault for additional 36-54 Rafale as it will help IAF to maintain squadron jets in coming future. Follow up order will cost cheaper than earlier deal as India Specific enhancement already done in the previous order.
The new 36 Rafale will cost somewhere around 5.5 to 6 Billion dollar, as the India specific Enhancement will eliminate. If IAF plans to scrap MMRCA 2.0 and go for additional Rafale than this can save around 14 Billion Dollar from the budget.
IAF have to look for indigenous options. As if we start purchasing Make in India products than we save a big amount of money from sending outside the country and this money will ultimately help the indigenous industries.
HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) and DRDO (Defense Research & Development Organisation) are already working on many fighter jets. In light category they are working on Tejas MK 1A, upgraded version of MK 1, in medium category they are working MWF (Medium Weight Fighter) Tejas MK II and HAL is also working on ambitious project of Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft, AMCA (Advance Medium Combat Aircraft).
If IAF cancel MMRCA 2.0 than it can motivate HAL to make these Fighter Aircraft in a limited time period. HAL has a good experience of manufacturing aircrafts, HAL currently manufacturing LCA Tejas & Sukhoi SU 30 MKI.
Many sources have confirmed that ADA (Aeronautical Development Agency) working on developing ORCA (Omni Role Combat Aircraft) for Navy which is going to be Twin Engine Deck Base Fighter. This aircraft can also become a good option for IAF quest of twin engine fighter aircraft and Airforce can customize it with their needs.
Deal of 83 Tejas Mk 1A is already in its final stage, IAF has already committed to purchase 201 MWF (Medium Weight Fighter) jets and if IAF is ready to purchase ORCA Airforce version in good quantity than it will give confidence to DRDO, ADA & HAL and it can fast track the process of Development. These government entities may also partner with private players in order to rapid up the development.
If IAF shows confident to fulfill the demand from indigenous products than it will also help in developing a healthy aerospace industry and we can become more self reliant.
Although there are many export lobbyist in our country who is not in favour of inducting indigenous products in the Armed Forces. They used to criticize Indian products and termed them inferior from foreign competitors.
Yes there are flaws in indigenous just kike any other products in the world but we can make improvements in the equipments. It almost take 3 decades to US to develop F 35 and even now, there are bugs in F 35 but American are showing their trust in the aircraft and they are improving by times. We also need to show trust on good indigenous products.
Disclaimer: This is an opinionated post. The writer has no intention of hurting the sentiments of the readers. We whole heartedly welcome the different views, perspective and opinion of the readers.