Sellers’ Navy and Buyers Air Force
Once or twice a year, Indian Navy invites some selected journalists at naval dockyard to witness commissioning of war ships. Simply, they want to send signals to their friends in neighbouring countries that we have new beautiful war ships and destroyer in their fleets. Just as deterrent measures to make them afraid of war.
Indian Navy take extra and special proud in the commissioning of warships. They deserve as it is one few navies in Asia who are capable to design and construct big war ships and aircraft carriers, with India hands and brains and on Indian soil.
Their counterparts Army and Air Force are generations behind the navy in design and construction war-vessels. Indigenous of war technology was put forward by late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in late 60s, more precisely Indigenousation of navy was in 1968 and air force was in 1969.
In 1969, the central government directed Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to design and develop a fighter aircraft. After three decades, they came with a design of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) on a paper. Two generations of the fighter pilots are retired while making this aircraft.
Last time, when we heard in May 2006, the object called fighter plane took off and got airborne. After a short test flights the performance of the plane is still “fell short of expectations.” The prototype plane is still on ground.
On other hand in Navy, on 23rd October 1968, the Prime Minister, Mrs Indira Gandhi, launched INS Nilgiri (2000 tons), the first of the Leander class frigates at Mazagon Docks in Mumbai. In just three years they designed and constructed the war ship and commissioned on 23 June 1972.
In next decade, more precious nine year, MDL and Navy build another six leander class frigates and commissioned before the Air Force come up with a design. Over the decades, Navy had built dozens of ships. Indigenous INS Arihant nuclear-powered missile submarine is under trial and two Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) are under construction.
What Navy did is, they sent their men in uniform to shoulder to should MDL to design and develop ship as per their dynamic requirements. As the requirement of technology and weapon changed, their men refitted new gadgets, on the spot.
On the other hand, Air Force sent files containing design of craft to HAL to develop fighter jets through secret posts. Meanwhile the HAL develops some design, the war mid-air-war scenario changed so does air force’s requirements. Again new design is sketched with new requirements and file was dispatched to HAL.
Again till HAL designs and develop the craft, meanwhile Air Force requirement changes. For last two decades, the files have been passing from one desk to another. Two generation of fighter had retired and LAC is still on board. Meanwhile they are buying planes from foreign countries at the cost of tax payers money for which Modi Govt is reluctant.
My friend told me that last week Air Force and HAL gave a power point presentation of LAC project to new Defence Minister. We learned Minister was very impressed with the presentation!