Saturday, July 21, 2018

If only there wasn't pervasive corruption in defence procurement, the Indian Air Force would be so much more powerful

  • Not wrong to say that when it comes to procurement of military equipment, bribery, corruption and squandering of rare cash on needless "capabilities" are things that are present throughout the world - like an epidemic - irrespective of whether a country is developed or developing [don't fool yourself into thinking that defence spending in an advanced nation like America doesn't involve corruption - there's probably much more corruption in America than in India].
  • After centuries of loot by the British [and other Europeans], India is a poor nation and ideally we cannot afford to waste any money. However, as written above, overpriced procurement of fighter aircraft, missiles, tanks, etc., is a widespread phenomenon throughout the globe, and obviously India too has wasted and is wasting its precious money on equipment that isn't the best bang for the buck.
    • Examples include Dassault Rafale, Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules, Boeing P-8I Neptune/Poseidon, etc.
  • India's focus should be on buying high-value aircraft, rather than getting attracted to the most powerful ones [which are usually very expensive and not suited for constrained Indian budgets].
  • India's second focus should be on buying Indian-designed and/or Indian-made planes, so that our own aircraft-manufacturing industrial capabilities get evolved [even if this means pains for some years or decades].
  • Thirdly, from a geopolitical standpoint, India should also focus on buying fighter jets and other equipment from our decades-old trusted friends Russia and Japan, as well as our other emerging partners from developed and developing countries [Brazil, South Africa], rather than relying on nefarious, opportunistic and unreliable countries such as the US and UK.
  • Fourthly, where possible, acquire modern, clean-sheet designs with latest technologies [such as Kawasaki C-2 and Kawasaki P-1].
  • Following aircraft seem suitable based on the above focus areas:
    • Yakovlev Yak-130, AHRLAC Holdings Ahrlac, Dornier Do 228, Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano, Textron AirLand Scorpion [American but high value], HAL Tejas, Embraer KC-390, Saab JAS 39 Gripen, Saab Swordfish, Mikoyan MiG-35, Sukhoi Su-35, Kawasaki C-2, Kawasaki P-1 [link], Beriev Be-200, Beriev A-100, etc.
    • Continue buying existing high-value yet capable planes such as Ilyushin Il-76, Ilyushin Il-78, Sukhoi Su-30MKI, etc.
  • This is obviously an ideal scenario. Neither the sellers nor the buyers [Indian ministers] will let "value buying" happen. When everyone wants corruption, it's obviously going to happen.

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