#AskFINS : How MoD plans to cut deployment time for Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA)?

Saurabh Tripathi asked “No contract for FGFA at India, Russia summit while AMCA engine is undecided and US is unlikely to help with stealth and it was reported IAF was unhappy with russian PakFa stealth. How MoD plans to cut deployment time for these desperately needed aircraft? While China feilds them and may give them to Polk)”

Following is the answer by Dr Prabhakaran Paleri

Caveat : If there is anything more difficult than asking a question, then it is answering it. There are reasons. One of them is that the onus of correctness is with the answerer. Hence, ab initio, I must submit that the answers below can not only be wrong but also changeable when more information flow. Therefore please take them as time tuned for now.

First let me rework on this question for all to understand.

Question : No contract for fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) signed in the Russia summit. Advanced medium combat aircraft (AMCA) is undecided. US are unlikely to help with stealth. It was reported IAF is unhappy with Russian (fifth generation Sukhoi) PAK FA stealth aircraft. How MoD plans to cut deployment time for these desperately needed aircraft? China fields them and may give them to their rogue satellites.

The question reflects anxiety and haste to acquire FGFA and apprehension that Chinese may gain upper hand in air power status and their satellite rogue followers could also gain some spoiler advantages. Yes, I agree; China and Pak have advantage over India in air power jointly and even individually. But then, war is not just numbers and technology. Of course, technology can never be discounted. But the technological advantage of the competitor can be overcome in war by human competence and strategic decisions to some extent.

But then do we worry? Well, no, provided we are aware and not misguided by disparaging thoughts and practices. The T-50 series of FGFA could turn out to be the ghosts of MIG-21s reborn as per the present status. Let them improve and have some killer originality without flaws.  It may take some time; hence this is not the time to think of PAK FA. Our own versions of AMCA have taken more time than required for development. It is not good news. Hope Indian aviation industry needs ghostly kicks on the instead of occasional raps on the knuckle. I am not pleased with them. Even if we succeed it will take to catch up in technology. US will help in the meantime if handled tactfully (without yielding to unnecessary demands). We can do that. We have the clout. We need FGFA. No doubt.

In the meantime IAF and MoD should craft the necessary strategy jointly under zero tolerance to corruption. Corruption can kill the country. That has been the Curse India.

Dr. Prabhakaran Paleri served as the 16th Director General of Indian Coast Guard. Scholar in national security subjects, Dr Paleri has written various volumes on national security & strategy. His book ‘National Security: Imperatives and challenges’ is a must read for young scholars.

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