(A super write up in Bharat Rakshak Forum, a must read for all Indians)
Folks, stop being pessimistic and do not look at the glass half empty. All combat aircraft go through this. Over the life span of a fighter jet, there are numerous hardware and software upgrades performed to keep her up to date. Here are some examples;
– The first batch of Mirage 2000s delivered in 1985 came with an under powered engine i.e. the M53-5. Later on, the M53-P2 came along and the aircraft were all upgraded to that uprated engine. And there was no Mk2 variant in 1985 either. That came only much later. All our Mirage 2000s arrived as the Mirage 2000H (the Indian version of the French Mirage 2000C). Now all Mirage 2000s are being upgraded to the M2K-5 Mk2 standard, which gives her BVR capability, a vastly improved radar and weaponry that could not be carried before.
– MiG-29s which came in 1985 were of the SE variant (the export type of the MiG-29S). A bare-bones dogfighter, but deadly. No air-to-ground capability though in this variant. The Klimov RD-33 engine is amazing, but had a notoriously short life. A number of small upgrades were done over the years at 11 Base Repair Depot, Ojhar AFS in Nashik. Read here —> http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/Today… 11BRD.html and now the entire fleet is undergoing the UPG upgrade which will make her truly multi-role.
– The first batch of Su-30s that joined the IAF in 1997 was the K variant. Then on 27 Sept 2002 came the raising of the IAF’s first Su-30MKI squadron —> No 20 Lightnings. But that Su-30MKI is of 2002 vintage. There have been a number of software and hardware upgrades over the years. Those 2002 vintage Rambhas suffered from the MFDs suddenly going black in mid flight. Serious issue! Now Samtel of India makes the MFDs for the Su-30MKI, which was not the case in 2002. And today HAL makes the entire aircraft from the raw material stage, including the engine. Now negotiations have reached its penultimate end with the Super Sukhoi upgrade which will likely see even an engine change.
– The Jaguar is a classic example of improved variants. The first batch of Jaguars that came in 1979 were on loan from the Royal Air Force. They came with the Adour Mk 804E engine. Under powered engine and only till the Adour Mk 811 engine came along did the Jaguar get some serious capability. But over the years, various in house upgrades and weaponry made even this engine under powered and now the IAF is upgrading them (FINALLY!!!!) with the Honeywell F125 turbofan. Then there is the Darin I, Darin II and now Darin III software and hardware upgrades.
– MiG-21s came in a number of variants, with each variant improving upon the latter. The IAF flew the MiG-21F, then the MiG-21FL, then the MiG-21M, then the MiG-21MF, then the MiG-21bis and finally the MiG-21Bison. Each of these variants had numerous hardware and software upgrades over the years. Then there were various MiG-21U/UM trainers that the IAF acquired as well.
– MiG-27s came in multiple variants as well. First was the MiG-27M, then came the license produced MiG-27ML and then came the MiG-27UPG. Same story as above – various hardware and software upgrades over the years.
– The Rafale initially came in as the LF1, then F1, then F2, then F3, then F3O-4T, then F3R (the Indian bird is an customized version of F3R) and F4 is planned for service entry in 2025. And even though Indian Rafale deliveries begin in Sept 2019, the first F3R in IAF service will only be in May 2022. Almost three and a half years later! Nobody complains because it is phoren! 🙂
The point to note is this —-> and Singha said it accurately, “There is nothing FINAL in technology anymore, a weapon to end all weapons, a product will get updates until the last few years of its life.”
And thus Tejas will be no different. She will have various hardware and software upgrades over the course of her life. It is the nature of the game. The Tejas will always be chasing after technology, just like any other combat platform. Final Operational Clearance (FOC) and Enhanced Operational Clearance (EOC) goal posts will never end. And because it is our aircraft it will give the appearance of being *PAINFULLY* slow (and in some instances it will actually be), but ADA and HAL cannot take chances. Everything has to be triple and quadruple checked and ensure that it meets the IAF’s exacting standards. Anything short of this and the Export Vultures and Desh Drohis will shout —-> “I told you so! You bloody Indians are no good.”
Have faith. 04 January 2019 is a red letter day for the country. If Tejas got F0C-1 today, celebrate the moment with your family and go buy some mithai. FOC and EOC goal posts will always exist and will be the next milestone to achieve. Never rest on your laurels. With everything in life, you either move forward or move backwards. Nobody and nothing stays still and technology is a classic example of that.
I am happy. Great milestone achieved for the Tejas Team! Good job guys! Vande Mataram, Bharat Mata Ki Jai and Jai Hind!