LCA is India`s numero uno project


Bangalore, Sept 27: Asserting that the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) is India's numero uno project, Vice Admiral (retd) Raman Puri said that we must succeed in inducting these aircraft into armed forces.

"Capabilities in aviation technology are extremely important in the component of national power," Puri said while delivering a lecture on strategy for indigenous capability building in aeronautics at HAL here.

"Can we possibly make claims in this sense to be an air power without operating a single fighter aircraft of our design. LCA, therefore, is today to my mind a numero uno project and succeed in its induction, we must," he said.

Puri said, technology component of the training of military commanders and those engaged in high defence management does not enable them to realise early in their careers that one key feature of future military requirements is that these cannot be based on a mere "read across from foreign concepts of deterrence--either conventional or nuclear--or from foreign theatres of conflict or combat experience."

Therefore a "reverse conceptualisation" approach to defining technological features of future operational requirements is foredoomed not only to domestic technological unachievability but also to large mismatches between actual theatre requirements and operational performance of composite man-machine systems deployed in these theatres, he noted.

"Such technological features have, therefore to be generated from a deep domestic s and t effort, with its foundational r and d being explored and performed by young people in our academic institutions--and not derivately arrived at from reverse conceptualisation, much less reverse engineering philosophy", he said.

"What we have today in a sense is a system which defines our needs based on what one may call the 'the best of brochure claims'-- the finely honed art of combining the most extremely capable features of an equipment as claimed in glossy brochures of different foreign weapon developers into the minimum acceptable specifications as the 'goal' or 'staff target' for domestic R & D-cum-production," Puri said.

"We need to recognise that what has to be organised for is the ability to deploy military capability along the locus of engagement with the enemy--the weapon, equipment or engagement techniques are means by which that ability is exercised".

The acquisition of these means is not an end goal in itself. The locus of engagement will, in turn `refigure' with changes in military doctrine. This requires our developing the necessary capabilities to conceptualise our mission needs in the first place, he said.

India therefore must seek, nurture and strengthen scientific and technologic expertise, wherever they currently are or where they can most beneficially be augmented, he said.

Speaking about the "triple trap" -- he said what is developed abroad will not suit our requirements, what is suitable will be denied and what is not denied will be unaffordable and called for efforts to achieve self reliance.

Though there has been a dramatic growth in the civil aviation industry, the industry is dependent on aircraft and maintenance services sourced from developed countries, resulting in a huge net ouflow of foreign exchange, he said.

He also pointed out that despite the boom, while Boeing is talking about flat earth airplane and airbus following the model, the manufacturing work on these aircraft coming to India is virtually nil.