BHARAT RAKSHAK MONITOR - Volume 3(5) March-April 2001

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LCA and Economics

Sunil Sainis and George Joseph

In 1983 India set out to build its first modern fighter aircraft, the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA). This was by all standards an ambitious plan, especially for a country, where numbing poverty casts a dark shadow and technology and industry lag far behind the world. In the early years of the Independent India these aspects had fueled intense debates over the needs of defense versus the needs of development. The resolution of these debates had first appeared in the slogan `Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’ (Victory to the Soldier, Victory to the Farmer) coined by the Late Prime Minister Shri. Lal Bahadur Shastri [1]. The idea was to create platforms for research and development that would both foster local industry and build a credible and reliable defense system for the nation. This basic notion was evolved considerably since the 1950 and several organizations have been created under the leadership of the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO). Though initially some projects failed to meet set targets, the Govt. of India never wavered in its support of the overall idea. A crucial area was combat aircraft technology, efforts in the 70’s had met some success but India was far from being self-reliant in this field. This field was perpetually in a state of intense flux, our traditional suppliers the Soviet Union seemed to lag technologically in certain areas and the cost of western platforms appeared prohibitive. These factors were the initial impetus behind the LCA project.

The project received support from then Air Chief Marshal Shri. Idris Hassan Latif, and the needs of the Indian Air Force for a light supersonic multi-role fighter were put down in the Air Staff Requirements (ASR) by 1985. The Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) was set up under the Ministry of Defense (MoD) to act as the nodal body for the project. The LCA program has made an arduous journey from those humble beginnings to the flight of the LCA Technology Demonstrator (TD-1) made on January 4th 2000. As soon as its wheels lifted off the ground, the crowds were ecstatic, the scientists and the dignitaries were jubilant, and even scribes could not hold back their emotions.

The reason for their joy was understandable. The flight of the TD-1 was a full 5 years late. The delay had stemmed from the actually complexity of the project [2]. The institutions had overestimated their capability, and at times failed to fully utilize existing experience [3]. As most of the technology was first prototyped in the west, the project has called for a greater interaction with western aviation entities. This made the advanced project very vulnerable to international interference [4]. The enormous emphasis on indigenous development of several technologies added to the high project cost.

As it is natural in a democratic nation like India, the costly LCA program has undergone public scrutiny and criticism. Most of it focused intensely on the fact that the project has exceeded the original expectations of budgeting and timing. The sources of this criticism are primarily sections of the military [5,6],, journalists [7,8,9,10], and other eminent persons, both inside and outside the country [10,11,12,13]. The project has also come in for a scathing review from the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), Government of India (GoI) [14]. The CAG has recommended that after the flight of the TD-1, the GoI review the entire project and decide whether it wants to proceed with indigenous development or cancel the project and purchase an equivalent system from a foreign supplier.

At first sight it appeared as though the critics did have a sound platform on which they based their arguments. However on several forums (especially www.bharat-rakshak.com), there were questions raised about the validity of some of these arguments. So it was decided that the economics of the LCA should receive closer scrutiny in the next BR Monitor. The results of this exercise are presented in this article.

Basic Issues

It was imperative that we looked at the cost-effectiveness of the LCA program with the view of carrying out an economic analysis. For this we required some basic information: costs (both direct and indirect), a measure of the outcome in terms of effectiveness, benefit, utility or consequence and a comparator or a set of comparators with similar information.

The Comparators

The LCA is designed to replace the MiG-21 fleet of the IAF. The MiG-21 is used extensively in the IAF. Due to its rugged design and mass production it is the most produced fighter aircraft in aviation history and has seen action in many air forces all over the world [15]. The LCA is billed to be the world’s smallest, lightweight, supersonic, multi-role, single-seat fighter designed to function as IAF’s frontline, multi-mission tactical aircraft. The term light can be misleading; the LCA will be able to deliver as much ordnance as the much larger MiG-27s.

The above description puts the LCA in a class that is much beyond the MiG-21 that its was meant to replace. The LCA would offer more utility than the MiG-27, as it is a multi-role fighter. In economic terms they are not really comparable products. Another problem with the Mig-21 or the MiG-27 is that they were designed and developed in the former USSR and it is very difficult to accurately establish development costs. Hence we could not examine the Mig-21 as a suitable comparator for the LCA program. This leads us to two other aircraft, which could serve as comparators: The F-16 Falcon and the Swedish JAS 39 Gripen.

The F-16 and the LCA

A comparison of the LCA (projected) and the F16C/D block 50+ shows the following similarities [Refer Table 1].

Table 1: Comparison between the F-16 and the LCA

LCA

F16C/D block 50+

Length

13.20m

15.03m

Height

4.40m

5.1m

Span

8.20m

10.0m

Max Speed

1700 Km/hr

Mach 2.05

Max Weight

8500 kg

17010kg

Ceiling

16400m

16750m

Range

840km

1000km

Armament

1 cannon & 7 hard points, ext load 4000 kg

1 cannon, 2 Sidewinders, ext load 4500 kg.

Engines

GEF404 F2J3, KAVERI GTX-35VS

P&W F100-PW-220

Control Systems

Quadruplex (Digital) FBW based on MIL STD 1553B Bus

Triplex DFCS with one Analog Backup on MIL STD 1553B Bus

Source: www.fighter-planes.com

From this seems plausible to say that the LCA should be comparable to the F16 C/D (Block 50+). Let us briefly look at F-16’s development cycle. In January 1972, the Lightweight Fighter Program solicited design specifications from several American manufacturers. The General Dynamics entry for this was the YF-16. It made its first test flight on February 2nd 1974 [17]. Subsequently the F-16A, a single-seat model first flew in December 1976. The first operational F-16A was delivered in January 1979 to the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing at Hill Air Force Base, Utah [18]. The entire F-16 program reached operational status in seven years after inception. By contrast the LCA program started in 1985, the TD-1 rolled out in 1995 and finally flew for the first time in 2001. The service-entry dates can optimistically be expected to be 2007. The time line comparison between the F-16 and the LCA heavily favors the F-16.

The Saab JAS39 and the LCA

Let us also take a look at the Saab JAS39 Gripen [19], a light multi-role fighter developed by the Industrial Group JAS, consisting of Saab Military Aircraft, BAE Systems, Saab-BAe Gripen AB, Ericsson Saab Avionics, Ericsson Microwave Systems, Celsius Aerotech and Volvo Aero Corporation. A comparison of the LCA and the Gripen shows the following similarities.

Table 2: Comparison between the JAS39 and the LCA

LCA

JAS39 Gripen

Length

13.20m

14.10m

Height

4.40m

4.50m

Span

8.20m

8.40m

Max Speed

1700 Km/hr

1400Km/hr at sea level, Mach 2.0 at altitude

Max Weight

8500 kg

12474 Kg

Ceiling

16400m

15240m

Range

840km

3000Km (ferry range)

Armament

1 cannon & 7 hard points, ext load 4000 kg

One Mauser BK27 27mm cannon, 8 hard points, ext. load 4000 kg.

Engines

GEF404 F2J3, KAVERI GTX-35VS

Volvo Aero RM12 (developed from GEF404)

Control Systems

Quadruplex FBW based on MIL STD 1553B Bus

Triplex DFCS with Analog backup on MIL STD 1553B Bus

Source: www.fighter-planes.com

The Gripen program was conceived in studies in the conducted by the Swedish aerospace industry in 1978. The Swedish Government prompted in part by evaluations of the F-16 and F-18 by the Swedish Air Force and issues of economics approved the concept of a new light multi-role aircraft. Later in 1982 the Swedish Parliament voted to approve the project and the Defence Materiel Administration signed a contract for development of the JAS 39 Gripen. The first prototype flew in 1988 and the final flight tests were completed in December of 1996 [20]. By March 2000, approximately 85 aircraft have been delivered to the Swedish Air Force, and there is a possibility of sales to foreign countries [21]. Here too a comparison of the initial development time (up to prototype production) of the Gripen with the LCA, strongly favors the Gripen. One could easily conclude from these two examples that LCA R&D is of a poor quality and severely lags the world standard. The authors feel that such an argument is deceptive; it neglects the fine print here.

Firstly the F-16C/D (Block 50+) is a considerably evolved form of the YF-16 produced 24 years ago. While a good deal of this evolution was to expand on the original idea of a Light Weight Fighter to new roles and deployments, there were also several changes in the control system. The F16C/D that we see on the market today owes a fair bit to the work done between 1978 –1989 on the Advanced Fighter Technology Integration Program, which tested systems like Triplex Digital Flight Control System (3 digital control systems and 1 Analog backup) [22]. The LCA by comparison has begun with a Quadruplex DFCS (All four levels of control systems are digital) this is a considerable advance over the F16C/D. The Gripen for its part has also benefited from this research as it has though the consortium approach, sub-contracted development of several systems to participants of the advanced American programs like Lockheed Martin, Rockwell etc [23].

Secondly in designing the F-16, General Dynamics made use of advanced aerospace science and proven reliable systems from other aircraft [24]. The prototype version YF-16 used main landing gear tires from the B-58 Hustler [25], an emergency power unit from the Concorde, an ESCAPAC II ejection seat from the A-4, an air data probe [26] from the SR-71 Blackbird, and servo actuators from the F-111 Aardvark. The actuators in the leading edge flaps were rotary actuators from the F-111 bomb bay doors. The canopy design and the canopy latching system were based on the NASA X-24. Off-the-shelf equipment used in the FSD craft includes a head-up display modified from an A-7 Corsair, nose gear wheel and tire from the F-4, a signal data recorder from the A-10, an oxygen quantity indicator from an F-5E, and a nose wheel steering system from the T-39. The engine, of course, was a modified version of the Pratt & Whitney F100 engine used in the F-15. The same applies to the Gripen where a large number of subsystems were contracted to European and American systems companies [23] and unlike the LCA, Saab did not have to face sanctions.

Thirdly there was a large pool of experience present within the American workforce. The so-called `Fighter Mafia’ of John Boyd, Tom Christie, John Chuprun, Harry Hillaker, Chuck Meyers, Pierre Sprey, Everest Riccioni, and others championed Light Weight Fighter concept [27]. These veteran designers in 1971 pushed the Tactical Fighter Requirements Division of Air Force Headquarters to fund a study titled "Study to Validate Expanded Energy-Maneuverability Through Trade-Off Analysis". General Dynamics and Northrop conducted this work. Fueled by steady funding (about $150,000 total) and the good tradeoff data from the study, the lightweight fighter concept was ready in a very short time. The transition was accelerated by the Packard Commission’s resurrection of prototyping to validate new aircraft and other military programs before they go into production. The Americans thus were able to combine these ideas to produce an airplane of reduced size and price [28]. We must also note that by the time the first generation F-16A rolled out the F-15 and F-111 were already flying and had seen action. Saab Military Aviation has produced a range of advanced fighters like the Saab Draken [29], a Mach 2.0 fighter built in the 1952 and the Saab Viggen [30] a multi-role fighter built in 1967.

When the LCA rolled out the only the other aircraft development effort in India was the aborted HF-24 Marut. The capabilities of the LCA and the Marut are so vastly different, that a fair number of components had to be completely redesigned for the LCA, this adds to the development time and cost. A key point here is that both the Americans and the Swedes drew upon a sea of expertise, technology and institutions that were built up much before the F-16 or the JAS39 came along. India has developed a fighter of similar configuration and the ancillary support and development institutions required to develop this fighter, all in a span of 20 years. This is quite an achievement. However given the cost of developing a complex instrument like a combat aircraft, one is almost tempted to simply buy a ready-made and proven platform from a trusted supplier. We examine the possibilities in this regard in the next section.

Comparison of costs of procurement

There exist several products in the market which seem to match or exceed LCA specifications, however not all of these are viable choices. The choices and the reasons for rejecting them are listed in the table below.

Table 3: Comparison of estimated costs of various aircraft

AIRCAFT

ESTIMATED COST

REASONS FOR REJECTING THEM

F-16 A/B/C/D

$ 30-35 Million with spares [31]

Deals are prone to sanctions [32].

MiG-29

$30 Million (spares extra) [33]

Poor quality control, unreliable suppliers for spares, and very low TBO on critical components like engines [34].

Saab JAS39 Gripen

$53 Million (spares) [35]

Too expensive to be bought in numbers.

Dassault Rafale

$55 Million (Spares extra) [35]

Too expensive to be bought in numbers.

Sukhoi Su-27/30/35

$40-45 Million[36]

TBO on critical components is low, and this is too expensive to be bought in numbers.

The Mirage 2000 and the LCA

The F-16 and the Gripen are both aircrafts that the IAF has no experience operating. The only other multi-role fighter that the IAF current has in its inventory is the Mirage 2000. So when looking for a comparator for the LCA we cannot ignore the Mirage 2000 as it a globally accepted multi-role fighter platform which also happens to be in the service of the IAF. The Mirage 2000C/D [37] is an advanced multi-role fighter that has its origins in the d'Avion de Combat du Futur (ACF) program run by the French Government in the mid 70s. The design has undergone considerable evolution and France, Egypt, Greece, India, Peru, Qatar, Taiwan, and the United Arab Emirates operate versions of it. The Indian Air Force has the Mirage 2000H, and by all accounts appears quite satisfied with it’s performance. This plane has also performed quite well in the Kargil Crisis. The exact specifications of the Mirage 2000H are shown below [38] [refer Table 2]. Though larger than the LCA it can perform all the tasks of the LCA.

Table 4: Capabilities of the Mirage 2000H

Design Features

Low-set thin delta wing with cambered section and cleared for 9g and 270/s roll at subsonic and supersonic speeds, there is extensive use of composite materials.

Avionics

IAF's Mirage 2000s are equipped with a multi-mode RDM pulse Doppler radar which allows multi-target selections at all altitudes with look down/shoot down operation and features HOTAS concepts. It is also fitted with an Antilope terrain-following radar for automatic flight, down to 61 meters. IAF Mirage 2000s are fitted with the Litening Laser Designation Pod for use with laser guided bombs.

Engine

One Snecma M53-P20 turbofan rated at 21,384 lbs. of maximum thrust.

Maximum Speed

Mach 2.2+

Service Ceiling

16,460 meters; 54,000 ft.

Maximum Range

With internal fuel - 1852 km; 1151 miles.
With 3000L drop tanks - 3333 km; 2071 miles

G Limits

+9/-4.5 - normal and +13.5/-9.0 - ultimate.

Armament

Has two internally-mounted 30mm guns with 125 rounds of ammunition. Nine external hard points can carry AAM like the Super 530D and the Magic-II and air-to-surface missiles like the AS-30L & the Matra ARMAT and a variety of other guided & un-guided ordnance. Can also carry a tactical nuclear payload.

External Load

6300 kg; 13,890 lbs

Self Defense

An automated ICMS Mk.2 with receiver/processor in the nose to detect missile command links; an extra pair of antennae near top of the fin and additional DF antennae scabbed to the existing wingtip pods

The IAF has ordered 18 Mirage 2000C/Ds [39] so as to make up attrition losses and expand ground attack capability. This aircraft is should not be confused with the Dassault Mirage 2000-5 (projected as a 5th generation multi-role fighter estimated to be around $55 Million [40]). The cost of a Mirage 2000C/D is estimated to be about $ 25-30 Million [41], and the cost of upgrading from this to the Mirage 2000-5 is about $5-10 Million [42]. The Mirage 2000-5 does not meet our cost requirements.

The present sets of aircraft were purchased in 1982 and the details of this deal are displayed below [43].

Table 5: Mirage 2000 deal (1982)

Payment for retention for option to license manufacture:

Rs 3.92 Cr.

Contract for procurement of the aircraft: (Integration and operational clearance of a variety of weapons but not the supply of these weapons.)

Rs 621.75 Cr.

Replacement of existing aircraft radars was recommended in 1980. Tropical trials conducted in 1986 had also revealed high rate of failures of the radars. The modification of the radars and electronic warfare system (EWS) was completed only in January 1993.

Rs 62.09 Cr.

While the aircraft was inducted in 1985, the facilities for its repair completed by 1996 and till then the aircraft were sent to the manufacturers abroad for repair.

Rs 67.62 Cr

Setting up of repair facilities for the airframe and its accessories at the PSU instead of at the Air Force Depot would result in extra expenditure:

Rs 73.78 Cr.

This would inflate the cost of overhaul and entail extra financial burden of on the Air Force on the overhaul of aircraft during its life cycle:

Rs 197.80 Cr.

The weapon system imported:

Rs 11.15 Cr.

Total so far for 40 aircraft

Rs. 966.33 Cr. ($1.0291 Billion US in 1982 and 1.838 Billion in 2000, that’s $45.95 M apiece in 2000)

Bearing in mind the fact that most of this Rs. 966.33 was in FE (Foreign Exchange) and that there is little involvement of local industry in this project, every spare part is imported and is subject to the vagaries of the supplier and of FE reserves. It also seems plausible that Dassault Aviation would sell us a few Mirage 2000’s now but would in time coax us into buying the costly 2000-5 or quite possibly super-costly Rafale. This is the path that other Dassault customers like Greece and UAE have been led down. Another large deal with Dassault would definitely involve making considerable commitments of foreign exchange. Thus in addition to not benefiting local industry and economy in a direct way, the deal would actually lead to fall in our foreign currency reserves. So every time one of these pricelessly expensive planes crashes, in addition to a possible personal disaster, we will also have a minor fiscal calamity.

Having thus put the development cycle of the LCA in perspective and viewed the costs of purchase and operation of comparator platforms, we now proceed to look more closely at the costs of the LCA development program.

Cost of the LCA Development Program

Today the LCA program has cost India a sum of approximately Rs. 2188 Cr. The project has taken the better part of two decades. Project outlays so far and a look at major areas of investment [44] are summarized in the tables below.

Header

Estimated Cost

Foreign Exchange Component

LCA costs as per feasibility study in May 1985

Rs 750 Cr.

N/A

Phase-I of Full Scale Engineering Development (FSED) includes design, construction and flight test of two Technology Demonstrator aircraft (TDI,TD2) construction of a Structural Test Specimen construction of two Prototype Vehicles (PVI &2); creation of infrastructure and test facilities. commenced in April 1990 approved Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA) 1993

Rs 2188 Cr.(1991 prices)

Rs 873 Cr.

Phase-II of FSED estimates including construction of three more PV '5, the last PV5 (trainer); construction of a Fatigue Test Specimen; creation of facilities at various work centres. (Not yet approved by CCPA)

Rs.2340 Cr.

N/A

 

Table 6: Subsystem cost estimates

Estimated Cost in Cr. Rupees

Revised Cost in Cr. Rupees

Major subsystems

Total

FE component

Total

FE component

Radar system

62.27

35.37

100.05

69.65

Flight control sys.

57.80

42.82

160.00

118.32

Indigenous Engines

382.81

155.39

760.00

365.03

Engine control sys.

8.96

5.19

17.74

12.11

A brief overview of the Capital Outlay on the LCA up to March 31, 1999 as per the ADA Annual Report 1998-1999 [47] shows the following headers and funds allocated.

Header

Funds allocated (Rs)

Project Definition Activities.

89 Cr.

Infrastructure Buildup (Buildings, computers, Office and Engineering Design Equipment, Vehicles, Communications, Plant Machinery)

157 Cr

Aircraft Design and Integration (Software tool development, Simulators, Cockpit evaluation facility and engineering costs)

150 Cr.

Prototyping Activity (Tools, Test Equipment, CFC Components, Aircraft Materials, Aircraft Fabrication,

244 Cr.

General Systems (JFS, PTO shaft, AMAGB, Fuel Oxygen Monitoring Systems etc…)

101 Cr.

Flight Control System

135 Cr.

GE Engines

108 Cr.

Avionics: (Cockpit Instrumentation (HUD, MFD, Display Processor, Control Panels), Mission Computer, Ring Laser GYRO, ASTRA PDP, MPRU, CCU, FDR, MMR, Communications, Electrical, etc…)

57.5 Cr.

Ground Testing (low Speed, High Speed etc…)

112 Cr.

Flight Testing

29 Cr

Training Consultancy and Technical Assistance

36 Cr.

Technology Development (Design Analysis, General Systems, Composites, Avionics Display, Production Technology, Actuators)

75 Cr.

Product Support (Ground Support Equipment)

4 Cr.

Addl. PV 1 & PV 2.

35 Cr.

Balance stage payments to other work facilities, and Engg. Change Order etc…

82 Cr.

Sub Total

1598 Cr.

The figure of Rs. 1598 Cr. represents the money spent so far by the LCA project (till 1999). This contrasts with the estimated FSED allocation of Rs. 2188 Cr. The unit flyaway cost of LCA assessed as Rs 10.30 Cr. in 1985, is now estimated to cost between Rs. 85 Cr [44]..

The effectiveness of the LCA

So far we have covered a majority of the cost issues related with the LCA and the unit cost of the comparators. In order to compute a cost-effectiveness ratio we require an effectiveness denominator for the analysis. We need a set of performance related criteria to compare both the LCA and the comparator. Here it is prudent to consider what has already been published in open literature about various combat aircrafts. Yefim Gordon has compared the Mig-29 Fulcrum series to the F-16 Block 50+ series.

As per the methodology followed by Yefim Gordon to compare various versions of Mig-29 and the F-16 in [Table 1], a comparison of the two platforms would involve looking at the following quantities.

  1. Thrust to weight ratio: at combat (1000m and Mach 1. with full internal fuel load) and at takeoff.
  2. Rate of Climb at 1000m and Mach 0.9 at full internal fuel load.
  3. Maximum turn rate at 3000m with 50% fuel.
  4. Specific Wing loading at takeoff.
  5. G limits.
  6. Acceleration from 600 to 1000 Km/hr at 1000m.
  7. Fire control radar performance data including weight, volume, scanner diameter, mean radiation power, aerial target detection range (in open airspace, in look-down-shoot-down mode-forward hemisphere, in look-down-shoot-down mode-rear hemisphere) against a selected target.
  8. Weapons control systems data including Fire control radar performance in terms of number of targets tracked, number of targets attacked simultaneously, scanning in azimuth, surface ship (of a selected radar cross-section) detection and Optoelectronic targeting system in terms of Aerial Target detection range (head-on mode and pursuit mode), laser rangefinder, use in strike mode, active ECM.
  9. Armament packages.
  10. Maximum air-to-air missile ranges.

These above mentioned figures can be used to define an arbitrarily scaled quantity called the Combat Efficiency Quotient. We then establish the following quotients

  1. Combat Efficiency Quotient in Intercept mode: includes data from the weapons control system and mission avionics, speed in intercept more and the weapons carried, combat radius etc….
  2. Combat Efficiency Quotient in Dogfight mode: includes data from the weapons control system and mission avionics esp. ESM suite and acceleration, combat radius etc…
  3. Combat Efficiency Quotient in Strike mode: includes data from the weapons control system and mission avionics, Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW), air-air refueling capability, low level penetration mode performance.

These three can be combined to give a Combined Combat Efficiency Quotient for air-air and strike modes.

The Reliability and Serviceability Parameters like Operational Readiness Quotient, Specific Maintenance labor Intensity (man-hours per flight), MTBF (Minimum Time Between Flights), Airframe Life and Relative cost, enables us to produce an overall cost-effectiveness figure for each airplane. Hence, it is possible to compare the LCA with the F-16, Gripen and the Mirage 2000, but it is too early for such comparisons to be made as the LCA is still in the TD-1 stage.

Additional facets to the effectiveness denominator

The LCA is designed to have several features specifically tailored to IAF requirements. The LCA Jet-Fuel Starter (JFS) has been successfully tested at an altitude of 6.4 Km; this enables the LCA to operate from such high airfields like Leh [48]. It must be noted here that though the Mirage 2000 flew several successful sorties during the Kargil Conflict, it does not have the ability to operate from airfields at such high altitudes. Save the less sophisticated Mig-21 and Mig-23, no other aircraft is said to meet these requirements. The LCA Environment Control System (LCA) is designed to operate in tropical conditions, this will improve pilot comfort [66]. Hence when comparing the effectiveness of the LCA with its comparator these additional factors would have to be considered too.

Given that it is impossible to calculate the effectiveness denominator at the present time and therefore not possible to carry out a cost-effectiveness analysis. A discussion of the economics of the LCA must now focus on the output of the project to date. In the next section we discuss the achievements of the project thus far, we look at issues of project management, technology development and private participation.

Project Management Setup

At the time of the inception of the project it was felt this effort would draw immensely on expertise present in several different institutions present all over the country. Thus an emphasis was placed on a team approach to problems, and although ADA was the nodal agency, it worked in close coordination with several other agencies. To ensure cooperation between various departments at a high level and good oversight on the project, the ADA has a General Body and a Governing Body. The General Body of ADA comprises:

  • President: Raksha Mantri : (RM) (Defense Minister)
  • Vice President: Vitta Mantri (Finance Minister)
  • Members: Min. of State for Defense, SA to RM/Sec. DOD R&D/DG-ADA, Chief Air Staff, Sec. Def. Prod & Supp., Sec. MoD, Sec. Def. Fin. & FA, Sec. Finance, Sec. Dept. of Space, Sec. Expenditure, Dir. NAL, Chair. HAL.
  • The Permanent Invitees are: Project Director (Admin.) ADA (He functions as the Secretary ADA), LCA Program Director, Financial Advisor to DG-ADA, Managing Director HAL.

The Governing body of ADA handles more detailed organization involving the various secretaries of the concerned departments. It meets somewhat more frequently than the General Body. The Governing Body consists of:

  • Chairman: SA to RM/Secy. DOD R&D/DG-ADA,
  • Co-Chairman: Chairman HAL.
  • Members: Sec. MoD, Sec. Finance, Sec. Def. Prod. & Supplies, Chief Air Staff, Sec. Expenditure, Sec. Def. Fin. & FA.
  • The Permanent Invitees are: Project Director (Admin.) ADA (He functions as the Secretary ADA), Dy. Chief Air Staff, LCA Program Director, Financial Advisor to DG-ADA, Managing Director HAL.

The Technical committee of ADA is responsible for advising the Governing Body on scientific issues. The Chairman HAL is the head of the Technical Committee.

The Project Directors manage the day-to-day affairs of various subprojects. They also meet on a weekly basis on the Program Coordination Committee of ADA to discuss and sort out coordination problems. The LCA Program Director heads this body. In order to ensure that the resources existing in different institutions can be brought to bear effectively on special issues; the ADA operates a number of National Teams. This novel approach has been successfully applied to address issues relating to the Flight Control Law (NAL, ADA, CAIR, HAL, IAF), Carbon Composite Wing (NAL, HAL, ADA), Flight Testing (NTFC), foreign contracts for feasibility studies, and to overcome the adverse effects of sanctions.

Various R&D labs attached to the DRDO, DOE, DAE, CSIR, IITs, IISC, PSU R&D, and ISRO also receive guidance from the ADA. HAL, ADE and ADA interact with public sector and private sector industry also. They design complicated parts and get them manufactured by Indian industries.

Govt. of India certification bodies like Center for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC), Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA), and the Center for Reliability (MIT STQC Directorate) etc… monitor product quality and award aerospace/military grade certifications to successful projects.

In addition to project management ADA activities briefly revolve around the following core areas [48]:

  1. Aerodynamics and Flight Mechanics
  2. Airframe including Carbon Fiber Composite {CFC) Wing and Fin
  3. Propulsion System
  4. Mechanical General Systems
  5. Flight Control System
  6. Avionics and Electrical Systems
  7. Quality Assurance and System Effectiveness
  8. Ground and Flight Testing

A detailed list of the persons involved in the LCA project may be obtained from the ADA Website or from reference [34].

A diagram of the various bodies involved in the LCA project is shown below:

 

 

Figure 1: Representation of LCA Team

Technologies developed and Spin offs

The LCA project has resulted in the indigenous development of a vast number of technologies. There are major advances in all the major ADA sectors. The advances are briefly presented in a table below [48,51,52,54,55,62,63,66]:

Area of R&D

Outline of advances made in the field

Aerodynamics and Flight Mechanics

CFD codes, various aspects of wind tunnel testing, development of Control Law, and control law simulation and testing facility, use of supercomputer to attack various aerodynamics issues, Finite Element Method codes, Aero Elasticity Studies.

Airframe including Carbon Fiber Composite {CFC) Wing and Fin

Precision machining of special metals like Titanium (challenging), Aluminum, Composites manufacture and machining, Carbon Disc brakes.

Propulsion System

Engine Design work at GTRE, design and manufacture of very high reliability sub-components like fan-blades, casings etc, for the Kaveri, JFS, Hydro-mechanical parts, Engine Control Unit, Nozzle Control Unit [51].

Mechanical General Systems and Manufacturing.

Landing gear, Brake Systems, AMAGB, Brake Parachutes , CAD-CAM software, Environmental Control Systems, Application software for Distributed Numerical Control, software to improve control over CNC instruments.

Flight Control System

Control Software, Iron Bird testing facility, Mini Bird, Cockpit Controls, Actuators and other components of Digital Flight Control System and computer [52].

Avionics and Electrical Systems

Design of Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC), LCD, Antennae, Testing facilities like DAIR, Communication Equipment, Control and Coding Unit, IFF, Various cockpit systems and simulators, Mission Computer, Lightning test facility, Multi-Mode Radar.

Quality Assurance and System Effectiveness

Several quality assurance programs like Failure Mode Effect and Criticality analysis, Fault Tree Analysis, `Walk through check lists’ etc… were implemented [53]. Software like C-SCAN was developed to deal with QC issues in composites [54], Software Test Plan based on DOD standard.

Ground and Flight Testing

Flight test facility and equipment, testing during ground run, fast and slow speed tests,

The detailed list of technologies developed and their applications may be found in the Appendix I.

Private Sector Participation

The LCA project has managed to secure considerable amounts of participation from the private sector. This participation falls into three broad areas; manufacturing of pre-designed components (moulds, tools, jigs, etc…)[56] and special purpose tools [57], software development [58] and advanced machining products (aerospace grade Line Replaceable Units (LRU))[59].

Some of these companies existed before the LCA project but a fair number are new. Almost all of these companies have had to expand their capabilities and take on serious financial liabilities because of the LCA project. A large number (approximately 300) of small and medium-scale units are involved in mechanical production. These units are heavily invested in the LCA project as it stands today and will suffer enormous hardships if the project is summarily cancelled. Many of these companies are in a position to exploit spin-off technologies and will at the very least be able to assert a presence in the aerospace market.

The software companies have been able to combine their participation in the LCA to enter into very high-end markets like embedded systems, ultra-stable code development, and computational fluid dynamics calculations. Some software companies have used their LCA experience to build up manpower and then moved into more lucrative businesses like e-commerce. This has added to growing presence of Indian companies in the world software market.

Small and Medium-scale manufacturing units have been able to upgrade manufacturing setups so as to meet the requirements imposed by certifying bodies such as DGAQA and CEMILAC. This has spawned ancillary industry as some of these companies outsource their initial requirements and focus on meeting aerospace tolerances and quality guidelines. This has provided employment for highly skilled craftsmen. We present a list of private companies involved in the LCA project in Appendix II.

Limitations

It has to be noted that this article draws data from various public sources of information. It represents an open literature analysis of what is known thus far about the LCA program and its comparators. While the real costs of development, ownership and operating such platforms are very important in economic analysis, it must be noted that such data is very difficult to come by. Additionally, it was observed that the utility of the various platforms could only be gauged with time. Hence it is provides an inkling about the benchmarks that the LCA needs to meet in order to prove its effectiveness over its life cycle.

Conclusions

The LCA project represents a considerable investment in advanced infrastructure relating to the crucial aviation industry. Subsequent to the flight of the TD-1, at least some of the R&D effort supported by this investment has met with visible success. A large portion of the investment so far has gone into development of a base of research and academic institutions vital to foster a sustained presence in this in this field.

At the present time it is possible to estimate the unit cost of the LCA and the measures of effectiveness for evaluating multi-role aircraft. However the absence of a production version of the LCA precludes the possibility of a computation of cost-effectiveness quotients. Critics of the project must accept the fact that our specific requirements on cost and performance are not met by platforms currently available on the market and that superficial comparisons of effectiveness of the LCA with other `international standards’ are utterly meaningless at the present time. These factors increase the need to encourage and sustain the development of platforms specifically designed to perform in the Indian context. In the LCA project Indian R&D institutions and manufacturers have once more demonstrated their ability to overcome the initial lack of a technological base. This feat merits the highest commendation.

It is also important to take note of the growth fostered in certain industrial sectors. This is a very positive in economic terms as it moves us one step closer to improving the competitiveness of our industry and moreover reduces the impact of defense purchases on foreign exchange reserves. If the manufacturers are indeed able to exploit spin-offs and affect a stronger showing in the aviation market, then we could see real long-term prosperity in certain parts of India. The authors also recommend that stronger measures be taken at the earliest possible to transfer more technology to industry and specific economic incentives be offered to private sector companies to participate in the LCA project. Even if the LCA does exceed the present estimated unit cost, the funds will end up being dispersed within the country and will boost local industry.

At this stage in the project several critical subsystems are poised to reach completion. This is a reason to continue funding the project. If a decision is made to curtail project funding now, a fair bit of the progress to date will be lost as talented manpower will leave the company and several private companies involved in the project will suffer enormous losses [4].

Given the complexity of the LCA platform and the fact that this is a first attempt, it is also likely that there may be a few setbacks in the months to come. This is quite common with such projects. The authors feel that these setbacks should be faced with courage and every effort to realize the full potential of the LCA must be strongly supported.

 

Appendix I: Technologies developed and Spin offs

Next we briefly profile the technologies developed for this project, the agency, and the possible spin-offs (we apologize for any that we may have missed).

AGENCY

IMMEDIATE APPLICATION TO PROJECT

SPIN-OFFS AND/OR MARKET POTENTIAL

ADA: Aeronautical Development Agency: Computer Aided Design [62]

Autolay Software: used to design LCA.

ADA had tied up with Computervision, the largest CAD/CAM company in the world, for marketing Autolay, following which the Airbus Industrie had evinced a keen interest in the product

ADA: Aircraft Systems Maintenance Simulator [63]

Designed in collaboration with IIT Bombay and Tata Consulting.

Simulator for LCA maintenance.

A Maintenance simulator was designed for Mig 29 a/c. This was used to train IAF and Royal Malaysian AF personnel in India.

ADA: Flow Simulation

The CFD group uses a suite of CFD software developed in Indian institutions under projects
sponsored by ADA or developed in-house. Present capability is a simulation of transonic
flight of LCA with stores.

CFD has very broad applications. The transonic field integral method can be used for highly complicated geometry with moderate computing resources.

ADA [64]: GITA

Graphical Interactive Three dimensional Analysis software, LCA Design.

Technology Associates Inc of US and Boeing use it for CAD\CAM application

ADA [65]: Prana

Virtual Reality software for CAD applications. A prototype can now be readied through virtual reality in nearly half the time it takes for a physical prototype. VR technology would be used for the first time in the Indian aircraft industry for the LCA.

This software can be used in the automobile, shipbuilding and aero industries. ADA is on the lookout for a marketing tie-up. Many DRDO labs and corporate groups such as TVS and Mahindra and Mahindra have already expressed interest in it.

ADA

Design of LRU for Hydraulic, Fuel and Environmental Control Systems. Actual Manufacture is outsourced. C-SPAN implementation for detecting flaws in Composites with cooperation of CAIR and VIVASONICS.

The local manufacturers have been able to build up confidence in producing aviation grade components

ADE: Aeronautical Development Establishment (DRDO)[62]

Engineering Test Station for integration of hardware and software of DFCS

ADE (DRDO) [62]

Dynamic Avionics Integration Rig: to test LCA avionics

ADE (DRDO) [62]

Indigenous Real Time Simulator for testing LCA Control Law (CLAW)

ADE (DRDO) [63]

Bread board model of Display Processor

ADRDE (DRDO) [66]

Brake Parachute and Spin Parachute. Tested at IISC and Terminal Ballistic Research Lab (TBRL)

Parachute imports for some platforms are of a low quality, this could find application there.

ASEIO (DRDO)

EW equipment, Mission Computer, Standby UHF link.

ARDE (DRDO) [67]

Ejection system for LCA, this includes a combination of ejection seat and canopy release system.

This product has been tested and certified by the Martin Baker Corp. of UK. This system can be re-used on any subsequent platform.

BARC: Bhabha Atomic Research Center: Computer Division[68]

ANUPAM-860/16 Node parallel processor, used for CFD work related to LCA engine intakes

Other versions of ANUPAM/16 Node (ex. ANUPAM-Pentium/16) are under development. This is a significant contribution to evolving field of Parallel Processing applications.

BEL Bangalore

LCDs, Populated PCBs of the Flight Control Computer. This unit played a crucial role in overcoming the setbacks of the sanctions.

BHPV Bharat Heavy Plates & Vessels Ltd. Vizag:

Heat Exchanger for environmental unit.

BHEL Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. Corporate R&D,

Pump Motor for Radar Cooling

BHEL Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd, MHD Centre Trichy

ECS test facility

BHEL Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. Ramachandrapuram, Hyderabad

Brake Dynamometer

CAIR: Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics: Control Systems Group [69]

Part of National Flight Control Law Team, work relates to control systems

CAIR: Robotics Group [69]

Gantry robot and supplied it to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for LCA wing inspection

CDAC

LCA simulators

Central Electro Chemical Research Institute, Karaikudi

Development of Cd. plating for maraging steel (Grade-250)

Central Institute of Tool Design, Hyderabad

Tooling and machining of precision parts

COMPROC: Composite Production Center (DRDO)

Composites for LCA

Composites for other defense applications.

CSIO(CSIR)

Heads Up Display for LCA

CMTI bangalore.

Manufacturing of LCA parts and machinery. Testing of Filter Elements and Development of Filter test rigs

CVRDE: Central Vehicle Research and Development Establishment (DRDO) [62]

AMAGB: Aircraft Mounted Accessories Gear Box

CVRDE: [62]

Hydraulic Filters designed by ADA.

DEBEL (DRDO):

Pilot’s personal systems, onboard oxygen generating system (OBOGS).

DRDL (DRDO):

Radome for MMR, Carbon Brake discs for LCA, Control and Coding Unit (CCU). The MMR Radome required indigenous production of Kevlar Socks and Low loss polyester resin.

DEAL (DRDO)

Communication Radio and Data link.

DMRL (DRDO):

Rotor and starter casting for Jet Fuel Starter, Heat exchangers for environmental unit.

DLRL (DRDO)

EW equipment

DSIC

Digital Engine Control Unit

Used with GEF404 now, but will eventually end up being used with GTX-35VS.

ER&DC

LCA simulators

ERDL

Canopy Severance System [70]

ECIL Hyderbad

Materials for LCA

Government Tool Room & Training Centre, Bangalore & Mysore

Machining & Assembly of Precision Valves

GTRE Bangalore:

Kaveri engine (GTX-35VS) and testing of sub-systems like ECS, FADEC etc…

This technology will spawn other engine designs.

HAL: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (Hyderabad)

Integrated Communication Equipment (INCOM), MMR, Electronic Controllers, IFF Transponder, Audio Management Unit, Radio Altimeter, Utility Management System

Various items can be installed on other platforms.

HAL Lucknow Division (LD)

 

 

Wheels and Brakes, Hydraulics LRUs, Environmental LRUs, Fuel Gauging Probes, U/C Actuator Jacks, FADEC & KADECS Hydromechanical units for engine control, Engine Nozzle Control system, Electronic Control of ECS and Fuel Monitoring, Airbrake Actuator, Utility Management System, Electrical LRUs AC Master Box, DC Master Box, Static Inverter and Rectifying Unit, Ground Power Protection Unit, Design of LRU for Cold Air Unit, Accumulators, operating jacks.

HAL-Korwa:

Crash Data recorder

HAL-Engine Design Bureau:

Jet Fuel Starter for the LCA. This device is crucial to deciding the environments where the LCA is deployed. It has been tested at high altitudes to ensure operation in places like Leh AFB.

HAL-Nasik (this is Mig 21 building factory)

Standard Parts

HAL-Aircraft Design Bureau (ADB)

Microprocessor controlled Brake Management System, Canopy and bubble.

HAL-ADB has produced this for other aircraft like the Airbus A300.

HAL-ADB

1200 L Drop Tank for LCA, these were tested for resistance to small arms at TBRL

HAL-ADB

Dynamometer Test Rig for testing the Brake Management System

This can be used to test BMS for other platforms as well

HERL (DRDO)

Miniature Detonation cord for LCA canopy ejection.

Hindustan Springs, Mysore Springs

Hydraulic & Fuel System LRUs

HMT, Bangalore

Nose Box assembly jig.

HVF Avadi,

Manufacturing of LCA parts and machinery.

IICT Indian Institute of Chemical Technology

Development of Low Loss Polyester resin for MMR matrix material.

IISc Indian Institute of Science

Lightning Test Facility, Explosive Atmosphere Testing, and consultancy on a host of other projects.

IIT: Indian Institutes of technology

Involved in consultancy in several project relating to software development, aerodynamics design etc…

IPCL Baroda

Materials for LCA manufacture.

Kerala High Tech

Radar Cooling system, Valves for OBOGS (Check Valves, Solenoid Valves and Temperature Control Valves)

LEOS(ISRO) Lab for Electro Optic System

Tri-axial miniature Magnetometer

LRDE: Electronics Research and Development Establishment (DRDO) [62]

Avionics for LCA. Video Switching Unit (VSU), Centralized Warning Panel (CWP), and Ground Checkout System (GCS) [71].

These are systems used in almost all modern day a/c. The GCS offers an extremely convenient way of evaluating the DFCS and other LRUs from a mobile trolley.

LRDE (DRDO)

Antenna and processor for MMR

MIDHANI Hyderabad

Materials for LCA (ferrous and non ferrous alloys).

MTRDC(DRDO)

TWT for MMR

NAL: National Aeronautics Laboratory: Systems Analysis Group: Dr. A. Pedar [69].

Ada software used to design LCA, efforts have focused on identifying the most reliable software subset.

Software can be used on other design codes as well once reliability is known.

NAL: Composites Materials Division, part of CFC National Team [62].

Composites and technology of co-bonded and co-cured construction for LCA wing, and rudder/fin.

Applications to other a/c also exist ex. SARAS under development at NAL is a full a/c made fully of CFC.

NAL: Flow Simulation (Dr Anand Kumar) [72]

Software developed to examine vortex formation at tip of delta wing. A fair amount of simulation has taken place on the NAL FLOSOLVER and the SUPERSOLVER (collaboration with Tata-Elxsi); indigenous parallel computers built in Bangalore with available components. This machine has evolved in the project started in 1986 on the
development of indigenous parallel high performance computer

This work has found application in a study on modeling and simulation of aircraft wake carried out by NAL under a project awarded by the Civil Aviation Authority of UK on the basis of a global tender. The software developed at NAL is designed to enhance the capacity of busy civilian airports by simulating realistically the wake vortices of the leading aircraft; which could have adverse effect on the following aircraft.

NAL & BHEL(Tiruchi)

NALTECH (Commercial Promotions of NAL technology) [73]

Largest computer controlled Autoclave facility measuring 4 m diameter x 8 m length, and costing around Rs. 7 Crores has been custom built for the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), to cure composites.

Applications exist for other CFC bonding and manufacturing areas. NALTECH perceives applications in other areas of autoclave technology.

NAL [64]

Parallel Processing codes developed for various applications in LCA design

Molecular Dynamics code was parallelized and sold to Hitachi.

NAL

FEPACK: Analysis of Structures in LCA

Sold to domestic companies.

NAL

NTAF (National Transonic Aerodynamic Facility) used for LCA design.

Applications exist for other strategic projects.

NAL[74]

Carbon fibre Epoxy Prepregs: popular ‘building blocks’ in composite product development. NAL, with support from TIFAC and ADA has developed aerospace grade carbon fibre prepregs

Technology has been transferred to IPCL Vadodara.

NAL

AAVRITA a Comprehensive Fortran Software Package ‘AAVRITA’, for the electromagnetic (EM) design and analysis of radomes.

Radar design applications such as MMR.

NFC Hyderabad

Materials for LCA.

Ordinance Factory- Medak

Manufacturing of LCA parts and machinery.

OF Ambhazhari,

Al-Alloy-L77 for LCA extrusions

This removes the need to import Al-Cu alloys.

PSG College Coimbatore

Manufacturing of LCA parts and machinery.

RCI Hyderabad

CCU, actuators

SAMEER (DOE)

Antenna for communication equipment.

VSSC(ISRO) Trivandrum:

Actuator of Flight Control System

 

Appendix II: List of Private Companies, their immediate contributions and the possible spin-offs.

We have tried to present immediate contributions and possible spin-offs based on various sources. This is by no means an exhaustive list and we apologize for any mistakes.

COMPANY (ADDRESS)

IMMEDIATE CONTRIBUTION TO PROJECT

SPIN-OFFS AND/OR MARKET POTENTIAL

Ailga Rubber Works, Nagpur

Bought out items

Ajay Sensors & Instruments, Bangalore

Design and fabrication of manual control unit for ECS test battery

ASML, Bangalore

Simulator/Simulation.

Accord S/W & Systems, Bangalore

S/W

BALCO

Aluminum extrusions.

Bangalore Rubber Industries, Bangalore

Rubber Seals for Liquid Colling System of Radar

BASHI Aerospace, Hyderabad

LRUs and composite drop tanks.

Bashi has indigenously manufactured various items from valves to pilot static test rigs and they also make ground-testing equipment of components and aircraft parts.

Bhaskara Dynamiks, Bangalore

Attitude test rig for AMAGB

Compupatterns

Fabricating of tools, moulds and fixtures

CSM Software, Bangalore

Component analysis, failure mode analysis

This company also supplies to other defense projects. Defense and Aerospace are a large portion (~40%) of the companies assets [75].

Data Patterns, Chennai,

Testing of LCA avionics subsystems.

Company has potential applications in other projects Jaguar, MiG, ALH, PSLV and GSLV [75].

DCM Data Products, Delhi

S/W development

Eastern Engineering Company

Special Purpose Machine Tools

This company has a large product list, more information may be found at their website http://www.eastern-engineering.com/mfg.htm.

Firth India, Nagpur

Materials

Gururaja Engineering Works

Fabricating of tools, moulds and fixtures

High Energy Systems, Trichy

(NiCd battery)

Horseman India, Pune

Fabricating of tools, moulds and fixtures

Hyderabad Orthographic Engg

Electroselctros/Relief Valve,

INDAL.

Materials

Indfos Industries Ltd, New Delhi

Development of Hydro-mobile trolley for Ground Testing

India Machine Tools

Fabricating of tools, moulds and fixtures

JAI Sales Corportion, Bangalore

DC Power transient simulator, Universal test system

Janapriya Tools, Hyderabad

Fabricating of tools, moulds and fixtures

JINDAL

Materials extrusions for Al-Cu parts

JS lamps, Faizabad

LCA lamps

JV Tools, Hyderabad

Fabricating of tools, moulds and fixtures

Kanti Industry, Bangalore

Precision CNC Manufacturing

Karnataka Erectors, Bangalore

Fabrication of Combined Performance Test Rig (CVRDE) and Wheel Roll Test Rig (HAL-LD)

Khalsa Engineering Works, Kanpur

Fabricating of tools, moulds and fixtures

Kobayashi, Hyderabad

Machining of Precision Components

Kumaran Industries, Bangalore

Supplies all the metallic wing components, landing gear parts, critical fuselage parts and fin fittings, (~100 products). It also supplies 180 parts, including compressor shaft, compressor casing, and compressor blades, for the Kaveri engine.

It also manufactures about 250 parts for the Saras, a light plane developed by HAL and National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL). Parts include wing components, vertical tail, horizontal stabiliser, rear fuselage and door. For more information contact kumaran@blr.vsnl.net.in

Kuvarp Industries, Bangalore

Development of Vulcanised Fuel system items

Lakshmi Patterns Works, Chennai (LPW)

Development of tooling for AMAGB castings and Pump castings for Radar Cooling

L&T, Bangalore.

Precision CNC Manufacturing

Microcon Instruments & Systems Ltd. Bangalore

PC based ECS simulator and Controller emulator DAS for Attitude Test Rig of AMAGB

Minitech, Bangalore

Fabricating of tools, moulds and fixtures

MTAR Machine Tool Aids & Reconditioning, Hyderabad.

LRUs Manufacture and Precision Tools.

Mobile Access Positioning (P) Ltd.,
15/A, Electronics City,
Bangalore - 561 229.
India.

Work related to Ground Checkout System (GCS), Coding and Control Unit (CCU), Mission Preparation and Retrieval Unit (MPRU), and Mission Computer Test Station (MCTS), Mission Computer (MC), Display Processor Test Station (DPTS), Digital Engine Control Unit (DECU)

This company has branched out into several product lines relating to positioning and tracking systems and embedded systems. It’s website may be found at http://www.emapnav.com/html/home.htm

A list of customers may be found at http://www.emapnav.com/html/customers.htm

Manjira Machine Builders, Hyderabad

Machine tools for LCA manufacture

Neonwires, Pune.

Bought out items

OMC, Hyderabad.

Simulator/Simulation

PEECO, Calcutta

Tools Moulds and Fixtures

Pratibha Industries Bangalore

Tools Moulds and Fixtures

Process Wire.

S/W development

Ramsoft Technologies (domestic branch of Fusion Software Engineering)
4/1, "Deviah Court", 22nd Cross
8th Main, 3rd Block, Jayanagar
Bangalore - 560 011. India Tel: +91-80-8521191/92
Fax: +91-80-8521193
rst.in@ramsoftech.com

Software design and development relating to the Mission Computer and other embedded systems with ASIEO and LRDE.

Company has diversified into several areas in embedded systems. More information about tis projects and clients can be found at http://www.ramsoftech.com/

Rashmi Tools, Hyderabad

Tools Moulds and Fixtures

Raghu Vamshi Engineering Services Hyderabad

Tools Moulds and Fixtures

RK Engineering Industries

Tools Moulds and Fixtures

Roshine Autoelectricals Ltd

Fabricating of tools, moulds and fixtures

Sanghvi Aerospace, Ahmedabad

SASMIRA Bombay

Design of spindles and weaving technology for Kevlar Socks needed to make MMR

Shanthi Gears Ltd, Coimbatire

LCA accessory gear boxes.

Shanti Gears has made, gears for ALH, Chetak, Lancer, screw jacks for nuclear projects, and custom-made gear boxes for testing battle tanks. email: sglcbe@vsnl.com, sglcmd@vsnl.com
Home page: www.shantigears.com

Sheeba Computers

S/W development

Silicon Graphics, Delhi

Simulator/Simulation VRML for CAD

This is the beginnings of VRML based design in India.

Sujan industries, Mumbai

Rubber components LCA K-seal

email: rubber.sujan@sujanind.sprintrpg.sprint.com

Southern Electronics, Bangalore

Fire detection and warning

Sujana Bangalore

S/W Development

System Controls

(Bangalore)

Air Data Test System (ADTS)

This company offers a variety of Avionics products, details may be found at their website http://www.system-controls.com/index.html and they have also recently moved into e-commerce

Tata Elxi, bangalore

Simulator/Simulation for Maintenance Operations.

Titanium Tantalum Products, Chennai

take-off engine gear shafts and indigenised a number of LCA components through GTRE

Company has built gun blast tubes based on samples given by HAL and is the only unit in the world who can make 5-tonne magnesium alloy casting which tests engine vibration and monitors corrosion rate.

Trabha Machineries, Bangalore

Fabricating of tools, moulds and fixtures

Triveni Hi-Tech Pvt. Ltd

THPL@bgl.vsnl.net.in, thplnms@blr.vsnl.net.in

Manufacturers of Aircraft, Aero engine components and sub assemblies.
LCA combustion liner The company has supplied tig-welded rings for the LCA's Kaveri engine.

Triveni Hi-Tech has reverse-engineered scarce parts of Mi helicopters and the MiG-21. It caters exclusively to machining needs of defense-related undertakings. Pratt & Whitney approves this company for engine related work.

Turbotech, Bangalore

Uplock 3 Types

Unnathi Corp, Ahmedabad

Trial weaving of Carbon Fibre cloth.

Vishnu Forge

Steel Forgings

Vision Labs, Hyderabad

Simulator/Simulation.

Vivasonics, Hyderabad

Portable C-SPAN equipment for detecting flaws in Composites

Useful in other quality CFC manufactures.

Venkateshwara Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Industries.

Fabricating of tools, moulds and fixtures

Vizarya Gauges and Equipments

Fabricating of tools, moulds and fixtures

Walchand Industries

Fabricating of tools, moulds and fixtures

WIDIA, Bangalore

C-SPAN equipment for detecting flaws in composites.

Useful in other quality CFC manufactures.

WIPRO Bangalore.

S/W Development

Yukew India, Bangalore

Fabricating of tools, moulds and fixtures

 

Notes

  1. Defending India, Jaswant Singh, MP, South Asia Books, 1999.
  2. http://www.frontlineonline.com/fl1802/18020440.htm.
  3. Refer to the description of the events surrounding the removal of the Late Dr. Raj Mahindra in the article by Dr. Valluri (former DG-ADA) in the Hindu. http://www.the-hindu.com/stories/05032524.htm
  4. http://www.the-week.com/98dec27/events3.htm.
  5. Admiral IN (R) J.Nadkarni, http://www.rediff.com/news/2001/jan/13nad.htm
  6. Lt. Gen.(R) Harwant Singh,http://www.tribuneindia.com/20010101/edit.htm - 3
  7. http://www.indiaserver.com/thehindu/2000/12/25/stories/05252512.htm
  8. Manoj Joshi http://www.timesofindia.com/today/05lcap2.htm.
  9. Manoj Joshi http://www.india-today.com/itoday/24111997/defence.html.
  10. Manvendra Singh, http://www.pakdef.com/iaf/tanksand.html.
  11. A. Rangachari(Formerly IMF budget adviser and trustee) http://www.indiaserver.com/thehindu/2000/04/05/stories/0605000f.htm
  12. Brian Cloughley (Former Australian Armed Forces officer, currently residing in Pakistan) http://www.pakdef.com/iaf/disaster.html
  13. (Self-reliance or self-inflicted wound? from Business Standard, Delhi, 25 October 1995 by Eric H. Arnett) (http://projects.sipri.se/technology/'Self-reliance'.html)
  14. http://www.cagindia.org/reports/defence/1999_book1/chapter6_p2.htm
  15. `MiG-21 Fishbed: The world’s most widely used supersonic fighter’, Yefim Gordon and Bill Gunston, Midland Publishing, 1996.
  16. In 1996, Lockheed-Martin started collaborating in the LCA program with the LCA Flight Control software being validated on an F-16 platform. This made sound sense as the aerodynamics and flight characteristics of the F-16 were very well known and hence it made a suitable test bed for the FBW software.
  17. http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ac/
  18. http://www.tvk.rwth-aachen.de/~osman/f16/f16history.html
  19. http://www.fighter-planes.com/info/jas39.htm
  20. http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ac/row/gripen.htm
  21. An excellent source of information about the JAS39 Gripen http://www.canit.se/~griffon/aviation/gripen/
  22. http://www.f-16.net/reference/versions/f16_afti.html
  23. http://www.canit.se/~griffon/aviation/gripen/partners.html
  24. http://www.codeonemagazine.com/archives/1997/articles/jul_97/july4h_97.html
  25. The landing gear development costs were sunk into the B-58 program a good 10 years earlier. The B-58 program consumed roughly $300 Million (in 1950s money).
  26. The Air Data Probe for the Lockheed SR-71 is an enormously complicated item; it is designed to operate across a temperature differential of over a 1000 degrees centigrade (i.e. between the outer skin and the internal instrumentation bay). This probe took a good two years to develop and its cost were sunk into the SR-71 project funds in the late 60s.
  27. http://www.codeonemagazine.com/archives/1999/articles/apr_99/apr2a_99.html
  28. http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ac/
  29. http://www.canit.se/~griffon/aviation/text/35draken.htm
  30. http://www.canit.se/~griffon/aviation/text/37viggen.htm
  31. Concluded from various articles on http://www.f-16.net/
  32. The story of Pakistan’s F-16 deals and the effects of sanctions are described at http://www.f-16.net/reference/users/f16_pk.html
  33. `Mikoyan MiG-29 Fulcrum Multi Role Fighter’ by Yefim Gordon, MBI Publishing, 1999
  34. http://www.cagindia.org/reports/defence/1993_book1/chapter3_p2.htm - para6
  35. http://www.fighter-planes.com/
  36. http://www.cagindia.org/reports/defence/2000_book1/index.htm
  37. http://www.frontlineonline.com/fl1601/16010670.htm
  38. http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/Info/Specs-Combat.html
  39. http://www.aviationtoday.com/reports/avionics/previous/0600/06mirage.htm
  40. http://www.alphalink.com.au/~bjordan/news-12.html
  41. http://www.fighter-planes.com/info/mir2000.htm
  42. According to [9] UAE recently placed an order for 30 Mirage 2000-9 (custom built variants of the Mirage 2000-5) and for an upgrade of 33 of its Mirage 2000Bs to Mirage 2000-9. The deal is an estimated $2 Billion. The estimated cost of the Mirage 2000-9 is about $55 Million and this puts the cost of the upgrade to be about $5-10 Million.
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The authors would like the thank Rupak Chattopadhyay, Shivshankar Shastri, Nikhil Shah, R. Sukumar, and K.Narayanan for their help and guidance at various points in the course of writing this article.

Copyright Bharat Rakshak 2001