FE: MMRCA 2.0: Why defence procurement decision-making is problematic
Military acquisitions often go beyond political regimes. The procurement process for the new 110 MMRCA can only be adjusted after the next regime comes to power. Any large military procurement is approved by the CCS, presided over by the PM, with the MoD as implementing machinery. The mess created over MMRCA is, therefore, attributable to the state and its bureaucracy in the first place
It appears that India is in a perpetual state of search of fighter aircraft—an important arsenal for the Indian Air Force (IAF), which is woefully short of its sanctioned strength (of 39.5 squadrons). Although calculations available in the public domain vary—ranging from the sanctioned 39.5 squadrons to an ambitious 42-46 squadrons for the IAF to maintain its combat edge—the slightly over 30 current squadrons with the fast-depleting MiG fleet has put the IAF in a difficult spot, despite braggart assertions from the highest-level military commanders about India’s growing military aerospace prowess.
While complementing assets such as reconnaissance, surveillance and transport systems of the IAF are getting relatively regularly replenished or strengthened through acquisition in smaller numbers, the combat component as the core of the IAF is deficient, to say the least. This is problematic and worrisome for the state and the IAF. Nowhere in the world the tender for a big-ticket item such as fighter aircraft in such a large number had been placed until India did it in 2004, when it floated a Request for Information (RFI) for 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) at a cost of `43,000 crore—to which six aerospace producers from four countries (the US, Russia, France and Sweden) and one continent (Europe) responded to the Request for Proposal (RFP), which was floated in 2007.
For Complete Article, See, "MMRCA 2.0: Why defence procurement decision-making is problematic" Financial Express, August 21, 2018