Friday, November 11, 2011

How dumb-witted can articles get?

After having spent a wonderful holiday, I was browsing through rediff and came across this news article titled, "Why IAF does NOT need either Eurofighter or Rafale?", written by Ajai Shukla. Apparently, he hasn't listed his credentials while writing this article. Here is what he says and also why that is wrong to a great extent.

He says, Eurofighter and Rafale are in trouble, because they don't have too many orders from their partner customers. The British RAF and German Luftwaffe have scaled down their orders for the Eurofighter. His inference: There's got to be some problem with the Eurofighter. But then, he conveniently forgets that Britain has just introduced massive cuts in its defence budgets and so has Germany done that. The reasons for this are best known to them, but then with budget cuts, one of the things they chopped off, amongst many others, were orders of new fighter aircraft. Same goes for the Rafale, he says, which hasn't a single customer other than the French air force, which too has reduced the number of aircraft ordered. So, to conclude, one reason India shouldn't buy the Eurofigther or Rafale is that they do not have enough customers!!

Next, he says, with China having test-flown the J-20, its first fifth generation aircraft, India would be left with outdated aircraft. And so, he claims that India is wasting money on the Gen-4+ aircraft. Operational clearance for the J-20 is almost 10 years away. Once it receives that, it would be another 5-6 years before squadrons of the J-20 are ready. In the meanwhile, India to is collaborating with Russia. The Sukhoi PAK FA, which is the basis for the Gen-5 fighter has already done three test flights. So, if this project proceeds smoothly, India too can have its won Gen-5 aircraft. In the meanwhile, we need to replace the aging MIG 21s.

Third, he says, Japan, South Korea and Singapore are investing in the F-35, which is a Gen-5 air craft manufactured by Lockheed Martin. He says that Lockheed Martin and the US government have signalled that clearances for selling the F-35 would be granted expeditiously. But then, how wise is it to depend on the US for our air craft? Particularly, when it is known that the US does not allow complete transfer of technology and also ends up keeping crucial technology information with itself. This would mean that we would be tied to the whims and fancies of the US, once the contracts have been signed. And if the US Congress or Senate passes a bill restricting the transfer of crucial technology to F-35 in the Indian Air Force, where are we supposed to go?

To draw conclusions, this gentleman says that India shouldn't be purchasing the Eurofighter or Rafale for the following reasons:
  1. The Eurofighter and Rafale haven't attracted enough customers. Doesn't matter if the Eurofighter has 5 customers currently on its role. Rafale, unfortunately has only the French Air Force as its customer.
  2. Since China has tested a FGFA, we shouldn't order Gen-4+ aircraft. Never mind that we have a FGFA programme going on with Russia, which should show some results by 2017. 
  3. Since the US government has indicated that the F-35 sale to India would be expeditiously cleared, we should go for it. And since Japan, South Korea and Singapore are also investing in the F-35 we should buy it from the US. Never mind, the US habbit of keeping a tight leash on crucial technology and never committing to full technology transfer.
Could articles relating to crucial matters such as the country's defence have so shallow reasoning? And could they get dumber than this?
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