Fat Tail Capital Profile picture
May 24, 2018 7 tweets 2 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Heard an incredible story about bureaucracy/military procurement on recent flight back from India. In 1983, the Indian Air Force began to look for a replacement for its aging fleet of 1960s-era MiG-21 fighter jets. (1/n) #MakeInIndia
2/ The goal was for Hindustan Aeronautics to produce an indigenous fighter with first flight by 1990 and enter service by 1995.
3/ Here's how the timeline actually unfolded:
1983: Light Combat Aircraft program formed
1985: Finalized program requirements
1990: Finalized delta wing design
1993: Commenced proof of concept development and design
2001: First flight of 2 prototypes
2007: Testing begins on 8 demonstrator aircraft
2011: Weapons testing
2012: Naval version first flight
2015: Rejected by Navy
2016: Enters initial production at rate of 4 aircraft/yr
2016: First 2 planes handed over to IAF
2018: Still awaiting final operational clearance
5/ So the CEO of Hindustan Aeronautics joined in 1980 as a 22 yr old, 3 years before the program began. He's now 59 and the plane is still not fully operational.
6/ And according to this US defense contractor, the aircraft is based on a 1960s Dassault design and is already obsolete. What was supposed to be 70% indigenous is instead largely foreign, using American engines and French/Israeli avionics.
7/ In short, the story seemed like an appropriate microcosm of the work to be done in India to eliminate bureaucratic red tape. It's going to take more than just Modi's platitudes and slogans.

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