The problem lies in the training of fighter pilots in MIG series of fighters. The MIG fighters are unique in design and are very capable but they do not permit any error. Their landing speed itself is 300 km an hour, the highest for any fighter.
It should be an eye opener for all that since 1971 we have lost 1010 Air Force planes. Out of this, 39 percent crashes have been attributed to human error. This is a really large percentage and needs immediate correction.
The Indian Air Force has been demanding from the Ministry of Defense (MOD) good Intermediate Jet Trainers so that new pilots graduate to MIGs only after a decent level of jet flying. All their pleas had fallen on deaf ears of the Babus sitting in the MOD while the loss of life and crashes continued. It is only now after the public outcry over the Army Chiefs leaked letter that has shaken the lethargy out of MOD and the sanction has been given for the purchase of 75 Swiss made Pilatus jet trainers at the cost of 2900 Crore rupees.
The other most important factor for these large scale crashes is purchase of spurious spares. Some time back at the height of MIG crashes when these planes earned the nick name of flying coffins, Russians had openly blamed India of purchasing sub substandard spare parts of MIG series of fighter aircrafts from Ukraine. This should not surprise us. How the Neta Babu combine controlling the MOD fleece the Nation at the cost of National security has been amply highlighted in the recent unraveling of Tatra Gate Scam.
Another factor is the shoddy overhaul by the Public Sector undertaking Hindustan Aeronautics and equally poor maintenance by the Air Force itself. HAL with the prevalent PSU culture in Defense production is not quality conscious. As for the Air Force, with the limited pay scales and lack of motivation 'Sab Chalta Hai' concept is being followed by its maintenance crew.
In MOD Netas come and go with no knowledge of matters military. The Babus staffing the MOD hide behind the façade of their political masters besides they are equally clueless. They do not allow the Chief of Defense Staff system, meant to provide single window military advice to our political masters to be implemented due to vested interests. Let us be clear in our minds that if we do not wake them up now we are heading for a major catastrophe. Till the CDS System gets implemented it is now imperative that the Parliamentary Committee on Defense must call the three services chiefs from time to time and should take stock of the state of Defense Preparedness of the country regularly.
Even after 64 years of Independence. we are importing 70 percent of ours arms requirements. India is the largest arms purchaser in the world. We have 39 Billion Dollars worth of arms purchase list lined up in near future and it continues to increase day by day. No country can think of being a power leave aside a world power if it is living on imported arms. This is happening despite having a DRDO behemoth, 8 large Defense PSUs, 42 specially equipped Defense Laboratories and 39 Ordinance factories. It is time we start privatizing our arms production industry. Let their be Public- Private participation. The lethargy and inefficiency cycle of our Defense PSUs must be broken. Either they produce or perish.
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