India […] has listed two European manufacturers as the finalists for an order estimated to be worth $10 billion.
Why can India not build its own fighter jets?
It’s not that India’s needs are so negligible that building an entire industry would be a waste of money. Further, having your own program has its advantages.
- You employ many many highly qualified individuals who would otherwise look for greener pastures (for example, the companies India ends up buying things from).
- You build a technology repository, so to say, which grows over time. Having a technology base is a very good thing, as India itself knows with respect to its own space program. (And building planes is easier than building spacecraft.)
- You can diversify into other areas, and become a competing player in those areas, using the knowledge gained from this industry.
Yes, I know, there’s Hindustan Aeronatics Limited (HAL). HAL is a great step, but it seems to me that HAL is still more an aerospace manufacturing company, rather than an aerospace technology company. Most of what we make are derivatives of Russian or other aircraft. We’re great at making industrial houses, I know, but can we make great research labs?
Government of India, how about investing $10 billion towards development of new, indigenous technology at HAL over the next few years, the same amount you’re spending towards new aircraft?
And for goodness’ sake, employ some world class web designers. That much can be done, no? (Compare the HAL home page to the Boeing home page.)