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P. Avinash asked: Will having a design and development bureau under the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army, like the Directorate of Naval Design under the Indian Navy, prove to be more effective?

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  • Kishore Kumar Khera replies: The output of a system is a function of not only the yields of each of the subsystems but also the coordination, cooperation and complementarities between the subsystems. Like most of the output driven entities, in the case of weapons/weapon systems/weapon platforms too there are three primary subsystems: Design and Development Team (DDT), Production Agency (PA), and the End User (EU). The armed forces, which are the EU, provide the initial Qualitative Requirements (QR) to the DDT and finally approve the product produced by the PA. The processes followed in each of these subsystems, though unique, are not mutually exclusive.

    Based on the requirement of optimisation of resources, each wing of the armed forces in India has developed its individual model. Owing to the necessity to coordinate and synchronise with multiple shipyards for the desired output, Indian Navy optimised the process by creating a nodal ship design agency under its aegis and manned it by recruiting specially qualified personnel for the task. Additionally, the number of ships produced for a particular design rarely hit the double-digit and have a long construction period. These two factors favour a large overlap between the DDT and the EU. It fits into the Indian naval model. Trying out a similar concept, Indian Army too has recently created an analogous organisation. Tangible outputs from this formation will take a while to fructify. For aircraft, besides imports, the Indian Air Force is dependent on only one PA, the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), and that itself has an integral Design Bureau. This obviates the necessity to duplicate the entire process. However, for the development of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), a different model was tested by creating a separate entity in Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA).

    Merely reorganising and subjugating the DDT to EU may not provide an optimal solution in all cases. Each problem needs to have a customised solution. In the end, streamlining of the processes followed in each subsystem define the overall system efficiency and effectiveness. Refining this key area should be the focal point.

    Posted on April 02, 2018