BENGALURU: Dr V.K. Saraswat, Member of Niti Aayog and former chief of DRDO, slammed the Indian Navy for putting down the naval variant of indigenous ‘Tejas’ combat jet.
“The decision defies logic,” he said while addressing an international seminar here on Sunday on the eve of Aero India 2017, and that decision-makers were poorly informed.
"When they projected Gripen as an alternative for LCA Navy, I was surprised. LCA MK2 (which is under development) and Gripen, as platforms, have no difference. The GE F-414 is powering both aircraft, so where is the question of low thrust? All that people, who are at the helm of the affairs, have done is bad mouth institutions which have done a wonderful job. Is this the approach to make ourselves self-reliant? Any number of Aero India(s) can take place, but unless you have conviction and faith in your own capabilities, you can't achieve self-reliance," he added.
Without naming outgoing Chief of Naval Staff Sunil Lanba, who made a controversial comment “present LCA does not meet the carrier capability required by the navy”, in December 2016, Dr Saraswat said many decisions by poorly informed decision-makers defy logic, and that they indulge in bad-mouthing of indigenous projects without any technical background.
In December, Adm. Sunil Lanba had stated that the naval variant of LCA does not have the capabilities required by the Navy. He said that while the Navy would continue to support manufacturing agencies in development of naval fighter aircraft, they would lookout for 57 multi-role fighters for its aircraft carriers from the global market. SAAB’s Gripen and Boeing’s F/A-18 Superhornet aircraft are already in the race to meet the Navy’s new requirement.
Later, Dr Saraswat said the Niti Aayog does not advise the Union government on defence-related issues and therefore would not be able to make a case of the naval version of ‘Tejas’....