An open letter to the defense minister
Madam for Defense I have few suggestions to offer on Defense front given your tryst to do reforms and bring back the defense in its path of growth-
There is enough of discussions on purchase of Single engine fighter aircraft given the fact that number of Fighters are falling short. What I understand is we have 504 fighters (28 squadrons) of fighter jets capable to fight. There are more fighter jets which are still in service and not retired, however, they are certainly not capable to go in war and can only do a limited defending role apart from sky policing.
However, given the fact that we have already ordered about 4 squadrons of Tejas and another 2 of Rafael, in any case by 2022 end we will have 34 squadrons even though MIGs which are scheduled to retire goes off service. In the present scenario, the range of Rafaels and Sukhois are quite a lot and therefore, I find no reason to Panic at all. Each such fighter are capable to do what earlier 8 MIGs were required for.
Also, it should be kept in mind that modern wars will not be Air wars over land, but more into outer space, electronic warfare, cyber warfare and definitely a huge sea war. However, our resources are scarce. Hence, there is absolutely no hurry to rush towards 42-44 squadrons. In anycase with addition of 1 squadron of Tejas MK 2 from 2023 onwards till 2030, we will have 42 squadrons by 2030.
I will therefore suggest not to go for any purchase of fighters and completely focus on bringing Tejas MK 2 & AMCA Projects to fruition as fast as possible.
Also please understand modern air war needs air denial and for same AWACS are absolute must. We must ensure we have atleast 1 AWACS available for every 2 fighter Squadrons we have. We have only 3 such AWACS now. By 2022 we need therefore at least 14 more AWACS. Hence, i request you to kindly take steps to order 14 AWACS immediately.
The sky denial strategy also needs huge improvements of radar and hypersonic missiles to cater for fast aircrafts and 5th generation stealth aircrafts. Therefore, I request you to sanction adequate resources to DRDO to develop such radar system along with huge number of BRAHMOS land to sky missiles capable of tracking and shooting down J-10 & J-20.
Madam, we also have dearth of Tankers for refilling, hence, i will request you to order atleast 6 tankers immeditely.
Also, I will suggest to immediately implement a Modern warfare Arm which should be treated as a separate arm like Army / Navy / Airforce and allocated separate budget. This will include Cyber warfare,Space warfare, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, etc.
Madam, there is absolutely no need for sea planes from Japan. Immediate necessity is Submarines. We have 14 old conventional submarines out of which 6 needs immediate replacement. Rest 8 needs replacement within a decade. We should therefore request Japan for building their SORYU Class submarines for us. Even if technology transfer is not possible, still we should go for same. Japan can be convinced to give a line of Credit equivalent to 90% cost of SORYU CLASS submarines with a Term of 50 years and interest of say 0.1% instead of Technology transfer. Request you to try for same for atleast.
Madam, mine clearance is another important. However, the mine clearance crafts that we have are on verge of retirement and need immediate replacements. Request you to immediately clear difficulties on already ordered mine clearance crafts.
Madam, we need night vision cameras, night vision goggles and good Light machine guns. Request you to see these immediately.
Arjun MK 2 is a very good tank. Army is needlessly delaying its deployment. They say it is too heavy. However, we have huge need of tank. Please deploy Arjun MK 2 in places where such weight can be easily taken care of. Shift the other lighter tanks to other places. I am sure these will help India in future a lot. Based on MK 2 experience, a lighter below 25 ton tank should also be designed.