Since, past 3 decades India has focused on developing a 4th Generation fighter which is still not developed to its full potential as required. Waves of modification that are required are being suggested by IAF.
Overall, various Defense agencies are now capable of developing new technologies as well as putting them in production line (Thou, we still lack in some areas.) .but, it should not be a drawback to cut down our motivation of pushing boundaries. Knowing this, now the question arises why India should focus on developing a 6th Generation Fighter.
Why Should India Develop 6th Gen Fighter?
If we look in our current scenario we are already 2 Decades behind development of a 4th Gen or 4.5 Gen Fighter. As per changes suggested by IAF for Mark 2 Tejas LCA, it would take another 4-5 years to complete a prototype and another 3-4 years to put it into production. This would take around 8-9 years to induct a first Mark 2 Tejas in IAF. Which is a very long time?
When we look at our adversaries like China, which have already developed a 5th Gen Fighter Aircraft i.e. J-20 Stealth Fighter. And. To add cherry on pie it will sooner or later supply same fighter to Pakistan. If this was not enough to makes us worry then china’s recent push to develop a 6th Gen fighter should definitely make us think.
If we start now it would take us another 15-20 years to develop at least a flying prototype .by the time another nations like US,UK and France may also have their own fighters ready. It is of opinion that instead of wasting precious 10-15 years developing a technology indigenously that will be redundant in coming years. It is better to invest and develop technologies that will be future proof and have enemy deterrence or equivalence.
Since , there will be lot of critics to my opinion saying that we have not even developed a 4.5 gen fighter how can we even think of 6th Gen. So, here is the opinion that :
How can we develop a 6th Gen Fighter ?
- Invest more into our own existing capability
- Focus more on involving local private players to contribute at development stage
- Acquisitions of foreign technology companies to boost capabilities.
- Tie up with international organizations/governments that are already involved. E.g: Russia (MIG-41 , Sukhoi S-70) , UK/Sweden/Italy (Tempest) , French /German (FCAS).
We do understand that there will be complexities and difficulties and there are people in government who understand things better than us. But, some significant policy changes and focused push by government can help to achieve this.