A short take off and vertical landing version of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Is the F-35 the fighter that India needs?
My article in the Business Standard recommending that India scraps the MMRCA procurement and, instead, buys the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter has stirred up a firestorm.
On Broadsword, there are close on a hundred passionately argued responses, the majority of them arguing against the F-35.
Eurofighter GmbH is in damage control mode, with one of their most articulate and well-informed senior executives interacting in New Delhi yesterday with a string of journalists to send out the message that the Eurofighter would suit India's needs better than the F-35.
Meanwhile, exactly the same argument as Eurofighter's --- almost point by point --- has been received by Business Standard and printed in today's newspaper. Can't be from Eurofighter... after all, the letter is signed by one PR Rajgopal!
Clearly, there is much to be said and debated on this issue.
So far, I have only used the very limited platform of a 900-word column in the Business Standard to argue why I believe the F-35 is the best option for India. Since so many of you --- in my respectful, but considered, view --- have only half the argument, I will make out my full case on Broadsword. This will cover Indian military doctrinal issues, the realities of our deployment stance on the borders, the nature of our threat, and the competing claims of the F-35 versus the other MMRCA contenders. I hope to post the case this week.
Naturally, my argument will be informed by detailed discussions yesterday with Eurofighter and Lockheed Martin... and even more detailed discussions with military experts on China.
If the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force like, they can listen in.
Let the games begin...