I think the problem with the MII is that the government is demanding both indigenization and cutting edge technology at the same time. I mean a project like AMCA still seems a tad far-fetched given the maturity of our defence industry. Honestly, we might have been better off partnering with an established manufacturer, although who I don't know. Maybe the French could have helped us. It's like we're trying to go from 20 to a 100 in one go which might lead to TEDBF and AMCA being quite late to the game given our history of delays. I mean Western nations and maybe even China will be rolling out sixth-gen prototypes by the time we're done completing AMCA.Too early to say. But we are headed in the right direction. Our R&D expenditure is too low, but the focus has shifted to indigenization now.
Plus there have been mass supersessions within DRDO since Modi came in. Younger scientists have been given promotions over their senior counterparts. That's playing a significant part in accelerating development. When promotions are not guaranteed based on seniority, accountability has increased. Promoting scientists based on merit is what's necessary. So now directors cannot delay projects in order to push their tenures beyond their retirement age.
HAL has done a great job with the LCH Prachand but that came after a couple of decades of designing and manufacturing helicopters. They set realistic goals and made iterative improvements. Even the latest models of the LCH have small design improvements compared to a couple of years ago if I'm not wrong. I noticed newer dust covers and different antennae placement. The rear wings were changed a little earlier and the aerofoil over the rear wheel was added. Overall, the airframe is a lot cleaner and I'm sure there were a lot of trial and error improvements made on the cockpit and user interface.
This is why IN shines through in comparison to IAF and IA. Our boats might not be fully indigenous but we took help from our partners. Israel with Barak 8 and MF-STAR. Made incremental improvements to stealth, sometimes even between ships of the same class. Another example of an Indian organisation doing thngs this way is Indian Railways and associated factories. The Vande Bharat just came out, I believe around 300-400 will be built and then comes Mk2 and a Mk3 is reportedly planned to be built predominantly out of aluminium. It's not that government sponsored manufacturers don't make solid products, it's just that there are only a handful of them. We can definitely make decent hardware even if it's not as falshy as say similar stuff from China, Germany, France, Japan, The United States etc., but that's totally understandable given our limited budgets/resources.