And these smart whiz kids need to sit away from all the noise, unencumbered by any organizational biases, etc. In short, an independent analysis of our national capabilities. Call it a 'National Commission for the Analysis of Technical Capabilities' (a very Soviet sounding name) - a group of people who can look at everything that we have - the quality and content of our engineering education, skills and capabilities of our PhDs (local and those coming back from abroad), develop a national database of key individuals who have experience in these areas e.g. some university professors who have worked at NESCOM, KRL, etc, explore avenues for international collaborations, hunt for locally available laboratories and high tech equipment, analyze the capabilities of local industry (SMEs, SOEs and other private sector orgs) which may help in projects of national importance (cue NGFA, SLV, etc). All of this data can provide a true picture of our capabilities and help policymakers set realizable goals for the short, medium and long terms.
The NGFA is an umbrella project and provides an excellent opportunity to develop key infrastructure, capabilities as well as critical inputs or atleast the capability to develop them. We must be training engineers in specific focus areas which will build up capability for the future.
Jingoistic and 'compartmental-istic' tendencies will see to it that any capacity that the Erieye resurrection did build will be ultimately wasted. It was good for PR though, when presented on the Mujahideen-e-Aflak show.
Agreed. No arguments there.
I probably suffer from a 'Go big or go home' problem, hence the lofty ideals
Whatever we choose to focus on - big ideals or small, basic problems - the issue remains the same: a severe shortage of people who have the ability to zoom into grand visions and see how they will be implemented on the ground. We need strategists and tacticians, not for battle, but to catalyze change within our defence R&D sphere. Sohail Aman had a dream - good for him - what we need are people who can translate that dream into the nuts and bolts, who can draw up a solid plan for how that grand dream will be implemented on the ground in a country without basic high tech infrastructure, without govt backing of any such ventures, with extreme corruption, an extremely underdeveloped work ethic and an overall national level ethos of rent-seeking, taking shortcuts, making easy money and not going the extra mile.
With that said, I don't know how we can have people like Gene Kranz or George Mueller. But we can take some steps in that direction. I have tried to explain the details below.
Pakistan's top engineering universities (most of them) have DIRECT ties with the military establishment. What is stopping them from keeping a list of the brightest and most genius students that study there or have studied there? Sure enough, this would require some amount of active engagement, some provision of extra benefits, etc but it can be done. Conduct specially designed tests (IQ, EQ, 'engineer-like qualities ', leadership, etc - just a bunch of stuff that psychologists, educationists and some world-class researchers can come up with). Conduct multiple interview rounds - find out what these kids want in life: their vision, their attitude to life, their approach to problems, what drives them, etc etc. Weed out those who don't fit the bill at each stage.
Provide targeted financial support to the ones that are left after all of the above while they are in college and once they graduate, offer them something like a commission in the armed forces. Some would accept, some would not (write them off as investments in the youth).
In the background, use diplomacy to secure slots for these young engineers in Turkey, China and other friendly countries - the UAE and perhaps maybe Italy. Selling this idea to these countries will require some serious work by the govt. Some creative benefits plan for these engineers can be worked out in which the host countries do not have to shoulder the burden of hosting these engineers. In a few years (say 4-5), these engineers will start coming back, having worked on the JF-17 in Chengdu or on the T129 in Turkey in specific, focused areas. They will have gained very valuable experience. Once they are back, the buildings and facilities are waiting to receive them. New institutions must be set up for them, with specific mandates and assured funding and administrative autonomy. In short, these engineers must come back to provide the first generation of leaders for a nationally sanctioned program to develop next generation warfare capabilities for the armed forces - exactly how the nuclear program was managed in Bhutto's era.
Several cycles of this activity can be run, i.e. send engineers abroad every year (wherever they can get the opportunity to work on relevant areas) and have them work and study abroad for a certain number of years. Wthin a decade or so, an entire cadre of skilled personnel will have been formed.
The key problem is that Azm is essentially a PAF project, it has not been declared as a national project, like the nuclear program was. Govts are too stupid and lack capacity to understand the significance of Azm and as such, there is no political ownership. Also, since it is an internal PAF thing and lacks transparency, the PAF can not be held accountable by anyone in the case that Azm doesn't work out.
If the govt was actually overseeing and directly funding this project, then specific deliverables would have been agreed upon and specific technical targets would need to have been met at certain intervals. In this environment, the PAF would have felt the need to step up its game and find creative ways to deliver (by collaborating with private sector, etc etc). Right now, it is just another project among the multitudes of projects vying for a chunk out of the PAF's own budget and just a step away from being axed due to changing priorities or the lack of vision by any future Air Chief. Indeed, if Azm gets stuck at some point and remains so for some time then that could give a good excuse to a future CAS to quietly kill the project. This is usually what happens in Pakistan.
JF-17 was not designed and built by Pakistan. We just made a User Requirement Document and sent it to China along with some engineers who watched over the shoulders of their Chinese counterparts as the aircraft took shape. These engineers pointed out things which didn't match the requirements of the PAF and told the Chinese 'how it should be' and the Chinese went ahead and did it that way. Some engineers did take part in the actual work - software development, design, simulation, manufacturing and testing but when seen as part of the overall effort, their role comes out to be low and certainly not enough to help us in the NGFA. Besides, the JF-17 was developed nearly a generation ago - the PMO and the engineering personnel have mostly moved on.
We're not pulling stories out of the ground. We have real info, provided to respected PDF members, which shows us that Azm has a serious risk of failing because the people behind it do not have the requisite experience for it. Its that simple.
I have not heard of the Air Cdr, but have read similar things in articles written by Dr AQ Khan. He wrote that early in the 1980s, around 60-70% of the salary of each KRL employee was converted to a tax-free 'project allowance' courtesy of GIK who was a Federal Secretary and on the controlling board for KRL. AQ Khan also mentions a daily shuttle service from Kahuta to Rwp to take the children of KRL employees to their schools/colleges/universities. These may sound like very trivial things to some, but these tiny conveniences provided by an organization to its employees build up morale tremendously.
Such morale and dedication can not be built by offering a contractual position to a fresh grad by taking advantage of his desperate need to find a job after graduation.
I am sorry bro but I know the architect of the jf17 program and I know what we did on this project and you are very very wrong to say Pakistan had little to no input in the design of the airframe. The modular design that allows jf17 evolution is a Pakistani concept for the Chinese industry. The aircraft was at all levels designed by Pakistan as much as China. We didn't have designer shortages but we had limited manufacturing base. That has now been developed to level where we can be independent to an extent...not 100%. Sadly we always think better of others and put our own achievements down. Anyways...you are entitled to your opinion and I respect that