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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Interesting Readings 27 Feb 2018

One particularly weird thing I noticed today was the lack of reaction to the Xi Jinping constitutional amendment allowing him to become the defacto dictator of China. A few decades ago, I thought, US or Western nations would have made some noise about it. In fact I also tweeted about it in my reaction to FT story on the topic.

And soon enough I got to some other articles also voicing these very concerns.

My issue really is that any totalitarian regime is not good for the world. And particularly so in case of China which is on its way to become the leading power in the world. In a sense, the future world leadership is not democratic. That saddens my heart. It is possible that within this lie the roots of China's downfall. 

World War Watch
I have developed some respect for the Saab Gripen E fighter. It makes more strategic and economic sense than some other fighters. Gripen is a cluster fighter - it hunts in packs. It has lower per-sortie cost than most of the aircraft. Gripen also has beyond visual range fighting capability thanks to its superb radar.

There are shortcomings - for example, its max take-off weight is about 16000kgs, comparable for F-35 is 22000Kgs. But Gripen has better combat radius of 800nm v F35's 600nm.

The Dassault Rafale is a good aircraft too. So is Eurofighter Typhoon. But these aircrafts are more than 2X the price of Gripen E/F and a costlier to operate. Gripen is the cheapest to operate. 

Saab also is not able to find many buyers for its aircrafts. At present it has order of about 100 planes and it needs to find at least 200 more. It looks like promising bulk fighter for Indian Air Force along with Tejas. Indian Air Force inventory breadth is quite exhaustive. I hope they are maintaining some sensible plan. Girpen also looks to be good option for smaller nations.

Other Things I read
Mint has a story about Uncle Pai the creator of Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle. I loved reading Amar Chitra Katha books and I am at a stage where I will be getting a complete set for my child. I hope the new team can export these stories across the world.