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PostPosted: 01 Sep 2014 16:06 
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We have individual threads for discussion of FGFA, AMCA, LCA, MMRCA, but we do not have a thread to discuss all of them together.

The idea for this thread came about when I thought that cancelling the AMCA program, which is the most nascent one in favor of the FGFA program would be a good idea, since we are already spending on the MMRCA, the LCA, and the FGFA amongst other platforms.

Somebody said that cancelling it would be like forgoing all development after the Marut, after the LCA - which is a fair point.

There is a lot of talk about cancelling the Rafale as the MMRCA, and getting the JSF, which is also a good idea according to many quarters, given the expense vs. capability graph of the Rafale.

I personally think, that cancelling the MMRCA, and spending on the LCA, and the AMCA programs is a good idea. I dont see the value that the MMRCA brings to the table, and find that the LCA can do a good enough job. Given enough funds for its development, it will develop into a good , late stage F 16 equivalent, which is a great MMRCA role aircraft.

Remember that the original MMRCA was the M2000, specs of which have been surpassed by the LCA some time back.

All of this begets the question, what do we spend on? Which programs are useful, and which ones useless?

Will the MMRCA, kill the LCA and the AMCA programs, both?

Will the FGFA?

What are the thoughts and plans on developing UAVs like the neuron and the other American stealthy birds?

Seniors please comment. The topic is open for discussion.


Last edited by mahadevbhu on 01 Sep 2014 17:20, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: 01 Sep 2014 16:58 
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BRFite

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Whats a 6th gen UAV?


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PostPosted: 01 Sep 2014 17:20 
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BRFite

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you got me there.

In my perception, a lot of future combat engagements will be uav based. Thats whats been termed as 6th gen.


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PostPosted: 01 Sep 2014 17:41 
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BRFite

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Kill Rafale. Spend money saved on Kaveri engine development, more PAKFA, more AMCA and DRDO Aura. We don't have enough money for all these simultaneous programs, and the AMCA can replace the Rafale. It doesn't make sense to have two aircraft that do the exact same thing. The high end is taken care of by the PAKFA and Su-30 MKIs. The low end belongs to Tejas. It's not fiscally safe to have too many competing programs.


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PostPosted: 01 Sep 2014 17:49 
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mahadevbhu wrote:
you got me there.

In my perception, a lot of future combat engagements will be uav based. Thats whats been termed as 6th gen.


Generational shift in UAV's and UCAV would be very interesting to formalize but i seriously doubt any established method is prevalent in the industry atm. Future engagements will depend upon a host of factors. The USN just recently said that they cannot project a stealthy UCAV over an A2AD battlefield (such as in the pacific) and expect to be survivable. The technology simply does not exist and is not likely to exist that can take an artificial intelligence powered UAV/UCAV and put it in a high radar, threat jamming environment where things like RF and GPS are denied. A2AD survivable in that sense is the ability to go out, be survivable and execute a mission without the aid of data links, GPS or satcom. Optionally manned assets and an inherent AI to support the pilot is what the USAF and USN are looking at form their 6th generation fighters. An Avenger may be a very effective UCAV but its not survivable in an A2AD threat with the capabilities mentioned above. Same problems would have to be overcome for the UCLASS or any other project. For some operators these tradeoffs need not be made. A predator or an avenger is a perfectly good UCAV if your enemy has no means of shooting it down. Similarly a stealthy UCAV is excellent if your primary threat is the FCR and tracking radars on the grounds. A well equipped enemy however, will not show up with a legacy mindset or the classic air defense architecture. His RF, EW, and cyber elements will be integrated at all levels.

From a manned-unmanned teaming pov there is little to doubt that this would not happen with existing 5th generation aircraft flying around the world. We are at a very early point of standardization of sensors and LOS data links and when this fully happens full teaming would be possible since 5th generation aircraft have the computing power to handle this. You will also begin to see the Manned-manned and manned-unmanned teaming virtually eliminate the requirement of a 2 crew aircraft for complicated missions such as EW (EA-18G etc). An absolute requirement emerging for 6th generation is that of DEW's and expect anything flying in 2035 time frame to be armed for DEW's (2 programs of note here -the ABC program and Hellads)


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PostPosted: 01 Sep 2014 18:26 
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BRFite -Trainee

Joined: 14 Jun 2014 14:34
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Kill MMRCA, M2K upgrade and Fasttrack AMCA based on ASR (.. and ASR alone), Develop Incubation for 5th gen technlogies like Data Fusion, Sensors etc.
Set up platforms for UCAV deepstrike missions like dedicated comm sats and Increase intelligence in ELINT and SIGINT..
Increase defence expenditure and fund HAL/UAC Transport Aircraft..
Make a fuel tanker variant, AWECS/AWACS variant..
Fast track LUH/LOH


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PostPosted: 01 Sep 2014 18:51 
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BRFite

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for speeding up AMCA, AURA, PAK - FA etc, below is the current status . Now based on these please enlighten me with the most optimistic timeline for induction for the three :

AMCA :
Quote:
Avinash Chander: AMCA is going to be a fifth plus generation aircraft. Once again, the design is getting completed. And we are making a detailed feasibility study which has to get accepted. Broad parameters and configuration have been generally agreed upon. We are looking to complete this part within a year or two and then move further.


AURA
Quote:
Saurav Jha: When will we see a prototype of the UCAV? Will we see it by 2017 or so?

Avinash Chander: I don't think it will come that fast. Aircraft prototyping the typical cycle is 5-6 years. But we are working on it.


PAK FA
Quote:
In May 2012, the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced a two-year delay in the project's development. The Defense Minister A K Antony had said that the FGFA would join the Indian Air Force by 2017. However, his deputy, M M Pallam Raju, told the Parliament that the fifth generation aircraft is scheduled to be certified by 2019, following which the series production will start.

Russia later admitted to huge delays and cost overruns in the project.[35] The first prototype delivery has been delayed by one or two years. The contract is not be finalized before 2015

Aug-2014 : "We have completed the front end engineering design stage," he said. "The work on the preparation of the contract on the FGFA full-scale development is now in progress," he added.


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PostPosted: 01 Sep 2014 21:21 
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Scrap MRCA and concentrate on LCA. Similarly concentrate on AMCA and scrap PAKFA. Order additional Su-30MKI in the interim.


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PostPosted: 02 Sep 2014 19:24 
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BRFite

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Dhiraj, let's say that a certain job has not been completed.

one can either go on to say that it has not been completed so we will be discouraged.

or

we will pour money blood sinew and will complete it.

I prefer the latter.


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PostPosted: 07 Sep 2014 17:16 
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Speed of completion is proportional to resources invested. Take the $20 billion from the Rafale, and spend it on PAKFA, Aura and MCA and watch all three progress 10x as fast. Money, as in every sphere of human life, makes a huge difference.
For the PAKFA, more money = more prototypes and more aggressive schedule, more gizmos, more everything.
AURA needs a lot of money for the engine, and supercomputing resources that can be shared with the AMCA. Weapons, sensors and engines can be shared between both projects and also to some degree with the PAKFA.

AURA and MCA are not fully independent projects. Speed up one, and the other benefits.


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PostPosted: 07 Sep 2014 20:48 
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BRFite -Trainee

Joined: 27 Jul 2014 20:27
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let 1st LCA come in numbers with an Indian engine and radar. let HAL come up with a trainer. let a new aircraft manufacturing entity come up. you speak of AURA aare let RUSTAM fly first .
if you pump money at 20x speed it still wont fulfill those listed above at 10x speed. and i dont understand this notion, that rafael is eating every indigenious pie , the deal is yet to be signed and if it is signed , the money will be give in installments that too i guess in 10 years.


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PostPosted: 07 Sep 2014 20:57 
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We are setting priorites or long term goals for IAF by citing UCAV and MCA ? The main priority for IAF is to arrest its dwindling squadrons.


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PostPosted: 07 Sep 2014 21:14 
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First India needs to develop a capabulity to produce at least 60 AC per year. I do not care if they are Jaguars, LCAs or Mki. If we need to have 40 plus Sq then building 60 AC on year on year is a must. Creat that Tech, matirials, men, buildings etc infrastructure for production of all the basic things needed to produce an AC from raw material. It may cost huge money but the capabilities attained will result in solving most of the problems. Make Jaguars even Mig 21s if nothings else from raw material. 60 AC of LCA per year will at least provide serious protect in the west side and free top end ACs like MKIs for north side.


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PostPosted: 08 Sep 2014 02:46 
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1. Privatize 51% or more of HAL to an Indian company like Tata. Put back the money from sale into expanding production lines and setting up an effective supply chain
2. Cancel MMRCA, focus on LCA Mk1 production line with Astra and Sudarshan.
3. Focus on LCA Mk2
4. Get Aakash batteries deployed
5. Get up to 18 drdo awacs and more refuel less


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PostPosted: 08 Sep 2014 09:23 
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BRFite

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saurabh.mhapsekar wrote:
1. Privatize 51% or more of HAL to an Indian company like Tata. Put back the money from sale into expanding production lines and setting up an effective supply chain
2. Cancel MMRCA, focus on LCA Mk1 production line with Astra and Sudarshan.
3. Focus on LCA Mk2
4. Get Aakash batteries deployed
5. Get up to 18 drdo awacs and more refuel less


So, you want this to better spend Indian money. How will you better defend (actually not defend but flex military muscles) India with this kind of arrangement. I am sure a platform like AWACS, 18 in nos. will be needed to support a force structure of some size, comprising of x fighters, y helicopters, z transporters, m missiles, n radars, etc. Astra and Sudershan will replace imported missiles, LCA Mk 1 & Mk 2 will replace imported aircraft but 18 AWACS - why?

I think Aakash batteries are already getting deployed.

More importantly, what this thread does not talk of are IAF helicopters. Why does the IAF have so many helicopters when the IA is already operating helicopters big time and most of IAF helicopters are flying for IA? May be start from here and cut down the IAF's helicopter fleet and hand over mostly to IA. Then look at the IAF ORBAT and start culling / adding fighter sqns based on the assessed fighter capability. Once you have done that, then may be prioritize what to buy first.

And all this of course, must flow from National Objectives for the military, you agree?


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PostPosted: 09 Sep 2014 18:01 
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Can we not touch helicopters? We've already bitten off a lot more than we can probably chew. The MCA and Rafale don't make sense, because both do the same thing, being medium class fighters in the same category. If we are building the MCA, kill Rafale, and vice versa.

Two fighters enter, one fighter leaves. We have Tejas for low end, PAKFA for high. The Rafale is 20 billion dollars. The PAKFA is only 6 billion so far. With $20 billion, we can easily buy an awful lot. The opportunity cost is too much.

Killing the Rafale allows us to proceed with the MCA, the 5th Gen PAKFA and the DRDO AURA which obsoletes manned fighters for dropping bombs. The AURA is much better than the RAFALE for dropping bombs. PAKFA is better for air to air combat. Tejas is better for Pakistan. There is not one single mission that the Rafale can do that the alternatives are not better at.

The MCA is a good stopgap while we wait for AURA to be completed. I expect that program to be as hard and difficult as the B-2 program was for the US.


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PostPosted: 09 Sep 2014 18:12 
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the Rafale in all probability enter service with the IAF due to its technological quotient ..but in much smaller numbers .The MCA will also happen and looks like it will be funded well ..Quite possibly this arrangement will allow the Indian ancillary industries to evolve to a higher level of sophistication and create an ecosystem.


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PostPosted: 10 Sep 2014 00:11 
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BRFite

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deejay wrote:
So, you want this to better spend Indian money. How will you better defend (actually not defend but flex military muscles) India with this kind of arrangement. I am sure a platform like AWACS, 18 in nos. will be needed to support a force structure of some size, comprising of x fighters, y helicopters, z transporters, m missiles, n radars, etc. Astra and Sudershan will replace imported missiles, LCA Mk 1 & Mk 2 will replace imported aircraft but 18 AWACS - why?

Assuming a waretime scenario with Pak, we need 3 AWACS in air to cover Indo Pak border
E.g. 1 out of Amritsar, one out of Jaipur and one out of Mumbai
2 more to cover Indo China border on a defensive posture & a group flying out of A&N
These birds have 3000 km range, so with one refuel they can stay airborne for around 8 hours, hence we need 3 per location
I am assuming that we will have 3 Phalcons here, so we need 18 drdo awacs
LCA is meant to replace the older Migs, so that's 200 there already. Plus if we remove Rafale out of the picture and add 100 more. Plus 270 Su30, 60 Mig29, 50 Mirage, the later 2 expected to last be around 2040. We then have 150 or so FGFA with additional numbers replacing Mig29 and Mirage. That's more than enough air combat fighters to guard the AWACS.
deejay wrote:
I think Aakash batteries are already getting deployed.

Yes, my point is to make deploying more and more of their batteries, better versions of the missile a spending priority for IAF. A step towards having an integrated detection net, Satellites + AWACS + Ground Radar
deejay wrote:

More importantly, what this thread does not talk of are IAF helicopters. Why does the IAF have so many helicopters when the IA is already operating helicopters big time and most of IAF helicopters are flying for IA? May be start from here and cut down the IAF's helicopter fleet and hand over mostly to IA. Then look at the IAF ORBAT and start culling / adding fighter sqns based on the assessed fighter capability. Once you have done that, then may be prioritize what to buy first.

Agree ... all combat helos to IA. IAF can maintain its own transport helos.


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PostPosted: 10 Sep 2014 12:04 
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Joined: 26 Aug 2004 19:13
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I think we should look at the following:

1. Scrap the Rafale (or induct about 40 aircraft, if we feel we can't manage with more SU-30, LCA's, till the FGFA is inducted).
Use the money to fund the LCA and domestic helicopter programs. (both continued development and building assembly lines).
Then, in roughly the following order of priority induct:

2. At least 12 AWACS, complimented with Embraer's to act as EW aircraft and fills gaps in our AD network.
3. Replace the chetak and cheetah copters (I'm excluding copters that need to be with the army to support strike formations).
4. Drones - lots more of them.
5. More Air refuelling tankers.
6. Better Radar's & communication networks linked to more Akash batteries.
7. Develop alternate IAF bases to de-congest Srinagar, Agra, Pune & Bagdogra. The single biggest constraint to doubling tourism in
places like Kashmir, Agra and Sikkim is the very limited operating hours of the civil airports at these locations, as IAF activity
has to be accommodated. As an example, some aircraft based out of Agra can be stationed at Hindon AFS and Avantipur can be
used as a partial substitute to Srinagar.
Similarly, the Navy can operate from Goa rather than Karwar and in the Andaman's needs an additional airstrip to Port Blair.


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PostPosted: 10 Sep 2014 18:05 
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00) EngineS, engineS, engineS


0) Build out the LCA MKII and its variants

1) Best is to lease the Rafale from France, perhaps some of their newer ones
2) Failing which, buy from France, how many could be a topic of discussion
3) Stop purchases of Su-30MKI at 200
4) Buy the Russian version of the PAK-FA (customize it to the extent needed for the IAF) - some 100 at least
5) Make the AMCA the focus moving forward


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PostPosted: 10 Sep 2014 18:40 
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deejay wrote:
So, you want this to better spend Indian money. How will you better defend (actually not defend but flex military muscles) India with this kind of arrangement. I am sure a platform like AWACS, 18 in nos. will be needed to support a force structure of some size, comprising of x fighters, y helicopters, z transporters, m missiles, n radars, etc. Astra and Sudershan will replace imported missiles, LCA Mk 1 & Mk 2 will replace imported aircraft but 18 AWACS - why?

I think Aakash batteries are already getting deployed.

More importantly, what this thread does not talk of are IAF helicopters. Why does the IAF have so many helicopters when the IA is already operating helicopters big time and most of IAF helicopters are flying for IA? May be start from here and cut down the IAF's helicopter fleet and hand over mostly to IA. Then look at the IAF ORBAT and start culling / adding fighter sqns based on the assessed fighter capability. Once you have done that, then may be prioritize what to buy first.

And all this of course, must flow from National Objectives for the military, you agree?

With you on that, I feel that the Apaches and LCH's are better suited for Army, better yet give them a few LCA's ..
Regarding ACM Brownes comment that he wont let mini airforces pop up throughout, I feel it is better as we dont yet have a strategic theatre plan...
A restructuring of this scale would end up freeing some money for the IAF for buying fancier toys..


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PostPosted: 10 Sep 2014 22:53 
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BRFite

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First thing first, kill apaches for IAF(and army) and purchase additional chinooks with that same amount of money. It is the additional logistics capacity that will save our idli-dosa many times over in every front than the mighty tank busting top dog of the plain land(mostly).


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PostPosted: 11 Sep 2014 09:42 
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^^^ I would think of Apache more in terms of bursting ground based targets like radar, first penetration and CAS for SF troops and ops like MPDR bursting. Proper tank on helicopter duels may not be the prime reason for using either Apache or LCH but armed escort to Helicopter insertion teams across the border and first strikes behind enemy lines will be the most important role.

IMO, the attack helicopters present more attacking options than defensive (such as defense against tanks). We have a good heli lift capability with the Mi-17 family machines, the Dhruv and the Chetak / Cheetah / LUH. The Heavy heli lift with Chinooks will again be a more specialised thing in times of war and large scale heli lift capability should be developed only over time once the usage and need are well understood.

Helicopters are costlier to operate for similar powered engines, they are also multi crew, hence man power intensive. They will consume more fuel and consume more spares because of the rotary parts. Let us be careful with the Chinooks and excessive heavies in our inventory. For the moment 15 Chinooks are a big jump from 04 Mi 26's.


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PostPosted: 11 Sep 2014 19:52 
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deejayji,

While 15 Chinooks are a big jump from 04 Mi 26's, we have the entire Himalayan range to cover; that will be really hard pressed to service using fixed wing aircraft given the weather condition.

Due to higher all up weight of Chinooks, it can take oversize/overweight cargoes that are not possible by mi-17 family, hence more the merrier and still a drop in the ocean in terms of requirement, IMVHO.

While your points on the usefulness of Apache are valid no doubt
a. till now IAF/IA do not have much capability on those fronts by the existing heavy i.e. Hind
b. LCH will be able to do a subset of those operations albeit with lower efficiency(compared to Apache but not compared to Hind).

So, if we replace Hind with LCH, we will not loose much in terms of capability (will not gain much either admittedly) but will have a home grown solution completely in our control and we can take them in numbers, and quantity has its own quality. And LCH will be able to operate in high altitude where no Apache or Hind will venture.

IOW, more chinooks and more LCH for the same money, both more versatile in terms of deployment, total win win.

All this assuming LCH shapes up nice on time.


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PostPosted: 11 Sep 2014 21:14 
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deejay wrote:
^^^ I would think of Apache more in terms of bursting ground based targets like radar, first penetration and CAS for SF troops and ops like MPDR bursting. Proper tank on helicopter duels may not be the prime reason for using either Apache or LCH but armed escort to Helicopter insertion teams across the border and first strikes behind enemy lines will be the most important role.
How plausible are these scenarios in an environment where the enemy has AWACS, MANPADS etc?


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PostPosted: 11 Sep 2014 21:41 
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BRFite

Joined: 04 May 2013 09:05
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Location: Strong Defense needs 500 LCA MK I, 500 LCA MK II, 1000 Arjuns I+II, 2000 Dhanush+Kalyani, 500 LCH
Is their a reliable source for IAF budget, expenses and so on.... Also, budgeted yearly payments for all of its imported gear for next ten years and so on.

Basically want to get to 'true' available capital for acquisitions, which I feel is going to be meager given that it has to keep so many aircraft types in flying condition.


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PostPosted: 11 Sep 2014 23:03 
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abhik wrote:
deejay wrote:
^^^ I would think of Apache more in terms of bursting ground based targets like radar, first penetration and CAS for SF troops and ops like MPDR bursting. Proper tank on helicopter duels may not be the prime reason for using either Apache or LCH but armed escort to Helicopter insertion teams across the border and first strikes behind enemy lines will be the most important role.
How plausible are these scenarios in an environment where the enemy has AWACS, MANPADS etc?


OT but sending helos against a well armed, dug in, enemy is sheer stupidity. You've got to make the enemy cower and or scatter and that takes combined arms such as arty and CAS backed up by tanks and infantry. Once they are cowering or scattering then the helos can chase the departing enemy elements of armored vehicles, support equipment, infantry squads, comm, etc. The helos becomes the eyes and ears of the advancing tanks striking fear into the enemy's heart and infrastructure with 25mm chain guns and hellfire missiles. It all works, it really does, you just have to use good stewardship of your resources.


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PostPosted: 12 Sep 2014 09:28 
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TSJones wrote:
abhik wrote:
How plausible are these scenarios in an environment where the enemy has AWACS, MANPADS etc?


OT but sending helos against a well armed, dug in, enemy is sheer stupidity. You've got to make the enemy cower and or scatter and that takes combined arms such as arty and CAS backed up by tanks and infantry. Once they are cowering or scattering then the helos can chase the departing enemy elements of armored vehicles, support equipment, infantry squads, comm, etc. The helos becomes the eyes and ears of the advancing tanks striking fear into the enemy's heart and infrastructure with 25mm chain guns and hellfire missiles. It all works, it really does, you just have to use good stewardship of your resources.


I will desist from adding anything further here, but suffice to say evolutionary capabilities can take away or reduce this role play for the helicopters. However, on our western front we know precisely what we have to go after, what we need to destroy and what we need to capture intact. Their VA's and VP's (Vital Area's and Vital Point's) are well studied. These plans are synergised for Strike Corps advances.

Those doubting safety of helos are right but the importance of these VA's VP's make any risk acceptable. Even without AWACS helicopters would be lucky to go undetected. MANPADs, small arms fire, the risks are huge and are well known.


Last edited by deejay on 12 Sep 2014 09:38, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: 12 Sep 2014 09:37 
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Picklu Ji, for a moment let us consider where the Chinooks have to land. Most helipads on the Himalayan terrain are not even fit for MI-17's. Chinooks and Mi-26's rarely find enough space.

Wherever, we have enough landing space, we also have ALG's for AN 32's and now C130's. Hence the load advantage of Chinook is lost to the fixed wing because of lower operating costs.

The trouble with helipads is not just the size of Helipad but also clear approaches, winds, temperatures and altitude of helipads. So, let us induct these Chinooks, slowly develop the infrastructure for these big birds, get the agencies to work as per load requirements of the Chinook and then buy more. What we conveniently forget is that the bigger the bird the more challenging its loading. While it is easier at big airfields, loading stuff at forward airfields can be fairly challenging. At remote helipads you may imagine loading a full Chinook.

You also have to factor in that most sorties will not be used to move men but loads.


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