'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Viv S
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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby Viv S » 27 Nov 2016 05:33

LM has recently been awarded a $1.2 bn contract to upgrade the SK jets with AESAs, EW systems, glass cockpits, HMS etc. Which averages out to about $7 mil per unit for the refurbishment. Plus maybe the cost of the AESA & EW system.

Even if we go by the BAE deal, cancelled on cost grounds, as a datum, $1.8 bn for 134 F-16s worked out to just $13.5 mil per unit. All in all, I'd say you could get a refurbished F-16 with 15 yrs shelf life for $30 mil or thereabouts, with some savvy negotiating.

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby Viv S » 27 Nov 2016 05:37

Seems the cost of the mission systems is included in the figure. Putting the unit cost of the upgrade at just under $9 mil each.

Lockheed Retakes Korean F-16 Upgrade Contract

WASHINGTON — Lockheed Martin and the South Korean government have cemented a $1.2 billion contract for F-16 upgrades, marking an official victory for Lockheed over previous contract-holder BAE Systems.

Under the terms of the foreign military sales agreement announced Friday, Lockheed will modernize 134 jets to a configuration similar to its advanced F-16V model. Among the upgrades planned to be funneled into the Korean jets are an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar; a modern commercial off-the-shelf-based avionics subsystem; a large-format, high-resolution center pedestal display; and a high-volume and high-speed data bus, the company said.

“We truly appreciate the trust and confidence the Republic of Korea has placed in us with this contract,” Susan Ouzts, vice president of Lockheed Martin’s F-16 program, said in a statement. “These upgrades are a critical piece of South Korea’s national defense and highlight Lockheed Martin’s commitment to the full lifecycle of the F-16, from production to through-life sustainment.”

With 25 countries operating more than 4,500 F-16s worldwide, Lockheed has turned modernization of the fighter into a lucrative line of business. However, in 2012, BAE beat Lockheed for an earlier contract to upgrade Korean KF-16s, the first time the original equipment manufacturer had ever lost an F-16 contract.

The relationship between the Korean government and BAE began to sour when — according to South Korean officials — the company and US government began to increase the size of the contract, Defense News previously reported. The US government reportedly added about $470 million in extra costs, while BAE Systems added another $280 million.

Although Lockheed did not directly comment on the importance of retaking the F-16 upgrade contract from BAE, the company made what could be seen as backhanded criticism of its competitor in its news release.

“As original equipment manufacturer and design authority of the F-16, Lockheed Martin is uniquely qualified to design, engineer, develop, integrate and sustain a complete F-16 weapons system solution tailored to customer requirements,” it stated.


P.S. Someone remind me how much we paid to upgrade our Mirages. :!:

Cain Marko
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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby Cain Marko » 27 Nov 2016 05:42

^ That is one comprehensive upgrade - are they upgrading early blk models or blk-50 plus? And would such an upgrade cost more if it were to be applied to an early blk f-16?
@ $ 30 million plus weapons, we may be looking at $ 50 million per unit. Around $ 5-6 billion for 6 sqds worth. Very worthwhile imho. Fast, diverse, and capable allowing the local industry to be nurtured and eventually to bloom with a totally Make In India product like the Tejas.

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby Cain Marko » 27 Nov 2016 05:47

brar_w wrote:[ The M2K's available are far better options.


I'd agree but these are not easily available unless India can source them from both the UAE and Qatar - and still, they'd be hard pressed to get more than 50 odd birds. Perhaps a few more from the Adla. The F-16 with its massive operator base otoh....seems more doable.

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby brar_w » 27 Nov 2016 06:03

Cain Marko wrote:^ That is one comprehensive upgrade - are they upgrading early blk models or blk-50 plus? And would such an upgrade cost more if it were to be applied to an early blk f-16?
@ $ 30 million plus weapons, we may be looking at $ 50 million per unit. Around $ 5-6 billion for 6 sqds worth. Very worthwhile imho. Fast, diverse, and capable allowing the local industry to be nurtured and eventually to bloom with a totally Make In India product like the Tejas.


The upgrades depend upon the state of the aircraft / frames being acquired, how much they need to be modernized and how much structural upgrade needs to happen to meet requirements. You may well end up spending $30-$40 Million for less than a third of the frame life assuming you can actually find aircraft to do so. It isn't an easy process or else someone would have lapped those aircraft up.

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby brar_w » 27 Nov 2016 06:10

Viv S wrote:LM has recently been awarded a $1.2 bn contract to upgrade the SK jets with AESAs, EW systems, glass cockpits, HMS etc. Which averages out to about $7 mil per unit for the refurbishment. Plus maybe the cost of the AESA & EW system.

Even if we go by the BAE deal, cancelled on cost grounds, as a datum, $1.8 bn for 134 F-16s worked out to just $13.5 mil per unit. All in all, I'd say you could get a refurbished F-16 with 15 yrs shelf life for $30 mil or thereabouts, with some savvy negotiating.


Assuming you can find 5-6 squadrons of F-16's out there with half of their designed airframe life still not utilized. The ROKAF deal with Bae only had an RWR so no EA component as has been pitched in advanced viper models and as the IAF is probably likely to demand. That will most likely need a structural upgrade depending upon the nature of the aircraft acquired to introduce these changes.

Same with the USAF effort to upgrade its ANG and other assets. The bill was around $1.7 Billion for 300 but involved essentially a new radar, an off the shelf processor, one new display (the centerline panel currently flying on the F-16V) and of the shelf EW solution and nothing remotely as fancy in terms of EA as the Sufa or the Desert Falcon. No HMD or IRST was included and the program assumed little in terms of new software development to mirror what was achieved on the Block 60, or envisioned for the U.

Getting a basic vanilla F-16 and adding this capability won't make it very different from an F-16V besides the significantly smaller airframe life. It will likely take time, and will also not last as long. It won't result in a bespoke variant with all the bells and whistles of the cutting edge fighter as was proposed to the IAF during the MRCA. Not sure such a variant will find approval from the IAF.

The Multi-Mode AN/APG-83 AESA costs approximately $3.2 Million if ordered in quantity (Only A2A mode costs $2.8 Million).
Last edited by brar_w on 27 Nov 2016 07:19, edited 2 times in total.

Cain Marko
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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby Cain Marko » 27 Nov 2016 07:02

brar_w wrote:
Cain Marko wrote:^ That is one comprehensive upgrade - are they upgrading early blk models or blk-50 plus? And would such an upgrade cost more if it were to be applied to an early blk f-16?
@ $ 30 million plus weapons, we may be looking at $ 50 million per unit. Around $ 5-6 billion for 6 sqds worth. Very worthwhile imho. Fast, diverse, and capable allowing the local industry to be nurtured and eventually to bloom with a totally Make In India product like the Tejas.


The upgrades depend upon the state of the aircraft / frames being acquired, how much they need to be modernized and how much structural upgrade needs to happen to meet requirements. You may well end up spending $30-$40 Million for less than a third of the frame life assuming you can actually find aircraft to do so. It isn't an easy process or else someone would have lapped those aircraft up.


Even 25% of an 8000 hour airframe will give the IAF a solid 10 years of service. LM was not too long ago speaking of getting airframe extensions to up to 12000 hours. So yes, these will not be spanking new frames with a new assembly line etc., but that is not their purpose - to serve for 50 years at a time when their performance is already one generation behind the latest and greatest, especially when an equally good homegrown product is soon to be available. The point is to get something non-russian, relevant and in service asap at a cheap enough cost as a stop gap purchase until other products come online.

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby brar_w » 27 Nov 2016 07:14

2000 hours over 10 years would mean 200 hours per year. Let's assume you can find five squadrons worth of aircraft out there (keep in mind the USAF has given up on CAPES modernization but not on airframe life extension) that are relatively lightly used and have on average 2000 hours of service life. Now, depending upon the state and block of those aircraft you will have to modernize them. Modernization can be an easy 'practical' upgrade as the USAF or as ROKAF wanted/want with majority of the systems being off the shelf, proven mid tier systems and a new radar, or they could be highly capable, CSWaP demanding, costly systems that are likely to significantly enhance the capability in an offensive and defensive construct. Think a simple USAF ANG upgrade vs buying F-16 SUFA's or Block 60/70's. There's a day night difference between the two particularly when it comes to survivability. You will need a life extension to push the aircraft to 12,000 unless you are so lucky as to find aircraft that can get 50% more life without requiring anything as such.

The end result will be significantly different from what the MRCA wanted and what the IAF is likely to demand. And on top of that, you want this quick. All I'd say is Good Luck :). Again, you could take low airframe-hours aircraft from the yard and see what you can do but I don't see this happening.

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby Cain Marko » 27 Nov 2016 07:19

The alternative seems to be - buy at a much slower pace at thrice the price and possibly at the cost of indigenous product. I'll try my luck :)

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby brar_w » 27 Nov 2016 07:54

The pace really depends upon the features being demanded. Keep in mind that only a fraction of the hundreds of fighters currently at the boneyard are block 25 or higher F-16's. I'd guess a vast majority of them are actually block 15. There's probably 100-150 block 25's and those would be the one's you'd want to bring these changes to as long as you don't get too fancy.

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby Cosmo_R » 28 Nov 2016 06:44

Indranil wrote:No sir. Please explain. To me, the F-16 line has to be set up again in India for it to produce anything!


Sorry I missed this earlier. But here's the short explanation on depreciated assets.

Lockheed moves existing (depreciated asset) to India.

XYZ sets up new (continues to have original line in home country) line in India. New everything zero depreciation. Start from scratch. Capex cost amortized on unit basis using greenfield calculation.

Setup costs are common to any alternative. Land, bribes to pols, construction.

TOOLING costs are fully depreciated.

Not a CA, using common sense.

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby Cain Marko » 28 Nov 2016 08:03

^ Let me guess here - what you are actually saying is that what does LM have to lose? Nothing - nobody is buying more F-16; the line along with all the hardware/tooling/jigs etc. will be summarily scrapped - no profits here. Otoh, move it to India even at very heavily subsidized cost - and there is all of a sudden much to gain. May be not super normal profits but profits nevertheless - something is better than nothing type of attitude.

Interesting perspective.

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby Aditya_V » 28 Nov 2016 10:28

LM will need at least 5 years before the various subcontractors etc are moved to produce and an existing F-16 from India, to manufacture thee Block 70 if will probably take about 2024 and then trying to ramp up production. In the process India or its Industries get nothing. We will be stuck with 4G aircraft till 2065 and hand over our testicles to the USA.

Far greater advances can be done by

1. Ramping up LCA MK1-1A production,LCA Navy and working on LCA MK2

2. Ordering a few More Mig 29's and MOG 29K in production

3. Ordering 40 more SU30MKI

4. Completing Darin 3 upgrades for 60 Jags

5. Ordering say 18 Rafale 5 years down the line

6. Having the AMCA team working hard to try and get it inducted by 2027-30

7. Working to start getting FGFA in production around 2025.

This is just a last minute Sales push by LM nothing more. it does not really benefit India or its industries.

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby Philip » 28 Nov 2016 12:19

In 5 years time we can produce with pressganging HAL<etc.,at least 80-100 LCAs.Building a few more Jaguar UG sqds for GA/Close support to replace the MIG-27 role easily attainable. Add more MKIs/SU-34s to the list and we don't need another type at all.

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby Manish_Sharma » 28 Nov 2016 13:35

How about "bartering" on manufacturing. That we buy 90 F-16 made in usa by LM. In return instead of manufacturing F-16 here the LM has to setup manufacturing a line of Tejas with 100% 'made in Bharat' line for 270 Tejas fighters. This way all those exotic alloys and imported parts also get manufactured here.

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby Philip » 28 Nov 2016 14:23

Still subject to blackmail."For the sake of the nail the shoe was lost...for the sake of the rider the battle was lost" .You get the picture.

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby srin » 28 Nov 2016 20:04

If the F16 line here creates a competitor to HAL *and* it doesn't burn through the IAF budget, I think I'm fine with it. I actually think it is a more sensible decision than the Rafale ...

The real question is: what is the problem that GoI is trying to solve ?
- Is it ToT ? No way
- Is it more airframes to arrest depleting strength of IAF ? Given the timelines being spoken about, that doesn't seem to be the case either.
- Is it a payoff for some other deal ? I don't think so either.

The only answer I can come up is that it wants to create a private player. Nothing else seems to come close. Thoughts ?

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby Cain Marko » 28 Nov 2016 22:34

srin wrote:If the F16 line here creates a competitor to HAL *and* it doesn't burn through the IAF budget, I think I'm fine with it. I actually think it is a more sensible decision than the Rafale ...

The real question is: what is the problem that GoI is trying to solve ?
- Is it ToT ? No way
- Is it more airframes to arrest depleting strength of IAF ? Given the timelines being spoken about, that doesn't seem to be the case either.
- Is it a payoff for some other deal ? I don't think so either.

The only answer I can come up is that it wants to create a private player. Nothing else seems to come close. Thoughts ?


The timelines need to consider that some F-16 at least (my guess would be around 1-2 sqd) can be directly delivered by LM by 2021-22 - the time needed to get the MK1A production ready. Take for example Iraqi orders for about 36 fighters in 2011-12, all to be delivered by 2017-18 about 5 years. And these were deliveries without any urgent fulfillment obligations, which LM might be able to achieve for India (perhaps even divert some Iraqi birds to India). These kind of numbers will certainly help. AFter that expect production to start in India.

Your conclusion that they are trying to create a private competitor to HAL is quite likely. Add to this other requirements/criteria such as the need for a non-russian, relatively inexpensive (single engined), reliable/proven fighter that can be delivered quickly.

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby Cain Marko » 28 Nov 2016 22:37

Philip wrote:Still subject to blackmail."For the sake of the nail the shoe was lost...for the sake of the rider the battle was lost" .You get the picture.


Considering that the entire Tejas inventory for both the IAF and IN is based on a US engine (not to mention acquisitions such as the P8i and the Apache), it is a bit too late now to be thinking of blackmail. I think we are well past these 20 year old considerations (rightly or wrongly).

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby Kartik » 29 Nov 2016 05:51

Update on the Gripen E test flight that has been delayed by 6 months, ostensibly by Saab's own choice. My gut feeling is that they're making something that doesn't sound good, sound better. First flight could have been achieved without having qualified the entire new software architecture, but simply by qualifying the flight critical software. They had, after all begun the qualification of the software soon after the rollout itself.

Posting the full article.

LONDON—Saab has decided to delay the first flight of its prototype JAS 39E Gripen aircraft in a bid to further mature the new federated software architecture being introduced on the aircraft.

The company had originally planned to fly the prototype, 39-8, by the end of the year, but has elected to push the window for the first flight into the second quarter of 2017.

The driver behind the delay is Saab’s strategic decision to qualify the software to a commercial standard known as DO-178C. The company says the decision is not one driven by customers or regulators, but it will provide confidence when customers want to upgrade the aircraft.


“They [customers] will be able to update, cost-effectively and quickly,” said Lars Ydreskog, Saab’s head of operations, speaking in London on Nov. 23.

“We are so confident in these new avionics system that it will take away any question marks over the software…and we will do it now before first flight.”

Saab claims the Gripen E’s new software—known as Distributed Integrated Modular Avionics (DIMA)—is a significant breakthrough because it separates the tactical capabilities of the mission system from the more sensitive flight critical software. Saab says this approach will allow operators to integrate new capabilities and new weaponry in a fraction of the time it currently takes on other fourth-generation, fly-by-wire fighters.

Saab began the job of verifying the software shortly after the rollout of the 39-8 aircraft and Ydreskog says it has shown high levels of stability, allowing it to be used as the baseline for future upgrades.

“By doing it thoroughly, it will create a robustness for the common future editions and that will remove any questions from this community about the robustness of the software and the systems,” he told journalists. “Through this standard we will get formal proof of what we already know.”

Since the rollout, Saab powered up the aircraft in August and carried out engine runs at the end of October.

Ydreskog said the short time between power-on and engine runs—roughly nine weeks—was partly a result of the software performance. Normally this would have been 10-18 months, “at least inside Saab,” he said.

The next step will be a series of high-speed taxi trials, although Ydreskog would not confirm the precise schedule.

The company says the program is still on track to achieve first deliveries in 2019. The second and third Gripen E prototypes, 39-9 and 39-10, are in assembly while the first aircraft for the Brazilian test effort also is being built.

The news emerges just a day after Saab and Embraer executives opened the Gripen Design and Development Network (GDDN) in Gavião Peixoto, Brazil. The facility will house the design and development teams for Brazil’s Gripen development effort, including the work to design the two-seat JAS 39F. The technology transfer program is divided into 60 key projects, lasting up to 24 months.

Saab also confirmed that it, along with the Swedish government, formally answered Finland’s Request for Information as Helsinki begins to study options to replace its fleet of F-18 Hornets.

Jerker Ahlqvist, head of the Gripen program at Saab, said the company was watching developments in a number of countries.

Discussions were underway between Stockholm and the African state of Botswana for 8-12 Gripens, while negotiations with Slovakia are more advanced. Colombia is expected to issue a request for proposals for a new fighter in the coming months, as are Belgium and Bulgaria. Saab plans to offer the Gripen E/F in Belgium and Colombia and the C/D model in Botswana, Bulgaria and Slovakia.

Sweden is currently planning to buy 60 single-seat Gripen models, while Brazil will purchase 36 aircraft, including eight two-seat models. Sweden’s Gripens will be entirely new airframes, but will make use of some components and systems recycled from the existing Gripen C/D fleet, including the aircraft’s auxiliary power unit and some on-board generators.

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby brar_w » 29 Nov 2016 06:05

I guess they must have also willingly added weight to the aircraft along the way. Perhaps to make it more "solid".

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby Cosmo_R » 29 Nov 2016 06:06

Cain Marko wrote:^ Let me guess here - what you are actually saying is that what does LM have to lose? Nothing - nobody is buying more F-16; the line along with all the hardware/tooling/jigs etc. will be summarily scrapped - no profits here. Otoh, move it to India even at very heavily subsidized cost - and there is all of a sudden much to gain. May be not super normal profits but profits nevertheless - something is better than nothing type of attitude.

Interesting perspective.


Yes. And that's what LM has said as much publicly. LM's bargain is "You need fighters quickly and you need an ecosystem. We can do both. just order 100 units and we'll even throw in exports (ac and parts) for the 4K+ base. "

Ten years ago, LM said (for the MMRCA contest) that it would pitch the F-16 (180 units) and would even buy them back to enable the IAF to transition to the F-35. The accountants at LM have since figured out that if they throw more biz to the F-16 existing suppliers by moving the line to India, they can squeeze them for more on the F-35. :) You have to admire the strategic thinking.

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby Indranil » 29 Nov 2016 11:50

Cosmo_R wrote:Yes. And that's what LM has said as much publicly. LM's bargain is "You need fighters quickly and you need an ecosystem. We can do both.

LOL

Cosmo_R wrote:just order 100 units and we'll even throw in exports (ac and parts) for the 4K+ base. "

Super LOL

Cosmo_R wrote:Ten years ago, LM said (for the MMRCA contest) that it would pitch the F-16 (180 units) and would even buy them back to enable the IAF to transition to the F-35.

Super-duper LOL

Cosmo_R wrote:The accountants at LM have since figured out that if they throw more biz to the F-16 existing suppliers by moving the line to India, they can squeeze them for more on the F-35. :) You have to admire the strategic thinking.

We Indians have not done much strategic thinking of our own with regards to developing our own defense industry. So indeed, we can't do anything else but admire.

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby JayS » 29 Nov 2016 11:56

Kartik wrote:Update on the Gripen E test flight that has been delayed by 6 months, ostensibly by Saab's own choice. My gut feeling is that they're making something that doesn't sound good, sound better. First flight could have been achieved without having qualified the entire new software architecture, but simply by qualifying the flight critical software. They had, after all begun the qualification of the software soon after the rollout itself.



Pure hogwash. Someone has to be born yesterday to believe SAAB pushed first flight for this reason. :lol: I would put my money on some serious unsolved issue causing the delay. By the time it gets resolved the SW team would qualify the SW for better maturity side-by-side. This SW thing is just a red-herring to sugar-coat the delay.
Last edited by JayS on 29 Nov 2016 11:59, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby Philip » 29 Nov 2016 11:58

Why I've consistently advocated a second LCA prototype flying with the EJ TVC engines. Buying another vintage US bird would make us even more vulnerable to blackmail!

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby JayS » 29 Nov 2016 12:04

Philip wrote:Why I've consistently advocated a second LCA prototype flying with the EJ TVC engines. Buying another vintage US bird would make us even more vulnerable to blackmail!


Not sure if EJ TVC is fully qualified to be put on a single engine jet. But its a good idea to put TVC (EJ or something else) on LCA and eliminate the V-tail making is even more stealthy. I had put forth this idea in LCA thread sometime back. A tail-less LCA MK2 with some more work on Wing-fuselage blending, RAM coating and good EW suite will be a nimble and kickass stealthy jet. Should be tried as a Tech demo project atleast.

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby Philip » 29 Nov 2016 12:14

Jay,what I said many moons ago that we could v.easily develop a cheap "stealthy" LCA based upon the tech indigenously developed thus far.This could be the first step before we embark upon the AMCA "bus". Also leveraging whatever stealth tech we are obtaining from the FGFA deal with Russia. Why not a single IAF brass hat or DRDO boffin hasn't speculated about his beats me.Incremental development has always been far more successful than revolutionary develeopment.case in current point,the JSF! US forces and allies are still using upgraded versions of the F-16s and F-18s since the JSF hasn't arrived on time,in a reliable and battleworthy condition and within budget.

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby JayS » 29 Nov 2016 14:31

Philip wrote:Jay,what I said many moons ago that we could v.easily develop a cheap "stealthy" LCA based upon the tech indigenously developed thus far.This could be the first step before we embark upon the AMCA "bus". Also leveraging whatever stealth tech we are obtaining from the FGFA deal with Russia. Why not a single IAF brass hat or DRDO boffin hasn't speculated about his beats me.Incremental development has always been far more successful than revolutionary develeopment.case in current point,the JSF! US forces and allies are still using upgraded versions of the F-16s and F-18s since the JSF hasn't arrived on time,in a reliable and battleworthy condition and within budget.


Agree 400%. But when we don't even have decent funding for regular bread and butter work, I don't have much hope for such "fancy Science projects". :( But unless we take up such projects we will always be playing catching up with others.

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby brar_w » 29 Nov 2016 16:15

JayS wrote:
Philip wrote:Why I've consistently advocated a second LCA prototype flying with the EJ TVC engines. Buying another vintage US bird would make us even more vulnerable to blackmail!


Not sure if EJ TVC is fully qualified to be put on a single engine jet. But its a good idea to put TVC (EJ or something else) on LCA and eliminate the V-tail making is even more stealthy. I had put forth this idea in LCA thread sometime back. A tail-less LCA MK2 with some more work on Wing-fuselage blending, RAM coating and good EW suite will be a nimble and kickass stealthy jet. Should be tried as a Tech demo project atleast.


The EJ with TVC hasn't even been flight tested on a twin and there is no clear program to fund one for the Typhoon. If TVC is a requirement on the LCA, ADA and/or HAL are probably better off designing a system in house with Russian help or seeking the AVEN from GE (which was offered on the F404 family to Sweden in the past). Integrating a new engine on a fighter is time consuming and an expensive process especially when the performance is not significantly better so as to justify doing it going forward.

Regarding radical modifications, I'd rather they push forward the AMCA since that clearly has a configuration and advanced features that have both an end user requirement in mind and plenty of learning opportunity for the design team. HAL should be laser focused on delivering on the current LCA order and along with ADA making sure the MK2 isn't delayed.

UAV's like Rustom and ultimately Aura also give you a great way of experimenting with newer configurations without the time and cost of using a more complex manned platform. I'm thinking X-47A, B and C configurations (C wasn't funded). Boeing did the same with the X-45 family. With unmanned you can introduce rapid prototyping at a lower cost and the nature of the aircraft allows more room to fail and learn.

Regarding SAAB - Of course it's a joke and I doubt anyone believes that it's better for the program. What most folks forget with SAAB is that they aren't really doing anything revolutionary here. The Gripen-E is going to be a very capable fighter but in terms of integration it is essentially offering what Northrop and Lockheed did with the block 60 F-16 last decade. An AESA, digital SSA EW/EA suite and IR sensors along with new computers and a software build. They are taking a long time doing it. The thing won't be fully operational till the middle of next decade and it also weighs more than initial estimates. A lot of risk was mitigated when they went with a less technical risky proposal, proven engine, and leveraged the radar from other european investments (SELEX)..They weren't looking to introduce radical design changes, LO design elements, weapon bays, or things like thrust vectoring. Its essentially a more modern Gripen (electronics) with larger room for fuel. But large aerospace projects take time and always come with a risk of delay. SAAB had that with the original Gripen, and now again with the Gripen-E. Par for the course!

A lot of SAAB's success has to be attributed to its relationship with its primary customer, and the fact that it along with the Swedish Air Force has mitigated risk during the requirements process. TVC didn't make the cut with the Gripen-C, and it missed it again with the E where it was seriously being considered. Same thing with other fifth generation features. They resisted high end electronic components on the C and pushed them out to the E. Things like IRST, Phased array (active or passive) radar and digital EW suits. They did not pursue a clean sheet Volvo engine but maintained their relationship with GE and built their aircraft around the 404/414 family. All these things make it a much less risky project than otherwise would have been, and to do this SAAB required active approval from Sweden. Sweden could have put restrictions on indigenous components, maintaining an indigenous capability in propulsion and other electronics but together they were able to mitigate risk, keep development costs down and not differ significantly from the planned schedule. Flip side being that it wasn't setting the world standard when it came to performance, and it doesn't do that with the E either. But to their credit, that was never their goal and having targets like that aren't sustainable for them...

Incremental development has always been far more successful than revolutionary develeopment.case in current point,the JSF! US forces and allies are still using upgraded versions of the F-16s and F-18s since the JSF hasn't arrived on time,in a reliable and battleworthy condition and within budget.


The US has moved back, cut short or outright canceled its plans to upgrade the F-16's. Partners and FMS customers are only upgrading those F-16's that are not going to be replaced with F-35's in the short or medium term. Israeil will be doing it to their I's that will be service till 2040 and South Korea to their F-16 fleet that is to be only replaced in the 2030's by the KF-X.
Last edited by brar_w on 30 Nov 2016 01:41, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby Rakesh » 29 Nov 2016 22:11

Indranil wrote:
Cosmo_R wrote:The accountants at LM have since figured out that if they throw more biz to the F-16 existing suppliers by moving the line to India, they can squeeze them for more on the F-35. :) You have to admire the strategic thinking.

We Indians have not done much strategic thinking of our own with regards to developing our own defense industry. So indeed, we can't do anything else but admire.

Good one Boss :)

We are banana-eating monkeys swinging through trees. We need Amreeka to teach us to spell S-t-r-a-t-e-g-i-c T-h-i-n-k-i-n-g.

Till that occurs, we will continue to admire from our trees.

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby Indranil » 29 Nov 2016 23:42

A finless LCA has been many people's desire. But, I don't think that it is an easy technological challenge to master. Till date, nobody has built an operational finless fighter. Trying a new engine with a new technology, well ....

In fact, I am going the other way :D . the CnBeta is limiting the AoA of LCA. Why are they not looking at adding ventral fins?

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby Cosmo_R » 30 Nov 2016 00:22

Final point the 'depreciation' bit. As Dassault was closing the M2K line, there were discreet inquiries about moving it to India. This was indirectly kaiboshed by the the two worthies in MoD who used the M2K-H vs. M2K-5 argument to scream 'single vendor' and got us into the MMRCA disaster. That was about 10 years ago. Imagine, what would have happened if we'd gone along with that. We'd be making M2K-10s without the R&D and on a depreciated tool set.

Oh well...

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby Marten » 30 Nov 2016 00:56

Cosmo, simple question because you probably do not work on finance/accounting for a living:
If the "tool set" was depreciated fully as you believe, why is the cost of the M2K upgrade so high> Should it not cost just opex + material input + margin?

Simple point being that there are literally thousands of vendors and suppliers and depreciation is applied to books; tools sets and jigs have a specific machine life and need to be maintained in a specific manner, with associated costs and regular spend. Please do not trivialize or simplify something because you do not grasp the enormity of the enterprise. Apologies if this post hurts you, but really, you ought not to be posting conjecture as fact.

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby Kartik » 30 Nov 2016 00:57

brar_w wrote:I guess they must have also willingly added weight to the aircraft along the way. Perhaps to make it more "solid".


lol..yes, well, it gives the customers more confidence to be able to take the Gripen E/NG to its envelope limits. :lol:

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby Cosmo_R » 30 Nov 2016 02:35

Marten wrote:Cosmo, simple question because you probably do not work on finance/accounting for a living:
If the "tool set" was depreciated fully as you believe, why is the cost of the M2K upgrade so high> Should it not cost just opex + material input + margin?


Simple answer: the M2K upgrade requires closed down facilities/lines to be opened up again and to use stashed away inventories of parts. Think of it this way: Mercedes can and will build you a 1965 600SL—it will cost you 4-5x a 2017 SL 600. Why? cost of inventory for parts, smaller run (1). Of course, it could also be the the Frenchies thought they had us over a barrel and will charge us whatever they want even if their tool set is fully depreciated.

Ten years ago, LM posited that the breakeven for MMRCA made in India was ~180 units. These day LM CEO says ~100 ac for MII. Where do you think the savings are coming from?

BTW, just so it's clear IMHO, this is a situation peculiar to LM. Because they want to move on to the F35. Boeing is talking 150+ for the F/A 18 MII because it will not be closing and moving its St Louis line to India and their total run so far is 1/6 of the F-16.

Ultimately, LM's internal accounting matters little to us. What matters is that the F-16 come in at a very competitive price/performance point, that they can deliver required quantities on time and that they progressively source locally at agreed upon rates of increase. That they can do this because they can engineer it financially is good on them. No?

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby Marten » 30 Nov 2016 03:19

The first part of your simple answer is wrong - the second part is right. They did have us over a barrel as will LM once they get their hands on the Supply chain. No reason for LM's breakeven to change from 180 to 100 other than greed being a factor. Even at this supposed competitive price performance, the real cost that the nation pays is self-reliance.

However, given our regular programming, it is inevitable that the native indigenous industry will die and be supplanted by another Coolie assembly operation that we will brandish about with great pride. What with so many of us being so proud that we have been deigned good b*stards to get on the sweet LM gravy train where everyone except the nation gains.

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby Cosmo_R » 30 Nov 2016 03:54

^^^How is the first part wrong again? Or should I presume the assertion is enough?

I find the 'coolie' part obnoxious. It is one of those adjectives bandied about by people who have no other way of expressing frustration at the world's refusal to go along with their view. Let me explain: about 15 years ago there was an 'eminent' educationist/scientist in BLR—the achar guzzling dyspeptic who used to pour bile on the 'IT coolies' doing the work of MNCs instead of sacrificing themselves to the cause (his) of the 'nation'. He did not see the objects of his scorn as human beings with lives to lead doing jobs that made it possible—merely pawns to be arranged in some sort grand scheme that he was privy to.

Even real coolies (as you call them) are humans and not deserving of the contempt you drip on them. Fair pay for an honest day's work is nothing to look down upon.

The whole idea of MII is jobs in manufacturing and lots of them. HAL/LCA have 120 orders and it will take then 10 years to deliver. The LM/Boeing/SAAB thingie is not going to impact HAL but it will help the IAF fill its gap. And it will create good jobs.

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby GShankar » 30 Nov 2016 04:16

I guess very soon there would be - "Make in America (great) again".

We may have an opportunity to again buy a few off-the-shelf items from massa and divert the savings to Kaveri, LCA (MK-I, II, etc.) and AMCA in that order.

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby Marten » 30 Nov 2016 11:31

Cosmo_R wrote:^^^How is the first part wrong again? Or should I presume the assertion is enough?

I find the 'coolie' part obnoxious. It is one of those adjectives bandied about by people who have no other way of expressing frustration at the world's refusal to go along with their view. Let me explain: about 15 years ago there was an 'eminent' educationist/scientist in BLR—the achar guzzling dyspeptic who used to pour bile on the 'IT coolies' doing the work of MNCs instead of sacrificing themselves to the cause (his) of the 'nation'. He did not see the objects of his scorn as human beings with lives to lead doing jobs that made it possible—merely pawns to be arranged in some sort grand scheme that he was privy to.

Even real coolies (as you call them) are humans and not deserving of the contempt you drip on them. Fair pay for an honest day's work is nothing to look down upon.

The whole idea of MII is jobs in manufacturing and lots of them. HAL/LCA have 120 orders and it will take then 10 years to deliver. The LM/Boeing/SAAB thingie is not going to impact HAL but it will help the IAF fill its gap. And it will create good jobs.

Your frustration at a phrase is not an issue in general. It is the same feeling one gets when folks start attributing magical abilities to foreign entities, including amazing financial abilities and super manufacturing non-wearing tooling. In any case, at least I am not dripping any contempt on our folks. At least not in the sense that you are! Assuming you are familiar with how folks call our IT industry IT coolies.

AFAIK, the M2K is flying in multiple air forces and the agreement to supply spares runs into multiple decades. Which means, your average vendor does have a "short run" every few years to ensure they are compliant with the supply contract. Let's not let small trivial matters like that affect your flight of fancy though.

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Re: 'Make in India' Single engined fighter

Postby Manish_Sharma » 02 Dec 2016 19:35



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