LCA news and discussion

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Bharadwaj
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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby Bharadwaj » 13 May 2010 11:25

A Teji is screaming around today morning...

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby Vikram W » 13 May 2010 12:36

so guys is there an LSP - 4 on the way soon ?

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby sathyaC » 15 May 2010 13:26

Unmanned combat Tejas: Step forward or Backward?
http://idrw.org/?p=1668

History of Unmanned combat air vehicles can be traced back to 1960’s when US developed unmanned Helicopters which were capable of launching Torpedoes were deployed in US Naval Destroyers, since then lot of new technological changes and development of Nano technology with small amount of success in Artificial intelligent have forced many in Aviation circle to think head of time, in fact F-35 fighter aircraft is already called has “Last Manned Fighter Aircraft” to be inducted in US Forces.

Recently development of unmanned combat air vehicle based on Tejas combat aircraft has been a buzz in Indian media circle, DRDO wants to work on this concept 10 years down the line when R&D of Tejas MK-II is finished and it hits production. While the concept seems to be a really new and challenging but Defence forces around the world are not moving in that direction, Technology is not new and in past many fighter jets mostly for testing purpose have been flown remotely. But mostly these manned fighters where never turned into unmanned fighter aircrafts in large numbers due to limitations which Aircraft designers have already put into the airframe while developing them keep humans in mind.

Countries like United States, Israel and many in Europe and Asia are developing Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles (UCAV) based on Stealthier Airframe design and with high level of Artificial intelligence in them. Where these Combat air vehicles will be able to stay in air for longer time and complete their missions autonomously with little Human inputs. Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles (UCAV) will have better weapons payload, better range and better maneuverability since Human physical limits will not be a factor in aircrafts airframe design.

DRDO lately started development of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) which will be used for Reconnaissance, Target accusations and for spying activity which mostly will be remotely piloted Drones, but if DRDO wants to work on Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles (UCAV) 10 years down the line then they better shift their focus on new concept and design and work to develop a new Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles (UCAV) completely from start and not be based on an existing manned fighter. R&D can be based on a Tejas platform but it cannot be considered as a UCAV platform itself. Russian Mig Corporation has been working on Mig-skat concept of their Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles (UCAV) and china has already materialized some concepts of their UCAV which have been displayed in recently held Air shows in china.

DRDO and Indian Air force might have not Abandoned manned fighter aircrafts yet and are still going on and developing Manned 5th Generation fighter aircraft called AMCA but Indian air force can ill afford to ignore UCAV platforms for long time and small development on this concept should also initiated in India.

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby karan_mc » 15 May 2010 19:53

Chinese are using there old Drone J-7 for target practice ,and have quite impressive concept version of UCAV . Tejas been made into UCAV is not a great idea , may be if we can rope in Israeli or German we can develop a Stealthy UCAV which can play a vital role along with FGFA and AMCA .

Second Question which come is , is IAF wants a UCAV of Tejas ? i never read any official from iaf speaking on it

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby Rahul M » 15 May 2010 20:11

karan, do not go for IDRW's over-simplistic half-baked analysis. an UCAV based on LCA is nothing like the J-7 drones.
if executed well it will be a very valuable addition to the IAF.

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby Pratik_S » 15 May 2010 20:26

A more better UCAV would be a one designed like the Nighthawk powered by Kaveri. It need not be supersonic but it definitely needs to be stealthy and I don't how they can make it a LCA airframe stealthy. A non-stealth UCAV will not be a good investment. Meanwhile IAF hasn't said anything on UCAV's. (AFAIK)

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby Jagan » 15 May 2010 20:39

UCAVs should have endurance for loitering and long range flights. the LCA's airframe is not the ideal design.

Ofcourse the technologies that were deveoped for the LCA and others would be a great help in the new UCAV, but simply converting an existing LCA into an UCAV is plain laziness and not really a good idea.

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby karan_mc » 15 May 2010 21:10

i agree with Jagan sir here Tejas UCAV is uncalled for , i don't think IAF will be impressed by it when they will see EADS Barracuda or BAE Taranis in Aero India Expo some years from now , DRDO can start by arming some of UAV's they are working on and then work on Real UCAV

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby vasu_ray » 15 May 2010 21:23

The Su-30MKI has endurance and there are plans to 'totally own' the avionics on it and if an FBW with a UCAV profile is brought about you may have an answer

a precedent exists where the LCA's seed FBW was tested on a F-16

who knows the future might be

dual mode capable fighter aircraft (if the difference is in avionics only)

dedicated UCAVs

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby Jagan » 15 May 2010 21:41

vasu_ray wrote:The Su-30MKI has endurance and there are plans to 'totally own' the avionics on it and if an FBW with a UCAV profile is brought about you may have an answer

a precedent exists where the LCA's seed FBW was tested on a F-16

who knows the future might be

dual mode capable fighter aircraft (if the difference is in avionics only)

dedicated UCAVs

it helps to put a timeframe on this future - == 2020? 2030? 2050?

Will the LCA still be relevant in 2030, or would we have moved on to something else? Will a UCAV inducted in 2030 have any relation to he LCA airframe as of today? with its cranked delta wings or will it be a completely new redesign from ground up?

FBW in itself will not make a UCAV. You also need to have a reliable ground air control system in place, or an automated system that plans the TO, and landing as the global hawk does. Who is actually doing that now? will that be ready and tested in five years? ten years? when will it be integrated with the LCA? ADA has its hands full in just gettingthe Mk1 and maybe the Mk2 out the door into IAF service. so when will all this happen?

More importantly, why is it that only we are talking about an LCA UCAV? All other countries are talking about developing UCAVs from ground up. yes you will use the expertise developed in the LCA development but proposing the LCA as a UCAV is a stretch. If ADA is proposing that, then my money is on the proposal getting rejected.

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby sathyaC » 15 May 2010 21:44

cross posting
Engine Trouble may put Mig-27 for early retirement
http://idrw.org/?p=1666
Indian Air force is considering retiring major fleet of mig-27 by 2015, as per reports almost half the squadrons strength will be “stood down” by 2015 .Fatal accident which have taken place recently all has been attributed to defects of R-29 engines, initial air force investigation has found major flaw in fourth line at the overhaul stage which is done by Hindustan Aeronautics limited.

Poor serviceability and design defects had forced IAF to ground all Mig-27 Squadrons after a Squadron leader was killed in February crash, sudden loss of power in low pressure turbine blades of the aircraft was reason behind the crash.

Mig-27 along with Jaguar aircraft still forms a major chuck of Strike fleet of Indian Air force; recently around 40 aircrafts were upgraded to Darin-II standards which sport a new navigation-and-attack avionics package, electronic warfare suite developed by the state-owned Defence Research & Development Organisation.

Initially Darin-II upgrade package also included Engine upgrade, a single modern AL-31 Engine that powers the Su-30 MKI was supposed to power Mig-27, and a single Mig-27 from IAF fleet was integrated and successfully tested in Russia by MiG-MAPO group, the original manufacturers of the MiG series of aircraft with an AL-31 engine but for some reason the plan never materialized.

It might come has a boom to Tejas MK-1 Program since Air force might consider ordering more Tejas Mk-1 from the current order of 40 jets due to early retirement been given to Mig-27 , while air force will maintain other fleet of Mig-27 with it till end of 2020[/size]
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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby Rahul M » 15 May 2010 21:59

Jagan, you have to keep in mind the constraints India's aero sector works under, there are already a number of very demanding projects around, FGFA, LCA, NLCA, LCA Mk2 and the AMCA to name only the fixed wing fighter aircrafts. an UCAV based on LCA would allow people to develop an useful product at much smaller effort than a de novo UCAV design would entail.

secondly, this is not meant to be in the category of ultra-long range and loitering UCAVs like the globalhawk or predator, we have the MALE and HALE projects for those. those aircrafts have high aspect ratio wings and most are powered by props.

the closest analogue of LCA UCAV would be the JSF derived UCAV, http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/20 ... cover.html

the long range of some of the fighter-ish UCAVs like NEURON comes at the cost of very low payload, in reality these are little more than intercontinental bomb-trucks. if the unmanned LCA is tasked for such payloads, its range too will be nothing to sneer at. secondly, most likely the proposed ULCA will have the capability to be operated in co-op with manned LCA's, the tactical advantages of a 'relatively' expendable combat capable fighter operating in conjunction with manned ones are nothing less than tremendous.

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby NRao » 15 May 2010 22:27

sathyaC wrote:cross posting
Engine Trouble may put Mig-27 for early retirement
http://idrw.org/?p=1666
Indian Air force is considering retiring major fleet of mig-27 by 2015, as per reports almost half the squadrons strength will be “stood down” by 2015 .Fatal accident which have taken place recently all has been attributed to defects of R-29 engines, initial air force investigation has found major flaw in fourth line at the overhaul stage which is done by Hindustan Aeronautics limited.

..................................................

It might come has a boom to Tejas MK-1 Program since Air force might consider ordering more Tejas Mk-1 from the current order of 40 jets due to early retirement been given to Mig-27 , while air force will maintain other fleet of Mig-27 with it till end of 2020[/size]


IDRW needs to mature some more. This LCA "may come has a boon" is their own conjuncture (which by itself is fine), but not 'substantiable'. ???? I would not consider it a quotable item. Yet.

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby a_kumar » 15 May 2010 22:44

Question to gurus :

Currently DRDO has Nishant which is rail launched. Its still working on Rustom, which will be the first Indian UAV that can achieve conventional takeoff and landing on its own. Is this the largest hurdle on the path to UCAV? Because DRDO already achived some level of FBW and some remote conrolling capabilities.

In any case, I am wondering if using LCA as a testbed for controls/automation (necessary for a UCAV) would be a good next step. That might make LCA a mediocire UCAV that probably won't even go into production. But the point is DRDO can build capabilities on a stable platform (fewer variables) instead of a platform built from scratch which will come with its own unknowns.

India would have then learnt the critical aspects of making a UCAV and apply them to something built ground-up. Infact, the learning on LCA UCAV could even contribute to structural design of the new UCAV.

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby Jagan » 15 May 2010 22:49

Rahul M wrote:Jagan, you have to keep in mind the constraints India's aero sector works under, there are already a number of very demanding projects around, FGFA, LCA, NLCA, LCA Mk2 and the AMCA to name only the fixed wing fighter aircrafts. an UCAV based on LCA would allow people to develop an useful product at much smaller effort than a de novo UCAV design would entail.

secondly, this is not meant to be in the category of ultra-long range and loitering UCAVs like the globalhawk or predator, we have the MALE and HALE projects for those. those aircrafts have high aspect ratio wings and most are powered by props.

the closest analogue of LCA UCAV would be the JSF derived UCAV, http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/20 ... cover.html




First, for the development of (any) UCAV is concerned, what is the time frame you want this to be inducted ? who will be doing this work? HAL doesnt have the capacity, nor ADA. Are we going to create a new entity or add more people? If you want to pour money or add more people, There are several existing projects that are crying out for resources right now as many would point out.

It is very premature to talk about an LCA UCAV that takes off by itself, or that is controlled in the air by a mother ship, one that lands back at the airfield all by itself even before the actual LCA has even been inducted or operationalised or fully explored it flight envelope. Or even before a rustom type of HALE/MALE has seen adequate testing. Just scaling down the size of the LCA or just replicating the LCA doesnt make a UCAV. There is helluva lot of work to be done in devloping the radio control systems, the software that makes it a self piloting system. long way to go..

Rahul M wrote:the long range of some of the fighter-ish UCAVs like NEURON comes at the cost of very low payload, in reality these are little more than intercontinental bomb-trucks. if the unmanned LCA is tasked for such payloads, its range too will be nothing to sneer at


I looked up the Neuron. No one gave any references to the exact range - but there were references to its 'endurance' This is what Greg Goebel says on his site

The Neuron will be 9.3 meters (30 feet 6 inches) long and have a wingspan of 12.5 meters (41 feet), a maximum takeoff weight of 5 to 6.5 tonnes (11,000 to 14,300 pounds), a top speed of Mach 0.85 and an endurance of up to 12 hours. It will have a fly-by-wire control system; an electro-optic sensor system; a datalink; and two weapons bays, each capable of accommodating a Mark 82 900 kilogram (2,000 pound) bomb.


An endurance of 12 hours and a payload of 4000lbs in total! Thats awesome!

But I will say it right now, with the current fuselage and wing design, the tejas cannot achieve an endurance of 12 hours even with zero payload. I am not aircraft designer and am willilng to be corrected, but the wing design and fuselage is not designed for endurance/reasonble load like two bombs or anything. it is what it is - an interceptor that can be used for multiple roles.

That link about the JSF derived UCAV is interesting but note that it is still in the 'studies' stage. Long way to go for the americans. let alone us with our pending wish lists. Lets be realistic

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby Austin » 15 May 2010 23:07

Yes makes sense what Jagan is stating , its very premature to talk of UCAV LCA without the latter getting formal IOC in IAF. Not to mention all the organisation are too busy trying to deliver what was promised eons back and all this UCAV etc is just hot air.

Not sure if ADA or DRDO has some new joinee scientist on desk doing nothing better then eating peanuts they can be tasked with conceptual studies of UCAV, AMCA with tons of phoren mag at their disposal for inspiration.

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby JimmyJ » 15 May 2010 23:43

Just one doubt it may be naive but still.

What if like Shiv insist this is where India will differ and lead, a controlled Unmanned LCA capable of supersonic regime with payload equaling the current , with capability of a true fighter? I believe AI would be a field where India can dominate in the future at least, there are even Indian private companies experimenting with AI in robotics. That would be an Indian definition to UCAV. And imagine the potential of transferring the technology to the fifth generation fighters currently under development. Yes these are dreams, but then its dreams that we convert into reality via a mighty leap.

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby Rahul M » 15 May 2010 23:45

Jag, it is precisely because of our constraints in funding and manpower that an ULCA makes sense but not a de novo stealthy UCAV design. the timing of the project is also tied in with that, as you said it doesn't make sense when the vanilla LCA is itself not in the IAF. I wouldn't expect work on ULCA to start in earnest(if at all it does) until the Mk2 is done, that's 2017-18. but if it has to begin then, the studies and proposals have to start now, in order to account for slow moving babucracy.

the figure of 12 hours for NEURON is very very suspect, I would expect a range of around 2000km like the little larger mig skat and an endurance of around 2 hours. the LCA should come close although it will probably not be able to beat these modern UCAVs on all aspects, especially in stealth and internal weapons carriage, but it will still be quite useful and certainly cheaper.
First, for the development of (any) UCAV is concerned, what is the time frame you want this to be inducted ? who will be doing this work? HAL doesnt have the capacity, nor ADA. Are we going to create a new entity or add more people? If you want to pour money or add more people, There are several existing projects that are crying out for resources right now as many would point out.
I don't know why you think HAL/ADA won't do these projects, if ever we have a fighter-ish UCAV projects it will be spearheaded by these two orgs and supported by other public and pvt co's. for example one would expect that ADE would take a lead in developing ground control and automated landing/take-off systems etc.

stuff like automated landing are already being developed by ADE and the take-off part has been demonstrated recently. of course it will be more complex for faster aircraft but it's not like we are complete novices in this field either.

But I will say it right now, with the current fuselage and wing design, the tejas cannot achieve an endurance of 12 hours even with zero payload. I am not aircraft designer and am willilng to be corrected, but the wing design and fuselage is not designed for endurance/reasonble load like two bombs or anything. it is what it is - an interceptor that can be used for multiple roles.
even in that role it has the potential to strongly impact aerial warfare itself, a capability bomb-truck UCAVs don't have AFAIK. which is why I'm saying it's not correct to compare it with UCAVs like NEURON since it's not an exact apples vs apples comparison.

even a non-stealthy LCA that operates its radars ahead of the manned fighters, preferably from a different sector and can fire its A2A missiles on order by the pilot of the manned craft, has the potential to seriously disrupt an adversary's moves in BVR combat. this is a capability that is too good to pass up.

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby shiv » 16 May 2010 07:00

The reason you can have a small wind tunnel model to test an aircraft is because the shape defines the way the air flows around and through the aircraft. If you change the shape significantly, you will need to comprehensively re-test the way the air flows around the new shape.

An LCA based UAV is the same as a toy or wind tunnel model LCA made by engineers. As long as you maintain the shape of the LCA - all its aerodynamic characteristics are already well known and the flight control software for that aerodynamic configuration has already been written. We also have already developed software for an LCA with things hanging under its wings from pylons.

Remove the pilot. Put in sensors and make an unmanned LCA which is perhaps 60% of the LCA's size - built around a different engine that need not have the characteristics that a combat fighter needs. It need not even be unstable - like the Tejas. You will have a remarkably small and stealthy ULCA/UCAV.

But the same old problem remains. We already have everything in place fora UCAV. But no engine.

Apart from engine there is absolutely no need to go in for a completely new design when we have put in so much work already. The West has multiple design teams working on multiple aircraft models simultaneously and have already developed the knowledge base and infrastructure to make radical new designs. We cannot, and must not copy them.

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby Carl_T » 16 May 2010 07:07

Why does a UCAV need loitering and long endurance capability? IMO if we're building a UCAV to replace fighters, shouldn't it have most of the same characteristics as the manned editions?

Instead of building a new UCAV from scratch, IMVHO I think we should try flying the LCA by "remote control" as the first step towards building a UCAV because we have so many data points for the LCA. From there we can modify as needed, and remove unnecessary components. Increased maneuverability would be great too as we're no longer limited by the pilot sitting in it.

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby vardhank » 16 May 2010 07:10

^^ wouldn't the kaveri in its current form work, then, if this LCA UCAV is 60% of the size?

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby shiv » 16 May 2010 07:12

vardhank wrote:^^ wouldn't the kaveri in its current form work, then, if this LCA UCAV is 60% of the size?


The 60% figure was pulled out of my musharraf. It could be anywhere from 30% (able to carry mainly Diwali crackers) to 100% scale. I suspect that if we used the Kaveri it would have to be 100% scale.

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby shiv » 16 May 2010 07:16

Carl_T wrote:Why does a UCAV need loitering and long endurance capability? IMO if we're building a UCAV to replace fighters, shouldn't it have most of the same characteristics as the manned editions?

Instead of building a new UCAV from scratch, IMVHO I think we should try flying the LCA by "remote control" as the first step towards building a UCAV because we have so many data points for the LCA. From there we can modify as needed, and remove unnecessary components. Increased maneuverability would be great too as we're no longer limited by the pilot sitting in it.


Correct Carl, and in fact if you have an LCA based UCAV you need not have afterburning, great acceleration, high power to weight ratios etc that you need for combat maneuvering. Even structural strength need not be to withstand 9G maneuvers. Just 4G may be enough. All these things can save weight from structure and add to payload and range. Having no pilot frees up a lot of weight and space.

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby Austin » 16 May 2010 07:34

If you do not add acceleration , T/W ratio ,High-G and firepower then you have to compensate it in some way to penetrate modern AD environment , so if you compromise on those factors you need to bring in stealth to the table , after all what is the point in having UCAV that gets blown off easily by enemy AD , granted you will not loose a pilot but you will still loose an expensive UCAV.

Else start with a clean design and build a subsonic , high persistence but stealthy UCAV like neuron or skat

One of the key reason why countries building UCAV are adding stealth plus all ding dong is because currently the pilot has become the limiting factor for aircraft and missile are getting smarter.

So if Tejas has to ever become a UCAV it needs to maintain its current capability and even excel in many characteristics with pilot being out of picture , considering we may see such UCAV 20 -25 years from now the AD environment would equally get challenging for a sub par yet expensive tejas to get converted into UCAV.

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby vardhank » 16 May 2010 08:33

The 60% figure was pulled out of my musharraf.


:rotfl:

fair enough!

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby shiv » 16 May 2010 09:02

Austin wrote:If you do not add acceleration , T/W ratio ,High-G and firepower then you have to compensate it in some way to penetrate modern AD environment , so if you compromise on those factors you need to bring in stealth to the table , after all what is the point in having UCAV that gets blown off easily by enemy AD , granted you will not loose a pilot but you will still loose an expensive UCAV.



The pilot is more expensive. Recall that you can have only so much in terms of avionics before weight and range become issues. Now if you want agility and situational awareness in terms of missile launch warning receivers, missile approach warnings and super agility to save the musharraf of your UCAV - you had better be living in a country with a 100 year tradition of aircraft building such as Yamerika and a trillion dollar ekhanomy. All the situational awareness that a pilot needs is to save him and his machine is more expensive and heavy for that reason.

Recall also that super maneuverability is not just power and acceleration and turn rate and airframe strength. It also involves instability and fly by wire. The instability requires FBW for trim and that imposes a drag penalty. If you have no instability, you have less maneuverability but better range/payload due to lesser trim/drag penalty. And more weight penalty for thrust vectoring - but you get an even more expensive and supermaneuverable UCAV

Everything is a trade off. I prefer a LCA/UCAV type of trade off. IMO the best UCAVs are autonomous. They are inexpensive for you to build in your country. (They may be expensive for someone else).Their loss is no big deal and they should concentrate on chewing enemy ass more than saving their own musharrafs. I would personally like to see 50 LCA/UCAVs rather than 10 superstealthy, supermaneuvarable, super-situatonally aware, super expensive UCAVs.

Make the UCAV with what you have. Make it inexpensive for yourself and make it in numbers. A small composite structure is also stealthy. A plane made of composites (mainly) which is 60% of the size of the LCA will be very very stealthy indeed. If it is cheap enough you can send 4 unarmed decoys for every 2 armed UCAVs you send. Six pilots will not have to fly them.

Just my opinion.
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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby vasu_ray » 16 May 2010 09:04

if one considers a cruise mode and a burst mode for UCAV, in cruise mode they are all stealth and subsonic with max. range and should their cover be blown or over the target with AD in action they can switch to the burst mode where they do extreme maneuveurs that only missiles are capable off either to survive or attack

to make this possible the current difference in the T/W ratio of conventional fighter jet engines between regular and after-burning mode is not sufficient, one may have two put in 2 different engines engaging one depending on whether the UCAV is in cruise mode or burst mode

the FBW becomes critical in the burst mode as it exceeds the current fighter envelope

our only restriction are the engines we are capable of producing, say Nirbhay's engine for cruise mode and a Kaveri for the burst mode compressing the development timeline, developing one engine that can work in these extremes is a big IF, until such engines come in the UCAVs will have a payload handicap

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby shiv » 16 May 2010 09:08

vasu_ray wrote:if one considers a cruise mode and a burst mode for UCAV, in cruise mode they are all stealth and subsonic with max. range and should their cover be blown or over the target with AD in action they can switch to the burst mode where they do extreme maneuveurs that only missiles are capable off either to survive or attack


How will a UCAV know that it is being attacked by a missile or a plane?

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby Austin » 16 May 2010 09:41

shiv wrote:The pilot is more expensive. Recall that you can have only so much in terms of avionics before weight and range become issues. Now if you want agility and situational awareness in terms of missile launch warning receivers, missile approach warnings and super agility to save the musharraf of your UCAV .................If you have no instability, you have less maneuverability but better range/payload due to lesser trim/drag penalty. And more weight penalty for thrust vectoring - but you get an even more expensive and supermaneuverable UCAV


Agreed that is one of the key reason why nations involved in UCAV develovement ( barring the trillion dollar economy ) prefers a subsonic , long range ,stealthy UCAV over supersonic and all the headache and money involved in building one ( it prolly boils down to money then technical challenges for them )

It is probably far cheaper to reduce the RCS and build a subsonic UCAV if you know how to do both ( which itself is a matter of experience and learning curve ) then to build a supersonic UCAV with all the ding dong and make it more expensive then a manned 4th gen fighter.

Everything is a trade off. I prefer a LCA/UCAV type of trade off. IMO the best UCAVs are autonomous. They are inexpensive for you to build in your country. (They may be expensive for someone else).Their loss is no big deal and they should concentrate on chewing enemy ass more than saving their own musharrafs. I would personally like to see 50 LCA/UCAVs rather than 10 superstealthy, supermaneuvarable, super-situatonally aware, super expensive UCAVs.


Sure if you can achieve complete air superiority or degrade the AD of your enemy sufficiently then that solution works very well say 20 years from now.

Make the UCAV with what you have. Make it inexpensive for yourself and make it in numbers. A small composite structure is also stealthy. A plane made of composites (mainly) which is 60% of the size of the LCA will be very very stealthy indeed. If it is cheap enough you can send 4 unarmed decoys for every 2 armed UCAVs you send. Six pilots will not have to fly them.


Composites per say are not stealthy though it may help but the right shape and ram coating specially the former does most of the trick , but LCA UCAV is the best bet and within our reach with best possible risk mitigation in design stage itself , now what you need is your own reliable engine that you can build in numbers.

I think the effectiveness of UCAV also depends a lot on Netcentricity and Realtime Situational Awareness of the environment ( both your own and foes ) then just the aircraft itself without having the former UCAV effectiveness will not be fully realised.

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby chackojoseph » 16 May 2010 10:06

Jagan wrote:
But I will say it right now, with the current fuselage and wing design, the tejas cannot achieve an endurance of 12 hours even with zero payload. I am not aircraft designer and am willilng to be corrected, but the wing design and fuselage is not designed for endurance/reasonble load like two bombs or anything. it is what it is - an interceptor that can be used for multiple roles.


But, why?

And on your loitering reasoning: How much tome do you think LCA will loiter as a UCAV which you think is not a viable time (its mentioned in previous page by you).

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby vasu_ray » 16 May 2010 11:13

shiv wrote:How will a UCAV know that it is being attacked by a missile or a plane?


wouldn't that be same as a manned fighter in a BVR or a long range SAM engagement using the RWR?

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby shiv » 16 May 2010 11:14

A "loiter time" of 12 hours may be useful for a Predator/Reaper in the way they are being used. Our very own ugly Rustam would do that. I am talking about a UCAV used for an attack role - for example SEAD at the beginning of a hot conflict. Send in a swarm of decoy UAVs and UCAVs to take out radar and missile sites. At least get them all to switch on and show themselves, mark them and hit them in a follow up attack with a mix of UCAVs and conventional aircraft.

The Israeli Harpy comes to mind. Those are "get my 72s-soosai type UCAVs" and they are dead cheap compared to an a/c. I am talking about something bigger and more capable, but yet not cripplingly expensive. We have heard time and again that the LCA is stealthy - but the level of stealth is held in Arihant like secrecy. I am certain a small LCA like UCAV could be respectably stealthy - albeit with an external load it would lose some of that.

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby Pratik_S » 16 May 2010 11:16

How much will Tejas UCAV cost if its based on the Tejas? Tejas itself will cost well above 30 mil $ per unit so if they are just converting it into a UCAV it will still cost substantially high. The price of the UCAV should be below 10 mil $ other wise its just way too expensive.

I completely agree with the specifications proposed by Mr Shiv, along as its stealthy it need not be super fast, super agile-maneuverable. It just needs to carry as much as possible for as long as possible.

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby shiv » 16 May 2010 11:20

vasu_ray wrote:
shiv wrote:How will a UCAV know that it is being attacked by a missile or a plane?


wouldn't that be same as a manned fighter in a BVR or a long range SAM engagement using the RWR?


Yes. And for "silent" IR missiles that do not show up on RWR you need an IR missile launch warning receiver. And you need to cover an entire sphere. So that is more electronics, more weight, more power supply, more fuel used and a whole lot of factors that increase weight and decrease range. Add to that all the extra weight you need for making that UCAV maneuverable after detecting the missile with all that fancy extra weight it is carrying. And still no Mark ! eyeball to track the missile and no wingman to say "Bandits at 6 o'clock high"

None of this is really necessary for a small stealthy UCAV being deployed in a high risk role in a high risk zone. it needs to be a cheap attack platform that we can afford to lose.

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby chackojoseph » 16 May 2010 11:28

shiv wrote:A "loiter time" of 12 hours may be useful for a Predator/Reaper in the way they are being used. Our very own ugly Rustam would do that. I am talking about a UCAV used for an attack role - for example SEAD at the beginning of a hot conflict. Send in a swarm of decoy UAVs and UCAVs to take out radar and missile sites. At least get them all to switch on and show themselves, mark them and hit them in a follow up attack with a mix of UCAVs and conventional aircraft.

The Israeli Harpy comes to mind. Those are "get my 72s-soosai type UCAVs" and they are dead cheap compared to an a/c. I am talking about something bigger and more capable, but yet not cripplingly expensive. We have heard time and again that the LCA is stealthy - but the level of stealth is held in Arihant like secrecy. I am certain a small LCA like UCAV could be respectably stealthy - albeit with an external load it would lose some of that.


I personally think that the loiter time of 12 hours is not required. US if fighting a war where they see sporadic enemies. Where as, even a Kargil like situation, we will have ample to fire upon.

If LCA is stealthy, so will LCA based UCAV be.

WRT Harpy like drones, I would recommend MiG-21's to be converted like that. One way and then kaput.

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby Pratik_S » 16 May 2010 11:36

I suppose it will be possible to build a Lakshya like aircraft will longer legs, PTA is quite cheap too.

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby Singha » 16 May 2010 11:46

the engine cost of F404+ will be several millions $$. the airframe, undercarriage and wheels are made locally. the ucav needs no radar, just a program to reach the approx area and release GLONASS guided munitions or turn on its ARM seeker and release missiles.
let it depend on pure stealth to survive - Tejas is not as stealthy as any of these X-planes. no cockput, no cockpit avionics just a satcom dish to get updates.

if we add a RWR, IR detector, MAWS, decoys and other defensive measures most of these will be imported maal and cost.

if we build in bulk and use the old F404IN20 engine, the cost would likely come in around $15 mil. not cheap and not throwaway price.

the thinking could be why not pay some more and go with a more flexible and survivable manned platform? esp tejas-ucav is not super stealthy and could be attacked by IR and radar guided missiles with no warning or self-protection.

I think we need
- a much more stealthy platform in radar and IR spectrum such that all self-defence expensive toys can be omitted
- a cheap subsonic engine that can last for 2 yrs of use, sips fuel and maxes out at 700kmph.
- a blended flying wing shape works best for carrying fuel but small footprint.

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby chackojoseph » 16 May 2010 12:17

For debate sake, Kaveri with current levels can suffice for an engine. That's the impression I got during my visit.

UCAV's don't come cheap.

"RWR, IR detector, MAWS, decoys and other defensive measures most of these will be imported maal and cost."

Its not LCA specific.

Stealth remains mission specific.

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby vasu_ray » 16 May 2010 23:03

the UCAV to be part of a fighter group, its flight envelop should equal or exceed that of a fighter by the way of higher T/W
Last edited by vasu_ray on 17 May 2010 11:45, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: LCA news and discussion

Postby NRao » 16 May 2010 23:05

Can we move this discussion to the UAV thread please?


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