Carl_T wrote: Is supercruise really that important for the MMRCA? I would see it as being important for an air superiority
platform, or for utilizing in deep strikes, but we have the MKI for that.
I do not know what role do you envision for MRCA, but IMO, supercruise is a huge plus regardless of the role the a/c is performing. An aircraft having greater speed would enter any engagement with greater kinematic energy. Be it dictating the terms of engagement to enemy fighter or out maneuvering LRAAMs and SAMs, the aircraft with greater speed will always be in advantage. While engaging in sharp turns to outmaneuver, the a/c looses much of its energy and thus becomes vulnerable. But if it has already greater kinematic energy to begin with, it is a huge advantage. And to achieve that without giving out massive IR signature or guzzling huge amount of fuel would be useful in any scenario. And the other obvious advantage is of course to reach and flee the hostile area quickly.
Is the datalink capability unique to the Gripen out of the MMRCA planes? Is that similar to what the F-35 has, so it can
fuse information from different planes together?
Swedes have always been pioneers in data-linking systems. In fact, Saab Draken was the first a/c in the world to feature operational data link system!
Although Henrik has posted excellent info regarding this, let me post another link which gives some further info.http://www.vectorsite.net/avgripen.html
The Gripen is fitted with the "Tactical Information Datalink System (TIDLS)", which gives the fighter four high-bandwidth, two-way datalinks with a range of about 500 kilometers and very high resistance to jamming. The datalinks allow the Gripen to engage in
combat using another aircraft's sensors or from targeting data provided by other defense systems. Data acquired from remote sources is fused and displayed on the fighter's main MFD. The link is fully operational when the aircraft is on the ground, allowing a pilot on standby to have high situational awareness of the battle environment.
One Gripen can provide radar sensing for four of its colleagues, allowing a single fighter to track a target, while the others use the data for a stealthy attack. TIDLS also permits multiple fighters to quickly and accurately lock onto a target's track through triangulation from several radars; or allows one fighter to jam a target while another tracks it; or allows multiple fighters to use different radar frequencies collaboratively to "burn through" jamming transmissions.
TIDLS also gives the Gripen transparent access to the SAAB-Ericsson 340B Erieye "mini-AWACs" aircraft, as well as the overall ground command and control system. This system provides Sweden with an impressive defensive capability at a cost that, though still high, is less than that of comparable systems elsewhere.
Carl_T wrote:The Rafale seems like a great plane, but their cost seems to be prohibitive.
I agree. I do not understand how we could afford Eurofighter and Rafale. So,though I am a bit partial towards Rafale (though it could do with more powerful engines), I would not bet too much on it winning the MRCA. I would also like Mig-35 to win (if schedules could somehow become acceptable and Russians would not screw us up on TOT issue). I am also a great fan of gripen and would be really happy if it wins.
Carl_T wrote:While we know the cost for the planes roughly, but I think we also have to factor in the cost for the ToT, and I'm assuming if we pick a mature platform, that cost will be a lot lesser, I don't think Dassault will sell us rights to their hard-earned tech without a really substantial price.
Cant say about that. Considering the nil export figure of Rafale and the magnitude of the order, I would not be too surprised if French do not have a problem with TOT. At least, the Dassault representatives Aero India were very assuring regarding this.