Cain Marko wrote:So? The US never fielded an ESA before the Apg77 or an HMS before the 2000s, didn't stop them from delivering good products. This is even easier now that the open market makes all sorts of tech available to the Russians.
The Russians will deliver a 'good product'. Its the leaping forward to APG-81 standards that is highly unlikely.
- No EOTS. The PAK FA will use a external pod for PGM delivery. Even there, given that its importing (third gen) Damocles pods from France, how can you expect something in the Litening G4/Sniper XR class?
Fair enough, but they could always use a MIG-35 type OLS if really needed
OLS for air-to-ground delivery? That's not feasible. The PAK FA will use an external pod and the pod in question has been displayed in PAK FA related exhibitions.
- Maybe the PAK FA will feature an EW suite comparable SPECTRA class. Maybe. Comparable to the Barracuda... not likely.
Broad assumptions - Based on what data?
Based on its history. Russia has never fielded an ALR-94 class system to date. To expect a system that is a generation
ahead of the 94, is simply not realistic.
- VSI HMDS analogue. Not advertised. Speculative.
AFAIK, an HMDS was in the offing based on a couple of images posted by flateric on keypubs
The PAK FA is to field the ZSh-10 helmet AFAIK.
The VSI HMDS is in a different league.
- MMI & sensor fusion? Lets see if it matches the Eurocanards for now.
again, how exactly do you compare the sensor fusion of the JSF vs. the Ecanards vs. the Su-35/pakfa?What exactly do we know that the JSF does in this aspect that the Pakfa can do/ cannot do, esp. at this point in time? Simplistically, the way I see it, this is a matter of integration and software - the ability to t seamlessly provide input from multiple sensors - is there a reason why russians/indians can't do this? Are they short of software expertise?
You mention Russian/Indians. What was the Russian response to Indian participation (actual work-share) in the PAKFA/FGFA? By and large... contempt (albeit voiced diplomatically). Mainly due to India not having the requisite experience and/or technical competencies. Not a permanent condition perhaps, but true nonetheless. That is the SAME thing that separates the US and Russia. The F-22 was fielding advanced sensor fusion back in 2001
. The F-35 supposedly goes a generation ahead of that.
- High end VLO capability? Compromised by the IRST & MAWS 'bulbs', lack of S-ducts, exposed exhausts etc. Indian MoD 'sources'
put the RCS at 0.5m2 while the recent Russian patents placed it
at 0.1-1m2.Pakfa has curved ducts, and blockers - as per their patent, the non faceted IRST housing might be temporary or might not create enough of a difference for the designers to create it. It would be rather illogical for SDB to go to great lengths in terms of chining, alignment, composite usage, surface shaping, angled radar mounting etc. and then throw it all away on such issues. There is no rule that every approach to stealth has to be as per the US
The Russian patent includes S-ducts. The aircraft does NOT. In its absence you can employ radar-blockers but they will never be as efficient at reducing the VLO (for the same reason that RAM can supplement but not substitute
LO shaping). The IRST is external as are the other EO devices and they cannot simply be recessed into the airframe.
Radar 'angling', serration, composites, radar blockers and some degree of edge alignment is all there on the Super Hornet as well. Chines are not but they won't have been that hard to incorporate (at the design stage)... you'll find them on the HAL LCH.
# The munitions complement will be entirely Russian so 'could be more diverse' is an understatement really. (The SDB has become essential even for the F-22. No CBU-105 analogue either.) As far as integration of non-vendor items goes; does the PAK FA employ open architecture like the F-35? The Russians advertise it for the Su-30MK and MiG-35 (I even recall seeing it for the Mi-38), and yet nothing on the PAK FA.
SInce they have already used OA for other platforms, don't see why pakfa would be an issue. While Pakfa munitions are still being developed (and the JSF is ahead here), I don't see why we can't have analogues from Russia or India in years to come.
Open architecture cannot be integrated on the aircraft midway nor is particularly easy to delivered (case in point: F-22).
And with regard to munitions, with the Su-30MKI we had the option of integrating the Litening pod, Paveway, Python etc. The F-35 comes with options for American kit, European kit, Israeli kit... maybe even Japanese, Korean or Singaporean kit.
With the PAK FA, we buy Russian accessories... like it or lump it. And if they don't for example have an SDB analogue, we have no option but to wait while one is developed, certified and integrated.
Which 'uber capability' is lost with all those assets? Radar, DAS, ESM systems, stealth, sensor fusion et al... its all still there.
Aha, but isn't this what Nrao has talked about for a long while. The JSF's NCW capabilities? And I don't entirely disagree, this looks like a nice feature to have, and Brar has explained it well - NCW it seems allows it to create effective EMCON by seamlessly presenting inputs from a variety of assets. Problem is, I am not so sure it is entirely relevant to India
The F-35's NCW capability will enable synergy between other F-35s on the same
mission. I don't think NRao or
BW suggested that fusing feeds from JSTARS, F-22s, or Aegis type aircraft was ever a selling point in the Indian context.
None of which takes anything away from the actual 'uber capability' of the APG-81 or Barracuda, or from the deliverable VLO capability.
Some aircraft have it does not make it essential. Well.. maybe if you need to operate over the huge Russian hinterland or the Western Pacific.
But then, IIRC it was LM who noted that SC is integral to gen 5 when the Raptor was the only game in town. Now that the JSF can't do it, I suppose SC is not that essential. I think it makes a huge difference to combat persistence and economy - factors that cannot be ignored, esp, in the INdian context with such a huge airspace and designated zones ranging from Hormuz to Malacca.
True and that's an awkward thing for Lockheed Martin to explain. But the debate here
is not the definition of fifth generation but what fits our
scenario and our requirements. We share long land borders with both our primary adversaries where flight times to the enemy airspace can be less than five minutes. Given the lack of strategic depth to west and the heavy defences to east, supercruise would be good to have but is hardly a necessity
Coming to the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean... between the A&N bases, P-8Is and IN's CBGs, we're pretty well covered.
And as far as combat persistence is concerned, the F-35 carries more fuel than even the F-22. Persistence is not an issue.
how much more do you want? Add to this, stealth and exceptional airframe performance in all regimes and the ecanards are nowhere in the picture.
An EOTS for starters. And I'd like VLO level stealth and a Barracuda level EW suite. Something that can go up against the Chinese IADS.
My point, in all this is that while much of what the JSF has in terms of sensors and electronics e.g. MADL or HMDS or conformal OLS can be progressively added to the Pakfa it if is deemed essential, you cannot however, suddenly or progressively make the JSF capable of supercruise or super maneuverability or make it accelerate dramatically faster or improve its STRs and ITRs etc.
HMDS you can upgrade. Radar you can upgrade. But a conformal OLS cannot be easily retrofitted to the airframe. Nor can the airframe be upgraded to VLO levels.
Supermaneuverability <> EODAS. You don't require Top Gun type maneuvering while packing a WVR missile that can pull 80Gs and be cued in any direction by the aircraft's sensors. The PAK FA is agile yes, but not compared to a Meteor missile.
Fact is, first-look-first-shoot nearly always wins the game.
This (JSF vs. Pakfa) issue can be argued about ad infinitum Viv, another thing to consider is that while there seem to be areas in which the JSF excels the Pakfa, we don't really know how much of a gap this translates to in actual scenarios. This is not too different from the old Mig-29/Su-27 vs. F-16/F-15 debates. While the "electric" jets offered a number of superior technological components, this did not necessarily translate into effective combat performances as seen from a number of DACT exercises.
CM, the Soviets had some degree of parity with the Americans. The Russians don't. The Su-30MKI entered service as the same time as the F-22 (the Su-35 eight years later). And when the PAK FA becomes operational, the F-22 will have been in service for about 15 years or so. On the face of it, the F-35 is not as agile or maneuverable as the F-22, but the one and a half decades that separate them have hardly been devoid of technological advancement.
At the same time, there is no argument about the Pakfa being well ahead of the JSF in terms of flight performance, and it seems hardly likely that the JSF could ever reverse this. Proponents, of course would argue that it is unnecessary, which brings me back to the earlier point of this capability being very essential in the IAF/non-US/NATO context.
Five years ago, I never thought the F-35 could ever have been an option. The PAK FA was on its way and would equal the F-22. And the FGFA would be our very own Indianized and 'improved' version. Well and good, until the first prototype flew. While everyone seemed exhilarated, I couldn't swallow the idea that the aircraft was intended to the job of an F-117 (though come to think of it, the Soviets never developed an F-117 type aircraft).
But I reasoned that this was just an initial prototype and this would probably evolve hugely in the next few years. A soothing thought right upto the point when the picture of engine compressor face hit the internet. That's when any and all hope of a VLO aircraft evaporated.
All the same, the FGFA was to be a partially Indian aircraft which made it worth acquiring, cost and performance being secondary. And then the number spiraled down from 300 to 250 to 200 to 144 units, with the two crew design proposal being binned. And we found ourselves with a Russian aircraft that we're pretending to 'co-develop'.
Meanwhile the F-35's faults have been mostly rectified, the full extent of its capabilities are slowly being revealed and most importantly the price has tumbled from $200M+ to $110M with the (once laughable) $75M target now looking quite achievable. This at the same time as we're hit by a slowing economy and the importance of obtaining value-for-money sinks in.
And so I find myself on this
side of the debate.
We don't intend to fight our battles on the same lines as the NATO. But do we intend to fight like the Russians? Is our threat scenario similar? Do we need something that can supercruise long distances and launch cruise missiles or do we need something that can suppress and/or destroy (Russian origin) Chinese 'anti-stealth' SAM systems or conduct CAS or strike in highly contested zones?
About IAF (not HAL) complaining regarding the MKI - in about 15 years of frontline service - there are hardly any. This is not to say that there is not an issue with Russian supplied hardware - this seems to be their biggest drawback, but clearly there are aspects to it that are not entirely covered either. For example - IAF had issues with HAL built MKIs not too long ago, in fact a couple of crashes were attributed to HAL's role. This is a back and forth between the HAL and Sukhoi, the former complaining that supplies are delayed with increased costs and the latter that orders are not placed in a timely fashion to begin with (and this might have much to do with the MOD's rather slow going in such matters as well). And this is precisely why the FGFA SCM should be better - a) because of lessons learned and b) because it allows for more control over production.
How does anything HAL has done justify the Russians putting the deputation of specialists or delivery of supplies on hold (despite the contract expressly stipulating otherwise)?
Also we're not going to have any more control over the FGFA production than we do over the Su-30MKI. It has less non-vendor content than the Su-30 and built on a smaller scale.
At the very least it merits caution while negotiating agreements (how well they're respected is a different issue) and the current pay-first-examine-later model is the very worst way to do it.
It all depends upon what is in the contract... but I would agree that this merits a lot of caution.
We agree on something at least.