MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby GeorgeWelch » 20 Oct 2010 05:57

Kartik wrote:Why doesn't the MRCA make a lot of sense? Can you elaborate? To me it makes a lot of sense.


Mostly because it's a lot of money to invest in fighters that will soon be obsolete.

Maybe it's just unfortunate timing that forces India to make a move like this, but still it is a tough pill to swallow.

If they were going to make a move like this, they should have done it years ago.

Now, by the time the decision is actually made and work begins, you will almost be upon the induction of the FGFA.

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby putnanja » 20 Oct 2010 06:09

GeorgeWelch wrote:
Now, by the time the decision is actually made and work begins, you will almost be upon the induction of the FGFA.


The FGFA and the MRCA are expected to co-exist side-by-side for a long time. IAF isn't the only ones looking for these types of aircraft. The Typhoon, SH, Rafale, Gripen etc are still trying to win orders all over the globe

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby Indranil » 20 Oct 2010 06:24

GeorgeWelch wrote:
Kartik wrote:Why doesn't the MRCA make a lot of sense? Can you elaborate? To me it makes a lot of sense.

Mostly because it's a lot of money to invest in fighters that will soon be obsolete.

George, do you really believe that the MMRCA contenders would be obsolete in 20 years?!!! If you really want to believe that, then we can agree to disagree at this point. All I will say is that the MMRCA contenders are above the rest in their class now. They shall continue to evolve just like the others over their curve and below the curve. So 20 years down the line, the position of these fighters won't change a lot. And if it is going to change then god save all the airforces in which they are top rung fighters. There should be no hope for the the AFs which can't get these fighters as even their frontline fighters.

GeorgeWelch wrote:Maybe it's just unfortunate timing that forces India to make a move like this, but still it is a tough pill to swallow.
If they were going to make a move like this, they should have done it years ago.
Now, by the time the decision is actually made and work begins, you will almost be upon the induction of the FGFA.


Rightly so, we are late for the whole thing. But we couldn't have done this financially 10 years back. Anyways, now that we are where we are today, and given the fact the we will have LCA Mark II, FGFA and the MMRCA entering services within years of each other, the requirement for a medium size multirole fighter is not gone. We still have the Himalayas to protect and we should do so in lowest possible budget possible while maintaining a qualitative edge.(doesn't look like we will have quantitative edge in the near future).

My question is simple!

Leave timings aside. I have requirement for a multirole fighter, one which can drop bombs and save its own skin if required. My opponents have 4th generation fighters and in good numbers. Why should I squander away money to procure and maintain limited number of high-end 5th gen fighters? I should rather have 200 odd Gripens/Mig35/F-16 to do ground bombing and if the requirement arises, provide cover with fifth generation fighters in their stealth mode carrying a hi-lo mix of only A2A missiles
Last edited by Indranil on 20 Oct 2010 06:29, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby GeorgeWelch » 20 Oct 2010 06:26

putnanja wrote:The FGFA and the MRCA are expected to co-exist side-by-side for a long time. IAF isn't the only ones looking for these types of aircraft. The Typhoon, SH, Rafale, Gripen etc are still trying to win orders all over the globe


Not from countries that are looking to induct a 5th gen plane in the immediate future.

The closest I can think of is Australia but they signed their contract for the SH 3 years ago and they hope that enables them to slide the F-35 to the right significantly.

It's one thing to top up an existing fleet (MKI for India, SH for USN, etc), but to bring in a whole new type that will soon be rendered obsolete just seems wrong.

I'm not saying the MRCA should be cancelled, but . . . .

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby GeorgeWelch » 20 Oct 2010 06:32

indranilroy wrote:George, do you really believe that the MMRCA contenders would be obsolete in 20 years?!!! If you really want to believe that then all I have to say is that, we can agree to disagree at this point. All I will say is that the MMRCA contenders are above the rest in their class now. They shall continue to evolve and so 20 years down the line, I don't see a lot of change in status of the line up. And if it is going to change then god save all the airforces in which they are top rung fighters.


I believe stealth is THAT important.

No matter how much you upgrade any of the current contenders, they will never be stealthy.

In the very near future you will not dare send non-stealthy planes against any serious air defenses or into any situation they could face front-line competition.

In the past, you could just upgrade the radar, avionics, missiles, etc. and mask a lot of deficiencies in a plane. In fact, as missiles and electronics have improved, the actual airframe has become less and less important.

But then came stealth.

It is the price of admission and if you don't have it, you might as well stay home.

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby Indranil » 20 Oct 2010 06:41

^^^ Not quite ... Do you expect our neighborhood or any AF from any part of the world to throw away all its fourth gen planes that are being procured now or till yesterday ?

AFAIK USN is still getting F-18s, Euro nations the canards, Russia the Su-35s and these are all frontline AFs.

Am I missing some thing?

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby Indranil » 20 Oct 2010 06:43

^^^ And oh! PAF is getting JF-17s, Myanmar is getting Su-30s, china is inducting J-11s, UAE for the rafaels. I dont know of any AFs which will have all 5th gen planes within 20 years ...

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby GeorgeWelch » 20 Oct 2010 06:50

indranilroy wrote:^^^ Not quite ... Do you expect our neighborhood or any AF from any part of the world to throw away all its fourth gen planes that are being procured now or till yesterday ?


China is getting some very advanced SAMs that would be murder on any non-stealth plane and they are working on stealth planes of their own.

Now agreed they aren't getting rid of all their 4th-gen, but when you send up your planes against them, can you guarantee that they will only meet 4th-gen planes of the enemy?

China might be able to politically afford 'cannon fodder', I'm not sure India could.

indranilroy wrote:AFAIK USN is still getting F-18s, Euro nations the canards, Russia the Su-35s and these are all frontline AFs.


Yes, they are all topping up existing fleets to tide them over till 5th gen arrives. But they aren't inducting a brand new type.

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby Indranil » 20 Oct 2010 07:03

^^^ That's a valid point.

But you are making a tactical mistake. AFs wouldn't send their "cannon fodder" up first into enemy space. They are sent only after a channel of air dominance has been created by the most superior fighters.

So even if the MMRCA is sent first up, there is no doubt in my mind that they will be sent with 5th generation planes.

And well we are forgetting that MMRCA contenders are not cannon fodder. Their designers, customers and I would like to differ. They are in many parts of the world the best fighters that are present today, sans F-22, Su-3x.

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby Viv S » 20 Oct 2010 07:10

indranilroy wrote:^^^ George I don't like to bash the F-35 or Mr. Shukla.

I agree with you when you say F-35 was not designed with ground attack role, as I have not read anything related to the same. Also, avionics wise, stealthwise, engine wise, and weapons wise F-35 is 0.5 gen ahead of the 4++ gen fighters, as far as I know. However as far as air dominance against the flankers (Su-35) goes, it would not hold much ground. The point is that the Su-35s won't stay this way for long. Tech from PAK-FA will percolate to it within the next decade. It would not disappear from the radar all of a sudden but there is a lot of scope for it grow smaller. For example I am sure they would have a kind of radar blocker for the engine blades. May not be the exact one as the Pak-FA owing to intake lengths, shape etc., but certainly a derivatives. Things like filling in the gap between the engines with an internal bay, etc.


Would the Russians still persist with the Su-35 (apart from plug in upgrades) once the PAK-FA nears production? That apart, I can see the Su-35's RCS dropping to EF/Rafale levels at best but no lower. The Eurocanards would still show up on the Su-35's radar well before the F-35 does.

Having said that, Mr. Shukla doesn't make a lot of sense to me when he asks for F-35s. Posters above me have given very valid points. Basically it beats me when he fits F-35 into MMRCA role. He is from the forces. I am sure he knows the value of different roles. F-35 is an overkill by a long measure for the role of the MMRCA. Why would we want to maintain a VLO plane for that role. Where's the need? And in multirole the F-35 will have to go for external tanks and external weapons. VLO goes for a toss there. Even a kid enthusiastic in planes can say that a plane of that stature will have enormous maintenance costs. It might be justified for the top-of-line fighter of an AF. Not for the middle tier!


We've got plenty of strike options in the Su-30MKI, Mirage-2000, Tejas and Jaguar aircraft. The MKI in particular with its huge payload and range comfortably outperforms all MRCA contenders at long range strike. With 270 of them to be in service, is the EF/SH/Rafale's relative advantage at strike vis-a-vis the F-35, all that critical? Also, even with a external payload, the F-35 will be stealthier than the Euros or SV/SH.

With regard to maintenance, I'm less sceptical than others on the forum. The F-35 is single engined, designed with an emphasis on easy maintenance, has a variants for (maint. intensive) carrier operations and doesn't feature F-22-like absolute stealth. Also, when it came to exercises simulating wartime conditions, even the F-22 was able to produce mission availability rates in excess of 95%. Given that the F-35 is to replace the F-15, F-16, F-18, AV-2B and A-10, one can be fairly certain that the final product will be fairly maintenance friendly.

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby Indranil » 20 Oct 2010 07:26

^^^ Viv,

We were not discussing whether the F-35 is a better fighter the Su-35/MMRCA.

My question is do we need it in the role envisioned for MMRCA. For me the role of MMRCA is Mirage+Mig-29. We shouldn't need to send 2 planes for one job. It doesn't matter for me what plane it replaces. the question is can it do the job. And if it can, how cheaply can I do it? (Su-30 can do it, PakFA should be able to do it too, but why should I spend so much to do it?)

Coming back to your maintenance hypothesis. I dont know how you could come to that conclusion with only one precedent in the 5th gen fighters (and may I add, a bad precedent in this respect for it). Ever generation plane has been more expensive to maintain than the previous generation. It is not just the man-hours (which relates to ease of access). It is the equipment which grow more complex which shortens MTBF. And once a failure happens it is more expensive to replace.

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby Viv S » 20 Oct 2010 07:57

indranilroy wrote:My question is do we need it in the role envisioned for MMRCA. For me the role of MMRCA is Mirage+Mig-29. We shouldn't need to send 2 planes for one job. It doesn't matter for me what plane it replaces. the question is can it do the job. And if it can, how cheaply can I do it? (Su-30 can do it, PakFA should be able to do it too, but why should I spend so much to do it?)


Well one goes by the cheapest options that can make the cut, it'll probably come down to the F-16E/F and MiG-35. But, if the IAF/MoD is willing to pay a premium for performance (which it seems it is), the F-35 is a remarkably cost-effective aircraft, result of economies of scale depressing the acquisition price. And it is a medium multi-role aircraft that'll perform all missions the aircraft it replaces do.

Coming back to your maintenance hypothesis. I dont know how you could come to that conclusion with only one precedent in the 5th gen fighters (and may I add, a bad precedent in this respect for it). Ever generation plane has been more expensive to maintain than the previous generation. It is not just the man-hours (which relates to ease of access). It is the equipment which grow more complex which shortens MTBF. And once a failure happens it is more expensive to replace.


Question is by what degree will the maintenance requirements increase and keeping that in mind, is the aircraft's acquisition still justified. I don't think you can write off the F-35 until one has the figures at hand. Else it would raise a big question mark over the IAF's plan to induct 300 FGFA aircraft. Given the fact that upwards of 15 countries are likely to induct it, including a large proportion of the NATO and that it'll be mainstay of the US military, I think the odds are the maintenance isn't likely to be a Waterloo.

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby vardhank » 20 Oct 2010 08:19

I don't entirely disagree about the MMRCA competition being oddly structured. Far as I can see, our primary objective should be to fill gaps as quickly as possible. Given that, the immense emphasis on ToT, offsets etc makes very little sense. I understand that the MoD wants to leverage the size of the order to get more tech (important for the future), but we're pushing the timelines very badly.
Re offsets, we're going to get ~18 jets in fly-away condition, and while spending a heck of a lot of time getting production set up in India (lines, training manpower, getting reliable component suppliers, etc). Wouldn't it have been better to either get about 50-60 jets made in the country of origin? That might give them enough economies of scale to set up a second, dedicated production line and get us our jets faster. THEN we can worry about making the rest ourselves.
Perhaps it would've made sense to have TWO MMRCA competitions: one for about 60 aircraft, nuts to the offsets, just deliver them tout suite. And a second, perhaps more leisurely one, aiming more at learning and acquiring tech (as it is, it looks like the MMRCA order might go to 180+ aircraft, correct?). Basicaly, I still think we shot ourselves in the foot when we hesitated over ordering more M2000s.

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby vardhank » 20 Oct 2010 08:36

And I definitely disagree with Shukla - the F-35 makes zero sense in this context. Obsolescence of the MMRCA isn't a huge deal: by the time they start getting obsolete, we should have the PAK-FA/FGFA to punch a hole, allowing the MMRCA, and at the moment, I think the MMRCA should be able to take care of itself.

For the Navy, perhaps, if they can get the STOVL variant working properly. And perhaps in 5-6 years, when we know what's happening with the LCA-2, the AMCA, FGFA and still feel the need for something to operate in the Himalayas (again the STOVL variant). Other than that, why bother? Makes much more sense to invest in the AMCA (and start designing a carrier-borne variant already now).

(Also, GW, I think you're mistaken about the F-35 being the USAF's premier air dominance fighter. That will, with no doubt whatsoever, be the F-22. The F-22/F-35 combination will be similar to the F-15/F-16 one today, with the difference being that there's no equivalent today to the Strike Eagle.)

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby Viv S » 20 Oct 2010 08:49

vardhank wrote:(Also, GW, I think you're mistaken about the F-35 being the USAF's premier air dominance fighter. That will, with no doubt whatsoever, be the F-22. The F-22/F-35 combination will be similar to the F-15/F-16 one today, with the difference being that there's no equivalent today to the Strike Eagle.)


The F-22 doesn't have the numbers to replace the F-15. The original 750 or even the downsized 381 would have made it a viable replacement. Also unlike the F-22, the F-15C/D was a dedicated air superiority fighter with no ground attack capability. So the F-22 is probably closer to the Strike Eagle than the Eagle.

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby geeth » 20 Oct 2010 09:02

>>>China is getting some very advanced SAMs that would be murder on any non-stealth plane and they are working on stealth planes of their own.

So, U.S is retaining their F-22s & F-35s and scrapping everything else..so do the rest of the world with their non-stealth planes, because they are mortally scared of being canon fodder to Chinese SAMs.

Gimme a break

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby GeorgeWelch » 20 Oct 2010 09:23

pandyan wrote:Surprising correlation between GW's suggestion and Shuklaji's buy F35 article.


I didn't actually make a suggestion.

If anything, my first thought would be to just cancel the MRCA and use the money to buy more MKIs and increase their operational budget.

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby Willy » 20 Oct 2010 09:25

Kartik wrote:This article makes it look like Ajai Shukla has really lost it! The Israelis have one of the strongest lobbies in the Pentagon and White House and just because they purchased the F-35 without having been partners doesn’t mean that the same will automatically apply to India. They have been one of the largest recipients of Foreign Military Aid from the US for decades and this sale too will be partly financed that way. And they have not been able to convince the US to allow them to put their own systems on board as yet although they are still trying. The reasons are simple- once you give away the source codes to allow integration of third party products and software, they will be able to offer upgrades and new products to other customers that might eat into LM and its partners’ business.
As for the threat of Chinese 5th gen fighters, that is something we don’t have to worry about till the 2020s and even then, that won’t mean that all of the PLAAF (and PAF) will somehow morph into 5th gen fighters. The bulk of the PLAAF and PAF are not even 4th gen as of now, and will remain non-4th gen for a while to come. I mean when they look to induct 250 odd JF-17 type 3rd generation fighters with some 4th generation systems, is that something that the MRCA cannot handle? I don’t believe so. Are J-10As and J-10Bs something to be so afraid of? I don’t believe so either. The Su-30MKI and MRCA combine can handle J-10, Su-27, Su-30MKK type threats and the bulk of the PLAAF will comprise these types for the next 20 years.
Some of the key goals of the MRCA competition seem to have been forgotten by Ajai Shukla- if we want ToT, then forget the F-35. This will mean that a very high level of OEM and contractor support will be required to support such a large fleet rather than being largely self-sufficient as we have been with our Su-30MKIs. They will be very reluctant (if it is possible at all) to allow the entire F-35 to be assembled in India rather than just a few parts with the rest coming from the other partner nations. If we want the MRCA to be introduced by 2013-15, then forget the F-35. There is a large line of nations with the USAF and USN at the fore-front who are waiting to induct hundreds of F-35s, so unless the IAF is ok with putting off new procurements till 2018 onwards, the F-35 is a no-go. And anyway, the IAF has already chosen the PAK-FA based FGFA as its primary 5th gen fighter and must now hopefully back the AMCA as its secondary F-35 type strike optimized fighter.
Towards that, the systems for the AMCA must originate from the Tejas Mk2, MRCA, FGFA and there must be iron-clad guarantees in the contract to allow this type of cross-pollination of systems, avionics and possibly even weapons onto the AMCA from the MRCA and FGFA. While the F-35 is a formidable stealthy strike fighter with cutting edge avionics onboard, it is a jack of all trades, and is very very unlikely to have the type of aerodynamic performance that the PAK-FA has shown during its very early flight trials. The only variant that might be of any interest to India, the F-35B STOVL variant has run into a host of problems during development and flight testing and is likely to serve with some restrictions on operations. All in all, before even showing any interest they will need to do their homework about the F-35’s timelines, projected costs, whether or not it is meeting requirements, etc.
My fear is that if the IAF is not sufficiently supportive of the AMCA, then we will see a lobby within the IAF and the govt. that might say that the F-35 can be the IAF’s 5th gen strike fighter, instead of the AMCA. Once we agree to that happening, our fighter industry is gone and with it all the effort and investment in infrastructure that were developed for the LCA. I just hope that the MoD and DRDO are pragmatic and seek a foreign partner (EADS, Dassault, Saab, Sukhoi, any one of them) for the AMCA to make it a more aggressively developed and managed program with access to key 5th gen technologies that both partners can divide up and develop on their own. If they do it for a new MTA then why not for the AMCA which will have to have more cutting edge technologies to tempt the IAF away from the F-35?



If they had gone in with Dassault instead of LM as a consultant for the LCA right from the begining then the LCA would have been flying in numbers today and maybe would have even been exported.

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby GeorgeWelch » 20 Oct 2010 09:28

vardhank wrote:(Also, GW, I think you're mistaken about the F-35 being the USAF's premier air dominance fighter.


I said 'primary' not 'premier'.

Yes the F-22 will undoubtedly be the 'premier' one, but there's less than 200 of them and there will be thousands of F-35s. The F-35 will be expected to achieve and maintain air dominance all by itself.

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby srai » 20 Oct 2010 11:40

GeorgeWelch wrote:
vardhank wrote:(Also, GW, I think you're mistaken about the F-35 being the USAF's premier air dominance fighter.


I said 'primary' not 'premier'.

Yes the F-22 will undoubtedly be the 'premier' one, but there's less than 200 of them and there will be thousands of F-35s. The F-35 will be expected to achieve and maintain air dominance all by itself.


Not with PAK-FA/FGFA!

And even with the 4th generation fighters, such as Eurofighter, Rafale and MKI, at 30km or less ranges (WVR), F-35 will not be able to out-manuever them. With advances in defensive ECCM suites in 4th gen aircrafts, first LR-AAM shot does not necessarily guarantee a kill. At close ranges, F-35 is not all that great.

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby Singha » 20 Oct 2010 11:56

putting aside plans for world conquest let us consider our immediate problem - the big lizard (BL)

- BL will push lot of S300+ units into tibet , well protected inside SR_SAM Tor type bubbles
- lots of late model flankers/J10 now, better stuff later

- we need stealthy cruise missiles and hypersonic missiles both to target and destroy these SAM bubbles on a continuous basis , with some ELINT drones (expendable) sniffing them out
- then declare open season on the PLA and pound them, forcing the PLAAF to come out
- then its upto the planes , pilots and weapons; cruise missiles to attack the PLAAF bases in the rear

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby VikB » 20 Oct 2010 12:00

"Buy F 35 instead of MRCA..." - The moment I saw this headline, I rushed to see the author of the article for it was clear whoever wrote it must have sold himself to the US of A. It was hugely dissapointing to see Ajai Shukla's name behind this article.

It is funny how every idea including blatant junk find a buyer, a supporter.

F 35 with a MADE IN USA tag being made frontline aircraft for India is a big joke. I honestly thought that someone was trying to be sarcastic. This article is the first step in putting a step into the door of MRCA competition. Be assured, very soon the similar 'right' noises will be heard from some more quarters. And lo behold, we will have ourselves garlanded with grenades in place of flowers.

USA is arming the Pakis to the teeth. It cares sh*t about India and its interests. J 35 is not even a mature fighter. And what we going to be fighting in the next 20 years????? Israelis??? US??
I remember when I was looking for a car for the family, there were so many new models that were in the pipeline in the coming year that my head soon was spinning on what decision to make. The info on new models coming up was known to me as I am in the auto industry. But then I decided to choose with what was there in the market then rather than again postpone the decision.

99.99 % of our threat in coming decade and two is from Paki and Chini side. They are nowhere near to a SU30, MRCA, LCA, Mirage combo + SAM cover if we are able to get all at the right time. I heard that the US has a futuristic plan of making a baap-of-all-aircrafts which will be invisible even when parked on ground (watch that flick from Jamesbond visavis the car), will be remotely controlled, will fire on its own, blah blah. Shall we wait for that???

It is sad to see what a few visits to foreign land can do. I know I am making an allegation. If someone wants to argue on that, kindly read "Confessions of an economic hitman" by John Perkins and then talk.

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby GeorgeWelch » 20 Oct 2010 12:08

srai wrote:Not with PAK-FA/FGFA!


Perhaps

srai wrote:And even with the 4th generation fighters, such as Eurofighter, Rafale and MKI, at 30km or less ranges (WVR), F-35 will not be able to out-manuever them. With advances in defensive ECCM suites in 4th gen aircrafts, first LR-AAM shot does not necessarily guarantee a kill. At close ranges, F-35 is not all that great.


'Out-manuever' is meaningless with modern missiles. As long as you are in range, you can be targeted no matter which direction you're coming from.

And whatever the state of your EW suite, the ability to shoot first is always going to be a decisive advantage.

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby GeorgeWelch » 20 Oct 2010 12:10

VikB wrote:"Buy F 35 instead of MRCA..." - The moment I saw this headline, I rushed to see the author of the article for it was clear whoever wrote it must have sold himself to the US of A.


It is possible to have honest disagreements about an issue without either side having 'sold out'.

There are arguments in favor of the F-35 and there are arguments against it. You may feel the arguments against it outweigh the positives, but others may weigh the factors differently and come to a different conclusion.

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby D Roy » 20 Oct 2010 12:17

beebul

UK is committed only to 12 F-35s as of now really, after SDSR.

All order of europeans are having second thoughts.

If Carlo Kopp and others are even half right the F-35 is not really multi-role and rather susceptible to high end 4th gen fighters in air combat.

In fact given the three different variants under development and the absolutely horrendous industrial wrangling going on , the F-35 meets none of our stated MRCA objectives.


The meltdown has left the west swaying in the wind over various Mil projects. India is being seen as an "angel investor".

And I am sure China is being seen as one as well. Expect to see the arms embargo on those guys being lifted soon.

Then you will see India's media with screaming headlines about how some supaar dupaar tech is being offered to India, but short sighted babooze are screwing it up and there is a chance that the Chinese in their infinite wisdom will wrap it up.

The usual "missed opportunity" bandwagon. Similar to the mid-nineties when newspapers were full of stories of how the Chinese were getting the latest Soviet era gear and snapping up russki scientists from the black market while we apparently twaddled our thumbs.

Not so long ago an American admiral even offered to help the Chinese with their new aircraft carrier programme.

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby D Roy » 20 Oct 2010 12:19

The Israeli F-35s are going to be special "optimized" versions for niche strike roles.

They reduced their first tranche from 25 to 20.

Let's see if they go with the earlier postulated 75 unit buy in the second tranche.

They had initially looked at 25 + 75.

but now its more like 20 + ??

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby Viv S » 20 Oct 2010 12:25

srai wrote:Not with PAK-FA/FGFA!

And even with the 4th generation fighters, such as Eurofighter, Rafale and MKI, at 30km or less ranges (WVR), F-35 will not be able to out-manuever them. With advances in defensive ECCM suites in 4th gen aircrafts, first LR-AAM shot does not necessarily guarantee a kill. At close ranges, F-35 is not all that great.


At close ranges, HMS and all-aspect high off-boresight LOAL missiles ensure that superior maneuverability does not necessarily guarantee a kill either.

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby D Roy » 20 Oct 2010 12:28

The issue really is,

that the F-35s payload bay is limited and its optimized for VLO in the head on scenario.

It really is a day 2 fighter. So what is the point when you have a nice PAK-FA development programme going on.

And are starting an AMCA programme which is absolutely crucial to further development of your aerospace sector.

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby Viv S » 20 Oct 2010 12:30

D Roy wrote:UK is committed only to 12 F-35s as of now really, after SDSR.

All order of europeans are having second thoughts.


Applies to all aircraft really. Eurofighter orders have been pared down, and the French downsized their prospective Rafale fleet from original estimates. All the same the F-35 is set for a far greater production run than the EF or Rafale.

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby Viv S » 20 Oct 2010 12:38

D Roy wrote:The issue really is,

that the F-35s payload bay is limited and its optimized for VLO in the head on scenario.

It really is a day 2 fighter. So what is the point when you have a nice PAK-FA development programme going on.

And are starting an AMCA programme which is absolutely crucial to further development of your aerospace sector.


The internal payload is limited yes, but if required it could carry an external payload (like all the other MRCA competitors). AFAIK most aircraft are optimized for LO at the head-on aspect including the F-15SE and PAK-FA. Also, head-on is what most typical BVR engagements are like.

The PAK-FA is certainly the ideal choice. But, if the IAF wishes to diversify; to quote ACM Naik - "not put all its eggs in one basket", the F-35 is an ideal fit between the Su-30MKI/Mirage-2000 and the FGFA.

The AMCA is more of concept at this stage. Its not something the IAF should be banking on. Maybe after 2025 we can start to replace the Mirage-2000 and MiG-29 with it, but any time sooner is just wishful thinking.

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby P Chitkara » 20 Oct 2010 12:42

US is not expected to filed F35 before the later half of this decade. The development of this a/c has been problematic and has taken it's own time. This, with so much experience at hand in stealth and other technologies.

Looking at this, how can we expect panda to develop a fifth gen a/c by 2020? The J10 still uses an imported engine and if there are plans for J10B, it means all goals related to J10 have not yet been realized. If panda does the stealing act, it may be a different story but, they fielding their own 5th gen a/c even by 2025 will be optimistic at best.

If the more technologically advanced of our two problematic neighbors is going to acquire a fifth gen a/c not before 2020 - 2025, with bulk of it's fleet being 4th and 3rd gen, why do we have to worry about obsolescence of the MMRCA contenders? They in any case will not be the frontline fighters for the IAF - That role will be for the FGFA. One must remember, these are gap fillers and are required to arrest the falling numbers.

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby Viv S » 20 Oct 2010 12:47

P Chitkara wrote:US is not expected to filed F35 before the later half of this decade. The development of this a/c has been problematic and has taken it's own time. This, with so much experience at hand in stealth and other technologies.


The development of almost every aircraft has been problematic including but not limited to Eurofighter, Rafale, Tejas, F-22, PAK-FA(long delays), et al.

Looking at this, how can we expect panda to develop a fifth gen a/c by 2020? The J10 still uses an imported engine and if there are plans for J10B, it means all goals related to J10 have not yet been realized. If panda does the stealing act, it may be a different story but, they fielding their own 5th gen a/c even by 2025 will be optimistic at best.

If the more technologically advanced of our two problematic neighbors is going to acquire a fifth gen a/c not before 2020 - 2025, with bulk of it's fleet being 4th and 3rd gen, why do we have to worry about obsolescence of the MMRCA contenders? They in any case will not be the frontline fighters for the IAF.


Well should we put off the FGFA purchase on those grounds, given the fact that the PLAAF fields three times as many 4th gen. fighters as the IAF? I don't think any complacency is warranted.

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby P Chitkara » 20 Oct 2010 13:03

You didn’t really get my point. Please look it in the context I made those statements.

1. Problematic development of F35. The context is >> massive exp in stealth and other tech. It is a widely known fact, in fact common sense that all new development projects face problems but the degree varies if you have executed such projects in past as well. What exp does panda have in stealth? They do have exp. in stealing though.
2. We do not need an A/F with bulk of it a/c fifth gen. Neither can we afford it from acquisition and maintenance POV. (250-300 FGFA + 126 another 5th Gen + 100 AMCA = 500+ fifth gen a/c)

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby Philip » 20 Oct 2010 13:10

Latest AWST.Indonesia is buying,wait for it...180 SU-30MKIs and some F-16s,as they operate some.The 180 Flanker buy indicates the appeal of the aircraft.It is available now and for its price,there's nothing like it! Upgraded Indian Flankers,with AESA,B'mos,LR AAMs, will dispose of any of the MMRCA contenders easily and possibly be cheaper than both the Typhoon and Rafale.With the 5th-gen fighter deal about to be signed with Russia,why do we need the F-35 at all? The JSF will be vastly inferior (unable to carry B'mos and ultra-LR AWACS killer AAMs)to the twin-engined PAK-FA which will arrive from 2017 onwards and the IAF desire a twin-pilot version of the same in any case.

Perhaps the best way to go for now is for a high-low mix of about 400-450 Flankers and 120+ lighter MMRCA contenders,Gripen if one wants a European bird with EU TOT.I can't see the LCA maturing anywhere before 2015 and as one worthy ex-IAF officer put it in the article that Shiv has posted in another thread,thanks to the delays eventually end up as a "trainer"! Therefore,the Gripen is probably the most cost-effective western answer to the MMRCA conundrum,that is if we buy even more upgraded Flankers which for me looks like being the best step forward.

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby Willy » 20 Oct 2010 13:21

BY THE WAY , WHY IS A BRAINLESS Article being debated so much????????????????? :oops: :eek:

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby vardhank » 20 Oct 2010 13:23

GeorgeWelch wrote:
vardhank wrote:(Also, GW, I think you're mistaken about the F-35 being the USAF's premier air dominance fighter.


I said 'primary' not 'premier'.

Yes the F-22 will undoubtedly be the 'premier' one, but there's less than 200 of them and there will be thousands of F-35s. The F-35 will be expected to achieve and maintain air dominance all by itself.


No, it won't be the primary one, either. That's like saying the F-16 is currently the 'primary' fighter. In any conflict where it expects to face opposition, the USAF WILL send the F-22s to take control of the sky, not the F-35. That would be like us sending Mirages instead of Su-30s: the Mirage might be pretty good in its own right, but you'd have to be fairly thick to not use your best assets if you can.

And (not addressed to you in particular, GW), the question isn't about the F-35 being a bad plane. It just isn't a plane that fits our needs at the moment, simple as that. I don't remember which of the gurus it was, sorry, but Singha or Kartik or someone suggested the need was more for a bomb truck than anything else (albeit one that could fight its own way out if needed), and the F-35 doesn't really work that way. There's a reason even the USAF's hanging on to its Strike Eagles, at least for the time being.

In a way, the F-35 might just be quite a miscalculation on the USAF's part - a plane that's expensive but doesn't really perform any particular role very well.I think they got carried away by the idea of stealth, to be quite honest. The F-16 was much more sound as a tier-2/lighter multi-role fighter.

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby Viv S » 20 Oct 2010 13:28

P Chitkara wrote:You didn’t really get my point. Please look it in the context I made those statements.

1. Problematic development of F35. The context is >> massive exp in stealth and other tech. It is a widely known fact, in fact common sense that all new development projects face problems but the degree varies if you have executed such projects in past as well. What exp does panda have in stealth? They do have exp. in stealing though.


My point was that a problematic development background doesn't preclude the F-35 from become a successful aircraft. China doesn't have a lot of experience, but they have the second largest defence budget and an increasingly aggressive foreign policy backed up by considerable political will.

2. We do not need an A/F with bulk of it a/c fifth gen. Neither can we afford it from acquisition and maintenance POV. (250-300 FGFA + 126 another 5th Gen + 100 AMCA = 500+ fifth gen a/c)


Why not? Given the numerical disparity between the PLAAF and IAF not to mention the PAF in the event of a two front war, I think a large number of fifth generation aircraft would be an excellent option. Also, your those figures you quote will only fructify by 2030 (if 100 AMCAs are to be inducted). And 500 fifth gen aircraft in 2030 isn't unreasonable if you consider the PLAAF has about 400 fourth gen aircraft in 2010. Assuming the PLAAF puts the first J-xx into the air by 2020, they could have 300 by 2030, again a considerable threat.

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby koti » 20 Oct 2010 13:31

Therefore,the Gripen is probably the most cost-effective western answer to the MMRCA conundrum,that is if we buy even more upgraded Flankers which for me looks like being the best step forward.


Sir, but don't you think the MKI's being heavy, twin engined and requiring two pilots will put very high strain on the AF for operation and maintenance?
And 400 to 450 is a number quiet high in our budgetary allocation which eats from funds of other programs like ADGES.

~300 MKI is a good enough number in the current security scenario given we will have credible medium(MMRCA) and lighter fighters. This in the pretext that the FGFA in sufficient numbers will be inducted in time.

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby nrshah » 20 Oct 2010 14:04

sohels wrote:
nrshah wrote:F 16 is a shitty forum where everything russian is stupid while making F22/35/16 the 10th gen planes....
the above figures does not imply anything...


Nor were they meant to.. I only added the quote for illustrative purposes - a head to head comparison of that nature (detection/engagement distances and kill ratios) would certainly be useful.


not really, unless the figures are accurate or even close to being accurate... here the figures are grossly wrong written to satisfy some Jingoistic ego...

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Re: MRCA Discussion - October 2, 2010

Postby nrshah » 20 Oct 2010 14:06

Singha wrote:>> Rafale has a combat radius of 1800 kms.

thats probably only with 3 huge drop tanks hence wasting the strongest pylons.


I understand that is with almost all the fighters in medium category... Normal combat radius of Medium fighters range from 1000 to 1400 Km... Would be glad if corrected...


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