Viv S wrote:The F-35 specific roles - Deep Strike, SEAD/DEAD, EW support, anti-AWACS and CAS/BAI in zones with substantial air defences.
Fair enough. However the question was how F-35 irreplaceable in these roles around 2020? Given the hypothetical model that MMRCA cancelled and we get SU30-MKI(Super30) and Tejas Mk.2. We will have double the number of airframes since we get 2 planes (1 big and 1 light) for 1 F-35. How the alternatives stackup against J-20 or J-35 compared F-35. That would be an interesting analysis.
Well let it put it this way - the Russians are openly contemptuous of India's potential contribution to the FGFA and that reflects in our workshare (currently pegged at 15%). They however are appreciative of hard currency invested by the Indian side and that reflects in our FGFA bill (currently pegged at $6 billion).
How is US any different? They are interested in our hard cash only. Remember how their Ambassador resigned immediately after MMRCA finalists were announced, how US reminded India to be grateful about the civil nuclear deal and Obama wanted hard cash to show US public about generating employment - we gave $10billion contract for C-17s to just shut him up. Did we forget about CISMOA fracas while ordering C-130J and P-8Is. Everyone is interested in hard cash be it defense deals or nuclear energy.
The PAK FA's design, avionics and propulsion have already finalized and are already under development/implementation. Since the two seat variant got cancelled and the order downsized from 244-144 aircraft, we're for all means and purposes buying a customized PAK FA. There is no 'development' to be done. So lets discard this 'FGFA' idea and think in terms of PAK FA only.
How you came to this conclusion. Every news report out there, including the latest criticism from IAF meeting talks about India specific version (FGFA) being in the works, why should we discard that? Is there any definitive news that India is not pursuing FGFA?
So far several of the PAK FA's basic attributes are in question.
- Design; there's talk of a shroud to cover the huge exposed engine area, but nothing concrete announced yet.
- Exposed compressor face, which requires a radar blocker in the absence of S-ducts - the efficacy of radar-blockers for achieving VLO-level of stealth is still in question.
- RAM quality - is it effective? And is it as durable as the F-35's (which had a strong focus on that aspect) or more akin to the F-22 (requiring a proportionate degree of maintenance).
- IR spectrum stealth - effort invested in this aspect is not visible in the least. Lets hope there's more than meets the eye.
- Cost; even for baseline minimal stealth product, the operating cost will be huge (it weighs more than the Su-30MKI). And for acquisition, $100M no longer appears a realistic estimate.
And this is without going into standard problems faced by similar aircraft - software, sensor fusion, airframe durability, propulsion reliability etc.
These are all issues in development and they will be overcome once FGFA achieves IOC, that's what the brochure claims no?
You're saying that we should hold off on passing judgement since its still in development. Accepted. So wouldn't you agree that we should wait and see what we're getting and at what cost, before financially committing ourselves to the program? Better to hold off on both the F-35 and PAK FA till a clearer picture emerges.
Now let me bring in 2 parameters used in financial analysis. Opportunity cost and Sunk cost.Opportunity cost-
for having 'A' we will be forgoing other opportunities (like 'B', 'C' etc). That's how projects will be selected for investing. Now coming back to my original question several posts back, what does this opportunity cost looks like for F-35 vs SU30MKI(Super30)+Tejas Mk.2 combo. I am looking for substitute analysis of what will be pros and cons of having 2 older gen planes in different weight categories instead having 1 latest gen F-35.Sunk cost
is what we loose if we abandon the project (committed money only). Lets look at the aspect from India perspective:
1. MMRCA - Sunk cost -nil as we didn't commit any money for this project (discarding the administrative and evaluation costs as they are done for all contenders)
2. SU-30MKI-Super30 upgrade - this is a definitive project. Contract signed for 42 aircraft already and money committed. Speculation of the money ranges from $1.6billion to $6billion for this upgrade.
3. Tejas- Mk1 is already IOC and will FOC by 2015. Mk.2 definitive with development budget already granted. Not sure what is the budget granted for Mk.2 dev...need to check.
4. FGFA- Sunk cost -$6Billion- not sure about exact amount already paid, but we agreed to pay $6billion and made first tranche payments as well. Hence withdrawing would be mean sunk cost in the range of $1billion(money already paid) to $6billion (total agreement value for dev funding).
4. F-35 - Sunk Cost -nil. IAF didn't even evaluate it (at least officially)
Can you say for certain that they wouldn't enter service by then? They already have nearly a decade's head-start over the AMCA.
Hope for the best, plan for the worst.
I am not sure that's why I am asking...you mentioned earlier that "J-20 & J-35 will be in service and AMCA wont enter service till 2030 and we need an interim plane and that wont be Rafale" - right.
I am not saying F-35 is bad or its not capable. Why should India invest in it?...what are opportunity costs and why should we abandon FGFA where we already sunk funds. Moreover every country trying for stealth plane is creating 2 categories stealth planes. US (F22, F-35), China (J-20, J-35) Russiona (PAK-FA and New Mig 5th gen announced recently). Then why shouldn't we follow the same model with larger FGFA and Medium AMCA?
Given all these where does F-35 has scope to be in IAF mix?