NRao wrote:Oh my, my.
The correct statement would/should be that all the other planes lost based on what was presented at THAT POINT IN TIME.
That's not correct and you can understand that pretty well by the fact that the EF was shortlisted, although it was the only fighter that wasn't able to field at least a tech demo AESA radar to the field trials in India, because the radar is simply not available yet, but was part of the EF offer!
The RFP of the competition asked for a fighter and it's capabilities to be available 3 years after the contract was signed, since that is the time when the first squad should be inducted into IAF (although I have big doubts that the EF consortium was able to provide that).
So it didn't matter what was available at that point of time, but was could be available according the timeframe of the RFP!
The Super Hornet as Arturo correctly said, was offered with a package of weapons and techs, that are available or funded so far by the USN. That offer was provided to MoD and IAF before the trials started and were accepted, the SH that were fielded in the trials were normal USN versions and none of the techs that were offered in 2011 as part of the "International growth road map", since these were options not funded by the USN, but were available for any current, or potential customer, if they are ready to fund them.
Boeing officials for example made it very clear during interviews with the Indian media, that the USN might buy the GE 414 EPE engine if somebody else pay to develop it , but more likely is, that they would have used a version with lower thrust, but longer life and reduced costs, since that is what they are up to!
However, Indian officials then rejected this offer to be part of Boeings MMRCA offer, since it was not provided in the initial stages of the competition, only when it was clear, that the SH failed on certain performance requirements of IAF.
So these upgrades wasn't important back then and wouldn't matter much either, since once they still are not developed and would need to be funded by India, secondly are to the most parts upgrades to bring the SH technically on the level the Rafale already is.
Be it modern cockpit displays, passive EW sensors, integrated IRST, having a good TWR, or increased range. The only real advantage that upgrade includes, is the weapon pod, although it also is just a RCS reduction measure and doesn't delete all external paylads, since the IR missiles will remain on the wingtips.
Moreover, since these are additional upgrades than we need to fund first, the same would be available from Rafale as well!
Higher thrust through upgraded engine, increased AESA modes, HMS (an option that we might even took now), CFTs. So you wouldn't compare the Silent Hornet to the Rafale version offered in MMRCA either.
Personally I do think, that Silent Hornet upgrade might have a chance against Rafale M, for IN, but that has navy specific reasons. But when you look at IAFs requirements, the deep and precision strike capability was always mentioned from IAF officials and even though the SH is rated as a bomb truck with a highly capable strike weapon package, the most capable stand off weapon offered by the US was JSOW, while the Europeans offered Storm Shadow / Scalp cruise missiles. Which is a cruicial difference wrt to strikes against important targets in Tibet. Not even SLAM-ER is on offer for us, be it with the US fighters, or P8Is.
Now do you think it was just a coincidence that exactly the 2 fighters that offered the 2 longest range stand off weapons were shortlisted? Or that exactly these fighters are offered in the UAE to replace Mirage 2000-9s, again with cruise missile strike capability, that the US doesn't offer for the F16 Block 60s?
All these are reasons, besides the whole ToT issue that were against the US fighters anyway and why they were rejected and would be again, as long as key Indian requirements wouldn't be met, be it in MMRCA, or in a future navy competition.