rohitvats wrote:There is a reason I had put up the IAF re-equipment plan thread – so that people could see what IAF was up against in terms of current re-equipment requirement and what will be the scenario in post 2025 period. And ensure they make their recommendations on what IAF should do basis more realistic assessment and not some fancy thoughts.
This is what you’ve done above with-out bothering to take your recommendation(s) to their logical conclusion. It’s not a video game AF you’re trying to populate here!
Second hand Mirages were sought by the IAF but the price issue stalled the deal. So, you can remove that from your angst list. And Su-30MKI production is running behind schedule; if the HAL would’ve met the agreed timeline, IAF would be under lesser pressure. But this is not exactly a major source of concern.
And what good would’ve purchasing EF T1 done considering it would happen on time which is highly unlikely given the fact that it faces all the hurdles as Rafale deal.
Coming to second hand Mig-29s part and ordering some newer ones from UAC (what would LM deliver off-the shelf?) would have meant allocating funds on programs which have relatively shorter life span as compared to long term planning and solution.
For example, your second hand Mig-29 (and even off-the-shelf MiG-29SMT) would’ve become part of the upgrade package to keep them relevant along with our original purchase. So, the cost is not in terms of original purchase but requirement for technological upgrades as well which needs to be factored. Not to mention the maintenance part – which is the reason that while IAF was OK to look at second hand Mirage-2000-5 but doesn’t want to touch Mig-29 with barge pole.
- The price issue stalling the deal can hardly be justification for junking it altogether. For nearly new aircraft in the Dash 5 Mk2 configuration the Qataris had an asking price of around $60M each IIRC. Revise that downwards for depreciation and a decade later we could have gotten them for under $40M (compare that with what we're paying for our
Mirage upgrade). UAE didn't start considering a replacement of its Mirage fleet until much later (they were trying to get the French to buy them back in lieu of Rafale orders). Upside is, the aircraft are likely still
available if we make a serious play for them.
- Also worth looking into are ex-AdlA Mirages. As per the 2013 French MoD White Paper, the entire fleet numbers (AdlA + MN) are to be cut down by 75 units or so (225 down from 300), which will comprise entirely of Mirages (all again upgraded to Dash 5 standards).
- Given that there would be no significant ToT hassles or relatively low pricing, there shouldn't have been any significant delays with the EF T1s. And the aircraft itself is more than adequate for air superiority, interception and basic strike roles. The option could have been pursued, albeit only as a fallback (would have granted additional leverage in negotiations with Dassault).
- Additional MiGs would have required additional funds yes. And IAF's aversion to MiGs might have been more palatable if not for the fact that it operates them by the hundreds and is preparing to extend Bison operations to 2021, while HAL is creating an MRO facility for the MiG-29 and preparing to manufacture RD-33s under license.
- Vis a vis UAC & LM, I meant a fifth gen aircraft (omitted - typo). With the FGFA deliveries scheduled for 2024-25, an interim buy (assuming the MMRCA is scrapped) would have taken care of the deep strike & ISTAR requirement, something that was the Rafale's USP a few years ago, but is increasingly looking like a hard call against a rapidly modernizing PLA/PLAAF.
Question – where would’ve funds come for these purchases and whatever makes you believe that decision would’ve been taken on time?
Absolutely. Its all a question of funding. Which raises the question, where is the funding for the Rafale to come from? $22 billion (plus). A fraction of that would be enough to finance some combination of alternatives on the list.
The problem lies with decision making process and not in planning. IAF had asked for a more reasonable solution of Mirage-2000-5 as MMRCA and had these come on time, we’ve been in a comfortable situation with respect to numbers and technology. No requirement for second hand stuff.
If second hand stuff was to be ordered, it should've been done when MMRCA first came up and had to be instead of MMRCA and not a back-up; even that decision for Mirage-2000-5 was stuck for donkey years and we landed into new MMRCA soup.
The Mirage option is still available
. In fact, there are more aircraft available today than were five years ago. UAE is still looking to divest itself of Mirages and the French downsizing has only recently been announced.
Problem is the IAF still continues to insist that there can be no Plan B, all while an abundance of workable alternatives continue to exist.
What China can do is their strength and opportunity – what matters is how we intend to deal with the situation. When a time comes where we can field a fighter in J-10 class, we’ll also purchase it in-house and not go shopping outside. Hopefully, with coming of AMCA in 2028-2030 timeframe, this part will be addressed as well.
We can't divorce ourselves from the economic aspect of defence against China. They spend at least three times as much as we do, a fact we can't change. But the fault for not getting a better return on investment than they do, lies entirely
The J-10B is very much in the Rafale class. Not as capable certainly, but at a third of the cost it delivers better combat value per dollar. Given our equation vis a vis China, what sense does it make to, if I may use an oft repeated phrase, buy a 4.5 gen aircraft at 5th gen prices. Ultimately, what I fear is that the issue of cost never enters into the IAF's calculation matrix, and if so that's a sorry state of affairs we're in.
Also, worth considering is the PAF's example. They are outgunned and outnumbered against the IAF but are doing a deft job, all things considered, sweeping up second and third hand F-16s wherever they can, while backing the JF-17 to the hilt (a fairly decent fighter for its cost).
Which part of Tejas/Tejas Mk-2 development stuck up because of shortage of funds? And why is HAL asking MOD for funds for Tejas production? Why can’t it fund the same through accruals? Last I checked, for FY 2012-13, it had PBT of ~INR 3,500 Crore. Where does this money go? Thing is, HAL behaves as a commercial entity which seeks to balance its cash-flows and returns while claiming to do everything from ‘national’ perspective.
HAL's profits go back to its primary shareholder i.e. MoD. It sounds absurd but its a sound principle. A steady profit margin allows the it to function as a 'normal' company resulting in a good valuation. As and when the MoD divests its shareholding in HAL, a long record of profit (however pointless) will enable a higher share value and thus greater capital accumulation for the government.
More important than the production rate is a build order large enough to make the investment economically viable. While it hasn't said anything publicly, reading between the lines its the IAF rather than the MoD that appear to be responsible for keeping the Mk1 order limited to 40 units.
On cost as a whole, fact is, investment matters. The Tejas did most of its testing with just three or four aircraft available at any period. In contrast, the Eurofighter program employed 14 aircraft altogether for R&D (not including the prototypes). The F-35 program has 15 aircraft at Edwards ITF for flight sciences and operational testing. The Gripen program didn't have nearly as many prototypes, but they had the luxury of building 120 of an early variant, and then retiring two thirds of them barely 15 years later. Lockheed Martin & Boeing had enough aircraft on hand to run all sorts of experiments with the F-15 & F-16; canards, thrust vectoring nozzles and so on, even without a DoD contract.
ADA in contrast has worked without anything remotely resembling a luxury, with every rupee spent closely watched. If they, for example, need to avail of consultancy, they have to send a request to the MoD that will consider the matter and decide whether or not to sanction the allocation, and if proper procedure was followed. All while we're forced to shell out billions on imports.
I’ve seen you make this statement about ‘variety’ of a/c operated before as well.
Have you ever stepped back to see what was the economic + geo-political situation and what India could afford and who would sell to India? Not to mention the typical decision making process and treatment of higher defense management in India?
Do a simple exercise for each a/c operated by India and you’ll get your answer.
Yes I've made the statement before, and I've never heard a satisfactory rebuttal to it.
- Between 1980 and 1990, a ten year period, the IAF inducted the MiG-21, MiG-23, MiG-25, Mig-27, MiG-29, Jaguar and Mirage 2000 (the 21, 27 and Jag being HAL built). And by 1993, we were negotiating for the Su-30. Its absurd to the point where it just becomes funny. The geopolitical situation doesn't change the fact that somewhere something went dreadfully wrong.
Air forces which accepted Rafale and EF in their nascent avatar did not have to bother with enemies and conflicts in post 1991 scenario. And they always had big brother in USA to help them out with almost everything.
Its quite the other way round. The RAF and AdlA inducted the nascent EF & Rafale despite
facing no imminent threats. They could have chosen to delay (perhaps a little less so in the MN's case as it needed a Crusader replacement ASAP), they opted not to.
The situation is diametrically opposed in India's case, wherein actual squadron strength is a third below sanctioned strength and over half the fleet consists of types that in the West & Russia are considered all but obsolete.
The French eventually upgraded their F1s to full multi-role F3 standards. The RAF modified its T1s with a Litening pod and achieved basic multi-role capability. The US is already operating four F-35 squadrons (plus three test & eval/conversions squadrons) before
IOC, all of which will be combat capable when IOC is declared but with a full pool of trained air and ground crew. Even the PAF accepted two JF-17 squadrons before it was equipped with BVRAAMs or LDPs. Those squadrons are up and running, and the aircraft will be (or have been) upgraded to fire SD-10As.
Even if we have to write off a portion of the Tejas fleet in 15 years
as the Swedes did, at $26 million, how is it not worth it, in light of what we're ready to spend on imports. And if we accept that, there's no justification for the IAF's insistence on crossing every 't' and dotting every 'i'.
Coming to your assertion about Mig-21 and Mig-27, they’re operational and fighting platforms. Tejas was not before IOC-2. So, the comparison is mute. Even if Mig-21 and Mig-27 have limited capability, they’re platforms which will go to war and do their job within acceptable limits. Not to mention that they’re part of an established chain from platform to weapons to spare parts to manpower.
We're still operating older MiG-21Bis; no radar. And how many years did we operate the MiG-27 before it was upgraded with an EW system and precision strike capability? The Tejas doesn't have to be at full capability to be inducted and doesn't need a mature supply chain to be operational. Both aspects can be addressed concurrently.
Its possible that the Tejas would have a lower mission availability in the initial stages, but so what? Zero LCAs can hardly be better for the IAF's strength than a few squadrons with evolving combat capability.