LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

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Philip
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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby Philip » 10 Apr 2014 14:36

Unless a second prod. line is established,the LCA will not enter service with the IAF in significant numbers,even replacing MIG-21s on a one-for-one basis. We will have to import another batch of 120+ aircraft to keep numbers and capability happy ,apart from whatever no. of Rafales are eventually acquired. the shortfall is 8-10 sqds. as of now,which will increase very soon once vintage MIG-21s are retired in their hundreds.

JTull
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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby JTull » 10 Apr 2014 16:15

I think HAL is well aware that they need to get their act together wrt LCA production, if they want IAF to trust them with home grown IJT or Basic Trainer projects. IAF already has it's neck stuck out on the MMRCA with them.

SaiK
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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby SaiK » 10 Apr 2014 19:52

i was speaking from jingo angle.. as long as it is clearly available on the net, it is not available for us jingoes. ;)

we want to view a windtunnel model on the net that we all can scale up to.
other diagrams are welcome! :D

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby Kartik » 16 Apr 2014 15:47

Saw what was most likely NP-1 coming in to land at HAL airport near Marathahalli around 11:15 AM. Initially looked like PV-5 but then I looked harder at the nose and couldn't spot the anti- glare paint right in front of the windshield. Rare sight, this naval bird.

andy B
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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby andy B » 17 Apr 2014 03:20

Some commentators seem unaware that the Rafale entered service in 2001 nearly 15 years after it first took to the air; an interval that will only be slightly exceeded when the Tejas reaches Final Operational Clearance (FOC) late next year. The IAF has been far more demanding of the Tejas than it has been with respect to the MMRCA contenders whether on the hot and high airstrip at Leh or during Jaisalmer’s dusty summers. The service also seems to have forgotten that the Mirage 2000 was armed only with a cannon for three years after it entered service; largely ineffectual during the dangerous “Operation Brass Tacks” of 1986-87.

To summarise, going ahead with the MMRCA programme will cripple India for decades to come. Affordable air power is effective air power. Conversely, unaffordable air power is poor strategy.


http://thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/affordable-air-power/article5919437.ece/

Philip
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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby Philip » 17 Apr 2014 08:31

The full article from the Hindu.What BRF has been debating for aeons.However,there are a few issues.Unless LCA production is ramped up,perhaps with another production plant,the replacement one-for-one of our hundreds of MIG-21s,plus the Bisons which will retire around 2020+ (and of which sqds. have been told not to stress them!) will be a practical impossibility. In fact,300 LCAs of MK-1/2/3 whatever,would be excellent in order to beef up the numbers of IAF sqds. which are already depleted with a lot of "numberplating" having taken place. But here HAL have to perform which as of now is still a huge risk,given its track record.

If the target is 42+ sqds. then new aircraft from abroad have to be purchased to achieve the desired numbers.Here too the right word is affordable.There are options which we've discussed,have our own favourites,but doesn't fit in with the IAF's wishes where the former chief said that they had no "plan B".Unfortunately M-2000s are no longer in production,so if not Rafales,then what? It leaves only Russian birds (Flankers or Fulcrums,the IN's MIG-29Ks cost $32M/unit) unless the equally affordable Gripen returns into contention.

In sheer cost terms the argument is very compelling.The extra strike capability required that the Rafale would've brought to the table, could be offset by extra Flankers,esp. SU-34s which have more endurance,etc. than SU-30s,if lesser capable types are excluded.

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/a ... 919437.ece
Updated: April 17, 2014
Affordable air power

C. Manmohan Reddy

ADVANTAGE LCA: The IAF could buy 200 Tejases instead of 126 Rafales and still save nearly $14 billion or Rs. 84,000 crore. Picture shows the aircraft taking off in Bangalore. File photo

The largely Indian designed Tejas light combat aircraft is not in the same class as the Rafale, but it is far more capable than the MiG-21s it was designed to replace

The Defence Minister is entirely justified in refusing to sign a $20 billion contract with Dassault Aviation of France for 126 Rafale fighters while life cycle costs are still disputed; these costs are typically at least three times as much as the initial acquisition price over the three to five decades that combat aircraft often operate for. As we head for a new government in Delhi, it is appropriate to consider alternatives to this hugely expensive acquisition.

India’s geostrategic environment requires the Indian Air Force (IAF) to be prepared for a simultaneous two front confrontation at multiple levels. This necessitates a combat aircraft mix of expensive high-end fighters like the Su-30 and the forthcoming fifth generation fighter aircraft along with large numbers of cheaper tactical aircraft. The latter could easily deal with low intensity conflicts where it might be risky to use high value assets like the Sukhois.

Rapid retirement of hundreds of MiG-21s, -23s and -27s that have been the tactical backbone of the IAF for decades leaves just over six upgraded MiG-21 and four ground attack MiG-27 squadrons. This means that the IAF’s inventory of combat aircraft is currently well below its sanctioned 39-and-a-half squadron strength perhaps unable to fight widely spaced conflagrations against even a single adversary. Its 2001 plan to fill the gap by significantly adding to the 49 Mirage 2000s it then had was scuppered by Defence Ministry mandarins who forced it to go in for competitive tendering. Delays in the procurement process saw the Mirage going out of production and international pressure made sure that the final tender included much heavier and expensive aircraft than the tactical ones that the service originally wanted, leave alone needed.

Cost of aircraft

A request for proposals (RfP) finally went out on July 28, 2007 for 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCAs), with an option for 63 more. Rs.42,000 crore, then worth approximately $10.25 billion, was budgeted to purchase the 126 aircraft. Recent reports indicate that the short-listed Rafales are now expected to cost over $20 billion, not least because of nearly 50 “miscellaneous” items that were left unpriced as part of the original French bid. Not only will the 126 aircraft cost about twice as much in dollar terms as originally budgeted for, depreciation of the rupee with respect to the dollar since the RfP was issued from less than 41 to over 60 will force us to effectively pay about three times as much, nearly Rs.120,000 crore, just in initial acquisition costs with over Rs.30,000 crore of that paid up front.

Interestingly, five of the same aircraft that participated in the Indian MMRCA competition were simultaneously bid for in a similar Brazilian tender. The head of the Brazilian Air Force (FAB), Juniti Saito, has recently stated that they chose the Swedish Gripen NG after an exhaustive evaluation emphasised its performance, the degree of technology transfer and price. The FAB estimated that it would cost $4,000 per flying hour rather than about $14,000 for the heavier Rafale. SAAB quoted $4.5 billion as the initial acquisition cost of the Gripens plus $1.5 billion for maintenance support over 30 years while the Rafale was $8.2 billion, plus $4 billion.

The Rafale’s quoted unit cost was thus 82 per cent more than that for the single-engined Gripen while the Brazilians estimated that the Rafale’s two engines and expensive maintenance would make it cost a full 250 per cent more to keep in the air.

These figures for the Rafale are in line with those from the defence and security committee of the French Senat which estimated in 2011 that the Rafale programme cost would be €43.56 billion for 286 aircraft.

The largely Indian designed and developed Tejas multirole light combat aircraft (LCA) is not in the same class as the Rafale, but it is far more capable than the MiG-21s it was designed to replace. Modern radar and ground targeting systems, both coupled to a helmet-mounted display and sight, confer superb target acquisition and missile launch capability. Advanced beyond visual range and close combat missiles, along with precision guided munitions, make it more potent than the more powerful MiG-23s and -27s. Even if unit prices rise to $30 million by the time it attains full operational capability, 126 Tejas fighters would still cost well under $4 billion, or a fifth of an equal number of Rafales.

Operating costs would probably be comparable to that of the frugal Gripen largely because it is small, light and powered by a slightly different version of the efficient and hugely reliable GE-F404 engines that also power currently operational Gripens.

While exact comparisons between the Brazilian and “leaked” quotations for Indian Rafales are not possible, not least because of differences in numbers and payment terms, the small difference in unit acquisition cost between the two suggests that the widely reported Indian estimates are very credible. The IAF could buy 200 Tejases instead of 126 Rafales and still save nearly $14 billion or Rs.84,000 crore; this is closely comparable to the 2013-14 capital acquisition budget for the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force. The FAB’s estimates also suggest that the IAF would save over $170 million annually even if 200 Tejases, instead of 126 Rafales, each flew 15 hours per month.

Losing credibility

There is no doubt that Indian designers took on the ambitious task of developing an advanced technology aircraft without realistically estimating the resources required to accomplish their goals in the face of an often sceptical IAF and not always fully committed Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). They then lost a great deal of credibility by projecting completion dates that were, at best, exercises in self-delusion. The Tejas has fortunately got a recent lift because Dr. R.K. Tyagi, HAL’s current chairman, seems committed to the little fighter.

It would be extremely foolish to break up the Tejas teams involved in the further development of its composite airframe and world class flight control system while full operational capability is very much a work in progress and redesign of the aircraft to more fully meet the IAF’s needs is at a critical stage.

Some commentators seem unaware that the Rafale entered service in 2001 nearly 15 years after it first took to the air; an interval that will only be slightly exceeded when the Tejas reaches Final Operational Clearance (FOC) late next year. The IAF has been far more demanding of the Tejas than it has been with respect to the MMRCA contenders whether on the hot and high airstrip at Leh or during Jaisalmer’s dusty summers. The service also seems to have forgotten that the Mirage 2000 was armed only with a cannon for three years after it entered service; largely ineffectual during the dangerous “Operation Brass Tacks” of 1986-87.

To summarise, going ahead with the MMRCA programme will cripple India for decades to come. Affordable air power is effective air power. Conversely, unaffordable air power is poor strategy.

(C.Manmohan Reddy, a former management consultant, is a columnist on automobiles, aviation and defence.)

Viv S
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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby Viv S » 17 Apr 2014 08:45

Philip wrote:But here HAL have to perform which as of now is still a huge risk,given its track record.

If the target is 42+ sqds. then new aircraft from abroad have to be purchased to achieve the desired numbers.Here too the right word is affordable.


Even if the target is 42 squadrons new aircraft from abroad don't have to be purchased. Either HAL can build a production line for the Tejas or it can't. And if it can build one, it can build two (even three) production lines. In either case, the money ends up invested in the domestic industry instead of being used to support a mothballed MiG-29M production line.


Unfortunately M-2000s are no longer in production,so if not Rafales,then what? It leaves only Russian birds (Flankers or Fulcrums,the IN's MIG-29Ks cost $32M/unit) unless the equally affordable Gripen returns into contention.


Second hand Mirages are available from UAE and Qatar, MiG-29s from Hungary and Eurofighter T1s from the UK. Maybe some Gripens from South Africa. We could theoretically even even get some Gripens on short lease from Sweden to tide us over. While many options are there realistically only the Mirages are worth pursuing.

By 2030 if not earlier we should have reduced the number of types serving to just three (or at worst four) with the MiG-29, Mirage 2000 & Jaguar retired. Inducting new build MiG-29s saddles us for the long run with yet another fighter type.

maitya
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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby maitya » 17 Apr 2014 11:52

Philip wrote:...
Affordable air power
C. Manmohan Reddy
<snip>
Cost of aircraft
A request for proposals (RfP) finally went out on July 28, 2007 for 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCAs), with an option for 63 more. Rs.42,000 crore, then worth approximately $10.25 billion, was budgeted to purchase the 126 aircraft. Recent reports indicate that the short-listed Rafales are now expected to cost over $20 billion, not least because of nearly 50 “miscellaneous” items that were left unpriced as part of the original French bid. Not only will the 126 aircraft cost about twice as much in dollar terms as originally budgeted for, depreciation of the rupee with respect to the dollar since the RfP was issued from less than 41 to over 60 will force us to effectively pay about three times as much, nearly Rs.120,000 crore, just in initial acquisition costs with over Rs.30,000 crore of that paid up front.

Interestingly, five of the same aircraft that participated in the Indian MMRCA competition were simultaneously bid for in a similar Brazilian tender. The head of the Brazilian Air Force (FAB), Juniti Saito, has recently stated that they chose the Swedish Gripen NG after an exhaustive evaluation emphasised its performance, the degree of technology transfer and price. The FAB estimated that it would cost $4,000 per flying hour rather than about $14,000 for the heavier Rafale. SAAB quoted $4.5 billion as the initial acquisition cost of the Gripens plus $1.5 billion for maintenance support over 30 years while the Rafale was $8.2 billion, plus $4 billion.

The Rafale’s quoted unit cost was thus 82 per cent more than that for the single-engined Gripen while the Brazilians estimated that the Rafale’s two engines and expensive maintenance would make it cost a full 250 per cent more to keep in the air.
[...]
While exact comparisons between the Brazilian and “leaked” quotations for Indian Rafales are not possible, not least because of differences in numbers and payment terms, the small difference in unit acquisition cost between the two suggests that the widely reported Indian estimates are very credible.

Nice article!!

But hang on ... what I find baffling with such sweeping comparisons (especially on the cost/price etc.), that appears time to time, exactly how people would have calculated,

1) the total procurement cost (including Life Cycle cost) of the platforms (e.g. Gripen) that got rejected in the tech eval stage - as far as I know only Rafale and EF were allowed to submit their financial bids which would have calculated the unit cost based on the total procurement cost (including Life Cycle cost).

2) the price (not cost, mind you) for ToT which in turn was dependent of both depth (component level SKD, CKD or manufacturing-from-raw-material) and breadth (which components/sub-components would be produced etc, infra setup cost and OEM-dependency) of this ToT.
Except for "two-sentence promises" like "Sky is the limit", "100% licensed manufacturing from raw material" haven't seen report indicating priced offer of component-level ToT being shared as responses to the original RFP. Ofcourse, Rafale and EF would have done it as a part of their post-qualification bids, but how and when did the other contenders do so.



And what about capability ... generic or qualitative points wrt platform capability doesn't mean much.
This whole acquisition process was predicated on demonstrable capability that IAF demanded as a part of tech eval - where you either pass or fail and get a weighted score. That's it.
Was there any attempt to price the "degree of failure" (or success) and include it as a part of the final Tech eval scoring - I'm not aware of it, if there's any open-source proof of that been done, pls post.

So all these "why not" platform B or C or D debates, is a wasteful exercise - if there's a will to complete the MMRCA process, it will have to be either Rafale or EF ... otherwise another decade long tech-eval, comm-eval and contract negotiation phases will be required. Not sure if the "need/requirement" of 4.5 gen platforms will be there that long.



Reg LCA wrt MMRCA etc ... pls let me know what is the cost of the capability that one would be forgoing by doing so. And more importantly, what will happen to the "medium" component of the IAF War Fighting doctrine - are they ready to redefine it?

After all at a very high-level from a lay-man perspective, the envisaged IAF force structure is:
1) MiG-21/23/27 replacements are for the light category - so completely in LCA domain.
2) Mirage/Jaguar replacements are in "medium" category - so completely in MMRCA domain.
3) Su-30MKI is the "heavy" air-dominance domain, which was never there before (so capability-augmentation and not replacements)



Moreover people tend to do a more blatantly wrong thing is by assuming one-to-one replacements for the above.
Not sure how many of you are aware of, but a Bison Sqn Commander once famously quoted that, in terms of capability (i.e. in terms of tasks they can peform in one-shot, each bison is equivalent to a mix of 6-8 FLs/Ms. Are we saying we had 6 x 6 = 36 sqns of BIS/FLs/Ms prior to the Bison upgrade happened, and all of it got replaced with these 125 odd platforms? :shock:

Most definitely not - then why is this comparison of plane-by-plane replacements? And why then try to come up with absurd logic 1 Rafale = x LCA etc?


Lastly, a scenario-question that comes up that will need answering before people does these kind of comparisons is:
As a Sqn Commander (say) how many single-engined LCAs are you willing to commit to neutralize a modestly sparsed (say 2Km x 2Km) and modestly defended (via SAM) target area? How many platforms are you willing to sacrifice to do so, given that survivality of single-engined platforms are an order-of-magnitude lower than that of twin-engined ones (say Rafale)?

However there's no denying that Rafale is hugely costly platform - and only USA has the required manufacturing and deployment strength to lower unit/life-cycle cost of such capable (and thus costly) platforms. But neither India nor France are USA (including it's various geo-strategic baggage), so why attempt at such comparisons?

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby Viv S » 17 Apr 2014 16:09

maitya wrote:But hang on ... what I find baffling with such sweeping comparisons (especially on the cost/price etc.), that appears time to time, exactly how people would have calculated,
.
Except for "two-sentence promises" like "Sky is the limit", "100% licensed manufacturing from raw material" haven't seen report indicating priced offer of component-level ToT being shared as responses to the original RFP. Ofcourse, Rafale and EF would have done it as a part of their post-qualification bids, but how and when did the other contenders do so.

The cost estimate was made by the FAB. The ToT & licensing cost will be calculated differently as per its own stipulated requirements. The article clarified that though the figures will not be exactly the same as in India, the Brazilian competition is still a good indicator of the (so far) officially undisclosed cost to the Indian taxpayer, also lending credence to the $20 billion+ figure making the rounds.

So all these "why not" platform B or C or D debates, is a wasteful exercise - if there's a will to complete the MMRCA process, it will have to be either Rafale or EF ... otherwise another decade long tech-eval, comm-eval and contract negotiation phases will be required. Not sure if the "need/requirement" of 4.5 gen platforms will be there that long.

The cost was never factored into the primary evaluation of the aircraft, which has proven to be the primary drawback to the MRCA competition. The evaluation was structured in such a way, that the IAF was bound to end up choosing the two most obviously expensive options.

And with the Tejas nearing its FOC we don't need the Rafale/EF or any decade long replacement program.

Reg LCA wrt MMRCA etc ... pls let me know what is the cost of the capability that one would be forgoing by doing so.

Capability is hardly being foregone. The Tejas & Su-30MKI backed up through data-links with the ERJ-145 AEW&C & Phalcon, can perform every mission required by the IAF. The only tasks where the Rafale would have been preferred are deep strike & SEAD. Since the ideal platform for performing both is a fifth generation aircraft, that too will be catered to by decade end.

And more importantly, what will happen to the "medium" component of the IAF War Fighting doctrine - are they ready to redefine it?

The IAF is only air force in the world striving for a three tier force based on aircraft weight. And given that the 'medium' component originated in a Mirage 2000 proposal and ended up spanning designs from the 7 ton Gripen NG all the way to the 14 ton Super Hornet, its already an absurdity.

After all at a very high-level from a lay-man perspective, the envisaged IAF force structure is:
1) MiG-21/23/27 replacements are for the light category - so completely in LCA domain.
2) Mirage/Jaguar replacements are in "medium" category - so completely in MMRCA domain.
3) Su-30MKI is the "heavy" air-dominance domain, which was never there before (so capability-augmentation and not replacements)

The Su-35 & F-15E were not invited to the MMRCA evaluation because they weren't deemed to be in the required class. However the Saab was still invited to run. So how can it be that the Gripen is large enough to be eligible for the IAF's 'medium' stipulation but the Tejas isn't?

Moreover people tend to do a more blatantly wrong thing is by assuming one-to-one replacements for the above.
Not sure how many of you are aware of, but a Bison Sqn Commander once famously quoted that, in terms of capability (i.e. in terms of tasks they can peform in one-shot, each bison is equivalent to a mix of 6-8 FLs/Ms. Are we saying we had 6 x 6 = 36 sqns of BIS/FLs/Ms prior to the Bison upgrade happened, and all of it got replaced with these 125 odd platforms? :shock:

Can you post a quote please.

Most definitely not - then why is this comparison of plane-by-plane replacements? And why then try to come up with absurd logic 1 Rafale = x LCA etc?

Actually, the argument is more on the lines of -

For the price of 2 x Rafales, we can buy


A> 1 ERJ-145 + 4 Tejas - DCA, BARCAP

B> 8 Tejas - DCA, Interception, FAC

C> 1 Su-30MKI + 6 Tejas - Sweep, CAS, OCA, Interdiction

C> 2 Su-30MKI + 4 Tejas - SEAD, Escort, Strike

D> 4 Su-30MKI - DCA, HAVCAP

E> 75 Nirbhay LRCM - Deep Strike


Lastly, a scenario-question that comes up that will need answering before people does these kind of comparisons is:
As a Sqn Commander (say) how many single-engined LCAs are you willing to commit to neutralize a modestly sparsed (say 2Km x 2Km) and modestly defended (via SAM) target area? How many platforms are you willing to sacrifice to do so, given that survivality of single-engined platforms are an order-of-magnitude lower than that of twin-engined ones (say Rafale)?

From the records of conflicts over the last two or three decades, twin engined aircraft have not proven to be appreciably safer than single engined aircraft in combat zones. Having a single engine did not deter sales of hundreds of Mirage 2000s and thousands of F-16s. As a matter of fact, the French shelved the Mirage 4000 program entirely, preferring instead to stick with the more cost-effective Mirage 2000.

Coming to the scenario you've outlined - it wouldn't run quite that way. SAM systems in the sector will be engaged with ARMs at standoff ranges. If they go silent and need to be neutralized, the IAF will presumably deploy loitering Harpy/Herop drones and wait for the threat to go live again. But assuming a previously unidentified SAM threat pops up while the aircraft are in range, it would still be preferable to lose 1 or 2 out of 8 Tejas instead of 1 of 2 Rafales.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby maitya » 18 Apr 2014 11:41

Viv S wrote:
maitya wrote:But hang on ... what I find baffling with such sweeping comparisons (especially on the cost/price etc.), that appears time to time, exactly how people would have calculated,
.
Except for "two-sentence promises" like "Sky is the limit", "100% licensed manufacturing from raw material" haven't seen report indicating priced offer of component-level ToT being shared as responses to the original RFP. Ofcourse, Rafale and EF would have done it as a part of their post-qualification bids, but how and when did the other contenders do so.

The cost estimate was made by the FAB. The ToT & licensing cost will be calculated differently as per its own stipulated requirements. The article clarified that though the figures will not be exactly the same as in India, the Brazilian competition is still a good indicator of the (so far) officially undisclosed cost to the Indian taxpayer, also lending credence to the $20 billion+ figure making the rounds.
...
...

That’s exactly the point … based on Brazilian RFP, and without having a clue on what the exact requirements are, we are trying to forecast the “Life cycle cost” of a platform that will be substantially built in India.
I’m sure, just like India, Brazil RFP details wouldn’t be privy to anybody else – so based on what factors the Brazilian cost/price calc “is still a good indicator” for Indian requirements?

Plus ToT in itself can be and actually is vastly different – as it needs to factor in the country’s mil-tech Industrial maturity etc.

For example, if we are to insist (in the RFP), say, that the X-band TR modules are to indigenously produced in a foundry in India (while making a few other radar components like RCs importable) and that the radar will have to be final assembled by an Indian entity, and the RFP respondent would still have to guarantee the overall radar xhrs MTBF – various factors need to be considered.

First and foremost - Do we have the required parallel capability (i.e do we regularly produce X-band or even S-band TR modules) to ask for this? If yes, how much dependency of that is on imported (GaAs) foundries? Do we have required design level understanding of the existing TR modules being indigenously produced, so that we can tweak/adjust it graduate to those that are required for the particular platform in question?
Also stuff like do we produce raw materials for an equivalent TR module – if yes, how much of the material design is understood by us etc.

OR
Is it that we don’t have the capability to produce any >1 GHz TR modules in India – and we are looking at acquiring that capability via this program?
Etc etc etc

The answer to the above questions can be and will be vastly different from country to country – and the cost of acquiring it (so the price as well) would be vastly different.

Ditto with another possible example with Composite aeronautical structures – thanks our local program (LCA) we have a substantial capability to produce panels from raw materials. But guess what, the composite body panels of Rafale are a gen apart.
How the cost/price of manufacturing the composites structures should then be calculated? And moreover, are we aware of the Brazilian capability of mil aeronautical-grade composite design/manufacturing/engineering capabilities well enough to be able to extrapolate the cost/price of that aspect of the ToT cost?


And also what about commercial Strategic importance (and the resulting discount, both in terms of pricing and IP-sharing) of building up that “relationship”, both with the user-community and mil industrial complex?
Is this “relationship-valuation” identical for Brazilian and Indian? Even if it is, will it not vary from country to country OEMs. For example, Russians know very well, the user, IAF mindset towards their product for this contract (and so does, the French, again for this contract) – how much of that “understanding” would influence the ToT pricing and IP-sharing readiness. Will they not be vastly different? And will that difference be same/similar for Brazil – why and how?

I can go on and on … but will stop!!

So bottomline is it’s fundamentally wrong to forecast pricing etc without atleast a qualitative understanding of the “context” of the contract for which RFPs were floated for.

The Rafale deal may still turn out to be $20bil+ etc – but mere matching of these values doesn’t mean the fundamentally wrong method of forecasting to arrive at that pricing.
Viv S wrote:
maitya wrote:So all these "why not" platform B or C or D debates, is a wasteful exercise - if there's a will to complete the MMRCA process, it will have to be either Rafale or EF ... otherwise another decade long tech-eval, comm-eval and contract negotiation phases will be required. Not sure if the "need/requirement" of 4.5 gen platforms will be there that long.

The cost was never factored into the primary evaluation of the aircraft, which has proven to be the primary drawback to the MRCA competition. The evaluation was structured in such a way, that the IAF was bound to end up choosing the two most obviously expensive options.

And with the Tejas nearing its FOC we don't need the Rafale/EF or any decade long replacement program.
...
...
...

Actually to dual-hedge against Russian-price-gouging (plus tech denial) and Indian mil industrial capability of failing with delivery schedule, a third “western” alternative is a must. And, LCA (Mk2) will not be induction-density ready (i.e. the numbers that will be needed in the timeframe that they will be needed) by the time MMRCAs will be available.

And Mk2 is not even close to what capability Rafale brings to the table (so let’s not talk about Mk1) – I’ll ask one simple question. Do you have any open-source material that do a comparo wrt internal ECM/ESM suite of the M2K upgrade and those that are being envisaged for LCA Mk1? (I used to have the details of M2K upgrade in one of my very old BR writeup/post but couldn’t find it anymore).

We will talk about Rafale once we have baselined with the oh-so-costly upgraded-M2Ks.
Also, continuing such subsystems, have you seen any open-source material on Indian capability (so that it’ll make it to the LCA) on the following (typing from memory, in haste, so the list is way too shorter than it actually can be):
1) mmW based “active” MAWS (and not just some X-band active MAWS)
2) Military grade IRST with an integrated LR that’s good enough for 20Km head-on tracking and lock-on
3) Military grade IRST that would allow ground-targeting, say from 20K ft.
Etc.

I’ll not even go to the engine area as, well as all being imported, there’s nothing much to talk about there – except that if we can get the casting tech for AM1/2 turbine blades, that in itself would be worthwhile RoI (ok ok, maybe not 100% RoI, but say 30-40% atelast).

Talking about engines, I wonder how many LCAs will be flying if Uncle decides to block GE tomorrow – well, they can indirectly influence the French as well, but then that’s the whole game (and penalty of not able to develop the indigenous strategic capability – outside the scope of this discussion).


At the end of the day, IAF after detailed review of it’s threat perception and the required mitigating-capability, and have decided to have 3 categories of fighter platforms,
1) 30+ T MToW (Su-30MKI)
2) 15-30 T MToW (MMRCA winner)
3) < 15T MToW (LCA)

And this classification goes well beyond the scope of old segregated/dedicated platforms (for Interception, Interdiction, Recon, Ground-Attack, SEAD etc.) … with multi-role platforms available, ALL modern platforms are able to perform all of these functions albeit limited with the platforms overall weight/aerodynamic agility/endurance etc capability.
And how is it even relevant what the whole-world thinks/does etc …

I gave the 2Km * 2Km example – answer this, assuming it be at a range of say 300Km how many Rafales on self-escorted missions would be required for this and how many LCAs would be required to do so? And for that matter how many Su-30MKIs will be able to achieve it.
You used ARM as an example solution – so on an LCA, you are then required to sacrifice 1-2 stations for addn RWS systems to be able to provide sufficiently granular range and angular-orientation of the emitting targets (SAM). Do you need to do so in a Rafale (with SPECTRA) – pls find out!!


And the single vs twin-engined debate is far from decided (it actually tilted towards the double-engined ones, until the cost factors, both capital and recurring, came into picture). Fighters are, after all, not going to fly only during war etc, but will fly 90-95% of the total flight time during peace time. ‘nough said!!


Oh betw, the quote for Bison effectiveness, no I don’t have it anymore (should be in the BR archives, as it got posted around 2006-7 timeframe) – so take it FWIW.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby vic » 18 Apr 2014 15:54

Procuring second hand aircraft does not make sense due to Cheap price of LCA at only USD 26 Million. We need to ramp up production of LCA and give it longer legs with CFT etc.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby member_23694 » 18 Apr 2014 16:25

maitya wrote:That’s exactly the point … based on Brazilian RFP, and without having a clue on what the exact requirements are, we are trying to forecast the “Life cycle cost” of a platform that will be substantially built in India.
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great input as usual :)

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby Viv S » 18 Apr 2014 16:53

maitya wrote:That’s exactly the point … based on Brazilian RFP, and without having a clue on what the exact requirements are, we are trying to forecast the “Life cycle cost” of a platform that will be substantially built in India.

As is evident from the Su-30MKI production, HAL built aircraft have not in fact proven to be cheaper than those manufactured at the OEM's facilities.

I’m sure, just like India, Brazil RFP details wouldn’t be privy to anybody else – so based on what factors the Brazilian cost/price calc “is still a good indicator” for Indian requirements?
.
.
The Rafale deal may still turn out to be $20bil+ etc – but mere matching of these values doesn’t mean the fundamentally wrong method of forecasting to arrive at that pricing.

Its not a good indicator of 'Indian requirements'. But $8.2 billion for 36 aircraft (built by Embraer) translates to about $29 billion for 126 aircraft. Even accounting for a greater economies of scale, discounts, ToT/production efficiency, etc, the cost to the Indian taxpayer is likely to be $20 billion+, which is what the article states.

This is also borne out by the acquisition cost to France for aircraft assembled at Merignac ii.e. $145M/unit, or $18.3 billion for 126 aircraft. Including VAT, but excluding cost of ToT, licensing, production or support infrastructure.


Viv S wrote:Actually to dual-hedge against Russian-price-gouging (plus tech denial) and Indian mil industrial capability of failing with delivery schedule, a third “western” alternative is a must.

If it were an alternative to a Russian acquisition, yes. But ordering it in lieu of the Tejas, makes it a western alternative to an Indian product.

And, LCA (Mk2) will not be induction-density ready (i.e. the numbers that will be needed in the timeframe that they will be needed) by the time MMRCAs will be available.

Aside from the first squadron, the MMRCA is be manufactured domestically (albeit starting out with kit assembly) with HAL deliveries likely starting no earlier than 2018. If we can afford (both in terms of time and money) to set up a Rafale production lline, we can afford to establish up two Tejas Mk2 lines.

And Mk2 is not even close to what capability Rafale brings to the table (so let’s not talk about Mk1) – I’ll ask one simple question. Do you have any open-source material that do a comparo wrt internal ECM/ESM suite of the M2K upgrade and those that are being envisaged for LCA Mk1? (I used to have the details of M2K upgrade in one of my very old BR writeup/post but couldn’t find it anymore).

We will talk about Rafale once we have baselined with the oh-so-costly upgraded-M2Ks.
Also, continuing such subsystems, have you seen any open-source material on Indian capability (so that it’ll make it to the LCA) on the following (typing from memory, in haste, so the list is way too shorter than it actually can be):
1) mmW based “active” MAWS (and not just some X-band active MAWS)
2) Military grade IRST with an integrated LR that’s good enough for 20Km head-on tracking and lock-on
3) Military grade IRST that would allow ground-targeting, say from 20K ft.

(^^ Current debate aside please do share your views/knowledge on the above.)

The whole point is that the Tejas won't be operating in isolation. It can refuel from the Su-30MKI and exploit the upgraded Sukhoi's radar (with 1.5-2 times the range of the RBE). Post-2020, it'll be able to link up with a 5G aircraft, likely PAK FAs, if not F-35s. How do their avionic suites compare to the Rafale's? Very well I'd imagine.

For approximately the same cost of a Rafale we can get an ERJ-145 based AEW&C (which I believe is cheaper to operate as well). So an equally apt question may be how does the AEW&C aircraft's ECM/ESM system compare to the Rafale's.

BTW the Rafale employs a passive IR based MAWS (DDM-NG) rather than a mmW active system. And while we have never developed an IRST system, there's no reason why it can't be imported and/or license built (case in point; Skyward-G).


Talking about engines, I wonder how many LCAs will be flying if Uncle decides to block GE tomorrow – well, they can indirectly influence the French as well, but then that’s the whole game (and penalty of not able to develop the indigenous strategic capability – outside the scope of this discussion).

Why would the US decide to shoot itself in the foot by blocking GE? As regards your question, all the aircraft will continue flying even if GE is blocked. The PAF remained under sanctions from 1990 until 2001 when they were finally lifted. Over a decade. And while operating their F-16s during the period wasn't a breeze, it certainly wasn't grounded either.

At the end of the day, IAF after detailed review of it’s threat perception and the required mitigating-capability, and have decided to have 3 categories of fighter platforms,
1) 30+ T MToW (Su-30MKI)
2) 15-30 T MToW (MMRCA winner)
3) < 15T MToW (LCA)

And this classification goes well beyond the scope of old segregated/dedicated platforms (for Interception, Interdiction, Recon, Ground-Attack, SEAD etc.) … with multi-role platforms available, ALL modern platforms are able to perform all of these functions albeit limited with the platforms overall weight/aerodynamic agility/endurance etc capability.
And how is it even relevant what the whole-world thinks/does etc …

On the contrary its after assessing the aircraft that it wanted that this weight segregation was created. An ideal means of justifying an acquisition that was neither the Su-30MKI nor the LCA (which was being advertised as 'just around the corner').

The original RFI were sent to LM, Dassault, MiG and Saab. The Gripen C/D with an MTOW of 14 tons clearly falls outside the 15-30 ton 'medium' category. The Rafale, Eurofighter or Super Hornet weren't on anyone's radar at the time. EADS & Boeing had to to lobby the MoD/IAF to be included in the competition.


Just days before the government opens bid for one of its largest arms purchase, of 126 multirole fighter aircraft, European defence consortium EADS made a quick last ditch effort on November 25 to push the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter into the $9 billion sweepstakes. South Block sources indicated that the unsolicited offer by Washington for Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet might have encouraged the European firm to make a final attempt to formally propose Typhoon for the competition.
- New Indian Express, 2005

Sources say efforts by the French and UK governments to persuade India to add the Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon to the shortlist appear to have been successful.
- Flight International, 2005


The fact that only EADS and Dassault were invited to bid for the contract was a result of a rise in funding available to the IAF/MoD, rather than a pressing need for aircraft in that exact weight category or delivering those specific ESM capabilities.

I gave the 2Km * 2Km example – answer this, assuming it be at a range of say 300Km how many Rafales on self-escorted missions would be required for this and how many LCAs would be required to do so? And for that matter how many Su-30MKIs will be able to achieve it.

You used ARM as an example solution – so on an LCA, you are then required to sacrifice 1-2 stations for addn RWS systems to be able to provide sufficiently granular range and angular-orientation of the emitting targets (SAM). Do you need to do so in a Rafale (with SPECTRA) – pls find out!!

A flight of two Rafales will between them, have have 28 hardpoints. For the same cost you could get 8 Tejas aircraft. Total hardpoints - 64.

With an abundance of available aircraft, lets say four of those eight fighters provide top cover. That still leaves 32 hardpoints between the four strike aircraft. If they have to spare even 3-4 hardpoints for RWS systems, so be it. Hardly a heavy compromise.

Note, this is a SEAD mission we're discussing. Something that the Rafale excels at (lack of a standoff ARM notwithstanding). For every other mission that I mentioned in my last post - a combination of the Su-30MKI, Tejas, ERJ-145 AEW&C & Nirbhay LRCM offers a more capable, more flexible solution.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby Cain Marko » 18 Apr 2014 18:08

That article in the Hindu makes some very good points. A fleet of LCA, MKI, PAKFA, AMCA in the future would be excellent. In the short term, a couple of quick buys of Qatari m2ks and Hungarian fulcrums should stem the tide until Tejas production lines are ramped.up to produce up to 40 aircraft per year in various blocks.

The whole MRCA, MMRCA distinction is eyewash when your requirements can be met by anything from a mirage 2k to a typhoon.

The rafale is a great fighter, no.argument, but it would only offer the iaf niche capabilities such as the iir mica capability. Everything else can be done by tejas and mki combination, plus iaf will have upgraded mirages, jaguars and fulcrums to play the precious Medium role until the AMCA comes along circa 2030. So where is the preessing need to squander the ungodly amount of money?

At this late stage, the real concern is only in terms of numbers. And the tejas can do this better than any other bird. Onus now should be to get production issues licked. Only possible concern is engine. the mrca buy made sense when tejas was nowhere in sight, 10 and perhaps 5 years ago.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby Viv S » 18 Apr 2014 18:14

pandyan wrote:That's because individual components that are still imported are marked up several folds by the OEM. The question is why is russian OEM selling a product for $10 when mki is assembled in a ruski factory while selling the same component for $120 when assembled in an indian factory?

This also tells that for the other 65% components that are built in-house in India, there are a substantial savings during the lifetime of the plane. If you go to OEMs for these components, they will charge 12X more.


The same HAL is delivering the Tejas for $26 million so I can hardly accuse it of being profligate. But all the issues that have dogged the Su-30MKIs will likely dog the Rafale as well. Like we saw in the Mirage upgrade, the French aren't any less mercenary in these situations. Point is, the natural assumption that a Rafale manufactured in India will be cheaper won't last once the manufacture actually starts.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby Manish_Sharma » 18 Apr 2014 23:11

maitya wrote:First and foremost - Do we have the required parallel capability (i.e do we regularly produce X-band or even S-band TR modules) to ask for this? If yes, how much dependency of that is on imported (GaAs) foundries?Do we have required design level understanding of the existing TR modules being indigenously produced, so that we can tweak/adjust it graduate to those that are required for the particular platform in question?
Also stuff like do we produce raw materials for an equivalent TR module – if yes, how much of the material design is understood by us etc.

OR
Is it that we don’t have the capability to produce any >1 GHz TR modules in India – and we are looking at acquiring that capability via this program?
Etc etc etc


The answer to the above questions can be and will be vastly different from country to country – and the cost of acquiring it (so the price as well) would be vastly different.

Ditto with another possible example with Composite aeronautical structures – thanks our local program (LCA) we have a substantial capability to produce panels from raw materials. But guess what, the composite body panels of Rafale are a gen apart.
How the cost/price of manufacturing the composites structures should then be calculated? And moreover, are we aware of the Brazilian capability of mil aeronautical-grade composite design/manufacturing/engineering capabilities well enough to be able to extrapolate the cost/price of that aspect of the ToT cost?


So access western tech of (GaA / GaN) chips and next generation composite design/manufacturing/engineering capability is to be bought through MMRCA deal.

Also the advanced tools and machines from western companies bought for MMRCA can later be used to manufacture AMCA/Nirbhay(lighter)/Tejas MkII etc?

In short both the HAL and IAF climb a new level of capabilities. Since of all the MMRCAs Rafale & Ef2k were the latest jets, manufactured with latest western tech. So IAF gets super capable - high availability platforms and HAL gets access to better quality manufacturing machines + GaA chips manufacturing capabilities + next gen composites which can be used for AMCA - Tejas MkII etc. OR even Nirbhays?

Viv S wrote:
pandyan wrote:That's because individual components that are still imported are marked up several folds by the OEM. The question is why is russian OEM selling a product for $10 when mki is assembled in a ruski factory while selling the same component for $120 when assembled in an indian factory?

This also tells that for the other 65% components that are built in-house in India, there are a substantial savings during the lifetime of the plane. If you go to OEMs for these components, they will charge 12X more.


The same HAL is delivering the Tejas for $26 million so I can hardly accuse it of being profligate. But all the issues that have dogged the Su-30MKIs will likely dog the Rafale as well. Like we saw in the Mirage upgrade, the French aren't any less mercenary in these situations. Point is, the natural assumption that a Rafale manufactured in India will be cheaper won't last once the manufacture actually starts.


For $26 million per Tejas Mk-I we can have 800 Tejas MkI :shock: for around 20 billion dollars That is 40 squadrons :twisted: Plus 300 MKIs + 100 upgraded Mig 29s and M2Ks and coming PAKFA + AMCA and we can take on porki-cheeni-arabi combine together!
Last edited by Manish_Sharma on 19 Apr 2014 02:53, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby abhik » 18 Apr 2014 23:58

Can people list down the specific components/technologies which HAVE to be ToTed as per the MRCA contract? Not conjecture.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby member_20292 » 19 Apr 2014 06:51

1. not only niche capability but the technology offered in the Rafale is also qualitatively superior according to Maitya. learning from this would be awesome.

2. According to a lot of others it is not good value for money and the LCA would satisfy the needs.

3. According to me I would rather have 20 billion USD (100000 crore INR ) pumped into developing my own technology with my own blood sweat toil tears than pay someone else for ToT. (but this actually lasts a while and gives me the capacity to build technology supports my scientists salaries and builds a scientific-military-industrial base in my own country.

Take the example of the USA. If you are familiar with the academic research environment there you will find that a lot of research is funded by the defence forces and their associates.
A lot of 20th century innovations traces its way back to the forces as well. The internet itself was a DARPA initiative back in the 60s and 70s.
I know for sure that if I my scientists can do a Mangalyan for 75 million USD ....they could do a lot more with 20,000 million USD ..and India would have a whole generation of new scientists and engineers going into the research labs of Indian defence/space .

This will certainly change the look of things for a large segment of Indian intelligentsia.

Let's look to spend the Rafale moneys in India ,friends - there is an opportunity cost to the loss of those funds* which is too big in this case , to be ignored.


* just like there is for MNREGA , subsidies etc.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby abhik » 19 Apr 2014 13:04

^^^
Maybe they will try to pass off the bribe amount as offsets too like they did in the AgustaWestland helicopter deal?

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby Philip » 20 Apr 2014 05:57

The absurdity of grouping together single-engined lightweight birds like the Gripen with middle-weight/light-heavies like the EF and Rafale was pointed out to me by a former AM.He correctly predicted that a twin-engined Eurocanard would be chosen.The Gripen is now being touted by some analysts like Sweetman as the bird to buy,cheap to acquire,very capable and very cost-effective to operate,far cheaper than its competitors. If the LCA is also "tuned" in similar fashion,so that it can deliver comparable stats,then a force of Flankers,LCAs and in the future FGFAs would suffice,if the numbers are available.If not,we have to as an interim measure acquire more of the same.MIG-29s-also cheap (IN's 29-Ks at $32M a pop) or cheap M-2000s.The only problem about the M-2000 upgrades are that the cost of just one upgrade is more than a new LCA!

The acquisition must also be viewed in perspective.In another post,the insidious role of western NGOs acting on behalf of the US and France in attempts to sabotage the KKNPP,using religious groups,to force MMS to water down the N-liability bill which he couldn't deliver upon,is totally reprehensible.Should we continue to reward such nations with lucrative defence contracts? India must use a carrot and stick policy in foreign acquisitions.Not surrender meekly.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby asprinzl » 20 Apr 2014 07:28

C. Manmohan Reddy is writing bollocks. What kind of logic is this "Affordable Airpower if Effective Airpower"? MiG-21s and A-4 Skyhawks are extremely affordable. Why not acquire them in huge numbers? Affordable no?

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby SaiK » 20 Apr 2014 07:54

he means rafale is not affordable, and thus not an effective airpower. kinda saying, don't aim for bollywood/hollywood girls having a sdre lifestyle :) . not effective in terms of military defense but effective in terms of purchase, affordability and deployability.

an f22 raptor in the hands of pakimullahs is not an effective purchase, even if that was provided to them for maintainance fee only. there a mig21bis is enough to finish raptor.

i agree he did not make things very clear with that abstraction.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby NRao » 20 Apr 2014 08:04

The Rafale "programme will cripple India for decades to come" via cost.

And a A-4/MiG-21 via technologies.

This point was made (perhaps in the MMRCA thread) that the LCA will not be a one-to-one replacement for the Rafale, so that is well understood. But, large enough volume of the LCA followed by a robust effort on the AMCA front should cover most bases.

What the Rafale brings to the table is manufacturing techniques. India is in need of such experiences - testing is another.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby Viv S » 20 Apr 2014 15:36

Philip wrote:The only problem about the M-2000 upgrades are that the cost of just one upgrade is more than a new LCA!


*groan*

Again Philip, its the IAF that has a geriatric Mirage fleet going through upgrades. Both the likely sellers i.e. Qatar & UAE, field aircraft that are either Dash 5/9 or have already been upgraded to the same standards.

The acquisition must also be viewed in perspective.In another post,the insidious role of western NGOs acting on behalf of the US and France in attempts to sabotage the KKNPP,using religious groups,to force MMS to water down the N-liability bill which he couldn't deliver upon,is totally reprehensible.Should we continue to reward such nations with lucrative defence contracts? India must use a carrot and stick policy in foreign acquisitions.Not surrender meekly.

So you want to stop defence imports from the US and France, on basis of an amorphous hypothesis about a conspiracy hatched by unseen unnamed western parties in a completely unrelated industry? Hell we may as well add Ford, GM & Renault to the blacklist then, lest we end up 'rewarding' their parent countries. (And of course start buying Ladas while we're at it.)

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby srin » 20 Apr 2014 19:42

Looks like we are the only guys going for light-medium-heavy distribution. I would say it makes sense if the "heavy" is way more expensive (like F-22 class expensive) and fewer than a "medium". The number of Rafales will be dwarfed by number of Sukhois. And with Rafale being way more expensive than Sukhois, I'm worried a lot about the opportunity cost - can this money be better utilized elsewhere ?

If there is some technology we lack, say integrated IRST, would it be difficult to purchase it separately than buying an entire airplane ?

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby SaiK » 20 Apr 2014 19:49

just to add a little punch.. the word light was just for getting a big program growing.. we all know how much we need to work our @$$0ff to get a light a/c AND that will satsify IAF requirements on delivery date.

we need only two class of a/cs, but with multiple role capability. squadrons need to be configured for all kinds of roles.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby Vikram W » 21 Apr 2014 20:42

For comparisons sake and HALs 16 planes a year capacity.

Airbus produces about one single aisle big plane a day thats over 350 planes a year.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-1 ... le-up.html

How HAL can keep talking about capacity constraints and sticking to this small number of prodution is beyond me. Also, they have been promising production since 2012 and FOC timelines have slipped N number of times. When I pointed out what NAK Browne had said about Air Force looking askance at HALs capabilities at delivering on timelines, I was flamed to death by a couple of members here.

HAL needs to ramp up its production and clean up the rest of its act. There are plenty of wheels between wheels ( read mig dealers) who might be stalling projects but someone has to step up to the plate and deliver.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby putnanja » 21 Apr 2014 22:21

Look at Airbus orders and then look at LCA's orders. Its apples and oranges comparison. Look up the production capacity of Rafale or Gripen. Companies are not fools to invest millions of dollars when the order book is empty.

If you order a Airbus A330 today, it will take you at least 3 year to get it. That is their backlog. And in one day, they can assemble an aircraft. The key word being Assemble. The parts have to be ordered years in advance, they arrive at the factory months before the actual assembly starts. And there are thousands of contractors and sub-contractors who supply those parts. If Airbus wants to increase production, it has to talk with all its major suppliers and ensure that they too can scale up.

All production facilities are built based on demand. If IAF is willing to buy 400 aircraft, then HAL will build 30-40 aircraft per year. Yes, that is true. No company will build production line to clear all orders in one year and then let the line be idle. Based on current projections of around 200 aircraft, around 16 per year sounds right, which they will probably scale up to 24 or so few years down the line. Also, you have to pay for those aircraft and induct them. IAF too has to plan on induction which includes logistics, training, supplies, available funds etc, so doubt if IAF too can take more than 20-30 aircraft every year.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby NRao » 21 Apr 2014 23:01

If Airbus wants to increase production, it has to talk with all its major suppliers and ensure that they too can scale up.

All production facilities are built based on demand.


Keys.

One more item: time. As in just-in-time delivery. Not sufficient to have deliveries, they cannot be too late (that all of understand), but they cannot be too early too (lock up cash/funds).

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby srin » 22 Apr 2014 00:15

Vikram W wrote:For comparisons sake and HALs 16 planes a year capacity.

Airbus produces about one single aisle big plane a day thats over 350 planes a year.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-1 ... le-up.html

How HAL can keep talking about capacity constraints and sticking to this small number of prodution is beyond me. Also, they have been promising production since 2012 and FOC timelines have slipped N number of times. When I pointed out what NAK Browne had said about Air Force looking askance at HALs capabilities at delivering on timelines, I was flamed to death by a couple of members here.

HAL needs to ramp up its production and clean up the rest of its act. There are plenty of wheels between wheels ( read mig dealers) who might be stalling projects but someone has to step up to the plate and deliver.


I'm no great fan of HAL but you are ignoring the economics here. If the order is for 40 aircraft, and there are no firm orders for anything more, then assuming that HAL invests for production line for 40 aircraft in say 2 years (20 per year), what will happen in the third year ? What do you do with the tools bought, and most importantly, are you going to fire the people you hired ? And in manufacturing, you just can't ignore the supply chain. You need to place orders with the component manufacturers in advance and they also need to ramp up the production. Say, it takes GE one year to manufacture the F404IN20 engines (and that is assuming all approvals are obtained), and say IAF suddenly says they want 20 more aircraft, can HAL manufacture it immediately ? No.

A proper production line is a flow, where there is minimum inventory, where components are supplied just in time for the manufacturing, and the finished product flows out - all done very smoothly. It will take time to establish the smoothness in the flow. People need to be hired, they need to be trained. Upfront capital investment needs to be done for the machinery, and suppliers need to be informed and contracts signed, and QA inspections carried out. Starting a production line is hard if you don't know the order size.

So - ideally, there is a gentle ramp-up and a long production time (spread across a decade) and a large volume (to amortize the upfront costs).

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby Vikram W » 23 Apr 2014 01:11

I agree with you guys here that there is no economy of scale but how HAL going to get orders or the IAF's confidence if they are not going to be able to deliver on timelines and delivery schedules. My other concern is.. why 16? This being a national project , by definition , should not have financial constraints.

We saw the same issues with the constant dragging of heels with the IJT. It is a complete project but no one is championing it.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby chackojoseph » 23 Apr 2014 06:56

Private co's are not interested in Pilatus production due to limited quantities.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby ramana » 24 Apr 2014 00:19

Hindu has this article

Affordable Air Power


Affordable Airpower

The largely Indian designed Tejas light combat aircraft is not in the same class as the Rafale, but it is far more capable than the MiG-21s it was designed to replace

The Defence Minister is entirely justified in refusing to sign a $20 billion contract with Dassault Aviation of France for 126 Rafale fighters while life cycle costs are still disputed; these costs are typically at least three times as much as the initial acquisition price over the three to five decades that combat aircraft often operate for. As we head for a new government in Delhi, it is appropriate to consider alternatives to this hugely expensive acquisition.

India’s geostrategic environment requires the Indian Air Force (IAF) to be prepared for a simultaneous two front confrontation at multiple levels. This necessitates a combat aircraft mix of expensive high-end fighters like the Su-30 and the forthcoming fifth generation fighter aircraft along with large numbers of cheaper tactical aircraft. The latter could easily deal with low intensity conflicts where it might be risky to use high value assets like the Sukhois.

Rapid retirement of hundreds of MiG-21s, -23s and -27s that have been the tactical backbone of the IAF for decades leaves just over six upgraded MiG-21 and four ground attack MiG-27 squadrons. This means that the IAF’s inventory of combat aircraft is currently well below its sanctioned 39-and-a-half squadron strength perhaps unable to fight widely spaced conflagrations against even a single adversary. Its 2001 plan to fill the gap by significantly adding to the 49 Mirage 2000s it then had was scuppered by Defence Ministry mandarins who forced it to go in for competitive tendering. Delays in the procurement process saw the Mirage going out of production and international pressure made sure that the final tender included much heavier and expensive aircraft than the tactical ones that the service originally wanted, leave alone needed.

Cost of aircraft

A request for proposals (RfP) finally went out on July 28, 2007 for 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCAs), with an option for 63 more. Rs.42,000 crore, then worth approximately $10.25 billion, was budgeted to purchase the 126 aircraft. Recent reports indicate that the short-listed Rafales are now expected to cost over $20 billion, not least because of nearly 50 “miscellaneous” items that were left unpriced as part of the original French bid. Not only will the 126 aircraft cost about twice as much in dollar terms as originally budgeted for, depreciation of the rupee with respect to the dollar since the RfP was issued from less than 41 to over 60 will force us to effectively pay about three times as much, nearly Rs.120,000 crore, just in initial acquisition costs with over Rs.30,000 crore of that paid up front.

Interestingly, five of the same aircraft that participated in the Indian MMRCA competition were simultaneously bid for in a similar Brazilian tender. The head of the Brazilian Air Force (FAB), Juniti Saito, has recently stated that they chose the Swedish Gripen NG after an exhaustive evaluation emphasised its performance, the degree of technology transfer and price. The FAB estimated that it would cost $4,000 per flying hour rather than about $14,000 for the heavier Rafale. SAAB quoted $4.5 billion as the initial acquisition cost of the Gripens plus $1.5 billion for maintenance support over 30 years while the Rafale was $8.2 billion, plus $4 billion.

The Rafale’s quoted unit cost was thus 82 per cent more than that for the single-engined Gripen while the Brazilians estimated that the Rafale’s two engines and expensive maintenance would make it cost a full 250 per cent more to keep in the air.

These figures for the Rafale are in line with those from the defence and security committee of the French Senat which estimated in 2011 that the Rafale programme cost would be €43.56 billion for 286 aircraft.

The largely Indian designed and developed Tejas multirole light combat aircraft (LCA) is not in the same class as the Rafale, but it is far more capable than the MiG-21s it was designed to replace. Modern radar and ground targeting systems, both coupled to a helmet-mounted display and sight, confer superb target acquisition and missile launch capability. Advanced beyond visual range and close combat missiles, along with precision guided munitions, make it more potent than the more powerful MiG-23s and -27s. Even if unit prices rise to $30 million by the time it attains full operational capability, 126 Tejas fighters would still cost well under $4 billion, or a fifth of an equal number of Rafales.

Operating costs would probably be comparable to that of the frugal Gripen largely because it is small, light and powered by a slightly different version of the efficient and hugely reliable GE-F404 engines that also power currently operational Gripens.

While exact comparisons between the Brazilian and “leaked” quotations for Indian Rafales are not possible, not least because of differences in numbers and payment terms, the small difference in unit acquisition cost between the two suggests that the widely reported Indian estimates are very credible. The IAF could buy 200 Tejases instead of 126 Rafales and still save nearly $14 billion or Rs.84,000 crore; this is closely comparable to the 2013-14 capital acquisition budget for the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force. The FAB’s estimates also suggest that the IAF would save over $170 million annually even if 200 Tejases, instead of 126 Rafales, each flew 15 hours per month.

Losing credibility

There is no doubt that Indian designers took on the ambitious task of developing an advanced technology aircraft without realistically estimating the resources required to accomplish their goals in the face of an often sceptical IAF and not always fully committed Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). They then lost a great deal of credibility by projecting completion dates that were, at best, exercises in self-delusion. The Tejas has fortunately got a recent lift because Dr. R.K. Tyagi, HAL’s current chairman, seems committed to the little fighter.

It would be extremely foolish to break up the Tejas teams involved in the further development of its composite airframe and world class flight control system while full operational capability is very much a work in progress and redesign of the aircraft to more fully meet the IAF’s needs is at a critical stage.

Some commentators seem unaware that the Rafale entered service in 2001 nearly 15 years after it first took to the air; an interval that will only be slightly exceeded when the Tejas reaches Final Operational Clearance (FOC) late next year. The IAF has been far more demanding of the Tejas than it has been with respect to the MMRCA contenders whether on the hot and high airstrip at Leh or during Jaisalmer’s dusty summers. The service also seems to have forgotten that the Mirage 2000 was armed only with a cannon for three years after it entered service; largely ineffectual during the dangerous “Operation Brass Tacks” of 1986-87.

To summarise, going ahead with the MMRCA programme will cripple India for decades to come. Affordable air power is effective air power. Conversely, unaffordable air power is poor strategy.

(C.Manmohan Reddy, a former management consultant, is a columnist on automobiles, aviation and defence.)


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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby vina » 24 Apr 2014 04:20

The service also seems to have forgotten that the Mirage 2000 was armed only with a cannon for three years after it entered service; largely ineffectual during the dangerous “Operation Brass Tacks” of 1986-87.

Oh, the Mirages were in a similar state when they flew escort for AN32s that dropped supplies over Jaffna in Operation Poomalai in Jaffna which was besieged by the SL Army. Just carrying their integral DEFA cannons.

Same situation with the original SU-30s that we got from Russia , 18 nos, which lay idle during Kargil. The full MKI version took something like 5 years after that to get into service.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby Avarachan » 24 Apr 2014 08:18

ramana wrote:Hindu has this article

Affordable Air Power


Ramana,

The Tejas, due to its engine, is vulnerable to U.S. sanctions. The Rafale is not. That's a major reason so many people want India to cancel the Rafale order in favor of the Tejas. Also, cancelling the Rafale deal would damage India's cooperation with France on some sensitive strategic issues. (http://www.telegraphindia.com/1120206/j ... 098135.jsp)

However, I doubt that India will buy 63 additional Rafale's (to make the order 189 planes). That would be too expensive. Also, I'm sure France is going to gouge India on the Rafale's mid-life upgrade. There's no getting around that, probably.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby P Chitkara » 24 Apr 2014 15:00

The Tejas, due to its engine, is vulnerable to U.S. sanctions.

As someone said earlier, TSP was able to keep its solahs flying for more than a decade. So, that may be a vulnerability but with somewhat lesser impact.

We lie between the devil and deep sea - US may sanction, and France will charge an arm and a leg, probably both arms and legs, for mid life upgrades to rafale.

Bottom line is obvious. We need to learn from the Kaveri saga to manage and invest wisely for building key technologies that go into creating an engine and not let the earlier exp go down the drain.

Hoping against hope, I strongly feel the Marut story is not repeated, this time, on the engine side.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby Viv S » 24 Apr 2014 15:45

Avarachan wrote:The Tejas, due to its engine, is vulnerable to U.S. sanctions. The Rafale is not. That's a major reason so many people want India to cancel the Rafale order in favor of the Tejas.

:-? Translation: People supporting the Tejas in lieu of the Rafale are traitors.

Fact 1: The (meagre) extent of US sanctions on Russia over the Ukrainian issue is evidence of how far its willing to go with a state that has been historically antagonistic to the US & Western Europe. India in contrast is a relatively friendly country, with whom the US has extensive common ground especially with regard to China. To add to which, the value of US trade with India is almost twice as high as that with Russia and growing fast.

Fact 2: Even if sanctions are applied, Tejas operations are not going to stop. The engines in question have extremely long lives and don't require the kind of intensive maintenance that their Russian equivalents do.

Also, cancelling the Rafale deal would damage India's cooperation with France on some sensitive strategic issues. (http://www.telegraphindia.com/1120206/j ... 098135.jsp)

That article is festooned with heaps of baloney.

US. UK. France. Russia. Israel. Of them, intelligence sharing with France has arguably the lowest value. The US & UK have been both politically and militarily involved in the Af-Pak region for decades. Russian interests in Central Asia extend to Afghanistan and thus to South Asia. Israeli intelligence too is has extensive interests in the region as an extension of the Middle East.

However, I doubt that India will buy 63 additional Rafale's (to make the order 189 planes). That would be too expensive. Also, I'm sure France is going to gouge India on the Rafale's mid-life upgrade. There's no getting around that, probably.

Actually once all the fixed costs have been committed and the infrastructure built up, both for HAL & the IAF, the cost of follow-on orders is relatively low.

Unfortunately those fixed cost are humongous and the 126 Rafales as a consequence, unaffordable.
Last edited by Viv S on 24 Apr 2014 18:00, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby Lalmohan » 24 Apr 2014 17:14

viv with respect, don't underestimate how active the french are globally

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby Viv S » 24 Apr 2014 17:58

Lalmohan wrote:viv with respect, don't underestimate how active the french are globally


They're a P-5 nation, a global power with a military capable of long range power projection, so I'd certainly expect them to be globally active. But to suggest as the article does that their intelligence collaboration with India has been 'without parallel', is pushing it too far.

Replace 'France' with 'Israel' and there may still be an element of plausibility to it. And of course it would be very different if the region in question were North or West Africa, where the French have a huge footprint, or to a lesser extent, the Middle East. Much less so in South Asia.

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Re: LCA News and Discussions, 22-Oct-2013

Postby vishvak » 24 Apr 2014 18:15

Another way is to use next Gen Russian engines. Or the current ones. How about 1x2xKaveri, if it will save monies.


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