Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby kmc_chacko » 03 Nov 2014 08:01

why induction of LCA is linked MRCA, AMCA, PAKFA & Mig upgrades. It should be added to force now as a fighter for keeping force level rather than a force multiplier.

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby Philip » 03 Nov 2014 11:31

I am sure that the IAF will buy as many LCAs,Mk-1 and 2 if available.The problem seems to be that HAL somewhere along the line forgot about production and realised this only recently in the LCA's developmental timeframe.With a measly 8/yr. increased to 16 later on,as I've said many a time,we would get only about 120+ in a decade's time,and don't forget,MK-2,the definitive version that the IAF wants hasn't even flown! So ultimately,we might end up producing about the same amt. of LCAs as we did for the HF-24s.Post 2025,a decade from now,the skies will be filled with nerw Chinese stealth birds and the IAF will want to counter them with equivalent aircraft not with 4th-gen light fighters. WE realisticaly also musn't confuse the LCA requirement to replace hundreds of MIG-21s wiht the need for an MMRCA.Cost being the only worrying factor about the Rafale.Adding to the number of MKIs if there are delays even with the MMRCA appears to be the easy way out for the IAF.mantra,"More of the same".

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby Viv S » 03 Nov 2014 18:17

Cain Marko wrote:Not so easy to forget the past - people, it seems have been truly traumatized. But one hopes that the newer gen of AF rank are more pro-desi. More importantly, can HAL/ADA guarantee any timelines? They have hardly met, even remotely, a single waypoint timewise, and that is after their announcement in 2010 iirc that they were going on a "warfooting" for the LCA. This tareekh pe tareekh attitude will rightfully give IAF planners nightmares.

108 out of 126 Rafales are to be built at and delivered by HAL.

I don't think they are happy to extend the Mig-21's, but see very little choice in that it will probably take HAL et al., another 5 years to deliver a single sqd of mk1s. IOWs, mk1s are not going to come fast enough for the IAF to let go of the 21s. Expect the first 40 Mk1s to come in by 2020++. So what choice do they have other than extend the Mig-21's service? It is not like HAL is just waiting in the aisles to mass produce LCAs. Nor is the MRCA any where close.

The first Rafale squadron will be delivered only by 2019. The next HAL delivered squadron will be up only after 2020. How can delays in spooling up the Tejas' production make the former a more expedient option?

Orders for the Tejas Mk1 total 40 units with the Tejas Mk2 scheduled to enter production no earlier than 2020. With only 40 units why should HAL be aiming for an average production rate exceeding 8 units per year? Peaking at perhaps 12/yr. The order is small, so you build them slower. Makes perfect sense. Its also why Dassault's Merignac line delivers only 11 Rafales annually.

There's certainly a learning curve, but I doubt even a pessimist would say that delivering 12 per year is unachievable. And if we accept that, then there is no argument I've ever heard credibly explaining how a company can set up one line to build a product but cannot set up a second line (assuming the ready availability of capital).

Can the IAF be assured that if they place an order for another 126mk1s, these will be delivered post-haste?

How long is 'post-haste'? I'd like to know what is a 'realistic figure' for the Tejas' delivery rate in 2018? 4/yr? 5/yr? Why not more? Why not less? What's the bottleneck? Because everyone seems confident that HAL can create a brand new production line for the Rafale by that date.

So perhaps it is not such a bad idea to stick with 40 mk1s and refocus on the mk2, which hopefully they can start producing by circa 2020-22..

40 Mk1s to 2022 equates to an average production rate of 5 Mk1s annually. How is that figure ideal? And what if there are delays in the Mk2's development?

In the meanwhile, some MRCA type will be necessary because HAL is going to struggle to deliver even 40 LCA mk1 by 2020

Is it prudent to purchase the Rafale at a time when everyone else is going in for 5th gen fighters? And that too in an arrangement where its to be license built by a 'struggling' HAL?

I think it is too early and possibly a bit pessimistic to compare IA's Arjun saga with the LCA for the very fact that the Arjun mk2 came about years after the mk1 was being produced en masse. The tejas mk2 otoh, has been on the cards well before mk1's development is completed. Let us hope IAF doesn't play such games. I think having Modi at the helm might help here.

Its more than just Mk2 development. The entire Arjun assembly line in Avadi, is gathering dust today, with zero orders to service. The line workers are just sitting and twiddling their thumbs waiting for the Mk2 to complete field trials.

You'll find the same thing happening with the Tejas Mk1. The production will hit 12/yr by 2018. Deliveries will conclude in 2019. And then they'll sit and twiddle their thumbs waiting for the Mk2 to complete field trials. And in 2020, BRFites will complain about how HAL can deliver no more than 12 Mk2s annually and the many years it will take to push that figure up.

And if, HAL/ADA move a little quicker on achieving FOC and SP deliveries, perhaps more Mk1s can also be ordered. But at the current rate, it is doubtful that FOC for the mk1 will be any time before mid 2015, which means HAL will have about 36 birds to deliver - will be interesting to see how long it takes to do the same. IOWs, the longer it takes to get going, the smaller is the window of opportunity for the mk1, esp. because the mk2 is supposed to be ready by 2020. Of course, if for whatever reasons, there are delays in the mk2 development, additional mk1s are likely.

There's a two to three year lead time for aircraft production, so it doesn't matter if HAL moves faster. If and when they wake up in 2019 and decide to order additional Mk1s, the delay in delivery will result in the prudent course being adopted i.e. mothball the line and wait for the Mk2.
Last edited by Viv S on 03 Nov 2014 19:10, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby Viv S » 03 Nov 2014 18:49

agupta wrote:Even your street halwai knows better than to start selling samosas in the 100s before he's perfected making them in small batches of 10 - AND then how to scale his methods up to the 100s. Somehow a lot of folks on BRF seem to think the step from Tech Demo/Prototypes to LSP/"ready" is small...forgetting that it IS one of the Achiles heels and is hard and expensive; even the Israeli's with decades of Systems Integration expertise knew better than to bite that off given the size of their resource base and focus developing their expertise at the sub-systems level.


Therein lies the difference. You're describing HAL as a halwai looking for perfection, and the Tejas as an order for an evening party. I see it more akin to food packets being dropped into a flood-hit area. How it tastes... is a secondary concern.

Its astonishing to see the IAF looking for perfection in an aircraft costing $26 million. This is an AF that was inducting 3rd gen Jaguars as late as 2006, still operates MiG-27s and will continue operating MiG-21s to 2021. Its an enduring truth that perfect is the enemy of good.

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby Ashok Sarraff » 03 Nov 2014 19:03

I guess one broad issue we need to consider regarding the buy/no-buy debate is whether we are equipped to face a (defensive) two-front war for the next say 10 to 20 years given the technological and numerical trajectories of respective military forces? It seems we will possibly have (or can plan to have) adequate numbers of LCA and AMCA in this timeframe. If that be the case, what does Rafale bring to the table that we will not have in-house in 10 to 20 years? Of course, if we are completely unequipped to face the two adversaries now and will remain so for the next 20 years despite our local efforts, then one must go for Rafale immediately irrespective of the high cost to the exchequer.

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby Philip » 03 Nov 2014 20:49

How is it that MKI production is around16/yr and Tejas so small despite being a desi bird with no hand-holding?

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby vishvak » 03 Nov 2014 21:19

Philip wrote:How is it that MKI production is around16/yr and Tejas so small despite being a desi bird with no hand-holding?

Probably some logistics issues link. LCA has, by fraction, more use of composites (no point compared by quantity to Su-30MKI).

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby member_20292 » 03 Nov 2014 23:03

agupta wrote:
Vivek K wrote:CM, respectfully, that is a very poor argument. The LCA is ready. It can be ordered in numbers and will be available before the foreign aircraft. The only question is are we ready to believe in ourselves? From the IAF's point of view, it seems not.


Er, Vivekji... that's an interesting comment - if you really think "belief" is what's lacking. I urge you to consider your your definition of "Ready" - and compare that to what a (or for that matter, any ) professional AF would consider

Requirements vs. Time-to-maturity of features promised, Operational experience from the 1st T&E squadrons, Value chain set-up, Service and support chains, and as far as HAL is considered, the killer:
Production capability (real one - not the fictional "Invest a 10000 crores and order of 1000 and get 100 /yr type.... only folks with zero appreciation of production engineering think hi-tech aicraft production is like boiling eggs, just a matter of water, vessels and orders).

Even your street halwai knows better than to start selling samosas in the 100s before he's perfected making them in small batches of 10 - AND then how to scale his methods up to the 100s. Somehow a lot of folks on BRF seem to think the step from Tech Demo/Prototypes to LSP/"ready" is small...forgetting that it IS one of the Achiles heels and is hard and expensive; even the Israeli's with decades of Systems Integration expertise knew better than to bite that off given the size of their resource base and focus developing their expertise at the sub-systems level.


Agreed. But given the nature of either the mmrca deal or the LCA orders ...production has to be done by HAL for both.

So...why not focus on one aircraft...and exclude the other since it takes away valuable organizational focus ..that should ideally be used to develop an aeronautical base ..and leaves it ToTing for generations.

Do we know how to convert a design into an LS production to a Series production ? Yes....thats being done.

So lets focus on that for the one aircraft that is the LCA.

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby member_20292 » 03 Nov 2014 23:12

our mil ind complex is highly risk averse which is why we have not lost too many LCAs and Bolar SLVs in development.

Risk averse means extra checks. Each check and certification takes time which makes the HAL production line susceptible to delays.

This month had a few aerospace accidents in the US. ....Virgin...and another rocket in Maryland.

During the cold war the US was building aircraft versions willy nilly and losing pilots while flight testing.

Are we gutsy enough and risk friendly enough to lose lives and rockets and aircraft like that?

If so ..then yes....HAL can be pressured to leave out a few checks here and there and ramp production quickly.

The IAF talks about RnD like they are the Gods of RnD. They are not...and I would like them to understand the processes that result in products.

Else its another case of the all too common.....flyboy jocks vs. geeks in the labs scenario

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby member_28722 » 04 Nov 2014 00:33

Viv S wrote:We are not going to go to war against China with only 'PLAAF-centric' equipment. The Mirages and MiG-29s will most certainly see action as well.

Acquisition and deployments are being confused with actual usage in war. Koti has replied to your comment below. I am saying the same thing what he is

There's no such thing as sufficient funding. Not for a AF as outgunned as the IAF will be against the PLAAF by the end of the decade.

You are missing the sarcasm in my point. There is no funding problem for Tejas even today. Its IAF's reluctance. FOC version has improvements required by them, so hopefully the count will go up to 80 or 100 for Mk1 post FoC, but I won't bet on that. Once Rafale's start coming, we will certainly not be outgunned by PLAAF.
Anyways, MMRCA funding will not impact Tejas induction in any way. The only thing that will hinder Tejas is IAF's reluctance. End of story.

The point was to look at it from India's PoV not from a generic customer's. The reasons why the Rafale is expensive to us are irrelevant, only thing that matters is that its expensive. Also, a 66% markup on an aircraft is excessive. The object of exports in the Tejas' case will be to achieve greater economies of scale rather than serve as a source of foreign exchange.

You cannot expect any aircraft to be affordable for the end user if its developed by another country. Only Russia has sold Migs in cold war era for cheap. There is no precedence for it in modern time. Comparing it's cost to a home-grown aircraft is even more pointless. Any foreign 4.5 aircraft we go for Russian or French or Euro or US is going to cost us a lot.

They have the legs to reach it but neither has the capability. If you want to breach defences as formidable as the PLAAF's are gearing up to be, nothing but a VLO striker will do.

This is another area where Nirbhay (esp the air launched variants) comes into play.

The cheques are signed by the MoD. The MoD can and should simply and bluntly overrule the IAF.

I agree it can but this an idealistic scenario we all want. Let us wait for that to actually happen on ground. Rafale negotiation seems to be progressing so MoD is not overruling IAF at least on MMRCA.

The BrahMos' deployment is irrelevant because its not going to be used for CAS in either case. In one day, the Tejas can deliver as much ordinance as three Nirbhays and then do it again the next day. And no its not a silver bullet solution either.

Then what is use of Brahmos and why are artillery divisions raising so many regiments of a 300km range missile if not for CAS. Since we can build 18 Nirbhay at cost of single Tejas and most imp no risk to pilot, the above point is moot. Tejas will not be used for CAS ever. Actually we don't have any purely CAS capable aircraft is future plan of IAF (which is a good thing)

1. The LAC is not entirely mountainous (there's a reason we're deploying tanks there).
2. The IAF can carry out CAS in mountainous terrain as well, thanks to wider spread PGM employment.
3. Helicopters are vulnerable to MANPADS/SHORADs. Drones have a poor response time to CAS requests. Cruise missile are too expensive to be employed for CAS.[/b]

1. The ability should be there to do CAS on both sides of LAC not just our side. There are plenty of mountains on China side, not to mention better and more SAMs and better aircraft. Unless we have air superiority (which we won't) IAF has no CAS role in a battle with PLAAF.
2. Again moot as we have artillery guns and missiles to do the same and more effectively. Kargil is not possible against PLAAF, we had air superiority, the PAF jets ran from our Mig29s.
3. Helos yes. Drones is totally dependent upon how we develop our drone forces. We can build 18 of our best cruise missles for each of our cheapest available fighter, that's hardly expensive.

- Don't go by out-of-date Wikipedia numbers. They're comfortably 600+ for 4th gen fighters.
- We're adding 15 Su-30MKI/yr upto 2018. We'll be replacing that with 15 Rafales/yr (on average) between 2019 and 2026. Plus 8 Tejas Mk1s/yr to 2020.
- They're adding over 50 J-10/J-16s annually and that number will spike to 70+ by 2016 (ref:Jane's report posted earlier on the thread).

the Wiki and Jane numbers differ by a squadron or 2. They still need to add 120 J-16s to get to IAF where we are w.r.t PAF. Won't happen. If we induct Tejas FOC version in good numbers, we have enough to deter PLAAF.
More importantly, we won't be fighting the entire PLAAF even if they have a 1000 4th gen. Their Tibet bases allow them to deploy max 300 fighters which can hit our northern plains. A dense SAM network and Nirbhay deployment in our NE states is a strong deterrent for PLAAF bases in north Yunan provinces (assuming that they can overfly Myanmar).

The problem with the Rafale, as has been said before, is that its a 4.5 gen aircraft at a 5th gen cost. It doesn't matter how you employ them or against whom, it'll still remain an inefficient use of our limited resources. Against a behemoth like China, its all about economics. And this is while ignoring the godawful spectre of a two-front war.

I agree with you cost factor. But, unfortunately, there is no viable cheaper replacement, unless you want to go for Super Hornet.
Tejas Mk1 certainly can't replace Rafale, Mk2 also probably won't. If you have a better solution than adding more Su30 and Tejas then please state it.
We may have to, sadly, bit the bullet and take Rafale
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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby srai » 04 Nov 2014 00:35

Philip wrote:How is it that MKI production is around16/yr and Tejas so small despite being a desi bird with no hand-holding?


You are talking about production rate of MKI which has been running for more than 10 years now. What was the production rate of the MKI back in 2002/3/4/5/6?

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby member_28722 » 04 Nov 2014 00:43

Philip wrote:I am sure that the IAF will buy as many LCAs,Mk-1 and 2 if available.The problem seems to be that HAL somewhere along the line forgot about production and realised this only recently in the LCA's developmental timeframe.With a measly 8/yr. increased to 16 later on,as I've said many a time,we would get only about 120+ in a decade's time,and don't forget,MK-2,the definitive version that the IAF wants hasn't even flown! So ultimately,we might end up producing about the same amt. of LCAs as we did for the HF-24s.Post 2025,a decade from now,the skies will be filled with nerw Chinese stealth birds and the IAF will want to counter them with equivalent aircraft not with 4th-gen light fighters. WE realisticaly also musn't confuse the LCA requirement to replace hundreds of MIG-21s wiht the need for an MMRCA.Cost being the only worrying factor about the Rafale.Adding to the number of MKIs if there are delays even with the MMRCA appears to be the easy way out for the IAF.mantra,"More of the same".

+1

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby member_28722 » 04 Nov 2014 01:09

Cain Marko wrote:In any case, I do feel that the MRCA cost should be driven down, either by buying a cheaper bird (MKI) or reducing numbers or both. By the time the MRCA starts creeping in, the LCA 2.0 should be ready, and if not a highly developed version of the mk1 will be.

We will have 300 MKI before end of decade, I think we need to stop getting more and improve the existing ones with AESA and other stuff.

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby Viv S » 04 Nov 2014 04:02

saurabh.mhapsekar wrote:Acquisition and deployments are being confused with actual usage in war. Koti has replied to your comment below. I am saying the same thing what he is

You're talking about deployments in peacetime. I'm referring to their employment in wartime,more specifically in a conflict against China.

You are missing the sarcasm in my point. There is no funding problem for Tejas even today. Its IAF's reluctance. FOC version has improvements required by them, so will be a much more improved We won't be. If we get an MMRCA and Govt is able to strong arm IAF post FoC, we will be on good terms. MMRCA will not impact Tejas, end of story.

What do you mean by funding problem? The aircraft's already developed. Its gotten its IOC and will recieve its FOC next year.

More important question is, what is the objective of the LCA program. Many folks see it merely a prestige program - fly it on Republic Day and display it as a 'symbol' of 'development'. That the IAF operates a certain number is 'good enough'.

That's one way of looking at it. Another way is to treat it as an extraordinary achievement. Not because of its development hurdles, ('when we began we didn't even have.....etc etc'), but because it delivers outstanding value-for-money.

Its nothing short of a tragic waste, if the IAF fails exploit that opportunity. It has the potential to be the new MiG-21 - cheap, potent, available in numbers. And a dozen piddly orders here and another dozen there, is a failure in my book. In a way you're right, when we're spending $20bn+ on the Rafale, funding is not a problem for the Tejas, in that we can spare the $1bn or so that the 40 Mk1s will cost.

You cannot expect any aircraft to be affordable for the end user if its developed by another country. Only Russia has sold Migs in cold war era for cheap. There is no precedence for it in modern time. Comparing it's cost to a home-grown aircraft is even more pointless. Any foreign 4.5 aircraft we go for Russian or French or Euro or US is going to cost us a lot.

Again its irrelevant why an aircraft costs more to us than it does to France. Or how it compares to the Tejas to it from the third party PoV. We're addressing the question of what should India buy, and all that really matters is what the A costs to India, and what B costs to India. Their background doesn't come into the picture. That substantial orders for the Tejas will give a major boost to the domestic industry is a totally different matter.

This is another area where Nirbhay (esp the air launched variants) comes into play.

1. Penetrating an AGDE as sophisticated as the PLAAF's will become over the coming decade is a tough call even for a cruise missile, which is at the end of the day, is basically a small (albeit expendable) aircraft. We're creating an elaborate system of QRSAMs, low level radars, aerostat based radars, modern AAA and AEW&C, controlled by a high end C4I system to counter the LACM threat from Pakistan. In a pinch, we could even use fighter aircraft to intercept CMs. Its futile to assume the Chinese aren't investing in all of the above to take on the missile threat from India.

2. If indeed we intend to use LACMs for deep strike, that still leaves the Rafale without a distinctive role in the IAF's inventory.

I agree it can but this an idealistic scenario we all want. Let us wait for that to actually happen on ground. Rafale negotiation seems to be progressing so MoD is not overruling IAF at least on MMRCA.

Maybe so. It wouldn't be the first time the MoD has shown a lack of gumption. One was however hopefully about the new MoD being different.

Then what is use of Brahmos and why are artillery divisions raising so many regiments of a 300km range missile if not for CAS.

I'm not sure if the terminology applies to missiles as well but in AF terms - interdiction & strike. The usual roles you'd use a LACM in.

Since we can build 18 Nirbhay at cost of single Tejas and most imp no risk to pilot, the above point is moot. Tejas will not be used for CAS ever. Actually we don't have any purely CAS capable aircraft is future plan of IAF (which is a good thing)

You're basically undoing the raison d'etre for multi-role/strike fighters. Targeting problems aside, its simply not affordable to employ an LACM for CAS. Even the US with all its information dominance and massive CM inventory has never used it for CAS.

1. The ability should be there to do CAS on both sides of LAC not just our side. There are plenty of mountains on China side, not to mention better and more SAMs and better aircraft. Unless we have air superiority (which we won't) IAF has no CAS role in a battle with PLAAF.

Air superiority is preferable but not necessary to carry our CAS. There's certainly a higher degree of risk, but that's war. (BTW this is where having something like the Tejas in numbers can play a crucial difference, if nothing else then by freeing up Sukhois for air superiority.)

2. Again moot as we have artillery guns and missiles to do the same and more effectively. Kargil is not possible against PLAAF, we had air superiority, the PAF jets ran from our Mig29s.

Artillery guns don't usually have the accuracy to be a substitute for CAS. You can use PGM rounds, but they're not quite as reliable, require an designator equipped AOP in the area, and can face logistical issues. The fighter airbase will always have a stock of PGMs, a battery in a forward area might not have Krasnopols handy. Cruise missiles are useful against fixed targets, they're not flexible enough for use in dynamic situations.

3. Helos yes. Drones is totally dependent upon how we develop our drone forces. We can build 18 of our best cruise missles for each of our cheapest available fighter, that's hardly expensive.

They're less expensive if the average life of an aircraft during war is only nine sorties (maybe six for the Su-30MKI considering its higher payload) and its used exclusively for strike.

the Wiki and Jane numbers differ by a squadron or 2. They still need to add 120 J-16s to get to IAF where we are w.r.t PAF. Won't happen. If we induct Tejas FOC version in good numbers, we have enough to deter PLAAF.

We are 2.5:1 in 4th gen fighters against the PAF. The PLAAF is 2:1 against us. By 2018, we'll have added about 90 new fighters against 250+ on their side, which would take the ratio to perhaps about 2.2:1. Not as tilted as the Pak front but worrisome nonetheless. The Tejas unfortunately hasn't been ordered in good numbers and will have a minimal impact.

More importantly, we won't be fighting the entire PLAAF even if they have a 1000 4th gen. Their Tibet bases allow them to deploy max 300 fighters which can hit our northern plains. A dense SAM network and Nirbhay deployment in our NE states is a strong deterrent for PLAAF bases in north Yunan provinces (assuming that they can overfly Myanmar).

The Chinese have five airports in the TAR and another nine military airbases. That could accommodate a lot more than 300 fighters in surge conditions. Besides which, they don't have to hit the northern plains, they just need to ensure local air superiority over the FEBA, perhaps extended a bit further.

And again, this is for a relatively comfortable one front war. Add in a second front, and in addition to hard odds, you could potentially face a whole new set of complications in terms of PLAAF deployments to the west.

I agree with you cost factor. But, unfortunately, there is no viable cheaper replacement, unless you want to go for Super Hornet.
Tejas Mk1 certainly can't replace Rafale, Mk2 also probably won't. If you have a better solution than adding more Su30 and Tejas. We may have to, sadly, bit the bullet.

Between the Super Sukhoi, Tejas Mk1, Tejas Mk2, and an FGFA, there's no role left for which the Rafale is uniqely suited. Even for a stop gap requirement there are plenty of options ranging from used Mirages and EF T1s, to leased Gripens.

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby member_28722 » 04 Nov 2014 04:48

Viv S wrote:What do you mean by funding problem? The aircraft's already developed. Its gotten its IOC and will receive its FOC next year.

Funding for production, Mk2 etc ...

More important question is, what is the objective of the LCA program. Many folks see it merely a prestige program - fly it on Republic Day and display it as a 'symbol' of 'development'. That the IAF operates a certain number is 'good enough'.

Yes, this will make LCA another Marut, definately should not end this way

Its nothing short of a tragic waste, if the IAF fails exploit that opportunity. It has the potential to be the new MiG-21 - cheap, potent, available in numbers. And a dozen piddly orders here and another dozen there, is a failure in my book.

Agree on IAF bit but frankly till we master Kaveri we won't be able to utilize export potential of LCA

1. Penetrating an AGDE as sophisticated as the PLAAF's will become over the coming decade is a tough call even for a cruise missile, which is at the end of the day, is basically a small (albeit expendable) aircraft. We're creating an elaborate system of QRSAMs, low level radars, aerostat based radars, modern AAA and AEW&C, controlled by a high end C4I system to counter the LACM threat from Pakistan. In a pinch, we could even use fighter aircraft to intercept CMs. Its futile to assume the Chinese aren't investing in all of the above to take on the missile threat from India.

Yes, but since its almost impossible to penetrate them with an aircraft, since even 5th gen will have its limitations, missiles are a good way to go about it. With PLAAF we need deterrence, if we park 1000 canisterized Nirbhays along our N-NE front, it gives us a good deterrence.

2. If indeed we intend to use LACMs for deep strike, that still leaves the Rafale without a distinctive role in the IAF's inventory.

Air superiority? Anti-AWACS? Escorting Sukhois?

You're basically undoing the raison d'etre for multi-role/strike fighters. Targeting problems aside, its simply not affordable to employ an LACM for CAS. Even the US with all its information dominance and massive CM inventory has never used it for CAS.

Actually I am simply stating that IAF does not have any CAS capable aircraft in its future acquisition and I think that role is being shifted to home-grown missiles.

We are 2.5:1 in 4th gen fighters against the PAF. The PLAAF is 2:1 against us. By 2018, we'll have added about 90 new fighters against 250+ on their side, which would take the ratio to perhaps about 2.2:1. Not as tilted as the Pak front but worrisome nonetheless. The Tejas unfortunately hasn't been ordered in good numbers and will have a minimal impact.

The Chinese have five airports in the TAR and another nine military airbases. That could accommodate a lot more than 300 fighters in surge conditions. Besides which, they don't have to hit the northern plains, they just need to ensure local air superiority over the FEBA, perhaps extended a bit further.

And again, this is for a relatively comfortable one front war. Add in a second front, and in addition to hard odds, you could potentially face a whole new set of complications in terms of PLAAF deployments to the west.

A two front war needs 50+ squadrons with IAF, the only way that is possible is if we crank up MMRCA to 200 (whichever bird we go for) and LCA FOC version (lets call it Mk1.5) up to 200.

Between the Super Sukhoi, Tejas Mk1, Tejas Mk2, and an FGFA, there's no role left for which the Rafale is uniqely suited. Even for a stop gap requirement there are plenty of options ranging from used Mirages and EF T1s, to leased Gripens.

The later 2 are on paper and won't be in squadron numbers before 2020. They will most likely serve as replacements for Jaguars with Rafale replacing Mig21/27.

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby Cosmo_R » 04 Nov 2014 05:34

srai wrote:
Philip wrote:How is it that MKI production is around16/yr and Tejas so small despite being a desi bird with no hand-holding?


You are talking about production rate of MKI which has been running for more than 10 years now. What was the production rate of the MKI back in 2002/3/4/5/6?


So what does that say about HAL?

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby Cosmo_R » 04 Nov 2014 06:01

koti wrote:
Cosmo_R wrote: The cost will kill the overall capability of the Indian military.

If I were Chinese, I'd be hoping India would blow the money Rafale vs. LCA and MCA


"Consider this saab."

Just call me Gripen :)

"Would IAF be hoping PLAAF blow its money on Rafale instead of making J-10/J-11s? I doubt it."

I don't know about the IAF but the NSA would. Think of what happened to the Mistrale delivery and what unkil would to do pressure the Frenchies.

"The previous governments have constantly asked IAF to go for the best without considering the cost of the platform. This underlines the universally agreed upon requirement for a modern western medium multirole platform. The inflation and slightly altered economic situation does not change this basic requirement. "

But it does, via economics. We afford the the Rafale at the expense of other military capability. The Rafale is not going to deter the PRC. We don't need it against the pakis. We do need stealth platforms that can deliver 100s of Nirbhays against Chinese targets with surprise. Rafales won't be able to do it.

"There is no new tendancy that is altering the numbers of Tejas that IAF envisioned. I am more than happy if Tejas is ordered in numbers, but that need not be at the expense of the Rafale."

Rafale orders will not be at the expense of Tejas, they will be at the expense of effective deterrence

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby Cosmo_R » 04 Nov 2014 06:14

Another example of how subs SSBNs/SSNs/SSGNs can signal in ways that Rafales cannot

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/indi ... 025487.cms

"BEIJING: China has strongly defended its decision to dock submarines at the Colombo port on two occasions and said "there is nothing unusual for naval vessels to dock at Colombo port despite concerns raised by India"."

Can Rafales dock in taipei or Haiphong?

No one please say that funding of SSx is independent of xyz. It is the same budget.

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby NRao » 04 Nov 2014 06:22

^^^^^^

Not sure why there is heart burn on the sub in SL.

The Chinese Prez on his trip to India, IN ND, said that South Asia is of importance to China. IN India he said that.

So, yes, from a Chinese PoV, they are bound to say that there is no concern for India.



The issue is how is India going to respond.

Heart burns, disgust, cursing, etc will not help. Analysis is the even worse. china has acted. Aap ki chal.

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby Cosmo_R » 04 Nov 2014 06:38

Signaling by blowing $20bn on stuff that cannot appear in Haiphong 400km away from Hainan is not worth the money.

A couple of SSGNs like the Ohios with 100 Nirbhays each docking there would send a a real message.

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby Cain Marko » 04 Nov 2014 08:17

saurabh.mhapsekar wrote:
Cain Marko wrote:In any case, I do feel that the MRCA cost should be driven down, either by buying a cheaper bird (MKI) or reducing numbers or both. By the time the MRCA starts creeping in, the LCA 2.0 should be ready, and if not a highly developed version of the mk1 will be.

We will have 300 MKI before end of decade, I think we need to stop getting more and improve the existing ones with AESA and other stuff.


Will we? As of now this is not confirmed is it? If we are to get more than 300 MKI; another order of 40 I presume, then sure I agree with you. But if the number still stands at 272, we need some urgent sqd inductions, be they MKI/Rafale/MiG29/LCA whatever.

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby Kartik » 04 Nov 2014 09:16

Philip wrote:How is it that MKI production is around16/yr and Tejas so small despite being a desi bird with no hand-holding?


Undoubtedly there will be issues concerning logistics. But one also needs to account for the small number on order as of now..40 Tejas Mk1s + 8 N-LCA Mk1 orders would be met in 6 years, after which production tooling would start being modified for the Tejas Mk2, and perhaps by 2021-22 the first Tejas Mk2 would start rolling off that assembly line. If you build 12 per year, you'd be done in 4 years..and what does an assembly line do for 2 years with no orders to fulfill?

Even then, the HAL Chairman is on record as stating that production will be ramped up to 12 LCA's per year. no timelines given though.

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby Philip » 04 Nov 2014 10:27

There is no harm whatsoever in ramping up prod. of the LCA right now,planning for 12-16 a yr. asap.Tomorrow may be too late. A low prod. rate would invite further imports.There are hundreds of MIG-21s to be pensioned off,plus MIG-27s too.If the aircraft was avaiable right now one is sure that the IAF would place orders for at least another 100+ if not more.A faster prod. line would also mean that the first 40 would come out sooner pleasing the end-user.I think that the GOI/MOD should come out with a "white paper" on the status of the LCA for the benefit of parliament and the taxpayer. The transparency in US programmes is laudable as there is such intense scrutiny when large amounts of moolah are needed ,billions upon billions,a trillion say some on the JSF.

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby member_20292 » 04 Nov 2014 10:46

exactly. why only 40 mk1s. use them as trainers....the ones that dont cut it. But there has to be at least a commitment of 100 machines now.

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby Kartik » 04 Nov 2014 11:05

Philip wrote:There is no harm whatsoever in ramping up prod. of the LCA right now,planning for 12-16 a yr. asap.Tomorrow may be too late. A low prod. rate would invite further imports.There are hundreds of MIG-21s to be pensioned off,plus MIG-27s too.If the aircraft was avaiable right now one is sure that the IAF would place orders for at least another 100+ if not more.A faster prod. line would also mean that the first 40 would come out sooner pleasing the end-user.I think that the GOI/MOD should come out with a "white paper" on the status of the LCA for the benefit of parliament and the taxpayer. The transparency in US programmes is laudable as there is such intense scrutiny when large amounts of moolah are needed ,billions upon billions,a trillion say some on the JSF.


There is no harm, but the money will need to be committed first.

AI-15 is where attendees can hopefully quiz HAL execs as to what exactly are the bottlenecks that have kept the production line figure to 8- whether its economics or logistics or a combination of the two.

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby Philip » 04 Nov 2014 11:38

I suggest that under the stewardship of the good Dr.Shiv,a dossier be drawn up with penetrative questions to be asked from the various DPSUs,services,boffins,etc. regarding the various programmes on the anvil. There is enough time for them to be formulated before Feb.and AI-15.BRF could have its own "Show Daily" for the benefit of those unable to attend.

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby Kartik » 04 Nov 2014 12:19

Is there going to be a BRF stall at AI-'15? Or is it too early to ask?

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby Philip » 04 Nov 2014 17:07

Who is going to man it? That seems to be the problem. It requires some advance plg./liason with the show managers/MOD.etc. At one of the previous shows,there were posters and a video available for enthusiasts.One needs energetic volunteers based in BLR for the same.Oldtimers like moi are long in the tooth and can only smile weakly at "Natashas" these days! Out-of-towners usually stay just for a day,max two ,as despite the high tkt rate for business visitors,the DPSU "family and friends" club hogs the spave everytime.

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby srin » 04 Nov 2014 17:55

IAF needs more squadrons ASAP - I agree with Phillip that the best way is to get MKIs.

And we've absorbed as much of the ToT nonsense as possible - so there is no benefit from getting it done here. Get them from Russia - they already do SU-30SM2 which is almost identical so we may get 126 more MKIs in next 6-8 years.

Given the pace of LCA MK1 testing and the increased scope of changes to MK2 (engine + AESA + Navy version first + longer nose), I don't believe the AF LCA MK2 will be FOC before 2019 (four years from now).

Rafale would have been a good buy 10 years ago - now, we don't have the time nor do we have the money.

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby vinod » 04 Nov 2014 19:26

Why can't we sell LCA MK1 to friendly countries who might be interested? I'm sure there would be some countries who might be interested in a cheap light aircraft.

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby Victor » 04 Nov 2014 21:14

srin wrote:Rafale would have been a good buy 10 years ago - now, we don't have the time nor do we have the money.

This is true. The "money is no object" euphoria of the boom years has vanished but has still left the IAF with the need for a MEDIUM fighter of the Rafale class. It was also wisely decided not to go the Russia route which is unfortunately fraught with all kinds of unknowns in the years ahead besides the strategic necessity of leaning on more than one pillar. So if money and time are the main drivers, that leaves us with only 1 option- buy Shornet off the shelf and get two squadrons tomorrow with the rest following much faster than we can make them.

This has ceased to be the gold-plated pill that would confer instant gyan on our domestic aircraft industry. It is now a do or die situation with no time to dither. China and the pakis are acting up and we will soon need to retaliate, eg. IN bases in Cam Ranh Bay and Hai Phong, which will only ratchet up the heat.

Carry on our domestic efforts on LCA/LCA2/AMCA etc with redoubled force and involve EVERY INDIAN RESOURCE, including the private companies. It is not an either-or choice and the commie sickness of PSU reliance must be buried quickly. It has got us nowhere in the last 50 years and there is little indication that it will in the next 50.

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby member_28722 » 04 Nov 2014 22:33

SH was my favorite option when MMRCA started and it was a good shout if MMRCA deal had been signed in last decade itself. That would have also been lesser Su30 numbers, and the engine commonality with Tejas also helps.
We are way too much down the line to go for SH now ....

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby member_28722 » 04 Nov 2014 22:34

vinod wrote:Why can't we sell LCA MK1 to friendly countries who might be interested? I'm sure there would be some countries who might be interested in a cheap light aircraft.

HAL won't be able to sell LCA to anyone till they master Kaveri ....

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby koti » 04 Nov 2014 22:44

saurabh.mhapsekar wrote:
vinod wrote:Why can't we sell LCA MK1 to friendly countries who might be interested? I'm sure there would be some countries who might be interested in a cheap light aircraft.

HAL won't be able to sell LCA to anyone till they master Kaveri ....


They can. There is a procedure for that. Just like Saab sells Gripen

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby koti » 04 Nov 2014 22:45

Victor wrote:1 option- buy Shornet off the shelf and get two squadrons tomorrow with the rest following much faster than we can make them.


SH is a fine plane. Its only that IAF did not want that.

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby member_28722 » 04 Nov 2014 23:40

koti wrote:They can. There is a procedure for that. Just like Saab sells Gripen

Its a big maybe ... but we are anyway at least a decade away from starting to utilize export potential of LCA even without Kaveri

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby srin » 05 Nov 2014 00:11

Do we really need a MEDIUM combat aircraft when a heavy aircraft (sukhoi) would do ?

Some back of the envelope calculations based on open source data and lots of guess work.

Acquisition cost:
The 40 Super-30 purchase in 2010 cost around $104M each [1]. (Note - this is a huge increase compared to previous 2007 contract which was just $45M, so we don't know what all is there in this). Assume 5% inflation per year. That would be $126M in 2014.

Gripen cost was $150M each for Brazil [2]. Let's assume that the Rafale costs 10% more. Note: Rafale was offered at $8B for 36 aircraft for Brazil (unit cost of $222M :eek: ). But let's be a bit charitable here and assume huge volume discounts for 126 aircraft. We end up with $175M.

Operating cost:
Rafale cost per hour is $15000 [3]. Not sure if this includes overhaul cost.
Let's assume that the Sukhoi cost per hour is $25000. Pure guess work assuming that the more powerful AL-31 engines gulp a lot more fuel.

Sukhoi expected life is 6000 hours [4]. That would be $150M. Not including inflation because of fluctuating oil prices.

Assume that Rafale life too is 6000 hours. That would be $90M.

Total lifecycle cost:
Sukhoi: $126M+$150M = $276M
Rafale: $175M + $90M = $265M

Unless I'm missing something, it really doesn't make sense to acquire a completely new aircraft.

Note that this doesn't include MLU cost. But Mig-29 upgrade was way cheaper than Mirage one.

[1] http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/india-ordering-modernizing-su-30mkis-05852/
[2] http://www.janes.com/article/31769/brazil-selects-gripen-to-meet-fx-2-requirement
[3] http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/air-force-likely-to-get-entire-sukhoi-30mki-fleet-by-2019-114042200138_1.html
[4] http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/first-sukhoi-30-overhauled-at-nashik-highlights-hal-s-growing-capability-114102300636_1.html

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby brar_w » 05 Nov 2014 00:33

srin wrote:Do we really need a MEDIUM combat aircraft when a heavy aircraft (sukhoi) would do ?

Some back of the envelope calculations based on open source data and lots of guess work.

Acquisition cost:
The 40 Super-30 purchase in 2010 cost around $104M each [1]. (Note - this is a huge increase compared to previous 2007 contract which was just $45M, so we don't know what all is there in this). Assume 5% inflation per year. That would be $126M in 2014.

Gripen cost was $150M each for Brazil [2]. Let's assume that the Rafale costs 10% more. Note: Rafale was offered at $8B for 36 aircraft for Brazil (unit cost of $222M :eek: ). But let's be a bit charitable here and assume huge volume discounts for 126 aircraft. We end up with $175M.

Operating cost:
Rafale cost per hour is $15000 [3]. Not sure if this includes overhaul cost.
Let's assume that the Sukhoi cost per hour is $25000. Pure guess work assuming that the more powerful AL-31 engines gulp a lot more fuel.

Sukhoi expected life is 6000 hours [4]. That would be $150M. Not including inflation because of fluctuating oil prices.

Assume that Rafale life too is 6000 hours. That would be $90M.

Total lifecycle cost:
Sukhoi: $126M+$150M = $276M
Rafale: $175M + $90M = $265M

Unless I'm missing something, it really doesn't make sense to acquire a completely new aircraft.

Note that this doesn't include MLU cost. But Mig-29 upgrade was way cheaper than Mirage one.

[1] http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/india-ordering-modernizing-su-30mkis-05852/
[2] http://www.janes.com/article/31769/brazil-selects-gripen-to-meet-fx-2-requirement
[3] http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/air-force-likely-to-get-entire-sukhoi-30mki-fleet-by-2019-114042200138_1.html
[4] http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/first-sukhoi-30-overhauled-at-nashik-highlights-hal-s-growing-capability-114102300636_1.html


Although you are on the right track but you need to add a few things into your analysis:

- Actual Sukhoi operating cost. I think it should be closer to the F-15E given its size therefore closed to 30K then to 20K.
- Mission availability Rates: How much availability you have - fleet wide, ultimately determines your fleet size requirement. A 60% availability fighter would have to be procured in greater numbers than an 80% availability fighter etc Rafale should have a MA rate in the EF, Gripen and advanced F-16 category which is 80+% or near about in peacetime while closer to 90+% in wartime. I did the workup on F-15E and F-16 Mission availability rates a few months ago on one of the threads here (in addition to that of the C-17 and C-130) so i'll try to dig some info. Rafale should be slightly ahead given its a younger project with more technology.
- Engines. I think in case of the rafale, your two engines are good enough for the fleet life of 6000 hours. Do the MKI's need an engine change or serious work (down time) before its airframe life expires
- Logistical footprint: Generally your NATO birds are designed around strict logistical requirements given the expeditionary warfare, so you have to figure out how any Man hours does it take to do your basic tech work etc Ultimately, how much do you have to spend per hour outside of the fighter to generate a fixed number of training sorties per year.

Now to the 6000 hour comparison (to bring them at par i suppose): Its a big assumption in favor of the Sukhoi. The Rafale lasts you 2000 hours more, that translates to roughly a decade based on a 200 hr usage. Thats quite a significant advantage given that you'd need to account for that with a larger sukhoi fleet to make up for the last 10 years. Given how long replacement cycles can take to clear the government red tape an added "decade" of prep time definitely helps. Heck SOKO went in and bought the F-15K with a 16,000 hour airframe :)

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby Rakesh » 05 Nov 2014 06:31

For all the Rafale naysayers...you do realize that the aircraft in the MMRCA competition all went through stringent testing to ensure they met the IAF's requirements. The technical aspects were evaluated by thorough professionals who know a lot more about what the IAF wants than any of us here. If the aircraft in the competition were narrowed down to the Eurofighter and the Rafale from a technical standpoint, then so be it. Cost is a different matter altogether and is the purview of the GOI, not the IAF. But the IAF feels confident in the capabilities of the Rafale (L1) and the Eurofighter (L2).

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Re: Rafale & MMRCA News and Discussions-9 August, 2014

Postby NRao » 05 Nov 2014 06:36

Were Admirals authorized to talk on Air force matters?

I just do not recall that. I am growing old I guess.


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