Is that a normal thing for air force globally to have 35-40 % of fleet in repair/refit etc or is it specific to IAF here.
Austin this is a complicated issue but I'll touch very briefly (and we can discuss more if you or others wish). Serviceability and out of " use" can be there for very many reasons. Ultimately unless there is an issue in the aircraft itself (and this has happened to many aircraft before where they are just a pain in the back side to maintain and keep serviced) the down-times are a function of A) the usage you put on the aircraft and
your capacity at the depot level
A) Any model is only as good as the assumptions you make in it. 8000 or 6000 hours is thrown around for aircraft life but do keep in mind that these are based on a modeled approach, based on the user's expect level of use (how hard they push the aircraft, what sort of flying they do, what sort of maintaining they do etc etc). Disrupt the assumptions and your model has to be reworked. Aircraft in the past (especially the 4th gen that introduced 9G's and care-free handling charecteristics) had to have their models revived over time because the pilots just loved pushing the jets. In the USAF and USN this for example led to the concept of engine cycles and placing restrictions on how much throttle you could use on routine missions as an example to keep the engine cycle (life) high or on track.
B ) Your depot capacity ultimately determines how fast you could send the aircraft back to the fleet. This is an investment thing but also is helped by having an inherently easy to maintain aircraft.
As an example, the SEQUESTER has hurt the depot level capability of the USMC significantly. They have had to cut down on the number of depots, and reduce the contracted staff per depot significantly. This when coupled with the fact that their USAGE models have gone crazy due to effectively operating in "combat mode" for more than a decade means that their OLD F/A-18 fleet is at 50% down levels meaning that at any given times 50
% of the classic hornet fleet cannot fight or train. But this is a fleet that is towards the end of its life, and this is a reason why they are IOC'ing with the F-35B a full year ahead of the USAF.
This is also something you develop models on, and run simulations and calculations years in advanced. Going back to the USN/USMC they know exactly what stresses and hours the Super Hornet and Growler fleets are pulling at the moment on foreign deployments. They also know that if this continues they would need X level of depot capability when these airframes get to say 4000 hours. They have to plan accordingly and either have more aircraft (to sustain squadron strength while there is a clog in the depot pipeline) or gradually over time build depot capacity. Sustainability, and operation readiness is a process that lasts for years. It is not something you can fix at a snap of a finger and on most occasions when you run into issues, the root cause analysis either points to a miscalculation in the model, lack of proper and timely investment in depot capacity or a significantly higher utilization rate (for example in case of high intensity deployments).
Cain Marko wrote:I do hope that Dassault sweetens the pot with the Meteor. Does anybody know if the IAF evaluated the Rafale with the Topsight HMS? IIRC, earlier variants did not have one.
The IAF purchased close to 500 missiles (MICA's) a couple of years ago so it makes sense to have more of those and ultimately trying to get the ASTRA integrated as soon possible. Do keep in mind that the first export sale of the Meteor had reports that pegged the cost per round at or north of $3 Million. The HMS will naturally be included as its standard now with the Rafale (??).
DexterM wrote:1. The order of Rafales cannot stop at 36. If the price for the first lot is set at $125mn without TOT etc, how will it be lower for any subsequent tranches?
At approximately 4 Billion Euros for the deal (LeMonde) it comes to around $117 Million plus weapons. Depending upon the package expect 20-30 Million (per jet) to be the cost of the weapons package (A standard FMS Multi-role package usually runs in the 15-20 Million price point - I used the South Korea FMS package for the F-35 as a base which was at 17 Million per fighter for weapons) as the French weapons are likely to be the most expensive out of all western suppliers.
I think the TOT cost to be significantly less this time around as I expect them to water down the components of the TOT to keep costs low. That would be a better way to do it but there is a possibility in my opinion that they do another follow on post 36 deliveries to get tot he 63 number and then either scrap the MRCA or produce a smaller batch in India. The same deal scaled up to 126 odd gets us at a cost of around $15 Billion without TOT and weapons.