MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby Rakesh » 28 Mar 2021 23:36

@Philip: The F-15EX is the most advanced aircraft among all the contestants in MMRCA 2.0

The AN/APG-82 AESA aboard the F-15EX is by far the best that is out there. The radar on the Su-35 comes no where close. And while the Su-35 will be cheaper unit wise, the total life cycle cost on the F-15EX vis-à-vis the Su-35 will be cheaper. The Su-35 will be anything but cheaper to operate. Pitting the Su-35 against the F-15EX is not even a fair comparison. The F-15EX will prevail.

This is a great upgrade for nations that operate the F-15 already i.e. Japan, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the USAF. To set up an ecosystem (base infrastructure, tools, spares, etc) for India will be a much harder proposition, cost wise. Right now, the IAF wants nothing else other than the Rafale.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby brar_w » 28 Mar 2021 23:51

It's a tough and competitive landscape once you roll up all potential global medium and heavy fighters and the F-15EX brings some nice things to the table. New cockpit and HMD tech, fastest mission computer currently flying (even surpassing current 5GFA performance), full fiber-optic backbone, large AESA radar that is going to be upgraded with new tech in the short-medium term (pre-program activity on this started last year), loads of qualified US/EU and Israeli weapons (it may just have the largest/most-diverse selection of PGM's, Missiles, and weapons of any current internationally marketed fighter) and a GaN AESA based integrated self-protection EW suite that is going to have a large installed base (350-400 aircraft sharing the common radar and EW gear though with export it could well exceed 500 given the current F-15E installed base). Drawbacks are obviously its size, weight, cost, large twin engines (cost), RCS/Signature (biggest disadvantage) and next to nothing in terms of IAF weapon compatibility etc. However, the chance that the IAF will pick a heavy fighter are practically zero. It just doesn't make sense from a fleet mix standpoint (given the large MKI fleet already). When you get into the medium class then the Rafale stands out due to Indian enhancements and infrastructure already available. Everything else is going to be suboptimal but even the Rafale is unlikely to be affordable as a domestic production of a decade or so production run. It's expensive as it is..throw in licensing fees, domestic production, duplication costs and you are looking at at least a 2X increase in unit cost once you factor all the fixed costs. I don't see the plan of fielding a domestically built foreign MRCA in the triple digits going anywhere. As for some of the other options, the last thing the IAF would want to do IMHO is back a horse that has little to no domestic support and has gone virtually nowhere internationally since it was originally offered to it a long time back.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby Cain Marko » 29 Mar 2021 10:11

Philip wrote:The intro of the SU-35 and F-15 EX whatever are the two jokers in the pack.I think both are really " dummy" candidates as in our elections.Both truly questionable when we have 270+ SU-30MKIs in service,with over 200 to be upgraded to SS stds. The only thought I can bring to bear is that the SU-35 ,has a single pilot,cheaper to operate overall, and may in performance equal or surpass the Rafale/ Typhoon at much lower cost. As the quote about buying " within budget" shows,cost-effectiveness will hereafter prevail. This will benefit Ru aircraft like the MIG-35 and our desi LCAs which will be much cheaper than other European and American fighters.

As for the F-15 in its latest avatar now,it was some years ago found wanting against IAF SU-30s and Bisons.

Rakesh wrote:@Philip: The F-15EX is the most advanced aircraft among all the contestants in MMRCA 2.0

The AN/APG-82 AESA aboard the F-15EX is by far the best that is out there. The radar on the Su-35 comes no where close. And while the Su-35 will be cheaper unit wise, the total life cycle cost on the F-15EX vis-à-vis the Su-35 will be cheaper. The Su-35 will be anything but cheaper to operate. Pitting the Su-35 against the F-15EX is not even a fair comparison. The F-15EX will prevail.

This is a great upgrade for nations that operate the F-15 already i.e. Japan, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the USAF. To set up an ecosystem (base infrastructure, tools, spares, etc) for India will be a much harder proposition, cost wise. Right now, the IAF wants nothing else other than the Rafale.

At this point in time the Russkis might as well throw in the Su-57 into the mix. Will bring in a much needed capability jump to the mix. Make noises wrt common radar, sensors and engines with a Super Sukhoi - MKI upgrade. I can see that being more tempting than the MiG-35 (not enough capability) or the Su-35 (redundancy wrt MKI).

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby brar_w » 29 Mar 2021 18:17

They should offer it. At least then the IAF pilots may be able to fly the aircraft which IIRC wasn't the case when they were actually partnered on the program. But in reality it would be unlikely given that the domestic production of the SU-57 has barely started, and trying to compete with an export/license production of over 100 aircraft (when you are domestically producing no more than 76 in the next 7 years) looks like a pretty daunting task whereas having the same on the Su-35 or even the MiG-29/35 is a lot easier to do within a reasonable timeframe. It is probably too early to offer (in a competition) the SU-57 with those terms (though that would be different if it wasn't a competition and a simple G2G deal) given that the parent design has had just two production examples produced and delivered till date.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby VinodTK » 29 Mar 2021 18:55

Rakesh wrote:@Philip: The F-15EX is the most advanced aircraft among all the contestants in MMRCA 2.0

The AN/APG-82 AESA aboard the F-15EX is by far the best that is out there. The radar on the Su-35 comes no where close. And while the Su-35 will be cheaper unit wise, the total life cycle cost on the F-15EX vis-à-vis the Su-35 will be cheaper. The Su-35 will be anything but cheaper to operate. Pitting the Su-35 against the F-15EX is not even a fair comparison. The F-15EX will prevail.

This is a great upgrade for nations that operate the F-15 already i.e. Japan, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the USAF. To set up an ecosystem (base infrastructure, tools, spares, etc) for India will be a much harder proposition, cost wise. Right now, the IAF wants nothing else other than the Rafale.


+++Well stated+++

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby Rakesh » 29 Mar 2021 21:39

As of 2021, one Gripen E is in Brazil undergoing testing and evaluation by the Brazilian Air Force. The IAF signed for 36 Rafales in Sept 2016. Around 20+ will be in service by the end of next month. All 36 will be delivered to the IAF by April 2022.

https://twitter.com/alpha_defense/statu ... 74690?s=20 ---> You know Gripen E (NG) was one of the contender for MMRCA. Brazil signed a deal with SAAB in 2014. Today Brazil operates 0 of these (testing 1 fighter jet). What's your total number of Rafale? (Deal signed in 2016). Off the shelf vs making.

https://twitter.com/alpha_defense/statu ... 34594?s=20 ---> Their marketing technology is the most important technology. :lol:

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby brar_w » 29 Mar 2021 22:44

SAAB is pure marketing . Apparently their Gripen E/NG is not only the equivalent of the F-35 at the cost of an F-5, but also, by strapping a few pods, becomes analogous to the Growler. All fun and games when the project is in the PPT stage but as far back as 2018 they still couldn't give (I asked one of their BD reps at a US event) a definitive answer as to when the first squadron (Brazil or Sweden) of any service will become operational with the mythical Gripen E/F. Brazil itself selected them in 2013 or so and Sweden/SAAB have been working on the Gripen NG and E/F program for quite a long time.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby nachiket » 01 Apr 2021 01:48

Rakesh wrote:https://twitter.com/alpha_defense/statu ... 74690?s=20 ---> You know Gripen E (NG) was one of the contender for MMRCA. Brazil signed a deal with SAAB in 2014. Today Brazil operates 0 of these (testing 1 fighter jet). What's your total number of Rafale? (Deal signed in 2016). Off the shelf vs making.

This is exactly why I had heavily criticized SAAB earlier. They were essentially peddling vaporware during the original MMRCA competition. The Gripen E/NG was nowhere close to being a reality when they were trying to sell it to us. All companies pad their marketing brochures to make their products look better but SAAB takes it to a whole different level. They straight up lied that they even had a product which could compete in the MMRCA tender. No wonder it took until 2017 for the Gripen E to even fly for the first time.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby Rakesh » 01 Apr 2021 21:39

Oh my! This one is too good :lol: Let's see who all gets this!

https://twitter.com/Mave_Intel/status/1 ... 68965?s=20 ---> India to procure one squadron of Su-57 from Russia. Weird choice to be honest. Su-35 would be better.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby kit » 01 Apr 2021 23:42

Rakesh wrote:Oh my! This one is too good :lol: Let's see who all gets this!

https://twitter.com/Mave_Intel/status/1 ... 68965?s=20 ---> India to procure one squadron of Su-57 from Russia. Weird choice to be honest. Su-35 would be better.


Someone had an April one idea :mrgreen:

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby Philip » 04 Apr 2021 12:58

Can the F-15EX whatever carry BMos., both ASM and AAMs. Nein my fuhrer! So big deal about its superior radar .It just makes the A/C for for the AEW job! Jokes aside,an upgraded SS would be a much better bet in every sense.Could be capable of carrying the Kinzhal LR AAM too if reqd.And certainly cheaper.

As Brar said,the SU-57 is for future consideration ,yet to be fleshed out in Ru stars as yet. If around 200 to 250 MKIs are to be upgraded to SS std., there is really no point in touting these twin-engined heavies when the task is to acquire around 120 light/ med. fighters to replace the MIG-21s.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby Manish_P » 04 Apr 2021 13:24

Philip wrote:Could be capable of carrying the Kinzhal LR AAM too if reqd.And certainly cheaper.


Kinzhal 'AAM' :shock:

And no it won't be 'certainly' cheaper.. not if one factors in things like life cycle costs.

It might be cheaper since the infrastructure for the Sukhoi manufacturing/ maintenance is in place.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby darshhan » 04 Apr 2021 17:39

Philip wrote:Can the F-15EX whatever carry BMos., both ASM and AAMs. Nein my fuhrer! So big deal about its superior radar .It just makes the A/C for for the AEW job! Jokes aside,an upgraded SS would be a much better bet in every sense.Could be capable of carrying the Kinzhal LR AAM too if reqd.And certainly cheaper.

As Brar said,the SU-57 is for future consideration ,yet to be fleshed out in Ru stars as yet. If around 200 to 250 MKIs are to be upgraded to SS std., there is really no point in touting these twin-engined heavies when the task is to acquire around 120 light/ med. fighters to replace the MIG-21s.


While I agree that IAF should not order F-15s, I do not understand what was the need to bring Brahmos in the discussion.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby Rakesh » 04 Apr 2021 23:01

darshhan wrote:While I agree that IAF should not order F-15s, I do not understand what was the need to bring Brahmos in the discussion.

I believe the point that Philip is making, is that the IAF has installed Russian kit on western platforms and Western kit on Russian platforms. R-73 CCM on Mirage 2000 and Sea Eagle AShM on Tu-142 are good examples. It is my understanding that the Amreekis will not permit such a marriage of Russian and American hardware. But I could be wrong. It is not technically challenging at all for the Amreekis to do, but it will be a diplomatic issue.

But on the BrahMos, a couple of points to note;

1) BrahMos-A is still in development. It will likely only feature on the Su-30MKI, due to its size.

2) BrahMos-NG is still much further away, but reportedly is being designed to be carried by other combat aircraft. Now apart from fanboy art, there is no official confirmation that the Rafale will carry BrahMos-NG.

See this art at this link ---> http://rafalenews.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html

Click on the link above and look for BrahMos-NG in the list. The NG is also planned for the MiG-29 and will most certainly be fitted on to TEDBF and other future Tejas variants. The larger point that Philip (I believe) is making is that an American bird will be limited to American weaponry onlee. So not only Russian hardware, even Indian hardware may not be permitted. So perhaps no Astra either.

That remains to be seen if that is going to be a deal killer for the IAF. The IN operates the P-8I quite well with the Harpoon AShM and other weaponry. I do not believe that the P-8I will ever carry the BrahMos-NG. That however in no way limits the effectiveness or takes away the capability of the P-8I. The Navy is very happy with the platform and is acquiring even more of them. So the proof lies in the pudding. The P-8I is a fantastic bird. And there is no stopping the P-8I from communicating with a MiG-29K or a TEDBF armed with BrahMos-NG either. So there are work arounds to the issue.

Now the IAF can adopt the same strategy if they choose, but it remains to be seen how it will work out. Could Rafale F3R carry Astra Mk2 or SFDR in the future? It was MBDA (or was it Thales?) that did not want to integrate Meteor with the Israeli Elta AESA radar on the Tejas. But perhaps they may be open to an Indian missile. At this stage, it is speculation. Will Raytheon allow to integrate Astra Mk2 or SFDR on F-15EX, F-18SH Block III or F-21? Again, at this stage it is speculation. The Israelis operate multiple Python variants on their F-15s and F-16s, so the possibility exists. But I believe those aircraft have been refitted with Elta radars, but I could be wrong.

From the IAF's standpoint, if Astra Mk2 or SFDR costs half the price of a Meteor or AIM-120...is it wise to invest scarce CAPEX on them, when Astra Mk2 or SFDR can do the same thing? If Dassault or Boeing or LM puts their foot down and says no to Astra Mk2 or SFDR on their planes, then the IAF is left with continuing to purchase Meteor or AIM-120. But if the OEM looks the other way, then the aircraft becomes all the more attractive to the IAF. The French have looked the other way with desi jugaad on their platforms in India. They could do the same with Rafale. It all depends on how much the OEM is willing to be open to Indian integration.

So BrahMos-NG on F-15EX, F-18SH Block III or F-21 is certainly technically possible...but whether they want to do it, is another issue.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby brar_w » 04 Apr 2021 23:05

Israel operates F-16's with Israeli mission computers, Israeli weapons (A2A and A2S), EW gear, Communication suite, and US made radars. Singapore has likewise mixed and matched elements of US and Israel including interfaces, computers, EW gear and weapons. South Korea has integrated Israeli munitions (Spice) on its F-16's as well. The UAE operates custom equipment that is different from everyone else.

In the end it is possible to create a new baseline on any of these platforms but the question is going to come down to cost and who else is going to fund it as there appears to be no real demand for this thus leaving one or two customers to carry the entire cost associated with doing so (and then sustaining that through modernization). As the UAE Block 60 program showed back in the late 90's/early 2000's, there is really no limit to customization (these guys got a user specific AESA and AESA based SPJ suite in the early-mid 2000s - years and in some cases decades before the Eurocanards got some of these things) but then the costs rise to a point where you are paying 5th gen. or beyond 5th gen level of cost to acquire much less capable systems. Their value is in buying them as is with a limited level of customization. If that doesn't work, then better to move on to something else.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby Rakesh » 15 Apr 2021 21:23

:lol:

https://twitter.com/TheWolfpackIN/statu ... 12898?s=20 ---> US has not yet offered F-35 steath fighters to India. They have offered lower versions of F-series. F-35 is a very capable aircraft: CDS

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby Rakesh » 15 Apr 2021 21:31

A bit of background to the tweet above....

https://twitter.com/manupubby/status/13 ... 71712?s=20 ---> Interesting. On a question about F-35s for India, CDS Gen Rawat says the US has offered only a lower variant of the F series yet. Says the F-35 is a very capable aircraft.

https://twitter.com/manupubby/status/13 ... 27616?s=20 ---> CDS added that the US may not like to share very advanced technology with other nations.

https://twitter.com/manupubby/status/13 ... 53384?s=20 ---> He was speaking at the #RaisinaDialogue2021.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby Philip » 16 Apr 2021 12:56

Reg. the F-35, Bloomberg reports that a key test which will give the bird full combat capability has been postponed to " end 2022" by the US.There are still several issues with the F-35 to be resolved, which is also a v.expensive proposition to acquire as well as operating costs. It's why the search is on for a new 4++ or 5- fighter for the USAF and USN.
I seriously doubt whether the F-35 will see service with our armed forces as even if the TEDBF arrives by the decade end, it will still be much cheaper than an F-35.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby brar_w » 16 Apr 2021 17:54

All three F-35 variants have completed their physical operational testing to the full combat capability specification (Block-3F) as noted in the original development baseline. Prior to this, operator/service led operational assessments for each were conducted in 2015, 2016 and 2019, prior to each US service's operational leaders signing off on IOC. At the time, the USAF used its most cutting edge 4+ generation fighter as a comparison (that time was the AESA equipped F-15E's that were rolling out of the depot after getting upgraded). Subsequently, the physical hardware evaluation portion of the official OT&E was concluded as well. What remains is a joint simulation environment integration which was neither part of the original test master plan (JSE as it exists now was not even a thing back when the F-35 program was stood up), nor relevant to any foreign user of the aircraft (JSE integrates the F-35 into a virtual environment that includes other classified and unclassified US and threat system capabilities so that the combined effects/impacts can be measured. JSE structure and results are US specific and not shared with anyone else. JSE helps guide force structure and joint planning decisions for the US/Pentagon).

Foreign customers have done their own operational assessments and declared their own milestones for IOC etc. Integrating with the JSE and completing that simulation is a pre-requisite, not to full capability, but to full-rate production (it is a Milestone decision and not an operational capability decision) and block-buy decision for the US ONLY and not anyone else. European partners of the F-35 are already buying the aircraft as part of multi-year block buys having satisfied the development and operational test requirements to be able to do so as per their laws and regulations. Fascinating that the same folks advocating buying more MiG-29K's, Su-57 and the mythical MiG-35's are claiming that the F-35, that has completed a 11-year, 9,000+ test sortie and nearly 18,000 hour (not included the full year long OT&E involving between half a dozen to a dozen aircraft) test program is somehow undertested? :eek:

That said, the baseline version of the F-35 (block 3F, the one that is currently operational with US and other users) is no longer on offer as it is being phased out of production. Starting 2021, all new orders have been and will be for the Block 4 (Tech refresh 3) hardware/software configuration, some hardware elements of which (though some will come two years following that) will enter final production and assembly line in 2023 (hence 2021 orders for them - 2 yr. lead time). Starting with the 90+ aircraft the USAF had included in its current year's budget (which was signed into law a few months ago) all subsequent F-35's ordered will be block-4. Block 4 will undergo its own series of development, and operational testing. Though they may combine DT/OT for it, it could also be that block-4 has a dedicated Operational test and evaluation phase given the large scope of the upgrades. More than a dozen aircraft of the ITF are currently in the process of being upgraded with the new hardware to support Block 4 DT.

The first large Block -4 F-35 deal is likely going to happen later this year (see story linked below) and would involve 3 production lots, much like the last contract that was awarded a couple of years ago. This would be for between 400-500 aircraft (most likely) over 3 years which includes a 3-year buy for non US customers, and a year-by-year buy for US customers (of which 90+ have already been approved in the FY-21 budget). There is a production dip planned in 2023 (deliveries will fall to b/w 130-135 aircraft for LOT 15) because of the extensive hardware changes so future customers will probably not have access to the production line (at least in a substantive way) till production LOT 18 which comes in late 2026 and into 2027 with of course some wiggle room kept for ongoing campaigns (like Finland, Canada etc).

If you look at the UAE FMS case, they too plan supplying aircraft in 2027 and beyond time-frame which is exactly outside the period of the currently being negotiated 3 year deal. Despite very high production rates, they have very little room to offer expedited deliveries and most of the reductions in orders (like Turkey) have been offset by increases elsewhere (Japan, SoKo and Israel). So it's just not the S-400 problem that Lockheed has to deal with when/if it begins to talk to GOTUS about offering the F-35 for MMRCA (Lockheed has so far avoided going the DCS route on any F-35 sales campaign, leaving the negotiation to be between G2G as an FMS case), but also a supply problem. Despite producing at a very high production rate, they have very limited room in their production plan to offer any substantial inventory prior to 2027/2028. The block-4 transition also limits Lockheed's near term (2023-2025) ability to adjust production rates to meet additional demand. New vendors are being brought in, and existing vendors are transitioning to newer, more capable hardware that will have its own production ramp and learning curve associated with it. All this is why the F-35 has never been offered by GOTUS. The timelines do not align. They didn't for the original deal, and they don't for the current follow on purchase with domestic production.

Next F-35 Contracts Under Negotiation, Deal Expected by Late September

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby Rakesh » 16 Apr 2021 19:50

brar, why do you entertain? Just ignore.


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