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AEW&C News & Discussion

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby abhik » 11 Sep 2017 18:27

Why not just buy the Gulfstream based version, might be a 95% solution but will probably be much cheaper and available.

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby Viv S » 11 Sep 2017 19:13

We've got a smaller solution already in the form of the Netra.

If we want to complement it with a larger aircraft, the obvious solution is the E-7 Wedgetail. Solid reliable base (Boeing 737), excellent performance, mature dual role (AWACS + MPA) capabilities, all at a reasonable cost ~$500 mil/unit (comparable to what we budgeted for the Phalcons).

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby brar_w » 11 Sep 2017 19:37

That would mean 4 different airborne surveillance radars the IAF would have to support and keep upgraded in the future, not to mention other associated mission systems working with suppliers across Europe, India, Russia, Israel and the US. Better to standardize on two large ones (Phalcon and the future indigenous radar) and either pay up the higher cost for the IL76s or look to diversify and mount the radar on an alternative platform possibly one that is common with the IAF's Next Gen. AEW platform for the sake of reducing training and O&S costs. It will also provide a nice learning experience and a stepping stone for the next gen project.
Last edited by brar_w on 11 Sep 2017 20:22, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby Viv S » 11 Sep 2017 20:22

brar_w wrote:That would mean 4 different airborne surveillance radars the IAF would have to support and keep upgraded in the future, not to mention other associated mission systems. Better to standardize on two large ones (Phalcon and the future indigenous radar) and either pay up the higher cost for the IL76s or look to diversify and mount the radar on an alternative platform possibly one that is common with the IAF's Next Gen. AEW platform for the sake of commonality.

Three different aircraft for the immediate future. The DRDO-Airbus AWACS project is unlikely to fructify until the mid-2030s, at which point they would replace the A-50EIs - little point in flogging the Il-76 beyond its 20 yr service life (delivered between 2009 and 2010).

Sharing a platform with the next-gen AEW would have been ideal except that the A330 doesn't have a AWACS variant at the moment, and by the time it does, we plan to equip it with locally-sourced gear.

Also, while the Wedgetail's mission-systems will be unique, the 737 platform is in very wide use. Aside from the vast (& growing) numbers on the civilian side, its already serving with the Indian military (IN P-8Is & IAF BBJs).
Last edited by Viv S on 11 Sep 2017 20:24, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby Indranil » 11 Sep 2017 20:24

^^^ The radar and the radomes are almost ready.

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby brar_w » 11 Sep 2017 20:25

You aren't going to be replacing AEW platforms acquired in the 2020 time-frame just because new ones are available in the 2030s. Those will meet growth needs. How many cycles will they put on an AEW aircraft per year to justify retiring aircraft after 20 years?

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby Viv S » 11 Sep 2017 20:36

Indranil wrote:^^^ The radar and the radomes are almost ready.

I would have assumed Airbus is developing the radomes. Also, correct me if I'm wrong but the project has only received in-principle approval from the DAC - we haven't signed a contract with Airbus so far, which in turn will hold fire on development until its got a financial commitment in writing.

Thereafter, its scheduled to take 7 years after contract signing. That's the plan at least. In practice, between integration, flight-testing, tech refreshes, debugging, we're looking at 10 years+ (going by the history of both the Netra & the Wedgetail) for handover.

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby Viv S » 11 Sep 2017 20:50

brar_w wrote:You aren't going to be replacing AEW platforms acquired in the 2020 time-frame just because new ones are available in the 2030s. Those will meet growth needs. How many cycles will they put on an AEW aircraft per year to justify retiring aircraft after 20 years?

Eh? The first Phalcon was delivered in 2009, the last in late 2010 (or maybe early 2011, I can't recall). It should be about 25 years old by the mid-2030s. The avionics (and associated power-generation) will need to be stripped out - and that's where the bulk of the expenditure goes anyway. (The B 737-700, f.e. is ~ $85 mil flyaway, while the E-7 would be upwards of $250 mil.)

After that its a question of whether exploiting the residual airframe life is worth it in the terms of maintainability and, more importantly, operational availability. (Also, worth noting on the topic of airframe life - these weren't new-builds; AFAIK they from unused airframes stored by the ex-Soviet factory at Tashkent repurposed for the job.)
Last edited by Viv S on 11 Sep 2017 20:57, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby brar_w » 11 Sep 2017 20:56

h? The first Phalcon was delivered in 2009, the last in late 2010 (or maybe early 2011, I can't recall). It should be about 25 years old by the mid-2030s. The avionics (and associated power-generation) will need to be stripped out - and that's where the bulk of the expenditure goes anyway.


I am referring to the current plans of utilizing the existing radar and mission systems that has now run into issues with the more expensive platform. Clearly the IAF is/was looking at acquiring additional radars and aircraft to meet mission needs in the 2020s. Those aircraft aren't going away till the 2040s. There is also no need to retire aircraft acquired in 2011 by 2030-2035. Depending upon the number of cycles you expect to put on them they should be able to soldier on much longer with new aircraft coming in to meet increased mission need over the next few decades.

It will be quite absurd to operate three different and distinct heavy AWACS radars and mission systems when you can keep buying the existing Phalcons, which I assume meets the IAFs operational needs until such time that the indigenous platform and radar is ready. Israel will be more than willing to help integrate the phalcon on an alternative platform. Alternatively, you could always bargain harder or pay more for the IL-76s if that means getting aircraft quicker and avoiding other costs.
Last edited by brar_w on 11 Sep 2017 21:00, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby Mort Walker » 11 Sep 2017 20:59

brar_w wrote:You aren't going to be replacing AEW platforms acquired in the 2020 time-frame just because new ones are available in the 2030s. Those will meet growth needs. How many cycles will they put on an AEW aircraft per year to justify retiring aircraft after 20 years?


Correct. Everything for the Phalcon in the IL-76 was already planned. Training which is no small feat for any radar ground or airborne, logistics and growth in the sense of radar and integrated communications software development. The Russians know going to another platform for Phalcon will not just be monetarily costly, but a loss in time. They have India over a barrel and know it. Hence we're seeing price gouging by Putin and company. The Russians are entirely unreliable partners and are thugs. A Somalia with a large nuke aresenal. If the price of oil and gas stays low, they will become irrelevant in the near future. For now India will have to pay up and pull out of stupid programs like the FGFA and call that a loss.

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby Viv S » 11 Sep 2017 21:10

brar_w wrote:I am referring to the current plans of utilizing the existing radar and mission systems that has now run into issues with the more expensive platform. Clearly the IAF is/was looking at acquiring additional radars and aircraft to meet mission needs in the 2020s. Those aircraft aren't going away till the 2040s.

Well we're discussing alternatives to those current plans for follow-on Phalcons. Of course, if the purchase goes through (making this discussion moot) the new aircraft will serve past 2040.

There is also no need to retire aircraft acquired in 2011 by 2030-2035. Depending upon the number of cycles you expect to put on them they should be able to soldier on much longer with new aircraft coming in to meet increased mission need over the next few decades.

They're going to need a serious & expensive MLU by the late 20s or early 30s to remain operationally viable. And going by the record of our serving Il-76s & Il-78s (also of TAPO-stock, unlike the new MD-90A builds coming from Aviastar, Russia), serviceability will be a serious concern.

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby Indranil » 11 Sep 2017 23:03

Viv,

I don't know who will be making the chapatis, but I know that they are ordering stands to hold the radomes NOW. I will be surprised if Airbus makes the chapatis though. In the case of A-50s, the Israelis made the chapati. In the case of Netra, we made the beams. The aircraft OEM is part of discussion as to will aerodynamically fit on their platform. It is as multidiciplinary as it gets. That's why you see DRDO showcasing the chapati on Airbus, because they must have gone through some iterations together before they designed the chapati. So, one can be fairly certain that the desi AWACS will be 330 based, unless something drastic happens.

The radar is a scaled up version of the ones in the Netra. I think they settled for 4 sided array instead of 3. Govt. and bureaucracy are moving at the glacial pace that you rightly suggest, but CABS and other DRDO labs have raced ahead. A lot of work has been finished. They have been designing it for the better part of the last 5-6 years.

That team that they have at LRDE/CABS is now a world-class team. They can scale that radar up or down fairly well. Uttam, AWACS, land based AESA radars: you will see them churn them out fairly quickly now.

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby Viv S » 12 Sep 2017 00:09

Indranil wrote:Viv,

I don't know who will be making the chapatis, but I know that they are ordering stands to hold the radomes NOW. I will be surprised if Airbus makes the chapatis though. In the case of A-50s, the Israelis made the chapati. In the case of Netra, we made the beams. The aircraft OEM is part of discussion as to will aerodynamically fit on their platform. It is as multidiciplinary as it gets. That's why you see DRDO showcasing the chapati on Airbus, because they must have gone through some iterations together before they designed the chapati. So, one can be fairly certain that the desi AWACS will be 330 based, unless something drastic happens.

Hmm.. that's interesting. I assumed that aside from its drag & weight impact, the fact that the chapati acts as an aerofoil would mean its design, in addition to the FBW modifications for the A-330, would be OEM-driven (even if mfg. is outsourced to India). Also, the airframe will need reinforcement to support the chapati.

Without a signed contract its difficult to envision the OEM investing the requisite resources into the project.

Are you absolutely sure the radomes & accessories ordered aren't for mounting & ground testing prototypes?

The radar is a scaled up version of the ones in the Netra. I think they settled for 4 sided array instead of 3. Govt. and bureaucracy are moving at the glacial pace that you rightly suggest, but CABS and other DRDO labs have raced ahead. A lot of work has been finished. They have been designing it for the better part of the last 5-6 years.

That team that they have at LRDE/CABS is now a world-class team. They can scale that radar up or down fairly well. Uttam, AWACS, land based AESA radars: you will see them churn them out fairly quickly now.

I have no doubt LRDE & CABS have made huge strides but as the Wedgetail history shows the development process for even an industry major like Northrop Grumman is a slog.

And not to be cynical (the same applies to most ambitious foreign projects as well) but how often do expected timelines get met? My impression is that the expected schedule is usually indicative of the best-case-outcomes. In practice, new problems & challenges pop-up along the way and while each one generates valuable experience, it inevitably results in the timelines shifting to the right.

Take the LCH, for example. No one can dispute that ALH project had resulted in substantial design & mfg experience for HAL. The LCH was rightly expected to be a quicker project. Initially, IOC was scheduled for 2010 (after the first flight in 2009) with FOC following a year later and deliveries to the IAF beginning 2012-13. In the end, IOC was achieved in 2017, with FOC scheduled for 2018 and deliveries probably beginning early 2019.

None of this is to say that the achievement wasn't laudable and indeed 10-12 years in development (starting from 2006) is an excellent outcome. But point is, the project took longer than expected. It always does. (And not just in India.)

So, when the time for the handover to the IAF is "hopefully" projected as 84 months (i.e. 7 yrs) from contract signing, one wishes them all the best, but you and I know its going to take longer. New unforeseen problems will arise, redesigns will be required with knock-on effects elsewhere. The ASQRs too might evolve with the technological landscape (hopefully without any very drastic changes). 10 years+ is pretty much a given. If all goes well, perhaps not too much longer.

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby Cybaru » 12 Sep 2017 00:48

I feel we will end up paying for the two new Il-76, but then the russians are being penny wise and pound foolish if the above report is true? I don't see any other options and we will need these puppies to fully support one theater in during war time. Whatever we choose for refuelers should end up becoming the AEW/MPA standard platform.

Every foreign vendor will price gouge us till we learn to make it ourselves. Time to dust off plans for C-295/MTA based assets and move on that as a long term solution for both AEW and MPA based assets.

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby Indranil » 12 Sep 2017 00:58

Viv,

The path forward for IAF with respect to AEW&C/AWACS seems to be quite set in stone right now.

If they need more AEW&Cs, it will the Netra. IAF has had no qualms about the project. There is a HUGE IAF team embedded with the development team. I am told that the desi AEW&C is world-class and in some cases world-beating. I don't see IAF wavering from that path.

If they need more AWACS, they will exercise the +2 A-50 option. And thereafter it will be the DRDO AWACS on top of the A330s.

As I said before this program is sailing smoothly with the customers. Something drastic will have to happen for this course to change.

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby nam » 12 Sep 2017 01:28

There was some report on India planning to upgrade existing IL76s. Why don't we use two of them to create the AWACS as part of the upgrade? if we really really need IL76 as platform.

Otherwise it has to be Netra and speed up A330 based AWACS.

Given that we have been really slow on inducting large sized AWACS, we must be using SU-30 BARS as sort of mini-awacs. Otherwise it would have been a top priority import.

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby Indranil » 12 Sep 2017 01:37

Su-30 BARS is a very bad alternative.

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby nam » 12 Sep 2017 02:54

Could be, however I am not sure what other reason could be not getting more AWACS.

Pakis bought AWACS like pancakes. Of course can be argued about Chinese platform availability. On the other hand, we seem to be hardly bothered.

Should have been a high priority buy. No movement for ages.

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby Indranil » 12 Sep 2017 03:01

Priority. We are not getting tankers either.

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby Cain Marko » 12 Sep 2017 03:08

They have been sitting with their thumbs up their *** for over a decade now. And they don't expect price to increase. I'm also guessing IAF wants higher uptimes like western birds, which would mean higher prices as well.

These birds should have been in the inventory years ago. Stupid up policies...

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby fanne » 12 Sep 2017 03:56

the IL-76 was already shipped to Israel two years ago, didn't we already pay it then? or it was free then and 3 times now? Is this fake news??

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby Karthik S » 12 Sep 2017 11:52

X-posting

Philip wrote:"Turkish delight" Indian samosas and jelkabis to follow too...!

http://tass.com/defense/965028
[/quote]

Philip saar, could you explain the reason behind charging 3 times the amount for IL-76 plane for our Phalcon AWACS? The project is stuck because of that.

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby abhik » 12 Sep 2017 20:14

Viv S wrote:We've got a smaller solution already in the form of the Netra.
...

Actually the Gulfstream G550 is 2x the weight and has nearly 3x the range of the Embraer.

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby Singha » 12 Sep 2017 21:07

take the range nos of business jets with a load of salt. their payload capacity is quite smaller than commercial jets when quoting those huge ceilings and ranges. they carry a lot of fuel in lieu of useful payload to get those huge point to point ranges to ferry exec teams and high rollers.

G550
Empty weight: 48,300 lb (21,909 kg)
Useful load: 6,200 lb (2,812 kg)
Loaded weight: 54,500 lb (24,721 kg)

the EMB145 is a similar weight plane but carries 50 pax and luggage for a useful load of around 4 tons. range is obviously less.

for a ELINT or AEW downlink type mission G550 will work. its useless for any form of airborne control center which needs a crew + relief crew .... the EMB145/Saab2000 are the starting point

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby abhik » 13 Sep 2017 00:48

Singha wrote:take the range nos of business jets with a load of salt. their payload capacity is quite smaller than commercial jets when quoting those huge ceilings and ranges. they carry a lot of fuel in lieu of useful payload to get those huge point to point ranges to ferry exec teams and high rollers.

G550
Empty weight: 48,300 lb (21,909 kg)
Useful load: 6,200 lb (2,812 kg)
Loaded weight: 54,500 lb (24,721 kg)

the EMB145 is a similar weight plane but carries 50 pax and luggage for a useful load of around 4 tons. range is obviously less.

for a ELINT or AEW downlink type mission G550 will work. its useless for any form of airborne control center which needs a crew + relief crew .... the EMB145/Saab2000 are the starting point

I think it is true to an extent for all long range aircraft - the amount of fuel carried is close to what much larger A320/B373 types can carry. Regardless EMB145 will never be able to match it in range i.e. on station time - which IIRC was one of the issues with the DRDO AEW&CS.

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby Cybaru » 14 Sep 2017 05:21

^^

True that platforms like EMB145 can't match on station time and payload, but they are not meant to. These units serve well for day to day on demand use given the really fast turn around time for these platforms. We have a very close border on multiple fronts so take off, 8 hour sortie - land - refuel - change to new crew and sortie again are the name of the game for these types. We can afford to skip carrying the second relief crew onboard for a large portion of the missions (Perhaps for 100% of peacetime missions). It will only be needed when a relief aircraft cannot be tasked to the same location. Ideally keeping in mind future growth, a platform like 321/737/767 would be nice, but we should order 6-9 more of the 145 types and standardize on these.

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby Mort Walker » 14 Sep 2017 05:31

^^^I disagree.

Radar capability and coverage is limited, despite what is advertised. We need the ability to see everything deep into the Tibetan plateau and IOR.

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby Cybaru » 14 Sep 2017 05:58

Mort Walker wrote:^^^I disagree.

Radar capability and coverage is limited, despite what is advertised. We need the ability to see everything deep into the Tibetan plateau and IOR.


What is "deep"? How far do you think a radar on these platforms can see?
a) A330
b) Phalcon
C) EMB145

When an asset is allocated to indo china border: What percentage of sortie would you say we need to do that ?

Every sortie?
Some sorties?
Only Few sorties?
During peacetime?
During wartime?

Do all our assets need to do this? Can we have multiple asset types that can be tasked differently?

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby Mort Walker » 14 Sep 2017 06:27

By deep meaning over-the-horizon.

It isn't just a matter of range, but the ability to distinguish low velocity targets in a high clutter environment. You would not only track the target, but you would monitor its communications too. An AWACS at peace time is most useful as it will reveal much about enemy movement patterns and assets. These small airborne radars simply lack the ability to put sufficient power density on a target at all the desired wavelengths.

Instead of the small aircraft platforms, it would be better to develop a good ground based radar network to track/identify each and every object coming in and out of your airspace.

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby Cybaru » 14 Sep 2017 06:48

Mort Walker wrote:By deep meaning over-the-horizon.


Good point: OTH radar is needed, but that is not awacs.

It isn't just a matter of range, but the ability to distinguish low velocity targets in a high clutter environment.


Okay, I thought that is how range gets defined - When it loses discrimination power, that is the effective range of the radar for that kind of work.

Instead of the small aircraft platforms, it would be better to develop a good ground based radar network to track/identify each and every object coming in and out of your airspace.


Two different points. Sure, but it's not a zero sum game. This is needed even if we don't put one single awacs in the sky.

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby Mort Walker » 14 Sep 2017 08:16

Cybaru wrote:
Good point: OTH radar is needed, but that is not awacs.

Okay, I thought that is how range gets defined - When it loses discrimination power, that is the effective range of the radar for that kind of work.

Two different points. Sure, but it's not a zero sum game. This is needed even if we don't put one single awacs in the sky.


OTH can be on AWACS if you have large enough antenna gain and power - and remember you're already at 30,000 feet, so OTH is an easier problem from a clutter point of view. The designs that DRDO has floated on the Airbus appear to have that capability.

No. The radar range equation doesn't incorporate target identification, nor does it incorporate clutter suppression capability. That is signal processing. Read David K. Barton, Radar System Analysis and Modeling, Artech House, 2005, ISBN 978-1-58053-681-3.

Cost is a concern and time is limited too. Rather than putting up a poor quality airborne system it is better to develop a ground based radar network. It is better at this point to buy the IL-76 at whatever price, gain the engineering (hardware and software) experience and operational experience. It takes decades to build experience in radar systems. Just because the pakis and chinnis have something in the air means little in terms of operational and development capability.

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby Cybaru » 14 Sep 2017 10:01

Mort Walker wrote:OTH can be on AWACS if you have large enough antenna gain and power - and remember you're already at 30,000 feet, so OTH is an easier problem from a clutter point of view. The designs that DRDO has floated on the Airbus appear to have that capability.

No. The radar range equation doesn't incorporate target identification, nor does it incorporate clutter suppression capability. That is signal processing. Read David K. Barton, Radar System Analysis and Modeling, Artech House, 2005, ISBN 978-1-58053-681-3.

Cost is a concern and time is limited too. Rather than putting up a poor quality airborne system it is better to develop a ground based radar network. It is better at this point to buy the IL-76 at whatever price, gain the engineering (hardware and software) experience and operational experience. It takes decades to build experience in radar systems. Just because the pakis and chinnis have something in the air means little in terms of operational and development capability.


Yes, interesting points, but none of these points to the fact that we don't need diamond plated units on all our borders. Watching Pakis along the border from Bombay to Kashmir doesn't require OTH platforms (NONE exists even with KHAN).

What we need is a "good enough" system that can see 300-400 kms deep, vector in the mixed strike package of jags, lca, mig27s, m2ks to their destination and watch over them as they make exit and vector any MKIs/Mig29s in the direction that needs help. We need enough of these so that two-three can always be on station and are replaced by fresh platform and crew to be overseers. These EMB type platforms will free up the Il-50s for the eastern flank.

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby Mort Walker » 15 Sep 2017 01:51

Cybaru,

We got through this discussion about once a year about "good enough" and no need for gold/diamond/platinum plated units.

1. DRDO has a program for airborne surveillance on an Embraer platform and has a prototype.
2. The IAF has 3 Elta Phalcon systems on the IL-76 platform. They want 3 more, but IL-76 cost is too high. Maybe they'all get only 1 more if lucky. What they do have is over 7 years of operational experience and is the stepping stone for a truly indegenous AWACS on the Airbus platform. This platform provides for complete air dominance in the theater, much more so than the Embraer platform.
3. The IA or IAF has the Green Pine and its derivatives for ground based radar systems for over a decade in operation that takes care of most everything on the western front. The Embraer platform just to take care of the pakis may not be the best idea and may be more for developing a ECM/ECCM system. We don't know, but that would make the most sense.

Finally, do you or anyone know what KHAN has or not? It would be naive to guess in any way.

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby Cybaru » 15 Sep 2017 06:30

Ofcourse you disagree, your statement started off as such! :). I state my view point and you come and share yours and perhaps it's different. so off we go back and forth. It's your choice.

You want your perfect diamond plated pie in the sky, I want enough number of similar platforms that we already have invested in so that we can go to battlefield with it and hold a front. You want all platforms capable of looking 1000s of kms deep and I am saying lets do whatever the technology is capable of today. Lets make it to the present from where we are and then worry about the future.

Then there is ground based OTH radars, which ideally should be discussed in the Radar thread! :)

By the way the number of assets are 2 EMB 145 with IAF, 1 with DRDO (supposedly for delivery in 2018).
3 phalcons and perhaps 2 on order circa 2015. I am not putting much faith in the 3 times as much news report just yet until we see Drdo and def ministry comment more on it.

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby Mort Walker » 15 Sep 2017 11:19

^^^There is no such thing as a "diamond plated pie in the sky". You either do things the right way or you simply beat around the bush. Let's put it this way, which is the perfect analogy - You lose your car keys in a dark unlit parking lot and instead of searching with a flashlight, you search by lighting matches. It appears DRDO understands this and is serious about having air superiority on the Airbus platform.

No one ever said a range of 1000+ Km? What is needed is to distinguish multiple moving targets in a high clutter condition. It takes power density and signal processing. The Embraers have limited capability. Even though the IAF has 1, they have significantly more experience on the Phalcon.

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby Cybaru » 16 Sep 2017 05:26

Mort Walker wrote:Even though the IAF has 1, they have significantly more experience on the Phalcon.


That's like saying we have more experience on Mig21s so we shouldn't induct more Mirage2000s.

Mort Walker wrote:You lose your car keys in a dark unlit parking lot and instead of searching with a flashlight, you search by lighting matches. It appears DRDO understands this and is serious about having air superiority on the Airbus platform.


I think the perfect analogy is you willing to give up defending your country for 9-11 years until you get the perfect weapon. It takes between 5-9 years to qualify a new platform (737 for wedgetail took 9 years and 767 for japan took 5 years). We haven't signed the contract and who knows when that will be. Before that we will get a huge qualification, verification and testing bill from Airbus and we have to agree to those costs and any delays and umpteen cost increase cycles. Then after all that, this platform will go through IOC/FOC for a while before induction. These time-lines are all contingent on the fact that the requirements and battle field don't change. Long way bro with too much uncertainty!

If we order another 6 to 7 more Netra's then the western/southern front is fully protected leaving the 3 or 5 Il-76 to focus on just the eastern front. We can also wrap this up and deliver all the 6-7 platforms in next three years.

We also don't have the added pressure for program failures and nasty wars fought through un named source news reports like we always do when we try out new programs and there are delays. IAF can patiently wait while DRDO gets the Next generation of AEW right as it tries to uncloak stealth aircraft as far as possible.

Mort Walker wrote:No one ever said a range of 1000+ Km? What is needed is to distinguish multiple moving targets in a high clutter condition. It takes power density and signal processing.


You said OTH, which has range of 1000s of kms.

But I do agree with you that more power leads to better discrimination and better information. Sure we will miss some discrimination when aircraft is below XXX ft and below XX knots, but we got the other 98% use cases covered. So why delay when we toiled to make this ourselves.

I agree EMB platform size is not perfect, but heck this is what we have. In my opinion ( yes, I know, no one cares! :) ), a mid sized platform like A321 to KC46 would be ideal. Before you berate me for more power, yes you can add extra generator on the engines and add extra APU to generate the 1MW on bigger engines and trade them off for some on-station time in these mid sized platforms to get the same power as the bigger platforms. You can even think about adding energy stores to for burst mode use on these radars through super capacitors.

If we could make the KC-46 platform and standardize our MPA/AEW/Refueling/C&C/ECM and start our civilian aircraft sector through a subsidiary of Boeing in India that would be indeed awesome. I do prefer buying 10 mid sized platform vs 6 large platforms. Any loss/damage/unavailability will be well contained with larger number of mid sized platforms. Since our offense or defense is going to be based on our territory, this would work perfectly for our needs and allow us to recycle platforms and crew on station with ease. We have advantage on what kind of war we are going to be fighting, we know the parameters well. Lets use it to our advantage!

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby Mort Walker » 16 Sep 2017 20:00

Cybaru wrote:That's like saying we have more experience on Mig21s so we shouldn't induct more Mirage2000s.


False analogy. Airborne radar takes significant experience in terms of development, training, maintenance and engineering support. It is far more complicated than a fighter aircraft. The EL/W-2090 is a recent acquisition and is the ideal building block for future AWACS.

Cybaru wrote:I think the perfect analogy is you willing to give up defending your country for 9-11 years until you get the perfect weapon. It takes between 5-9 years to qualify a new platform (737 for wedgetail took 9 years and 767 for japan took 5 years). We haven't signed the contract and who knows when that will be. Before that we will get a huge qualification, verification and testing bill from Airbus and we have to agree to those costs and any delays and umpteen cost increase cycles. Then after all that, this platform will go through IOC/FOC for a while before induction. These time-lines are all contingent on the fact that the requirements and battle field don't change. Long way bro with too much uncertainty!

If we order another 6 to 7 more Netra's then the western/southern front is fully protected leaving the 3 or 5 Il-76 to focus on just the eastern front. We can also wrap this up and deliver all the 6-7 platforms in next three years.

We also don't have the added pressure for program failures and nasty wars fought through un named source news reports like we always do when we try out new programs and there are delays. IAF can patiently wait while DRDO gets the Next generation of AEW right as it tries to uncloak stealth aircraft as far as possible.


Wrong again. The EL/W-2090 IAI radar has given both DRDO and the IAF significant experience. The Netra platform is important from a development point of view and given its capability, its mission is different from a full fledged AWACS. There was already agreement to get 6 IL-76 platforms for the EL/W-2090. That should continue and so should the Netra platform. What I'm trying to stress is that Netra is not a substitute for the EL/W-2090 or the indigenous AWACS platform. It has a complimentary mission.


Cybaru wrote:You said OTH, which has range of 1000s of kms.


Again, you're thinking of ground based systems for detecting ICBMs and not airborne systems. In both instances you're reflecting off of the upper atmosphere. Read this 12-page brochure from Northrup Grumman as a reference: http://www.northropgrumman.com/Capabilities/AWACSAPY2/Documents/AWACS.pdf Page 5 onwards.

Cybaru wrote:But I do agree with you that more power leads to better discrimination and better information. Sure we will miss some discrimination when aircraft is below XXX ft and below XX knots, but we got the other 98% use cases covered. So why delay when we toiled to make this ourselves.


Its not about cases covered, but significantly lower probability of detection of targets and lots of false alarms.

Cybaru wrote:I agree EMB platform size is not perfect, but heck this is what we have. In my opinion ( yes, I know, no one cares! :) ), a mid sized platform like A321 to KC46 would be ideal. Before you berate me for more power, yes you can add extra generator on the engines and add extra APU to generate the 1MW on bigger engines and trade them off for some on-station time in these mid sized platforms to get the same power as the bigger platforms. You can even think about adding energy stores to for burst mode use on these radars through super capacitors.


Radar systems are pulse modulated at varying pulse repetition frequencies to determine velocity information. Average transmit power is important and there is no such thing as "burst mode". Calculate power density needed on target for a specific wavelength to be reflected back, then determine how much power you would need given the antenna aperture. You won't get that from super capacitors and batteries as the physics just doesn't work out.

Cybaru wrote:If we could make the KC-46 platform and standardize our MPA/AEW/Refueling/C&C/ECM and start our civilian aircraft sector through a subsidiary of Boeing in India that would be indeed awesome. I do prefer buying 10 mid sized platform vs 6 large platforms. Any loss/damage/unavailability will be well contained with larger number of mid sized platforms. Since our offense or defense is going to be based on our territory, this would work perfectly for our needs and allow us to recycle platforms and crew on station with ease. We have advantage on what kind of war we are going to be fighting, we know the parameters well. Lets use it to our advantage!


The KC-46 is based on the Boeing 767. That is not a mid-sized platform. What we really need to do is to change the title of this thread to Airborne Surveillance Systems News and Discussion. The potential for a lot of good discussion is falling through the cracks.

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby manjgu » 16 Sep 2017 20:13

just to put things in perspective Indian gold plated AWACS have v poor servicibility rates... i think there is need for both gold plated and not so gold plated platforms

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby Mort Walker » 16 Sep 2017 20:43

^^^What do you mean by "gold plated"? Are you referring to the IL-76 platform for the EL/W-2090? The CAG report was a snapshot in time for a very complex system. Deliveries didn't start until late 2009. Service availability rates are of course going to be low. They will also be low for the Netra system too when initially deployed.

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Re: AEW&C News & Discussion

Postby Cybaru » 17 Sep 2017 05:18

Mort Walker wrote:Wrong again.


Dude, sorry, I feel you can disagree and say you have a different opinion, but it would be nice if you can get out of this wrong/right mode. It makes sharing and discussing ideas quite tiring and boring when viewed through this black and white prism of wrong and right. There are trade offs for every idea and what you think is important may not be what I think is important when thinking about all of this operationally.

Mort Walker wrote:The KC-46 is based on the Boeing 767. That is not a mid-sized platform. What we really need to do is to change the title of this thread to Airborne Surveillance Systems News and Discussion. The potential for a lot of good discussion is falling through the cracks.


767 gets qualified under mid size/mid-range. That is the largest IMO that we should look at. I would prefer something around A321/A322 so that we can use such a platform to start production of that in India with Airbus and satisfy the civilian market as well. We have immense need for A321/A322 sized platform for regional transport and we can couple that our defense needs as well. And if you are not opposed to the 767 size then we are on the same page, but the cost difference between 767 and A330 is close to 70 million dollars per unit and between the A321 and the A330 is more than 105/110 million dollars and both will allow you to keep orbit for 14 odd hours and have a spare crew onboard.

Look at the range. http://www.aircraft.airbus.com/aircraft ... y/a321neo/
Last edited by Cybaru on 17 Sep 2017 08:34, edited 2 times in total.


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