Design your own fighter

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shiv
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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby shiv » 11 Dec 2011 13:52

Rahul M wrote:sorry boss, what are you smoking ? AEW and ASW from a single seat 10 t prop ?


Rahul there is a precedent < 7 tons. Not single seat though

OV-10 Bronco
Image

Boeing has recently put together plans internally to build a modernized, improved version of the OV-10 Bronco, called the OV-10X,[4] to satisfy a possible Air Force requirement for a light attack plane.[5] According to Pentagon and industry officials, while the aircraft would maintain much of its 1960s-vintage rugged external design, the 21st century modernizations would include a computerized glass cockpit, intelligence sensors and smart-bomb-dropping capabilities. Boeing indicates that international interest in restarting production is growing, to compete with other light attack aircraft such as the T-6B Texan II, A-67 Dragon and EMB 314 Super Tucano.

On 3 February 2010, during the Singapore Air Show, Boeing announced that the international interest for the aircraft was such, that it would go on with its development even in the case it failed to win the USAF tender for 100 Light Attack/Armed Reconnaissance aircraft.[6]

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby Singha » 11 Dec 2011 14:28

well the A-10 covers the OV-10 territory quite nicely - faster, more survivable, lots of pylons for mavericks and now SDBs if needed, a huge gun....

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby shiv » 11 Dec 2011 14:36

Singha wrote:well the A-10 covers the OV-10 territory quite nicely - faster, more survivable, lots of pylons for mavericks and now SDBs if needed, a huge gun....


OV 10 is less expensive on fuel for a given loiter time, and is armoured and twin engined so survivability may be similar which is why the US has specifically quoted a requirement for 100 such aircraft and the Bronco is competing.
http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-d ... light.html
The US Air Force has issued a request for information to identify sources that can supply 100 new fighters to perform light attack and armed reconnaissance roles.

Air Combat Command released a request for information on July 27 that calls for first aircraft deliveries to start in Fiscal 2012 and the first operational squadron to activate a year later.

The requirements call for a two-seat turboprop capable of flying up to 30,000ft and equipped with zero-altitude/zero-airspeed ejection seats, full motion video camera, data link, infrared suppressor, radar warning receiver and armored cockpit. Weapons must include a gun, two 500-lb bombs, 2.75-inch rockets and rail-launched munitions.

The known for competitors for the requirement include the Air Tractor AT-802U, Embraer Super Tucano, Hawker Beechcraft AT-6B Texan II and Pilatus PC-9.

Michel Merluzeau, managing partner at G2 Global Solutions, wrote earlier this week new demand for counter-insurgency (COIN) aircraft could revive interest in the Piper PA-48 Enforcer (pictured above). The PA-48 is an updated version of the World War II-era North American P-51 Mustang, which the USAF evaluated in the early 1970s for a possible COIN role. One potential issue is the PA-48 would not meet the USAF's requirement for a two-seat fighter.

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby bmallick » 11 Dec 2011 14:37

Rahul M wrote:sorry boss, what are you smoking ? AEW and ASW from a single seat 10 t prop ?



Not smoking anything Rahul. Please read up about Fairey Gannet & Douglas skyraider, 10-11 ton turboprops having AEW version.

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby bmallick » 11 Dec 2011 14:49

I think we should avoid design creep at all cost. The idea should be affordability. Modern AD defenses are strong. But such extensive arrangements are generally around fixed important assets behind enemy lines. We are not going to use a turboprop to hit behind enemy lines. We are going to use it for CAS, basically air artillery, hitting bunkers/ machine gun dug outs, sangars, armor etc. Relatively fast, good loiter time for fast response.

To think about it Singha sir, what do you think is going to be the survivability probability of UAV's against modern air defense system. If we are planning to use UAV's like Nishant and its smaller cousins to get the battlefield picture and enemy activities, these poor UAV's too would be with in 2-4 kms enemy forces to get the pictures. Which means with in range of enemy aa guns.

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby bmallick » 11 Dec 2011 18:12

The late world war 2 designs of Torpedo Dive bombers like Fairey Spearfish, TBF Avenger,Grumman AF Gaurdian and later designs of Alize, Gannet, Skyraider etc, had 2-3 people on board, internal bay for weapons/torpedos and good range. Such designs served a very niche requirement and probably lost out in the jet age. But such designs exemplified ruggedness and simplicity.

I believe such a niche aircraft still has a role in modern age. With better turboprop engines, better avionics, can be used for the role discussed in earlier posts. Not everything is about speed, its about effectiveness. If slow helicopters & UAV's can survive in modern battlefield, then so can these beasts. Thus providing with crucial support to the man on ground, long loiter, open field STOL capability.

Please note the kind of environment that our fighters would be required to provide CAS. On the western front in the plains of Punjab, desert of Rajasthan & arid salty flat lands of Kutch. In these regions the jets can provide cas support, but its on the mountaineous & hill eastern front, that the high speed of jets would be a bane. Most of the fight would not be on mountain top, as that has happened in Kargil. Kargil was a fixed position fight. In case of an attack by chinese forces, there forces would be on the valleys, not on the mountain top. Enemy forces in the valley means that unless, the aircraft is in a narrow cone above the valley, it can see any target in the valley. But if the fighter simply zooms past the valley at high speed, the pilot would have just a few seconds to find the target and bomb. The same would be much easier for the much slower moving turboprop. Also because of the mountenious nature of the region, the turboprop would be much easier to fly along the valleys.
Just my two cents.

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby Rahul M » 11 Dec 2011 18:22

Rahul there is a precedent < 7 tons. Not single seat though

bmallick wrote:
Rahul M wrote:sorry boss, what are you smoking ? AEW and ASW from a single seat 10 t prop ?



Not smoking anything Rahul. Please read up about Fairey Gannet & Douglas skyraider, 10-11 ton turboprops having AEW version.


actually the very first AEW was built on a single seat grumman avenger.

but all those examples are from 40's and 50's, war environment has changed completely in the last 60 years. just because we used alizes in ASW back then does not mean brequet alize equivalents are still viable for that role. same with AEW, of what use would be AEW whose radar range would be less than fighters of IAF and IN ?
sometimes we do need to look at trends outside India as well.

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby Singha » 11 Dec 2011 20:27

but hasnt weapons like saber , aasm, CBU bomblets and sdb made speed irrelevant...one no longer has to paint the target or go low, but sit at 40,000ft , look down using optronics and send weapons on their way. old days of tv guided maverick are passing on...

if you need cannon firing gun-CAS, wouldnt a rugged and fast creature like Mig27 be better?

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby shiv » 11 Dec 2011 20:46

Singha wrote:
if you need cannon firing gun-CAS, wouldnt a rugged and fast creature like Mig27 be better?


My answer to that would be "it depends". The advantage of a slow moving aircraft apart from fuel economy and long loiter time is that the pilot gets time to see a lot more on the ground and since he is not flying at 500 kt/800 kmph he does not have to fly back again from 20 km away to have a re-look at a target of opportunity because that is how far his aircraft has taken him at that speed. The loitering prop aircraft can keep such a target in view all the time.

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby Rahul M » 11 Dec 2011 21:33

the problem of target identification can be and is being solved with UAV coverage, sats, JSTARS etc. unless someone convinces me that India is going to use air power against an insurgent force anytime soon, I fail to see the relevance of prop powered attack aircraft, they are just not adapted to the modern battlefield. even an attack helo can make mincemeat of those.

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby Bala Vignesh » 11 Dec 2011 23:58

RahulDa,
How will a Attack helo like apache make mincemeat out of a much more faster, nimbler and equally up-to-date prop plane???

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby Rahul M » 12 Dec 2011 00:22

yes. better sensors and stabler firing platform. a helo itself is no slouch and can go close to the ground to avoid being shot at. plus these days there are all kinds of A2A missiles available at their disposal. an attack helo has phenomenal nose pointing ability and some versions (like the ka-50 variants) were actually designed to take on other helos and light fixed wing aircraft.

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby Bala Vignesh » 12 Dec 2011 00:29

Rahulda,
I accept all the other points except for better sensors one.
Can you please enlighten me on how a heli ends up with a better sensor fit to shoot down an aircraft??? I ask this purely out of my ignorance on this possibility

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby Victor » 12 Dec 2011 01:15

As noted above by bmallick, CAS requirements are very different for the Himalayan and open plain and desert environments. In the Himalayan valleys, a slower plane is needed and the ideal would be turboprop but a slow jet like the Kiran would also do well. These niche requirements are best achieved through in-house modification of existing planes because of the small numbers needed and our new PC-7 Mk II trainer would be great for this role.

Image

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby aharam » 12 Dec 2011 05:55

From an aircraft requirements perspective, the scenario is quite different on the Western and Eastern fronts. I believe air supremacy in the Western front is quite achievable, in which case existing CAS assets - Jaguar and Mig-27 are reasonably adequate given that the altitudes involved are quite low.

The eastern front is an entirely different beast. Here, any air supremacy achieved will necessarily be local and the war objectives on either side would be limited penetration. In this case, a significant portion of the IAF's role would revolve around CAS at high altitude, since the major part of the war effort would be borne by the army. This is classic army aviation and a plane that performs well here has to (a) maneuverable, which implies low to medium wing loading (b) capable of carrying moderately heavy payloads and most importantly (c) highly survivable - more like an IL-2 Shturmovik of WWII or the current much maligned A-10, basically a heavily armored plane. The AA defenses do not have be superlative and neither does it need great speed or range. Having two pylons capable of air-to-air missiles, with the rest dedicated to A2G loadouts will be sufficient in a mildly contested area since a light fighter such as an LCA would be flying top cover with heavies providing forwar protection. Think of it like area denial of CBGs, with heavy fighters guarding the outer periphery.

Such as CAS aircraft will face threats from both MANPADS as well as SAM elements embedded in infantry divisions. MANPADS, while deadly have limited range and lethality. SAM elements have to be neutralized through extensive HARM attacks before such CAS operations can commence.

Thoughts?

Cheers
aharam

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby bmallick » 12 Dec 2011 12:58

Rahul M wrote:yes. better sensors and stabler firing platform. a helo itself is no slouch and can go close to the ground to avoid being shot at. plus these days there are all kinds of A2A missiles available at their disposal. an attack helo has phenomenal nose pointing ability and some versions (like the ka-50 variants) were actually designed to take on other helos and light fixed wing aircraft.



Rahulda, Why cannot the Turboprop too have similar sensors as the Heli and make a mincemeat of it. Isn't it the case two way.


Anyway, I totally agree to your assertion of Jstars, UAV etc removing fog of war, thus providing with great awareness, enemy identification etc, thus any aircraft can just get the passed on target information and hit the target. All this is greatly effective in the flat terrain of Punjab, Rajasthan, Kutch, Iraq etc. The JSTAR loitering 50-100 km away from the actual battlelines, see's everything clearly. The same is for the UAV, flying 4-5 km away from the battlelines. But the scenario changes drastically in the mountainous and hilly terrain, as found on our eastern border. Here mother earth it a great leveler., No matter how great the JSTAR system is, it cannot peer whats behind the next peak. What this means is that, lets say battle is being fought in a valley. A JSTAR/UAV would have to flying in quite a narrow cone above the valley to see whats happening in the valley. That location means that they are in the range/view of AD systems of the enemy. They would be shot down. Hence, what would be needed is a system which loiters around , not in the cone above the valley, but just outside, maybe 10-20 kms away, once's it gets a call for support, move in, acquires the target, hit it and get the hell out. In case of fast jet, it just doesn't provide the persistence & loiter of a turoprop, hence would require frequent re-fueling or more numbers to provide persistence. In case of a helicopter, they lack the speed necessary to get the hell out quickly. Moreover in the thin air of such terrain helicopter just do not have the margin of safety for quick maneuvering, rapid decent into valley, and quick egress from the valley. The thin air just does not provide them with the necessary power margin.

Mind, you at all times, I am emphasizing the terrain here. Flat terrain are a different thing and it provides greater flexibility, better Line-Of-Sight, not need to worry about mountains in front to avoid, now narrow valleys. It is here that the turboprop is a better bet, IMHO.

Beside, turboprop also provides another advantage. Look at DBO, it had to be prepared for transport operation & needs better infra for jet operation. For a turboprop its no big deal.

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby Rahul M » 13 Dec 2011 20:26

Bala Vignesh wrote:Rahulda,
I accept all the other points except for better sensors one.
Can you please enlighten me on how a heli ends up with a better sensor fit to shoot down an aircraft??? I ask this purely out of my ignorance on this possibility

well simply because helis already have pretty decent sensor fit + HMS installed. while you can install the same on props, it would be costly and time intensive. in the end would you want something that is costly but vulnerable ? that defeats the very purpose of going for a prop strike aircraft IMHO.

bmallick, all those advantages are moot when turboprops do not satisfy a basic condition, survive in the modern battlefield. secondly, you can bet the props are going to suffer major performance shortfalls at altitude as well, turboprops are after all gas turbine engines used to rotate propellers. fully loaded turboprop strike aircraft won't have ceilings much higher than helos like LCH.

what do you think is going to happen an unarmoured slow flying prop appears over a narrow valley full of enemy soldiers ? it is going to be taken down like a fly. even the modern flying tank, the su-25 needed every bit of its armour to survive hits from MANPADS in similar situation in afg, and that was a situation when enemy did not even have an air force.
what chance does a prop have against a modern enemy ?

slow loitering over valleys is not a solution, either you will have to have aircraft operating beyond engagement envelope of the portable AD systems (HALE UAV or jet powered surveillance a/c. JSTARS is based on E-8 with a ceiling of 12.8 km), use sat surveillance or go retro and use your own FAC on the spot.

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby Rahul M » 13 Dec 2011 20:42

aharam ji, it also needs to be significantly armoured so that some amount of ground fire can be absorbed without losing aircraft or pilot, even if it means mission kill.

this was my proposal. I understand it doesn't meet the mid-hi wing loading criterion but I believe modern FBW fighters can achieve low speed at the cost of efficiency, since low speed is needed only during the attack run this shouldn't be a problem IMHO.
viewtopic.php?p=990127#p990127
the discussion continues after this post.

another datapoint
viewtopic.php?p=1193248#p1193248

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby Kersi D » 13 Dec 2011 21:06

bmallick wrote:
Rahul M wrote:sorry boss, what are you smoking ? AEW and ASW from a single seat 10 t prop ?



Not smoking anything Rahul. Please read up about Fairey Gannet & Douglas skyraider, 10-11 ton turboprops having AEW version.


Anybody heard of Breguet Alize ?????

K

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby Rahul M » 13 Dec 2011 22:10

kersi saar, already mentioned and addressed. ;)

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby suryag » 14 Dec 2011 11:56

Folks i was seeing this Dyson fan which is a bladeless fan, I presume it works on the principle of progressively ionising the air. Can this concept be used in air intakes to shield the blades ? *Wow i feel lucky hee hee*

Added later http://www.faqs.org/patents/app/20090049839

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby RamaY » 19 Dec 2012 21:26

Newbie thought...

Given its experience from LCA, why can't HAL design an aircraft that can have a standardized engine bay where majority of imported engines can be accommodated?

Assuming the air-inflow requirement is varied for each of the engine, why can't it make the majority of under wing surface air breathing to accommodate additional air inflow.

To ensure that the air flow is managed properly at all flight profiles, can it have a primary fan kind of arrangement which will ensure that the engines receive a steady airflow to them instead of direct input from intakes to engines?

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby nikhil_p » 19 Dec 2012 23:14

RamaY wrote:Newbie thought...

Given its experience from LCA, why can't HAL design an aircraft that can have a standardized engine bay where majority of imported engines can be accommodated?

Assuming the air-inflow requirement is varied for each of the engine, why can't it make the majority of under wing surface air breathing to accommodate additional air inflow.

To ensure that the air flow is managed properly at all flight profiles, can it have a primary fan kind of arrangement which will ensure that the engines receive a steady airflow to them instead of direct input from intakes to engines?


Primarily because it is not just a cut paste job (Car engine like)...even in Cars, the mount point for different engines is different. A transverse mounted engine cannot be easily replaced with a straight mounted engine.

JMT...
BTW, what are you smoking...no really... :)

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby RamaY » 19 Dec 2012 23:19

:D

Something potent...

To my BR-trained eye all engines looked like tubes.. so as long as i fastened them properly, i should be good naa

Secondly I thought we figured out general air-frame building with other bells and whistles using LCA experience... of course we have to redo all that but we might be able to do it in say <10 years....

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby SaiK » 19 Dec 2012 23:35

what yama is thinking is multiple vanes that can be programmed to open or closed or angled for various atmospheric situations. so, the vanes could be potentially be on the wing slats openings, under the belly, or on the fuselage. it is theoretically possible. but, to operate them on a large scale, it requires extreme precision engineering and embedded control systems.

And for that HAL would be the last design team that one should approach. Ask ADA or NAL rather.

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby shiv » 20 Dec 2012 07:31

Bigger/more powerful engine needs more fuel and stresses airframe more and will need a stronger airframe - hence heavier. Smaller engine takes less fuel, lesser stresses. but acceleration, reserve power at full load etc will be less. Will not handle a heavier airframe well. As far as I know only China has achieved something like this. Not an aircraft strictly speaking. A bird. Arguably.

Oversize power on delicate frame

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby RamaY » 20 Dec 2012 08:41

:rotfl:

AoA onlee!

After coming to BRF, in just six years, I crossed paki IQ and reached Chini IQ.

At this rate, I am going to become PM of india in UPA4 term.

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby Vinit » 20 Dec 2012 14:22

Thinking wild ...

An "air-pacK' system of networked aircraft, consisting of:

(1) Papa Bear: One command aircraft, dual-seat, single-engine, capable of high subsonic speed. Unarmed, no radar, light-weight. Low observability due to use of composites and design. Excellent comm gear capable of networking with up to a dozen other aircraft/drones.

(2) Eye Cub: Drone, single engine, unarmed, carrying an AESA radar and IR sensors, capable of high loiter time. Up to three I-Cubs can be linked to a single Papa Bear.

(3) Fight Cub: Drone, single engined, armed with six to eight AA missiles; no radar or sensors. Up to six F-Cubs can be linked to a single Papa Bear.

(4) Strike Cub: Drone, single engined, armed with A2G ordnance. Up to two can be linked to a single Papa Bear.

For a given air dominance area, Papa Bear loiters a reasonable distance behind the FEBA. The I-Cubs fly 30-40 km ahead, and will provide (along with inputs from AWACS and ground stations) excellent situational awareness to Papa Bear. A number of F-Cubs and S-Cubs carrying an appropriate weapon mix will also be flying formation.

On spotting a hostile, the I-Cub will hand off to Papa Bear, who uses the I-Cub to lock on to the target and the F-Cub to fire the weapon. Papa Bear can also use his Strike Cubs for ground attack as needed.

This system covers a lot of ground, is difficult to take down (Papa Bear is hiding behind all his cubs, and even if one Papa Bear is taken down, the cubs can simply be adopted by the next Papa Bear). It is also resilient, as individual cubs/bears can be rotated as their fuel or weapons diminsh without the entire formation dispersing.

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby shiv » 28 Jun 2014 08:17

vic wrote:We should produce CAS version of HTT-40 and LCA especially for Himalayas.



Here is what Air Commodore Tikoo Sen wrote on page 1 of this every thread in 2010
viewtopic.php?p=968744#p968744http://forums.bharat-rakshak.com/viewtopic.php?p=968744#p968744

I must thank the good doctor for prescribing just what an old fighter jock would love. While all of you go all out to design a 5th gen ++ super duper fighter, I want to take a detour and come up with some thing that my pongo friends would love to see in the sky.

There is one huge battlefield that might one day call me in for offensive air support which I am unable to provide today. I need an aircraft that can operate over Wallong and Along and perhaps a hundred kilometres north of it for releasing weapons in marginal visibility and if possible even by night. I need an aircraft that will take off from Leh or Chshul with one and a half tons of ordnance and be able to operate comfortably with full load at 20000 feet or more. I want an aircraft that can have a radius of action of 200 km flying at 15000 feet above sea level.

Let me now design this beast.

Take a basic Kiran. Retain the wings/tail. Build it as light as possible using composites. Redesign the main body for a single pilot and lots of internal fuel. Give it an internal bay for carrying about 50 x 68mm or 57mm unguided rockets and four hard points fit for 350 kg class loads. Give it a light contour mapping / imaging radar slaved to an HMS. Replace the 2 machine guns of the Kiran Mk 2 with one GSh23. Give it a glass cockpit and a DARIN III fit. Give it an integral laser target designator. Power it with an unreheated Adour (as used in the Hawk). Play around with the wing structure a little to improve its low speed turning performance. See if the RCS can be reduced by tinkering with the intakes. If possible, give it one or two short range light air to air missiles carried over the wing like the Jaguar. Give it a self defence electronic suit. If the Adour is unable to lift all this load then make it really an overpowered beast by fitting an unreheated Kavery!

Produce it in 36 months. Test and certify it in the next 24 months. Produce it in large numbers. In 1962, we could not / did not use offensive air power. Let there not be a repeat of that situation.

PS. I do not foresee a dense air defence air presence in the projected hostile area. If one comes along, I shall need top cover by the air dominance fighters you all are designing.

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby deejay » 28 Jun 2014 12:03

Shiv Sir, thank you for getting us noobs to this thread. I just love the idea above. Maybe, with the Kiran being retired soon, the IJT can replace the Kiran in this example.

On the whole I see that the thread started in 2010 and discussions were fairly regular till end 2011 and sparse till 2012, but we could come up with a basic common minimum on the idea. :-?
Though, I would love to take off on the idea of Air Commodore Tikoo Sen.

One accurate forecast was made by Karan M on the first page of the thread:
Within the next five years, Indian industry can only give the IAF the LCA and LCA derivatives, and with existing levels of funding it will take another decade or two before it becomes sanction proof (in essence, the engine).


LCA up for FOC end 2014!!!
Boss, aap kaun se Astrological Charts consult karte hain? :)

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby brar_w » 28 Jun 2014 12:11

RamaY wrote:Newbie thought...

Given its experience from LCA, why can't HAL design an aircraft that can have a standardized engine bay where majority of imported engines can be accommodated?

Assuming the air-inflow requirement is varied for each of the engine, why can't it make the majority of under wing surface air breathing to accommodate additional air inflow.

To ensure that the air flow is managed properly at all flight profiles, can it have a primary fan kind of arrangement which will ensure that the engines receive a steady airflow to them instead of direct input from intakes to engines?


We must leave no stone unturned to pressurize the United Nations to come up with a common universal combat engine mount and interface :) And then ask every engine OEM in the western world to re-design their engines to comply with that common interface. Then design our LCA to agree with those specs. Problem solved ;)

On the role of CAS, A couple ofSpooky's never hurt anyone , the main advantage being persistence, the options in terms of weapons of choice, and the fact that there are multiple people in the loop looking at CAS and going over targets with the boots on the ground. It is the ultimate Diuretic.

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby shiv » 18 Feb 2015 18:52

This post can fit in this thread
deejay wrote:^^^ Based on few above posts:
> I do not know about the HTT 40 but the HPT 32 had a poor glide ratio.
> Yes, there is a whole lot of peace time utility, a bird like this could do. BSF and Coast Guard could really use this for border area recce (inside air space) and coastal patrols.
>I specially like Indranil's point about armament training role and add to that night flying etc which were not done on HPT 32.
> To keep these small birds light and low cost, avionics go missing. I mean HPT-32 had air driven gyros (I hope my memory is right here).For an aircraft carrier operations we will need to fit pretty high end avionics. Meat Ball kind off stuff would be the basic add on.
> and those under carriages are not a big concern because essentially HTT 40 is a trainer and as trainees, folks will drop that plane hard anyway, quite often.
> But no, does not make sense using prime real estate of aircraft carrier for HTT 40 types (for the aircraft, spares, etc). Also, it will be a piston engine so a different fuel and refueling set up will be needed.

The above are my thoughts and just that.

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby vardhank » 08 Mar 2015 12:30

Supposing I'm looking for a dedicated ground-attack/low-level strike/forward air-control aircraft, and I don't want to buy an A-10/Frogfoot, largely because I want to have as much commonality with existing equipment as possible, which approach would be better:
1) A modified fighter (the LCA as an example here, though this could apply to other multirole fighters as well), with a titanium tub around the cockpit, perhaps a new wing shape that's better for subsonic flight (would just the addition of say canards be enough? Or does the LCA have good enough low-speed performance as it is?), plus maybe a larger/second cannon (or twin ADEN 30mm cannons in pods) and new terrain-following radar. I'd probably go for the two-seater version.
OR
2) A similarly up-armoured twin-seat trainer (eg the BAe Hawk), no change needed for wings I'm guessing, but possibly the afterburning version of the Adour for get-out-of-here situations? Again, terrain-following radar, and at least one ADEN cannon in a pod.

Ideally, I'd like STOL/unprepared-runway ability.

Which would be better, and more importantly, actually feasible? I'm guessing the fighter-conversion would be faster, but more expensive. Or would you just say fuhgeddaboutit and just go for a ground-up design like an A-10?

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby negi » 08 Mar 2015 13:01

A-10 was a product of it's times , for the same mission profile today if you ask same guys to design a fighter they will build something on the likes of F-35 onlee.

These days guns on most fighter AC are primarily for dogfights (remember they only have couple of hundred rounds give or take).

LCA with precision munitions is a much better ground attack AC than a A-10 , remember you need to first reach your target before you can even engage it , this includes evading or even fighting off interceptors or even be able to take out ground based SAM installations with say an anti radiation missile.

America can field super specialist platforms because 1. It has only fought weak military regimes and then it sanitizes the airspace completely , achieves total control of enemy airspace and then can literally have a field day calling in A-10s or even B-52s in broad daylight .

These days MBTs are very well protected so if a Longewala type situation arises again 20-30 mm shells will not be as effective as 3 decades ago and TSP has a decent number of Mistrals, Stingers and Anza MANPADs . Dhruv or LCH with ATGMs might be much more effective for a Longewala-II scenario.

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby brar_w » 08 Mar 2015 19:08

A-10 was a product of it's times , for the same mission profile today if you ask same guys to design a fighter they will build something on the likes of F-35 onlee


That is the impression you would get if you were to follow the debate (which isn't about the A-10 or CAS if you study it in more depth - It is a budgeting issue). In the USAF the A-10 fills a niche. Obviously because of its unique capability it is very much loved and valued by infantrymen. From the latest statistics it performs around 18% of the CAS duties of the USAF. Out of which one would be safe to assume 8-10% would be its niche due to the gun where it has no direct substitute from within the fleet. If a future A-X were to be designed, it would still be designed around the gun if you need something like the A-10 for non-contested airspace. In a contested airspace you would be doing pretty much what the F-15/F-16 and F-35 is supposed to do later. That is drop SDB I and SDBII's from medium altitudes even though that weapon itself is not the best suited for CAS. The future SDB III may change that based on some of the slides I have seen from last years AFA conference but that remains to be seen.

LCA with precision munitions is a much better ground attack AC than a A-10 , remember you need to first reach your target before you can even engage it , this includes evading or even fighting off interceptors or even be able to take out ground based SAM installations with say an anti radiation missile


The A-10 excels at only a very small portion of the ground attack mission i.e. CAS in a non-contested airspace. Its strong points are around its gun but also around its ability to carry other weapons, and survive at lower altitudes (redundant flight controls for example). The LCA is obviously faster and can reach the point much quicker and fight its way to the target if need be. In that sense the A_10 is extremely limited in what it can do but in its niche it does CAS damn well. Its a unique capability that has come in handy over its service life and is much valued by those that have had to call it in. On the other hand unless you have "cash on call" even the USAF would find it extremely hard to justify another A-X that looks and feels like the A-10. You would rather save the money and drop more expensive weapons if required for that niche mission set.

That is precisely what seems to be happening with there being some chatter about the Textron Scorpion possibly morphing from a low cost ISR plus light strike platform to a Low cost CAS platform for non-contested airspace. That could be a potential A-X given its operating cost is claimed to be around 1/8th of that of an F-16 or 1/10th of an F-15 and the fact that it has a decent loiter built into its requirement. High end CAS is going to be medium altitude with expensive munitions (I would count even the most inexpensive PGM's expensive for the mission) because anything else would not make it back to base.

As far as the F-35 goes, it does CAS or rather will do it in the future because thats a mission every fixed wing attack aircraft in the USAF is being prepared to do. It gets CAS with the SDB and SDBII and as such that is pretty much all that is being done to prepare it for CAS even though numerically it is supposed to replace the A-10. It is no better than or no worst then what the F-16 or F-15 does in the same mission although it can take over the contested CAS mission unlike those platforms which may help justify the higher operating cost for those missions.


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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby vardhank » 10 Mar 2015 12:51

Thanks, Messrs Negi and Brar_w!

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby brar_w » 10 Mar 2015 18:59

Here more on CAS :

Low-End Close Air Support Mulled

You could always reconsider this (although something cheap based on the Scorpion still sounds better)


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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby vardhank » 11 Mar 2015 08:46

Thanks again, brar_w. I guess my main concern was armour, which I believe makes the A-10 highly survivable. However, as you and negi said, better to have something that can fight its way to the battlefield in the first place. I'd still maybe look at an up-armoured LCA in that case (a la the Mirage 2000 D/N), but it's debatable whether that's of any use when faced with MANPADs etc.

Sorry, this is a long, slightly ranty post. Will get to actual designs next time, but this is an explanation for those.

Going back to the beginning of this thread was extremely instructive. A couple of things stood out:
1) Shiv's plea for a non-sanctionable fighter, borne out with the problems we're facing with Cobham for the LCA
2) Abhik's opinion that our armed forces see themselves as second to none
3) Abhibhushan's need for something simple, based on the Kiran

Given the situation the IAF finds itself in (a serious numbers problem, while STILL insisting on buying the shiniest new stuff at crazy prices), I think what we need is not so much a Design Your Own Fighter thread as a Design Your Own Military-Industrial Complex and Procurement Attitudes thread. Our armed forces are a curious lot: in wartime, they'll fight with sticks and stones if that's all you give them, but in peacetime, they behave like spoilt kids with a taste for good food, only wanting to eat at fancy restaurants instead of eating home food, aided and abetted by successive governments that took the kids to all the restaurants they wanted. Yes, our forces see themselves on par with the best in the world, but what they don't seem to see is that all the forces they compare themselves with have encouraged a local industry and hauled that industry up to the standards they wanted. You can't just say, "the cook at home (or mom!) isn't good, let's go out". If you have gourmet tastes, go look up recipes, and encourage your cook to make them, and be patient while she figures those out. HELP your cook instead of leaving her alone with no guidance while you continue to go eat out. And start with asking for something simple, say a well-made fried chicken, not a champagne risotto.

In a way, I understand the frustration on the part of Abhibhushan or even Prof Das - the LCA is way more than it NEEDED to be. What we NEEDED was a good, workable fighter, a decent fried chicken, but we wanted a champagne risotto, a multi-role, better-than-anything-else fighter that's obviously taken time. HAL/ADA are also culpable here: instead of saying, "Sorry, no can do champagne risotto, but we can definitely do a fried chicken," they said they could do everything, and the armed forces and government happily agreed. What we SHOULD have had is a simple LIGHT fighter to make up the numbers, which would give us breathing room to develop something more advanced. We laugh at the JF-17, but why not? It works. An improved, home-built version of the MiG-21 could've been exactly what we needed.

Instead, we've ended up with the LCA, which is a wonderful aircraft, but one that's stuck in limbo, and will continue to be for some time, while we lose numbers on one hand and argue over the Rafale on the other (and, oh, demand the FGFA years before it's ready). We wanted this poor plane to do EVERYTHING, from developing ground-up our ability to make fighters, to being state-of-the-art to being available cheaply and quickly. Same with the MMRCA deal - I think we've wanted it to do too much.

What is this MMRCA thing anyway? The air forces that use an MMRCA are the ones who ONLY use an MMRCA, not a USAF/RuAF-style hi-lo split. France, Britain, Germany, to some extent the US Navy, smaller air forces that need one plane that does everything and decided on a compromise (the USN is not small but limited by what carriers can handle). Why do we even NEED an MMRCA when simply larger numbers of a light fighter and a heavy fighter can do that job?

Anyway, if we DO need one, then the LCA, once again, is in limbo. If you slice it like this:
Level 1 - cheap, light fighter, short-medium range, mainly A2A with some ground attack capability
Level 2 - MMRCA - bomb truck that does not need escorting
Level 3 - Top-end heavy fighter that can do everything well
then the LCA is about Level 1.5, the Mk II is going to be 1.75. Is that what we need? If so, then forget the MMRCA shenanigans, and treat it as what it is, a home-grown Mirage, roughly equivalent to an F-16 and with no need for a medium brother. The government needs to insist that if the IAF wants the FGFA, it HAS to accept the LCA Mk I and II in large numbers. If you can, simplify the Mk I and don't worry about multi-role capability.

If we decide we need the Lo-Med-Hi split, then forget the LCA as is right now. Harsh but true.
Level 1 - simple, sanction-proof LIGHT fighter/supersonic trainer design, a step up from the BAe Hawk, but not to the level of the LCA. Something like an F-5 Tiger II, powered by two Adours or a single AL-31 (I prefer two engines), whichever small radar we can make at home, even if it isn't multi-mode, EVERYTHING homemade, simple and workable, not dependent on foreign tech. You'd get something equivalent to the JF-17, probably, possibly better. Get it ready within 3-5 years using ONLY existing tech, make tonnes of these.
Level 2 - Scale up from the LCA into a twin-engined MMRCA, with two GE 414 engines. You'd basically get something like a Hornet/smallish Rafale, which can be developed alongside the new AESA radar. The point being, we can WAIT for this. The AMCA is still a long way away - this plane should be easy enough to make with the components we have now, and the main thing is, it's NOT critical - if we can achieve at least minimum numbers from the light fighter and the MKIs, then we have breathing room. It's critical for further developing our tech-industrial base, but not necessarily for
Level 3 - Su-30/FGFA

The point is, the government has to exercise some parental discipline over both the IAF and HAL/ADA and get in fighters that we both need and CAN make.

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby Bala Vignesh » 13 Mar 2015 10:02

brar_w wrote:Here more on CAS :

Low-End Close Air Support Mulled


Brar_Wji,
The link is asking for a log in id to access the document.. Could you may be directly post the article for those of us who can't access it..

Thanks.

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Re: Design your own fighter

Postby brar_w » 13 Mar 2015 10:06

Sorry about that. Here is the full article -

The F-35A will be the primary close air support platform to eventually replace the A-10, but Air Combat Command is looking to possibly augment it with a second, low-cost light attack platform, said ACC boss Gen. Hawk Carlisle. "We have gone out and looked at other platforms to see if they could meet the low-end CAS capability at a reasonable cost per flying hour," he told reporters at a Pentagon briefing on March 6. ACC is taking these steps so the Air Force is in the position to field more CAS capacity if world events dictate the need. “There may be an inflection point where we need more capacity at a lower cost,” he said. The Air Force previously evaluated the Beechcraft AT-6, and currently operates the A-29 Super Tucano to train Afghan crews. Textron's Scorpion jet demonstrator is "not something that's outside of the realm" of what the Air Force is considering, said Carlisle. The Air Force toyed several years ago with the idea of a counter-insurgency CAS airplane and went as far as requesting industry input on possible light-attack, armed reconnaissance platforms. Speaking last month at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium, Carlisle discussed the service’s potential interest in a seemingly more sophisticated CAS aircraft to succeed the A-10 that would be survivable in contested airspace.


The problem is that at its cheapest the F35A is going to cost close to 30K per hour. The F-16 with the pods and other gear costs north of 20K per hour (dual mission). Even if you strip it down to just a CAS platform it'll still cost close to 15K as a minimum. The A-10 costs around 14-18K depending up how much downtime is allowed on deployments. The Scorpion has the TOS and can easily be re-configured to be a 25K feet PGM dropper for low-end CAS. What you save in flight hours (3-5 K$ per hour for the Scorpion) you put into munition cost (40K for SDB). Now only thing left is to get an SDB with a motor for time-critical CAS. Its either that or brimstone integration which hasn't been ruled out by Textron (preferably both).


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