Transport Aircraft for IAF

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby amit » 26 Feb 2013 15:44

Philip wrote:The IL-476 was a missed opportunity.We could've got involved in some manner,just as doors ad other components are being made for Boeing/Airbus,whoever.Our own requirements would've been about 40 aircraft alone.With several hundreds for Russia over time and other exports.Plus Tanker and AWCS/EW versions.


Philip Saar,

Please give us a break. Russia is going to buy "several hundred" of these aircraft? Where are they going to get the money for that? Even the US of A which spends more on military than the next 10 countries combined only has 200 C-17s.

[Even Dmitry Rogozin does not share you enthusiasm. He's hopeful of building just "dozens" of the IL-476 by 2020. :-) ]

You know it's fine to have a rosy tinted view of Ruskie maal and most of us value you're contributions on the state of Russian armaments. However, please be realistic.

Precisely why should have India got into a JV for the IL-476? What strategic objective would it have served India because as you say the requirement would be only around 40 aircraft or so. Bear in mind, considering JV costs the off the shelf price we'd pay per unit would be much higher than brochure prices that are being quoted here?

Of course I can see that a JV would have served Rodinas' strategic objective of using Indian money to restart a mothballed line. And you know what would have happened regarding the "other exports"? The exports would have been to our good friend the Chinese. Think of the delicious scenario, Indian money to start a Russian production run with an end customer being the Chinese.

Big transporters of that class have very few export customers - very few nations need them. All of the countries in the Western block would go for US or European solutions. The only other "customers" are India and China.

Please, please don't sell a lemon. There is already a lemon salesman running amok on this thread.

The rest of your post is interesting and as I said before, I may not agree with everything you write but I value your contributions interesting to read.

PS: It make much more sense to go for a JV on a medium transport solutions as the rule of thumb is the smaller the weight category the more numbers you'd need. And I think India is doing just that, na?

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby Sanku » 26 Feb 2013 16:26

arnab wrote:
What data saar? Can you prove that MoD did not follow the DPP? :) There would be a parliamentary enquiry if it did not (or you could put in a PIL in court accusing MoD of the same. Afterall it is a $4-$5 bn issue - just do it for the country).


True, some one should follow that advice. There needs to be systematic inquiry into it. Unfortunately I can not do that.


So Sanku ji is doing what he does best - pass off opinions as facts :)


The above is also the same logic which congress and its chamchas roll out in saying Q was innocent etc. The facts are clear, not each scam is often pursued to its logical end, but it does not stop being a scam.

And there are people still busy spinning that there was no loss in 2G, so there is no accounting for how low some can fall in terms of protecting their turf.

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby amit » 26 Feb 2013 17:42

^^^^^
Hmm one Strawman after another when asked to back up err "opinions".

Let's see now what arguments have been spewed out so far. Raju took money in 2G, Q took money in Bofors, ergo there was corruption in the C17 purchase.

The lemon is being squeezed till it's getting sour.

:-)

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby k prasad » 26 Feb 2013 17:54

With no offense to many of the esteemed posters on this thread, at many points, its hard to understand the thread of logic that seems to be faulting the C-17 acquisition process. I'm still trying to figure out what the exact opposition to the C-17 is, because it is either unclear, changes with every post, or most likely, i'm just too damn daft to understand it. So i'll try and summarize what i've understood and my views on the same - the others are more than welcome to correct me on these.

1) C-17 is a blatantly political purchase, and therefore, mala fide:
I ask,

a) On what basis is this being said?
b) Did it violate the DPP, in the sense of, were there any alternatives available at the time the purchase and RFP was issued.
c) EVEN IF it was a political purchase as a payback for the 1-2-3, is that necessarily a bad thing? Geopolitics has always played a big role in these things - this point would be valid IF the C-17 was a bad or suboptimal platform. I have seen no arguments till now which suggest so.

2) MoD displayed undue haste in pushing the C-17 purchase:

a) 4 years is only unduly quick with respect to the normally snail-like pace of other acquisitions. If the argument is to suggest that the C-17 purchase also needed to be as slow, thats something I'd disagree with.

b) If the buy was indeed political, but not mala fide, then I don't have a problem with the purchase, as long as we've got ourselves a good platform. Which, from all reports, we seem to have.

c) If, however, the argument is saying that the relative 'speed' of this purchase was suspicious, then that is something i'm willing to consider. However, that will require you to show me why this speed in any way prevented us from making a better choice than the C-17 would've been. Which brings me to...

3) Couldnt they wait for the IL-476 to come out and then comparatively evaluated the same?

I ask:

a) What was the IAF's requirement for heavy transports based on? And in what timeframe? And to fill in which gap (or impending gap)? From reports, we've had severe issues with Il-76 spares, the Il-76's reported carrying shortcomings in Leh, the setting up of the new ALGs and the urgency of having maximum preparedness in the mountain regions within the next few years, its not hard to see why the heavy transporter purchase needed to be done early.

b) Il-476 is only going to be ready for actual evaluations in some while, and ready for actual deployments post 2020. Which, given the extra time needed to induct, integrate and develop op doctrines, is too late. As compared to the C-17, whcih we'll have all-integrated by 2015-16.

c) At the moment, and even more so 4 years ago, Il-476 was vapourware, and even if not, just an extension of the Il-76, with its same supply chain shortcomings and spares issues. I havent yet seen any arguments about why these wouldn't exist.

d) Again, refer to my previous post on whether we could afford to delay this buy? I don't think so. But hey, even if we could have, would we have got a better deal?

4) Yes, we could've gotten a better deal, because the C-17 is too expensive, yada yada yada:

a) Is it really? On a life cycle basis? Especially given the guaranteed 90% availability promised by Boeing. Are you sure? Numbers please? Is the Il-476 going to be much cheaper to operate over the lifetime?? Plus, if it was expensive given the political nature of the buy, then maybe I could see a wee bit of justification anyway. Not much, but a wee bit.

b) The C-17 offers a quantum leap in capabilities as compared to the Il-76 and even the Il-476. I've explained this in my previous post. Would the Il-476 have changed this?

c) If the cost advantages for the Il-476 were so much larger, and the capability gap much smaller, and the urgency for this much smaller, then maybe we could have a case for discussion here - but this will require the other posters to prove all these three points for us before we can even start comparing. Till then, we have no real case against anyone wrt the C-17 purchase.



Lets start talking real shall we, gentlemen? instead of discussing and faulting MoD, IAF or anyone on the basis of counterfactuals, hypotheticals and fictitious setups. Cold hard facts and analysis please. Thank you.

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby k prasad » 26 Feb 2013 17:57

Oh, and PS.... If the argument is to make a case for procuring the Il-476, rather than any particular opposition to the C-17, then we could discuss that for the next round of heavy lifter purchases, which, from what we hear, even the IAF doesnt mind evaluating the Il-476 for. So that's not even an issue of contention right now (or discussion, since the next purchase is still not even started, we'll only be discussing hypotheticals).

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby nachiket » 26 Feb 2013 18:34

k prasad wrote:Oh, and PS.... If the argument is to make a case for procuring the Il-476, rather than any particular opposition to the C-17, then we could discuss that for the next round of heavy lifter purchases, which, from what we hear, even the IAF doesnt mind evaluating the Il-476 for. So that's not even an issue of contention right now (or discussion, since the next purchase is still not even started, we'll only be discussing hypotheticals).

Exactly, if the IAF wants to buy more heavy lifters, 2-3 years or more down the line, the IL-476 will be good and ready for evaluation. But it was simply not an option 4 years ago.

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby vic » 26 Feb 2013 21:32

Sanku wrote:
vic wrote:We have to focus on indigenous "solutions" to defense issues rather than only indigenous replacements. For instance, instead of spending Rs 30,000 crore on C-17s should we have gone in for better rail-road network?


I think this is a valid thought experiment, the money needs to be spent on a solution rather than a product. A better road-rail network might actually work better. However that really expands the scope of complexity of discussions.

Very difficult to address all the trade offs on a forum like this.



Chinese are good at it. They have always tackled their defense needs within their industrial parameters. While our services have been import oriented, helped by close cousins & friendly brokers.

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby Sanku » 26 Feb 2013 22:45

k prasad wrote:With no offense to many of the esteemed posters on this thread, at many points, its hard to understand the thread of logic that seems to be faulting the C-17 acquisition process.


k prasad -ji, if you do not mind, please do look at some of the posts at the very first few pages. They cover the material in depth.

I have quoted

1) Sections from DPP which lay out why and how multi-vendor cases are needed and under which conditions can a single vendor purchase be made. (In a nut shell, unless a purchase is national security critical and also urgent, no single vendor purchase)
2) Mentioned the news reports which talked of IAFs transport requirements, the time lines and the fact they will go through RFIs to multiple vendors, as late as 2008 and then suddenly the narrow down on Boeing.
3) A sustained Mkting in papers by Boeing with Shukla etc visiting the Boeing factory and reams being written about how good the C 17 is.
4) High prices discussion.
5) Discussions around if C 17 had a special feature (such as lifting tanks) -- and a final agreement that the C 17s wont really be used for such special roles (past history)

To be frank to do justice to the questions, it would need 2-3 pages of write up with cross reference to each of the topics. But if you can kindly be patient, you can go back and refer to some of the earlier posts and see that the material covered deals with questions your raised.

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby Philip » 26 Feb 2013 23:15

Amit,the number is an approx. full production run.Remember 900+ IL-76s were built during SU days.These aircraft have to be replaced.Just 25% of that is 200+This is not production until 2020 but beyond that date.By 2018,the aim is to build 18 per year.That is a large number and would indicate at least another decade of production.We are planning to build just 40+ in our MTA JV.

When a design is successful,size,aerodynamics,performance,improved variants keep on coming.The best example is the Hercules C-130,now in its J variant.If you examine the transport sector,you will find that there are many types that were produced for decades.The Dakota,F-27,AN-12,IL-76,etc.In fact our continuing production of DO-228s is one excellent example.

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby anand_sankar » 26 Feb 2013 23:33

@Philip, agree with your 200+ number. But I expect 35% of that to come from the civilian market.

It is not just military IL-76s that need replacement, there are close to a 100 flying on various civilian charters, most of them doing rough hauling in conflict areas. They should be pretty long in the tooth by now too.

You can always get finance on new aircraft and with charters already available, It should be easy to switch to new aircraft. There is no other aircraft in that weight class that can operate from the middle of nowhere. The C-17 commercial freighter never worked due to the high unit cost. The IL-476 has a great chance.

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby NRao » 27 Feb 2013 03:10

FWIW:

* The IL-76 was designed for the civilian market initially and not for military purposes. Russia being a very rugged nation, they needed a very, very rugged civilian cargo air craft: the IL-76. It was later adapted for the military market too. So, a single plane doubled, very successfully, for both the markets

* The West had no such needs, so they designed two different cargo planes: one for the civilian market and one for the military

Two different situations. Both very successful.

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby arnab » 27 Feb 2013 04:55

Sanku wrote:
k prasad wrote:With no offense to many of the esteemed posters on this thread, at many points, its hard to understand the thread of logic that seems to be faulting the C-17 acquisition process.


I have quoted

1) Sections from DPP which lay out why and how multi-vendor cases are needed and under which conditions can a single vendor purchase be made. (In a nut shell, unless a purchase is national security critical and also urgent, no single vendor purchase)


Incorrect (as usual). Sanku ji is confusing his opinions to be actual quotes from the DPP :)

Here is the rationale of the DPP for a single vendor situation (says nothing about 'critical' / 'urgent'). It only asks if the equipment is 'state of the art' and will give a 'qualitative edge' over adversaries. Both answers are a resounding yes for C17s

Single Vendor Situation
69. If certain state-of-the-art equipment being manufactured by only one vendor is to be
procured to get qualitative edge over our adversary, then such case should be debated by the
DAC after proper technology scan is carried out by HQ IDS in consultation with the DRDO.

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby Philip » 27 Feb 2013 07:45

Anand/NR,you've hit the nail on the head,about the ruggedness factor and dual civilian/military capability,why the aircraft was/is a success.With an MTO of 1760m for 76MDs,now just 1600m for 476's,its ability to land/TO on rough strips,the aircraft was perfect for both roles.Provided Russia achieves its production rate-and Putin is taking a very close look at defence issues not afraid to sack those who underperform,it is going to be a best-seller in the future.

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby NRao » 27 Feb 2013 08:23

^^^^^

I also posted the director of IL-476 stating that a production IL-476 sample would come out in 2017-18!!!!!

The 76 was a great plane. The 476? the jury is way out. We have to wait till it proves to be a good plane - it is not a given.

I find it very interesting that as the C-17 is closings it's lines along comes a 476 that is not even as capable. While the West is maxed out with the 17, the Russians are about to start with a plane that is not even as capable.

Anyways, back to the IAF and the 476. We have no life cycle cost - the reason why the Airbus plane won the tanker contract. As a new plane it would be very difficult to compute that for the 476.

Then my pet: supply chain. Russia in general is very poor and that is not a knock - most are. But the US is really solid in that respect.

As I see the Russians they are technically GREAT. The rest is horrible.

Russia simply cannot compensate for that. Supply chain will take some 10-20 years. That impacts life cycle cost.

So, in short a $100 mil cost means nothing - it is not LCC. The 476 will come in 2018 or so, nothing short of it (per Ilyushin). It will be expensive (in 2020). And the supply chain problems will exist (people underestimate this very badly, even making them in India will not solve the problem - as an example).

Bottom line as far as I am concerned the 476 is a rather bad deal.

The MTA should be better - India having more say and control hopefully.

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby Philip » 27 Feb 2013 08:56

Earlier than that.The first two production examples will be delivered in 2014 and by 2018,production will be ramped upto 18 per year.Of course by around 2015/16 we will be able to see how well the enterprise is doing,but being an upgrade mainly of an existing success,more powerful engines,new cockpit avionics and displays, and new structural components for the wing,it is quite diff. from production of an entirely new aircraft like the A-400.

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby amit » 27 Feb 2013 12:13

^^^^^^

Philip,

What you say may be true and I'll even accept the numbers you are stating - with a military and civilian mix. However, as you say the IL-476 is just an upgrade to the IL-76, much like Su-30 variants are upgrades of the Su-27. In such a case I see no reason why India should have offered good money to enter into a "JV" to build these planes. What would have happened is that Indian dollars would have funded a Russian plane for Russian use and export. Do you seriously think that if these planes are successful, some if not many pieces of them will not end up in China?

It's best that we be a customer for these planes. When Indian requirement for the next tranche of new transports comes about in the 2025-2030 timeframe then the IL-476, if successful, should and will be considered. We can then send an RFP to them.

However to say that India should have waited till such time the IL-476 turns out to be a success instead of buying the C17 is pure bladder-dash. As you yourself say, it will be only in 2015/16 timeframe (I'd push that to 2020 but choro) we'll know if the enterprise is doing well.
Last edited by amit on 27 Feb 2013 13:02, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby amit » 27 Feb 2013 12:30

IMO one mistake being made by those criticsing the C17 acquisition is that they are looking at it in pure isolation without looking at the overall big picture strategic scenario evolving over the past half a decade or so.

Forget individual acquisitions. What is one theme dominating strategic planners in India today? IMO it's the prospect of a confrontation with China within this decade with the worst case scenario being a two-front war with Pakistan joining in. Which is why, despite the so-called pacifist nature of MMS and all that jazz - work on the triad and missile development is proceeding, by Indian standards, at a very brisk pace.

Another major point is the plan to set up new Mountain Divisions and the activation/up-gradation of various ALGs. Considering how pathetic our road network is in places like Arunachal Pradesh, especially compared to what China has on its side of the border, the only way we have in rapidly deploying troops and machinery is by air, which is where the ALGs come in.

And even Sanku ji has not criticised the ability of C-17 in deploying in such forward airfields with better trunaround times and loads - in comparison to the IL-76.

In short one can understand the so-called "haste" in procuring the C-17 when we look at the big picture. Heck look at uncharacteristic "haste" we're showing in our nuclear submarine project. The Arihant is still to do its sea trials and, as of yet is an unproven platform. Despite that we're already building the follow-on subs. When was the last time India showed such alacrity in defence matters?

PS: I guess it's in our genes. We forever bemoan and tear our hair at the glacial speed at which defence procurements are done. Yet when one gets through at a comparatively "fast" pace, we immediately criticise it and hint darkly at corruption, political pressure, money changing hands, 2G scam and of course bring in "Q" as the evil manipulator who's controlling the show on behalf of 2G - this time used as a Noun. Damned if we do and damned if we don't.

:rotfl: :rotfl:

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby Sanku » 27 Feb 2013 14:37

arnab wrote:
Incorrect (as usual). Sanku ji is confusing his opinions to be actual quotes from the DPP :)

Here is the rationale of the DPP for a single vendor situation (says nothing about 'critical' / 'urgent'). It only asks if the equipment is 'state of the art' and will give a 'qualitative edge' over adversaries. Both answers are a resounding yes for C17s

Single Vendor Situation
69. If certain state-of-the-art equipment being manufactured by only one vendor is to be
procured to get qualitative edge over our adversary, then such case should be debated by the
DAC after proper technology scan is carried out by HQ IDS in consultation with the DRDO.


As usual the smart art of quoting one line without before and after from some place and attributing it to some one.
:rotfl:

I referred prasad-ji to the DPP or MY ACTUAL QUOTES from DPP earlier in the thread (not your imagination of what I said) -- I believe if he wants, he will find exactly what I am referring to.

Those who do not want, can happily take one line of a text and misattribute it.

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby Sanku » 27 Feb 2013 14:40

amit wrote:IMO one mistake being made by those criticsing the C17 acquisition is that they are looking at it in pure isolation without looking at the overall big picture strategic scenario evolving over the past half a decade or so.


Au contrarie, all those critisizing the deal are indeed talking about the big picture of
the 123 driven by US and through Man mohan,
the Indo-US co operation of the cash-for-votes as seen by wikileaks
the fact that Boeing would need to close down the C 17 line if the order did not come through

I think many of the "Boeing is ALL" folks is that they are not seeing either the big or the small picture. They are only looking at something else, the broucher perhaps.

The Indian nuclear program is now happening in haste as well -- according to Shri AMit.
:rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby amit » 27 Feb 2013 14:52

Sanku wrote:Au contrarie, all those critisizing the deal ....


So you are spokesperson for everybody who's against the C17 are you? That's good, a leadership role sits well on your shoulders with your 10,000 odd posts - Senior Member and all. :-)

-- according to Shri AMit.


Are you falling back on your time tested policy of personal attacks when you find yourself cornered?

PS: You're outlining of the big picture is incomplete. You forgot to tie in "Q" and the 2Gs (yes both the telco and family) to explain why the C-17 is bad for India. :lol:

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby k prasad » 27 Feb 2013 15:01

Sanku wrote:k prasad -ji, if you do not mind, please do look at some of the posts at the very first few pages. They cover the material in depth.


Thanks Sanku-ji. Will do so. Would also love to hear your reasoning to some of my questions that might've not been dealt with by you in some detail.

On an aside, Looking at a list of military transporters, the ones in the Il-76's approximate weight class are:

Code: Select all

Sl     Aircraft         Payload        MTOW          1st Flt     Cruise Speed     Range              Notes

1.     Il-76             47 tons      210 tons       1971       900 kmph         4,400 km
2.     C-17              77.5 tons    265 tons       1991       830 kmph         4,482 km
3.     A330 MRTT         45 tons      223 tons       2007       860 kmph        14,800 km         Civilian Origin
4.     A400M             37 tons      141 tons       2009       780 kmph         9,300 km         Turboprop
5.     An-70             47 tons      145 tons       1994       730 kmph         6,600 km         Propfan engine   
6.     XC-2 (Jap)        37.6 tons    120 tons       2010       890 kmph         6,500 km


The aircraft with even a similar payload capacity to the C-17 is the 1963 era An-22 Antei, the Chinese Y-20 (fat chance of us getting that one), or the much heavier and next-category C-5, An-124 and An-225. Thats the first point that I can see.

Secondly, I'd like to think that we can eliminate the XC-2 and A400M - a payload less than 40 tons as compared to what the Il-76 is already pulling doesnt help us any. The A330 MRTT is a civilian derivative, not really as suitable for rugged operation or able to carry bulky loads (given its civilian airframe). Plus, it lacks a large rearward cargo door. So we could scratch that.

This basically leaves us with only the C-17, the Il-476 and the An-70 as contenders. Il-476 is anyway evaluation vapourware for even the next 3-4 years, so that's out.

So, on a 2008-2013 timeframe of evaluation (even if we assume that we could've potentially delayed the contract signing even to mid 2014 with deliveries from 2015), it comes down to the C-17 vs An-70. Which might've been a contest. But I could see objections given that it uses propfan engines rather than a turbofan, and that the vast difference in weight class itself makes the C-17 a shoe-in. But, if anyone would like to argue that the An-70 MIGHT have been evaluated comparatively, I wouldnt mind hearing these arguments.

Lastly, I'm guessing the DPP won't subserve military preparedness just to allow for competition to exist. If we are in a de facto single vendor situation for our requirements, as seems to be the case here, there are two options -

a) Wait for an alternative vendor to appear or
b) If you can't wait and its a critical requirement, then buy that option.

Option a) doesn't look likely (except for the An-70) till 2017-18. So I don't see much fault on MoD's part for not waiting. But I don't mind having my views changed. As of now, even looking at only the C-17 as a system, and not the big-picture considerations, I don't see it as a bad buy, really.

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby amit » 27 Feb 2013 15:46

^^^^
Prasad,

Another good post. :-)

However, just an observation, the AN-70 is also a bit iffy even today.

Defense Industry Daily says this in a report datelined Feb 11 (this month):

The first An-70 fuselage was completed in December 2012, but work at the Russian plant in the city of Kazan has yet to commence. The delays have caused concerns in Russia…


FlightGlobal says this:

The Russian air force command has composed a letter outlining its complaints about the progress of the Antonov An-70 transport, and has also prepared a step-by-step contingency plan for its withdrawal from the joint programme with Ukraine, Russia's Izvestia newspaper says.

Quoting unnamed sources in the command, it says the air force is concerned about the slow pace of development following test flights in September 2012. One source says a decision to quit the programme "could be made by the end of 2013", with support for the withdrawal primarily coming "from above", referring to the Russian government.

Moscow previously pulled out of the project in 2006, but rejoined it in 2010 as part of a broader effort to reintegrate the Ukrainian and Russian aerospace industries.


Mind you both reports are from this year. Now consider the situation when the C-17 deal was being evaluated. And with it being a joint Ukraine, Russian venture, the supply chain and maintenance would be a massive nightmare.

Nope I think the C-17 was the only deal in town then and even now. And we do need a heavy lift capability which will be able to pump in man and machine at short notice into the North-east and Leh. I'm fully convinced that we'll have one armed conflict with the Dragon before the end of the decade. Only way to prevent it is to show capability (and of course will) to give a bloody nose. Dragon does not like a loss of face.

IMO the missile programme and Arihant etc is the forward projection of intent for the benefit of the Dragon while instruments like C-17 and the proposed mountain divisions and assort equipment are the behind the lines show of intent to defend vigorously and not have repeat of 1962.

JMT

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby Philip » 27 Feb 2013 15:56

Please,I've nowhere said that we should've waited until 2015/16 and then evaluated the C-17 vs IL-476.When the GOI took a decision to buy the C-17 ,the IL-476 was not available.

However,this was clearly and cleverly orchestrated,as I've said in many posts ,showing the crisis that was brewing in Boeing where C-17 production was to close,both Gates and Obama against more aircraft for the US and few new foreign orders if any.In desperation,Boeing turned to India (around 2009),where they found a willing customer,who in double quick time in comparison with other defence deals,finalised the order just in time before the axe fell on the C-17 facility.

These are hard facts.Yes,we may indeed need a few C-17 class of aircraft,but how many ( we have no intercontinental strategic role to play) and at what price? Though the deed may have been done,if you ask me,the jury is still out.
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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby Austin » 27 Feb 2013 16:00

Quoting Izvestia newspaper for any Russian Defence news other then interview is not a good idea ;)

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby amit » 27 Feb 2013 16:22

Philip wrote:Please,I've nowhere said that we should've waited until 2015/16 and then evaluated the C-17 vs IL-476.When the GOI took a decision to buy the C-17 ,the IL-476 was not available.


I know you haven't Philip. That was just a general comment. If it came out wrongly my apologies. You may have your likes and dislikes but I'd never associate you with such remarks as sending an RFP to everyone and their mother-in-law (for a 40 tonner all the way up to a 77 tonner) and even one to HAL etc. :rotfl: :rotfl:

However,this was clearly and cleverly orchestrated,as I've said in many posts ,showing the crisis that was brewing in Boeing where C-17 production was to close,both Gates and Obama against more aircraft for the US and few new foreign orders if any.


One could also look at is as the sheer efficiency of the US system. Remember, whatever we've bought from the US have always been on time, with no delays and mid-way arms twisting for more money. If they can be so efficient in the supply chain side then what's wrong in being equally efficient in the sales side? Yet despite all the hype and efficiency they lost out on the really big deal, the MMRCA. Are you implying that Obama was more enthusiastic about the C-17 deal than the F teens deal?

In desperation,Boeing turned to India (around 2009),where they found a willing customer,who in double quick time in comparison with other defence deals,finalised the order just in time before the axe fell on the C-17 facility.


Sorry this one sounds as if you are implying that the Indian requirement was "manufactured" due to hard sell on the part of Boeing. Apart from going contrary to what you said earlier in your post, there's no empirical evidence to show this is the case. On the other hand we've had plenty of reports of how the IAF was exasperated with the spare parts situation of Russian aircraft (especially the IL-76) and the long downtimes of the ILs. Heck they even wanted an Airbus midair refueller to replace the IL-76s we bought only a few years previously. That was shot down by the Finance Ministry.

Yes,we may indeed need a few C-17 class of aircraft,but how many ( we have no intercontinental strategic role to play) and at what price? Though the deed may have been done,if you ask me,the jury is still out.


What would be the total number of years these aircraft would be in operation? 30 years? 40 years? That would then take the timeframe to 2050s decade. At that time, according to most predictions, India would either be the world's second biggest or third biggest economy. And you want to tell us that even then - heck even today - India has no intercontinental role?

Price of the C17 is a big red herring. What should be calculated is the total lifecycle cost - especially given the fact that Boeing is going to ensure a 90 per cent uptime (as opposed to the less than 70% we have for the IL-76). Over a 30-40 year period, the initial down payment of $4.1 billion is not important. Have you or anyone shown data to show that the total lifcycle cost would be very high in C-17 and we could have gotten a cheaper alternative?
Last edited by amit on 27 Feb 2013 16:29, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby amit » 27 Feb 2013 16:23

Austin wrote:Quoting Izvestia newspaper for any Russian Defence news other then interview is not a good idea ;)


:)

I'm sure you have more reliable sources. Could you post for our benefit?

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby k prasad » 27 Feb 2013 16:36

Philip wrote:Please,I've nowhere said that we should've waited until 2015/16 and then evaluated the C-17 vs IL-476.When the GOI took a decision to buy the C-17 ,the IL-476 was not available.

However,this was clearly and cleverly orchestrated,as I've in many posts ,showing the crisis that was brewing in Boeing where C-17 production was to close,both Gates and Obama against more aircraft for the US and few new foreign orders if any.In desperation,Boeing turned to India (around 2009),where they found a willing customer,who in double quick time in comparison with other defence deals,finalised the order just in time before the axe fell on the C-17 facility.

These are hard facts.Yes,we may indeed need a few C-17 class of aircraft,but how many ( we have no intercontinental strategic role to play) and at what price? Though the deed may have been done,if you ask me,the jury is still out.



Philip-saar, in case you are referring to me in that post, I'd like to clarify that I never said that you had suggested that. I was just collating and responding to different views, one of which was the "why not the Il-476" one.

You do raise the pertinent questions about the need for and price of the C-17.

I would further ask, what does the C-17 provide?

a) Range: Both the C-17 and Il-76/476 have similar ranges, so this can't be it. In my posts, I haven't given much (if any) consideration to the "inter-continental" role anyway, so thats not a consideration, atleast for me.

b) Retirement of existing A/C: Since the Il-76 will still remain in service till the Il-476 is ready, this can't be it either.

So, if the range is similar, and the Il-76 will remain in service for some time, its then is really a question of what capability the C-17 offers that the Il-76 does not, or, in case it is complementing it, (i) What is the urgency of this requirement and (ii) Couldn't we have done with more Il-76s instead?

The reasons could be:

a) Higher payload capacity... leading to a strategic advantage.
b) Required payload carrying ability from high altitude/semi-paved runways... especially given reports of Il-76s underperforming in Leh.
OR
c) Severity of spares and logistics support issues with the Il-76 necessitating urgent alternatives.

I've already explained these before, and I'm inclined to believe that the urgency of our upgradation of our mountain assets (especially in mechanized systems and artillery areas) necessitated the quick induction of a platform capable of offering more than what the Il-76 offers us at present.

In my view, the only justifiable reason for an urgent C-17 procurement would be to fill in a crucial or urgent capability gap, or create a capability leap within this decade. What these are, I think has been discussed already. Whether that was indeed the case, is really what we're circling around and discussing for the past 20+ pages (I guess)

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby Sanku » 27 Feb 2013 16:47

amit wrote:
Sanku wrote:Au contrarie, all those critisizing the deal ....


So you are spokesperson for everybody who's against the C17 are you? That's good, a leadership role sits well on your shoulders with your 10,000 odd posts - Senior Member and all. :-)


If you wish, I have no problems with that. I dont do hit and runs.

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby Sanku » 27 Feb 2013 16:59

k prasad wrote: Il-476 is anyway evaluation vapourware for even the next 3-4 years, so that's out.


I disagree Sir. MRCA competition had at least two such vaporwares Mig 35 (which was basically a Mig 29 souped up) and Gripen.

There is a vaporware of Il-476 flying around since last year, that is good enough for evaluation. So Il 476 was in condition for evaluation even without any external prodding in 2012 time frame.

If invited for a evaluation, the process could easily be speeded up, that was done for Gripen and Mig 35. Most such process are not constrained by technology, but by money. If there is a invite, the manufacturer sees economic merit in putting in money early.

Its not that Il 476 are working at fastest possible deadline, with a Indian order that would be the case (other examples are idling shipyards moving to manufacture Ships quickly once the order/money comes in)

So I basically and fundamentally contest the point that Il 476 is not ready for evaluation in 2012-13 time frame.

---------------------

On other note, why is the following "not an option"
A330 MRTT 45 tons 223 tons 2007 860 kmph 14,800 km Civilian Origin

Gripen and EF were both option enough for MRCA.

I contest that a air lifter HAS to be around 70 tons for it to make sense. Airlifter should be considered on parameters like cost of moving a equipment per ton more than anything. Practical ranges for IAF. (How many IAF sorties from India to Timbuktu non stop?) -- Types of airstrips that the plane can land in.

Focusing on payload alone in a narrow band a non starter. In almost ANY such case multi vendor acquisition, the norms are never as tightly defined (as much as we know from outside) -- there are always a variety of factors, and a weighted average score is meaningful.

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby Singha » 27 Feb 2013 17:05

There is this other issue that neither the il76 or 476 are wide enough to take some of the bulkier vehicles we use for sams and missiles, or tanks...albeit that might not be a huge use case.

Dont you guys think the il76 family is too small to be really called a heavy airlifter....? It cannot per reports make it in and out of algs and the rest like leh are big enough to even take a330...so the the ability operate of permafrosty siberian taiga bases is not a major use case for us either.

Other than being smallish and rugged looking, with some needless structural meat, what does it bring to the table that a mix of c130j and upg an32 cannot handle?

I can undestand people drooling over a an124 or tu160 but cannot understand strong support for the il76 ... Not sure why it should be considered unique or best of breed?

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby anishns » 27 Feb 2013 17:43

An IL-76 fully loaded struggling to take off in Australia...


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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby Sanku » 27 Feb 2013 17:49

Singha wrote:I can undestand people drooling over a an124 or tu160 but cannot understand strong support for the il76 ... Not sure why it should be considered unique or best of breed?


You are right to a great extent, Bhalu moshaay.

No reason whatsoever to consider it unique, personally I like the fact that Il 76 are big movers in small rugged package, I somehow like that, but its personal choice alone. (just as you have a liking for the biggest and most awesome beasts)

In the context of the above discussion however, it does not have to be unique or best of the breed, it just had to be a possible fit for requirements on a number of parameters, post which a candidate for L1 to drive down the prices for which ever beast was finally going to come in.

Although I still maintain, building it (which ever purchase) in India would be the very minimum I would also expect.

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby k prasad » 27 Feb 2013 17:50

Sanku wrote:I disagree Sir. MRCA competition had at least two such vaporwares Mig 35 (which was basically a Mig 29 souped up) and Gripen.

There is a vaporware of Il-476 flying around since last year, that is good enough for evaluation. So Il 476 was in condition for evaluation even without any external prodding in 2012 time frame.


Sanku sirjee,

First flight doesn't necessarily equate to being evaluation ready. The Il-476 first flew in Sep 2012. It made its first long range flight just this month. While it might be 'flying' in the normative sense of the word, I'm not sure it would've been ready for evaluations in Leh or wherever any time before Q3 this year (by which time we'd have received half our C-17s).

Mig-35, in contrast, had already been flying, what... 2004-2005 (prototype unveiling) and was brought to AI07, a full 2-1/2 years before MMRCA evaluations began. So the comparison isn't exactly accurate.

We started negotiations for the C-17 in 2009, after the contract was initially mooted in 2007. It took a full 2 years after that to sign the contract, and another year after that to begin deliveries. Now, lets say we had started evaluating C-17 vs Il-476 in Jan 2013. That would be say a 4 month evaluation, followed by another 4 months to announce the L1, and another 2 years to sign off on that, with, even by the most optimistic estimates, 6 months to have the first aircraft delivered - that essentially translates to a first delivery by mid-2016, and final deliveries completed only by 2018, and full integration into our ORBAT only by 2019.

This does fly in the face of even the RuAF data on the Il-476 being certified and ready for delivery only by 2016-17, but as you mentioned, I am assuming a sped up development and induction process (although I'm not sure that Ilyushin would do that for what... 10 orders, when they already have 40 orders from the RuAF and are working doubletime to get to the 2018 date).

Sanku wrote:On other note, why is the following "not an option"
A330 MRTT 45 tons 223 tons 2007 860 kmph 14,800 km Civilian Origin

Gripen and EF were both option enough for MRCA.


I do agree that the Gripen (and F-16) was the oddball in that group, and it got called out in the trials. The EF wasnt. Gripen's inclusion had a lot to do with the way the MMRCA requirements evolved, I guess.

Coming to the A330, I think it doesnt fit because, to the best of my knowledge:

a) Its based on a civilian aircraft, and thus, doesnt really meet the ruggedness requirements.
b) It has a narrower fuselage than a dedicated military transporter, meaning a lower loadable width (5.3 m cabin width, which means a sub-5 m cargo hold width vs 5.5 m for the C-17), although it is still better than the Il-76 (3.16 m internal).
c) it doesn't have a large rear cargo loading door that is essential for military transport operations these days. (A330 MRTT images from Airbus)

Check out http://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2011/07/the-pros-and-7-cons-of-an-raf-voyager, especially Con #6

Sanku wrote:I contest that a air lifter HAS to be around 70 tons for it to make sense. Airlifter should be considered on parameters like cost of moving a equipment per ton more than anything. Practical ranges for IAF. (How many IAF sorties from India to Timbuktu non stop?) -- Types of airstrips that the plane can land in.


I Agree... in fact, so does the IAF. If you observe, their requirements were for a 40 to 70 ton class lifter with ability to operate from (http://www.indiastrategic.in/topstories244.htm), although it appears from that article that they have split that range into the heavy and the very heavy categories.

Now, as I've already mentioned previously, the ability to cart more than 55 or 60 tons offers a quantum leap in capabilities. Things like this, for instance, the ability to carry a 60 ton mobile arty to a FOB is impossible for the Il-76 to do, but something the C-17 can easily do, even carrying a T-90 MBT to Leh. This kind of capability can't be weighted and/or averaged out really.

Image

I'm reading the DPP 2009. Will get back on the single vendor bit.

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby Sanku » 27 Feb 2013 18:32

k prasad wrote:Sanku sirjee,


Prasad-ji; first of all, thank you for a very informed and polite debate even with disagreements. This is BRF at its best. We may or may not agree, but this is an absolutely delight exchange.

First flight doesn't necessarily equate to being evaluation ready. ....
Mig-35, in contrast,...
So the comparison isn't exactly accurate.


First flight does not necessarily equate to being evaluation ready, however do note that the
http://en.rian.ru/business/20130129/179105214.html

The flight, which lasted four hours and 25 minutes at altitudes of up to 10,000 meters (33,000 feet), was designed to assess the performance of its onboard avionics, engines, automated control system, and other characteristics, Ulyanovsk-based Aviastar said.


This is a a/c which is perfectly capable of being "evaluated" for purchase, in addition, a attractive part is, this a/c can be modified or MKIezd as needed since its still not fully frozen.

I agree that the comparison with Mig 35 is not exact, however the overall broad counters are the same, viz,
Made primarily on a existing well tried design philosphy, with extensions.
Working in India
New one under active work.

And it would be great opportunity to take a holistic view of the requirements, and asses multiple options.



there was the Gripen example as well, and if you consider that, what the overall point is that, a a/c does not have to be fully ready.


and full integration into our ORBAT only by 2019.


I more or less agree with your timelines, perhaps shorten it a bit, say 2017 (I would say a 2012 comparison would be possible) -- I am saying that 2013 vs 2017 is not a great issue.

do that for what... 10 orders, when they already have 40 orders from the RuAF and are working doubletime to get to the 2018 date).


Two things, the RuAF order came ONLY last year (from link posted)
Russia's Defense Ministry signed a contract last October for delivery of 39 Il-76MD-90As, to be built before 2018.


So last year a decision by RuAF will give then 39 air frames before 2018. So my assessment of a Indian interest pushing them to give us planes by 2017 is certainly not unfeasible.
You will grant me that I am not talking in thin air.

Further, it would not be 10 planes, we are talking about (10+6)*77 tons for C 17, the same results into 25 planes. for Il 476 (25*50) Not a unsubstantial number?



I do agree that the Gripen (and F-16) was the oddball in that group, and it got called out in the trials. The EF wasnt. Gripen's inclusion had a lot to do with the way the MMRCA requirements evolved, I guess.


Thank you, we again agree, but the point is, even considering that Gripen was a oddball, it was worthwhile to include it in the reckoning for a number of reasons. I believe those reasons carry over here too, it should have at least been considered, and then based on performance, a call taken for the same.

Sanku wrote:
I contest that a air lifter HAS to be around 70 tons for it to make sense. Airlifter should be considered on parameters like cost of moving a equipment per ton more than anything. Practical ranges for IAF. (How many IAF sorties from India to Timbuktu non stop?) -- Types of airstrips that the plane can land in.


I Agree... in fact, so does the IAF. If you observe, their requirements were for a 40 to 70 ton class lifter with ability to operate from (http://www.indiastrategic.in/topstories244.htm), although it appears from that article that they have split that range into the heavy and the very heavy categories.


Thanks :).

Now, as I've already mentioned previously, the ability to cart more than 55 or 60 tons offers a quantum leap in capabilities. Things like this, for instance, the ability to carry a 60 ton mobile arty to a FOB is impossible for the Il-76 to do, but something the C-17 can easily do, even carrying a T-90 MBT to Leh. This kind of capability can't be weighted and/or averaged out really.
.


Agree to an extent, but then a Il would far more easily and regularly land on rough and shorter (?) airstrips, in fact, Il 76 has been operating from short runaways etc. OTOH it is not clear whether even a C 17 can land with a T 90 in its belly in Leh (airstrip length) -- this was extensively debated, and many including Hakim sahib, maintained that it would not, neither is what they were being brought for (meaning that the special size cargo was not considered a practical usage)
Last edited by Sanku on 27 Feb 2013 19:39, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby NRao » 27 Feb 2013 18:52

Reposting from page 46:

Aero India 2013

This news is not even a month old:

Meanwhile, Ilyushin general director and general designer Victor Livanov confirms the Aviadvigatel PS-90A76 engine already selected for the Il-76MD-90/90A transport is the primary candidate to power a development prototype and initial batch of production aircraft due to appear in the 2017-2018 timeframe.


The article that included news of the longest flight also stated that the plane needs to go to Moscow (or thereabouts) for further tests.

So, I am not sure what the RuAF is getting in 2014.

BTW, the IAF/MoD evaluates such planes on their life cycle costs and not just ability to fly, cost and features it has. And as I stated supply chain better be great too.

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby srin » 27 Feb 2013 19:12

k prasad saar, I still didn't understand the point about A330 MRTT.

The link (RAF voyager) says that the one chosen by Britain (passenger/fuel version) doesn't have cargo door. The other version (cargo/fuel) has cargo door.

From logistics point of view, a civilian aircraft is better, because spares will be available long after production has stopped. And has less vulnerable to sanctions because it is difficult to control the supply.

And secondly, because of fuel economy penny-pinching mood, the engines are likely (though not guaranteed) to be more fuel efficient.

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby k prasad » 27 Feb 2013 19:19

Sanku wrote:Prasad-ji; first of all, thank you for a very informed and polite debate even with disagreements. This is BRF at its best. We may or may not agree, but this is an absolutely delight exchange.


Absolutely sanku-ji. More than anything, the exchanges are about information, so I'm learning from your posts too.

Will respond to the other points later, when work isnt sitting on my head like a bugbear.

srin wrote:k prasad saar, I still didn't understand the point about A330 MRTT.

The link (RAF voyager) says that the one chosen by Britain (passenger/fuel version) doesn't have cargo door. The other version (cargo/fuel) has cargo door.


Srin, if you look at the video there, you will observe that it is a side cargo door for the upper cargo deck that they are referring to. The cargo bay I was referring to is the drive in style rear cargo door that is essential for all transport aircraft taht operate from forward and/or unprepared bases. The side doors and bays require cranes and lifts to place cargo, and even that cargo can only be palletised and can't take in large cargo such as vehicles, etc.

As for the civilian derivative, it cuts both ways - because its a civvie a/c, it means that its optimized for fuel efficiency and comfort and is less ruggedized (to save weight, etc) than needed. And not necessarily designed (wrt width for example) for cargo ops. So thats a disadvantage that needs to be noted. The brits can afford this since they will also have the ability to use NATO and US C-17s, etc. We don't.

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby amit » 27 Feb 2013 19:25

^^^^

The question one needs to ask is, can a civilian aircraft land on rough ALGs during wartime scenario? I think that's more important than fuel efficiencies. And parts supply has been an issue with IL76 however according to the agreement we've signed Boeing has guaranteed a 90 per cent uptime availability.

Added later: OK I see Prasad beat me in the response.

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby NRao » 27 Feb 2013 19:50

Just as a FYI, Boeing guarantees 74% of the time 100% availability and 82% of the partial availability. So, 90% availability is a big, big deal.

Recall when the IAF sent out an RFP for spares support from non-Russian sources they were expecting 50% availability for the IL-76s.

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Re: Transport Aircraft for IAF

Postby KrishnaK » 28 Feb 2013 03:33

NRao wrote:Just as a FYI, Boeing guarantees 74% of the time 100% availability and 82% of the partial availability. So, 90% availability is a big, big deal.

That's another made up requirement to exclude all other players so as to favour Boeing exclusively.


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