nachiket wrote:As for the Mig-29 being dated tech, the UPG in service has a decent radar, plus a desi DRFM jammer mounted internally, new cockpit avionics, new Thales HMS, new engines. Considering the last order for Astra included 48 for the Navy Mig-29's I am assuming integrating the Astra with the IAF Mig-29's should not be an issue (they share radars after the upgrade). So why exactly is this dated compared to any other aircraft in IAF service except the Rafale?
There are two aspects to a fighter aircraft - the airframe (including engine) and the systems.
We did an expensive Sea Harrier upgrade with state of the art radar, datalink and BVR missiles but with ageing airframe and engines, the fighter went out of service. The RoI on the upgrade was barely realized.
We did another expensive MiG-27 upgrade with state of the art avionics but yet again with ageing airframe and engines, the fighter went out of service. The RoI on the upgrade was barely realized.
The Jaguar Darin 3 for oldest airframes is also under a cloud with re-engining not happening. What’s the point in equipping new avionics when the airframe and engines are dated? The last 37 Jaguars ordered 1999 delivered 2010 will have a very short service life unless Adour engines are made available for them in future.
Coming to the MiG-29, given the Vikramaditya experience, I seriously doubt whether the old airframes are as good as new. With reports of possible service with other countries, and lack of clear pedigree, it’s as dubious as it gets.
Secondly the MiG-29K/KUB/UPG Zhuk radar was developed on Indian money and is equivalent to Bars. Both Bars and Zhuk were good in 2001 but not in 2020.
The Rafale RBE-2AA, Tejas Mk1A Elta 2052, Mirage 2000 RDY-2, Tejas Mk1 Elta 2032 are superior radars than Bars and Zhuk. Before someone trumpets Bars range, they need to understand resolution and modes are much more important than raw range.
There are NO production ready AESA radars in Russia
The only benefit MiG-29UPG has is that it’s the only IAF fighter with internal EW suite and that has its own advantage in A2A against Pakistani F-16 with ALQ-211 v4 and v9 AIDEWS. The ALQ-211 also arms our B-777 VVIP jets.
But from an overall system integration perspective more Su-30MKI and MiG-29UPG will be inferior to Tejas Mk1A.
This is (more) hafta to Russia and Rozgaar Yojana to HAL Nashik to keep them occupied until 2024 elections and possibly IAF 11 BRD also at Nashik to keep them occupied with MiG-29UPG work. I doubt the Russians can/will install the Italian + Indian EW suites on the aircraft. That work has to happen in India at IAF 11 BRD.
Hence my aversion to any imports other than Rafale. Maybe another 36.
If not, then convert the Su-30MKI line at Nashik to Tejas Mk1A with additional orders
The dated technology MiG-29UPG & Su-30MKI will take the same time as new technology Tejas Mk1A