Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby Prasad » 21 Aug 2019 22:58

I know we talk of "mix" a lot here. There was a RAND study on airpower based on the Libyan attack which compared the F-16 to the F-15 in combat "efficiency" and came to the conclusion that despite the F-16 being a "lighter" fighter, the F-15 was more efficient at causing pain to the enemy than the F-16.

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby Kartik » 22 Aug 2019 00:49

deejay wrote:
ramana wrote:Deejay, Does IAF have a Systems Engineering or Program Office for Su-30 MKI?
That's the gap they have.


I do not know what they are called but they do have something. This Su 30 issue is a bit more than just "fuel guzzling" or just engine problems. They are maintenance heavy and eat up spares. Keeping the spare line working is a tough ask.

Operationally, where a 20 aircraft Sqn would have say 30 pilots posted to a Sqn, Su 30 Sqns need 60 pilots plus WSO. Now those are issues which are direct impact issues for IAF. At 272 fighters that is biig impact already. Add more and the problem grows. IN the intial year while the numbers were small, this did not seem such a monumental challenge, but as the numbers reach 200+, there is a major challenge both from maintenance and operational perspective. IAF or planners right from middle level are seeing what increased number of Su 30 is doing to their Maintenance and Ops plans.


This is a very important metric. The fact that each Su-30 needs 2 pilots and larger numbers of maintenance personnel was known, but the figure you're giving is 3 pilots per Su-30 plus WSOs. That will be putting a huge strain on the IAF's training command. While the Su-30 squadrons were seeing fresh rookie pilots being deputed directly after Hawk training was completed, this number is really large.

And while some may feel that the fuel bill is not a valid concern, the operational expense will really balloon with another 72 Su-30s. It's CPFH (cost per flight hour) is high, lets not fool ourselves on that. 272 + 18 minus those lose to attrition is still a large fleet of heavy fighters.

IAF is not eager to order more Su-30s for these reasons. Otherwise they'd be the first ones to suggest ordering more Su-30s as the way to go.

HAL still isn't able to deliver Tejas fighters at the rate that would address this issue, and the MWF is still far away, so that leaves only 2 other valid options given that the 114 MMRCA tender isn't going to result in any addition for another 5-6 years.

1) explore a way to expand on the Rafale fleet with 2 more squadrons off the shelf.
2) Or, just scouting around the world for more second hand MiG-29 and Mirage-2000 fighters that could be upgraded and added to the fleet quickly and at lower cost than buying new Su-30s or Rafales.

I know a lot of people don't like the second option, but just look at how PAF got to 70 F-16s. They're not going to stop at that either. The JF-17 adds to the bulk, but upgraded second hand F-16s are the tip of their spear. Put any Mirage-2000 from around the world through the 'I' upgrade and its going to be an asset. Same for the 'UPG' upgrade for the MiG-29s. The only problem is that there aren't many second hand Mirage or viable MiG-29 airframes around. The Malaysian MiG-29N interest seems to have fizzled out now for whatever reason. If that would be added to the 21 MiG-29s, we'd be talking 2 more squadrons of UPGs in another 2-3 years.

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby nachiket » 22 Aug 2019 01:22

The problem with any of these options is the glacial pace at which decisions are taken in India. From the time a proposal is put forward to when it is cleared (if ever), the ground situation changes (for the worse usually) and we find ourselves in a deeper hole.

There should have been an aggressive push and effort to find second hand M2k's and Mig-29's a long time ago. But unfortunately the govt. sold an an unobtainable dream to the IAF of being able to buy 126 of the latest and greatest (at the time) without anyone taking a look at our coffers to see what we could actually afford. And this after bureaucratic procedures and govt. procurement regulations had already destroyed the original plan of buying 126 Mirages.

What is worse is that ALL governments NDA-1, UPA-1 and 2 and even NaMo-1 and now 2 seem to be incapable of getting past this and actually come up with a sound plan in consultation with the IAF to move forward. Instead we have piecemeal attempts like MII SEF and now MRCA 2.0, 21 more Mig-29's and extra Su-30's that either go nowhere or move at a snail's pace as usual. Unfortunately despite the perilous situation, the IAF is taking its own sweet time to finalize the Su-30MKI upgrade as well. How many years has it been since we heard about the Super-30 upgrade now? And we still don't have the ASQR.

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby Cybaru » 22 Aug 2019 02:36

Any of those two engined units will have significant fuel burn.

None of these other platforms have the internal space either to lug around fuel. In the worse case, the fuel burn of MKI can't be twice that of other two engined platforms. Given that delta, it isn't such a big deal especially when you save on common training infrastructure, support costs, manufacture parts locally and can upgrade bits and pieces at a reasonable cadence. The pilot stuff will also get better as the fleet becomes bigger and not worse. The spare pool can be more efficiently divided to common Mk lines. Even that is easier to manage than to spend a decade building expertise and tactics on a new platform.

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby Rupak » 22 Aug 2019 06:35

Now that there are so many Mirage 2000 that can be bought second hand that the IAF should seriously look at that option. The PAF added bulk by purchasing every Mirage 3/5 it could get its hands on. The Qataris and UAE have been trying to get rid of their Mirages and there are now several AdA aircraft surplus to requirement. Also the Gulf and French Mirages are lightly used and have several thousand hours left on them

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby deejay » 22 Aug 2019 10:47

Kartik wrote:
deejay wrote:
I do not know what they are called but they do have something. This Su 30 issue is a bit more than just "fuel guzzling" or just engine problems. They are maintenance heavy and eat up spares. Keeping the spare line working is a tough ask.

Operationally, where a 20 aircraft Sqn would have say 30 pilots posted to a Sqn, Su 30 Sqns need 60 pilots plus WSO. Now those are issues which are direct impact issues for IAF. At 272 fighters that is biig impact already. Add more and the problem grows. IN the intial year while the numbers were small, this did not seem such a monumental challenge, but as the numbers reach 200+, there is a major challenge both from maintenance and operational perspective. IAF or planners right from middle level are seeing what increased number of Su 30 is doing to their Maintenance and Ops plans.


This is a very important metric. The fact that each Su-30 needs 2 pilots and larger numbers of maintenance personnel was known, but the figure you're giving is 3 pilots per Su-30 plus WSOs. That will be putting a huge strain on the IAF's training command. While the Su-30 squadrons were seeing fresh rookie pilots being deputed directly after Hawk training was completed, this number is really large.

...


Kartik, I meant 60 total (Pilots plus WSO). Apologies for not being clear. This is not a factual case, I am giving indicative numbers. Actual numbers are different. The point is that number of officers as flying crew doubles for Su 30 Sqns compared to other Sqns.

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby ramana » 22 Aug 2019 11:48

This demand on crew size was brought up in late 90s as Su-30 MKI were being acquired.

But what choice do they have with diminishing squadrons, costs and threats?
You procure what's available and not hold out for the unattainable.
This Jaguar costs for engine was a surprise.
Tejas will take time.
SU30 line is available.
Maybe buy more Mig 29s?

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby deejay » 22 Aug 2019 11:52

ramana wrote:This demand on crew size was brought up in late 90s as Su-30 MKI were being acquired.

But what choice do they have with diminishing squadrons, costs and threats?
You procure what's available and not hold out for the unattainable.
This Jaguar costs for engine was a surprise.
Tejas will take time.
SU30 line is available.
Maybe buy more Mig 29s?


No Mig 29s are defensive platforms owing to range. Su 30s will be needed, whether IAF likes it or not. Lump it. Fate was decided when those heading the IAF in the first decade and a half of this century slept on the wheels.

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby Manish_Sharma » 22 Aug 2019 16:33

deejay wrote:

No Mig 29s are defensive platforms owing to range. Su 30s will be needed .....


In that case FGFA becomes imperative.... we will have to have it too as MKI replacement in 30s and 40s

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby deejay » 22 Aug 2019 16:52

Manish_Sharma wrote:
deejay wrote:

No Mig 29s are defensive platforms owing to range. Su 30s will be needed .....


In that case FGFA becomes imperative.... we will have to have it too as MKI replacement in 30s and 40s


No Manish ji. I understand your enthusiasm and POV but the FGFA is already dead (IMHO please). We may buy a couple of sqns of PAK-FA but we are not going to buy the 157 initially projected. I say this based on reasoning. what we wanted was never even put into development.

The Su 30 line is available for adding more aircraft and this would be the quickest way to get the numbers.

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby chola » 22 Aug 2019 17:02

The so-called 42-squadron imperative is arbitrary. We own massive advantages over the pukes and the chinis in all likely theaters of combat for years to come with what we have now and what we have on order (Rafale.)

We have time to build out our industry and not go phoren for making some arbitrary numbers.

We can build out the Tejas family (MK1A, MWF, NLCA) for numbers. We can supplement with the MKI.

And we can prepare for the AMCA as our 5th gen.

Any phoren buys beyond the 76 Rafales will take resources and impetus from those local programs.
Last edited by chola on 22 Aug 2019 17:05, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby deejay » 22 Aug 2019 17:05

chola wrote:The so-called 42-squadron imperative is arbitrary. We own massive advantages over the pukes and the chinis in all likely theaters of combat for years to come.

We have time to build out our industry and not go phoren for making some arbitrary numbers.

We can build out the Tejas family (MK1A, MWF, NLCA) for numbers. We can supplement with the MKI.

And we can prepare for the AMCA as our 5th gen.

Any phoren buys beyond the 76 Rafales take resources and impetus from those local programs.


42 Sqn maybe arbitrary to you not the Chief. I wish the previous heads had not thought like you and we wouldn't be where we are.

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby Yagnasri » 22 Aug 2019 17:06

It is China we need to prepare. Not Pakis. As we grow in economic power there will be the temptation to China to keep India in its place and prevent other nations of Asia ( and the West) to move closer to us as a counter to China.

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby chola » 22 Aug 2019 17:13

deejay wrote:42 Sqn maybe arbitrary to you not the Chief. I wish the previous heads had not thought like you and we wouldn't be where we are.


But DeeJay Sir, where exactly are we? Are we in such desperate straits that we need infusion of phoren aircraft right now at the expense of local aircraft in the near future?

We have over 250 dominant heavy fighters in the MKI alone pitted against 60 F-Solahs and a dozen J-11s/J-10s on the Tibetan plateau that can't even take off with a full load.

We make excuses for ourselves to buy phoren, it seems.

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby Karthik S » 22 Aug 2019 17:14

For china, I think we are missing our primary offensive weapon, LRCM. We need plenty of Nirbhays to create a deterrence. Our jets need to fly over entire tibet to find any worthwhile target inside cheen. For defense hundreds of MKIs and ALSO a good SAM cover will be fine, but to inflict damage to cheen we need LRCMs (2000km range).

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby chola » 22 Aug 2019 17:30

Yagnasri wrote:It is China we need to prepare. Not Pakis. As we grow in economic power there will be the temptation to China to keep India in its place and prevent other nations of Asia ( and the West) to move closer to us as a counter to China.


We can't prepare for the chini challenge by buying phoren. We need to grow economically and create a mature MIC for that challenge.

Cheen doesn't like to fight wars. It uses its industrial might to overwhelm disputed territories and global conmons during peacetime.

Cheen is the VERY reason we must not take resources away from the local programs.

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby deejay » 22 Aug 2019 17:37

chola wrote:
deejay wrote:42 Sqn maybe arbitrary to you not the Chief. I wish the previous heads had not thought like you and we wouldn't be where we are.


But DeeJay Sir, where exactly are we? Are we in such desperate straits that we need infusion of phoren aircraft right now at the expense of local aircraft in the near future?

We have over 250 dominant heavy fighters in the MKI alone pitted against 60 F-Solahs and a dozen J-11s/J-10s on the Tibetan plateau that can't even take off with a full load.

We make excuses for ourselves to buy phoren, it seems.


The acquisition is as per IAFs forecasts. We also do not know if that number 42 has become 45 or 55. We are only guessing that it is 42. For present needs we are all good but if the forecast says we need x nos fighters by 20XY and y nos fighters by 20AZ then acquisition planning must start now to have those nos in time.

We need to be clear that the Chief of Air Staff will be answerable to GOI for not having done his forecasting and demand placement if at a given time we come up short. In peace time, it always seems hunky dory and we have repeatedly come up short in war. '65 war lessons and more recently Kargil lessons we should forget. The IAF putting all its resources together could not come up with enough Mi 17s which could go into a hot zone with protection.

We are buying phoren but not in the class we have domestic. There is nothing we can do about the time our indigenous development cycle will take. Apart from US and Russia, no country is all indigenous and these 02 have at least 70 years lead over us. Even Russia is failing to support its Mig design bureau. US aerospace companies have consolidated into 02 main blocks - Lockheed and Boeing. Both these cannot be sustained by US demand alone.

Point I am making is, aircraft development is so expensive that countries are unable to finance entire design bureaus and continued development. We will take time funding our own designs. They will take decades to fructify. That does not mean we let down our own Military preparedness. Add another dimension to this - Geo politically we are becoming more muscular. GOI will want expeditionary or attacking options of our services and yet have enough to back up Indian requirements.

Then, in another thread, we were discussing theater defence and why IAF says no. Primarily it says no, because IAF just does not have enough assets to man all theaters adequately for all roles. If Theater Defence comes into play, do not be surprised to see a 60 Sqn airforce in India and 60 is a conservative estimate as per me. I will defer to experts.

I think we as a group of posters are so scared and lack faith in our planners so badly (may be we have our justifications), that we always think that all imports are because of foreign junkets and brochuritis and they may eventually kill desi. We, with whatever slight insights we have, the present dispensation and leadership is definitely not going to let this happen.

Also, the real expansion in platform capability will happen in IN and not IAF. As we grow in our ambition as a nation, expect IN to be the queen of the services.

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby deejay » 22 Aug 2019 17:45

chola wrote:
Yagnasri wrote:It is China we need to prepare. Not Pakis. As we grow in economic power there will be the temptation to China to keep India in its place and prevent other nations of Asia ( and the West) to move closer to us as a counter to China.


We can't prepare for the chini challenge by buying phoren. We need to grow economically and create a mature MIC for that challenge.

Cheen doesn't like to fight wars. It uses its industrial might to overwhelm disputed territories and global conmons during peacetime.

Cheen is the VERY reason we must not take resources away from the local programs.


Chola ji, while I do not have reference links, I will dismiss, Cheeni fighter quality as Crap Minus. Development cycles like Chinese design bureaus are a very stupid way forward.

I think we may have taken our time but the way we developed Tejas is what makes world class fighters.

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby chola » 22 Aug 2019 17:57

deejay wrote:
chola wrote:
We can't prepare for the chini challenge by buying phoren. We need to grow economically and create a mature MIC for that challenge.

Cheen doesn't like to fight wars. It uses its industrial might to overwhelm disputed territories and global conmons during peacetime.

Cheen is the VERY reason we must not take resources away from the local programs.


Chola ji, while I do not have reference links, I will dismiss, Cheeni fighter quality as Crap Minus. Development cycles like Chinese design bureaus are a very stupid way forward.

I think we may have taken our time but the way we developed Tejas is what makes world class fighters.


Then that is an even bigger reason to not panic about needing 42 or 45 squadrons.

The truth is in any fight with Cheen or Pakiland, we own overwhelming advantages.

We need to let our domestic programs come to fruition and arm ourselves with them. Supplement with MKI. But focus must be on Tejas family. Beyond the 76 Rafales I hope we do not buy any more phoren fighters.

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby deejay » 22 Aug 2019 18:00

chola wrote:
deejay wrote:
Chola ji, while I do not have reference links, I will dismiss, Cheeni fighter quality as Crap Minus. Development cycles like Chinese design bureaus are a very stupid way forward.

I think we may have taken our time but the way we developed Tejas is what makes world class fighters.


Then that is an even bigger reason to not panic about needing 42 or 45 squadrons.

The truth is in any fight with Cheen or Pakiland, we own overwhelming advantages.

We need to let our domestic programs come to fruition and arm ourselves with them. Supplement with MKI. But focus must be on Tejas family. Beyond the 76 Rafales I hope we do not buy any more phoren fighters.


We are not panicking and we do not have overwhelming advantage. To our 272 Su 30s they have 350+. They have Su 35s and they already have S400s.

However, military balance is not a count of fighter vs fighter but it also includes a lot of other factors which I am inadequately informed to layout.

Of course, to have posted thus, you have completed ignored my previous post, no?

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby chola » 22 Aug 2019 18:05

deejay wrote:
chola wrote:
Then that is an even bigger reason to not panic about needing 42 or 45 squadrons.

The truth is in any fight with Cheen or Pakiland, we own overwhelming advantages.

We need to let our domestic programs come to fruition and arm ourselves with them. Supplement with MKI. But focus must be on Tejas family. Beyond the 76 Rafales I hope we do not buy any more phoren fighters.


We are not panicking and we do not have overwhelming advantage. To our 272 Su 30s they have 350+. They have Su 35s and they already have S400s.

However, military balance is not a count of fighter vs fighter but it also includes a lot of other factors which I am inadequately informed to layout.

Of course, to have posted thus, you have completed ignored my previous post, no?


No I have not ignored your previous post, Sir. But I did respond to it in a fashion. I don't think the 42, 45 or 55 squadrons is necessary, not in the immediate sense anyways. If 55 squadrons can be filled by the Tejas family or the AMCA then I will be all for it!

But I know that can take years so I am afraid of this need to push for 42 squadrons now would create pressure to buy phoren.

No, our advantages really are overwhelming. Not only quality-wise but also quantity. They cannot put 300 crap quality flanker clones on the Plateau because of geography and geo-politics. There are no SU-35 or J-20 based in their Western Command. They are assigned to their Eastern Command and are based along their east coast. Guess why.

Again, we should not buy phoren fighters because, as you duly pointed out, we have domestic options there.

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby srin » 22 Aug 2019 19:08

Wrt the two pilots for MKIs, wasn't there an ask from IAF that FGFA needed to be a two-seater and not a single-seater like PAK-FA ?

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby Manish_Sharma » 22 Aug 2019 19:55

deejay wrote:
Manish_Sharma wrote:
In that case FGFA becomes imperative.... we will have to have it too as MKI replacement in 30s and 40s


No Manish ji. I understand your enthusiasm and POV but the FGFA is already dead (IMHO please). We may buy a couple of sqns of PAK-FA but we are not going to buy the 157 initially projected. I say this based on reasoning. what we wanted was never even put into development.



Many thanks Deejay ji , for bringing so much clarity to this thread , it has brought BRFites more upto date

Pilot issues wrt MKI squadrons is totally new angle for us.

I have to confess FGFA news is saddening for me though for a stupid reason that I find PAK FA a beautiful plane :oops:
So was hoping its FGFA version in IAF.

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby Karan M » 22 Aug 2019 21:02

deejay wrote:
Jay wrote:My noob question to learned folks. With my limited reading and understanding of the subject on 'composition of aircraft in airforce', it seems the light fighters usually form the bulk of the airforces with Medium and Heavy fighters occupying less in number. A quick example of the USAF, where there are 800 f-16, 400-F15, and 300 F22/F35 kinds. The idea is to use the less expensive/operationally fluid aircraft for the bulk of the activities. This stands in contract to IAF structure where SU30MKI is more than half of our numbers (> than 250). Why is it that IAF leans towards top-heavy fighters which demand and take away a lot of resources, and manpower to maintain?

If this is OT, I request admins to move this to the right thread.


Su 30 was not supposed to be more than half the fighter numbers. Our dwindling single engine fleet is because many Mig 21 Sqns have been taken off and replacement SE have not been found.

Secondly, within the strength authorised, the role for IAF has been expanded. From pure defensive posture, the Su 30 brought in an element of offensive posture and it has since proven an advantageous balance of military power. Going ahead, IAF will move to more of a mix where light fighters , (not all SE fighters are light), are probably around 33% with the rest being Heavy and Medium. We can have 50% of the fleet as light fighters but for that we will need to increase the sqn numbers. That will be a function of economy and threat matrix.


A few points if I may - the F-16 is not really a light fighter by our classification. A F-16 Block 50/52 is a MMRCA. And a F-35 is heavier still. So, the F-16/F-15 and F-16/F-15/F-35/F-22 mix should be classified as MMRCA/HCA. They have no LCA, JF-17, T-50 equivalent frontline fighters.

The era of light fighters in the IAF force mix seems to have passed, judging by IAFs actions itself. They have limited the LCA to 123 aircraft (40 Mk1, 83 Mk1A) - literally equal to the number of Bisons when the order was placed. Rest, its all MMRCA.

The Rafale etc were planned for assuming latest tech., backup to Russia (the MMRCA Phase 2 took off when Su-30 serviceability was at 59% and struggling) and TOT (AF decision guys assuming it would help local industry). But again, a MMRCA till CAG forced the single seaters into the mix of which only the Gripen could be called light, but even it exists in the E/F form for our contest which is a MMRCA.

The LCA follow on, is again a MWF. So basically, until and unless there is another gap, and the cheap and capable LCA has impressed the decsion guys so they order more as a gap-filler (quite probable), we seem to have moved onto the heavy-medium Su-30/Medium weight category with a pinch of light fighters (123 airframes).

Even these medium weight fighters will be expensive to maintain. The bad planning and lack of direction by MOD, threat matrix, all of these issues have forced IAF into this quandary. But truly, there are no cheap answers anymore unless we spend on the LCA which IAF seems to be reluctant to do.

I am firmly of the belief we need a bridge even between the LCA Mk1A and MWF, latter will be subject to scope creep. The bridge should include extra fuel to give us a striker. CFTs, extra drop tanks with wetplumbing, and dual rail adapters on the rest of the pylons - whatever works.

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby tsarkar » 22 Aug 2019 21:13

srin wrote:Wrt the two pilots for MKIs, wasn't there an ask from IAF that FGFA needed to be a two-seater and not a single-seater like PAK-FA ?

One needs two operators to exploit the full capacity of a high performance aircraft in various roles - Air Dominance, CAP, Interdiction, Strike etc. Which is why the F-15 evolved to F-15E similar to Su-27 to Su-30 journey. Most operators - Singapore, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Israel are buying the two seater version. Eg F-15I Ra'am which is their MKI-sed version.

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby Karan M » 22 Aug 2019 21:19

MiG-29s are very expensive in terms of spares burn and maintenance. Two AF dropped them or attempted to for this very reason, namely Bangladesh and Malaysia. Both AF went evaluating other options and RMAF took the Su-30, and has relegated the MiG-29 to 2nd tier in terms of priority. We are buying upgraded MiG-29s which are very cost effective from the acquisition perspective but I suspect lifecycle costs will be substantial.

Ironically, the Mirage 2000 may be the reverse. While sustaining the Mirage 2000 may be cheaper because it is a single engine airframe, we also have to be aware of the potential obsolescence impact & work with France to get access to long life-cycle spares (again, added costs). That apart, the real issue is with the upgrade cost per airframe. They won't come cheap and to an AF which is very stressed with Capex (the 2x Phalcons are yet to be ordered), may make them prohibitive to order.

Ironically, as the PLAAF moves to LO airframes (J-20), our sensor capabilities are being stretched. The PLAAF has itself heavily invested in counter-stealth radars of the non-traditional band sort. DRDO is yet to develop these systems (and only their option will be cost effective). Hopefully, the IACCS deployment takes into account multiple overlapping coverage to address this issue (in-effect, we develop a multi-static radar system), but truly we need more Phalcons for instance, to at least offer us long range A2A pickup to datalink to interceptors.

In such a milieu, we are challenged for both Capex and Opex. Another reason I bring this up is because the Su-30 ironically, especially with new engines, can be the most relevant. Yes, it can be detected at range and fired upon, but with proper EW & MAWS, that can be mitigated. But most importantly, with our limited AEW&CS, a "wall" of upgraded, datalinked Su-30s can form a screen against many LO class of targets. Reason being the phenomenal 1 Mtr dia aperture of the Su-30 nose cone. The Mirage/MiG-29s is ~650 mm. So, almost double the effective area is available for the Su-30. This has huge connotations for long range radar pick-up, and a key reason why the USAF's F-15s are proving to be really valuable, as versus earlier reports which stressed only on the F-22. They have the largest radar aperture area amongst all the USAF fighters.

Bottomline, the Flanker fleet is a very good but as Deejay has pointed out, a very expensive asset, we should continue to push the Russians to indigenize the spares as much as possible (they will resist). The initial acquisition to lifecycle thumbrule, is 30:70, roughly put, which is why the Russians won't budge easily. We should bypass and use Indian industry wherever possible. The development of the Uttam, a local EW suite all offer us significant possibilities to indigenize the key systems optimized for our specific needs. For instance, an engine and electrical upgrade for all Flankers can be standard, with 100 Flankers as Irbis-E/Khibiny-M etc. However, the rest of the Flankers can be equipped with Uttam/HBJ variants, the engine/electrical upgrade having taken care of the enhanced power requirements.

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby fanne » 22 Aug 2019 21:34

We should focus on moving from all Mig 21/27 - Almost 200 planes with a mix of - LCA/MWF, second hand Mig 29 (upged) and M2000 (upged). That way we move away from the generation of Mig 21/Mig 23/Mig 27 (TSPAF will still be flying Mirage3/5 and F-7 PG of that generation, not sure where to put JF-17). China has moved away from that generation. This will only ensure 31 sq. Now to make up another 10-20 sq (200 to 400 planes) - we should get some 40 Rafale, 40-80 Su30mki, some more mwf/lca and maybe another 5 g F-35/FGFA (some 60-80 planes).
We may never then have a true bomber (Jags) or tactical support (mig 27). But most air force do not now have dedicated planes for these.

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby Karan M » 22 Aug 2019 21:45

tsarkar wrote:
srin wrote:Wrt the two pilots for MKIs, wasn't there an ask from IAF that FGFA needed to be a two-seater and not a single-seater like PAK-FA ?

One needs two operators to exploit the full capacity of a high performance aircraft in various roles - Air Dominance, CAP, Interdiction, Strike etc. Which is why the F-15 evolved to F-15E similar to Su-27 to Su-30 journey. Most operators - Singapore, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Israel are buying the two seater version. Eg F-15I Ra'am which is their MKI-sed version.


I think this bit from the Hushkit interview really supports this.
https://hushkit.net/2019/07/20/flying-f ... interview/

“Basic flying is not very difficult including exercises such as AA refueling. But it’s a Herculean task to reach a level where you can exploit it to its fullest especially in large Force Engagements (LFE) The capability of the aircraft outruns you by miles. In fact, at times even 7 Multi-Function Displays (MFD) and two aircrew are insufficient to achieve what she can do for you!”

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby tsarkar » 22 Aug 2019 22:03

Platforms like Rafale or 110 fighter RFP wont enable IAF to cost effectively reach 42 Sq level, both capex and opex wise.

A much better option would be a Heavy / Light force mix of Su-30 & LCA Mk1 with LCA undertaking single role operations - Eg CAP over a area or LGB strikes of a terror camp and Su-30 doing heavy multi role operations.

Over time with MWF coming in the next decade and AMCA thereafter, the more capable Mirage 2000 class MWF can replace LCA in 2020's and twin engine AMCA can replace the Su-30 in 2030's. Investment and production in Indigenous Aircraft will also help capability building - similar to Indian Navy building and deploying AESA equipped destroyers and frigates the same time as international navies while the IAF is struggling with procurement process on Rafale/110 fighters. The 83 aircraft Mk1A procurement needs to be expedited on a national priority.

The Navy, through indigenous development, will have 7 destroyers (15, 15A) and 7 frigates (17A) with AESA radars, area SAMs, long range cruise missiles and robust ASW systems at a fraction of cost compared to imports which compare well to major navies. And customized to Indian operational requirements.

The economics of indigenous development and production are too compelling. The IN is expanding despite budget crunch through indigenization while IAF's is decreasing through imports.

If you look at Indian Navy fleet strength, despite the same budget constraints as IAF faces - and actually with a smaller budget - its major surface combatants is growing year on year over the last many years.

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby ShauryaT » 22 Aug 2019 22:21

tsarkar wrote:Platforms like Rafale or 110 fighter RFP ....

+1. The only think I did add is privatization of indigenous platforms. The DPSU's as they exist have to die and be reborn.

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby Vivek K » 22 Aug 2019 23:21

Totally agree with tsarkar ji. It is only for this reason that I support domestic weapons. If one is to think this through - it is clear that with imports, national security will suffer as force levels will drop.

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby nachiket » 22 Aug 2019 23:57

deejay wrote:No Mig 29s are defensive platforms owing to range. Su 30s will be needed, whether IAF likes it or not. Lump it. Fate was decided when those heading the IAF in the first decade and a half of this century slept on the wheels.

Sir, while I will blame the IAF leadership of that time for dismissing the LCA and not understanding the importance of developing and using your own fighter (leading to comments like "3-legged cheetah" etc.) I am not sure the present predicament of the IAF can be blamed on them sleeping on the wheel.

They had, for better or worse, already told the government what they wanted for the MRCA. The RFI-RFP-multiple vendor procurement was forced on them by the MoD. And after they had diligently completed all their evaluations the government wasted several years negotiating without taking any decisions. AT the end of which we found that we couldn't hope to afford the aircraft in the numbers required anyway. None of these issues of dwindling squadrons and "44 year old aircraft" would have existed had the government agreed to buy 126 M2k's in the early 2000's. And we wouldn't be talking about having to buy more maintenance heavy Su-30's either. The whole MMRCA fiasco was unprecedented even by Indian Defence procurement standards. Rank incompetence and absolute apathy shown up and down the chain in both MoD and the PMO about what was essentially an important national security imperative.

Every time I read about WingCo Abhinandan I can't help but imagine what would have happened if the MMRCA procurement had gone as the IAF desired at the start and No. 51sq had been re-equipped with upgraded Mirages with the Bisons having being consigned to history.

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby ramana » 23 Aug 2019 00:46

ShauryaT wrote:
tsarkar wrote:Platforms like Rafale or 110 fighter RFP ....

+1. The only think I did add is privatization of indigenous platforms. The DPSU's as they exist have to die and be reborn.


With current Bombay Business Club dikgajs who are happy with 15% mark up and captive market no thanks.
Many ills currently are the defense agents who have a nexus to sabotage local mfg.
Even peaceful Sweden is doing it to India.

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby RKumar » 23 Aug 2019 01:13

GoI must not order more Rafale or 110 single engine imported BS. Bl**dy order LCA FOC and M1A, these are much better than any second hand planes (MiG-29) non sense or setting up new production line for yet another fighter. Use Su-30 production line for doing the overhaul of existing planes and for God sake invest in LCA. Even if it is more expensive than Su-30, we will save massively on opex - Reduced maintenance, fuel, high availability due to fully digital checks, hot refueling, less ground staff and single pilot. Additionally, we will establish local supply chain.

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby Vivek K » 23 Aug 2019 03:01

Nachiket is right. IAF gave a requirement in the early 2000s. And then it became a circus and IAF lost control to the politicos. IAF should release an order for 2 more Rafale squadrons and also simultaneously release the order for 83 MK1As should also be released.

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby Cain Marko » 23 Aug 2019 03:47

nachiket wrote:Every time I read about WingCo Abhinandan I can't help but imagine what would have happened if the MMRCA procurement had gone as the IAF desired at the start and No. 51sq had been re-equipped with upgraded Mirages with the Bisons having being consigned to history.

Do you think the m2k would've made that much difference? Considering it really doesn't have a long ranged AAM either? Perhaps it's icms mkx could help in defeating the amraam....

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby nachiket » 23 Aug 2019 04:00

Cain Marko wrote:
nachiket wrote:Every time I read about WingCo Abhinandan I can't help but imagine what would have happened if the MMRCA procurement had gone as the IAF desired at the start and No. 51sq had been re-equipped with upgraded Mirages with the Bisons having being consigned to history.

Do you think the m2k would've made that much difference? Considering it really doesn't have a long ranged AAM either? Perhaps it's icms mkx could help in defeating the amraam....

RDY-2+MICA combination would be leagues better than the Kopyo. Plus it has an integrated EW suite and better aerodynamic performance and endurance, better cockpit ergonomics - everything plays a part in a high intensity engagement like this. One extra piece of automation in the cockpit means one less decision for the pilot to make and can be the difference between life and death.

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby Jay » 23 Aug 2019 04:03

Vivek K wrote:Nachiket is right. IAF gave a requirement in the early 2000s. And then it became a circus and IAF lost control to the politicos. IAF should release an order for 2 more Rafale squadrons and also simultaneously release the order for 83 MK1As should also be released.


No more Rafale's, please. Any more funds we invest in Rafale will be lost funds for our own stuff. IAF/MOD has to realize that they are not doing the country any good by constantly chasing this foreign tail.

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby Cain Marko » 23 Aug 2019 04:08

Jay wrote:
Vivek K wrote:Nachiket is right. IAF gave a requirement in the early 2000s. And then it became a circus and IAF lost control to the politicos. IAF should release an order for 2 more Rafale squadrons and also simultaneously release the order for 83 MK1As should also be released.


No more Rafale's, please. Any more funds we invest in Rafale will be lost funds for our own stuff. IAF/MOD has to realize that they are not doing the country any good by constantly chasing this foreign tail.

Well, you may have your wish afterall. It seems Monsieur Macron has been talking about human rights to Modi.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/france-watching-kashmir-rights-macron-tells-modi-213704003.html

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Re: Su-30MKI: News and Discussion - August 9, 2014

Postby deejay » 23 Aug 2019 09:02

Karan M wrote:
deejay wrote:
Su 30 was not supposed to be more than half the fighter numbers. Our dwindling single engine fleet is because many Mig 21 Sqns have been taken off and replacement SE have not been found.

Secondly, within the strength authorised, the role for IAF has been expanded. From pure defensive posture, the Su 30 brought in an element of offensive posture and it has since proven an advantageous balance of military power. Going ahead, IAF will move to more of a mix where light fighters , (not all SE fighters are light), are probably around 33% with the rest being Heavy and Medium. We can have 50% of the fleet as light fighters but for that we will need to increase the sqn numbers. That will be a function of economy and threat matrix.


A few points if I may - the F-16 is not really a light fighter by our classification. A F-16 Block 50/52 is a MMRCA. And a F-35 is heavier still. So, the F-16/F-15 and F-16/F-15/F-35/F-22 mix should be classified as MMRCA/HCA. They have no LCA, JF-17, T-50 equivalent frontline fighters.

The era of light fighters in the IAF force mix seems to have passed, judging by IAFs actions itself. They have limited the LCA to 123 aircraft (40 Mk1, 83 Mk1A) - literally equal to the number of Bisons when the order was placed. Rest, its all MMRCA.

The Rafale etc were planned for assuming latest tech., backup to Russia (the MMRCA Phase 2 took off when Su-30 serviceability was at 59% and struggling) and TOT (AF decision guys assuming it would help local industry). But again, a MMRCA till CAG forced the single seaters into the mix of which only the Gripen could be called light, but even it exists in the E/F form for our contest which is a MMRCA.

The LCA follow on, is again a MWF. So basically, until and unless there is another gap, and the cheap and capable LCA has impressed the decsion guys so they order more as a gap-filler (quite probable), we seem to have moved onto the heavy-medium Su-30/Medium weight category with a pinch of light fighters (123 airframes).

Even these medium weight fighters will be expensive to maintain. The bad planning and lack of direction by MOD, threat matrix, all of these issues have forced IAF into this quandary. But truly, there are no cheap answers anymore unless we spend on the LCA which IAF seems to be reluctant to do.

I am firmly of the belief we need a bridge even between the LCA Mk1A and MWF, latter will be subject to scope creep. The bridge should include extra fuel to give us a striker. CFTs, extra drop tanks with wetplumbing, and dual rail adapters on the rest of the pylons - whatever works.


Karan, agree. What I was trying to get to is that Light - Medium - Heavy maynot hold long as classifications as even SE are becoming medium or medium+. F16 was followed up by F 35 and that is in the same class.


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