IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

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rohitvats
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IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby rohitvats » 03 Jan 2015 20:18

MODERATOR NOTE:

- This is a temporary thread to discuss 'exclusively' the debate around re-equipment schedule of Indian Air Force.
- We also try and explore the questions around criticality of MMRCA, more numbers for Tejas Mk-1 and where Tejas Mk-2 fits in the overall scheme.
- This will also form basis to under the role AMCA and FGFA will play in the IAF force structure.
- Please restrict the discussion to force structure aspect.
- And keep the discussion realisitic - no flights of fancy. Please back-up your assertions with some data-points/analysis.
- And please, no whining or rants. Such posts will be summarily deleted.
- I will merge the thread with main Military Aviation thread after we've build up body of knowledge.

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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby rohitvats » 03 Jan 2015 20:22

The issue with respect to declining number of squadrons in Indian Air Force has gained prominence over last couple of years. Recently, we have had news about IAF having presented a scenario to GOI about squadron strength declining to a dangerously low number in mid-20s before the end of this decade. While the part about squadron strength reaching about 25 Squadrons by 2024 seems to be a wrong conclusion drawn from right information set, we do have an issue about IAF undergoing massive change, or requiring to undergo massive change, over 2015-2024 period.

I’ve tried to assess the situation basis whatever information is available in public domain and see where we stand. If anyone has contrary/additional information, please feel free to add. I will modify the analysis accordingly.

1. Current IAF strength:

We first take a look at current strength of IAF across various a/c type; this will serve as a basis for understanding the transition requirement. I’ve mentioned each squadron operating a particular a/c type along with total squadrons operating the type given in parenthesis.

a. Mig-29: 28, 47 and 223. (3)
b. Mirage-2000: 1, 7 and 9. (3)
c. Jaguar IS/IB: 5, 14, 16, 27 and 223. (5)
d. Jaguar IM: 6 (1)
e. Mig-27 UPG: 10 and 29 (2)
f. Mig-27ML: 18, 22 and 222 (3)
g. Mig-21 Bison: 3, 4 , 21, 23, 32 and 51 (6) - [ 23 Squadron is a tentative entry; confirmation either way would be helpful]
h. Mig-21bis: 26 (1)
i. Mig-21M/MF: 17, 37, 101 and 108 (4)
j. Su-30 MKI: 2, 8, 20, 24, 30, 31, 102 and 220 (8)

Total operational Squadrons: 36

2. Others:

This refers to Squadrons which are either partially operational, number plated or about which I don’t have full information.

a. 15 Squadron: Formerly, a Mig-21bis Squadron. Either the a/c have gone to other squadrons for upgrade to Mig-21 Bison standard or it is under conversion to Su-30MKI
b. 35 Squadron: The Squadron which had taken over the last set of Mig-25R after 102 ‘Trisonics’ Squadron was number-plated. It operates only 1 x flight of Mig-21 M/MF. Interestingly, it was the first EW Mig-21 Squadron. Formerly, operated the Canberra.
c. 45 Squadron: Earmarked as first Tejas Squadron. Formerly operated Mig-21 FL.
d. 221 Squadron: Last Mig-23BN squadron which was number plated in 2009.
e. 106 Squadron: Formerly operated Canberra in photo-reconnaissance role. An a/c from this squadron famously landed back with a sidewinder stuck in its wing in 1999. Supposed to operating HS 748 Avro now.
f. 52 Squadron – The ‘Suryakiran’ squadron. Which I think was earlier a fighter conversion unit cum combat squadron.

If we take only the first four entries above, IAF has on its ORBAT 40 fighter squadrons. And apart from active squadron, IAF needs to find a/c for these squadrons as well.

3. Replacement requirement:

Basis the information shared above about active squadrons in IAF service, we try and understand the replacement requirement. It is my understanding that the replacement can be broken down in two phases. Phase 1 (2015-2020) deals with a/c which have not received any upgrade and will need to be phased out as they’re reaching end of their life. Phase 2 (2020-2025) will cover those legacy a/c which have received upgrades and can soldier on till 2025 period.

a. Phase 1 (2015-2022)

i. Mig-21bis: 1
ii. Mig-21M/MF: 4
iii. Mig-27ML: 3
Total: 8 squadrons.

b. Phase 2 (2022-2027)

i. Mig-21 Bison: 6
ii. Mig-27UPG: 2

Total: 8 squadrons.

• Apart from above, IAF needs a/c to resurrect four number-plated/partially equipped squadrons. Therefore, in all, IAF will require replacement for a total of 20 squadrons in next 10-12 years.
• However, in the immediate future, IAF will require replacement for at least 8 squadron worth of a/c.

4. Induction schedule:

Let’s look at the potential induction schedule which can help to arrest this decline and assist in conversion. This section also helps to understand the place which Tejas Mk-1 and Tejas Mk-2 along with MMRCA have in the entire scheme of things.

a. Phase 1 (2015-2022)

i. Su-30MKI: Till date 8 of the planned 14 squadrons have been converted to Su-30MKI. That leaves us with balance 6 squadrons which are to be inducted over 2015-2022 schedule. While the original induction schedule for 272 contracted Su-30MKI was till 2018, this is running behind schedule.

As per the latest CAG Report on HAL, as against 112 a/c (from contract of 140 a/c) which were to be delivered till 2013, only 81 have been delivered. So, there is a short-fall of 31 a/c in this contract itself. After accounting for these 31 a/c, HAL has to deliver 95 more Su-30MKI over next 3 years. Which is unlikely to happen unless some of local produced a/c are replaced with direct imports. So, this schedule is slated to go into 2020-2021 territory.

ii. Tejas Mk-1 : 2 x Squadrons

iii. MMRCA: 1 x Squadron

Total: 6+2+1 = 9 Squadrons.

The above should take care of Phase-1 of retirement in coming 2015-2022 period. However, what needs to be understood is that retirement and induction will not be in syn. While the Squadrons will be number-plated in groups (2 -3 squadrons per annum), the induction will not happen in the same manner. For example, HAL has a peak production rate for Su-30MKI at 16a/c per annum. Neither is MMRCA delivery timeline clear. And Tejas Mk-1 production is yet to get established.

Consequently, IAF will see a serious dip in Squadron strength over next 5-7 years. Especially in the 2017-2020 period when bulk of Mig-21 M/MF and Mig-27ML will be retired.

b. Phase 2 (2022-2027)

This is where the MMRCA and Tejas Mk-2 become absolutely important.

i. MMRCA: 5 x Squadrons
ii. Tejas Mk-2: 4 x Squadrons

Total: 5+4= 9 Squadrons.

5. Conclusion:

a. Even if above mentioned induction schedule happens with clock-work precision, IAF would have managed to reach a Squadron strength of only 38 Squadrons by 2027.
b. I think we now know how the 2+4 structure for Tejas Mk-1 and Tejas Mk-2 comes into play in the IAF scheme of things.
c. I expect to Tejas Mk-2 number to rise by a minimum of 2 more squadrons and more than likely to reach a total of 08 squadrons (from present four).
d. 2017-2022 is a very crucial period; don’t be surprised if we order more Su-30MKI off the shelf from Russia to make up for production short-fall. HAL has done that in the past for the 81 a/c which it has delivered.

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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby Sanjay » 03 Jan 2015 21:27

Rohitvats, didn't 102 sqn convert to Su-30MKI in 2011 ? Also, wasn't 15 sqn to be converted by 2013 ?

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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby sankum » 03 Jan 2015 21:47

Su 30mki reports say 81 were delivered by 2013(I am taking by March 31,2013). In next 2 years 30 more would have come from HAL production line @15/year.

That takes the total to 81+30=111. Plus 50 initial direct import from Russia for a total of 161.

Another 40 were direct import from Russia which were assembled by HAL for a total of 201 of which 5 have crashed.

You can say presently 196 nos are in service of IAF which is worth 10 squadrons. 8sq are known. other 2sq may be in the process of being raised or in the process of up gradation to Super Sukhoi standard.
Last edited by sankum on 03 Jan 2015 22:28, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby sankum » 03 Jan 2015 21:55

Another 71 aircraft can come of HAL production line @16/year in 4.5 years i.e by 2019 and if 40 more Su30mki are ordered to take total to 312nos(16sq) than they can come by 2022 when the production line can shift to FGFA.

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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby rohitvats » 03 Jan 2015 22:54

Sanjay wrote:Rohitvats, didn't 102 sqn convert to Su-30MKI in 2011 ? Also, wasn't 15 sqn to be converted by 2013 ?


Yes, 102 converted to Su-30MKI. It is based in Chabua, Upper Assam. I've mentioned the same against Su-30MKI squadrons.

And thanks for heads up on 15 Squadron. I ran a Google search search and there is a 2012 IAF Day conference report where NAK Browne spoke about it. As you said, conversion was to be complete by mid 2013.

Need to check more on the subject and modify the post.

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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby Sanjay » 03 Jan 2015 23:02

Now - didn't 17 sqn convert in 2012 to MKIs ?

I would suggest that realistically we can assume 21 ac / sqn inclusive of reserves. The 9 sqn supposedly operating the type would lead us to 189 aircraft. The remaining ac could be used to begin forming the 10th

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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby rohitvats » 03 Jan 2015 23:06

sankum wrote:Su 30mki reports say 81 were delivered by 2013(I am taking by March 31,2013). In next 2 years 30 more would have come from HAL production line @15/year.

That takes the total to 81+30=111. Plus 50 initial direct import from Russia for a total of 161.

Another 40 were direct import from Russia which were assembled by HAL for a total of 201 of which 5 have crashed.

You can say presently 196 nos are in service of IAF which is worth 10 squadrons. 8sq are known. other 2sq may be in the process of being raised or in the process of up gradation to Super Sukhoi standard.


Thanks for pointing out the delivery for 2013-14 and 2014-15. I completely missed adding them.

The reworked number should be like this:

--Original import: 50
--HAL contract: 81 (till 2013)+ 16 (2013-14) + 12 (2014-15).
-- 2007 contract (direct import component): 36
-- 2012 contract (direct import component): 10

Total (including 2014-15 delivery): 205
Less: 5 crashes
Operational: ~200 a/c by end of current financial year.

Total a/c by March 2014 would've been (after accounting for 05 crashes): ~188

The above number would be in sync with 9 SU-30MKI squadrons. When combined with inputs from Sanjay about 15 Squadron, I think two data points match.

Will update my analysis.

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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby member_28526 » 03 Jan 2015 23:13

What about the 18 Su-30k that were returned? In 2007?

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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby sankum » 04 Jan 2015 00:32

Rafale timeline for induction according to reports is 11 years for 126 aircraft of which first 18 is direct purchase and 108 manufactured by HAL.

First 6 Rafale manufactured by HAL will roll out in the 4th year and the production will then be raised to peak 16/year.

If Rafale deal is signed by 31 March 2015 then by 2018-19 HAL will roll out first 6nos and by 2021-22 should produce 44 nos(in 6,10,12,16 per year) and by 2025-26 all 108nos (@16/year).

IAF will have a total of 62 nos along with 18 direct import for a total of 3 squadrons by 2022.

By 2027 Rafale numbers should be 142nos (7sq) if 64nos options are exercised and by 2030 full 190nos(9sq) i.e, 126+64 options.

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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby sankum » 04 Jan 2015 00:57

MIG 21 Bison have upgraded calendar life of 40 years or 4000hrs according to reports.

50 Mig 21 bis were direct purchase in 1977-78 while 245nos were manufactured in 1980-88 timeframe @30/year.

By 2022 only 70 to 80 nos will be below 40years say forming 4 squadrons.

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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby sankum » 04 Jan 2015 06:36

My estimate that IAF projection of 25 squadron taking attrition into account in 2024 is as follows.

Su30 mki- 14sq (260nos of 272nos inducted)

Mirage 2000- 2sq( 45nos of present 49nos)

Mig 29 upg- 3sq (55nos of present 60 nos)

Jaguar upg- 6sq (110nos of present 123nos)

Total- 25sq (470 fighters)

This will be only when:
- no more Su30 mki are inducted.
-no Rafale is bought.
-no tejas is inducted.
-no FGFA is inducted.
-all mig21 bison and mig27upg are retired.

Mirage 2000 upg and Jaguar upg fighters have calendar life of 50 years while mig 29upg 40 years.

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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby Yagnasri » 04 Jan 2015 08:01

Mod gurus, as a Mango man working with moneybags, i feel we also need to take avaliability of capital investement for IAF into serious considaration. Budgets are already under strain. So there is a need to look into cost factor for each set of options avaliable.

Production capability is also a factor for finalizing the option. While retiring happen as we know it, the induction is not clear for each option. In the above posts Gurus has posting based of Rafale getting selected. What if it does not for what ever reason.

Secondly can we scale up in a big way the LCA production by 2020 if we start now? It will be a great option if we can. If numbers, cost etc are problems then LCA production scale up will be the answer.

GOI under Make in India and under thin budget may most likely to opt for it. If it does, then how it can go about it. I very strongly feel that cost factor may be a serious considaration in any decision by this GOI. Any any Gurus post if and can it be done and how it can be done?

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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby sankum » 04 Jan 2015 23:02

My estimate that to maintain minimum 36sq by 2024 IAF will require addition of;

94 Rafale(5sq)
40 Sukhoi mki (2sq)
56 Tejas mk1 (3sq) [40mk1+16 trainer mk1]
20 Tejas mk2 (1sq)

210 fighters (11sq)

for a total of

680 fighters (36sq)

- 56 Tejas mk1 by 2022( I am giving a delay of one year over present induction plan)
-20 Tejas mk2 by 2024 ( @10/year from production line of 16/year rest 6/year going to Indian Navy)

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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby sankum » 04 Jan 2015 23:10

If IAF goes in for increased induction of Tejas mk2 and production is enhanced to @32/year with the second production line of @16/year going to private sector from 2022 onwards.

IAF induction plan will be @25/year with rest @7/year to IN.

By 2030 200nos(10sq) to IAF and 56nos (3sq) to IN.

By 2027 125nos (6sq) to IAF.

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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby sankum » 04 Jan 2015 23:34

If RAFALE deal falls through than IAF can go for direct purchase of 50 Su30mki + enhanced induction of Tejas mk2 @25 /year to maintain numbers.

By 2030 IAF will be

FGFA- 4sq (80nos)
Su30mki- 18sq (340nos)
Tejas mk2- 10sq (195nos)
Tejas mk1- 2sq (50 nos)
Mirage 2000-2sq (40 nos)
Jaguar upg- 5sq (100 nos)

Total-41 sq (805 fighters)

This will be in the absence of Rafale deal with mirage and jaguar fleet to retire by 2035 i.e, 7sq (140nos ) to be replaced by FGFA and AMCA (if it is on by 2030) both @16/year each for a total @32 fighters/year.

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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby NRao » 05 Jan 2015 03:18

Start of 2030:

(+ indicates an increase in numbers from 2030)
(- indicates a decline in numbers from 2030)

AMCA: 4 sqds (80 #) (+)
FGFA: 6 sqds (120 #) (done)
Su-30 MKI - MLU: 10 sqds (200 #) (done)
LCA MK-II: 10 sqds (200) (done)

Su-30 MKI: 10 sqds (200 #) (-)
LCA MK-I: 2 sqds (40) (-)
Mirage 2000: 2 sqds (40) (-)
Jaguar: 5 sqds (100) (-)

49 sqds, with the quantity declining, but quality increasing.

Work on single and dual engined next-gen planes will commence around 2023 and prototypes out in 2035 time frame.

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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby Gyan » 05 Jan 2015 08:23

LCA Mark-1 should be given orders for another 40 aircraft so that HAL will have its production line busy till 2050 at the express speed of incompetence which is it's hallmark. Import/Manufacture more Su-30MKI to make up for shortfall. Ask Pvt sector to set up production lines for LCA MK-2 with an order of 250 aircrafts and AMCA order of another 250 aircraft. If we can offer USD 50 Billion to France for Rafale then why not to Pvt sector.

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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby alexis » 07 Jan 2015 10:19

Since the jaguar re-engine schedule has gone for a toss, will we have the requisite number of squadrons mentioned here? There is no news about the same now. I am apprehensive that 1-2 squadrons of Jaguar would be retired by 2022 timeframe.

This shortfall can only be remedied by induction of Tejas mk1 in higher numbers.

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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby Kersi D » 07 Jan 2015 14:31

Could we also have similar data and discussions about IAF's weapons like the SAMS, AAMs, ASMs, AshMs, LGB, LPDs, Recce pods (never discussed on BRF), dumnb bombs, rocket pods etc ?
Kersi

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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby rohitvats » 09 Jan 2015 14:08

NRao wrote:Start of 2030:

(+ indicates an increase in numbers from 2030)
(- indicates a decline in numbers from 2030)

AMCA: 4 sqds (80 #) (+)

[For an a/c whose first prototype is 'expected' to fly by 2021, having 80 production a/c by 2030 seems a stretch.]

FGFA: 6 sqds (120 #) (done)
Su-30 MKI - MLU: 10 sqds (200 #) (done)
LCA MK-II: 10 sqds (200) (done)
[Again, with FOC in the range of 2022, 200 aircraft by 2030 assumed a production rate of 25 a/c per year.

Su-30 MKI: 10 sqds (200 #) (-)
LCA MK-I: 2 sqds (40) (-)
Mirage 2000: 2 sqds (40) (-)
Jaguar: 5 sqds (100) (-)

49 sqds, with the quantity declining, but quality increasing.

Work on single and dual engined next-gen planes will commence around 2023 and prototypes out in 2035 time frame.

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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby nirav » 25 Jan 2015 20:47

If one were to consider a specific squadrons war fighting capability instead of just plain squadron nos, the scenario wouldn't look that alarming ..

Going by the Rohits detailed phase wise break up in the first post, The Phase 1 retirement and induction shows a massive leap in capability.

So much so that its just not comparable. Mig-21 Vs MKI squadrons for ex.

While the IAF getting sharper capabilities is always a good thing, but a 1:1 ratio for induction/replacement of MIGs vs Rafale/MKIs might be over kill vis a vis the threats which will be eventually faced. ( atleast on the paki side :mrgreen: )

IMO the calculations should be based and analyzed on a capability metric rather than simply talking n number of squadrons.

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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby vishvak » 25 Jan 2015 21:28

We need to have better power projection capabilities with time. For example, we should be more interested in influence near Indian ocean region than either USA or China. Right now, the squadron numbers are down however.

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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby sankum » 26 Jan 2015 16:15

No of squadrons and fighters will matter as in future if china has 2000 fighter and Pakistan has 400 fighter air force India will need to have minimum 50% of the combined 2400 fighter enemy fleet in a two front war scenario. IAF can have 1000 fighters(50sq) and IN 200 fighters(10sq) for a total of 1200 fighters with superior technology.

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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby member_28640 » 28 Jan 2015 18:40

Modi hinted at Private manufacturing for warplanes, can we look at a congolmerate of Mahindra, Tata , Taal and Bharat forge in this regard,
2 production lines are more than 1. Let them churn out
LCA Mk1
Re-engine the Jaguar
Work on the next gen Jet trainer
Set up a parallel Helo assembly line for Dhruv and LCH

Right now the only way to get HAL to work is to break their monopoly, let the Govt divest their stake in them and get HAL to own a small share of the proposed entity.
IAF can be give an incentive for on-time delivery and penalize late delivery.

Also the govt should knock some sense into the IAF to set up its own Research Facility.

DRDO should be de-centralized and ownership should rest with Individual forces who will be allocated a R&D budget

All these changes will set us back till 2017 or 2019 at max but after that we will have an extremely competent MIC.

This way we can re-coup our lost years and be ready for almost anyone by 2030.

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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby Khalsa » 02 Feb 2015 03:46

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-g0gDDRaFTFI/VMyJr3J66fI/AAAAAAAAX-o/7vaoNczbvuM/s1600/PAKFA-SU-50%2BFGFA-SU55-Dev-Sched.jpg

That info_graphic is great. We need to think about building a similar one for IAF replacement schedule.
Its really awesome in the fact that it gives a linear view while keeping the focus on equipment

I love it ..

can anyone put up their hands to do a 3rd model ... i would love to collaborate on working with them.

My idea is to centre on each squadron instead of the PAK FA like that in the above infographic

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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby nikhil_p » 03 Feb 2015 18:33

While we are on the topic of IAF Re-Equipment, can we also include other aspects such as Radars, SAM's, Airfield updates, etc.

E.g. Pechora Squadrons being re-equipped with the Akash Mk1.

Need to do some research but just a thought.

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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby Karan M » 09 Feb 2015 03:46


Philip
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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby Philip » 09 Feb 2015 11:36

Tx Rohit, you've underscored the point v.well,that the IAF needs around 100-120 aircraft inducted before 2020 to simply stay the way it is right now in terms of sqds. and numbers.Local production cannot make the grade whether it is MKIs or LCAs.Imports are needed,but what? To make up numbers,I would suggest that the most cost-effective way is to induct at least 60+ more MIG-29UGs,K+ std.,which will give 3 sqds at half the cost of MKIs. They could be replacements for the MIG-21/27s being retd. The MIG-29s are available at less than $40M; Russia is buying a few sqds for less than $30M a piece. Since MIG-29s are being upgraded now in India and the engines too manufactured here,it would be the easiest way to maintain numbers with improved capability.Plus an MKI also requires two pilots.Completing the existing MKI order book on schedule would be a v.worthy achievement if possible. Upgraded 29s would be superior to anything that the Pakis can throw at us as well.For China,we need the MKIs and in the future FGFAs.

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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby Cain Marko » 13 Feb 2015 08:11

Rohit:

You might want to consider the FGFA/Pakfa in Phase II and possibly even before. there is always the likelihood of some Pakfa coming in - a sqd or two ala MKI route. 2 initial sqds would be of Mk version followed by fully MKIzed FGFA.

Really don't see the point of Rafale unless IAF feels desperate need to diversify its hardware from purely Russian and heavy dependency on the US for a large amount of engines (200 LCA + 125 Jags).

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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby Yagnasri » 13 Feb 2015 08:25

I once again raise the problem of finding amounts to capital investments. Forces are all going under large scale modernization and acquisition. Economic slowdown resulted in slow growth of revenue and welfare expenditure has increased. For various reasons there is a huge pressure on the GOI to contain deficient under both accounts. Under these circumstances, how the IAF acquisition will proceed? What is the cost factor for each of the options available to us? Unfortunately we are not looking into those aspects in this discussions. Unfortunately forces do not live in isolation and wars are not fought in isolation like some of us seems to be thinking.

My mango man view is we may have to get large number of LCA mk1 and mk2 and purchase good number of some version of Mig29s even the 35 version ones to fill the numbers. Trues that these are not optimal solutions and may not be something IAF wish to have. But within the limitations of funding etc these are the realistic options. May be the only option.

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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby srai » 14 Feb 2015 04:42

Kersi D wrote:Could we also have similar data and discussions about IAF's weapons like the SAMS, AAMs, ASMs, AshMs, LGB, LPDs, Recce pods (never discussed on BRF), dumnb bombs, rocket pods etc ?
Kersi


Here is from requirements perspective. Against a need for some 15,000 PGMs, the IAF has less than 3000 PGMs in its arsenal (from public data).

RKumar wrote:IAF’s requirement of PGMs in the NEXT DECADE

By Air Marshal (Retd) AK Trikha

Even when contract is not signed ... full marks to MMRCA, 126(200) planes will be inducted in IAF by 2020 :mrgreen:

n the next decade or so IAF would gradually shed its legacy fighters (MiG- 21 being the archetypical example). Replacements will consist of vastly superior fourth plus generation aircraft. With anticipated induction of up to 270 Su-30 MKI, 126 MMRCA and about 40 Tejas, by about 2020, it will be a new look Air Force with a vastly enhanced potential. All new aircraft would be capable of multiple roles and therefore fighter assets which qualified exclusively for air defence or which had to be put aside only for EW support would be a matter of yore.

However no matter how sophisticated or advanced, in the final analysis platforms remain merely carrier of weapons. It is the quality and quantity of weapons that really make the difference. Therefore to deliver the appropriate bang for the buck, it is imperative that sufficient quantity of suitable weapons be inducted in tandem with acquisition of new platforms.

Modern technology has enhanced the strike potential of modern fighter aircraft by an order of magnitude. By the same token, air defence systems have also become far more lethal. Increasingly dense and lethal air defence environment makes it necessary to reduce exposure of expensive platforms to the very least while maximising mission effectiveness. Therefore precision and appropriate stand-off capability has to be key features of all air-to-surface ordnance. Precision also makes it possible to miniaturise weapons which in turn offers an opportunity to put aloft many more shots in every mission and place just the right amount of ordnance at the right place to achieve a measured result.

Surface targets list being long, characteristics and environment of each being different from the other, weapons repertoire of a modern air force must include the necessary variety to execute the entire spectrum of missions. Engagement of targets lying behind light terminal defences could be undertaken with smart bombs – their guidance, explosive power and fusing being determined by target characteristics. Targets in depth, or defended by strong multi-layered defences would call for attacks with missiles of appropriate range and war heads. Dictated by some air defence environments, supersonic, stealth cruise missiles of the Brahmos variety may have to be weapons of choice. However, be that as it may, it is reasonably certain that, under most environments iron bombs alone would be insufficient for the task and therefore a significant part of the inventory would have to consist of specialist stand-off precision weapons.

Taking into account the uncertainties that characterise our procurement process, it is hazardous to predict the precise shape of the IAF at some future date. For instance, while Indo-Russian 5th Generation fighter was slated for squadron induction in 2022, serious delays have already pushed forward delivery dates by an indeterminate period. Similarly, retirement of all MiG variants barring the upgraded MiG-29 UPG by 2017 as hoped for by the CAS while addressing the press on the eve of IAF’s 80th anniversary, may not happen - if for no other reason than to sustain the IAF Squadron strength at some reasonable numbers.

From the existing resources and likely accretions in the next decade, IAF fighter inventory could look somewhat as given in a table below.

Image :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

In the envisaged 42 squadrons by 2022, of the approximately 800 aircraft (as per current squadron configuration of 16 fighters and two trainers) in front line service, about 70 per cent i.e. around 550 aircraft are likely to be available for duty. Assuming the above approximate allocation of roles, 300 to 320 aircraft could be engaged in strike duties of varying descriptions, producing on an average of about 600 to 640 sorties per day. Excluding aborts on account of a variety of operational and environmental reasons, over a thirty-day period of conflict, one could expect an effort of the order of about 15,000 to 16,000 strike aircraft sorties expending up to 50,000 pieces of ordnance. Ideally most if not all of them should be of the smart variety However, considering the expense and even storage constraints, if just a third were to be guided munitions, the resulting figure i.e. some 16,000-17,000 would still pose an immense challenges in terms of acquisition, storage, servicing and other housekeeping activities.

Consider storage itself. Iron bombs of yore required minimal housekeeping to keep them safe and reliable. Smart munitions on the other hand incorporate complex and sensitive sensors which demand carefully controlled storage environment. Unless matters have improved vastly over the last few years, ensuring stable climate control of large storage sites in remote areas experiencing extreme environments would be quite challenging.

Next consider the financial outlay required to bring about this transformation.

Mix of PGMs to engage the entire spectrum of targets would be dictated by target characteristics and the depth at which they lie. Assuming that primary aim in any future conflict would be to deliver a crushing blow to the enemy forces, then maximum density of targets is likely to lie at relatively shallow depths from the borders. In that scenario, 75 per cent of IAF’s smart ordnance inventory (i.e. some 12,000 pieces) could comprise smart bombs with varying types of guidance (viz. laser, LLTV, thermal, INS/GPS), explosive power and penetration capability, etc.

To engage very high value and strategic targets viz. enemy reserves, heavily defended airfields, radar and missile sites, shipping etc. IAF should equip itself with a variety of air-to- surface missiles with different stand-off ranges and war heads to defeat all foreseeable target systems and environmental contingencies. This capability should reside in the 4,000 odd missiles to make up the balance 25 per cent PGMs.

Estimating financial outlay required to build such a capability is hazardous. Besides, infrastructural and housekeeping costs which are difficult to forecast, even ball-parking cost of acquisition is problematic because even similar weapons could vary substantially in cost depending on the version, source, quantities in question and a variety of other factors. However, some back of the envelope sums with figures available in the public domain could be indicative of the sort of budget outlays that would be necessary.

A Pave-way II series LGB which effectively converts a dumb iron bomb into a smart one is said to cost around $19,000. A JDAM kit for the same purpose, but relying on an INS and GPS coupled guidance which can engage static targets from a stand-off distance up to 15 miles with a CEP of 10 meters cost $31,000 (in 2011) per strap-on guidance kit. To engage mobile targets a data link is incorporated to up-date the target position at additional cost. A notable feature related to cost of smart weapons is the very wide variation between base line model and later versions emerging with more sophisticated seekers, anti-jam resistance (in case of GPS guided weapons) and other refinements Thus the average cost of a strap on conversion kit may range between $20,000 to $30,000.

There are more expensive options which offer more flexibility, wider launch envelope, better stand-off ranges, ‘man in the loop’ capability to achieve near 100 per cent mission success. Used against high value targets viz surface-to-air missile sites, radars, command and control centers in the opening stages of a conflict, the highly beneficial cost benefit ratio in favour of such weapons becomes obvious when measured against risks run in repeat missions. Israeli SPICE, French AASM and American JSOW-C1 fall in this category. Cost of a basic AASM (carried by the French Rafale in Libyan campaign) is said to be around $300,000. In 2011, Greece awarded Israeli company ‘Rafael Advanced Defense Systems’ a contract worth about €100 million for 300 SPICE 1000 weapons – amounting to almost $480,000 unit cost. The long range Brahmos cruise missile being adapted to the Su-30 MKI costs in excess of $2.5 million.

A Variety of PGMs ranging from a basic Laser Guided Bomb (LGB) to highly sophisticated cruise missiles are today in the market-place. Each is designed to accomplish a defined mission. IAF will choose specific types depending upon perception of its requirements. Figures above serve only to highlight that substantial resources will have to be committed to build a significant stockpile – and that against several other competing demands. Also not included in the costs above is the necessity of very high quality ISR assets without which smart weapons are useless.

The good news is that DRDO has had some success in its indigenisation efforts in this field. In 2010, IAF appears to have successfully tested a DRDO produced LGB (Sudarshan) with a stand-off range of 9 km. That the tests were followed by an order for 50 units suggests a good beginning. A next generation smart bomb with a stand-off range of 50 km now appears to be under development. There would undoubtedly be teething problems. But if DRDO persists and rekindles user confidence, it could help IAF usher in a new era of capability.

srai
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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby srai » 14 Feb 2015 04:51

This is something I had compiled a few years ago but it needs to be updated ...

A list of current/planned AAMs/PGMs in IAF's inventory (1980-2010):

AAM
1,000 x R-550 Magic-1 (89kg) (1980) -> Mirage-2000, Jaguar
3,000 x R-60/AA-8 Aphid (43.5kg) (1983) -> MiG-21bis, MiG-27M, MiG-29
200 x Super-530D (275kg) (1984) -> Mirage-2000
4,400 x R-73/AA-11 Archer (105kg) (1987/1995/1996) -> MiG-21 Bison, MiG-29, Su-30MKI
500 x R-550 Magic-2 (89kg) (1988) -> Mirage-2000, Jaguar
636 x R-27/ER/AA-10 Alamo (253kg) (1995/1996) -> MiG-29, Su-30MKI
1,000 x RVV-AE/AA-12 Adder (175/226kg) (1999) -> MiG-21 Bison, MiG-29, Su-30MKI
600 x MICA (112kg) (2009) -> Mirage-2000UPG
150 x Mistral (18.7kg) (2006) -> Dhruv, LCH
(?) x Astra (18.7kg) (R&D) -> LCA, Su-30MKI
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total AAM (in-service/ordered) -> 11,661 ****


LGB
~100**(?) x Matra BGL 1000 (1,000kg bomb) (?) -> Mirage-2000
315 x Paveway II LGB (1,000lb GP bomb) (1993) -> Mirage-2000, Jaguar [any aircraft with Litening pod]
500 x KAB-500Kr (500kg/1,500kg bomb) (1998) -> MiG-21 Bison, Su-30MKI
100+(~1,000*) x Griffin 3 LGB (1,000lb GP bomb) (2005/2009) -> Jaguar, Mirage-2000(?) [any aircraft with Litening pod]
510 x CBU-105 WCMD (1,000lb bomb) (2010) -> Mirage-2000, Jaguar [probably will require some adaption for Russian aircrafts]
xx Sudarshan LGB (450kg HSLD bomb or 1,000lb GP) (R&D) -> Jaguar (first tested with) [any aircraft with Litening pod]
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total LGB (in-service/ordered) -> 2,525 ****

ASM
24*** x Sea Eagle (580kg) (1983) -> Jaguar IM (to be replaced by 24 x Harpoon) [total including IN stock is 160 Sea Eagles]
~50** x AS-30 (520kg) (?) -> Mirage-2000
250 x Kh-23/AS-7 Kerry (287kg) (1985) -> MiG-27ML (retired?)
600 x Kh-25MP/MLT (315kg) (1989/1995) -> MiG-27ML
200 x Kh-31A1/P/AS-17 (600kg) (1997) -> Su-30MKI
100 x Kh-59ME/AS-18 Kazoo (930kg) (1999) -> Su-30MKI
30 x AGM-142A/Popeye-2 Crystal Maze (3,000lb) (2001) -> Mirage-2000
24 x AGM-84 Block II Harpoon (691kg) (2010) -> Jaguar IM
200(?) x Brahmos (2,500kg) (2012/14) -> Su-30MKI [total planned units 1,000 SSM/ASM variants for all services]
xx "K" series Air-Launched Article (2,000kg) (R&D) -> Su-30MKI
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total ASM (in-service/ordered) -> 1,478 ****

Note: Quantities from SIPRI.
* Second order in 2009 for Griffin-3 LGB kits worth tens of millions dollars.
** Quantities not known. Estimates provided in the low side because IAF did not use it in Kargil because of it being expensive (and probably small quantity in service).
*** Although 160 Sea Eagles were ordered, IAF share is probably around 24 missiles as the new order of Harpoon indicates and also as the IAF only has 6 Jaguar IM that are capable of using these missiles.
**** Does not account for numbers used in exercises and combat.

vardhank
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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby vardhank » 20 Feb 2015 10:07

@rohitvats
Since you pointed out on the Rafale-MMRCA thread that we're wrangling over the merits/flaws in the Rafale deal without looking at the simple need for numbers in the IAF, so I'm putting my questions to you in this thread, purely in terms of acquisition, rather than in terms of which aircraft is better, etc.
Given that we need numbers now, would this work? Instead of the MMRCA deal as it stands, would it make sense to lease ~60 Rafales with the option to buy those planes outright later if necessary? The money saved could be transferred to extra production lines for the LCA (as I understand it, the IAF seems to like the LCA a fair bit more now, and it can do the job, even if it isn't of the Mk2 standard the IAF wants), but needs more planes, and sooner. (Given HAL's plan of eventually producing 16 LCA a year, I don't understand how ACM Raha says we'll have 42 squadrons by 2027). Why I say this is because the MMRCA idea came up at a time when the LCA was nowhere near ready, but now that the IAF seems to like it AND with money being tight, would the money spent on the 126 Rafales, whether $12 or 20 billion, could be used differently.

What I can see standing in the way are the no-single-vendor rules (any way round that, like the American FMS method?), and the Make-in-India ethos, which I think needs to be balanced against national-security needs as well. Perhaps, if there's a follow-on order to these (very well possible, given that the AMCA and FGFA are both paper planes at the moment), those Rafales could be made here.

I'm staying away from the whether-Rafale-is-good debate because I think the plane is good, it's the deal, and its consequences, that are the problem, as is the problem we'll face if we don't go ahead with the deal. What do you think?

If you could answer a couple of questions. I don't entirely understand how leasing works in the military world:
1) Far as I understand it in this case, it means Dassault would make the planes in France, we'd use them for say 20 years, and buy them after that if we needed. If we didn't want them any more, Dassault would sell them on to another buyer, possibly with a financial penalty to us. Correct?
2) How would leasing affect the MKI-sation we typically like doing? What about integration of weapons like the Astra, or Russian missiles? Is this typically allowed?
3) Would this actually be cheaper? I'm assuming it will, because of smaller numbers, no ToT, manufacturing in India etc etc, but does it actually work that way?

srai
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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby srai » 20 Feb 2015 10:42

deleted
Last edited by srai on 20 Feb 2015 12:19, edited 1 time in total.

rohitvats
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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby rohitvats » 20 Feb 2015 10:53

srai wrote:X-Posting:

Although this BR page on IAF: Aircraft Fleet Strength hasn't been updated for the last two years, it gives us an idea on how many MiG-21 and 27 squadrons need replacing within the next 3 to 5 years.

  • 5 x MiG-21 M/MF squadrons
  • 2 x MiG-21 Bis squadrons
  • 3 x MiG-21 FL squadrons/units
  • 3.5 x MiG-27 ML squadrons
Total: 13.5 squadrons

Comment: Why only 40 LCA Mk.1 (or 2 squadrons) on order? With or without MMRCA (6 squadrons), more LCA Mk.1 needs to be ordered.

Additional aircrafts that need replacement early 2020s.
  • 6 x MiG-21 Bison squadrons
  • 2 x MiG-27 UPG squadrons
Total: 8 squadrons

Comment: These can be replaced by LCA Mk.2.


MODERATOR NOTE:

There is actually a latest squadron list at the top of this thread which is arranged as per aircraft type. Please tell me what purpose does pasting this dated and incorrect list serve? And why shouldn't it be deleted?

If you've more accurate data point vis-a-vis the list at top of the page, please add it here and it will be amended and updated.

srai
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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby srai » 20 Feb 2015 11:15

deleted
Last edited by srai on 20 Feb 2015 12:18, edited 1 time in total.

rohitvats
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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby rohitvats » 20 Feb 2015 11:49

srai wrote::)

You had your conclusions ... and I had mine ;)


Feel free to arrive at your conclusion(s) but basis some realistic data-points and assessment. You can use the same data-points shared at top of this page to arrive at a different conclusion; or provide input to modify the data-points themselves and prove the hypothesis wrong.

Please delete your post or I'll have to do that.

Cain Marko
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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby Cain Marko » 27 Feb 2015 11:22

Srai,

IIRC there was a significant order for R27s from Ukraine a couple of years ago worth $ 250 mil

shiv
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Re: IAF Re-Equipment Schedule

Postby shiv » 16 Apr 2015 20:41

Let me add my two paise here.

Forget air defence. Three legged cheetahs can be tasked with that like the earlier 1.5 legged Cheetah the Mig 21. I wil talk about reach and offence against adversaries.

In past wars Indian aircraft have been vulnerable because of poor range and light armament. Poor range over Pakistan means worthless range over China. The IAF need to have aircraft that can hit targets near the African coast or near Indonesia or Singapore. We need to be able to overfly Burma and hit Southeast China.

Kargil proved the need for PGM and good "hot an high performance"

MiG 21, 27 do not meet these requirements. Jaguar probably do but have lousy hot and high performance.

Sukhois are good but they are not really stealthy

So for the future the IAF should have, IMO a plane with the range of Su 30, stealth and good hot and high performance and a robust PGM/standoff missile capability. Now is the time to work with industry to realize this.

Last but nowhere near least - operational deployments in faraway places requires good transport, Now we have C-17s and C 130s in addition to other aircraft. But now is the time to work on large transport/passenger aircraft capability within India


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