rohitvats wrote:Because that is the aircraft which will fill the gap when time-lag arises as IAF undergoes another major squadron make-over from 2028 onward. The way AMCA is progressing, I'd be happy if it ready for production even by 2030.
Its not happening by 2030. Its just not doable. If all goes well we may have the Tejas Mk2 by 2026-27. AMCA? Maybe LSPs by 2030 but SPs will only enter the picture by 2035.
There are some very big steps that need to be taken in terms of core technology in the coming years - particularly related to software (esp. sensor fusion), EW system (esp. A.I.) and LO materials & shaping (starting with setting up a basic RCS testing facility). The design & development followed by years of testing & debugging, with respect to a particular platform - that comes later.
I know people talk about money in context of Rafale but do remember we spend piddly sums on defense when compared to other nations. If we really want to be prepared for IAF to take on PLAAF or other Services to be able to defend their realm, we need to start taking about 3% of GDP on defense. But we digress.
We spend ~17% of the union budget (incl. pensions) on defence. That's a perfectly healthy sum compared to other nations (~20% for Pakistan & US). More than China. Much much more than UK (6%) & France (3%) though they have a larger public sector (with lower devolution).
Any hikes in defence expenditure come out of the investment in infrastructure or human capital - and that'll have an impact down the line. A bigger slice of the cake today means a smaller cake next year. At which point you'll need a still bigger slices just to maintain parity and so on.
The key here is focusing on cost effectiveness - maximizing the return on every rupee. (Its also what makes the argument for the Tejas & F-35 compelling.)
IAF equipped with F-16 gives a proper Heavy+Medium+Light Mix.
'Proper' why? What function does a medium fighter (like F-16) perform that a heavy fighter (like Su-30) is hampered at?
I can understand the babus in South Block buying into this IAF red herring but I can't understand why supposedly better informed BRFites are buying in as well.
What is this weight class aimed at? Is it cost? Why not classify them into low-cost/medium-cost/high-cost fighters then? Because lighter aircraft (eg. Rafale) aren't always cheaper than heavier ones (eg. Su-30).
Or is range? Why not classify them into short-range/medium-range/long-range fighters then? Because lighter fighters (eg. Mirage 2000) aren't always shorter ranged than heavier ones (eg. MiG-29). Not to mention longer range doesn't necessarily translate into better combat reach (eg. Rafale v. Su-30 or F-35A v. Rafale) - esp. where EW & stealth comes into play.
Would you be sceptical if one made the same argument vis a vis armor/mech forces? Or in other words, does an army require a proper mix of heavy tanks, medium tanks & light tanks, along with a similarly judicious balance of pure APCs & IFVs? Wouldn't an MBT do?
Heavy (Su-30MKI-14 squadrons) = 36%
Medium (M2K+Mig-29+Jaguar+F-16 [assuming 5 1/2 squadrons] +Rafale = 19.5 squadrons) = 49%
Light (Tejas IOC+FOC+Mk1A = 6 squadrons) = 13%
Why do you reckon the Jaguar at 7 tons is a medium fighter while the Tejas Mk1 at 6.8 tons (plus mods in both cases) is a light fighter?