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LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby JayS » 09 Apr 2017 14:12

shiv wrote:
JayS wrote:But vina claims that someone from ADA confirmed on this thread that there was wing redesign due to switch to R73 missile. I have never seen this elsewhere though.

I am not able to deny that - but in the absence of information we cannot reach conclusions about lack of designer foresight.

That apart - let me simply extrapolate and state my own viewpoint.

A wing that can take 1000+ kg inboard is certified for only 60 kg outboard. Either they have done destructive testing to establish this as unalterable fact, or they have not. If they have not - the logical course would be to test a wing to its limit, confirm that there is no redundancy in design, the wing simply cannot take more than 60 kg (+ margin) (or something inadequate) and then go ahead with wing redesign. As Geeth pointed out there was also the possibility of reducing inboard loads while increasing outboard loads.

We have no information that all this failed and that the wing had to be redesigned. That does not mean that it did not happen but without data we are only chasing windmills and getting into arguments about the foresight of designers. There is no need for that.


The point is not whether the wing was tested to its ultimate limit or not. The point is whether ADA redesigned the wing citing the reason of change of CCM from R60 to R73 or not and thereby incurring delay. There is a possibility that they chose to redesign the wing even without actually testing it.

Also its not just about taking static load or even the dynamic load for once. There is possibility of not satisfying required fatigue life for the increased load (fatigue life can drop significantly with even a small increase in design load). LCA is designed for 4000 missions or 45min each = 3000h total airframe life. That means the CCM pylon would have to sustain the increased load for 4000 times without breaking. From all the available info, it looks like the Main Airframe Fatigue testing is not done yet.

Also it doesn't matter how much load the inboard pylon can support, the outboard pylon can be designed to much smaller load independent of that by having much weaker local structure in the outboard wing.

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby JayS » 09 Apr 2017 14:14

Some quotes from the CAG report on LCA.

Air Staff Requirement (1985) prescribes the physical parameters of LCA such
as aircraft weight, fuel capacity, load carrying capacity of weapons, missiles,
survivability, navigation, etc and features like single point defueling, pilot
protection system, all weather operations, fuel system protection etc. to make
the aircraft capable of performing its role of multi mission fighter aircraft and
have increased survivability against battle damage.
The ASR also envisages
timeline for induction of LCA, quantity of LCA fighter and trainer required.
There were no revisions to the ASR by IAF, except in respect of weapon
requirements, as discussed in Para 2.3.2.
The Project Definition Phase (PDP) document of LCA prepared by ADA
(December 1988) had been reviewed by Air HQ (March 1989) who found it
deficient in the crucial parameters of aerodynamic configuration, volume and
weight as set in ASR, particularly with reference to significant increase in
weight of LCA, which could adversely affect performance.
To resolve the
deadlock, it had been decided (March 1990) that the development may be
executed as Full Scale Engineering Development (FSED) in a phased manner.

We however observed during the course of audit that LCA which had
achieved (December 2013) IOC did not meet the ASR in terms of increased
weight, reduced internal fuel capacity, non-compliance of all-weather
operations, non-achievement of single point defueling, fuel system protection,
pilot protection, etc., for which, ADA obtained (December 2013) from Air HQ
altogether 53 temporary concessions/permanent waivers.
To an audit observation (June 2014) regarding operational impact of the
concessions/ waivers, IAF replied (December 2014/February 2015) that the
concessions/permanent waivers would adversely impact the operational
performance.

As per the ASR, LCA is required to be provided with seven under-
wing/fuselage hard points for the carriage of bombs, rockets, missiles,
Recce/laser designator pods and fuel tanks. The outboard stations were
exclusively for the carriage of close combat missiles (CCMs). The aircraft
should be able to carry a weapon load of at least 3000 kg.


Audit observed (May 2014) that IAF had revised 17 the weapons requirement
from time to time such as replacing R-60 missile with R-73E missile 18 , adding
M-62 Russian Bombs, Counter Measures Dispensing System 19 , etc for
integration on LCA. When impact of these changes on the LCA programme
were enquired in audit, ADA stated (June 2014) that these changes had
delayed the programme schedules as follows:
>> Change of Close Combat Missile from R-60 to R-73E had resulted in
redesign of integral wing and associated manufacturing and testing
efforts involving delay of 14 months
.

>> Addition of Russian 500 Kg (M-62) bombs necessitated design and
fabrication of adopter and software development which delayed the
programme by 16 months.
>> Addition of CMDS led to design modifications and software
development with an additional time of 18 months

i. Integration of R-73E Missiles
R-73E is an infrared-guided (heat-seeking) missile capable of being targeted
by a helmet-mounted sight allowing pilots to designate targets by looking at
them. The R-73E is a highly maneuverable missile capable of making a
significant difference in combat.

As per the ASR, R-60 a close combat missile was to be fitted on LCA. IAF
revised (March 1997) the requirement to fitment of R-73E missile in place of
R-60 missile.
ADA concluded (August 2004) a contract with M/s Elbit, Israel,
for integration of R-73E missile on LCA including consultancy thereon at a
total cost of 3.69 Million USD (`17 crore) to be completed within 24 months
(August 2006). There were delays in integration of R-73E missile on LCA due
to redesign of integral wing and associated manufacturing and testing efforts
(necessitated due to change from R-60 to R-73 missile)
. In the meanwhile, Air
HQ while revising (December 2009) the weapon requirements, further
specified that R-73E should be integrated with Multi-Mode Radar 20 (MMR)
and Helmet Mounted Display & Sight 21 (HMDS) as an IOC requirement. The
delivery schedule was amended several times (eight times involving a total of
delay of 88 month) due to integration of R-73E missile with HMDS/MMR and
related flight tests. The integration of R-73E missile with LCA was completed
(December 2013) by ADA, after integration and release of R-73E using
HMDS and MMR, and LCA achieved IOC (December 2013).

In response to audit observation (October 2014) regarding impact of delay in
integration of R-73E missile on LCA on IOC schedule, ADA admitted
(October 2014) that delay in integration of R-73E missile with HMDS and
MMR had impacted the IOC schedule. ADA further stated (January 2015) that
the avionics integration of R-73E missile with MMR and HMDS sensor was
delayed due to delay in development and flight testing of MMR/HMDS.

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby vina » 09 Apr 2017 17:20

Yawn.. We've been through this all earlier. We identified and discussed the R 60 vs. 73 businesses before any CAG whatever. All this came much later.

With weaponisation related delays, the primary one is radar related mainly due to the failure of the indigenous MMR and the lack of decision making related to a plan B for that, time wise and the redesign of wing and all doesn't matter much in overall terms.

Once Elta 2032 based solution was chosen, the back breaking work of trying to hack the R73 protocol to integrate it to the MMR was a fool's errand, especially so when we didn't have the missile vendor support for it. Again I am willing to bet degraded functionality of the R 73 and MMR combo than with r73, with Mig21 bison, the mig 29 and su 30. The python v and derby with MMR combo will of course have all the bells and whistles working.

Now of course the usual suspect will come charging and say that all sorts of things are integrated into the mil std bus of the bison and 29 and su30 and hence integrating the r73 into MMR must be easy peasy (anyone guess why or why not?).

This entire attempt to integrate the Eastern legacy stuff into it led to huge problems . this was a fool's errand thanks to idiotic decision making at the iaf. The wing stiffening was absolutely necessary though.

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby negi » 09 Apr 2017 17:56

^ Well we discussed it when I was still in 20s and in Massa now RTI'd , married and going downhill in 30s :) Afaik there was a story on R73 itself being replaced by Python 5 . On a serious note I have come to realize one thing that as much as it is frustrating for one to hear about delays due to such incidents it is even more ludicrous to see how folks here make it a services vs DRDO thing now mind you while I completely agree with the idea that services need to be pushed to adopt LCA and that IAF's demands could be 'unreasonable' but one has to bear in mind the fact that it is not as if IAF has been part of something like LCA before do they even have a past history or experience in being a stakeholder in such a project ? One could also then put the LCA's makers in the same sort of pedestal and ask similar difficult questions . At the end of the day as a product developer if you are to deliver something in time and something which is relevant one perhaps should listen to everyone but has to be able to filter out whatever one thinks is unreasonable and deliver as per one's best judgement. Issue in any government program is there is no punishment for failing I mean what is the mechanism to resolve conflicts between IAF and team LCA ? In private such a stalemate will mean a head of a VP will be delivered. This R-60 versus R-73 issue is petty programs like Tejas will have hundreds if not thousands of such integration needs the reason for most of the delays outside of technicalities is complete absence of accountability and I am not singling out DRDO or even IAF , this is how any project gets done under the government Tejas is complex and under the lens here so people get anxious and we are interested in Tejas so splitting hair , trust me places where these decisions are being made it is just business as usual for them . Someone who came up with R-60 idea on Tejas might have even retired by now . :mrgreen:

For programs like Tejas to roll out in time a system that enforces deliver or perish rule will have to be setup obviously such a system will need generous budgetary outlay and exemption from red tape.

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby JayS » 09 Apr 2017 18:31

Someone please be a good lad and provide link to those discussions from yesteryears. I would like to read them.

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby shiv » 09 Apr 2017 18:52

JayS wrote:Some quotes from the CAG report on LCA.


>> Change of Close Combat Missile from R-60 to R-73E had resulted in
redesign of integral wing and associated manufacturing and testing
efforts involving delay of 14 months.

>> Addition of Russian 500 Kg (M-62) bombs necessitated design and
fabrication of adopter and software development which delayed the
programme by 16 months.
>> Addition of CMDS led to design modifications and software
development with an additional time of 18 months
There were delays in integration of R-73E missile on LCA due
to redesign of integral wing and associated manufacturing and testing efforts
(necessitated due to change from R-60 to R-73 missile)
. In the meanwhile, Air
HQ while revising (December 2009) the weapon requirements, further
specified that R-73E should be integrated with Multi-Mode Radar 20 (MMR)
and Helmet Mounted Display & Sight 21 (HMDS) as an IOC requirement.
The
delivery schedule was amended several times (eight times involving a total of
delay of 88 month) due to integration of R-73E missile with HMDS/MMR and
related flight tests. The integration of R-73E missile with LCA was completed
(December 2013) by ADA, after integration and release of R-73E using
HMDS and MMR, and LCA achieved IOC (December 2013).
.


Lots of references to "redesign of integral wing". That is a pretty general expression as far as I can tell. I wonder what is meant by that. As far as I could make out the discussion here was about lack of designer foresight in planning for future developments. I think the R-60 has an uncooled seeker and the R-73 a cooled seeker requiring a coolant bottle plus different cabling interface between missile and cockpit. Installation of these would certainly amount to "redesign of integral wing". So is this discussion about weights - 45 kg R-60 and 100 kg R73 a bogey? Was the issue anything to do with load bearing ability of the wing? Maybe it wasn't load at all but redesign to hold a completely different missile with a totally different interface. Did weight have anything to do with the redesign issue? Again details about these things are sparse. We have been hammering the 45 kg versus 100 kg issue with no idea of what the exact issues that took up time were, and then there was the insinuation that this was lack of designer foresight for future developments.

If I may be allowed to use an analogy - the Su-30 designers also showed a lack of foresight because they did not plan for a Brahmos. The weight and size of Brahmos could not be accommodated and required major redesign of both missile and plane - apart from the change of plan from an original 3 Brahmos carriage to just one. How far can this be labelled as lack of planning for future developments by the designers?

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby shiv » 09 Apr 2017 19:21

As a minor digression, can someone point me to the exact requirement given by the armed forces to the government/DRDO or the issuing of RFPs for a 300 km range supersonic cruise missile?

Is it the case that they didn't actually want any such missiles, did not dream that such a missile would be on offer and then decided that they will make place for it?

Alternatively - are there any RFPs or foreseen "future requirements" for lasers to immobilize seaborne and airborne UAV threats?

A designer of weapons has to randomly imagine what might be needed and make a weapon and then be left in the situation where the forces don't want it, or alternatively he may sink in plenty of resources into a black hole of a project only to be told "Give up BPJs, multibarrel assault weapons, parachutes" etc

Where is the coordinating "vision body" consisting of people from the armed forces and the technology people of DRDO and manufacturers sitting together and looking forward. Are we only going to see contempt and derision for people who are not engineers from those who claim to know heck of a lot because they work on technical stuff and a matching contempt from the armed forces for products that are declared half-done at which time the technical people whine and say that technology is so difficult.

Part of the problem is middlemen and touts offering money, junkets and freebies to all and sundry to kill anything done locally and if I may say a very definite starry eyed armed forces view of imported material as being superior to local because they (armed forces) are acutely aware of operational requirements and can't be bothered about technological/engineering hurdles. crossed by phoren exporters long ago.

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby shiv » 09 Apr 2017 19:37

Here is an article about the LCA that appeared in India Today (Phoren edition) in August 1988 written by Raj Chengappa
A Testing Time

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby vina » 09 Apr 2017 20:14

negi wrote:^ but one has to bear in mind the fact that it is not as if IAF has been part of something like LCA before do they even have a past history or experience in being a stakeholder in such a project ?

So lets see. You will expect the starting point to be a frank admission that we know Jack Schmidt and put in effort to work closely with the engineering to develop a realistic product, instead of indulging in bluster and throwing weight around and indeed do the passive aggressive sabotage and subterfuge.

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby Dileep » 09 Apr 2017 21:07

The russian missile integration is done by means of a "black box" interface LRU which talks 1553 (or whatever we speak) to our avionics and 'ruskie' to the missile. The black box LRU is supplied by the missile maker under strict control. So, we can do nothing with it.

The same with hebrew, but I assume the 'black box' here would be sitting within the software. Only 'yindoo' speaking Astra will have complete understanding with the yindoo speaking computer.

So.. unless we get the act together and get uttam and astra up (and appropriate desi FLIR, LDP etc as well), all the fancy sensor fusion we talk about ain't gonna happen even by MKn

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby vina » 10 Apr 2017 10:21

Dileep wrote:The russian missile integration is done by means of a "black box" interface LRU which talks 1553 (or whatever we speak) to our avionics and 'ruskie' to the missile. The black box LRU is supplied by the missile maker under strict control. So, we can do nothing with it.

Hmm. So the missile maker did give the LRU huh ? I was under the impression that we we asked them to integrate it for us they demanded a ridiculous amount of money and basically gave us the birdie and that we had to it. Yeah, that is the easiest way for the Russian guys to get their gear Mil Std compatible. A protocol converter and electrical convertor (if the voltages are different).

I guess it is much easier with a fire and forget heat seeking missile. A Radar guided one with data links would a totally different ball game altogether. Thank goodness they didn't try to put the R77 on the Tejas with the MMR and they decided to go with a solution that doesn't have that kind of back breaking effort.

The same with hebrew, but I assume the 'black box' here would be sitting within the software. Only 'yindoo' speaking Astra will have complete understanding with the yindoo speaking computer.

The Israeli stuff from what I see is basically to Mil Std /Nato standards. They don't have either an airframe or a proprietary protocol like the Russians and the French and so their stuff should fit wit the standard bus . Hebrew stuff should work out of the box, along with Inglees (both UK and US) and other stuff , who if you are willing to buy the stuff (MBDA etc), will actively work to integrate their stuff with your platform.

So.. unless we get the act together and get uttam and astra up (and appropriate desi FLIR, LDP etc as well), all the fancy sensor fusion we talk about ain't gonna happen even by MKn

All those are needed anyways, given the quantity and scale of our requirements. The sooner they open out all this out to every IT/Vity and hardware guy out there willing to take a shot at it and don't keep it a closed house, the better.

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby vina » 10 Apr 2017 10:52

JayS wrote:Someone please be a good lad and provide link to those discussions from yesteryears. I would like to read them.


The genesis of "finding" this started for me
Here First
Written About it earlier

However, I think the original post I made, along with the replies this (after the first one) are lost or probably still in the archives somewhere if they successfully managed to retrieve it from the disk crash.

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby jayasimha » 10 Apr 2017 11:26

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease. ... lid=159090

Print Release
Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Defence
10-March-2017 15:17 IST
Fighter Jets and Helicopters

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is equipped to cater for the threat environment that exists and is ready to meet the role assigned to it. Operational preparedness of IAF is reviewed from time to time based on the threat perception. Further, augmentation of capabilities of IAF including its modernization and acquisition is a dynamic and continuous process.

Government of India is inducting fighter aircraft in IAF through ‘Make in India’ route. Indigenously manufactured Advanced Light Helicopters have been inducted in IAF and Light Combat Aircraft are also being developed and manufactured indigenously by M/s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO, from time to time, seeks consultancy from foreign companies to gain knowledge and develop expertise in specific areas.

At present M/s Airbus DS is providing consultancy towards flight testing and to improve the configuration of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).

This information was given by Minister of State for Defence Dr. Subhash Bhamre in a written reply to Shri Prahlad Singh Patel in Lok Sabha today.

NAMPI/Ranjan

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby mody » 10 Apr 2017 19:05

I think initially we did ask for the R77 for LCA, when the MMR was supposed to be the radar. However, the ruskies refused.
I think the Russians have given us only the watered down R77 missiles with maybe some key integration codes with the radar and avionics missing. That's the ony plausible reason to explain the apparent shortfall in the performance of the missile in IAF inventory. The Russians themselves are fielding the R77. If the missile was really performing the way it does in IAF service, I'm sure the Russians themselves would be looking for an alternative. Also, the seeker that we are using for Astra is the same or maybe even slightly inferior. Yet the test results of Astra have been reasonably good.

The Russians refused integration of the R77 with the desi MMR to protect their IPR and secrets that they have held back for the R77. Once we went with 2032 option, Derby became the obvious choice.

Sanctions are generally the best thing that can happen to defense projects. US refused to part with GAA tech for T-R modules for AESA radar. Now we have managed to make them on our own. Once we got the 2032 for the LCA, possibility of getting the 2052 AESA was also explored. Our Yehudi brothers were willing to sell for the right price, but Khan put a spanner in the works. Apparently 2052 was developed using Khan money and so Khan had veto over whether it could be exported on not.
Now as we got our Uttam AESA project going, Khan and Israel are all willing to sell the 2052, with a condition that we buy it not just for the LCA but also for Jaguar and maybe for further future upgrade of M2K also. Enough quantity purchase to kill the Uttam project. Hope this doesn't happen. If the 2052 purchase for LCA MK-1A goes through, then most likely we will see development of Uttam MK-II with GaN tech being taken up for LCA-MK-II and AMCA, with Uttam MK-I only being produced in limited numbers to gain tech knowhow. The last bit is obviously speculation and I hope it doesn't happen as such.

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby ramana » 10 Apr 2017 21:03

From CAG report and vina's posts, the switch from R60 to R73 in 1997, led to a delay of 14 months for the wing to be strengthened and tested. A further 18 months delay was due to the requirement to integrate with the MMR and Helmet mounted sights. In the end there was no MMR. So this was the wasted effort.

Its this design work that allows all the heavier CCMs to be integrated.

All in all would be glad to see LCA FOC.

I think this topic is beaten to death with long winded posts.

So please give it a rest.

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby NRao » 10 Apr 2017 21:28

These are not delays.

They are necessary growing pains.

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby srai » 10 Apr 2017 21:38

Wait till the IAF wants to customize Rafale and want to integrate its own weapons of choice ...

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby ramana » 10 Apr 2017 23:10

NRao wrote:These are not delays.

They are necessary growing pains.

When Milestones are not met they are delays.

However both ADA and IAF should have changed the master schedule to IOC/FOC when new requirements are added.

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby JayS » 10 Apr 2017 23:22

ramana wrote:
However both ADA and IAF should have changed the master schedule to IOC/FOC when new requirements are added.

They did. Multiple times.

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby ramana » 11 Apr 2017 00:50

I guess CAG didn't understand that.
They keep dinging ADA for delays.

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby NRao » 11 Apr 2017 02:40

ramana wrote:
NRao wrote:These are not delays.

They are necessary growing pains.

When Milestones are not met they are delays.


For such a complex, first time project, just too much to expect to meet (every?) milestone. What they have accomplished is out of this world. They still have a very long way to go - assuming certain goals. There are bound to be plenty more missed milestones - just the nature of the beast.

However both ADA and IAF should have changed the master schedule to IOC/FOC when new requirements are added.


I think - in 20-20 hind sight of course - they should have started a clean sheet (CS) LCA around 2008ish, in parallel to this effort. And that CS LCA should have faced IOC/FOC in an incremental manner.

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby sudeepj » 11 Apr 2017 08:07

Apropos the recent news about unmanned LCA:

http://www.upi.com/Defense-News/2017/04 ... 491828137/

April 10 (UPI) -- An F-16 Fighting Falcon performed an unmanned combat mission during a recent demonstration held by Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Air Force. ....

"This demonstration is an important milestone in AFRL's maturation of technologies needed to integrate manned and unmanned aircraft in a strike package," Capt. Andrew Perry said in a press release. "We've not only shown how an Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle can perform its mission when things go as planned, but also how it will react and adapt to unforeseen obstacles along the way."

During the event, the fighter jet acted as a surrogate Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle capable of autonomously reacting to threats while performing an air-to-surface strike mission.

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby Neshant » 11 Apr 2017 08:13

mody wrote:Sanctions are generally the best thing that can happen to defense projects. US refused to part with GAA tech for T-R modules for AESA radar. Now we have managed to make them on our own. Once we got the 2032 for the LCA, possibility of getting the 2052 AESA was also explored. Our Yehudi brothers were willing to sell for the right price, but Khan put a spanner in the works. Apparently 2052 was developed using Khan money and so Khan had veto over whether it could be exported on not.
Now as we got our Uttam AESA project going, Khan and Israel are all willing to sell the 2052, with a condition that we buy it not just for the LCA but also for Jaguar and maybe for further future upgrade of M2K also. Enough quantity purchase to kill the Uttam project. Hope this doesn't happen. If the 2052 purchase for LCA MK-1A goes through, then most likely we will see development of Uttam MK-II with GaN tech being taken up for LCA-MK-II and AMCA, with Uttam MK-I only being produced in limited numbers to gain tech knowhow. The last bit is obviously speculation and I hope it doesn't happen as such.


How likely is it that the GE-F404/414 engine will be sanctioned just at LCA is ready for mass production.

They better be ready with the Kaveri because that could well be what happens.

GTRE failing to deliver on the Kaveri project and getting France to their job won't learn us a thing.

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby JayS » 11 Apr 2017 09:51

ramana wrote:I guess CAG didn't understand that.
They keep dinging ADA for delays.


CAG is bunch of bean counters whose role is to criticize everything. While you can rely on them 400% when it comes to accounting/legal/Compliance etc matters, you cannot take them at face value when it comes to a policy decisions or in matters such as defense or technological development. There they are a hit or miss. They only understand that LCA was to be inducted by 1994 and its not, so its a huge f*&^ing delay. In fact you would also find them cribbing about how LCA's PDP and TD costs were increased 4x from 560Cr to 2400Cr...!! As if anyone could have developed a 4th Gen state of the art fighter from scratch to production ready in 1980-90s in 9yrs flat and in half a billion $$.

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby Karan M » 11 Apr 2017 16:21

As expected it was Parrikar who made IAF see sense on the LCA and got things moving.

https://thewire.in/117425/manohar-parri ... -minister/
Manohar Parrikar Could Have Been a Great Defence Minister
By Sudhansu Mohanty on 20/03/2017 • 3 Comments

He tried creating his own world almost wholly made up of people drawn from Goa, but Lutyen’s Delhi had its own inexorable ways of breaching his citadel from time to time.
Goa chef minister Manohar Parrikar had it in him to be amongst India's distinguished Raksha Mantris. Credit: PTI

Goa chef minister Manohar Parrikar had it in him to be amongst India’s distinguished Raksha Mantris. Credit: PTI

The BJP’s gain in the recent electoral battle has, in a way, been the nation’s loss. Arun Jaitley has been given the additional charge of the defence ministry but it isn’t the same as having a regular raksha mantri and, in particular, with a Manohar Parrikar at its helm. I’m not aware of the games that are played on the political chessboard – in this case, the BJP’s – but looking from the confines of the defence ministry, sadly I can’t think of anyone in the ruling party who can remotely match Parrikar’s intellectual brilliance and penetrating insight into the vastly complex issues that confront the ministry.

Parrikar was new to the national scenario when he, much against his wishes, was made the defence minister in November, 2014. He was new to the Union government, to the murky world of Delhi’s politics and to the even murkier world of defence deals. The defence ministry is vast and humongous. The issues at stake are complex and roiled in tangles of rules and procedures. Decision-making is layered and at the same time labyrinthine. Each of the services has its very own shibboleth and reading a few sentences on a file will make clear the so-called minefield of lingo that one is likely to trample upon.

But Parrikar acquitted himself well – and rather quickly. About six months into his term when, as the controller general of defence accounts, I met him for the first time to discuss the pesky and complex issue of OROP, I discerned his clear understanding of the subject. All the three services chiefs were present at the meeting, as were senior bureaucrats of the ministry. Parrikar seemed to have all the facts of the case, intricate as they are, at his fingertips. He gave everyone a patient hearing, probing the issue deeper, thinking along as he hammered out the necessary calculations almost concurrently.

Soon after, when I moved over to the defence ministry, I saw more of the same on any issues I discussed with him in his chamber or in the many meetings he chaired. He was a hands-on minister like no other. He was quick, but behind his quick decision-making lay a mind that had reflected long and hard on crucial aspects of the issue. He was a brainiac who would dissect procurement cases, and expatiate at length on the pros and cons in the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) meetings as if he was slowly peeling off layers of an onion. But he granted every official their right of say, no matter how much he disagreed with them. He knew his every move was under media scanner and the ubiquitous defence lobby, but he was firm and open in his conviction.

DPP planning

But more than anything that I saw during my tenure was when the new defence procurement procedure (DPP) was a work-in-progress. Of the many discussions we had in meetings, including in the DAC, the meeting of eight-ten senior officers of the ministry and services headquarters that Parrikar called for us to hammer out the DPP clauses is etched in my memory. The meeting went on for a good six hours. What to my mind still rings loud is the new concept of evaluation that he brought to play on the ‘essential and enhanced’ parameters in the services qualitative requirements granting nuances to the progressive, pragmatic way for single vendor situations in the DPP. “Essential Parameters – A and Essential Parameters – B (if applicable) are non-negotiable requirements to be met by the vendor, prior to commencement of equipment delivery. Essential Parameters – B to be used only when required, with DAC’s approval and not to be used when two or more vendors claim to possess the same at the RFI stage and not to be included in ab-initio single vendor cases. Essential Parameters – B may also be incorporated in the SoC, for provision of partial quantities of the items being procured, to meet different/higher specifications for specific operational requirements.”

This is no place to elaborate on other issues he wished to institutionalise in India’s protracted and scam-laden defence procurement procedure, like the concept of reverse LD to fast track cases in the ministry, but I can’t help alluding to his ability to see and weigh both sides of the coin and provide a transparent level-playing field to all. He certainly played a crucial role in pushing the government machinery to move faster than it has in decision-making.

Flip-flops and delays

Not that we didn’t have our share of disagreements on various issues and his dilly-dallying (the Indian Ministerial filibustering; I called it Parrikaring!) on many others. As a politician he flip-flopped at times; but given our societal value system and cohort pressures, and the times and ethos we live in, plus that he was a relative newbie in the arcane world of the government of India, graduating as he was from the corporation (coined from a friend) of Goa, I’m prepared to grant him the benefit of flip-flops. Cases that have haemorrhaged public funds for years and continue to do so, which he understood very well, readily come to my mind and with immense sadness.

But notwithstanding that, I’ll always admire his cerebral sparkle and the hard yards he put in, his focus on Make-in-India that put LCA on centre-stage and the encouragement that he unstintingly provided to Aeronautical Development Agency and the DRDO.

Critics often complained that the Make-in-India project in the defence sector had failed to take-off. Sadly they fail to grasp, given our ecosystem, how tough it can get, how protracted the procurement of arms and weapons/platform are, and how long it takes to show results. The same goes with the recent criticism of the parliamentary standing committee on inadequate defence budgetary outlay. The expectations are immense but so are the imponderables, not to say anything on the need to appreciate the nation’s budgetary outlay in a holistic vein. Anyone who has dealt with issues knows the periodic pitfalls of achieving milestones and the payouts.

Commentators are also often wont to rile against the lower budgetary allocation towards the defence sector. To me though the reference to percentage of GDP is so misplaced that I find this betrays a complete lack of appreciation of the algorithm of a nation’s growth model. To cite a simple example: if a human body requires ‘x’ calories for an optimal life, must greater prosperity mean a greater/higher calorific intake? Common sense says no – it’ll be asking for trouble. The same too goes for the nation and its insurance mechanism. This is not even taking into account the available pool of resources that funds all areas of national development and sustenance. Frankly, I can see no correlation between the defence budgetary outlay and the GDP unless of course we wish to get carried away by the western world’s paradigm of comparative national defence outlays that SIPRI, among others, does. Incidentally, even SIPRI includes pensionary outlay as a part of defence outlay, which the learned commentators disavow and, instead, hammer out their insular architecture.

Parrikar learnt and inhered these issues rather well. He treaded cautiously, as a sensible man would, on issues of strategic partnership that carries in its womb plenitude of ramifications, both for the present and the future. This heaped infinite frustrations on the industry and the industry-driven media ever keen to swoop down on the slightest flaw. The only flaw I can discern here is Parrikar’s penchant to shoot his mouth off on such issues rather than holding back.

But how “correct” was it for Parrikar to leave the ministry and go back to his home turf? It is not for me to go into political calculations, but that he upped and left suddenly after doing the hardest part – understanding the DNA of the ministry that takes years to fructify and show results; the machinations and vacillations in its everyday functioning; the many flawed past trajectories; the many countervailing dynamics and interplay of personnel/middlemen/defence and civil bureaucracy et al – is unfortunate.

He left when he ought to have stayed put.

Columnists have opined that unlike other politicians he wasn’t fond of money, but he loved power in an architecture where he was the numero uno. Far from the general public perception of his ineffable ordinariness and beneath his plebeian visage, he was hubristic and won’t let go a chance to so adumbrate.

Also, coming to Delhi after years of helming the tiny city-state, the overwhelming world of Delhi may have underwhelmed his overweening psychology and worldview. He tried creating his own world almost wholly made up of people drawn from Goa but Lutyen’s Delhi had its own inexorable ways of breaching his citadel from time to time. His periodic, resuscitative visits to Goa didn’t exactly help his cause to carve out a niche in India’s capital.

He longed to get back to Goa. I sensed his heart was in Goa but his head was in Delhi – so well he had understood the defence ecosystem to lead from the front. Notwithstanding these foibles and his many gaffes, which likely would’ve ironed themselves out, he had it in him to be among India’s distinguished raksha mantris. While his party’s political calculations and internal dynamics are theirs, India doubtless needed him more than Goa did.

Sudhansu Mohanty worked as Controller General of Defence Accounts and then as Financial Adviser, Defence Services before retiring on May 31, 2016.

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby JayS » 11 Apr 2017 16:57

I read somewhere that one of the most crucial clause in new DPP, related to the strategic partner in defence programs, was being single-mindedly pushed by MP. Even PMO and MoF was not in favour of it. It would have had very long lasting impact on our MIC. I expect that clause will be unceremoniously put aside or made toothless even if included.

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby srai » 11 Apr 2017 20:05

Karan M wrote:As expected it was Parrikar who made IAF see sense on the LCA and got things moving.

https://thewire.in/117425/manohar-parri ... -minister/
Manohar Parrikar Could Have Been a Great Defence Minister
By Sudhansu Mohanty on 20/03/2017 • 3 Comments

...

But notwithstanding that, I’ll always admire his cerebral sparkle and the hard yards he put in, his focus on Make-in-India that put LCA on centre-stage and the encouragement that he unstintingly provided to Aeronautical Development Agency and the DRDO.

....


Parrikar confirmed the follow-on 83 LCA Mk.1/A order and at the same time funded production capacity increase to 16/year. Solved the "chicken-and-egg which came first" problem--production agency won't increase capacity unless there are new orders, and user won't order unless delivery can be done faster.

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby Indranil » 11 Apr 2017 20:45

He was the best thing to have happened to Indian defense in a long time. I really wish Dr. Saraswat succeeds him!

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby ashishvikas » 11 Apr 2017 23:27

Saurav Jha tweets:

The sustained turn rate for the LCA Mk-I was something that the IAF wasn't particularly happy with.

The LCA design according to quite a few insiders requires an improvement in its lift to drag ratio. This is what Mk-2 designs will fix.

Getting access to certain wind tunnel studies and other consultancy support is supposed to make this task much easier.

As you know, Airbus is a consultant for the LCA project. Over the years there have been calls to bring in SAAB as well. But SAAB wants...

https://twitter.com/SJha1618/status/851851330369064960

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby Karan M » 11 Apr 2017 23:30

STR is not any deltas strong point.

ITR with HOBSvand HMDS is how it will fight.

Asking the Mirage to meet the MiG29s STR wont happen.

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby VKumar » 11 Apr 2017 23:37

Would it be sensible to arm TEJAS with a gun with lower recoil, possibly with smaller calibre or range, than do without one till a perfect solution is found?

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby JayS » 11 Apr 2017 23:57

VKumar wrote:Would it be sensible to arm TEJAS with a gun with lower recoil, possibly with smaller calibre or range, than do without one till a perfect solution is found?


Why you want to invent a problem where there is none..?? By all indications, Gun will be there alright.

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby nachiket » 11 Apr 2017 23:58

Karan M wrote:STR is not any deltas strong point.

ITR with HOBSvand HMDS is how it will fight.

Asking the Mirage to meet the MiG29s STR wont happen.

Apparently, as per the old article by AM Harish Masand, the Mig-29 unexpectedly beat the M2k even in ITR during their tests. Didn't make the M2k any less loved by the IAF though.

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby Bala Vignesh » 12 Apr 2017 00:46

VKumar wrote:Would it be sensible to arm TEJAS with a gun with lower recoil, possibly with smaller calibre or range, than do without one till a perfect solution is found?

It is a foregone conclusion that the Gsh 23 will be installed on the LCA without a lot if integration trouble now. Let us now wait and see how it goes and worry about alternate guns later if required.

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby srai » 12 Apr 2017 04:31

nachiket wrote:
Karan M wrote:STR is not any deltas strong point.

ITR with HOBSvand HMDS is how it will fight.

Asking the Mirage to meet the MiG29s STR wont happen.

Apparently, as per the old article by AM Harish Masand, the Mig-29 unexpectedly beat the M2k even in ITR during their tests. Didn't make the M2k any less loved by the IAF though.

Many factors, such as speed, altittude and fuel/weapon loads, determine the "true" STR/ITR during combat. Also, traditional air combat tactics are undergoing major revisions with the advent of HOBS and HMD.

Karan M had a good summary of dogfights in one of his posts: viewtopic.php?t=7098&start=1800#p2018428

R-73 -> 45 degree off-bore sight launch capability
Python-5 -> 100 degree off-bore sight launch capability
ASRAAM/AIM-9X/IRIS-T -> 90 degree off-bore sight launch capability

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Last edited by srai on 12 Apr 2017 04:59, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby shiv » 12 Apr 2017 04:49

VKumar wrote:Would it be sensible to arm TEJAS with a gun with lower recoil, possibly with smaller calibre or range, than do without one till a perfect solution is found?

The gun that fits that description is the GSh 23

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby vina » 12 Apr 2017 06:29

ashishvikas wrote:Saurav Jha tweets:
The sustained turn rate for the LCA Mk-I was something that the IAF wasn't particularly happy with.
The LCA design according to quite a few insiders requires an improvement in its lift to drag ratio.


Get the LEVCONS from the LCA Navy into the Airforce MK1A versions and make the Levcon a fully active surface. Will reduce trim drag over all and also will improve L/D

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby disha » 12 Apr 2017 09:52

^^ Just get LCA Navy MkII airframe with a lighter undercarriage.

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby Marten » 12 Apr 2017 10:43

disha wrote:^^ Just get LCA Navy MkII airframe with a lighter undercarriage.

Won't the fuselage structure itself be strengthened for the IN version? Why carry around more weight than required?
They need FSED for both versions and discover the right configuration -- it should not take more than a year between the two.

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Re: LCA: News & Discussions - October 2016

Postby Dileep » 12 Apr 2017 12:21

Arrestor landing shock is another parameter of interest. In case of some LRUs, people say "it is for AF only, so don't bother".


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