^^^ +108! That is only "known" variable....lack of common sense.
Colonel Shukla's article raises some interesting points. I reproduce below;
What the air force wants
• 110 multi-role fighters, capable of roles of air superiority, air defence, ground and maritime strike, reconnaissance and electronic warfare.
• 15% of the order to be supplied in flyaway condition and 85% made in India.
• OEMs to transfer design, development, manufacturing and repair expertise to India.
• OEMs to offer high-value technologies as part of the contract. Must specify scope, depth and range of technology transfer.
• OEMs to indicate “Indigenisation Content” it would achieve while building fighter in India.
• Flyaway fighters to be delivered 3-5 years from contract, Made in India in 5-12 years.
• 75% single-seat fighters and 25% twin seat variants.
• OEM must provide “performance linked warranty” for aircraft to fly minimum 150 hours per year, for ten years.
• Doors opened for Make in India by private sector, or by public sector (HAL)
• Twin seat variant should have all the operational capabilities of single-seat variant
On the red bolded sentence, we are still in RFI stage. As per Boeing's own admission it will be at least two years before a contract is signed. Knowing our convoluted procurement cycle, it could take even longer. But for arguments sake, lets take Boeing's word. So that will take us to 2020. From that date, the first deliveries will begin in 2023. That is the industry standard norm of 3 years. All the flyaway fighters are expected to be delivered by 2025. From 2025, the first batch of the Made in India fighters are expected to be begin and all deliveries are expected to be completed by 2037. Think about this. We are about to waste billion of dollars to induct a 4+ generation platform, in which deliveries will be complete only by 2037!
Just remember, these fighters are to serve as the IAF's backbone for at least the next 40 years. So when the last fighter rolls off the production line in 2037, she will likely retire in 2077!
On the blue bolded sentence, does the MoD have any iota of a clue as to how much these OEMs will charge us for 150 hours per year, for 10 years, for 110 aircraft? That is 150 hours/yr x 110 aircraft x 10 years = 165,000 hours. Calculate how much billions the the OEMs will charge for spares and maintenance for this ten year warranty. What happens after 10 years? The costs - like any machine - will only go up. And we will fork out even more billions at that point, assuming the IAF wants to maintain that level of serviceability for these aircraft. The single engine fighters might be cheaper, with the dual engine fighters being likely more expensive to maintain. What amazing common sense the MoD has displayed with this RFI.
That adds up to an overall contract price of $10.66 billion for the cheapest single-engine fighters, to $19.46 billion for the high-end, twin-engine fighters.
If costs are a main factor in this decision, it will boil down to a single engine fighter. The IAF will never take the F-16 and it will get the Gripen E. Bean counters at the MoD and the Ministry of Finance know clearly well that there is a $10 billion gap between the single engine and dual engine fighters. If the Gripen E does come for the Indian Air Force, then the GoI might very well hand the Navy contest to the F-18 Super Hornet. On cost, the Rhino will win hands down over the Rafale M.
The cost of weaponry, spares, base infrastructure and simulators would be over and above that.
This will likely separate the winner from the rest of the crowd. But I don't see anything short of at least another $5 - $10 billion for weaponry, spares, base infrastructure, simulators and COST of factory for local assembly. So for a single engine fighter, around $15 - $20 billion in total (planes + spares + weaponry + base infrastructure + factory COST). The twin engine fighter will be around $25 - $30 billion with the same parameters as the single engine fighter.
Think about this ---> MoD is willing to fork out billions for a foreign OEM to Make in India, but yet that same philosophy cannot be applied to the Tejas. Why not invest in a Tejas line for TASL? Why not invest in production efficiencies in the two existing Tejas lines? If the Indian Express article is true - I still believe it is a lifafa article, written solely to justify importing - then if a third line is established at TASL, watch how HAL falls quickly in line.
110 fighters / 18 aircraft in a squadron = 6+ squadrons. So investment has to be made for base infrastructure, simulators, weaponry and spares (but obviously not factory) for those six squadrons. Assuming two squadrons per base, so investment at minimum three air bases. If the birds are meant to be stationed at more than three airbases, costs go even higher.
Rafale is the clear winner on weaponry, spares, base infrastructure and simulators. None of the other contenders can make that claim. The question is can the other OEMs bring their cost down for all of the above to beat Dassault or can Dassault bring down the unit cost of the Rafale to beat the other OEMs? On the latter, I highly doubt Dassault can do that at 110 birds. The Rafale is a state-of-the-art, but expensive bird and Dassault is not running a charity organization. But a repeat order of two additional squadrons (36 - 44 birds) will make Dassault the clear winner, as there is no need for expenditure on base infrastructure. Ambala and Hasimara can both house two squadrons *EACH* of the Rafale. The only additional expenditure will be weaponry and spares.
The gap of 4 squadrons - with two additional Rafale squadrons - should be made up by the Tejas Mk1, which can be upgraded to the Mk1A. You cannot expect to replace legacy MiG-21s with expensive silver bullets. That is madness. Four additional Tejas squadrons will be 80 aircraft. 40 Tejas Mk1s + 83 Tejas Mk1As on order right now. 80 additional Tejas birds is peanuts compared to 110 silver bullets, despite the kool aid being delivered by the OEMs and which many have gotten drunk on (incl a few on this forum).