MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby Mort Walker » 09 Feb 2020 03:30

^^^Those sorts of tables are not for technical analysis anyways. There are several other parameters that must be assumed and accounted for. What they do serve is to give an order of magnitude. Some 30+ years ago when stealth was coming to the forefront in significant numbers for deployment, such tables were used to give radar operators and designers an idea of what to expect. The 1m^2 RCS for the B-1B was fairly accurate at the time, and from that point we used to calculate what we could detect based on frequency, power, and antenna gain.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby Rakesh » 09 Feb 2020 03:31

brar_w wrote:My suggestion was more out of amusement that Sukhoi considers the Su-35 as a competitive MRCA. Perhaps its time for them to throw the SU-57 into the ring as well.

Free for all contest :)

Sukhoi is probably thinking what is there to lose?

All the OEMs will know where they stand once the RFP is issued. As of now, only the RFI is out.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby Mort Walker » 09 Feb 2020 03:38

^^^How many times must we go through this? Just do an order for 100 Rafales, 200 LCA Tejas-MkII, and 200 MWF based on Tejas.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby brar_w » 09 Feb 2020 04:23

There is no LCA Tejas MKII. It transitioned into the MWF which will be ready towards the end of the coming decade. I don't think 100 Rafale's are possible within the current budgetary environment. I think 36-48 is probably the best the MOD can do. Here's hoping they scrap the competition and just go another G2G deal. Perhaps they can bake options into that deal and acquire more later down the road.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby ashthor » 09 Feb 2020 12:56

This tamasha will go on till MWF comes online. Everyone is being kept in good humor by dangling the carrots.
Forces have pretty much accepted that not much money is around.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby Rakesh » 10 Feb 2020 01:08

The rapid induction of phoren 4th generation fighters - via MMRCA 3.0 - has likely gone out the window. Same with making them within the country. Piece meal purchases will now happen i.e. 21 MiG-29s (in negotiation with RSK-MiG), 12 Su-30MKIs (in negotiation with HAL/Russia) and likely additional 36 - 54 Rafales.

CDS Gen Bipin Rawat Looks at Staggered Procurement, Monetising Defence Land to Tide over Cash Crunch
https://www.news18.com/news/india/cds-g ... 93507.html

When asked if this staggered approach would work for the IAF that is staring at a critically low squadron strength of 28, the CDS said while there is no freeze on buying, we need to see what time-frame the fighters need. “Even if the government sanctions money and says buy as many as 42 squadrons, how will you get 42 squadrons overnight? The 36 Rafales will come in three years. This is thousands of crores worth inventory and is not lying captive with any manufacturer,” he said.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby Rakesh » 10 Feb 2020 19:45

https://twitter.com/thaparvishal/status ... 45824?s=20 ---> 36 more Rafale fighters for Indian Air Force more likely than a 3rd aircraft carrier for the Indian Navy, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat appears to suggest in an interview.

Retirement Age of Jawans, Defence Budget & Politics: CDS Bipin Rawat Tackles Key Issues in Exclusive Interview
https://www.news18.com/news/india/retir ... 91951.html

Q. You have spoken about the staggered approach for the Army. What about the Air Force? Does this logic also apply to the Air Force, given the fact that its squadron strength is down to 28?

A. If you bring all these squadrons to 42 today, at what stage will you again come to 30? Today you are 30, say you go to 42 in the next two years, 10 years down the line these aircraft will be down for servicing wherever they are. What happens after 10 years? You are at minus twelve again. All of them will be due for servicing at the same time. Is that the way to do it? Today you bought these 36 Rafales…you buy another 36 may be after four years. What will happen then is, you will never have the downtime. You will at any time have two to three squadrons undergoing servicing requirements. That’s what I am trying to say. Even if the government tells you to go to 42 today…and you have the money… even if you have to buy 36 Rafales it will take three years to buy them. Where will you get them if you had to buy 10 more squadrons?

Q. But the Indian Air Force is looking to buy more fighters. Is that buying on freeze?

A. No, it’s not on freeze. If a country that manufactures those aircraft is taking three years to give you those 36 aircraft, how will you get 12 squadrons overnight? They will also take 10 years then. It’s very nice to look at the figures but these are not available. Like I said before, we are not buying bananas and oranges. You are buying defence equipment and they cost thousands of crores. These thousands of crores worth of inventory is not lying captive with any manufacturer. He will only start manufacturing when you give him the orders. That is what it is. So we are not saying that we don’t need it…we need it but in what time frame? There for we need to stagger the requirement and keep moving forward. You cannot build 42 squadrons overnight even if the government gives you the money.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby Rakesh » 10 Feb 2020 20:16

If they do go in for two more Rafale units, I hope it is 44 birds more and not 36. At 44 additional aircraft, that will be 80 aircraft in total. So 18 in each squadron (72 in total + 8 attrition reserves, at 2 per squadron). That aside, if two more squadrons of Rafales do come...I hope the MRCA contest (for 4th generation fighters) is closed. Focus on more Tejas Mk1As and continue with the development of MWF and AMCA. There is obviously no money for 114 shiny new fighters.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby brar_w » 10 Feb 2020 20:19

Agreed! I wonder how much time and energy will be lost trying to still set up a program to acquire those 114 aircraft though even if a very late RFP is fielded or even if they just drop it and don't field a formal RFP. It would have still consumed time, money and some effort which could have been used to put together a feasible plan B. The original MRCA RFI went out in 2001/2002 IIRC. As things currently stand, less than1/3 of what was originally asked for will be fielded only about 2 decades later. Here's hoping that the appointment of a CDS helps put an end to this sort of procurement cycle.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby Kartik » 11 Feb 2020 01:46

Cross posting from the International Aerospace thread-

PLAAF senior pilot reveals poor performance in joint exercise with RTAF Gripen Cs

An early December 2019 report from inside of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) reveals previously unreleased technical details of People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Russian-built Su-27s losing a majority of engagements in a November 2015 joint exercise with the 701 Fighter Squadron of the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF). This Thai unit operates eight Saab JAS-39C and four JAS-39D Gripens.

The engagements, known as Falcon Strike 2015, were the first of three such exercises and were detailed in a lecture given by one of the PLAAF’s most heavily decorated pilots, Senior Colonel Li Chunghua Hua (李中華), at the PRC’s Northwestern Polytechnical University (西北工业大学) in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province.

Li is described as one of the most experienced Sukhoi Su-27SK/J-11A pilots in the PLAAF with some 3,200 hours in fast jets, much of them in the Russian-made Sukhoi. His revelations are unprecedented and are assessed by US intelligence as demonstrating a growing concern within the officer corps over deficiencies with the training regime for the PLAAF’s pilot cadre.

These first exercises ran at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base and showed the advantages of the smaller and more technologically-advanced Gripen over the Russian Sukhoi. Several of Li’s summations from the exercise are:

The JAS-39 performance was at its worst inside the within visual range (WVR) envelope. Over a two-day period, PLAAF pilots shot down 25 Gripens at a loss of only one Su-27. The Su-27 has an advantage over the performance of the JAS-39 due to its more powerful Salyut AL-31F engines, and the Swedish aircraft was handicapped in that it was equipped with the older-generation AIM-9L Sidewinder instead of the current-generation Diehl IRIS-T missile.

Once the exercise transitioned to beyond visual range (BVR) combat, the superiority of the JAS-39 became readily apparent. The Swedish aircraft shot down 41 Su-27s over a period of four days with a loss of only nine JAS-39s.

The Su-27s flown by the PLAAF were operating with a modified version of the NIIP N001 radar that could fire the Vympel RVV-AE active-homing air-to-air missile (AAM). But its effective detection range was only 120km in comparison with the JAS-39’s Ericsson PS-05/A at 160km. The Gripen’s Raytheon AIM-120 AAM also outranged the RVV-AE at 80km versus only 50 km for the Russian missile.

Li stated that the JAS-39C/D’s much smaller radar cross-section (RCS) at 1.5-2.0 m2 was a major factor, as the much larger Su-27 is easier to detect at 12 sq miles. The JAS-39 can also ripple-fire up to four AIM-120s simultaneously but the Su-27 can fire only one RVV-AE at a time.

Gripen achieved 88 percent of its kills at 19 miles or greater, while the Su-27 had just 14 percent of its kills at this range. The RTAF also had 10 kills at a distance of more than 31 miles compared with zero long-distance kills by the Su-27.

In subsequent exercises the PLAAF fared better by sending the Chengdu J-10A - and then in 2019 the J-10C - in place of the Su-27. Li pointed out that the J-10C was more of a match for the JAS-39C/D in that “its active array radar significantly improves detection distance and multi-target attack capability, the DSI (divertless) air intake of the J-10C reduces the radar intercept area while the PL-15 missile increases the range, making it an over-the-horizon platform.”

Li also commented that the next-generation version of the Gripen, the JAS-39E, is likely to feature even more advanced combat performance. His interest in the aircraft parallels a larger body of analysis within the PLA intelligence community that has had a fixation on the design and development of the Gripen as a template for PRC industry to follow.



A lot of lessons to be learnt for the PLAAF, which would have then gone on to inform decisions on J-10B, J-10C, JF-17, J-15, J-11B, J-16, J-20 etc. Underscores the importance of 'first look, first kill' in modern combat. In WVR, the Su-27 (and its iterations, like the Su-30MKI) are very very hard to beat and with the R-73E and HMS, are really dangerous. But the BVR disadvantage with the radar and the weapons versus Western fighters is apparent. Plus, the large RCS means that even a PS-05A could detect the Su-27 at 160 km.

Some key take-aways from this that could apply to the IAF- the Tejas Mk1 with its small RCS (similar or might be even smaller than that of the Gripen C @ 1.5-2 m2) and it's terrific Elta 2032 MMR radar will be able to do the same in DACT against Su-30MKI. However, the Derby BVRAAM with it's max 55-60 km range is not adequate and the Astra BVRAAM needs to be made operational on the fleet urgently. With a 100 km range, the Tejas Mk1 will be lethal then.

The Thai Gripen Cs fared badly in WVR thanks to lack of a HMDS and HOBS WVRAAM like the IRIS-T or R-Darter. The Tejas Mk1 with the DASH and R-73E will be deadly comparatively.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby brar_w » 11 Feb 2020 02:12

Those AIM-9L meant they were at a severe handicap. JHMCS II and AIM-9X-2 would have given them a non-linear increase in capability.

Image

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby Kartik » 11 Feb 2020 03:38

Rakesh wrote:https://twitter.com/thaparvishal/status/1226849265965645824?s=20 ---> 36 more Rafale fighters for Indian Air Force more likely than a 3rd aircraft carrier for the Indian Navy, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat appears to suggest in an interview.

Retirement Age of Jawans, Defence Budget & Politics: CDS Bipin Rawat Tackles Key Issues in Exclusive Interview
https://www.news18.com/news/india/retir ... 91951.html

Q. You have spoken about the staggered approach for the Army. What about the Air Force? Does this logic also apply to the Air Force, given the fact that its squadron strength is down to 28?

A. If you bring all these squadrons to 42 today, at what stage will you again come to 30? Today you are 30, say you go to 42 in the next two years, 10 years down the line these aircraft will be down for servicing wherever they are. What happens after 10 years? You are at minus twelve again. All of them will be due for servicing at the same time. Is that the way to do it? Today you bought these 36 Rafales…you buy another 36 may be after four years. What will happen then is, you will never have the downtime. You will at any time have two to three squadrons undergoing servicing requirements. That’s what I am trying to say. Even if the government tells you to go to 42 today…and you have the money… even if you have to buy 36 Rafales it will take three years to buy them. Where will you get them if you had to buy 10 more squadrons?

Q. But the Indian Air Force is looking to buy more fighters. Is that buying on freeze?

A. No, it’s not on freeze. If a country that manufactures those aircraft is taking three years to give you those 36 aircraft, how will you get 12 squadrons overnight? They will also take 10 years then. It’s very nice to look at the figures but these are not available. Like I said before, we are not buying bananas and oranges. You are buying defence equipment and they cost thousands of crores. These thousands of crores worth of inventory is not lying captive with any manufacturer. He will only start manufacturing when you give him the orders. That is what it is. So we are not saying that we don’t need it…we need it but in what time frame? There for we need to stagger the requirement and keep moving forward. You cannot build 42 squadrons overnight even if the government gives you the money.


This is the most sensible option. Like Rakesh suggested, expand the buy to 44 or 48 Rafales bought off the shelf and instead of of MII for 96 odd local built MRCAs, focus on getting French cooperation on other programs as part of offsets. The French will be way happier with building the jets at Dassault facilities and may be more amenable to genuine technology insertions in key programs like the AMCA engine.

I don't know if we should read too much into this, but I'm somewhat glad that Gen Rawat is deflating some super expensive and probably unnecessary programs such as the third aircraft carrier and 57 MRCBF under the current circumstances. Here we have the IAF still flying 126 Bisons in 2020, putting them on ORP across forward air bases and there we have the IN demanding 57 more carrier fighters when 43 MiG-29Ks are in service for soon to be 2 carriers. The IN must simply focus on fixing the MiG-29K's issues and concurrently work with ADA and HAL on the TEDBF.

After all, what is more likely ? the Navy's MiG-29K fighters seeing combat action and being unable to respond with the number in service, or the IAF having to respond to another Pulwama style attack and having inadequate numbers of fighters up in the air? Clearly, the IAF faces the greater threat and needs new fighters far more urgently than the IN. If there is any budget for capital acquisitions then it must go to the IAF not the IN for this decade.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby Kartik » 11 Feb 2020 04:23

brar_w wrote:Those AIM-9L meant they were at a severe handicap. JHMCS II and AIM-9X-2 would have given them a non-linear increase in capability.


But that is an accurate representation of where the RTAF stood in terms of JHMCS at that time. But as to why they chose not to simulate their IRIS-T, I am not sure. RTAF bought IRIS-Ts along with their Gripens when the original contract was signed.

link

Thailand is to procure additional IRIS-T air-to-air missiles from German manufacturer Diehl Defence. The company recently announced the deal, although contract signature took place previously, on June 14.

The short-range air-air missile already arms Thailand’s Gripen and F-16 fighter fleets, after Bangkok originally selected the weapon in 2011. The latest batch will arm the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF, Kongtap Agard Thai) F-5 fleet, which is currently undergoing upgrade to Super Tiger standard.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby Bharadwaj » 12 Feb 2020 17:38

Well Well Well..... :twisted:

Boeing mulls F-15EX offer to India
https://www.flightglobal.com/singapore- ... 94.article

Boeing is contemplating pitching the F-15EX to New Delhi for one of the country’s long-running fighter procurements - a contest in which its F/A-18E/F is already competing.


We might as well order another 100mkis and be done with it.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby brar_w » 12 Feb 2020 17:40

The RFP isn't out yet but if Sukhoi is contemplating offering a Su-35 (I assume based on what they believe might be in the final RFP) then Boeing would probably be better off, offering the F-15 EX as well, in addition to the Super Hornet. It is by far the most capable combat fighter they produce and with EPAWSS its just gotten a significant leap in capability over the F-15 QA configuration. However, an MMRCA RFP that allows the Su-35 and F-15EX will be really strange..

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby ArjunPandit » 12 Feb 2020 18:01

a simplistic comparison of F35 v/s F15 EX

https://www.airforcemag.com/article/f-15ex-vs-f-35a/
there's a pdf towards the end of the page too...worth seeing for spec junkies

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby Bharadwaj » 12 Feb 2020 18:12

The su-57 with a much smaller rcs (said to be same as a small missile) would be a much better bet than this dinosaur with lipstic. Another 36 rafale/more mkis and as many mk1a as Hal can produce will be the most simple and efficient end to this circus.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby brar_w » 12 Feb 2020 18:39

Bharadwaj wrote:The su-57 with a much smaller rcs (said to be same as a small missile) would be a much better bet than this dinosaur with lipstic. Another 36 rafale/more mkis and as many mk1a as Hal can produce will be the most simple and efficient end to this circus.


The F-15EX is far from a dinosaur. It is an interesting approach to 4+ generation upgrades that surrenders to the fact that RCS reduction on 4th generation aircraft is a fools errand (beyond a certain point) and instead packs the aircraft to the hilt with electronics that will allow it the ability to do stand off attack. Everything from a huge AESA, to a GaN based EW/EA suite, next gen. passive sensors, NG cockpit, all tied into the fastest mission computer anywhere (including the current MC's on the F-35 and F-22) and stores for longer ranged weapons (JASSM-XR, and upcoming hypersonic weapons to name a few).

The MOD has not indicated whether the MMRCA competition will be further extended to include heavy stealth fighters. If they do, I'm sure Sukhoi will look at offering a third choice from its lineup as long as they can get on with the industrial effort around that program by the time the RFP comes out (IF IT COMES OUT).

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby Bharadwaj » 12 Feb 2020 19:11

brar_w wrote:
Bharadwaj wrote:The su-57 with a much smaller rcs (said to be same as a small missile) would be a much better bet than this dinosaur with lipstic. Another 36 rafale/more mkis and as many mk1a as Hal can produce will be the most simple and efficient end to this circus.


The F-15EX is far from a dinosaur. It is an interesting approach to 4+ generation upgrades that surrenders to the fact that RCS reduction on 4th generation aircraft is a fools errand (beyond a certain point) and instead packs the aircraft to the hilt with electronics that will allow it the ability to do stand off attack. Everything from a huge AESA, to a GaN based EW/EA suite, next gen. passive sensors, NG cockpit, all tied into the fastest mission computer anywhere (including the current MC's on the F-35 and F-22) and stores for longer ranged weapons (JASSM-XR, and upcoming hypersonic weapons to name a few).

The MOD has not indicated whether the MMRCA competition will be further extended to include heavy stealth fighters. If they do, I'm sure Sukhoi will look at offering a third choice from its lineup as long as they can get on with the industrial effort around that program by the time the RFP comes out (IF IT COMES OUT).


Brar Saar, as shown by the Chinese experience vs the Thai Gripens, a fighter with a high rcs can have undesired consequences vs a lower rcs fighter with a good radar. Even when you consider the advantage the higher fuel capacity provides in BVR, I am not sure a 100 f-15's is the solution vs many hundreds of j-10s and bandars. All the fancy electronics in the world did not help the f-18/16 in the previous mmrca eval vs the Rafale (the retired chiefs interview sheds light on this). The f-15 is an ancient platform and I surely hope the IAF would not be buying it.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby Rakesh » 12 Feb 2020 19:53

brar_w wrote:The RFP isn't out yet but if Sukhoi is contemplating offering a Su-35 (I assume based on what they believe might be in the final RFP) then Boeing would probably be better off, offering the F-15 EX as well, in addition to the Super Hornet. It is by far the most capable combat fighter they produce and with EPAWSS its just gotten a significant leap in capability over the F-15 QA configuration. However, an MMRCA RFP that allows the Su-35 and F-15EX will be really strange..

Closing all the loopholes. From the US perspective, it is a smart move. They believe it increases their chances of winning. F-15EX covers the heavy fighter competition (Su-35). The F-18E/F covers the medium fighter competition (Rafale, Eurofighter). The F-21 covers the MiG-35 and Gripen E.

From an industrial perspective, the HAL/Mahindra partnership with Boeing will be hard pressed to beat. F-18s for the Indian Navy and F-15s for the Indian Air Force. This is probably Boeing's strategy.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby Chinmay » 12 Feb 2020 20:13

brar_w wrote:
The F-15EX is far from a dinosaur. It is an interesting approach to 4+ generation upgrades that surrenders to the fact that RCS reduction on 4th generation aircraft is a fools errand (beyond a certain point) and instead packs the aircraft to the hilt with electronics that will allow it the ability to do stand off attack. Everything from a huge AESA, to a GaN based EW/EA suite, next gen. passive sensors, NG cockpit, all tied into the fastest mission computer anywhere (including the current MC's on the F-35 and F-22) and stores for longer ranged weapons (JASSM-XR, and upcoming hypersonic weapons to name a few).

The MOD has not indicated whether the MMRCA competition will be further extended to include heavy stealth fighters. If they do, I'm sure Sukhoi will look at offering a third choice from its lineup as long as they can get on with the industrial effort around that program by the time the RFP comes out (IF IT COMES OUT).


The brain knows that the MMRCA is unaffordable, and Tejas is the way to go. The heart however, wants the Eagle....

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby brar_w » 12 Feb 2020 21:39

Bharadwaj wrote:Brar Saar, as shown by the Chinese experience vs the Thai Gripens, a fighter with a high rcs can have undesired consequences vs a lower rcs fighter with a good radar. Even when you consider the advantage the higher fuel capacity provides in BVR, I am not sure a 100 f-15's is the solution vs many hundreds of j-10s and bandars. All the fancy electronics in the world did not help the f-18/16 in the previous mmrca eval vs the Rafale (the retired chiefs interview sheds light on this). The f-15 is an ancient platform and I surely hope the IAF would not be buying it.


It is very dangerous to generalize what is claimed to have happened in that outing. Even if one were generalizing, it is very important the the right lessons are drawn from it. The F-15 EX is nothing like what the Flankers in that exercise. Firstly, the EX carries the largest AESA radar that the US has ever built for fighter applications (AN/APG-82. And Raytheon isn't some Chinese OEM new to the AESA game. They've put into service more than 1100 fighter AESA radars and have had a hot production line for the last 20 years). It is very easy to generalize and draw quick conclusions on parity. X has AESA, Y has AESA so they must be equal. Having an opportunity of producing 1000+ radars and a design and production experience of over 20 years is a HUGE advantage. This is paired with one of the most advanced defensive suits it has built. All of this is wrapped up in a very efficient MMI via the new cockpit and the processing needed to extract the best performance from these systems. On top of this, it will be paired with competent BVR and WVR weapons in the AIM-120 C/D and AIM-260 JATM along with 9X Block II and/or ASRAAM or IRIS-T etc etc.

That smaller aircraft with good SA can be extremely potent, when they leverage their strengths, is a lesson that the F-16 (to a lesser extent the F/A-18) has been teaching to to novice F-15 pilots in the US for the last many decades. In fact, even young F-22A pilots learn that from aggressor T-38's. Yet the F-15 remains the preferred DCA choice in the USAF (it is even superior to the F-22 in this regard) and second only to the F-22/F-35 in OCA when stealth is of less importance. This is because when these aircraft are properly supported, and leveraged in ways that maximize their advantages they have a huge contribution to a large force on large force engagement which is what really matters in the grander scheme of things. With a 144 F-15 EX buy, the USAF will now have a fleet of close to 400 advance Strike Eagles (F-15E's have been or are being upgraded to incorporate 90% of the changes of the F-15EX) which is likely double the number of Rafale's the French Air Force can hope to field by 2030. Think about that from a product support perspetive when the French get busy with spending billions on the FCAS and attempt to pass down Rafale upgrade costs to the export users (not saying that this will happen but this is the case Boeing can make by choosing to offer something like this).

Now set that aside for a second. This is a Multi-Role aircraft program. So let us look at what the F-15EX brings to the table across the mission spectrum instead of just a very narrow focus on a Flanker vs Gripen encounter etc. It has amazing range even without EFT's thanks to the extra fuel in those CFT's. The engines have been made more powerful and the defensive suite with its GaN AESA approach is top notch (F-18 Block III+ is only now getting investments that will take it there by the mid 2020's, the F-15EX will have EPAWSS from the start). The Radar is one of the best anywhere and things like long range passive targeting and data-links have also been addressed. It has the same impressive weapons suite of the Block III Super Hornet (including some unique weapons that many of the competitors do not have or even plan to have) but can carry a lot more thanks to its 13,000+ kg payload and the 15 hardpoints available for Air to Ground munitions. The only thing that it is inferior to the Block III Super Hornet on is the RCS when clean. Boeing tried selling a reduced RCS version of the Strike Eagle and found no takers. Only when they made it even better than what it was in its Stand Off Strike mission did it rekindle interest in the market. Boeing tried to do that again with the Advanced Super Hornet and failed to excite customers. That is no coincidence. Many 4+ generation aircraft makers tried to sell the virtues of RCS especially when the F-35 program was taking off to say that they were also competitive. None yet have been able to make that case because most users utilize them in ways that leverage them as Stand Off platforms against higher end threats..When you kit them out that way they no longer have any RCS advantage.

Rakesh wrote:From an industrial perspective, the HAL/Mahindra partnership with Boeing will be hard pressed to beat. F-18s for the Indian Navy and F-15s for the Indian Air Force. This is probably Boeing's strategy.

Yeah that is exactly what I was thinking and why I questioned the idea behind just the Block III offer a couple of days ago (and not the F-15EX now that the USAF is backing it fully). We all know that the MMRCA 2.0 is unlikely to materialize and even if it does Dassault has a very substantial advantage. However, assuming that Boeing has made a decision to take it seriously, it makes a ton of sense, from a competitive perspective, for Boeing to offer the best land based fighter, and the best naval fighter it currently makes as long as the terms of the final RFP permit them to do so.

https://www.boeing.com/defense/f-15ex/
Last edited by brar_w on 12 Feb 2020 22:23, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby ldev » 12 Feb 2020 21:52

For a fighter pilot dominated Air Force such as the IAF with it's love of kinetic performance (the primary complaint against the F-18E/F), the F-15EX will deliver that kinetic performance in spades compared to any other entry in the MMRCA competition and that includes the Rafale. It flies higher (60,000 feet) and faster(Mach 2.5 at altitude) than any of the other entries in the MMRCA 2.0. And will also carry the most amount of munitions, payload as well as hard points, besides having the largest and most powerful AESA radar. If you are going for a 4th Gen fighter the F-15EX is arguably the best there is.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby Rakesh » 12 Feb 2020 22:01

brar_w wrote:
Rakesh wrote:From an industrial perspective, the HAL/Mahindra partnership with Boeing will be hard pressed to beat. F-18s for the Indian Navy and F-15s for the Indian Air Force. This is probably Boeing's strategy.

Yeah that is exactly what I was thinking and why I questioned the idea behind just the Block III offer a couple of days ago (and not the F-15EX now that the USAF is backing it fully). We all know that the MMRCA 2.0 is unlikely to materialize and even if it does Dassault has a very substantial advantage. However, assuming that Boeing has made a decision to take it seriously, it makes a ton of sense, from a competitive perspective, for Boeing to offer the best land based fighter, and the best naval fighter it currently makes as long as the terms of the final RFP permit them to do so.

https://www.boeing.com/defense/f-15ex/

Is there an estimate of a cost per flight hour of the F-15EX?

The HAL/Mahindra partnership is a masterstroke move by Boeing. Mahindra will do the heavy-lifting and HAL will do screwdrivergiri. Make in India and HAL having jobs are both solved.

On an unrelated note (and nothing to do with the MRCA discussion), but the Growler variant that the Aussies operate....is that the same spec version as the US version? I believe you have answered this in the past, but cannot remember now.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby brar_w » 12 Feb 2020 22:15

Rakesh wrote:Is there an estimate of a cost per flight hour of the F-15EX?

CPFH analysis/comparison is tricky because in the US the CPFH includes literally everything from salaries (all manpower cost across the entire fleet divided by hours flown for example) to shared cost between two or more than two platforms. Those can range from anywhere from $5,000 to up to $25,000 in additional cost (per hour) depending upon which program you are talking about, how many aircraft are currently in the fleet..how many bases are supporting that aircraft around the world, and how it deploys (fuel from tankers cost many times the fuel per gallon cost at an air-base for example) etc. etc. etc.

But from a bare-bone cost perspective (how much of "consumables" are used up by a fleet) the F-15E CPFH was around $17,251 in 2018 (a good proxy for EX though EX promises to be slightly cheaper on account of more reliable systems). For comparison the same bare-bone cost for an F-16C in the USAF fleet (same year) was around $8,500 per hour and for the F-18E/F was around $11,500.

Again, these aren't O&M CPFH numbers because those include manpower costs which are US specific and don't translate to non US operators. Additionally, US CPFH costs also are high for some systems because they are used ineffiently, though effectively. For example, if efficiency and low CPFH was of main concern the relatively small F-22A fleet would only operate out of 2 or maximium of 3 bases. But that wouldn't be effective so a global base structure is supported that can either house F-22A or surge to meet F-22A operations in time of need. All that additional cost adds up and gets allocated to the fleet which then makes the CPFH number sound ridiculously high. The B-2 is notorious for a very high CPFH but a lot of that is on account of indirect cost to support a very small fleet that is capable of global operations (and not necessarily the consumables that go into flying an aircraft). Same with F-35. There is a huge upfront cost of training and ensuring a smooth global fleet bed-down. That inflates the CPFH and then when you have a lot of aircraft in service then that number begins to come down. It is expected that by 2025 the F-35 will capture those efficiencies.

Consumables (parts, fuel, and other services) usually tend to translate better though not perfectly.
Last edited by brar_w on 12 Feb 2020 22:50, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby Rakesh » 12 Feb 2020 22:33

Perfect. That is what I was looking for. As always, thank you.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby Rakesh » 12 Feb 2020 23:11

Mixed Fried Rice anyone? :)

https://twitter.com/tantunain/status/12 ... 33889?s=20 ---> Indian MMRCA 2.0

Image

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby ArjunPandit » 12 Feb 2020 23:32

MRCA is MNREGA for MOD and brochure makers...

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby Rakesh » 13 Feb 2020 01:20

Found this on Twitter....

Image

Image

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby Kartik » 13 Feb 2020 01:22

ldev wrote:For a fighter pilot dominated Air Force such as the IAF with it's love of kinetic performance (the primary complaint against the F-18E/F), the F-15EX will deliver that kinetic performance in spades compared to any other entry in the MMRCA competition and that includes the Rafale. It flies higher (60,000 feet) and faster(Mach 2.5 at altitude) than any of the other entries in the MMRCA 2.0. And will also carry the most amount of munitions, payload as well as hard points, besides having the largest and most powerful AESA radar. If you are going for a 4th Gen fighter the F-15EX is arguably the best there is.

No, the F-15E is not the most kinematically gifted fighter jet out there. Neither was the F-15C, it was always the F-16 which was the nimble agile dogfighter with full 9G/-3G capability. The F-21 will be the most nimble US fighter currently on offer to us.

F-15C's max G limit is 7.33Gs. The F-15E was designed to be a two seat strike fighter so the emphasis wasn't on 9G capability.
What many people don't know is that even the F-14 wasn't that agile..7.5G max limit and even that was reduced to 6.5Gs as the airframes started to age.

IMO, this is the least viable American jet out there for the IAF. Too expensive to buy, too expensive to operate, overlapping in every way with the Su-30MKI. On a side note, it is not as nimble as people believe. Electronics wise, it is amazing yes, but then so is the Super Hornet and the F-21. Service life is where it takes the cake, with a service life of 16,000 hours, exceeding that of the F-21 by 4,000 hours. Can basically stay aloft for hours and hours on CAP with a large BVRAAM and WVRAAM load.

Boeing estimates that F-15EX will cost $80 million

That is the fly-away unit cost for the USAF, which operates F-15Es and already has extensive infrastructure to support the F-15E fleet and train pilots. Gross weapons system cost is estimated to be ~$ 130 million per unit, for the USAF. It'll comfortably exceed $160-180 million per unit for an export order for a nation that doesn't have any support infrastructure for the F-15E.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby brar_w » 13 Feb 2020 01:45

Kartik wrote:Electronics wise, it is amazing yes, but then so is the Super Hornet and the F-21.

Respectfully, those aren't even in the same league. The APG-82, EPAWSS and ADCP II combination is miles ahead of where the F-21 is and the Super Hornet won't get its new EW/EA upgrade till at least 2025 (but maybe 2026-2028 time-frame).

Of course this ignores the payload both in terms of capacity and types of weapons it can carry and the range and TOS advantage over the two. Also, The F-15EX is 9G capable and it is not based on the F-15E but the F-15QA which has a digital fly by wire FCS compared to the F-15C and E's hybrid electro-mechanical system. I agree that it will be more costly. But if there isn't a distinction in terms of Medium and Heavy in the RFP, I would enter it if I was Boeing. It is miles ahead of the Block III SH for a land based application and overall as a Multi-Role fighter. The F-21 will be inferior to both though cheaper to own and operate than both. Boeing has a low chance of winning this,assuming the competition even goes the full distance. But at least in this case they'd be offering the best they currently produce.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby Kartik » 13 Feb 2020 03:24

brar_w wrote:
Bharadwaj wrote:The su-57 with a much smaller rcs (said to be same as a small missile) would be a much better bet than this dinosaur with lipstic. Another 36 rafale/more mkis and as many mk1a as Hal can produce will be the most simple and efficient end to this circus.


The F-15EX is far from a dinosaur. It is an interesting approach to 4+ generation upgrades that surrenders to the fact that RCS reduction on 4th generation aircraft is a fools errand (beyond a certain point) and instead packs the aircraft to the hilt with electronics that will allow it the ability to do stand off attack. Everything from a huge AESA, to a GaN based EW/EA suite, next gen. passive sensors, NG cockpit, all tied into the fastest mission computer anywhere (including the current MC's on the F-35 and F-22) and stores for longer ranged weapons (JASSM-XR, and upcoming hypersonic weapons to name a few).

The MOD has not indicated whether the MMRCA competition will be further extended to include heavy stealth fighters. If they do, I'm sure Sukhoi will look at offering a third choice from its lineup as long as they can get on with the industrial effort around that program by the time the RFP comes out (IF IT COMES OUT).


The more I've been reading up on the F-15EX, the more I agree that it's radar, EW suite and electronics are truly cutting edge. Good to know that it is based on the F-15QA, which was the latest variant. But I wasn't aware that it is 9G capable. Still trying to find a source for that. Wasn't the digital FCS developed first for the F-15SA?

As of now, we have 270+ heavy twin seat fighters that cost a lot of $ per hour to operate. And the F-15EX falls in the same category. I'd much rather the IAF opts for what the GoI and the Ministry of Finance won't consider unaffordable and end up in the same quagmire that was MRCA 1.0. What the F-21 and F/A-18 E/F bring to the table is so far ahead of what PAF has access to that some qualitative differences in terms of avionics is not as important as cost is.

Think about all the fast jet programs that are lined up, which also compete with the MRCA for $.

1) We have 270 Su-30MKIs that need to go in for MLU- a Super-30 upgrade program that brings in the best of indigenous and Russian/Israeli ware to keep the Su-30MKI flying for another 25 years. Even at $20 million per unit, that is well over $ 5 billion
2) Then, the 83 Tejas Mk1A, which will cost $5 billion
3) to be followed by the MWF, which while the most affordable for the IAF, won't cost less than $60-65 million each taking into account the larger size and inflation for labor and raw materials costs.

If the total cost ends up in the $20 billion range, it will be consigned to the same dust bin of never ending negotiations and no contract signature will happen.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby kit » 13 Feb 2020 03:48

maybe the circus should be named " Never Going to Happen" contest., F18 for IN maybe

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby Kartik » 13 Feb 2020 03:52

F/A-18 or Rafale M for the IN is hardly important. Additional fighters for the IAF is a real urgent necessity. It is up to the IAF to be pragmatic and show that it has learnt the lessons from MRCA 1.0.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby brar_w » 13 Feb 2020 04:33

Kartik wrote:But I wasn't aware that it is 9G capable. Still trying to find a source for that. Wasn't the digital FCS developed first for the F-15SA?


The F-15E has always been 9G capable. The digital FCS was developed for the F-15SA and was developed in a hybrid manner (Boeing and Saudi co-funding) so that the development and operational testing would be conducted by the USAF and it would be certified to USAF standards so that either the USAF or any other user wouldn't need to repeat it if they had any issues with obtaining certification data from the Saudi's. All subsequent F-15's are called "Advanced Eagles" with designations changing depending upon user (Qatar went with QA and USAF with EX). The only real difference between the F-15SA and the F-15 QA is that the latter has the Large Area Display cockpit while the former has an upgraded cockpit but not the WAD. I think this is because the Saudi's did wan't Israeli equipment and when it came to Qatar's choice they were able to work around that issue and offer it some other way through intermediaries.

Structurally the F-15E differs little from its predecessors; in terms of component weight the commonality approaches 97%. Though the differences are few, they have significant effects. The structure has been strengthened in several areas which allows the aircraft full 9G manoeuvring capability when loaded. The undercarriage and associated load bearing structures have also been strengthened, lifting the allowed gross takeoff weight from 68,000 lb in the C/D to a full 81,000 lb.

All F-15Es will be fitted with conformal fuel tanks, each of which is equipped with six tangential hardpoints, three outboard and three inboard. The outboard hardpoints are stressed for up to 1000 lb weapons, the inboard fore and aft for up to 2000 lb weapons. LINK

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby V_Raman » 13 Feb 2020 06:03

right on cue -

Boeing mulls F-15EX offer to India
https://www.flightglobal.com/singapore- ... 94.article

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby brar_w » 13 Feb 2020 06:03

^ Yes this was posted earlier.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby Kartik » 13 Feb 2020 06:15

If the F-15E was structurally not different from the F-15C (which it was not- there was changes made) then it would have been 7.33G capable, like F-15Cs were. But it was structurally reinforced to be able to handle the role of a strike aircraft operating at low levels carrying air to ground weaponry. That possibly meant that with the introduction of FCS on the F-15E, the pilot could pull 9Gs with certain stores configurations.

link

All F-15Es were two-seaters, with the rear cockpit optimized for a "weapons system operator" -- "WSO" or "whizzo". The F-15E was a true "second generation" Eagle, featuring a number of significant improvements over the F-15C/D, including:

Reinforcement of about 60% of the airframe to permit longer operation at low-level, though the F-15E retained a high degree of parts commonality with the F-15C/D.
Improved materials were used in some assemblies, while fire-resistant foam was installed between the fuel tanks and the engines to improve survivability.

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby brar_w » 13 Feb 2020 06:32

Kartik wrote:That possibly meant that with the introduction of FCS on the F-15E, the pilot could pull 9Gs with certain stores configurations.


The F-15E is 9G capable and has been since day-1 it was introduced (way before the FBW was introduced). So are all other fighter derived from it like the F-15K, F-15SG, F-15SA, F-15QA and the F-15EX. A digital FBW was cut into the design in the F-15SA and all other configurations that follow will incorporate it. It has nothing to do with its ability to pull 9G's which existed in earlier variants.

This from an official Boeing source from back in the early 2000's -

Image

Here's a Congressional exchange from back when the F-15E was being developed -

Image

https://books.google.com/books?id=oWLVA ... &q&f=false

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Re: MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

Postby ldev » 13 Feb 2020 10:27

Kartik wrote:No, the F-15E is not the most kinematically gifted fighter jet out there. Neither was the F-15C, it was always the F-16 which was the nimble agile dogfighter with full 9G/-3G capability. The F-21 will be the most nimble US fighter currently on offer to us.
[b]

By kinetic I was referring more to things like T/W at typical mission weight, time to altitude, maximum speed, operational ceiling, for all these parameters I believe the F-15EX will be superior to any other entry in the MMRCA competition.

An interesting excerpt on the F-15EX design and specifications since the USAF is buying 144 of them:

Brand-new F-15EXs will have strong bones and could last a long time—Krumm ( Maj. Gen. David A. Krumm, USAF’s Director of Strategic Plans and Requirements) said 20,000 hours—meaning it could potentially serve well into the 2040s or 50s.


Air Force leaders have said they are seeking an early, interim hypersonics capability, and having F-15s that are not speed-limited due to their age (as current aircraft are) could be helpful in that pursuit. The F-15 design is technically capable of exceeding Mach 3, and so could accelerate a hypersonic missile close to its Mach 5-plus operating regime. That, in turn, would permit smaller booster rockets for weapons such as the Tactical Boost Glide hypersonic concept. The F-35, which was never designed to be USAF’s high-end dogfighter, has a top speed of Mach 1.6, and the first generation of hypersonic missiles is unlikely to fit inside its weapons bay.


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