MRCA (Many Rakshaks Choose Aircraft) Contest - Episode III

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

Postby Kartik » 17 Feb 2021 12:04

Shekhar Singh wrote:If we shortlist mig 35 with India specific enhancements and integrate our stuffs like Uttam AESA, and other equipments developed for MWF and indigenous weapons like Astra mk1, astra mk2, Rudram series, Saw etc. then it will come very cheap and the money saved can be used to buy 36 more Rafales and more MWFs.


If WE have to do all this then why even bother with an import? What's different between this and the planned or offered indigenous upgrades for the Su-30MKI?

And don't fall for this "cheap" line. You get what you pay for. The MiG-35's operating costs won't be cheap nor will it's life cycle costs be that much cheaper when compared to availability. Reliability, uptime, MTBF and MTBO figures matter and here the Rafale, Gripen E and F-21 will be far superior.

I don't think that adopting a fighter that has no real future in it's own parent air force, or any other air force is the way to go..neither does the OEM (MiG) have deep pockets to develop relevant upgrades that will keep it cutting edge. We will have to do everything for it on our own. If that has to be the case, then why not just put the money into developing an Air Force variant of ORCA derived from the TEDBF?

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

Postby nachiket » 17 Feb 2021 12:19

I don't think adopting any foreign fighter besides the Rafale at this point makes any sense. That too at most 2 more squadrons. Anything beyond that is financially unfeasible. The holdup might be political perhaps. A repeat order will revive the cries of another fake "Rafale scam" from the opposition.

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

Postby Cain Marko » 17 Feb 2021 12:49

nachiket wrote:I don't think adopting any foreign fighter besides the Rafale at this point makes any sense. That too at most 2 more squadrons. Anything beyond that is financially unfeasible. The holdup might be political perhaps. A repeat order will revive the cries of another fake "Rafale scam" from the opposition.

The BJP won with better numbers despite all the RnD over Rafale. Nobody is willing to believe Raga and gang. There is no reason for any hesitation on follow on Rafale order, least of all because of more RnD over Rafale. That is a dead horse, well buried. So the GOI's aaram sey attitude on the next 36 is not only unwarranted, but bordering negligent.

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

Postby nachiket » 17 Feb 2021 15:20

I am indulging in speculation of course that the delay is political. Might just be lack of money right now for even 2 squadrons or it could be the IAF insisting on the number being 114. Only way to find enough money for that is for the Defence Minister and Finance Minister to personally find and raid Ali Baba's cave of treasures.

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

Postby Kartik » 17 Feb 2021 15:46

Cain Marko wrote:
nachiket wrote:I don't think adopting any foreign fighter besides the Rafale at this point makes any sense. That too at most 2 more squadrons. Anything beyond that is financially unfeasible. The holdup might be political perhaps. A repeat order will revive the cries of another fake "Rafale scam" from the opposition.

The BJP won with better numbers despite all the RnD over Rafale. Nobody is willing to believe Raga and gang. There is no reason for any hesitation on follow on Rafale order, least of all because of more RnD over Rafale. That is a dead horse, well buried. So the GOI's aaram sey attitude on the next 36 is not only unwarranted, but bordering negligent.


And not to mention, the Rafale has been hyped to a degree that no other fighter has been. Even laymen know of it as being a superb fighter. There won't be any questions about it's capabilities as such if another 36 were to be ordered.

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

Postby LakshmanPST » 17 Feb 2021 18:54

nachiket wrote:I am indulging in speculation of course that the delay is political. Might just be lack of money right now for even 2 squadrons or it could be the IAF insisting on the number being 114. Only way to find enough money for that is for the Defence Minister and Finance Minister to personally find and raid Ali Baba's cave of treasures.


I also believe this is indeed the reason why they're not going for even 2 Squadrons of Rafale purchase now...
Current major IAF orders, which will be over in a year or two, are as follows:-
1) 36 Rafale
2) S400
3) 40 Tejas Mk1
4) Su30 MKI
5) Mirage 2000I upgrade

Immediate orders lined up are as follows:-
1) 83 Tejas Mk1A (ordered)
2) 56 C295
3) 21 MIG29
4) 12 Su30
5) LCH
6) HTT40
7) Super Sukhoi upgrade

With the above orders, I doubt there is money for 36 more Rafales... IAF need to set aside 1 Billion $ per year on an average for the next six years if they have to go for it.

By 2028, many of the above orders will be done. The only major order to cone up will be Tejas Mk2. They will have the budget for additional Rafales only then.

If they go for MRFA, going by MMRCA 1.0 timeline, if RFP is issued in 2023, it will be only in 2028 that contract will be signed.

So, going for Additional Rafale/MRFA after 2028 is more convenient from a budgetary point of view...
IAF is probably keeping the carrot alive for now, more like a back up to indigenous projects...

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

Postby Rakesh » 18 Feb 2021 23:20

brar_w wrote:Study what the US Air Force is saying carefully. They are still fielding an Air-Wing worth (60-80 aircraft per year) of F-35A's a year through the end of the program (in the 2030s), but what this study is going to focus on is primarily around what to do with the low end fleet i.e...

Brar, I am going to pull this discussion into this thread, as I have a few questions which will tie into this thread. But first, I want to highlight something that General Charles Brown, USAF Air Chief, said.

USAF rethinks future fleet, ponders clean-sheet 4.5 generation fighter
https://www.flightglobal.com/fixed-wing ... 71.article
17 Feb 2021

The US Air Force (USAF) is studying a future fighter fleet that might include new Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters or possibly a clean-sheet 4.5th-generation fighter.
....
Despite acknowledging interest in the F-16, Brown says he has not ruled out starting from scratch.

“I want to be able to build something new and different, that’s not the F-16,” he says. “I want to entertain a clean sheet design of something that’s not necessarily fourth-gen, but may not be completely fifth-gen either. There’s some other low-end type things in our high-end fight. We need to have the right force [mix].”

Brown says there are some capabilities that the USAF might not be able to get out of the 1970s-era F-16.

1) Why is the USAF looking at a clean-sheet 4.5 generation fighter, when the F-21 is there? Lockheed Martin has marketed the F-21 as a 4.5 generation fighter with F-35 technology. Would it not make financial sense to go down this road?

2) Why is the USAF looking to build something new and different, that is not the F-16 (or F-21)? Why does the USAF believe that they will not be able to get some capabilities out of the F-16 (or F-21)? Would you happen to have an idea as to what capabilities they are looking for?

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

Postby brar_w » 18 Feb 2021 23:30

Rakesh, I have replied to these points in the US thread. It captures most of the essence of why replacing an F-16 with a "new F-16" may not necessarily be the best approach (it may but they want to study it). This ties into two aspects. One is the availability of other options (that did not exist in the past) that can get them more optimized capability to the ANG and AF Reserve units than the F-16V/21, and the other is being able to leverage tools, and processes that they've developed for the 6th gen. program (NGAD) that they want to apply to this selection approach.

In an ideal world, the US Air Force should not have been forced to buy the 140-200 F-15EX that they've now committed too. They should have bought half as many F-15EX's, and competed the F-15EX and F-16V/21 for the remaining half (The F-16V would have won that fight on account of LCC). Now that they are pondering about the other legacy low end fleet (mostly F-16's but some A-10s as well) they don't have to go for a non-competitive acquisition and can actually sit down and analyze what the right fleet mix of capability, quantity and sustainment model may be. It may well serve the US Air Force better to transition the F-16's to a light attack aircraft (just an example).

In some ways, the light attack fighter (for example - a T-7 derived system) is going to be more capable for its unique need than an F-16V because it being a clean sheet is leveraging the same design tools and OMS approach that they are using on the 6th generation fighter program (NGAD). So it is not just about pure performance play, but also about providing the right type for the right role that you envision these units doing in the future. The USAF Chief wants to study all options and not just a narrowly focused approach the Mattis DOD used to put the F-15EX on his plate. I think it is a good decision. The F-15EX decision was taken in haste primarily because they had just a few months before the F-15C upgrade decision had to be made which would have committed them to an expensive upgrade path. For the ANG/Reserve F-16's, that decision does not need to be taken this quickly. Thy have time to study it and at least one year to budget for anything that comes out of that study.
Last edited by brar_w on 18 Feb 2021 23:36, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby Rakesh » 18 Feb 2021 23:35

Perfect. Thank you brar. Appreciate you taking the time to reply in detail.

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

Postby brar_w » 18 Feb 2021 23:47

And just for completeness, this isn't something that is new. The USAF has spent the last couple of years deliberating on how to and with what to replace the early block F-16's that will be going out this decade if a decision is made to not upgrade them. Remember the F-35A buys are mostly fixed and will fluctuate around 50-70 aircraft a year for the USAF given both production capacity and budget realities. So if they decide not to "upgrade" the older F-16's currently not earmarked for F-35A conversion within a 5-10 year timespan then they have to decide what to do with those units, a lot of which are with the ANG and AF Reserve. On top of this, the USAF a couple of years ago, revealed that it wanted to grow the Tactical fighter squadrons so there is not just a modernization pressure, but also a growth problem to solve. And it is not just new F-16, vs upgraded F-16, vs New types in the mix. As recently as last year, senior USAF leadership have floated other areas that they could also look at (like unmanned/attritable aircraft squadrons permanently forward deployed):

From February 2020:

The next stage “will be what we call the pre-block F-16s—the Block 25 and 30 Fighting Falcons—that we’re still flying.” Within the next eight years, “depending on budgets and capabilities, we’ll have to decide what we’ll do about those airplanes,” Holmes said. There is an “opportunity” to cut-in “something new: low cost, attritable [aircraft], loyal wingmen, various things we’re … experimenting with.”

After that, ACC will confront “the post-Block F-16s—the Block 40s and 50s—that can fly for quite a bit longer, but there is a modernization bill that would have to be spent to keep them useful,” Holmes said, suggesting further service life extension for the F-16 may be coming.

Gen. Arnold Bunch, commander of Air Force Materiel Command, said the F-16 post-block fleet could be extended for as much as another 10 years of service life, starting in the mid-20s. A SLEP would have to focus first on making them safe to fly, he said, and they would need technology insertions to make them relevant, “depending on what you use them for.” The aircraft will already have Active Electronically Scanned Array radars and digital backbones, he noted.

LINK

So there are two categories of F-16's that need a decision made by the mid 2020's. A portion are quite old both physically and in terms of capability. Upgrade and life-extension may not be a very cost-effective way for them. Others already have had performance upgrades (like AESA, like IRST-enabled etc) but still need structural upgrades to make it into the mid to late 2030's. Do you spend money to keep them going or can you club this fairly sizable demand (perhaps a couple of hundred aircraft) into something that has the right incentive for your industry to respond with either A) new variants of existing designs, or B ) New designs derived from different programs. This is what the CSAF wants to study and it is much better than just jumping in for whatever is available (F-15EX approach).

Notice that these articles are just about a year apart. This is not a coincidence. These discussions begin to happen quite openly during budget season. This is the first budget year for the new Air Force Chief of Staff so it will begin to reflect some of his philosophy but more importantly begin to fund some of his priorities that won't show up until a year or so as these things take time to get done and incorporated into budgets.

The USAF had four major short term Tac fleet decisions to be made. 1) What to do with the F-15C Guard units, 2 ) What to do with the F-16's not currently replaced by F-35As, 3 ) How to replace the predator/reaper fleets, and 4 ) How to field the 6th gen. NGAD. Out of these 1 & 4 seem to have been made (F-15EX in service by 2023 and NGAD which should be able to enter production by 2026) or are about to be made while 3) is 50/50 and dependent on what comes out of the MQ-Next efforts. 2) still remains and is the one that is the focus of the current chief.

Things that are fixed are by and large beyond his control. There is no F-22 production line so you can only upgrade and not buy new. Budgets, production capacity, and depot capacity limits how many F-35A's he can buy and those units are selected and construction happening to cover most of his tenure. The F-15EX program has a production rate cap that will be cost-prohibitive to break etc etc. So the focus is on the things that they have full control over and making those decisions before timelines and not operational metrics dictate the course of action.

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

Postby Rakesh » 19 Feb 2021 07:29

Brar, thank you once again. As always, detailed as ever. Great info.

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

Postby Rakesh » 19 Feb 2021 07:34

With the push on Tejas Mk2 and TEDBF, will the 114 MRFA materialize? Read the twitter thread below. Will be posting some other tweets in the Tejas threads as well, on this issue.

https://twitter.com/cvkrishnan/status/1 ... 88003?s=20 --->

1) One point that Indian Defense Twitter has definitely taken to from today’s big announcement by USAF chief is the relevance of a 4.5th generation fighter in the decades to come. This in some ways of sorts, validates India’s push for TEDBF and LCA Mk2 developments.

2) But let’s not forget how they are going about it. A 4 year techno strategic study just to understand & determine what kind of a 4.5th gen platform they want for the next few decades. This meticulousness & first principles based approach to identifying SQR is what sets them apart.

3) They are not filling their SQR with recommendations from few think tanks and from a laundry list of features and capabilities that are mentioned in the open source from across the world. The capability requirement document is a new genesis document by itself derived from an

4) extensive study of the threats of the future, the tech paradigms and the kind of war that the USAF wants to wage. It is as original as it gets. THIS is the reason the Chief wants to go for a clean-sheet design. So that they could define every variable new for the future and (+)

5) not be hamstrung by the design choices and philosophies of the past or the current. There is a deliberate move to think afresh from the start. And from identifying base variables. Not based on a school of thinking of “an improvement from the current”.

6) I can bet now today, that when the USAF draws up the requirements and sets about development there would be significant new technologies added to this 4.5th gen that we wouldn’t have thought of for a 4.5 gen aircraft whether Super Sukhoi upgrade or LCA Mk2 or others.

7) The USAF will go to the American Academia and research ecosystem. Dig into what research work is going on in flight control architecture, propulsion, sensor fusion, aerodynamic flow control, stealth, Electronic warfare and would come up with totally new specs, that’d help it (+)

8] Dominate the capability curve. This entire thread is to say, there are going to be 4.5th gen fighters and then there are going to be 4.5th Gen Fighters. And there’s going to be whole lot of difference between catch up tech development and pioneering tech development.

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

Postby Aditya_V » 19 Feb 2021 18:58

Right now bird in hand is better than 2 in the Bush, USA has a nice production eco system with huge nos of F16/F15/F35/F22 plus US Navy, Marine core. We need to work with what we have,

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

Postby brar_w » 19 Feb 2021 22:06

The USAF specifically also has a rather unique/different challenge that it is trying to solve for. Its vendors have created iterations of the 4th gen fighters (as they've migrated to 4.5 gen capabilities) aimed at making the same functions better and bringing the technology to a higher standard (more capable radars, faster computers, more targeting options, better cockpit and self defense suite etc etc). This they've done because they are offering them as upgrades to existing fleets around the world and in order to stay competitive and sell more aircraft primarily in the export market. But it may not be in the USAF's best interest to provide that exact capability to its Guard and Reserve forces. It wants some elements of 4.5 gen, but also would like other elements of 5th and 6th gen aircraft (like the OMS, like digitally engineered and sustainment improvements), but not all of that capability that these aircraft may provide. In a way it wants to selectively pay for what it wants and not have to pay for things it does not want. The idea is to tailor to thte Guard and Reserve requirements with the funding priority being the F-35 and NGAD for the frontline squadrons and active AF units. The IAF/IN are in a different boat. They want more capability and as much new technology as can be packed into its 4.5 gen. designs because some of its best equipped units are going to transition to this capability. Its a fundamental difference in requirements so naturally there would be a different approach that reflects this.

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

Postby D.Mahesh » 21 Feb 2021 20:12

brar_w wrote:The USAF specifically also has a rather... The IAF/IN are in a different boat. They want more...Its a fundamental difference...


Lots of light here. Good!

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

Postby D.Mahesh » 21 Feb 2021 20:20

Particularly important as Massa's MIL is still planning for direct engagement in battle - though for USAF it will always be in situations of overwhelming geo-pol+strategic+tactical advantage.

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

Postby bharathp » 22 Feb 2021 09:52

D.Mahesh wrote:Particularly important as Massa's MIL is still planning for direct engagement in battle - though for USAF it will always be in situations of overwhelming geo-pol+strategic+tactical advantage.

they have achieved that partly with Roos but cheen will be a different ball game. they are anticipating a more direct challenge (and hence direct engagement battles) with the sugars.

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

Postby D.Mahesh » 23 Feb 2021 07:33

Soviets stopped planning for direct engagement soon after the Korean War - or at least less and less of it. Except for those massed armour drives thru Thrace Gap or taking over W.Germany. And once nuclear was well established, with boomers, it was enough to deter. Have enough quantity to hold off while the threat of MAD takes effect in Massa Mind. Now it wants to do the same as Massa - have enough on hand to beat up petty guys (forget Afg of course!!
India is done as far as Roos is concerned. Except for some real discrete gems - where Roos smarts is simply 2.2.good - which Roos will be loathe to part with, not much is to be had by way of complete systems.

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

Postby Manish_Sharma » 25 Feb 2021 20:47

Vinod@VinodDX9:

https://twitter.com/VinodDX9/status/136 ... 08579?s=19 ---> " The 17-ton, non-stealthy F-16 is too difficult to upgrade with the latest software," Brown explained.

So doesn't it automatically ends F-21 story for India?

https://t.co/gZtOhsER0D

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

Postby brar_w » 25 Feb 2021 21:08

The software integration and OMS approach the USCSAF is referring to, and one that is lacking in the F-16, is also not present in any other competitors but is present in what the USAF has developed under a number of new programs that have been demo'd in the last 2-3 years or so ( The F-22 and F-15EX will be the first older jets to migrate to these new hardware and software standards with others to follow). There are many things that make the F-16/21 unsuitable for the IAF's MMRCA needs but being able to upgrade the software is not one of them. It wouldn't be any different from the Rafales, Super Hornets or the Typhoons out there in terms of how things are integrated. The Rafale and the F-16 enjoy an advantage here because the former will now have a IAF specific baseline which is a huge advantage, while the latter has a non US, Israel specific baseline with a different MC and integration lineage to what the US or even the UAE fields ( the other two TBs) so off-the-shelf pre integrated options for things exist in the real world (operational with Israel and Singapore, and the US baseline (OFP 7.2+ or older versions) operational on US and NATO aircraft) instead of as proposals as may be the case with the Typhoon etc.

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

Postby Rakesh » 26 Feb 2021 02:00

@ brar_w: in the MRCA scenario (F-21, F-15EX and F-18 Block III) how do you expect the scenario to play out vis-a-viv the IAF's Su-30MKIs and MiG-29UPGs? Also against the upcoming S-400? The sensors and radar on the three American birds on offer are significantly more advanced than on the PAF's F-16 Block 50/52s.

HOW AMERICA’S EXPERIENCE WITH PAKISTAN CAN HELP IT DEAL WITH TURKEY
https://warontherocks.com/2020/08/how-a ... th-turkey/
25 Aug 2020

The mission of the teams is to ensure that the Pakistan Air Force uses its F-16s as intended, does not modify them or the weapons they carry, and does not share the technology with unauthorized parties. In Pakistan’s case, the latter issue is especially salient, because the air force also flies the JF-17 fighter, which it jointly manufactures with China. On bases where advanced F-16s are present, the United States requires that Pakistan separate them from other aircraft and strictly limit access to the area where they are located.

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

Postby V_Raman » 26 Feb 2021 02:42

F21 or any F* is dead after this new clean sheet design news. Only more Rafale makes sense and focus on MK1A/MK2/TEDBF/MCA/ORCA/LIFT/NLCA/Ityadi.

IMO Rafale is not being ordered due to lack of money - nothing else.

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

Postby brar_w » 26 Feb 2021 03:27

Rakesh, I don't consider any of the US offerings as having any, even a remote, chance of being successful in the MMRCA 2.0. This is about more Rafales and if not then it will just be dragged out until such time that there is funding for new rafales.

V_Raman wrote:F21 or any F* is dead after this new clean sheet design news.


There is no "clean sheet" anywhere on the horizon. The USAF wants to study a proposal to see how best to replace pre Block 50 F-16's that are geriatric and decades old. Most of those are with the Guard and reserve units. For reference, the USAF has been studying light attack aircraft for well over a decade now. This doesn't mean that they wouldn't consider refurbishing, or buying new F-16's That will be very much a part of the discussion and it will likely also include buying a cheaper, and less capable (but more capable in other areas like TCO, upgradability, sustainment etc) alternative (like a T-7 derived aircraft which is what it really wants as a light attack aircraft).

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

Postby Manish_Sharma » 26 Feb 2021 04:17

Nice video by Shiv ji on why F 35 is already obsolete.



That idiot Unzhawala was writing last year that Bharat should cancel Tejas Mk.2 and buy F-35.

It's clear that TEDBF is very much need of time, 5 generation stealth is dead.

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

Postby Rakesh » 26 Feb 2021 05:47

Thank you brar.

If (which is likely) the NGAD new 4.5 gen fighter sees the light of day, the rest of the world will follow suit. Updated F-16s (Viper upgrade), F-18 Block IIIs and F-15EXs will supplant the NGAD/F-22/F-35 in USAF and USN service.

Updated Rafales, Eurofighters, Gripens (R-E-G) will be the mainstay in Europe. I don't see how any of these nations have any funds to start another 4.5 generation program, when work on FCAS and Tempest has commenced. The future (block upgrades) of R-E-G looks fairly bright now, with the NGAD new 4.5 gen fighter announcement. Whatever path America charts, Western Europe will follow.

From the Russians, the Su-57 will see multiple variants to start replacing the early model Su-27s. Later variants of the Flanker (Su-30, Su-35,etc) will also see block upgrades. Mikoyan may also jump in the fray, with a MiG-29 replacement. Although how much funds MiG has on hand to develop a 4.5 gen fighter, remains to be seen.

In India, the path taken by ADA and other stakeholders is an excellent one.

Tejas Mk1 ---> Tejas Mk IA ---> Tejas Mk II ---> TEDBF/ORCA ---> AMCA
* with various offshoots like CATS, Tejas SPORT, etc, etc, etc.

These Indian programs commenced well before the announcement of a study of a US new 4.5 gen fighter or upgrade program. The Indian military market alone in the above programs, will reap rich dividends for the Indian taxpayer.

And while the NGAD new 4.5 gen fighter is the not the validation that India needs to develop and continue to work on the above, but rather it is exactly the impetus that India needs. The need and urgency is more acute now, with the aviation world now shifting to a lo-hi mix of VLO-LO platforms, supplanted by drones. Whoever started the ball rolling on the NGAD new 4.5 gen fighter in America, has given every other 4+ generation fighter program out there in the world, a BIG boost and a shot in the arm.

P.S. The Chinese will also follow suit....

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

Postby brar_w » 26 Feb 2021 06:07

NGAD isn't developing 4.5 generation aircraft. It is a 6th generation aircraft program (Next Gen. Air Dominance - F-22 replacement). What the USAF CS referred to was leveraging some of the design, and build tools and architectures pioneered under the NGAD effort to quickly look to develop a clean sheet 4+ gen aircraft. Some of those tools are already being used on the T-7 for example, and the new ICBM. He is not committing to this (building or buying a clean sheet aircraft) but he wants a look at it alongside a look at just upgrading older aircraft to get an additional decade or so out of them, buying new old aircraft (like F-16) to replace them etc. He wants to avoid a single source narrowly focused decision that was taken when retiring F-15C's were replaced by F-15EX (there was no competition, no analysis of alternatives, and no one else within the USAF got a say).

Just last year (at this same time (pre-budget), a very senior USAF general (head of the Air Combat command) also hinted at possible unmanned aircraft being the solution to the oldest F-16's. I think all options are on the table for the assessment but don't expect them to narrow down for another 3-4 years at the least. Idea is to preserve the F-35 and NGAD for the high end fight and look to sustaining the lower end fleet with more tailored aircraft. Honestly, I don't see any chance of a new clean sheet aircraft to come out of this. They'll likely seek a more basic version of the block 70/72 F-16 that is more affordable than the more complex V configuration which may not be needed for a lot of missions. They need to buy between a 1000 and 1200 aircraft over the next 12 or so years to make a sizable dent. This leaves a group of 200-400 aircraft that are unaccounted for in the current acquisition trajectory (F-35 and F-15EX are too capable to be affordable enough to allow for such a large buy over and above the ones that are already in the plans). So if they decide not to upgrade these many aircraft over the next dozen or so years then they need a replacement and an affordable one (TCO) so there is incentive there to invest a little upfront to get a more affordable aircraft than just buying off the shelf F-15 or F-16.

Rakesh wrote:Updated Rafales, Eurofighters, Gripens (R-E-G) will be the mainstay in Europe


By 2030 (+/- a couple of years) the Typhoon will remain the most popular fighter in Europe, followed very closely by the F-35 (of which between 350-500 are expected to be operational once you factor the Air wing sized permanent US deployment at RAF Lakenheath).

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

Postby Rakesh » 26 Feb 2021 06:34

Brar, my apologies for getting the terminology incorrect. I thought the NGAD was the new 4.5 generation fighter, when (as you rightly pointed out) is the 6th generation program. I have edited my post above.

I forgot NGAD stood for Next Generation Air Dominance! :) :oops:

That having being said, whichever path is chosen....a new 4.5 gen fighter or a F-16 type upgrade, the 4.5 generation is here to stay. Obviously supplanted by VLO platforms like the F-35 and F-22 to break down the door, but the grunt work will be done by a 4.5 generation fighter.

Now every other 4.5 generation program out there will get a new urgency to either upgrade (R-E-G) or develop. In Western Europe, FCAS and Tempest will now arrive a little later than planned.

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

Postby brar_w » 26 Feb 2021 06:52

The grunt work will be done by the F-35's and UAV fleet (within tactical aircraft ) for the most part along with other aircraft against a competent opponent. It really depends upon where this force is required. Is it pacific, or is it atacking a terrorist camp somewhere. F-16 will be limited but there will be plenty to deploy them for low intensity type ops. There are regions (like CENTCOM) that can get away with a limited 5th gen. force and a dominant 4+ gen force. Yet others, like the Pacific where the demand signal is different, qualitatively speaking. Keep in mind that in the US warfighting model, the COCOM's are where the real power lies and service chiefs have a limited say on decision making. The service chiefs are only there to equip and train the force. They have customers, and the COCOM's are those customers. So if the PACOM boss wants an additional air-wing of F-35's or NGAD, then the Chief of the AF can't give him/her a squadron of F-16's instead. So they plan for that.

The USAF has something like 900-950 F-16C's and D's across the various blocks. A chunk of those are with the Guard and Reserve which have a different training and deployment cadence barring a few units which operate differently. There are some that are just tasked with the homeland defense mission and would never deploy. That number is going to fall down to roughly 600 by the end of the decade due to retirements etc as mostly active AF units transfer to F-35A.

The F-35A fleet, on the other hand, will continue to rise. It is around 270 (USAF only) right now and will top 300 by the end of the year, and will reach or exceed 450 in 2023. Sometime in the second half of the 2020's the F-35A will surpass the F-16C in terms of number of airframes in service across the active, guard and reserve forces (USAF). To this you add the USMC F-35 aircraft which also deploy on land (the Marines already operate more than 100 F-35B's and C's and should have more than double that number by the end of the decade) and you have close to 1,000 aircraft across the two services before the end of the decade. Not being counted here are the USN F-35C Carrier squadrons which, for the most part, won't deploy on land and are tiered (readiness) to only spool up ahead of a carrier deployment so are generally not counted as part of a rapidly deployable force.

But there will be plenty of other 4+ gen aircraft too though they will be fragmented. F-15E's aren't going anywhere and all are upgraded now and will last through the end of the 2030's. Roughly 80-100 F-15EX's should be operational by the end of the decade as well. And then the USN's F/A-18 E/F fleet which is 500+ strong. Plus more than 150 Growlers etc. There will be a lot of 4+ generation aircraft for a long time. Numerically, there is no way to avoid it even if budgets didn't matter and you didn't have production capacity limitations with the F-35. The US (across three services) buys more than 100 new fighters a year (usually 115-120 of late) but even at those rates they will never fully replace all 4th and 4+ generation aircraft in time before 5th gen. aircraft production seizes. This is partly due to the F-35 being 5 years late to ramp up production (developmental delays) partly because they don't need to (threats aren't modernization at any alarming pace) and partly because the cold war fleets were bought at such high rates that sustaining that level of procurement in a post-cold war world isn't viable (and luckily for them it isn't required).

I wish (and I suspect this may happen) that the USAF take the 200-300 F-16's pre block 50's and some blk 50's, and 200 A-10's which will eventually need replacement, and look at new types to replace them. That's a pool of 400 or more aircraft. A mix of new F-16's, that are more watered down from the F-16V (hence cheaper) and a new light attack aircraft derived from the T-7 should be able to do this affordably freeing up money for the NGAD, B-21 and other next gen. systems. This will result in a more balanced mix of cost and capability across 4+, 5th and 6th gen portfolios. I would also be more aggressive and retire the F-22A by early 2030's as NGAD begins coming in.

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

Postby Manish_P » 26 Feb 2021 14:39

Manish_Sharma wrote:Nice video by Shiv ji on why F 35 is already obsolete...


Hahaha Got to hand it to the doc - '5 minus Gen' :mrgreen:

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

Postby AkshaySG » 26 Feb 2021 21:26

Manish_Sharma wrote: on why F 35 is already obsolete.

It's clear that TEDBF is very much need of time, 5 generation stealth is dead.



F-35 is neither obsolete and nor is 5th gen stealth dead , The only problem with it is that its expensive and requires more maintanence than your avg 4.5 gen fighter . The Forbes article on which this video is based makes that very clear

The USAF has realized that they need to increase their squadron size to keep superiority over China and as such the cheaper way to do that would be 4.5 fighters , USAF,USN and USMC will continue to use 1500 + F-35 fighters as will a ton of other countries but they also want to continue with (relatively) cheaper F16++ and F-15++ models .

We will have to do the same thing , We can't replace 270 Su-30s with AMCA or some other FGFA the costs would be insane , Stealth fighters will need to be a sliver bullet acquistion while 4.5 gen fighter and UCAVS make the rest of the fleet

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

Postby brar_w » 26 Feb 2021 21:46

The US alone is fielding upwards of 90 F-35's a year across its services (including at least 2 squadrons of naval 5GFA a year). There are now more than half a dozen active, or in development 5th generation stealth fighter programs around the world, all having a combination of stealth, IWB, shaping, materials and embedded sensors. Even Indonesia, Croatia, Greece (wits its financial issues) and Iran want one. Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria went on record (just weeks ago) and said that "There’s no looking back on the AMCA". But sure, fifth gen. stealth is dead/on-life support/approaching death-spiral :roll:

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

Postby LakshmanPST » 26 Feb 2021 22:54

@Brar_w sir...
OT to the thread...
Can you give a brief summary of total no. of jets in USAF and planned replacements...???

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

Postby brar_w » 27 Feb 2021 00:04

LakshmanPST wrote:@Brar_w sir...
OT to the thread...
Can you give a brief summary of total no. of jets in USAF and planned replacements...???


viewtopic.php?f=3&t=7088&p=2487102#p2487102

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

Postby Rakesh » 07 Mar 2021 22:13

https://twitter.com/TheWolfpackIN/statu ... 84072?s=20 ---> Sweden is hopeful that IAF will consider the advanced Saab Gripen-NG fighters jets in the near future, says Swedish Ambassador to India.

https://twitter.com/TheWolfpackIN/statu ... 08577?s=20 ---> *JAS-39E/F now. A specialized EW variant (similar to Growler) is also a possible offer for IAF.

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

Postby brar_w » 07 Mar 2021 22:25

The JAS-39 Gripen with its EW system is not a Growler analogous. The Growler is first and foremost a stand-off jamming platform that is capable of stand off electronic warfare and attack (target detection, characterization, geolocation, and tasking at range + Employing stand off jamming for supression, and Stand off targeting for destruction), platform escort, and in the near term, employ stand-in jamming (via MALD-N which is being fielded) to support both of those missions and open up new roles. All these mission areas are part of its core competencies and modernization. When the 2X jammer capacity is fielded in 2023, so will 2x targeting capacity and an upgrade to the receiver system. So these things are always in sync because that is the most important mission assigned to it (and the only tactical platform in the US (and west) that does this particular mission with both S and D within the same operating pair).

The Gripen E/F on the other hands employs a set of jammers that are at best stand in or allow for more efficient escort profiles (if that). It also completely lacks any means of stand of targeting. Not to mention the fact that they've designed the pods very differently, and don't seem to have any external power source so target volume and range is always going to be limited which is also the exact opposite from what drives decisions on equipping the Growler (# of targets/emitters is the most important factor along with the ability of pairs to stand off).

One is designed to command and control, and carry out an integrated SEAD/DEAD campaign while the other is just adding jammer systems on an existing platform to allow it more survivability and the ability to escort other Gripens allowing for some higher altitude profiles for efficiency. You don't just buy a Growler to escort other aircraft though a narrow set of mission and training is focused at that role and it is often called to do it given the current fleet transition point (not enough stealth aircraft in the air wing yet). Its primary role is to conduct offensive operations against enemy air defense and command and controls systems in coordination with other assets (USAF EC-37B and F-16 CJ's and in coordination with stand in F-35's in the future) .

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

Postby Rakesh » 16 Mar 2021 22:25

https://twitter.com/GpCaptRajaSing1/sta ... 48800?s=20 ---> Valid reasons all, but F-15EX may be the best and most potent fighter on offer to IAF. However, US propensity to impose sanctions at the drop of a hat & empowering Pakistan to counterbalance India (role now being played by China too now) is a big turn off, especially in fighter deals.

Four Reasons Why The Indian Air Force Could ‘Overlook’ US Fighter Jets Like F-21, F-15EX
https://eurasiantimes.com/four-reasons- ... hter-jets/
15 March 2021

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

Postby AkshaySG » 17 Mar 2021 11:50

F-15EX is the strangest offering of the lot ...No doubt its very potent but why would we even consider a heavy ,expensive to buy expensive to maintain bird like that for a "medium " fighter contract and especially when we have 270 + Su-30s specially modified to suit our needs and requirements in the class it operates

Smacks of a bit of desperation by Boeing to basically throw all options into the fray hoping one sticks . If I was Boeing i'd take back the never gonna be considered F-15 and only focus on F-18SH . It doesn't have the Paki stigma involved with F-16 , Its an option that both Navy and AF can use and its upgrades and modernization program has been going quite well ,Plus they have a already settled partnership with Tata etc etc .


As far as Indian perspective goes then let them dangle whatever carrots they want , Our focus for the next 5 years should squarely be on getting the Mk1A and MWF flying and closing the door on any such future mega fighter deals

I doubt Boeing will be too miffed considering the absolute bounty of deals they' have been getting from MOD especially the Navy . P8,MH60,MQ9 are alone worth ~10Bil

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

Postby srai » 28 Mar 2021 12:41

Buy within the budget: the new prioritisation mantra

...

Another of General Rawat's key responsibilities is to 'assign inter-services prioritisation to capital acquisition proposals based on the anticipated budget'. In other words, prune armed forces' requirements according to the budget. This means every major single-service buy will be closely scrutinised. High-profile projects, like the navy's requirement for a third aircraft carrier, are likely to go under the axe. The IAF's plan to locally build 110 fighter aircraft might also run into approval issues. Feathers, quite clearly, are going to be ruffled in the air and naval headquarters.

...


Plan B in place?

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

Postby Philip » 28 Mar 2021 22:44

The intro of the SU-35 and F-15 EX whatever are the two jokers in the pack.I think both are really " dummy" candidates as in our elections.Both truly questionable when we have 270+ SU-30MKIs in service,with over 200 to be upgraded to SS stds. The only thought I can bring to bear is that the SU-35 ,has a single pilot,cheaper to operate overall, and may in performance equal or surpass the Rafale/ Typhoon at much lower cost. As the quote about buying " within budget" shows,cost-effectiveness will hereafter prevail. This will benefit Ru aircraft like the MIG-35 and our desi LCAs which will be much cheaper than other European and American fighters.

As for the F-15 in its latest avatar now,it was some years ago found wanting against IAF SU-30s and Bisons.

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

Postby Vips » 28 Mar 2021 22:50

The only thing that SU35 ever will surpass the Rafale or Typhoon in is in doing some fancy stunt at an airshow :mrgreen:


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