ldev wrote:I think the S400 is a must have given that the longest ranged SAM in IAF service today is the Akash with an intercept range of 30 km, (don't know how far away from deployment MRSAM is though that will have a 70 km range.) But the sanction waiver will be addressed at the time that the down select happens if it happens to include the F18 or the F16. Obviously any order for US aircraft will be contingent on the waiver happening in the form of some sort of a treaty i.e. something that will be binding on successive US administrations and not a plain jane waiver that can be annulled by another administration or a vote in the US Congress.
Are we now stating that the CAATSA waiver is tied into the MRCA purchase? I believe the US Administration denied that accusation. I thought the below article was "fake" news onlee.Washington lets Delhi know: Buy our F-16s, can give Russia deal waiverhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india ... r-5409894/20 Oct 2018
There is a problem with "binding" agreements with the US. What one US administration agrees to, is not necessarily what a future administration will honour. The Trump Presidency is clear evidence of that. From the Paris Accord to NATO, the "Donald" has pooch screwed everything. But DT will not be President forever. Another administration - likely Democratic - will succeed him. But how long will that utopia - the absence of a DT type figure - last? 4 years or 8? What then? One would have imagined, that the citizenry in America would have learned from the GW Bush debacle after President Obama's election. But the Obama Presidency divided the country even further and DT was the result. What is the guarantee that a future President - even more hawkish and protectionist than DT - will not take over at the helm? DT proved that with 3 am tweeting and constant lying, one can weasel their way into the US Presidency.
And that poses a significant problem when purchasing fighter aircraft from the US. These aircraft will be in service for the next 40+ years in the IAF. Assuming every US President wins two terms going forward, that is a span of minimum five future US Presidents over the course of 40 years. How reliable and how binding can those agreements be made over the course of five administrations? And that is assuming that the ever changing US Congress will also adhere to those agreements as well over the course of four decades.
Take a look at the service of the Mirage 2000 in the IAF. Arrived in 1985 in India. From François Mitterrand in the 80s to Jacques Chirac in the 1990s to Nicolas Sarkozy in the first decade of the 21st century then to François Hollande and now to Emmanuel Macron, French Administrations have come & gone and the Mirage 2000 has completed 35 years of sanction-free service to date. And the upgraded variant is expected to soldier on till 2032. When all is said and done, that will be almost 50 years of service in the IAF. And as far as I can remember, there has not been a single episode from any of these French Administrations as to how and where the aircraft can be used by the Indian Air Force.
And these are 114 combat aircraft...a significant chunk of air power for any air force, barring the USAF. To put 114 birds into the hands of a wishy-washy US political environment is not very re-assuring for India. And if the IAF had that concern about sanctions in the past and likely still do (each time the US Govt "reminds" India about the S-400 purchase), it provides a shaky foundation to a supposedly strategic partnership. If the Americans are seriously concerned about containing China, they need to move beyond the transactional relationship - which is where it is right now - to a more meaningful one.
ldev wrote:See, that is just the point. For how will the Russians continue to squeeze India's b*ll* because of the supply of nuke submarine reactors and other technology? For how long does DRDO require hand holding to build a submarine reactor? How many more Akula's is India going to need to lease from Russia?
Is that not the point of technology transfer? We do not need hand holding for submarine reactors as the follow Arihant boats have proved. Depending on the sources one reads, there are two more boats in the water now. And even larger SSBNs, with correspondingly larger reactors, are being planned. Has not the goal being achieved then?
But America still has time. Would they be interested in giving the blueprints for the S9G reactor that powers the Virginia Class boat? India is working on a six SSN boat program right and the S9G reactor design would be a great boost to the program. I am sure the Russian design does not have the finesse of the American one. After the Russian ball squeezing, India can move to the American one. It will be more painful, but hey if you want to contain the Chinese...no pain, no gain right?
Equally enticing would be blueprints for the A1B reactor, which powers the Gerald Ford Class aircraft carrier. Since the DRDO-Indian Naval Design Bureau tussle on who should bear the costs for a reactor design, has forced the Indian Navy to drop the idea of a nuclear powered INS Vishal. After all, we were told on BRF that the next Indian carrier is about influencing events from Alaska to the South China Sea. And the Joint Working Group on Aircraft Carrier Technology Cooperation (JWGACTC) would be the perfect backdrop to give India this technology.
If that is too much takleef for the Americans, how about leasing India a Virgina Class boat instead? Way more advanced that the Akula Class boats that India currently leases from Russia. The last time I read, America was "talking up" the strategic relationship with India, to contain China. So perhaps this would be a good way to really drive that relationship to the next "meaningful" level?
But even if that is not possible, how about handing over engine tech to India for the upcoming AMCA? The Jet Engine Technology Joint Working Group (JETJWG) crashed and burned. Safran of France gave India the shaft yet again! Now is the opportunity. Provide something of value that India can work with.
Yes, at one stage Russia and India were aligned geopolitcally. But today e.g. India cannot export the Brahmos to Vietnam because of the Russian veto. And the Russian veto is there because the Chinese have pressurized Russia not to let India supply the Brahmos to a country that could use it against China!! The fact that this has become an issue is apparent from this recent article. Supposedly Russia will not stand in the way of exports now. I will believe that India truly has a free hand when it actually signs a contract to sell Brahmos to Vietnam. The trajectory of relative national power between China and Russia is clear. A tipping point will be reached soon......China not to come in way of BrahMos missile export
Who do you see Philippines using the BrahMos against? Were the Chinese not successful in convincing the Russians against the Philippine sale as well? With the success of the Vietnam one, I would have assumed that Philippines would have been a cake walk for the Chinese. Philippines is right in the middle of the South China Sea after all. To contain Vietnam and then give Philippines a pass makes little sense.
ldev wrote:Also, I was reading somewhere that GOI has budgeted Rs 150,000 crores for 114 IAF fighters and Rs 95,000 crores for 57 Indian navy fighters. Given that the first 36 Rafale cost Rs 59,000 crores, 114 will cost about Rs 190,000 crores on a straight line basis. Yes, some of the initial Rs 59,000 crores was spent on a one time basis for India specific equipment development and for IAF bases, but then by the time this next contract is due, there will also be inevitable inflation pushing up prices. Ditto for the Indian Navy contract. So at least for the budgeted amounts both the IAF and the IN will get fewer aircraft than they want - if they select the Rafale.
Assuming Rafale is chosen and both services get lesser aircraft than what was initially planned (114 and 57 for the air force and navy respectively), it will not open the door for a future purchase of yet another fourth generation combat aircraft. So whatever the reduced amount will be for the air force, the remainder will be filled with additional Tejas aircraft. The GOI will not hold another contest. So instead of 114 Rafales for the IAF, if only 72 come...the remaining gap of 42 birds will likely be filled with Tejas. With regards to the Navy, if they get even 36 Rafales (two squadrons worth), they will jump at that chance. Anything to get rid of those MiG-29Ks. The TEDBF is coming and the Navy will address the gap with that. Assuming another aircraft wins the MRCA contest, the cost for setting up everything from scratch will be just as expensive. At that point, while the unit cost will be cheaper, the infrastructure and the logistical support will be just as expensive as the Rafale.
Whoever wins the MRCA contest, will likely win the Navy contest as well. It does not make sense for the GOI to split the deal. As I indicated earlier, why deal with two OEMs, when one OEM can fulfill the needs of both? And for that, only Boeing and Dassault have any meaningful path in the MRCA contest. These are the only two manufacturers that have one platform that can serve with the air force and the navy. None of the others, including LM, can make that claim. And only Boeing has an aircraft that can fit in the lifts of the Vikrant and the Vikramaditya. The Rafale, to date, cannot.
ldev wrote:Back to square one, falling squadron strength....Supposedly the 36 Rafale will be the spear, and the 1114 MRCA competition is to provide the numbers needed to keep squadron strength from falling....
And as somebody else said earlier on this threat, I think in the end, this will be a political decision, irrespective of what the IAF wants.
At a meagre 36 Rafales, she will serve as no spear. Attrition losses alone will reduce the effectiveness of the two squadrons. That is something that has been conveyed to the GOI. And please do not wish for 1,114 MRCA
The political decision will have to pre-empt the technical down select. Unless the GOI plans to inject itself into the process of the technical down select.