JayS wrote:Well, there are a lot of ifs and buts involved in all the options the IAF has now, be it MRFA, AMCA or ORCA. MRFA is simply too costly with a price tag of 25-30B and god knows when the deal will be finalised. It would be at least 3yrs after the deal for the deliveries to start and at least 5yrs for local screwdrivergiri to pick up. For AMCA, the biggest risk is the engine. We yet to commit on the 110kN engine and the only backup is the hope that USN will fund Industrialisation of F414EP/EPE version. Even with the engines at hand, Mk2 will only come at around 2035. For ORCA, the IAF and MoD will have to drop the MRFA and commits those 25B to ORCA right away so ADA/HAL can suitably expand to cover the additional work on stripped version of TEDBF (the stripping down is going to be much easier and faster, can happen in parallel or at max a yrs work).
If only wishes were horses. We have never seen those kind of numbers spent on any indigenous platform. Not even the AMCA. I mean it took 3 years to negotiate the Mk1A deal with HAL. We can't get orders for 15 LCH. Let's not go into the realm of fantasy. In any case, if the MRFA procurement is canceled (and I wish to god it is) that money saved would be better off spent in setting up and expanding the manufacturing capacity of the MWF. The MWF in its now finalized form can easily replace all our Mirages, Jaguars and Mig-29's plus providing additional numbers if we do indeed manage to up the production rate using this money. 2 additional squadrons of Rafales can be added as well. Where is the need for yet another type then? The IAF can wait for the AMCA to mature enough to start replacing the oldest MKI's around 2040. If we can't get the AMCA induction ready by then, we have deeper issues which won't be ameliorated with running yet another aircraft program in parallel.
Even if you start delivering the Naval version itself to the IAF for first 1-2 sqs its not a bad choice, while work on stripping happens. The initial lot can be modified later.
If TEDBF is frozen with delta canard config, given experience from the MWF and NLCA, the basic flight envelop certification and carrier compatibility certification is going to be very rapid. These programs are going to start generating data while TEDBF is still in detailed design phase, so if some key changes are needed, they can be incorporated even before the first flight. IAF can have its jets right when the Navy starts getting it or even earlier given its certification ia gonna be simpler without the carrier compatibility.
If the Superhornet can compete for the IAF's MRCA/MRFA tender as it is, why does the TEDBF need to be modified for the IAF? If indeed the IAF has a need for a another heavy twin engined 4.5 gen jet which cannot be met with a combination of 2 extra Rafale squadrons and additional MWF's, then they can buy the TEDBF as it is when it is ready. Yes, it will be heavier than necessary but with 2 F414's in an airframe with a 26t MTOW it should still be good enough. No need for yet another assembly line. The one making the jets for the Navy can build some for the IAF as well. All of our R&D resources need to concentrate on getting the AMCA and the Ghatak and other future UCAV projects ready as fast as possible. We are already late to this game. We don't need distractions like the ORCA at this point.