Indian Military Aviation

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ramana
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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby ramana » 30 Apr 2010 23:27

Sanku and Mrinal, Sandy Gordon, the Australian professor, writes in his book "India's rise to power" (circa 1995) that of all the conturies of the world except the FSU, India is the only one that matches majority of the US in strategic technlogy pursuit in govt labs. In some cases India has thought beyond the technology leader. So many arguements here are non sequitor.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby Carl_T » 30 Apr 2010 23:30

Indranilroy

I'm bringing the USAF as an example because since we're so keen on following the US as a benchmark, why not look at everything the US does.

- What's your point? Should we stop discussing aviation and planes then? Most don't know much about cars, forget planes, should we stop discussing them? What do you think these discussion boards are for? Since the poster suggested that the MCA would carry out tasks that the MKI and MMRCA and LCA would not be able to do so, I'm wondering what those operations are onlee.

stealth version - I don't understand your point. I think developing technologies on the platform we have is better than developing a new plane from the ground up and then saying oh no, the world is again 30 years ahead of us! Technologies like stealth, engines etc. are things that multiply our capabilities, we need to get a handle on these before we start dreaming about SDRE stealth fighters.

engine - why waste money and resources on the MCA when there are more important venues for indigenization? I think an SDRE engine should be built before we start thinking about SDRE stealth fighters. I think an SDRE radar would be a good idea toooo.

Tejas UCAV - Why not move the resources from the MCA to the UAV development efforts?

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby Indranil » 30 Apr 2010 23:40

Sanku wrote:NO MCA till we have a 100% Indian LCA. If you want to improve, improve that first. (BTW I think India can do both LCA and MCA) its just that we are jumping too much.


But getting a plane from the drawing board to IOC is a long pipeline! Ofcourse there are revisions, but they don't need the entire workforce of a pipeline stage! If you scuttle the MCA, the first parts of this pipeline are going to sit idle!!! It is only logical to start designing the MCA to cut down on the turnaround time!

Besides, LCA like any other plane will continue to evolve for its lifetime! When should we draw the line?

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby Sanku » 01 May 2010 00:06

indranilroy wrote:
Sanku wrote:NO MCA till we have a 100% Indian LCA. If you want to improve, improve that first. (BTW I think India can do both LCA and MCA) its just that we are jumping too much.


But getting a plane from the drawing board to IOC is a long pipeline! Ofcourse there are revisions, but they don't need the entire workforce of a pipeline stage! If you scuttle the MCA, the first parts of this pipeline are going to sit idle!!! It is only logical to start designing the MCA to cut down on the turnaround time!

Besides, LCA like any other plane will continue to evolve for its lifetime! When should we draw the line?


Oh I agree, thats why I said India can do both LCA and MCA. But no unobtamiums in the project plan.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby Indranil » 01 May 2010 00:07

Carl_T wrote:I'm bringing the USAF as an example because since we're so keen on following the US as a benchmark, why not look at everything the US does.

Why are we hell bent on proving that we are emulating the US. The US is ahead of us technology wise! There are proper reasons why technology grows in a certain way. It is not illogical! We are just following the technology graph! We can jump it, but we have to have a base before we can do it. I dont think we have attained that level of maturity to turn the aviation industry on its head and say, "BLAH, you are on the wrong path, I can kill you better otherwise".

Carl_T wrote:- What's your point? Should we stop discussing aviation and planes then? Most don't know much about cars, forget planes, should we stop discussing them? What do you think these discussion boards are for? Since the poster suggested that the MCA would carry out tasks that the MKI and MMRCA and LCA would not be able to do so, I'm wondering what those operations are onlee.

I am sorry I got the intent of your post wrong. But the tone of quite a few recent posts were much more assertive than "wondering" kind! I mean, I started reading and I saw IAF/MOD/DRDO/HAL being blasted left, right and center. Why are we discrediting our own scientists/visionaries/soldiers of being pseudo-poodles? Even in such an enlightened forum, we don't show faith in our own, and we blame them for not having faith in themselves and just emulating others. I mean just read through the posts on this page! What other opinion can a reader have?

Carl_T wrote:stealth version - I don't understand your point. I think developing technologies on the platform we have is better than developing a new plane from the ground up and then saying oh no, the world is again 30 years ahead of us! Technologies like stealth, engines etc. are things that multiply our capabilities, we need to get a handle on these before we start dreaming about SDRE stealth fighters.

It might not be always easy to develop a stealth platform from a non-stealth platform. Stealth, as all of us know has many characteristics, which require re-engineering. Take the PAK-FA as an example. Would it have been easy to make the Su-30 series stealth? It would have required to make so many structural changes. It was easier to design ground up. But a lot of lessons learnt in the 30-series where re-used in the PAK-FA. Most planes are like that only, aren't they? A new plane developed with the knowhow of the previous plane! Why would MCA-LCA be different?

Carl_T wrote:engine - why waste money and resources on the MCA when there are more important venues for indigenization? I think an SDRE engine should be built before we start thinking about SDRE stealth fighters. I think an SDRE radar would be a good idea toooo.

MCA is going to use the same engine as the LCA! AM I missing something here? where is the extra money spent? Similarly RADAR development is on going, I dont know whether they are developing something specifically for the MCA yet! India is still trying to master all the fronts of RADAR tech, before it can custom design a completely desi RADAR for MCA! Where is the extra resources for the MCA! It is flowing in the most logical path that I can see!

Carl_T wrote:Tejas UCAV - Why not move the resources from the MCA to the UAV development efforts?

How would it make it faster? Almost every development on the UAV will be critical in making a much more complex Tejas UCAV (if every aspect that I can think of)! Let us master that first. Weren't we all saying don't jump the gun!

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby Indranil » 01 May 2010 00:10

Sanku wrote:
Oh I agree, thats why I said India can do both LCA and MCA. But no unobtamiums in the project plan.


:D I guess we are on the same page now :)

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby Karan M » 01 May 2010 00:16

Sanku wrote:Ajeet was not Gnat type. Ajeet WAS Gnat. A Bison to Mig 21.


Ajeet was a heavily modified Gnat with airframe modifications, the BISON just puts new avionics into an old airframe, so thats not a valid comparison.

What I meant was NOT modification of existing design. But perhaps something a generation behind if need be.


I lost you here..
Why would you now want something a generation behind the Gnat?

Which was because of the engine. You know that right?

Which was because we couldnt make the engine for Marut.


The engine was a symptom, not the cause. The cause was the lack of belief in keeping the aircraft program going. There simply was no will to continue with fighter jet development in India.


Is it? I am not sure. Marut and LCA are separated by something like 20 years. What lies in between in actually Mig 21.


I was referring it to be the next "class" for India...as in classroom, as in a learning lesson.

Fine, the problem is that we DONT have a all Indian LCA today. You want some one to appear for college entrance when he does not know when he will clear 12th?


You will never have an Indian LCA unless you are willing to go broke for it. There is no European EF. There is no American JSF. As matter of fact, there is no Russian Su-30 MKI/MKM either. At any given time, there will be things you cannot make or choose not to make and will fit in whats available.

I think he needs to KNOW for sure when he clears 12th


He already knows. But also needs to be told he has a career..(this is getting silly btw)


Which is exactly what Shiv is saying. They can Make a Mig 21 derivative completely in house (of course assisted by generous cheating) and have no strings attached in that product from outside (strictly not true but you get the point)


They have moved on from MiG-21 derivatives and now rely on F-16/Lavi derivatives powered by Russian engines. There are strings attached there.

NO MCA till we have a 100% Indian LCA. If you want to improve, improve that first. (BTW I think India can do both LCA and MCA) its just that we are jumping too much.


There will be no 100% Indian LCA. The chips may end up being from an American firm owned by a Middle East investment group, made in a factory in Europe. The engine may include alloy from a Indian firm with feedstock provided from Russia. Thats good enough for India unless you want to make every single screw inhouse and end up getting bankrupt in the process.

Second, you need to understand how these programs are developed. By the time the product is being certified, there will be several groups of designers, developers sitting around - they need work lest their skills rust. If you dont give them work, morale suffers, they will even jump ship to lower grade work for the pay. Furthermore, to avoid delays, the MCA requirements gathering and preliminary design estimates (which create a cost comparison for basis) need to be developed as well - these usually can end up taking anywhere between 3-5 years. In simple terms, the MCA kickoff needs to happen within the next few years to streamline its D&D process. Acquisitions need to made to have a setup in place by the time system development starts, orders need to be placed, infrastructure needs to be developed. Each of these adds time. BOMs have to be generated & delays are common. The earlier you start, the sooner the IAF will get this aircraft.

Which is fully fine -- just let it be a FULLY Indian product. Do it with your hands and in a way that the timelines converge and there are no remaining strings attached.


Again - NAL et al will own the Saras design and do the D&D, but systems will end up coming from Honeywell and many other worldwide suppliers. China is doing much the same for its C999 something.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby nachiket » 01 May 2010 00:23

shiv wrote:
Carl_T wrote:In that vein do you think it is necessary to continue with the MCA? I feel it might be redundant with the Pakfa coming.



Absolutely right. MCA plus PAKFA means DRDO has no plans for the future and is simply pulling the wool over our eyes. Either india goes for MCA or FGFA/PAKFA. And you know PAKFA is already flying while MCA is a solid aluminium model. And we have 4.5 gen MRCA coming anyway :shock:

We need to get out of this. Cancel MCA. I have not seen a more pointless exercise in recent days. Concentrate on LCA mark 2. Make a good stealthy UCAV Develop good standoff PGMs. Get a good engine for the UCAV. Use a stealthy UCAV to research on how to beat stealth and how to shoot down stealthy intruders. Build a transport aircraft and other categories. Make a good trainer although its already too late for that also.

Or else make MCA into stealthy UCAV


All this talk about UCAVs aside, if we cancel the MCA, with what do you propose we replace our Jaguars, Mirage-2000s and Mig-27s in the future? We are talking about what, 230 aircraft here? Keep in mind that the IAF has to simultaneously increase the actual squadron strength to 39.5 and maybe to the 44 number that the IAF supposedly wants.
Last edited by nachiket on 01 May 2010 00:27, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby Karan M » 01 May 2010 00:24

Ramana - many thanks for the reference.

Sanku:
OT>
I must remind that all three countries are Class B munnas (behind Ozzies etc and ahead of Saudi types) They are fully integrated members of Pax Americana in every sense, to this they owe everything currently including their various economic successes.

This IMVHO is an example of *following a leader* India has to chart its own destiny, in a very different manner.


All this munna shunna stuff is feel good palliative that serves as a good excuse to disregard what these countries have achieved, in several cases against established worldwide peers. Being beholden to, and receiving aid via the US Marshall Plan does not mean they got everything on a plate, as you imply. Japanese, Korean, and Taiwanese firms may not have been under sanctions as Indian ones were, but they and their respective national Govts worked ceaselessly to pursue cutting edge R&D & poured huge sums in infrastructure against future benefits. The end result is a world class system which now makes any company, whether it be western or anything sweat. Japan for instance maintains a capability - achieved at near backbreaking expenditure, to nearly make almost every subsystem of a full weapons system, from the heavy engineering aspect to the electronics that go into it. Nor do they lack in metallurgy, airframes and propulsion. Korea too is quickly catching up. Their latest tank may break the bank (at around $ 8 million) but they already sold IP to Turkey (recouping some of the cost) and even supply artillery shell tech to Pakistan.

Indian Govt. is nowhere near these three countries yet in terms of harnessing national desire (aka plans) to execution (actually putting its money where its mouth is, or even coming to a timely decision). Our semiconductor policy for instance is in tatters.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby Karan M » 01 May 2010 00:28

nachiket wrote:All this talk about UCAVs aside, if we cancel the MCA, with what do you propose we replace our Jaguars, Mirage-2000s and Mig-27s in the future? We are talking about what, 250 aircraft here? Keep in mind that the IAF has to simultaneously increase the actual squadron strength to 39.5 and maybe to the 44 number that the IAF supposedly wants.


Never you mind. The Russians will offer a single engine PAK-FA, Sweden will offer a twin engine stealthy Gripen, the US the JSF...as long as there is money to be made, Indians will keep squabbling with Indians, and the world will make hay
On a serious note, the entire MMRCA group sure wishes there is no MCA..

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby Sanku » 01 May 2010 00:54

Mrinal wrote:All this munna shunna stuff is feel good palliative that serves as a good excuse to disregard what these countries have achieved, in several cases against established worldwide peers. Being beholden to, and receiving aid via the US Marshall Plan does not mean they got everything on a plate, as you imply. .


How does anything I said implied that they got it on a plate? Even US does not get it on a plate. No I am saying that their conditions are wildly different from ours. No comparisons whatsoever.

They can not be our models in any shape or form.

In other stuff --
Ajeet was a heavily modified Gnat with airframe modifications, the BISON just puts new avionics into an old airframe, so thats not a valid comparison.


That was a analogy, but at best Ajeet was a modified Gnat (and not even much modified) -- basically take a existing system and tweak it a bit.

Why would you now want something a generation behind the Gnat?


Behind Marut, not Gnat. I am not saying that IT HAD to be, I am saying attempting Marut was perhaps too ambitious at that point of time. A simpler a/c which could be done completely in house should have been tried. Something for which we knew we will have an engine as well (maybe completely purchased design if needed) Marut needed a best in class engine at that time. Which we couldnt make ourselves.

The engine was a symptom, not the cause. The cause was the lack of belief in keeping the aircraft program going. There simply was no will to continue with fighter jet development in India.


What symptom? The program failed because it could not get the right engine. Its as simple as that. No lack of belief or anything.

At any given time, there will be things you cannot make or choose not to make and will fit in whats available.


That is a fundamental mismatch in thinking. In Mil equipment we must aim to be sanction proof. If we are getting something it must be so trivial that we can make it ourselves if needed but only get it for economic reasons. Not because we cant make it but want the bestest (by others standard goodies)

That is the critical point, Arjun does not have a Indian engine? Why? Why didnt they in parallel fund and develop a Indian engine in partnership if needed?

This is a difference in approach, if you want the best the world has, by their defined rules of the best, you will never catch up. If you do it yourself, you may take a different path but get to the goal you need faster.

In this case a fully Indian armed forces (say 80% Indian content and technologies) and capable of defeating anything our enemies may throw at us.

It may look very different from others though.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby Sanku » 01 May 2010 01:00

nachiket wrote:All this talk about UCAVs aside, if we cancel the MCA, with what do you propose we replace our Jaguars, Mirage-2000s and Mig-27s in the future? We are talking about what, 230 aircraft here? Keep in mind that the IAF has to simultaneously increase the actual squadron strength to 39.5 and maybe to the 44 number that the IAF supposedly wants.


There is one question which is still valid (raised by Shiv) between
LCA Mk2
MRCA
Su 30
PakFa

What is the niche that MCA fills in? (assuming that LCA fits in Mig 21, Su 30/MRCA fill in Jag/Mirage/Mig-27 and PakFa is the Mig 29?)

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby Carl_T » 01 May 2010 01:05

nachiket wrote:
All this talk about UCAVs aside, if we cancel the MCA, with what do you propose we replace our Jaguars, Mirage-2000s and Mig-27s in the future? We are talking about what, 230 aircraft here? Keep in mind that the IAF has to simultaneously increase the actual squadron strength to 39.5 and maybe to the 44 number that the IAF supposedly wants.



Order more LCAs.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby Prasad » 01 May 2010 01:10

Sanku wrote:There is one question which is still valid (raised by Shiv) between
LCA Mk2
MRCA
Su 30
PakFa

What is the niche that MCA fills in? (assuming that LCA fits in Mig 21, Su 30/MRCA fill in Jag/Mirage/Mig-27 and PakFa is the Mig 29?)


Lets look at some approximate numbers shall wel

LCA Mk1+2 = 2 squadrons worth (as of now) + unknown
MRCA = 126 aircraft - which at say 18 per squadron == 7 squadrons
Su 30 = 230 + 40 aircraft - 15 squadrons
PakFa = unknown

How many squadrons should we have as sanctioned strength? 45? Assume IAF wants to hit 40. How would you fill it up? You have 22 squadrons of MRCA and the MKI. You have 23 remaining to be filled up with LCA II and Pak FA.

If you talk in terms of timelines, the PAK FA may be in service late this decade? LCA II might take a few years. MRCA hasn't even finished trials yet. MKI production is going steady with options for more russian built airframes. Would you throw your hands up in the air and say hey we have enough aircraft now. Lets just shunt the designers and all the knowledge gained with the LCA and be merry? If you start on the MCA in two years with requirements and project outline, when would you look at even a prototype, let alone IOC? Less than a decade after that? How can that be accommodated in the IAF then.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby Sanku » 01 May 2010 01:31

tsriram wrote:How many squadrons should we have as sanctioned strength? 45? Assume IAF wants to hit 40. How would you fill it up? You have 22 squadrons of MRCA and the MKI. You have 23 remaining to be filled up with LCA II and Pak FA. .


No not it terms of numbers, in term of role.

I can always wave my hand and conjure more Su 30 or PakFa etc. if I have a mind to, so numbers I can always make up in this game :wink: .

----------

Note a overlap is ok too, one answer can be, split the MRCA role between MRCA and MCA. 7 Sqd each.

Where is the sweet spot if any, what is the purpose, Indian aircraft in same slot? Special capability? What?

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby nachiket » 01 May 2010 01:51

Sanku, this is what I think. All the aircraft you mentioned may not be operating at the same time. The MCA, if we actually decide to include all the capabilities being talked about (stealth, internal weapons bays, advanced datalinks and network centric warfare capabilities, supercruise etc..), will not start getting inducted till the beginning or middle of the next decade. Around the same time as the PAK-FA or slightly later. The first MKIs started getting inducted at the beginning of the last decade. And the M2Ks, and DARIN II/III Jaguars would be getting seriously long in the tooth by that time.

Sanku wrote:
tsriram wrote:
I can always wave my hand and conjure more Su 30 or PakFa etc. if I have a mind to, so numbers I can always make up in this game :wink: .



Not exactly. The IAF can afford to operate only a certain number of heavy 35 tonne category aircraft. Otherwise we could have replaced every single aircraft in the IAF inventory with the Su-30, because as far as capabilities are concerned, there is nothing the Su-30 can't do.
And the PAK-FA would cost around $100 million at least IMHO. How many do you think we can afford?

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby Indranil » 01 May 2010 01:58

Sanku wrote:
Where is the sweet spot if any, what is the purpose, Indian aircraft in same slot? Special capability? What?


You are right, an overlap is possible! But MCA will give us the know-how to come up with our solution in that bracket and grow from there! If we stop at LCA, we will only grow from the LCA-level!

I am all with you when you say there should be absolutely no hindrance in LCA development till it gets to IOC. But I can't convince myself of stopping the MCA and getting into a UCAV based of LCA or with some complete knee jerk solutions to stun the whole world, right now. I dont see how we will get there without developing some key tech that we need in RUSTOM/MCA/KAVERI :)!

I think I have expressed my point and should stop here :)

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby Manish_Sharma » 01 May 2010 05:21

nukavarapu wrote:I have one more dumb/intelligent question for the jingoes here. Is it possible to have a fighter aircraft without a Radar and completely dependent on a very advanced IRST? I assume if we have an IRST system capable enough to track IR sources in a 100-150 kms radius, it would beat down any Stealth technology out there. Just a very humble question from an ignorant!!!

It's very good question, a huge bulbous IRST in the nose instead of Radar while radar can be carried like litening pod on some missions how would that be???

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby shiv » 01 May 2010 06:02

Mrinal wrote:On the one hand, you make the claim that we have to be superior to the US...OTOH, you propose cutting off the knees of programs that give us the very technologies the west has so zealously guarded and does not want to share.


No such claim has been made sir. You are entering the realm of creating strawmen to knock down.

Mrinal wrote:How can India develop counter stealth technologies if it has no stealth of its own?


There are two ways of doing this
1) As you suggest, build a stealth fighter first and then try to shoot it down
2) Understand that "stealth" (among other characteristics) means bringing down (for example) the cross section of a radar reflecting a/c from say 20 sq meters to 2 square meters. All you need to do is try and detect (and hit) 2 square meter targets from clutter.

Mrinal wrote:How can it make next gen systems when the basic building blocks of technology are unavailable.

Again two ways of doing this
1) Make the assumption that everything the US does is "next gen" and try and ape that as we do now
2) Assume that what India can make with Indian capability is "current gen" and what india can develop using our own resources is next gen - without comparing with the US for validation. This is what China did.


I would choose one route. The route you suggest is clear and in keeping with India's national ethos. That is what i have been trying to say.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby Rahul M » 01 May 2010 06:11

funny that some are arguing for "100% Indian" and against "unobtanium" in the same body of comments. the former is a perfect example of the later. :lol:

where does this ridiculous idea that MCA is somehow related to the US come from ? the MCA was originally envisaged as a twin engined LCA with rudimentary LO characteristics, precisely what people are arguing for now.
with time and the progress of the LCA project, the developers developed enough confidence to think beyond that. and do remember that it is the IAF that is forming up the requirements, ADA/HAL's job is to match it with a product.

replacing MCA project with a UCAV also doesn't make much sense, we are a LONG way off from seeing manned fighters being replaced by unmanned ones. at MOST one would see UCAVs flying with manned aircraft as bomb trucks and missile trucks. that would require a parallel project, perhaps using the same airframes, not replacing one with the other. ironic that the very people who are complaining about americans leading and we following seem to have fallen hook, line and sinker for the marketing blitz about how F-35 will be the last 'manned' fighter. :roll:

lastly, IAF does have a need for a medium category stealthy fighter, unless anyone thinks we can afford to load up the air force with PAKFA's and nothing else, in which case I would like to have the stuff that person is using, it's very potent.
near the end of this decade the MKI's will start feeling the pinch from its large RCS, as radar tech progresses further. it's utility as a breakthrough fighter will slowly diminish, forcing IAF to use the PAKFA and to a much lesser extent, the MRCA (if it's a LO optimised one, even though that goes only so far on an aircraft with external weapons carriage) for its most high threat missions.
IAF's sanctioned fleet strength is 39.5 sqdns, which is ideally expected to expand into the mid 40's, that's ~ 800-900 fighters, including trainers and reserve.
the PAKFA is expected to fill 250 of this slot, the MRCA gets 125, LCA 140, that's 515. out of this only 50 odd PAKFA, 125 MRCA's and 140 odd LCA's (+280 MKI making a total of 595 )can be expected to be in service by the time AMCA can be expected to be ready by most optimistic schedules i.e 2025. where is the rest of the number going to come from ? we can keep the legacy birds flying for a few more years but that's about it. the full production of the PAKFA would require till the end of the decade at least. bisons, M2k, jags, mig-29's all will be on their way out, even the older MKI's will have served for about 30 years by that time.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby shukla » 01 May 2010 06:20

IAF needs to acquire more modern aircrafts: Air Chief Marshal Naik

“These replacements, which are being planned now, towards modern aircraft, there will always be a gap because the older aircrafts will start getting phased out, getting more old. We would like to replace them early, but it’s okay. But now the process has been set in motion and a new aircraft will gradually replace the older aircraft. It s a routine process,” Air Chief Marshal Naik said.

” Definitely, it is a routine cycle. Life of every aircraft is 30 to 40 years. So, by about 20 years of its life, we have to start planning for further purchases. Now what has happened is that 20 years ago, our country did not have money

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby shiv » 01 May 2010 06:57

nachiket wrote:All this talk about UCAVs aside, if we cancel the MCA, with what do you propose we replace our Jaguars, Mirage-2000s and Mig-27s in the future? We are talking about what, 230 aircraft here? Keep in mind that the IAF has to simultaneously increase the actual squadron strength to 39.5 and maybe to the 44 number that the IAF supposedly wants.



This is how I see it.

India has already gone in for Su 30 and was theoretically supposed to have an LCA ready and flying to replace the "meat" of the IAF - the MiG21. The LCA is not ready. So what the IAF is doing is to rightly demand that its own operational readiness is not compromised. This is where the MRCA fits in. So we are going to get one of those five fighters to make up a bulk of our Air force, so that Su-30 and MMRCA will serve as the main bulk of the IAF "teeth" for the next 30 years, gradually replacing the Jaguars and Mirage 2000s as well. (which should anyway last at least 15 years more).

What are we going to do about the future, beyond MRCA and beyond Su 30?

The problem that anyone faces here is to see what lies ahead, and predict the future. The "easiest" method to predict the future (for us) is to stop thinking and look at someone else or ask someone else. We look at the US and say "OK what the US is doing now/today is equal equal to our future. So we see the US doing Supercruise and stealth and say "Aha - that is future. I want that future" I do no want to repeat all that I have written but this thought process is ridiculous and itself has no future for the following reasons

1) we are assuming that US means future and that we want to ape the US. No plans of defeating the US next gen in case our enemies get US tech

2) We are trying to copy US's vision of the future in two ways
    a) We are paying Russia to quickly cook up a plane with technologies that we all like to call 5th gen (PAKFA)
    b) We think we will, in parallel, develop and MCA in India

Look where this leaves us. First of all where is LCA in all this? Nowhere. All plans have been made assuming that LCA may not exist at all. So where are we going to fit in the LCA. The IAF will argue and say LCA is not ready and DRDO is already flushing out LCA and talking PAKFA and MCA

Secondly, if we ape the US and insist on USA definition of 5h generation (supercruise/stealth) then are we going to support both PAKFA and MCA? What is PAKFA/FGFA? What is MCA? One of them has to be a bogey - most likely MCA. But even if one of them becomes reality, what happens to LCA?

Now let me post some multiple choice questions below:

Question 1: Look at Indian technology and Indian industry and mark the aircraft that has the maximum Indian technological and design inputs. I have included only currently flying aircraft in the list.
    a) Su-30
    b) One of the MRCA contenders
    c) PAKFA
    d) LCA

Question 2: The future of the Indian Air force will lie primarily with the following combinations
    a) Su 30 + MRCA +/- LCA
    b) PAKFA +/- LCA
    c) Su 30 + MRCA + PAKFA +/- LCA
    d) Su 30 + MRCA + PAKFA + MCA +/- LCA
    c) MCA + LCA

Note that the LCA need not be present at all in any future plans. It can be excluded and discarded along with any aircraft designing skill we have developed. And unless we hold back and think where India is heading LCA can be totally discarded. LCA can in fact be discarded with the excuse that MCA is being developed. And MCA has got a built in "I am ready to fail" clause because we have hedged our bets and are funding PAKFA. Even if MCA fails or is discarded like LCA - we will still have PAKFA. In other words the IAF will still be ready to fight even if LCA and MCA fail. But who will be the ultimate loser? And who will be the winners?. 50 years ago the IAF was usng 90% foreign aircraft. In 2010 the IAF is using 90% foreign aircraft. 50 years from now the IAF will still be using 90% foreign aircraft. And with the people of the 1960s dead, the people of 2060 wil not even remember the events and imagine hat they are the new gen and somehow do everything right.

I hope someone other than me is also able to diagnose the Indian disease that is manifesting itself here

The disease is as follows

We look at other nations to tell us the future. then we try to copy other nations. Since those nations are using their tech, we cannot do what they do unless we use their home developed tech and pay them for it. And while we do that we throw away and discard whatever little tech we have developed.

Unless we look at working with our own tech and building things with our own tech we are always going to be following other people's standards and definitions. For us 1st generation was prop aircraft assembled at HAL. HF 24/HJT was second generation. LCA /IJT/ALH is third generation. We need to count our generations, not American generations. As long as we count generations defined by American accountants and salesmen, we will never even be able to think "India". But we insist on following other people's generations and make up convoluted excuses as to why that is the right thing to do. Our educated elite is totally sold out on America because we get all our inputs from there. We study in English and most of the info in English that appears in the world is American (It used to be British). Is it any wonder that we read mainly American technical papers?
Last edited by shiv on 01 May 2010 07:09, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby shiv » 01 May 2010 07:07

Could somebody summarize for me the major differences between MCA and PAKFA/FGFA?

What is the weight category that is called "medium"? What is the weight of PAKFA?

Both appearently have built in stealth

Both apparently will have supercruise

What makes one so different from the other that we need both?

If we root for MCA because it is "Indian technology" how come we are hedging our bets and already talking of paying Russia 50% for PAKFA/FGFA. We are already talking of money to be put down for Russian collaboration. What money is being put down for MCA? I suspect one is money and the other is mouth onlee, but I am wiling to look at any contrary evidence provided.

I am going to be asking these questions in Aero India 2011 in the DRDO/ADA stall.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby Vivek K » 01 May 2010 07:19

It would make more sense to source an engine for the MCA before building the "airy castle".

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby shiv » 01 May 2010 07:29

Rhetorical questions:

1) Imagine you are an aircraft designer and manufacturer. Starting from 2010, if it will take you 20-25 years to build an aircraft with "Low Observable" (stealth) characteristics and supercruise (5th gen) but you can guarantee a 3 to 3.5 gen aircraft in huge numbers to be produced in 5 years from now which one should you be promising? (assume you are honest and not a snake oil salesman or middleman for phoren)

2) Imagine you are the Indian Air Force and you are short in numbers. You have only 39.14159 squadrons and you want 45 or 60. Which route should you take
    a) Tell your designers who have big mouths to shut up and produce a 3.5 gen in big numbers soon and make do with that because you can have huge numbers soon.

    b) Import in huge numbers and be subject to sanctions for 40 years even as your big mouth designer/manufacturer gets let off the hook because he only has to assemble and paint and still keep talking big.
    "I haven't done LCA yet but I am now going to make MCA. Nyahahaaaa"

    c) Pay someone else to design something for the future and swallow all the snake oil being sold and keep your fingers crossed and hope that things appear promptly in Gorshkov/LCA timescales.
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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby shiv » 01 May 2010 07:46

nukavarapu wrote:I have one more dumb/intelligent question for the jingoes here. Is it possible to have a fighter aircraft without a Radar and completely dependent on a very advanced IRST? I assume if we have an IRST system capable enough to track IR sources in a 100-150 kms radius, it would beat down any Stealth technology out there. Just a very humble question from an ignorant!!!


Nothing dumb about the question. The only thing dumb here is the Indian education system that convinces anyone who thinks differently that he must be dumb and that "intelligence" is to learn and repeat what already exists.

I am not the expert, but I think there are several different areas that need to be looked at.

One is IR as you say - but recall that stealthy aircraft will stand out better against a cold sky so ground based IR detectors in numbers may be better.

Secondly we need to be looking at other disturbances that an aircraft may cause in the atmosphere (eg TV signals /Cellphone signals being affected by a flying aircraft)

Third we need to look at how stealth may be used. While this may change over the years, stealth is currently expensive to make and maintain and stealthy aircraft do not carry a heavy load because it is internal. For this reason stealth is typically used to knock out enemy air defences (india is the enemy here) and radars first, so that non stealth aircraft with heavier loads can come in unopposed later. So one more thrust area would be survivability of your own air defences. Redundancy in radars and camouflage.decoys so that even waves of stealth fighters do not actually manage to knock out your defences.

There may be a need to rewrite radar detection algorithms so as to detect and not ignore very small radar cross section targets that appear fleetingly and show the characteristics of moving at more than 100 knots (which is faster than any bird)

If a 20 sq meter a/c has a RCS of 2 sq meters it will become visible only when it is close to a target area or a radar. It should be hit at that stage by a swarm of quick reaction, short range missiles and AA guns slaved to radar.

And full coverage AESA is much better so that every part of the sky can be scanned continuously without "blinking" like rotating radar.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby Avarachan » 01 May 2010 08:01

Shiv,

I think you have a good general point: we should come up with solutions that fit Indian requirements, rather than simply assuming that the "latest" tech from other countries will be the best fit for us. But I think you make the opposite mistake: just because the Indian solution to an Indian requirement looks similar to the American solution to an American requirement is not a reason to reject it. Who cares what other countries do? If our solution happens to look like the American solution, so what?

Your comments are somewhat like those who critique the LCH because it looks like other attack helicopters around the world. So? All attack helicopters look somewhat similar. The laws of physics do not change from country to country. The F-22 has an internal weapons bay. Should the Russians say, "Ah, we don't want to copy what the Americans have ... Let's not have an internal weapons bay for the PAK-FA." Of course not! We should do what makes sense for us. We should have the self-confidence to pursue that course, regardless of whether that course is similar or dissimilar to others. Rahul M and Mrinal have clearly laid out why the AMCA makes sense for the IAF's requirements.

Regarding the MCA, I do wonder whether we have the infrastructure necessary to pursue such an ambitious project. In my mind, that's one of the best points in favor of the Gripen for the MMRCA--the Swedes have repeatedly and publicly stated their desire to work with us on a 5th-generation plane.

Finally, there is a sound commercial reason to pursue the AMCA ... If the AMCA were successful, we could see a number of countries expressing interest in it. Russia probably won't be producing a mid-weight LO fighter: it's concentrating all of its resources on the heavy PAK-FA. And America's JSF program is in serious trouble.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby Avarachan » 01 May 2010 08:09

shiv wrote:And full coverage AESA is much better so that every part of the sky can be scanned continuously without "blinking" like rotating radar.


Shiv, we already have this. The Phalcon's radar provides full 360 degree coverage and does not "blink."

"The AWE&C phased array radar replaces the conventional rotodome radar. It is mounted either on the aircraft fuselage or on top of the aircraft inside a stationary dome, providing full 360° coverage. This electronically steered beam radar delivers a tremendous advantage over mechanical rotating antenna, as it supports the tracking a high maneuvering targets. The radar can detect even low flying objects from distances of hundreds of kilometers, day and night, under all weather conditions. Verification beams sent at specific, individual, newly detected targets eliminate false alarms. Moreover, track initiation is achieved in 2 to 4 seconds as compared to 20 to 40 seconds with a rotodome radar."
http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ac/row/phalcon.htm

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby shiv » 01 May 2010 08:10

Avarachan wrote:Shiv,

I think you have a good general point: we should come up with solutions that fit Indian requirements, rather than simply assuming that the "latest" tech from other countries will be the best fit for us. But I think you make the opposite mistake: just because the Indian solution to an Indian requirement looks similar to the American solution to an American requirement is not a reason to reject it. Who cares what other countries do? If our solution happens to look like the American solution, so what?



Boss if Indian "solutions" appear like US solutions (and not copies) I would be happy. But what Indians talk about are not Indian solutions at all. India has no capability to implement those "solutions" How can you call anything a solution if India has no capability to make it? Are supercruise and stealth and thrust vectoring "Indian solutions" that were reached independently by clever Indians who were not looking at all at the US? What kind of solution is one that cannot be implemented?

"Indian solutions" are solutions that India can produce soon using existing Indian technology. US solutions are solutions that the US can produce soon using existing US technology.

Now you tell me if supercruise, stealth and thrust vectoring are Indian solutions? Trying to pass them off as "Independent Indian solutions just just incidentally happen to appear like US solutions" sounds suspiciously like snake oil to me.

Sorry. No can do. It is you who are making the mistake here.
Last edited by shiv on 01 May 2010 08:16, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby Avarachan » 01 May 2010 08:15

shiv wrote:Rhetorical questions:

1) Imagine you are an aircraft designer and manufacturer. Starting from 2010, if it will take you 20-25 years to build an aircraft with "Low Observable" (stealth) characteristics and supercruise (5th gen) but you can guarantee a 3 to 3.5 gen aircraft in huge numbers to be produced in 5 years from now which one should you be promising? (assume you are honest and not a snake oil salesman or middleman for phoren)


Shiv, it's not an either/or. It's both/and. The LCA will not be cancelled. The project is now too far along. The question is, should we fulfill an IAF requirement for an AMCA by building on technology we have developed through great effort, or should we halt the momentum we've built up, and in 10 years be shouting, "We need the JSF!" That's the either/or.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby shiv » 01 May 2010 08:23

Avarachan wrote:Shiv, it's not an either/or. It's both/and. The LCA will not be cancelled. The project is now too far along.

I sincerely hope so.


Avarachan wrote: The question is, should we fulfill an IAF requirement for an AMCA by building on technology we have developed through great effort, or should we halt the momentum we've built up, and in 10 years be shouting, "We need the JSF!" That's the either/or.

Absolutely correct.

But what this means is that at some time down the line the IAF and India will have to bite the bullet and say "We are going to manage with larger numbers of lower generation aircraft to allow our own industry to supply us with numbers while they take the uncertain path to get new technology"

Currently all that we seem to be doing is saying "New techniology=what the US does". In the long term we are better off saying "New technology = indigenous improvement of whatever in house technology we already have".

India has always preferred the former over that latter and we will have to change that mindset.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby Carl_T » 01 May 2010 08:40

Rahul M wrote:lastly, IAF does have a need for a medium category stealthy fighter, unless anyone thinks we can afford to load up the air force with PAKFA's and nothing else, in which case I would like to have the stuff that person is using, it's very potent.

But why?

Why do we need 3 different fighter types?

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby Avarachan » 01 May 2010 08:42

shiv wrote:
Boss if Indian "solutions" appear like US solutions (and not copies) I would be happy. But what Indians talk about are not Indian solutions at all. India has no capability to implement those "solutions" How can you call anything a solution if India has no capability to make it? Are supercruise and stealth and thrust vectoring "Indian solutions" that were reached independently by clever Indians who were not looking at all at the US? What kind of solution is one that cannot be implemented?

"Indian solutions" are solutions that India can produce soon using existing Indian technology. US solutions are solutions that the US can produce soon using existing US technology.

Now you tell me if supercruise, stealth and thrust vectoring are Indian solutions? Trying to pass them off as "Independent Indian solutions just just incidentally happen to appear like US solutions" sounds suspiciously like snake oil to me.

Sorry. No can do. It is you who are making the mistake here.


Shiv, of course we don't have the technology on hand for the AMCA. That's why we're trying to build that technology using the AMCA program. The question is, do we have the necessary infrastructure in place currently to even attempt that leap? As I mentioned in my original post, I don't know that we do, on our own. We've come a long way with the LCA, but we still have a long way to go. However, I think we certainly can do it with a foreign partner. Saab has repeatedly stated that they are interested in partnering with us ... I think we should look at their proposal seriously.

Let me ask you this: what's your opinion of the IGMDP? We can look at the program now (with the 1000 Akash missiles ordered, all of the radars, etc.) and can see that it's a great success. But it was a very big leap at the time. Here is a post by Teer from keypubs regarding this.

http://forum.keypublishing.co.uk/showth ... ost1487635
"Also, keep track of the massive orders for the Akash derived systems
IAF has ordered no less than 37 Rohini radars and eight Rajendras. Initial orders were for 7 Rohinis, once they trialled them, IAF asked for 30 more.
Army has indented for 28 weapon locating radars (rajendra derived).
Navy has ordered 2 revathi radars and will order more for its follow on ships.
The 3D TCR (another 3D CAR derivative) has just cleared trials, and is poised for orders.
Net, the Akash is one of DRDO's biggest breakthrough's - for it has met requirements in "adjacent markets" for radars across all three services, apart from the baseline SAM itself."

Would you agree that the Akash is an Indian solution for an Indian requirement? But the technology for the Akash was not ready at the time the IGMDP was started, was it?

I'm not trying to be needlessly antagonistic. (I apologize if I come across that way ... I'm typing this in a hurry, and I feel a great frustration when the great progress we've made thus far is minimized.)

Here is another interesting post by Teer: "The Akash is a world-class missile." http://forum.keypublishing.co.uk/showpo ... tcount=140

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby Avarachan » 01 May 2010 09:01

shiv wrote:
Avarachan wrote: The question is, should we fulfill an IAF requirement for an AMCA by building on technology we have developed through great effort, or should we halt the momentum we've built up, and in 10 years be shouting, "We need the JSF!" That's the either/or.

Absolutely correct.

But what this means is that at some time down the line the IAF and India will have to bite the bullet and say "We are going to manage with larger numbers of lower generation aircraft to allow our own industry to supply us with numbers while they take the uncertain path to get new technology"

Currently all that we seem to be doing is saying "New techniology=what the US does". In the long term we are better off saying "New technology = indigenous improvement of whatever in house technology we already have".

India has always preferred the former over that latter and we will have to change that mindset.


Shiv, while we're building our indigenous capabilities, we're partnering with other countries to fill in the gaps. Keep in mind that the integration work on the MKI was only possible because of the R&D work done for the LCA program. Everyone is dazzled by the MKI--sadly, most Indians are not aware that the sexy MKI was only made possible by the humble little LCA. Here's an informative post by Teer from keypubs about this: http://forum.keypublishing.co.uk/showth ... ost1507409

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby shiv » 01 May 2010 09:07

Avarachan wrote:Let me ask you this: what's your opinion of the IGMDP? We can look at the program now (with the 1000 Akash missiles ordered, all of the radars, etc.) and can see that it's a great success. But it was a very big leap at the time. Here is a post by Teer from keypubs regarding this.


Remember that when IGMDP was started the US and USSR already had deployed ICBMs. Nevertheless the aims of IGMDP
were modest and designed to match Indian capability. This was a well conceived plan, that did not look at anyone else for inspiration, destined to succeed despite criticism.

When the LCA was planned, it was planned to include technologies that were far beyond Indian capability. That was a mistake for which the nation and the designers paid for dearly. We have now paid the price, and the tech is almost within our grasp, 25 years after the US deployed it. The LCA was a gamble that could have failed.

Now we are once again looking at the future. Should we base our future plans on the capability we already have despite that capability being behind the US (like the IGMDP) or should we base our future plans on capability we no not have and hope to acquire, and take another gamble like the LCA gamble? IGMDP has worked, the LCA is still "getting there".
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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby shiv » 01 May 2010 09:12

Avarachan wrote:
Shiv, of course we don't have the technology on hand for the AMCA. That's why we're trying to build that technology using the AMCA program.


What is AMCA? (Not the acronym, the concept)

What is the technology that the AMCA needs?

What technology do we need to build?

Who already has that technology ?

If someone already has that tech, how old will the tech be by the time we get it?

Is is not possible for us to define a future aircraft based on technolgy we have (like IGMDP) rather than on technology we do not have?

Has anyone ever spelt out or discussed these things?

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby shiv » 01 May 2010 09:16

Avarachan wrote:
Shiv, while we're building our indigenous capabilities, we're partnering with other countries to fill in the gaps.


Of course. Of course. And then allowing them to dictate what line we should take and what we should not do, and this has now gone on for 50 years (within my lifetime) and promises to go on another 50 years after I am dead. This is what set off my original rant.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby Carl_T » 01 May 2010 09:20

Avarachan wrote:

Shiv, while we're building our indigenous capabilities, we're partnering with other countries to fill in the gaps. Keep in mind that the integration work on the MKI was only possible because of the R&D work done for the LCA program. Everyone is dazzled by the MKI--sadly, most Indians are not aware that the sexy MKI was only made possible by the humble little LCA. Here's an informative post by Teer from keypubs about this: http://forum.keypublishing.co.uk/showth ... ost1507409

The question is not whether we should develop our capabilities or not, it is about whether we should go for the big ambitious projects which may be of questionable value when they are completed, as opposed to developing capability in basic technologies that can be done in a realistic timeframe. Shouldn't we first build an SDRE engine and radar before we start thinking about stealth fighters? Just IMO.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby Indranil » 01 May 2010 11:44

Firstly, let me answer the good question of having a big IRST and having a slung RADAR. how will you power this RADAR? your TWR will suffer hugely if you go for this design, as it will be not just weight, but a huge user of the energy which obviously has to come from the engine!

Second all of you who are suddenly up in arms about "our disgusting poodle like thoughts". Could you please not digress and give me a few solutions. You want to detect a LO plane with your non-stealth planes! How do you plan to do it?

1. Is stealth a throwaway requirement because US is at the forefront of it? If not why is it a bad thing to have?

2. If not a stealth design, then what is the next step forward. Please remember that against a comparable enemy we will be able to see as far as our opponent can. Our opponent has LO objects, we have some kind of fighters which are not stealth but have some capability to counter the stealth. What could it be?

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Re: Indian Military Aviation

Postby Sanku » 01 May 2010 12:19

nachiket wrote:
Sanku wrote:I can always wave my hand and conjure more Su 30 or PakFa etc. if I have a mind to, so numbers I can always make up in this game :wink: .



Not exactly. The IAF can afford to operate only a certain number of heavy 35 tonne category aircraft. Otherwise we could have replaced every single aircraft in the IAF inventory with the Su-30, because as far as capabilities are concerned, there is nothing the Su-30 can't do.
And the PAK-FA would cost around $100 million at least IMHO. How many do you think we can afford?


True, but thats why I am focussing on the role. If you want more Medium aircraft, there is nothing stopping me from conjuring more MRCA as solution. Or more in each class where its needed.

Thats why the question is on the role, and intent. If a MRCA like bird, is the intent a Indian MRCA? More aircrafts in that category but not from outside?

The reason I ask that question is because that is what will answer Shiv's valid critisism. What is AMCA? What techonologies does it have? What requirements does it fulfuil, as a PRODUCT. In a INDIAN context.

Answering that MACA is 5th Gen Aircraft with Supercruise does not answer that. That becomes an example of looking outside for leadership and continuous "technological debt" trap.


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