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Beyond FGFA: Can India look at others for Stealth fighter Partnerships?

Discussion in 'Indian Air Force' started by layman, Mar 29, 2017.

  1. Abingdonboy

    Abingdonboy Major Technical Analyst

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    Not really sir! A lot has changed:

    1) Kaveri is far more mature today than it was at the start of the last decade
    2) External aid (Safran) has come that will oversee the final development of the Kaveri
    3) The timelines involved favour future projects; AMCA is for the 2030s, plenty of time to get the matured Kaveri tested and operational
    4) Budgets and manpower are far more extensive today and going into the future

    Now is the time to start building on the foundations that have been laid and to start dreaming big.
     
  2. Averageamerican

    Averageamerican Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    August 20, 2016: Remember all those cost and tech problems the F-22 had? Many said it was something of an American disease. Now Russia appears to have caught it and their own F-22ski is the victim. In mid-2016 Russia admitted that the air force would have to make do with upgraded Su-27/30s rather than the new PAK-FA/T-50 stealth fighter. A few T-50s will be used by the Russian Air Force but most will be built for export customers. This comes at the same time Russia told India that the planned upgrade of 194 Indian Su-30MKIs with some of the T-50 features would delay development of the T-50. India is apparently OK with that as Indian air force experts are increasingly doubtful about how soon the T-50 will be ready, at what price and how effective it will be. The Su-30MKI upgrade will include an internal bomb bay, “super-cruise” (the ability to travel at supersonic speeds without using the afterburner) and upgraded electronics which will include improved sensors and more efficient cockpit controls. All of this makes the Su-30MKI stealthier as it will be able to use passive (heat sensing) “radar” and longer range missiles. This is also a characteristic of stealthy aircraft. All this will cost about $42 million per aircraft. This will give India what is called a 4.5 generation fighter, compared to the 5th generation T-50

    As recently as late 2015 there was more optimism. Back then the head of the Russian air force announced that their new “5th generation” T-50 stealth fighter was passing all its flight tests and was now expected to enter service in 2017. This was surprising because earlier Russia announced that they were reducing the number of production T-50s to be built by the end of the decade from 52 to 12. Russia already has five development models of the T-50 flying, although one was damaged in a fire. The Russian announcement did not cover specific reasons for the change. But Indian Air Force officials have been criticizing the progress of the T-50 program since 2015. This aircraft is the Russian answer to the U.S. F-22 and according to the Indians, who have contributed $300 million (so far) to development of the T-50, they are entitled by the 2007 agreement with Russian to have access to technical details. The Russians were accused to refusing to provide development updates as often and in as much detail the Indians expected. The Indians know from experience that when the Russians clam up about a military project it is usually because the news is bad and the Russians would rather not share.

    The Russians have been trying to conceal T-50 problems since 2013, when Indian pilots and aviation experts had a chance to examine Russian progress and noted that the T-50 as it was then put together was unreliable. The Russian radar, which promised so much has delivered, according to the Indians, insufficient performance. The Indians also noted that the T-50s stealth features were unsatisfactory. Instead of answers to these questions all the Indians got until early 2015 were excuses and promises. Russia insisted this is all a misunderstanding, until now.

    In early 2015 the Russians were portraying the T-50 as a specialist aircraft to be built in small numbers. This is what the United States ended up doing with the F-22, which entered service in 2005. That decision was triggered by development problems and a final price per aircraft that was deemed (by Congress) too high to be affordable. The less expensive F-35 is moving in the same direction despite years of U.S. Air Force assurances that the F-35 benefitted from the F-22 experience. That was true, but the benefit did not bring the F-35 cost down sufficiently to prevent reductions in the number to be built. While only 195 F-22s were built, more than ten times of F-35s are to be built. But that is less than the planned amount. Originally 750 F-22s were planned, with no exports allowed. The F-35 is to be exported and it was hoped that a thousand or more would be sold overseas. But the rising cost of development and production is leading to reductions in U.S. and foreign orders.

    The T-50 is a 34 ton fighter that is more maneuverable than the 33 ton Su-27 it will replace, has much better electronics, is stealthy and can cruise at above the speed of sound. Russia promise a fighter with a life of 6,000 flight hours and engines good for 4,000 hours. Russia promises world-class avionics, plus a very pilot-friendly cockpit. The use of many thrusters and fly-by-wire will produce an aircraft even more maneuverable than earlier Su-30s (which have been extremely agile). The problem the Indians have is that the improvements do not appear to be worth the additional investment. The T-50 costs at least 50 percent more than the Su-27. That would be some $60 million (for a bare bones model, at least 50 percent more with all the options), about what a top-of-the-line F-16 costs. The Su-27 was originally developed to match the American F-15.

    The T-50 is not meant to be a direct rival for the F-22 because the Russian aircraft is not as stealthy. But if the maneuverability and advanced electronics live up to the promises, the aircraft would be more than a match for every fighter out there other than the F-22. If such a T-50 was sold for under $100 million each there would be a lot of buyers. But it looks like the T-50 will cost more. For the moment the T-50 and the Chinese J-20 (and J-31) are the only potential competitors for the F-22 that are in development.

    Like the F-22, T-50 development expenses are increasing, and it looks like the T-50 will cost at least $120 million each (including a share of the development cost) but only if 500 or more are manufactured. Russia hopes to build as many as a thousand. Few F-22s were built because of the high cost. American developers are now seeking to apply their stealth, and other technologies, to the development of combat UAVs. Thus, by the time the T-50 enters service in large numbers during the 2020s it may already be made obsolete by cheaper, unmanned, stealthy fighters. The United States, Russia, and China are all working on applying stealth technology to combat UAVs. Thus the mass produced 6th generation unmanned fighter may be the aircraft that replaces most current fighters

    The T-50 flew for the first time in January 2010, 13 years after the F-22 did so. Once the T-50 flew it was believed that the first 70 production models would be ordered by 2016 and be delivered by the end of the decade. The order number was later reduced to 52 and now it is 12. Some of the prototypes were to be handed over to the Russian Air Force or testing but that has not happened yet.

    Russians and Indians have been doing a lot of tinkering since the first T-50 flew. While the T-50 is the stealthiest aircraft the Russians have, it is not nearly as stealthy as the F-22, or even the F-35 or B-2. The Russians are apparently going to emphasize maneuverability instead of stealth. India wants more stealth and would prefer a two-seat aircraft. The problems with the T-50 engines and the defensive electronics are proving difficult to solve. This puts the T-50 at a big disadvantage against the F-22 or F-35, which try to detect enemy aircraft at long distance, without being spotted, and then fire a radar guided missile (like AMRAAM). These problems are apparently the main reason for the delays.

    The Russians want to export their "Fifth Generation Fighter" (which they admit is not true 5th Gen) to India and other foreign customers. With the Indian participation, Russia now has the billions of dollars it will take to carry out the T-50 development program. India is not just contributing cash but also technology and manufacturing capability. China is unlikely to be a customer because they have two “stealth fighter” designs in development and flying. India is too heavily invested to easily withdraw from the T-50 effort, but that might change if it becomes obvious that the T-50 development is going to get a lot more expensive and take a lot longer. Russia has already told its air force generals to prepare for a future full of Su-30s. This also bothers the Indians, who are having lots of unexpected reliability and performance with their two hundred or so Su-30s.
     
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  3. layman

    layman Aurignacian STAR MEMBER

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    That is pretty optimistic estimation of 100 LCA. With current production level of 8 to 11 Jets in 2 to 4 years there is no way they are going to reach 100 and requirement is about 11 squadron by 2018 to 2020. And LCA ia cheaper but if can be produced in numbers required, off-Shelf purchase with ToT can increase the production lines side by side.

    Well it is Senators of Congress who are pushing to expedite the Indian Defence Deals.
    And Seems Mr. Modi has been invited to US and scheduled to Visit US this year. And we are taking about possibilities not certainty.

    American fighter are non starters right but again we are jus discussing about possibilities. Dont write off any possibilities in todays world of politics where Nations becoming Populists Governments. They always bunch up.
     
  4. zebra7

    zebra7 Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    Janab F35 is only good for the NATO Members nation, because to use its full capability you need the americal sub systems also, and US controlled network, link and satellite. And since India don't want to be in a Club, we are happy with FGFA offer. F35 is the great idea, which US is selling to bring all its partner closer and controlled via US based server network, and use their orders and money to bring the cost down.

    There will be one more showdown of the F35 in future just like Desert Storm 1/2 to demostrate how F35 and US 5th Gen. Warfare capability is the must to defeat the Former USSR air defence Tech. such as S300.

    Baki Lage Raho Mamoo.
     
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  5. Sancho

    Sancho Lt. Colonel Technical Analyst

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    How so? The project was stopped 2 years ago, no further development, flight testing or integration to any fighter was made, even for ground testing. The fact that we need French help to revive it again, says where it stands today and the outcome of the joint development needs to be seen, since it's a new development, based on 2 different engines. The minimum that we should have learned from all the mistakes done during LCA development, should be not to make one development dependent on another. We have to move both separately and join them if possible when both are ready, just like experienced countries are doing in their fighter developments too.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2017
  6. Sancho

    Sancho Lt. Colonel Technical Analyst

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    The problem is, that they could also block possible partners for a joint program, since they won't support the development of F35 counterparts. Otherwise joining with Israel for AMCA would be a great chance.
     
  7. zebra7

    zebra7 Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    Project was never stopped, rather delinked from the LCA Program. Infact whatever was tested in Russian airborne test bed was high altitude testing of the core, and what is left is the Supersonic testing of the Kaveri GTX-35 technology demonstrator prototype unit. For that you need an OEM, which would certify it to be tested on the supersonic airframe (probably MIG29 test bed leased from the Russia), and the certification of technology. Afterward, the engine will be derived/built with the technology of the Kaveri. What GTRE could get the help from the Safron is how to build the modular design of the derived engine.
     
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  8. Sancho

    Sancho Lt. Colonel Technical Analyst

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    DRDO to abandon indigenous fighter jet engine Kaveri project

    Jan 11, 2015

    The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has decided to wind up the Kaveri engine (GTX-35VS ) programme, signaling an end to a desi dream of equipping its own fighter jet with a home-grown power plant...
    ...Dr K Tamilmani, Director-General (Aero), DRDO, confirmed to OneIndia that the Kaveri project will be scrapped. "Yes. These are part of the bold stand being taken by DRDO. Whereever we have found bottlenecks for long time, with no realistic solutions, it's better to move on...

    http://www.oneindia.com/amphtml/ben...roject-gtre-gets-revival-package-1565505.html
     
  9. layman

    layman Aurignacian STAR MEMBER

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    JV of AMCA with Israel is/will be great asset.

    The part of the Engine is still unclear. There is currently 2 options available. K9+ and K10 Engine. K9+ engine is designed and developed in India. Which would be successor of Kaveri? Second offer of K10 Engine is that the Engine will be made by Joint-Venture with any foreign country. Most probably its US Company General Electrics who is chosen.GE promised DRDO for full access to its core technology and also offered to give ToT for Engine for local manufacturing in India. But since K-9+ will take another decade to operation after so much R&D, it’s likely to be on K10. Recent visit made by Manohar Parrikar to US included the development of K-10.

    There are reports that DRDO will consider another option of Cockpit Display which would be a JV between HAL and Elbit of Israel. If it’s chosen then it wouldn't be totally made in India. Then the cockpit-speech recognition system will be made by Adacel which is the same company which makes same type of system for F-35.

    India and Israel working for a joint project to develop a GaN based AESA for fighter jets. However due to the importance of the program the information’s are highly classified. It’s clear the Radar too be a joint venture between either US or Israel. Sensor The infrared based systems like IRST, missile warning systems, laser warning system also added internally in the AMCA. The IRST sensors are placed in all sides of the AMCA to provide full angle coverage like in Rafale and F 35. The proposed IRST system is work similar to the F 35’s EOTS who shares the information’s to friendly units like via the satellite and highly secured data links. AMCA also comes with self protection jammer system to jam enemy radar guided missiles from both air and ground. electronic counter measure systems to confuse the infrared guided missiles and a radar warning receiver too added to detect enemy radar frequency’s. The Senor suites in AMCA led by the LRDE and BEL which include many private and foreign contributes.
     
  10. rockstar

    rockstar 2nd Lieutant FULL MEMBER

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    Can we get a Japanese cooperation? I think Briton already cooperating with it. We should have got our self in instead of Brits.
     
  11. Sancho

    Sancho Lt. Colonel Technical Analyst

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    A JV would not be enough, we need a proper partner that would also commit themselves with an own order. Especially a partner with aircraft design experience would be important, since we still have a lt of problems in that regard, even with conventional designs.

    Another alternative to the loss of an FGFA joint development, is also a customized Pak Fa in smaller numbers. Imo that's even a necessity, since we can't wait for stealth fighters anymore.
     
  12. Sancho

    Sancho Lt. Colonel Technical Analyst

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    Doubtful since they are limiting defence sales and only some British components try to team up with them for engine developments for example.
     
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  13. Abingdonboy

    Abingdonboy Major Technical Analyst

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    123 jets will be delivered by 2023/4, second production line is being set up so by 2019 the production capacity will be 16-20 LCA/year.

    Fair enough but I wouldn't even consider American fighters as a possibility.

    + Modi visits the US every year.
     
  14. Averageamerican

    Averageamerican Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    MQ-9 Reaper: Unfettered for Export
    Mar 29, 2017 00:55 UTC by Defense Industry Daily staff

    March 28/17: A number of US senators have come together in a bipartisan effort to pressure the Trump administration into approving two key defense deals with India [​IMG] [​IMG]. Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Mark Warner, D-Va urged Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in joint letters to approve co-production of Lockheed Martin’s F-16 in India and to approve the export of General Atomics’ Guardian, a nonlethal maritime version of the MQ-9 Reaper. Speaking on the F-16 negotiations, the letters stated that a successful deal “will increase interoperability with a key partner and a dominant power in South Asia, build India’s capacity to counter threats from the north, and balance China’s growing military capability in the Pacific,” while on the Guardian UAV deal, the men warned that a failure to go through with the sale “will not only have implications for regional security in the Asia-Pacific, but could also significantly impact the MQ-9 production line and put thousands of US manufacturing jobs at risk.”

    {click to shrink ^}
    The above update is a recent abstract from our full article, itself part of our subscription offering. Keep reading to know more.[​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Reaper, ready…
    (click to view full)
    The MQ-9 Reaper UAV, once called “Predator B,” is somewhat similar to the famous Predator. Until you look at the tail. Or its size. Or its weapons. It’s called “Reaper” for a reason: while it packs the same surveillance gear, it’s much more of a hunter-killer design. Some have called it the first fielded Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV).

    The Reaper UCAV will play a significant role in the future USAF, even though its capability set makes the MQ-9 considerably more expensive than MQ-1 Predators. Given these high-end capabilities and expenses, one may not have expected the MQ-9 to enjoy better export success than its famous cousin. Nevertheless, that’s what appears to be happening. MQ-9 operators currently include the USA and Britain, who use it in hunter-killer mode, and Italy. Several other countries are expressing interest, and the steady addition of new payloads are expanding the Reaper’s advantage over competitors…
     
  15. layman

    layman Aurignacian STAR MEMBER

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    16/20 LCA per year is optimistic estimate.
    Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has set up a second line for the series production of TEJAS. The new line has come up at Aircraft Division in December 2016, with the facility now being equipped with full-fledged assembly jigs.
    Currently Tejas SP-5 is being integrated here, while SP-4 already moved to the final stages of systems checking at the LCA Division. HAL has converted the erstwhile Kiran hangar to set up this additional production line.
    The second line when fully operational can produce three aircraft per year.
    HAL awaits the crucial Cabinet Committee on Security nod for the third TEJAS production line. Around 30,000 sq meters of HAL land has been identified near Nekkundi for setting up structural assembly hangar, process shop and sheet metal shop, among others.
    So right now First Production line make 8 aircraft per year + this second line which makes 3 per year.
    You will need 5 lines then to produce the 83 aircrafts, in 6 years time.

    This is the 4th Visit since 2014 and this visit has some significance with Ajit Doval's earlier meeting in US with James Mattis carried a lot of discussions though it was related terrorism and SCS. So writing off... hm.. think about it.
     

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