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Early retirement of Mig-27 helping Lca Tejas growth

Discussion in 'Indian Air Force' started by layman, Feb 23, 2014.

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  1. layman

    layman Aurignacian STAR MEMBER

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    Recently Ministry of Defence have indicated that bulk of Mig-21 and Mig-27 which forms 14 combat squadrons will be replaced by home grown Tejas fighter aircrafts and most of Mig-21 and Mig-27 operated by IAF are deployed on western front and Eastern front .

    Indian Air force operates largest fleet of Mig-27 in the world but the Strike aircraft Inducted almost decades later then Mig-21 might make an early exist along with Mig-21, IAF operates about 80 (four squadrons) of these soviet-origin planes in its fleet and due to the recurring problems in their R-29s engines, it had to ground them on many occasion in past few year, one famous crash was in kargil war when an MiG-27 engine ingested gases from the onboard gunfire, resulting in disrupted airflow to the engine, MiG-27 was operating at low speeds at high altitude which lead to compressor stall even when aircraft speed was on recommended side.

    IAF later carried out detail inspection of many other cases of Mig-27 crashes related to engine flame out or malfunctioning over the years and the study revealed that R-29s powering Mig-27 had design defects which cannot be corrected even with direct Russian assistances.

    India and Russia agreed that only way to fix the problem is to change the engine, a mig-27 was re-engined with AL-31F it is the same engine used on IAF’s Sukhoi su 30 MKI and was tested which lead to increased thrust by 1 ton, weight was reduced by 200 kg, fuel savings was up by 15 percent, but then IAF had another problem, workmanship on Mig-27 airframe was not the best and aircraft could had to be retired early anyway so the whole plan was dropped.

    Early retirement of Mig-27 was not anticipated by IAF a decade ago and decade later plans to induct MMRCA aircrafts are still on paper , but misery of Mig-27 might actually help growth of Tejas in IAF , recent admission by MOD indicates that order of Tejas likely will go up in near future . First of the Mig-27 to be phased out would be the two squadrons based in Kalaikunda by 2015 and remaining two deployed in Jodhpur would also be on their way out of the force by 2017.

    IAF till now has ordered only to 6 Tejas squadrons, two squadrons of the Tejas Mark-1, and four squadrons of the Tejas Mark II, That means it’s about about 120 aircrafts for IAF. Indian navy will also order 40-50 Naval LCA based on Mark-2, so if there is increase in the order Tejas production line will have to be revamped and upgraded to delivery higher number of aircrafts Per year. According to Indian air force sources close to idrw.org, IAF plans to secure western front with Pakistan and Eastern front with china by operating combo of Tejas and Sukhoi 30 fighter aircrafts in near future and replacing bulk of Mig-21 and Mig-27 operated in western and eastern front with home grown fighter jet.

    But HAL’s Production line is geared up to deliver 16 Tejas a year only , so if IAF does place orders for more 6 or 8 squadrons of Tejas then HAL will require a second production line which can deliver around 16 more aircrafts a year . Problem is if IAF sticks to Tejas MK2, then MK2 which likely will enter production only post 2020 this will still leave IAF under strength for at least another decade to come.

    Either IAF will have to order more Tejas MK-1 from current order of 40 to 60 so that production line which likely will become idle for a year or two before MK2 goes into production remains active and extra aircraft will help form another squadron or place higher orders for Tejas MK-2 so that second Production line could be in place by HAL and sourcing of materials from industrial partners can lead to cheaper price tag due to large order . bigger production line for Tejas will also help India secure export orders if any comes by , it will be interesting to see which road IAF will take to keep squadron strength up .

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