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LCA MK2 VS Saab Gripen-An analysis in Indian context

Discussion in 'Indian Air Force' started by HariPrasad, Dec 30, 2016.

  1. Vijyes

    Vijyes BANNED BANNED

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    AMCA is higher priority than MK2. MK2A may never enter service before 2025 as the team is working on AMCA and even Navy will get AMCA instead of Mk2.

    You can think that Tejas will come in 3000AD too. You may even have an opinion that you are superman. If you have no other work find some work. Don't spoil the discussion here. If you have any evidence to say LCA will be delayed, present that. Else, your words are worse than bullshit. As I said, LCA Mk2 is delayed due to AMCA. As soon as AMCA gets completed by 2023-4 LCA Mk2 will be priority again. MK2 is a minor upgrade. It will take a small time.

    The only reason LCA was delayed was because of UPA government. If UPA comes back, LCA is game over. Else, it will be done. It has already received IOC and even BVR capabilities and AESA has been tested. The plane by itself is already ready.

    Who will push further back? How is MMRCA even relevant? Only a fool uses foreign plane as a substitute. If UPA comes, yes you are right. But it is conditional. If people vote congress, then people deserve to die
     
  2. Sancho

    Sancho Lt. Colonel Technical Analyst

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    Common sense, if LCA MK2 will be available only beyond 2025, it has operationally no value anymore. Our enemies are already moving towards 5th gen fighters, IAF hopefully will be inducting Su 57 or FGFA by then and we should have an Indian production line for an MMRCA, while AMCA will be the next big aim for our industry.
    So ordering a light class 4.5th gen fighter by then, will be difficult to justify, by the lack of capability, while adding orders to the existing MMRCA or FGFA line would be the better choice.

    The problem is, that the LCA program got far too delayed and not up to current standards, to gain the potential the fighter had. So unless we speed up the devolpment and increase capability to remain useful, MK2 might end up as an upgrade standard only.
     
  3. Vijyes

    Vijyes BANNED BANNED

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    LCA was delayed but the project also evolved. It is now capable of AESA radars which is a new capability. Similarly, many modern weapons have come into place. Physics don't change over time and hence the fly by wire, shape etc will not need to change. The Tejas is 4.5 generation plane. It is not going to get outdated as the modern subsystem can be retrofitted. The only thing Tejas lacks as in 5th generation is sensor fusion and stealth.

    The problem with 5th generation planes is in difficulty of manufacturing. Tejas being a delta wing aircraft, is very easy and quick to scale up. The delta wing reduces the need for too many external airframe parts and gives it a sturdy body by virtue of being a single part (wings are a big triangle). Delta wing is problematic in dogfighting as it bleeds energy. But with AESA and BVR, dog fight is a thing of the past.

    Tejas will never get outdated and can be scaled up very quickly giving it a massive advantage. AMCA will be stealthy but time consuming and difficult to manufacture. So, ADA has planned a modular approach to help compartmentalise AMCA. Nevertheless, it can never be built as quick as Tejas can be. The delta wing, lack of time consuming stealth and sensor fusion is an extraordinary advantage in terms of building time which AMCA simply can't beat.
     
  4. Guynextdoor

    Guynextdoor Lt. Colonel SENIOR MEMBER

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    no dude- there will always be a mix of fighters. It is clear that as far as India is concerned only the 'heavy' class are going to be 5th gen in the near term. After that AMCA will become mid category 5th gen. Lots of space for LCA to serve in the next 30 years being conventional 4th Gen.
     
  5. Sancho

    Sancho Lt. Colonel Technical Analyst

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    And as we see in most of the advanced air forces, they mix medium class fighters to heavy class fighters => AMCA to FGFA.
    In fact Indian Air Force is the only major military force that went for light class fighters, which was a big mistake wrt operational capability and future potential, but then again, nobody expected it to be under development for so long.
    It will serve as a cost-effective peace time air policing fighter, but it's potential is limited by far, because of the remaining problems, the small size and the delays that keeps on hurting the program. That's why future orders are mainly dependent on how well and how fast the MK1A development and delivery will go on and the same for MK2. If they get delayed too, IAF has to move on at a certain point to remain operationally capable.
     
  6. surya kiran

    surya kiran 2nd Lieutant FULL MEMBER

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    Most of those are air forces which will be offensive in nature. USAF, RAF, FrAF all these do not expect to fight on their soil. Combat operations are far from their home ground.

    The PLAAF, RuAF, IAF expect to defend and perform offensive operations. Different requirements.
     
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  7. Guynextdoor

    Guynextdoor Lt. Colonel SENIOR MEMBER

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    I think there will be need for point defence fighters for a long time dude. Let's face it, we just don't have the money to run a full medium+ Heavy class force. Else the bisons won't have continued for so long. And as our cities grow and get more GDP, the protection role will become even more intense. Forget wartime, even in peacetime we will need LCAs buzzing over major cities like Mumbai on regular sorties as active protection measures. Under the circumstances it looks like a vey very good way to maintain low Opex yet give superb security.
     
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  8. Sancho

    Sancho Lt. Colonel Technical Analyst

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    That has nothing to do with the size or weight class of the fighter that you develop, since it's not about range alone, but internal space for systems, or weapon load capabilities. PLAAF for example has medium class J10 next to heavy class Flankers, while Russia fields medium class Mig 29 varients, next to Flankers. Only India has the light, medium, heavy mix for modern fighters.

    There is nothing like a point defence fighter, because that's only a role that can be done by different fighters. But light class fighters offer limited capabilities, therefor usually are used for low end roles like point defence or CAS.

    That might be the case and as I said, that might had been one of the main reasons to go for a light class fighter, but we were talking about the future 2025 and beyond time frame and when you want a cost-effective alternative to very expensive 5th gen fighters, you take medium class 4.5th gen fighters, to not suffer too much loss in operational capabilities. The capability gap between an AMCA to LCA MK2 is simply too large, to be useful.
     
  9. Vijyes

    Vijyes BANNED BANNED

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    Question 1) what is that huge difference between LCA Mk2 and AMCA that will make LCA problematic?
    2) Why is LCA a point defence system with respect to pakistan? Pakistan width is 300km. LCA Mk2 has ferry range without external fuel is 1700km and Pakistan can be easily covered.
    3) LCA has payload of 3.5ton with 8 hard points after 2.5 ton of fuel. A 100kT nuke comes at 100kg weight. Astra is 160kg weight. Conventional bunker busters are around 250kg weight. Subsonic cruise missiles weigh about 500kg and Anti radiation missile weighs 150-200kg. Though all hardpiints can't carry same weight, 2 hard points under fuselage and 2 hardpoints, 1 under each wing can carry 1 ton 500kg.What is your problem here?

    India has a mix of light medium and heavy as it imports planes and not manufactures it. Indian intention is to replace all planes to Tejas and AMCA eventually.

    What exactly is the need for FGFA when there is AMCA? Are we intending to fight from long distance bases like aircraft carriers?
     
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  10. Vijyes

    Vijyes BANNED BANNED

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    Do you know what is the meaning of point defense system? Tejas is not MiG25. Tejas is a multirole plane. Point defense doesn't apply if the target is close to the airbase or if the plane is sufficiently maneuverable. Tejas is maneuverable with high initial maneuverability but poor maneuverability later on due to delta wing design. But, in general, Tejas is maneuverable and can't be simply called point defense system

    Pakistan width is 300km. So, even Tejas can successfully bomb a 4-5 points, take out a plane with BVR and come back in case of war with Pakistan. In case of china, things can differ but that is because Chinese mainland is 1500km from Indian border. The only response to chinese threats is ballistic missiles
     
  11. Sancho

    Sancho Lt. Colonel Technical Analyst

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    Apart from stealth, being a class below. LCA can't carry the same weapon loads as medium class fighters, doesn't offer the operational range and endurance, and the MK1A will lack behind most MMRCAs in terms of EW and sensor capability too. Having an AESA radar doesn't make even the radar equally capable, because it's size is most likely smaller. So MK2 won't be able to match the performance of medium class fighters of the same generation, let alone 5th gen fighters.
    First of all it's not developed and nobody knows the MK2 range. Secondly, the ferry range is the distance the fighter can travel from point A to B with maximum fuel but no weapons.
    The combat radius is the important figure and because LCA has just limited fuel, IAF insisted on in flight refuelling capability, to increase it's low endurance and range.

    LCA has only 1 weapon station below the fuselage, the other hard point is for pods.
    It also flies nowhere without external fuel tanks, which occupies the inner wingstations. The external wing stations will be blocked by SR missiles or self protection jamming pods.
    That leaves only 2 mid wing stations for 2 bombs in the MK1 + a 3rd bomb on the centerline station for the MK1A if payload will be increased. However there won't be hard points left for BVR missiles, which leaves LCA as vulnerable as a Jaguar, while most modern multi role fighters have enough hardpoints to carry A2A and strike loads at the same time.

    Payload is just a paper figure and doesn't mean anything, without a useful number of weapon stations!

    FGFA is needed exactly because AMCA will not be available till 2030 or later.
     
  12. Guynextdoor

    Guynextdoor Lt. Colonel SENIOR MEMBER

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    yes, true enough. But I'm not sure you can call roles like point defence 'low level' anymore. Unlike before certain geographies have ultra high concentrations of wealth. India has the biggest petro-chemical complex in the world (Jamnagar), Mumbai's GDP is probably gonna touch USD 1 trillion and so on. Unlike in the wars before where you can write off, say 5% of GDP for war, the scenario is just way different. And unike the US or UK India is a land of high concentration of wealth. I'm of the opinion that dedicated protection for these geo locations is not exactly a bad thing. You may, of course, have a different opinion.
     
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  13. Guynextdoor

    Guynextdoor Lt. Colonel SENIOR MEMBER

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    I think FGFA (Su 30 type?) is a different class from AMCA (Rafale class)
     
  14. Sancho

    Sancho Lt. Colonel Technical Analyst

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    Low end, because of the lower threat perception, when you operate within your own air space, supported by ground defences, or since most of these roles include basic air policing too.
    MMRCAs or MKIs on the other hand, will be the first line of air defence, as well as responsible for all offensive roles, beyond our airspace. Be it SEAD, precision, medium or long range strikes, which are not only more demanding for the fighter itself, but also will be done in a much higher threat environment and that's where you can't have enough capability.
    And even in your example of the protection of certain high value areas, you obviously will use more capable assets to protect these areas, as suppose to areas with lower threat preception.

    Isn't that even the reason why the first 2 LCA squads will be raised in the south, far away from any capable enemy? They will protect Bangalore if an airliner gets lost or is unidentified and even will support MKIs, to keep Sri Lanka in check, but they won't be able to fight eastern or western enemies.

    Sure, that's why we need to add AMCA for medium range / class operations to FGFA. The question however was, why we need FGFA at all and since there is possibly a gap of 10 years in the arrival of both, we certainly need FGFA / Su 57 ASAP to counter J20s and J31s, which all will be available in numbers before AMCA will be anywhere near.
     
  15. Vijyes

    Vijyes BANNED BANNED

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    The LCA Mk1 has 1700km ferry range which is confirmed, on internal fuel. MK2 will have larger fuselage and about 0.5 ton more fuel to a total of 3 ton fuel. Its engine will also be F414 or K10 class which will likely have more lift.
    The range of Tejas MK2 will be same as Gripen.

    It is a real shame that you think only 1 hard point is for weapons in LCA. I think I have made it clear that with 1700 ferry range, there is no need for carrying fuel pods. Unnecessarily insisting will not change reality. Even with 3.5 ton payload, the combat radius on internal fuel is 350km which is greater than width of Pakistan.

    India has only 3 threats - Pakistan, China, Bangladesh. China can't be tackled by any plane as it has to be one way trip. Chinese mainland is too far away and bombing tibet or other deserted or mountainous lands is foolish. To deal with Pakistan, internal fuel is more than enough even with 3.5 ton load. So, next time don't speak of fuel pods. Aerial refueling is needed for missions which are long distances or loitering, whereby a 24x7 presence in the sky is needed. It is much easier to simply land and refuel. Just check youtube videos on how difficult it is to refuel mid air. It is not a specific requirement for Tejas due to its poor range. Even Rafale was asked to have that.

    The MK1A is small and hence has EW pods outside but MK2 is being designed to increase the capacity to hold these things inside. So, BVR missile can also be loaded easily. The GaN AESA is also being developed and we have already made GaN modules. GaN is important as it lowers the size of AESA compared to UTTAM GaAs radar. So, with GaN radar being completed by 2023, LCA Mk2 will be potent.

    LCA MK2A is designed to be 4.5 generation, light aircraft comparable to Gripen. Its delta wing and small size provides the following advantages -
    1) semi stealth due to small size and carbon composite which is upto 50% of the plane.
    2) The delta wing give huge rigidity which enables carbon composite to be used
    3) Delta wing and small size makes the plane easy to manufacture. This means that manufacturing LCA Mk2 in large numbers will be possible which will give it a mammoth quantity advantage. Imagine a F16 against 2 Tejas. Tejas will win.
    4) GaN AESA will ensure that there is no big difference in AESA performance and the distinct size and composite advantage will make Tejas more deadly to other 4th or 4.5th generation planes.

    All in all, Tejas is designed to be a light plane for our nearby threats, which is easy for mass manufacture. But Mk1A became excessively small and hence Mk2 is planned with slightly bigger size to accommodate all the shortcomings.

    Tejas is better than FGFA or AMCA in a pure air to air war as it is possible to make 5 Tejas in the same man hours as 1 FGFA/AMCA. The quantity advantage for manufacturing is huge and India has huge population anyways. However, MMRCA, especially 5th generation ones are needed for specific roles where quantity can't substitute quality. So, AMCA will also be needed, but not at the cost of Tejas

    FGFA is not useful as there is simply no technology transfer. Even Russia has not completed its Su57 or PAK-FA yet. There has been huge delays and by the time Russia completes their FOC version, it might well be 2023-24 and then they will have to modify for India. AMCA is set to come by 2030 with trials to begin by 2027-8 while FGFA, even if signed will come only after 2025, maybe even couple years later. What is the big hurry for 4-5 years?
     

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