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Turkey's TFX Fifth Gen Fighter Program

Discussion in 'Europe & Russia' started by Agent_47, Apr 18, 2017.

  1. Agent_47

    Agent_47 Admin - Blog Staff Member MODERATOR

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    Turkey and UK agree to develop new fighter aircraft

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    Turkey and the United Kingdom signed a heads of agreement to collaborate on the development of Turkey's indigenous fifth-generation fighter project on 28 January.

    The agreement was signed in Ankara by BAE Systems and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) in the presence of the Turkish prime minister, Binali Yildirim, and the visiting UK prime minister, Theresa May.

    The non-binding agreement paves the way for the signature of a contract between the two companies that could be worth over GBP100 million and pave the way for even deeper co-operation over the lifetime of the project.

    Known as the Milli Muharebe Uçagi (MMU) project locally and overseas as the Turkish Fighter Experimental (TF-X) project, the programme aims to build a modern air superiority aircraft to replace Turkey's F-16s. Turkey selected BAE Systems as its first choice international partner for the project in late 2015.

    May, who is reported to have made preparations for closer post-Brexit trading links her top priority for the Turkey trip, said, "This agreement [TF-X] underlines once again that Britain is a great, global, trading nation and that we are open for business. It marks the start of a new and deeper trading relationship with Turkey and will potentially secure British and Turkish jobs and prosperity for decades to come."

    Yildirim stated also during his joint press conference on 28 January with May that the two countries have displayed a common will to improve their economic and security relations.

    He further noted that the two countries had forged a strategic partnership in 2010. He added that TF-X "is a project supported fully by both the Turkish Republic and Britain. It is an important project that will further the strength of both countries in the defence industry field".

    Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after meeting with May on 28 January, said that Turkey and the United Kingdom can work together in solidarities, both politically and as members of NATO.

    http://www.janes.com/article/67322/turkey-and-uk-agree-to-develop-new-fighter-aircraft
     
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  2. Agent_47

    Agent_47 Admin - Blog Staff Member MODERATOR

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    TURKEY INVITED PAKISTAN TO PARTICIPATE IN NEXT-GEN TFX FIGHTER PROGRAM

    In a recent interview with the state-owned television network PTV (note: it is in Urdu), Pakistan’s Minister of Defence Production (MoDP) Rana Tanveer Hussain revealed that Turkey had invited Pakistan to participate in the development of its next-generation fighter program, the TFX. Specifically, Turkey had requested that Pakistan assists it on the “integration side” of the program.

    Comment and Analysis

    Pakistan was first linked to the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) TFX program in June when Turkey’s state-owned media outlet Anadolu Agency reported that the two countries were in talks over the TFX.

    During the launch ceremony of the Pakistan Navy’s Fleet Tanker, which was designed by STM Turkey and produced at Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KSEW), the Undersecretary of SSM (Turkey’s defense industry department) reportedly said in a speech that the door was open to Pakistan participation in the TAI TFX . The Turkish aviation news outlet Kokpit Aero reported that Pakistan was interested in the TFX.

    At this stage, it has now officially been confirmed that an invitation regarding the TFX was extended to Pakistan. However, the extent of Pakistan’s interest in the program is not known, at least officially. That said, Pakistani interest in the program would not be surprising.

    In March, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF)’s Chief of Air Staff (CAS) Air Chief Marshal (ACM) Sohail Aman had announced that the PAF had begun to conceptualize its next-generation fighter requirements. In May, ACM Aman elaborated on the initiative and stated that indigenization would be essential to the program.

    The specifics have not been disclosed, and one can only speculate exactly what the PAF is intending to do in regards to its next-generation fighter program. However, it is telling that the PAF has not formally or officially committed to the AVIC FC-31, which is surprising considering China’s role in being Pakistan’s principal supplier of high-tech arms, especially combat aircraft (i.e. the JF-17).

    To better understand the situation, it may be worth noting exactly what role the next-generation fighter would play in the PAF. From the onset, it seems the next-generation fighter’s function is to replace the PAF’s legacy F-16s, which would be in excess of 40 years old in the 2020s.

    Given that the F-16s form the foundation of what the PAF considers its “qualitative edge” or “high-tech” fleet element, it is possible that the PAF is keeping the capability and performance threshold of the next-generation platform on the upper-end of the spectrum.

    This is not an indictment of the FC-31, but would explain why the TFX, which will draw significantly from Western expertise and technology, is under consideration. In other words, the PAF is keeping its options open, and will seek the platform that strikes the optimal balance of performance, cost, and accessibility.

    Based on Mr. Hussain’s comments, it seems Turkey or TAI had extended an industrial collaboration offer to Pakistan. Should the PAF select the TFX, Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) would benefit from some technology transfer as well as potentially commercial offsets, which could link PAC into the overall TFX program by providing all users with specific components and parts.

    As one might imagine, this is quite different from the stated objective of the JF-17, which was to heavily mitigate the risk of sanctions. Domestic fighter production is not a simple or affordable undertaking. Pakistan had already invested considerably in the JF-17 program, and the inclusion of the next-generation platform does not preclude the JF-17 from further – parallel – development. The parallel development would be the likely course considering that a JF-17 variant will generally remain to be more affordable, accessible and scalable than any next-generation fighter solution.

    That said, unlike the current situation with the F-16, the TFX may be accompanied by a comparatively deeper domestic support network, one that not only includes maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO), but also a measure of spare parts manufacturing, domestic research and development investment, and armament flexibility (in terms of one’s choice of air-to-air/ground munitions). It is not entirely “sanction-proof”, but it is a substantive improvement in comparison to the F-16.

    A less likely scenario – though possible – is that the TFX offer may not require the PAF to buy the aircraft. TAI could simply contract PAC to undertake specific tasks. This would not be the first time PAC engages in work that does not necessarily involve the Pakistani armed forces. In 2013, TAI contracted PAC to produce parts for the Anka unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), even though Pakistan does not operate the Anka.

    In terms of broader impacts, discussions of this nature have essentially positioned Turkey as the leading prospective supplier for Pakistan’s next-generation arms requirements. From the T-129 ATAK dedicated attack helicopter, MILGEM corvette, and now TFX, Turkey could potentially be Pakistan’s top source of ‘Western’ arms. However, Turkey could very well be competing with China in some respects. Finances will be an issue for Pakistan, but Turkish offers or suggestions of transfer-of-technology and commercial offsets could help balance those limitations.

    http://quwa.org/2016/08/22/turkey-invited-pakistan-participate-next-gen-tfx-fighter-program/
     
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  3. Agent_47

    Agent_47 Admin - Blog Staff Member MODERATOR

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    Turkey’s TF-X fighter throws a lifeline to UK military aerospace

    The UK Prime Minister’s visit to Turkey announcing BAE Systems’ collaboration on an indigenous stealth fighter for the Turkish Air Force represents a vital win for the UK military aerospace sector. TIM ROBINSON assesses the ramifications of this deal.

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    British PM Theresa May meets Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan - 28 January (No 10 Downing Street)

    On 28 January British Prime Minister Theresa May, on an official visit to Istanbul, Turkey, to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, announced that the UK’s BAE Systems, in partnership with Turkish Aerospace Industries, (TAI) would help design a new ‘fifth generation’ stealth fighter - the TF-X. This agreement, for BAE Systems to help design the TF-X for service in the mid-2020s is a potential lifeline for the UK’s combat aircraft design expertise.

    What is TF-X?
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    The three configurations of TF-X currently in contention. (Mehmet Delice)

    So what is Turkey’s TF-X? Although the configuration is not yet set in stone, Turkey’s goal is to develop its own indigenous (as far as practical) stealth fighter which will replace the Lockheed Martin F-16 in service.

    While the Turkish Air Force (which was heavily involved in the 2016 coup attempt) currently flies F-16s and some F-4s and is set to receive around 100 F-35s, the concept for TF-X is that it would be more heavily tilted towards the air superiority mission – as a F-22-class combat aircraft for the mid-2020s. Currently there are three configurations mooted for TF-X – a single engine design, a twin-engine fighter and a highly agile version with canards.

    While there is a requirement for a predicted 250 TF-X fighters for the Turkish Air Force itself, reports suggest that TF-X will also be aimed at the wider export market. With F-22 production halted, the F-35 optimised for strike and the other options being mid-life upgrades of the Eurocanards (Eurofighter, Rafale and Gripen) it is possible that the TF-X could turn into an export success in the mid-2020s and beyond for countries looking for a fifth generation air dominance fighter.

    "
    The deal to help design the TF-X, represents a major coup for BAE Systems in keeping a critical part of the UK’s combat aircraft design capability alive."


    While BAE Systems will help with design and development, this participation could also open doors to other parts of UK industry for specific systems or components that Turkey is unable to produce in-house. The Rolls-Royce EJ200 engines from the Eurofighter have already been tipped as the powerplant and were the subject of an MoU in 2015. A true stealth fighter may well require a matching engine, and this may also be an opportunity for Rolls-Royce to acquire the necessary expertise.

    Other opportunities for UK industry may be in ejection seats (Martin-Baker), HUDs or HMDs (BAE Striker II) - indeed, BAE Systems already supplies its LiteHUD for TAI’s Hurkus basic trainer.

    While Turkish defence electronics company ASELAN has already reportedly started work on an AESA radar, there could potentially be other opportunities for UK’s Selex ES (now Leonardo MW) which produces AESA radars for Eurofighter and Gripen as well as EO IRST and EW systems.

    Finally, while Turkey’s own state missile house Roketsan boasts an impressive range of weapons, including stand-off missiles, precision bombs and anti-tank missiles, MBDA’s air-to-air portfolio ASRAAM and in particular the game-changing Meteor, would be an ideal fit for a fifth-gen air superiority combat aircraft.

    Choosing a stealth partner
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    BAE Systems' stealth fighter Replica testbed never flew - but it gave the company valuable knowledge in LO design. (BAE Systems)

    The collaboration may be significant for the UK, with BAE winning this design work over rival bids from Airbus Defence and Space and Saab, but it also represents a smart move by Turkey in selecting a European partner that has a long history in low-observable projects.

    In the 1990s, for example, BAE Systems developed a secret stealth fighter concept called Replica that reached mock-up stage– partly as a back-up plan to collaboration with the larger US JSF programme. This home-grown stealth fighter, then showcasing the UK’s LO expertise, was Britain’s entry ticket to JSF at the highest level. Since then, the company has developed further with collaboration on F-35, and LO UAV projects, with the most recent being the Taranis UCAV demonstrator – seen by some knowledgeable observers as one of the most stealthy air vehicles ever. BAE is also working on a follow-on Anglo-French UCAV demonstrator in partnership with Dassault.

    While strict firewalls and US ITAR knowledge sharing restrictions will mean that BAE will not be able to share or transfer all of its stealth knowledge developed with international partners, its hard-won in-house LO experience since Replica means that TAI has access to a highly competent industrial partner – especially when it comes to airframe, sensor and weapons integration.

    The problem – what next for UK military aerospace?
    [​IMG]

    What next for military aircraft designers after these? (BAE Systems)

    The announcement comes at a critical time for Britain’s military aviation sector – as design and development work for new UK platforms becomes scarce. It is notable of that the five air key platforms (F-35, P-8, AH-64E, Protector and Zephyr) highlighted in the 2015 SDSR, only one (Zephyr) is actually designed and built in the UK.

    While BAE Systems is currently busy adding capability to the Eurofighter Typhoon, the end of production may be in sight unless new customers are found. A mid-life Typhoon update in the 2020s means the best is yet to come, but it will still not require the full engineering capability or design expertise of a clean-sheet military aircraft.

    Meanwhile, on the F-35 – which despite having entered service with the US Marines in 2015 and the USAF in 2016, first flew some 17 years ago in 2000 as the X-35. The UK, as Tier 1 partner on the project, has contributed heavily to the design, particularly for the STOVL ‘B’ variant. Now in full production and ramping up, UK industry is expected to benefit massively from its investment in the future. However, while future opportunities for support and ongoing upgrades will continue – again the initial design and engineering work is well in the past.

    So too, for the BAE Hawk advanced trainer. First flying in 1974, the Hawk has been a spectacular British sales success, with over 1,000 sold. However, despite BAE updating it to latest T2 standard for the RAF, it was ditched by partner Northrop Grumman for the USAF T-X trainer requirement for a fresh design from Scaled Composites. Any hope that BAE’s design work would continue has now been dashed when NG/BAE took the decision earlier this month to not bid a proposal. The Hawk lives on, in the Advanced Hawk (previously ‘Combat Hawk’), developed in co-operation with HAL.

    On the positive side of the equation, BAE is involved with the most challenging and potentially significant combat aircraft programme in Europe, the UCAS (unmanned combat air system) with Dassualt. This £1.5bn programme builds on the expertise and experience of Britain and France with their own demonstrators (Taranis and Neuron), for a low observable UCAV. With feasibility study complete, a demonstration programme, to begin in late 2017, will see two UCAS flight demonstrators by 2025, with operational stealth drones in the 2030s and beyond.

    Yet, despite this cutting-edge aerospace technology, the jury is still out on how many UCAVs air forces will need in the future. The timescales to operational platforms (another 13 years away at least – and more likely 18) also mean that there is a significant gap in production between the end of Eurofighter at the end of this decade and the start of any UCAV manufacturing.

    The fear, is that the reduction in UK defence programmes is gradually whittling away at the front-end of the UK’s end-to-end design, development, manufacturing and support base – with key capabilities, skills and expertise being lost over time. Indeed, there is much evidence from recent programmes (T-45, Astute and Nimrod MRA4) that suggests this has already happened.

    Brexit may also deprive BAE Systems of access to the burgeoning EU defence R&D programme, which, if French lobbying has any impact, will feature combat aircraft relevant technology acquisition. The deal with Turkey would also help to fill this potential gap.

    The deal to help design the TF-X, represents a major coup for BAE Systems in keeping a critical part of the UK’s combat aircrat design capability alive.

    Same problem, elsewhere in Europe
    [​IMG]

    Last year AirbusDS revealed this concept for Tornado replacement for the Luftwaffe for the 2040s (AirbusDS).

    But a shortage of combat aircraft design projects is not just a problem facing the UK industry either – but across the whole of Europe’s defence sector.

    The most significant recent clean-sheet pan-European combat aircraft to enter service, the A400M, had its first flight eight years go and its original requirement dates back to the 1980s. Outside UAVs, other ‘new’ European combat aircraft are either upgrades or modifications of existing types. The European defence sector has also singularly failed to dethrone US and Israeli leadership in UAVs – particularly in the MALE sector.

    Saab, for example, has just rolled out its Gripen NG, and has future unfunded concepts beyond that, but has found its own lifeline working with Boeing to help design its T-X trainer.

    Like Eurofighter, France’s Dassault can look forward to a mid-life Rafale upgrade in the mid-2020s – and is partnered with the UK on the Anglo-French UCAV.

    Worst off, arguably, is AirbusDS, which in concert with other European companies has faced an uphill battle to attract political interest in a European MALE UAV platform. Last year AirbusDS revealed a proposal for a stealth fighter replacement for Germany’s Tornado fleet, but it faces the disadvantage of being outside both F-35 and the Anglo-French UCAS programmes as well as Berlin’s lukewarm approach to defence procurement.

    Turkey’s growing ambition
    [​IMG]

    Turkey has big plans for its military and civil aerospace sectors. (TRJet)

    But not all countries are struggling with declining design work for their military sectors. Turkey has one of the most active and ambitious aerospace and defence industries and is working steadily to develop its indigenous capability – with a flurry of activity in recent years. State-owned TAI has moved from license-built production of F-16s and other aircraft, to designing and manufacturing its own aircraft. It has developed a basic trainer and light attack aircraft, the Hurkus, as well as the Anka MALE UAV. TAI has also produced an upgraded version of the A129 Mangusta attack helicopter, the T129 ATAK, in co-operation with original manufacturer, Leonardo.

    The country has also ambitions in the civil aerospace sector – with a Turkish Regional Jet project being launched in 2015, to develop a family of regional airliners, beginning with a design based on the Dornier 328JET.

    Space and a healthy missiles systems sector through the state-owned Roketsan round out Turkey’s growing aerospace sector. For aerospace companies willing to help Istanbul develop its aerospace industry further, there could therefore be other potential opportunities in the future.

    Summary
    [​IMG]

    An affordable, latest generation 'F-22' class stealth fighter could lead to export sales. (TAI)

    The prospect of a growing UK defence partnership with Turkish strongman Erdogan, post the 2016 coup attempt, may be unpalatable in some quarters - but the deal is critical in that it helps the UK maintain an irreplaceable combat aircraft design capability – at a time when rival European defence companies are also scratching around for work. The prize is a juicy one – a large 200+ aircraft buy, potential export sales and a ‘European F-22’ style air dominance fighter that complements the F-35. The UK, too, through its experience in Replica, Taranis, F-35 and FCAS, is perhaps arguably the most advanced aerospace sector outside the US in LO technology – and thus safeguarding and protecting this expertise with as much design and technical work as possible, should be a clear strategic goal for UK Plc.

    The, is also significant in that is an agreement to help develop a fighter aircraft with a non-EU, but NATO country (that is not the US (or Canada)) – and is thus a boost for those who see the UK striking deals with the wider world post-Brexit. The Turkish AF – twice the size of the RAF - is also a major power player on NATO’s southern flank – despite recent political upheavals.

    However, it is important not to overstate this deal too much. The stated size of the contract, ‘£100m or more’ is insignificant in total development budgets for an advanced stealth project like this – which may top $25bn or more in total. Turkey, of course, will want to manufacture and develop as much technology in-house as possible and it is possible that TF-X itself may fall victim to outside forces or budget squeezes.

    Yet despite these caveats, the partnership has major implications in helping maintain critical UK combat aircraft design capability, that without a spread of new projects to work on, might otherwise wither and die.

    https://www.aerosociety.com/news/turkey-s-tf-x-fighter-throws-a-lifeline-to-uk-military-aerospace/
     
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  4. Agent_47

    Agent_47 Admin - Blog Staff Member MODERATOR

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  5. Agent_47

    Agent_47 Admin - Blog Staff Member MODERATOR

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    TAI & BAE WILL INK TFX AGREEMENT, PAKISTAN MAY JOIN AS PARTNER

    Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) and BAE Systems will ink the TFX design and development agreement they signed in January at the International Defence Industry Fair (IDEF), which is taking place in Istanbul.

    In January, TAI and BAE Systems agreed to a £100 million-plus contract that will involve BAE assisting TAI with the design and development of the TFX next-generation multi-role fighter.

    The Turkish language news publisher Yeni Şafak reports that the aforementioned agreement will be inked during IDEF. Yeni Şafak added that Pakistan, which had been linked to the TFX program in 2016, may sign a “goodwill agreement” and be a partner in the TFX program. Additional details were not provided.

    Notes & Comments:

    The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has not disclosed specific plans regarding its next-generation fighter plans. It did outline on numerous occasions that Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) Kamra will play a key role in bringing the program to fruition, particularly with the support of the educational facilities being raised in its vicinity as part of the Kamra Aviation City initiative. In March, the PAF’s Chief of Air Staff (CAS) Air Chief Marshal (ACM) Sohail Aman said that PAC’s future lies in manufacturing 5th-generation fighters and active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radars. However, specifics regarding partners or suppliers for the PAF 5th-generation fighter were not provided.

    Although the PAF has not commented on the TFX, Pakistan’s Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP) had spoke of it on several occasions. In August, the MoDP Rana Tanveer Hussain told Pakistan’s state-owned television network PTV that Turkey requested Pakistan’s participation on the TFX. In November, the Secretary of the MoDP – Lt. Gen. (retired) Syed Muhammad Owais – told MSI Turkish Defence Review that the “details and scope of collaboration and participation is being worked between the two governments.” At Pakistan’s biennial defence exhibition IDEAS, TAI’s Senior Executive Vice President for Aircraft Ozcan Ertem told MSI that TAI was engaged with relevant Pakistani parties on the TFX.

    In a recent interview of the MoDP at IDEF by Anadolu Agency, Mr. Hussain said that Pakistan may initially contribute with integration work at PAC, but efforts will be made to form business ties with Britain (note: the MoDP specifically named the Royal Air Force), from which point PAC will become a partner in the TFX.

    The PAF’s current focus is on supplanting the remainder of its 190 legacy F-7P and Mirage III/5s with the JF-17 Thunder, its emerging backbone fighter. For the PAF, its next milestone program is the AESA radar-equipped JF-17 Block-III, which it views will be a significant addition to its fleet from 2019-2020. Besides the JF-17, the PAF leadership continues pointing towards the F-16 as a preferred off-the-shelf fighter for meeting near-term needs. The remainder, be it reports of interest in the Sukhoi Su-35 or other avenues, have been subject to secondary news reports and observer speculation.

    The TFX topic is in a strange space in that while the PAF does not comment on it, the Pakistani MoDP and Turkish industry have been forthcoming about Pakistan’s engagement. Interestingly, the PAF CAS ACM Sohail Aman did tell PTV that talks for “procuring” fifth-generation fighters were underway with several countries (seemingly separate from the PAC fifth-generation fighter program). However, this does not necessarily mean that the PAF is interested in the TFX for its own fleet – PAC had manufactured parts of the TAI Anka UAV, even though Pakistan did not procure the drone.

    http://quwa.org/2017/05/09/tai-bae-will-ink-tfx-agreement-pakistan-may-join-partner/
     
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  6. Agent_47

    Agent_47 Admin - Blog Staff Member MODERATOR

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  7. Sancho

    Sancho Major Technical Analyst

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    And Saab was selected as design and development partner. The Turks are at least as proud as we are about their indigenous developments, but they are smarter, since they understand how to use their advantages of foreign development partners or modifying foreign arms in JVs and make them theirs.
    Let's hope we learned from LCA mistakes and follow similar routes as Turkey, S. Korea or Japan, to get external help for our stealth fighter development.

    P.S. Pakistan now has 3 different options to get to stealth fighters or athe least know how. China, UAE and Turkey, although it needs to be seen how the political developments in Turkey will limit defence cooperations with Europe in future.
     
  8. Agent_47

    Agent_47 Admin - Blog Staff Member MODERATOR

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  9. Sancho

    Sancho Major Technical Analyst

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    Saal was consulting partner for the design stage:

     
  10. Agent_47

    Agent_47 Admin - Blog Staff Member MODERATOR

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    I know but they were only consultant. Now BAE is partner.

    You said partner.
     
  11. Sancho

    Sancho Major Technical Analyst

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    That's the same, since the companies are paid to support the development. It's not a partnership of both countries, to jointly develop the fighter including orders from the UK.
     
  12. Agent_47

    Agent_47 Admin - Blog Staff Member MODERATOR

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  13. DrSomnath999

    DrSomnath999 Major RESEARCHER

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    exactly the same thing i was stating before & posted a thread earliear also
    http://indiandefence.com/threads/should-france-india-co-develop-amca-5th-gen-fighter.13255/

    but you did the usual thing you do i.e to ridiculed me & lectured me
    that france is more interested in UCAVs not 5th gen planes .Ok fine
    So now tell me which country can we partner for AMCA ,??
    already we are tied up with russia for FFGA ,
    2)US no chance ,they would offer F35
    3) japan they have their own protype
    4) UK now teaming up with turkey
    5) Sweeden they donthave their own engines

    Is there any other country which i left out which we can partner ??

    So left only one country that is france !!!

    france & INdia can codevlop AMCA for it's navy .already India rejected Nlca pondering for rafale M .
    why the heck cant we devlop AMCA for our navy .I just cant understand

    FFGA is for airforce but what about IN navy ??? france can also use them for it's navy

    CHEERS
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2017
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  14. BMD

    BMD Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    The UK involvement with Turkey is mainly as a D&D consultancy. India could probably use them in the same capacity, but then it would have to be cleared by NATO.
     
  15. zebra7

    zebra7 Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    If I have to choose, than its the Japan.

    Because, you are looking at it too close, and CLOSER YOU LOOK, LESS YOU SEE. :) that's why you fail to see that there is no ASQR issued by either IAF or IN, and instead of asking ADA to tell what they required is expecting ADA to tell, what they required. They can cry for the late development of the LCA, but fails to ask for the simulator for the training and start the training of the pilots, which will takes years, and then go over the blame spree.

    Answer is the lack of DARPA in India.
     

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