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Why Navy’s rejection of Naval LCA is wrong

Discussion in 'Indian Navy' started by layman, Apr 16, 2017.

  1. Sancho

    Sancho Lt. Colonel Technical Analyst

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    proud_indian, Agent_47 and layman like this.
  2. Sancho

    Sancho Lt. Colonel Technical Analyst

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    All that is fine, but can be done by NLCA MK1 on the available shore based facilities and the know how to develop the gear or a hook for AMCA come from the NLCA MK1 and will be adopted in future, for a heavier and stealthy fighter, but the MK2 upgrade doesn't change anything about that.

    Lol you asked if IN wanted NLCA as a carrier fighter, not if they wanted a indigenously carrier fighter in general. The earlier was not what they wanted, but they hope for AMCA. Imo they should be even much more forueful and demand AMCA to be build as a carrier fighter in the first place, but still, NLCA was just a tech demo project for them.
     
  3. vstol jockey

    vstol jockey Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    Before we start the argument about the reasons for cancelling NLCA, we need to understand what is required of a deck fighter and how crucial are those requirements. A deck based fighter, especially for STOBAR ops is reqd to have a very high TWR, low wing loading, good overall lifting ability, good stall speed margins, very good forward visibility, low take off and approach speeds, good waive off and bolter performance, good roll rates, good glide slope transfer (pop up) capability, good throttle response, good flight path stability and finally be able to survive highly corrosive environment at sea. It must be able to fit within the confined spaces of the hanger of a carrier and be able to use the deck lifts fitted on the carrier.

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    I will post how NLCA performs w.r.t these criteria and what all have been the positives from NLCA project till date. Hopefully, many of you will change your opinion after that.
     
  4. vstol jockey

    vstol jockey Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    LCA was conceived as a replacement of Mig-21 and was positioned in the LIGHT category. This made it a proper land based aircraft and it was designed from the very beginning as a shore based fighter. The specifications were vetted by IAF and ecen the QRs were laid down by IAF. IN had no input to any of these things and no one even asked IN about its reqts.
    I have listed the most pressing needs for a deck based fighter as we encounter these problems on regular basis while operating from deck. ADA designed LCA and it is by any standards, a great aircraft and no other aircraft in the world packs so much in such a small airframe as LCA does. We all must bow to our scientists in ADA for creating the eighth wonder of the world. We all hear about the weight problems of LCA and how it has become a big issue for its operations. India started designing this aircraft all by itself. This is first fighter aircraft to be designed in India by Indians alone. HF-24 was designed by Dr. Kurt Tank who was a German. Given this handicap, ADA set some highly ambitious targets for itself and they had no clue about how to get there. They wanted to develop kaveri, but got stuck, US offered FBW system and than sanctioned it in 1998. And finally, we wanted to develop our own radar, EW system and actuators which became a failure. IAF, who had forced this Tailless Delta design for LCA and which created the need to have a RSS-Relaxed static stability design, quietly abandoned the project once HAL administration was taken away from IAF in 1985. Now this project was like an orphan and the user service was not willing to give any input or provide any support to this program. IAF in the meantime went in for MIg-29s, SU-30MKI and now Rafale.
    But what did our scientists do during this time? they fought a lone battle, they created FBW on their own which is far superior to any other FBW system operational on any aircraft being flown by any Indian Armed force today and they MASTERED composites. Yes, they mastered composites which even Russia has not been able to do. These very light and very long range missiles are a by product of this breakthrough. Mastering a tailless Delta RSS design and perfecting a FBW system for it is a capability which only very advanced nations have. Making FBW control laws for a Canard-delta design are easy compared to a tailless Delta design. AND making FBW system for a conventional Delta-tailed design is even more easy especially if it has positive stablity.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2017
  5. vstol jockey

    vstol jockey Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    This issue of weight for LCA is a bogey created by people who wanted to induct more Rafale and so they did to LCA what they did to Arjun. attack the design and the product and create space for imports. In 1999 kargil war, M2K did a very fine job. IAF wanted additional 100+ M2K. BJP govt started processing the file and then in 2004 they were thrown out. In came Italian waitress who was hungry for bribes and the French smelled blood. They pushed in Rafale. The whole deal was changed to MMRCA and then what happened thereafter is known to all of us. LCA did its first flight in 2001 and the whole world had created a scare that this aircraft is going to crash just after take off as the FBW system architecture is unproven and Indians do not have brains to develop one such system of their own. Till date no LCA has ever suffered any problem of its FCS. This shows the ability of those fools, who waded in waters which they cud not fathom and yet came out with glory for the nation and for themselves, our scientists of National flight control centre.
    The designers did a very wise thing. They made the airframe extra strong resulting in a heavier aircraft and that gave ammo to the detractors of LCA to denounce it. The target weight of LCA was supposed to be 5.5 tons. ADA has very clearly stated that they can bring down the weight of MK1A to this value by optimising the airframe. We have example of JF-17, wherein its wing broke during flights and resulted in aircrashes. we also know the most recent case of MC-21, designed by Russia, where the wing failed the load test and needs to be redesigned with additional structural strength. What wrong did our scientists do when they took the safer way of having slightly over built airframe. I am sure no member will ever find fault with it. So LCA has no weight issue of any kind. AND I maintain this regarding LCA.
     
  6. vstol jockey

    vstol jockey Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    Why has LCA failed to get its FOC till date when it has been in development since 1983? The actual development of LCA started in 1997 only. LCA as a platform and as Hardware is a proven product. What it lacks is avionics architecture to show its ability to perform various tasks for which it has been equated with omnirole platform like Rafale. IAF learnt few tricks from IA, after all Chor-chor mauseray bhai. From asking for an interceptor with limited CAS ability, they changed the ASQR to omnirole aircraft QRs and demanded addition of IFR and 14minute turn around time. Yes, you read it correctly. That too from an aircraft which was supposed to be a replacement of Mig-21. I find it very funny that for a point defence aircraft with 14 minute turn around time in AA role, you want to add IFR. But these changed reqts made the life of import lobby miserable bcoz ADA said that they can do it and they did it also as has been seen by everyone in last fire power demonstration in Pokhran. LCA MK1A will prove to be more formidable than MK2 version due to lower empty weight, better TWR and lower wing loading. IMHO, MK2 is a waste of time and money. Upgraded Kaveri with Safran help will be a drop fit for MK1A and will also help increase its internal fuel capacity by about 300kgs. I strongly suggest that ADA use the complete system architecture of upgraded M2K for MK1A which is modular in nature and will help save space in this very small airframe.
     
  7. Sancho

    Sancho Lt. Colonel Technical Analyst

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    And again baseless claims and denial of realities, the weight issue (that you even admit later in your post, which itself is contradictory), reduces the performance of the fighter => that translated in IAFs request for a higher thrust engine.
    All this has nothing to do with Rafale, since that issue came up far before Rafale was selected. Moreover, your whole post has no relation to the rejection of NLCA.
     
  8. vstol jockey

    vstol jockey Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    If Mk1A is going to be so good, than why has IN rejected it? The problem originates from the origins of this aircraft. It was designed to be a land based interceptor capable of CAS. Tailless Delta planform has high landing speeds and they achieve their best Clmax value at very high AOA due to high sweepback angle of their wings. French designed M2K but did not make any attempt to take it to Deck. Why? No nation has ever deployed an aircraft from deck with sweepback angles more than 50*. Why?
    The GS angle while landing on shore is max 3* but it rises to 3.5* for deck ops. This means you need very good FOV-Field of View. If you are going to have a very high AOA for approach, you will not be able to see the drop lights and will fail to fly a safe approach to the deck. The deck landing space on Indian carriers is more restrictive as we have just three arrestor wires with 40feet spacing between them. This means that the aircraft must touch down within 80feet on every approach. High approach speed also means higher sink rate which means that undercart has to be that much stronger to withstand the impact. The higher the sink rate more will be the weight bcoz the whole impact must be absorbed by the fuselage. F-35 gear is certified for 6.1m/s sink rate while that of Rafale is for 6.5m/s and NLCA needs to be certified for 7.3m/s sink rate. Than comes the problem of arrested landing. The higher the landing speed, more is the negative G force you need for stopping the aircraft. Our carriers have/will have just 91m of run available for stopping the aircraft.
    The wave off and bolter reqts with roll rate reqts for corrections on approach also limit NLCA as its has elevons. F-35C was modified to have dedicated ailerons for this very reason to meet roll control reqts. The aircraft shud be capable of rolling 60* in one second on approach. It must be able to reverse a 30* bank within one second to be able to operate safely from deck. NLCA does not meet this criteria. ADA proposed fitting levcons to reduce landing speed and improve FOV but that added more weight and has failed to deliver the required performance.
    Let us now come to launch performance. NLCA completely fails to lift any useful load from STOBAR carriers. Even MK2 will not be able to carry any useful load as it will be heavy, will have more fuel weight and the thrust increase due to F414INS6 engine is inadequate to improve the performance parameters. We now have a very typical problem. Mk1A will outperform MK2, so IAF is more keen on MK1A and Mk2 is of no use to IN so it does not want it.
     
  9. vstol jockey

    vstol jockey Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    I have stated that higher weight due to an over built airframe is not an issue as the MK1A will be at the right weight. The general thumb rule for designing an aircraft is that its engine must have dry thrust slightly more or equal to its empty weight. LCA with overbuilt airframe did not meet this criteria. Rafale has a dry thrust of 10.2 tons with an empty weight of 10 tons, Typhoon has a dry thrust of 12.3 tons with an empty weight of 11.3 tons. Check out any aircraft of the world this thumb rule applies. LCA with 6.5 tons empty weight and 5.5tons of dry thrust ruined it all. Now with reduced weight of 5.5 tons, it will have 5.5 tons of dry thrust with present engine only. I had posted this relationship of thrust with weight of the aircraft many times on this forum. The NLCA MK2 will have an empty weight of 7 tons with an engine with dry thrust of 6.4 tons. It will perform ever worse than MK1A from deck.
    What we need is better TWR which can be achieved either by increasing engine thrust or by reducing aircraft weight. LCA MK1A, is going to shed weight, so you don't need higher thrust engine.
     
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  10. Sancho

    Sancho Lt. Colonel Technical Analyst

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    IN never reject MK1A, but MK2. MK1 upgrades are mainly a compromise for IAF and does not contain the improvements IN required for a carrier capable LCA.

    First of all nobody knows at this point, what the weight of MK2 will be, because no prototype exists today. Secondly, a carrier fighter can take off with minimum fuel and refuel mid air. That improves take off performance, or give the opportunity to carry more weapons during take off instead of fuel.
    So you can deal with the payload issue to an extend, what you can't fix however, is the lack of enough hardpoints to carry fuel tanks and a useful weapon load. That's a problem of the design as a small fighter and should be the real issue for IN, since it limits it's projected mission profiles.


    No you didn't! You said they were right to design the airframe stronger, making it sound like they did it on purpose and now you go back again and state at least partial truth, admitting that the airframe is over build, once again contradicting yourself.
    But both times you claim that it's not an issue, which is not only false, but also surprising, since an ex fighter pilot should be able to tell us first hand, how a fighter performs, when it suffers from overweight and drag problems. Instead you make up excuses for failures in the design and development of LCA.

    The next wrong claim about reduced weight, since officials confirmed that with addition MK1A upgrades, the weight even increases:

    http://indiandefence.com/threads/lc...is-in-indian-context.57465/page-2#post-542542
     
  11. vstol jockey

    vstol jockey Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    An aircraft operating from deck must be able to land with the failure of its most critical system which results in highest landing speed safely with a safety margin of 50% over and above demanded by such failure. NLCA MK1 &2 will end up on deck with over 325kms/hr speed if its slats fail. Another very important aspect is "Return to Deck Load". The aircraft must be able to bring back as high as possible its armament without the need for jettisoning them at sea. Pls remember, that ships carry a limited amount of armament and if we have to drop them as duds, we lose the ability to strike our enemy. A deck based aircraft must be able to bring back costly stores and must also have an ability to land with stores asymmetry. Rafale-M is limited to a launch weight of just 21.5tons for this very reason even though it can carry more weight from a STOBAR carrier. Mig-29K is limited to just 4.5 tons and the case about F-18SH is even worse. try and imagine that you have just 195m of deck run available and just 91m to land. AND you have to do it every time without failure on a strip which is just 20m wide.
    The deck ops environment is very complex and nothing in the world of aviation, either military or civil comes any where close to it. NLCA is grossly unsuited in all these requirements. IN cleared IAC-1 in 2009 and wanted to have an Indian designed fighter as the main air wing for it. They even put their own money on it but ADA failed to deliver. Now where are we?
    ADA has once again pulled out a rabbit from their hat. They are the only agency in the world after USA which has created a FBW software for "hands off" launch of an aircraft from deck. AND that too from a STOBAR carrier. You guys will never understand the complexities involved but this is true. Only F-18 has hands off launch from deck. If you see the videos of F-18 launch, you will see that pilot moves his hands to the wind shield just prior to launch. The aircraft takes off from CAT on its own and pilot takes over the controls later. NLCA has demonstrated this performance. Who can ever call our scientists-Idiots?
    The problem is not the ability of our scientists to deliver but the problem is that LCA by design is unsuited for deck ops. We need a new plan form and such a new plan form optimised for DECK ops will be a world beater. I rest my case and open to discussions from members.
     
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  12. Agent_47

    Agent_47 Admin - Blog Staff Member MODERATOR

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    I'm yet to find any reliable source on the mentioned weight decrease.
     
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  13. vstol jockey

    vstol jockey Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    I have posted what is true. Do you know that weight estimation of a design is very basics of designing an aircraft?
    Do you know what it takes to launch an aircraft from deck and how this game of refuelling an aircraft in air works especially when launched from deck? Do you even know how deck ops are extremely limited in terms of roles and do you even know why we try and put omnirole fightes on deck. Pls read the RFI of IN. I am attaching it here.
     

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  14. vstol jockey

    vstol jockey Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    Pls do a bit of google search. MK1A was ordered only bcoz ADA stated that they can reduce the weight by one ton.
    http://www.indiandefensenews.in/2015/10/idn-take-why-tejas-1a-will-be-lethal.html
    Lastly, Janes Defense Weekly reported that HAL envisages the Mk 1A as being around 1,000 kg lighter than the Mk 1, which weighs 6,500 kg. It aims to achieve this weight loss by shedding 200-300 kg of ballast secured in the aircraft's nose to stabilise it and another 700-800 kg by reducing its heavy and 'over-engineered' landing gear. The platform would also be fitted with Israeli firm ELTA Systems' active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, replacing the heavier and less capable 'hybrid' version of ELTA's EL/M-2032 lightweight multi-mode radar, which was developed jointly with DRDO.
     
  15. Agent_47

    Agent_47 Admin - Blog Staff Member MODERATOR

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    Only 250kg of ballast weight reduction is acknowledged officially. Jane article you mentioned does not exist anymore.

    If ADA can reduce even 500-600kg then it will result in huge overall improvement.
     
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