5th-generation fighter plan hits hurdle as Russia hikes cost

Discussion in 'Indian Air Force' started by Vishwarupa, Jul 15, 2013.

  1. Vishwarupa

    Vishwarupa Senior Member Senior Member

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    NEW DELHI: India's biggest defence project in the making, the critical joint development of the fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) with Russia, has flown into some rough weather.

    Defence ministry sources said the inking of the final design and R&D contract for the stealth fighter has been hit by a huge delay, with Russia also jacking up costs for the futuristic project. "It's very unlikely the FGFA final design contract will be concluded in the 2013-2014 fiscal," said a source.

    This contract was to be inked in 2012 as per the then revised timeline after completion of the preliminary design contract (PD C) phase. India will eventually end up spending close to $35 billion over the next two decades to induct over 200 such "swing-role" fighters.

    The plan till last year was that India would begin inducting the FGFA from 2022 onwards, with IAF test pilots getting three prototypes in 2014, 2017 and 2019 for trials at the Hindustan Aeronautics manufacturing facility at Ozar.

    "The timeframes will now have to be revised. MoD has established a committee of specialists and finance officials to verify the rise in costs. An internal contract negotiation committee is also in progress," said the source.

    But India remains firm about rejecting the US offer for joining its Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) or the F-35 'Lightning-II' programme. "A lot of money and time has been invested in the FGFA with Russia. India simply cannot afford two FGFAs, both financially as well as logistically" he said.

    The 18-month PDC worth $295 million for the FGFA with Russia was inked in December 2010, under which Indian designers and scientists have even been stationed in Russia to work out the blueprints and documentation for the fighter.

    Though the Indian "perspective multi-role fighter" will be based on the Russian single-seat FGFA called Sukhoi T-50 or PAK-FA, which now has four prototypes flying, it will be tweaked to IAF requirements. IAF had initially pitched for 166 single-seat and 48 twin-seat fighters but will go for only single-cockpit jets now to reduce costs as well as protect stealth features.

    The final design contract now being negotiated was pegged at $11 billion, with India and Russia sharing $5.5 billion each towards the cost of designing, infrastructure build-up at Ozar, prototype development and flight testing. Each fighter was to cost over $100 million.

    IAF is quite confident the T-50 will meet its future requirements. Apart from ultra-manoeuvrability and supersonic cruising ability, the FGFA will carry its weapons inside the fuselage to lower its radar signature. With a cruising speed of Mach 1.7 to 1.8, it has both long-range strike and high-endurance air defence capabilities.

    IAF is currently making do with just 34 fighter squadrons (each has 14 to 18 jets) despite needing at least 44 to keep both Pakistan and China at bay. It's banking upon the ongoing induction of 270 Russian Sukhoi-30MKIs for around $12 billion as well as the early inking of the almost $20 billion project to acquire 126 French Rafale fighters to plug operational gaps till the FGFA becomes a reality.
    5th-generation fighter plan hits hurdle as Russia hikes cost - The Times of India
     
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  3. lcatejas

    lcatejas Regular Member

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    Nothing new from Russia....:p
     
  4. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    This is a new technology for the Russians. There is only one country in the world who has decades of experience with this technology and guess what we put all our eggs in one basket.

    This just proves that the Chinese are the smart ones who are running 2 or more stealth programmes in parallel.
    @p2prada could you give some more input on this news report.
     
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  5. Keshav Murali

    Keshav Murali Back to studies :( Senior Member

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    @sob

    There is a reason why AMCA is in development. We don't repeat our mistakes and we definitely don't put our eggs in one basket.

    And US has offered F-35.
     
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  6. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    Pardon my cynicism let us first see the LCA in IAF roundels flying in numbers then I shall talk about the AMCA. The Russian programme is a reality the only uncertainty is the cost and the time frame.

    We are the only country in the world that can have access to two top class technologies the T 50 and the F 35. There is no other country in the world that has this opportunity. Just think about it.
     
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  7. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    But the Russians are also the only ones who have the engineering skill to catch up or at least keep up.

    Any other country is at least 20 years behind the Americans with no real will or finances to catch up. Even with AMCA, we may end up with a -30dBsm aircraft (F-35 level) when the US may introduce a -70dBsm (10000 times F-35 level) aircraft at the same time.

    Apart from that the F-35 does not have the kinematic capability to meet our requirements. It is at F-16's level and maybe match Rafale or Typhoon in some subsonic and transonic maneuvers. It has non-existent supersonic capability. F-35 is better for an air force that needs to fly in from a long distance before engaging the enemy.

    Apart from that, F-35 will not come with ToT. So no point even looking at it.

    A hike was expected and I think they did point it out early last year. That's why the reported numbers fell from 216 aircraft to 144.

    We just need to wait for final contract to be signed before jumping the gun. This article may not reflect ground realities either, which we have seen umpteen number of times during the MRCA deal.
     
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  8. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    This is one of the reasons why I support FGFA for IAF and F-35 for IN.

    I don't like the AMCA program either. It is not "ambitious" enough for the timeframe it is expected to be ready by. Heck LCA was a far more ambitious program. I suppose ADA is playing it safe instead of promising the moon like they did with LCA.
     
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  9. Abhijeet Dey

    Abhijeet Dey Regular Member

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    India has already invested a lot of money in FGFA. So there is no question of shifting towards F-35 program. Sukhoi & HAL should complete this project with due diligence.
     
  10. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    @p2prada, a little off the topic point. Interesting to note some specifics about F 35 sub sonic capabilities-- In an AWACS theatre where IR radars would also be there with sufficient power, would not a Stealth aircraft give a larger IR image at supersonic levels compared to sub sonic speeds.

    Also now with the operator on AWACS able to control the A2A missile we are going on a different line altogether.

    I do understand your points just felt that we are at the mercy of our Russian brothers.
     
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  11. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    Precisely just imagine our CBG operating deep into the Arabian sea with stealth aircraft, our neighbours would be shitting in their trousers at the thought of another front to defend.
     
  12. DivineHeretic

    DivineHeretic Senior Member Senior Member

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    I'm not certain such a thing as IR Radar exists. Maybe the more knowlegeable members would be able to shed some light on any such system, if it exists.

    What I believe you are referring to is the IRST sensor, which by the way relies on IR emissions from the bogey for detection. As such they do not depend on more power to increase detection range, but rather relies on higher sensitivity.
    Currently the IRST onboard the Rafale claims detection of fighter signature at upto 90km, weather permitting.

    AWACS are not equipped with IRST to the best of my knowledge, but even if they were, it would be too risky to use it in an effective manner. You dont want to bring your $300-350 million asset anywhere 90-100 Km near a 5th Gen Stealth AC.

    But there is now a new system onboard the F-35, based on the IRST no doubt, which effectively thrashes the AWACS detection range.

    The-AN/AAQ-37 electro-optical Distributed Aperture System (DAS)-is the first of a new generation of-sensor-systems being fielded on the-Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. DAS consists of six high resolution-Infrared-sensors mounted around the F-35-airframe-in such a way as to provide unobstructed spherical (4pi-steradian) coverage and functions around the-aircraft without any pilot input or aiming required.

    The F-35's DAS was flown in military operational exercises in 2011 and has also demonstrated the ability to detect and track ballistic missiles to ranges exceeding 800 miles (1300 kilometers)

    This will effectively make the concept of AWACS reduntant in the modern air battleground. As it is, the USAF concluded that even with F-22 escorting an AWACS, it would take a miracle to save it from 6 Su-35BM.

    We may be moving to a world where the single F-35 has more SA than the E3 Sentry.

    But just to add a little damper, the IRSTs are known to generate a lot of false identifications.
     
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  13. DivineHeretic

    DivineHeretic Senior Member Senior Member

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    Double post.....

    Why on Earth would my Tablet post the same post twice?
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2013
  14. redragon

    redragon Regular Member

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    Lmao, I knew it. Be patience, you have not seen any thing yet.
     
  15. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    We don't know to what levels, but IR stealth is significantly reduced with more modern engines like the ones on Rafale and EF. You can say the IR reduction on Rafale is better than on Gripen.

    On F-22 and PAKFA, IR is also significantly lesser when using supercruise compared to afterburner on other aircraft. Also with supercruise PAKFA may end up doing Mach 2+ for greater than 30 minutes at a time while other jets can only sustain Mach 2 for a few minutes. Rafale and F-35 won't even touch Mach 1.8 with full AB, even lesser if they are carrying heavy loads. So there is no point detecting something that you can't keep up with.

    The issue with IR detectors is range and accuracy. EF pilots claim they can see a F-22 at 50 Km using their PIRATE IRST. That's enough for WVR, but F-22 can see the EF at 300 Km and engage it at 100Km (currently known weapons). That makes IR a moot point when considering range. As for accuracy, as mentioned IR detector cannot calculate range and that's a major factor in deciding BVR air combat. For a BVR lock you need, range, speed and angle. IR detector can only provide speed and angle. That gives IR a 0 in accuracy. Range can be measured using a laser range finder that's equipped in most modern IRSTs today. OLS-30 should have a 20Km laser to calculate range, but that's a WVR limited application.

    However the thing about IR detection is that since we can easily dismiss it at a technical level due to its limitations, at the operational level it is even easier to dismiss because we will need to train our pilots in identifying the heat source and that's impossible without actually having an enemy aircraft in our possession.

    AWACS operate at radar frequencies that do not allow it to guide A2A missiles as effectively as fighter radars. It has a lot to do with beam shaping too.

    AWACS have excellent accuracy in azimuth, not in elevation due to the shape of the beam. In this case, they can provide range and speed measurements, but inaccurate angular measurements. Not enough for BVR combat.

    We are at the mercy of everybody. That's why we are not yet a Great Power, merely a Regional Power. We can't really aspire to be a Great Power in our lifetime looking at DRDO's performance.

    You can say we are lesser constrained in dealing with Russia than we are when dealing with the US as history shows. Overall with enough maturity we can handle FGFA on our own over the years.

    The Pakistanis will be pissing their pants with just the Mig-29Ks, let alone the F-35.
     
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  16. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    If true, it still does not really translate to effectiveness in BVR combat.

    This is not a big deal either.
     
  17. DivineHeretic

    DivineHeretic Senior Member Senior Member

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    It surely does not, not with the current technology. But 10 yrs down the line, who knows what advantage it could provide?

    Though this does provide the F-35 with unprecedented Situational Awareness. It could even function as a full fledged AWACS, for one.

    The relatively high false alarm associated with Thermal sensors need to be sorted though.
     
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  18. shiphone

    shiphone Senior Member Senior Member

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    it seems that Russian has denied TOI's report


    РФ и Индия обсуждают создание истребителя 5-го поколения без сбоев | РИА Новости

     
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  19. LalTopi

    LalTopi Regular Member

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    if its a 50 50 Joint venture, would not a price hike affect both parties?
     
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  20. hello_10

    hello_10 Tihar Jail Banned

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  21. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    I think India is supposed to pay for all the extra glitzy stuff that IAF is demanding, like the 360 degree radar, new weapons etc.
     

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