Discussion: Could the Indo-Russian MRTA be converted to a gunship?

Discussion in 'Indian Air Force' started by Tshering22, Jan 21, 2011.

  1. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    Dear all,

    I might sound like a young excited teenager here, but I want to ask military experts and professionals here about the possibility of converting the MRTA project into something like an AC-130 "Spectre"? The prospects of getting one of our own with Russian collaboration is far better and feasible than again and again requesting US to possibly get us a 100% American weaponize platform that might possibly be sanctioned during bad times.

    For example, Check this out:

    AC-130

    [​IMG]
    Now our MRTA:

    [​IMG]

    This being half of AC-130 in capacity, we could create 3-4 different variants to be used by Army/IAF:

    Version 1

    1× 23 mm GSh-23 cannon
    1× 30 mm AK630 gatling cannons
    1× 40 mm Pegasus cannon (of Singapore)

    Version 2

    2× 30 mm GSh-31 cannons
    1× 40 mm Howitzer (of any available)

    Version 3

    3× 23 mm GSh-23 cannons
    2× 40 mm incendiary guns (firing incendiary explosives)

    _____________

    Is this possible in MRTA? Because this would be mighty helpful to the IAF and IA aviation branch especially when carrying raids against insurgents. Now these armaments that I said can possibly be heavily modified to increase the range and damage. I purposely reduced the armaments to almost half of AC-130 respective to size of MRTA.

    Considering that gunships may be vulnerable to AA fire from insurgent groups using Chinese AA guns, our own "AC" MRTA variant can cause catastrophic damage using a similar configuration to the US gunship both in terms of avionics, advanced EW suite as well as sensors, apart from the obvious weapons.

    Please let me know of your opinions on this one. I really wonder whether our military has considered this spin-off with Russians.
     
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  3. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    It would be better if it was a prop.
     
  4. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    ^ Well yeah I don't deny that but there's no prop variant planned so guess we have to use this up instead. So what do you think overall about this? Possible? Because to have a semi-indigenous gunship even if smaller is better IMO.
     
  5. civfanatic

    civfanatic Retired Moderator

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    Almost anything nowadays is possible due to the vast technology available. The real question is whether or not it is economically and militarily efficient for a country like India to operate such a platform.

    If I am not wrong no other country besides US operates such a gunship, and that too mainly for the sheer psychological effect that such a weapon has on the enemy.

    In terms of military effectiveness, however, It is generally far more efficient to use rotary-wing gunships than weaponized transport planes.
     
  6. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    ^^^ Civ, I don't think that feasibility is a problem for IAF or even IA since their budget is strong. Besides, how can you say it is more efficient for attack helos to be used? Do you think they can carry so much firepower as modified transporter? Nope they can't. Also, they are less susceptible to enemy AA fire especially in hilly tracts of NE and Kashmir where they can have a deadly psychological as well as operational impact against terrorists and guerilla rebels.

    The AC-130 is not available for export since US likes to keep it for itself. Remember that AC-130 has multiple vision capabilities like night, thermal, electro-magnetic and is an all-weather attack gunship. Not only this, but also it can carry advanced sensors to deflect possible SAM attacks and have a similar EW suit to AWACS planes.

    Now if we can modify HAL/IL-214 like this with half the armament, like the above list I made and have a transport plane full of ammo, imagine what damage we can cause to the enemies from high altitude. The howitzer and gatling cannons could be of best use causing maximum damage. And IMO, this would be a far better modification than having too many attack helos of foreign origin, since in the near future, helos will become redundant in combat operation and be replaced with hunter-killer UCAVs to do the job.

    Army Aviation is planning to expand now and this is perhaps the most preferable time to consider such a modification. I am sure that Russia would consider this modification even for export to third countries interested since US doesn't offer that privilege. Even their terrorists are in mountainous Caucasus where this could be effective. Enemy AA fire is difficult to reach to altitudes of transporter-modded gunships.

    IAF/IA could operate say a total of 8-10 of these gunships. The amount of firepower this one plane can carry is equal to 10 or more attack helos. It would greatly augment CT operations and even possible war.

    The export market for such a modification will also be huge.
     
  7. sandeepdg

    sandeepdg Senior Member Senior Member

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    I was having this idea in mind for quite some time, but I didn't share it with anyone here. Now that, Tshering you have brought this up, well and good ! I also think this can a really good derivative of the MRTA, I mean we will be only other country having a attack gunship similar to the AC-130 Specter, other than Russia of course, outside the US. And Civfanatic, how did you come up with the conclusion that a attack helo is better than this kind of a gunship ? The AC-130 Specter packs a punch equivalent to atleast 10 attack helos ! Plus, its packs a full 105mm Howitzer, which is almost 3 times the size of 30 mm cannon present on all attack helos !!
     
  8. shivendrashukla

    shivendrashukla New Member

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    Although the Idea is good and feasable, I doubt something in this regard would happen considering that IAF has projected a demand for 65+ LCH and IA 100+. Moreover IAF is going for new attack helios to replace its Mi25/35.
     
  9. sandeepdg

    sandeepdg Senior Member Senior Member

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    This discussion is about whether this can be done or not, and I think it very well can be done, if there's a will. Again, you are comparing the AC-130 to a attack helicopter !! A helicopter is a peanut compared to the firepower of an AC-130. Check out the AC-130 on Wikipedia, you will get the picture of it.
     
  10. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    We will need prop and bigger guns. It cannot be done on the MRTA.
     
  11. sandeepdg

    sandeepdg Senior Member Senior Member

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    I think it can be done with smaller guns, like multiple 23mm or 30mm cannons along with a 40mm cannon, but substantive changes are needed to the airframe to strengthen it.
     
  12. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    Why is everyone behind props? Dude, the jet engine is a high mounted one and the guns including howitzers would be pointing downward towards the ground. The positioning of the gun would be such that it does not come under the wings to cause the engine any harm and hence it would be placed forward just before cockpit and aft of the wings as well so that multiple gunners can man the weapons as well as some engineers can handle the EW jamming, radars and all-weather visual systems.

    You don't need bigger than 40 mm and 105 mm respectively to do the job. The only modification we will be needing would be to make that airframe very strong as well as install a mechanism to let the howitzer's recoil force be exerted outward instead of on the aircraft frame just like AC-130. Please take a look at my posts and you will see that I have mentioned 3 different versions of 3 different armament types.

    IA is expanding its aviation branch and IAF would also love to get this. I think this would be an excellent addition to Army Aviation alongside Dhruv attack helos.
     
  13. Rahul Singh

    Rahul Singh Senior Member Senior Member

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    MTRA is going to be very versatile platform. So yes, it can be adapted to Gunship in addition to MPA, Tanker, AEW&C and EW and intelligence. Thigh because of turbofan it may not be as stable and slow as C-130 but nevertheless it will do the Job.
     
  14. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    MTA is basically a reduced sized two engine IL-76. Its stall speed will probably not allow for a good loiter speed, especially if it is carrying a bunch of guns and ammo.
     
  15. this is an excellent idea especially when the army aviation corps is looking to expand by inducting not only attack and survelliance helos but fixed wing aircrafts.the mrta airframe can also be transformed into aewcs,maritime patrol role,short range bomber role.it will be a great asset since there is a lack of ground attack aircrafts like a-10 and su-25ub and the limited no. of jaguars are too old.we also lack a dedicated force of bombers though i feel that role can be fulfiiled by future stealth ucavs partially if not fully.also a militarized version of rta-70 which is going to be build by nal-mahindra can also be transformed into a similar gunship role.
     
  16. civfanatic

    civfanatic Retired Moderator

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    You are right, the firepower of a single AC-130 is about three times that of a standard attack helo. Now compare the operational costs of one AC-130 with three attack helos. Also compare the costs to build/modify a single gunship with that of three attack helos. A single helo may not carry as much firepower as a gunship but it is damn well more efficient (in terms of numbers). A gunship is almost useless in hostile airspace, since it is such a huge target just asking to be shot down, and its only applicable use is in psychological CT operations. For example, the US used AC-130s to terrorize insurgents in South Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan; the psychological impact of such a large aircraft flying low and wiping out whole villages was huge. But for India, our objective is not to destroy a huge swathe of land that terrorists/rebels are using (its still our territory that we would be destroying). For our CT operations armed trainers and light helicopters like Dhruv and LCH are far more effective.

    Before drooling over these gunships ask yourself why the Soviet Air Force, which had the world's largest fleet of transport aircraft, rejected the idea to weaponize a few of them, and instead chose to invest heavily in the world's largest and most powerful helicopter gunship, the Mi-24 Hind. If you don't want to listen to me at least consider the opinions of other countries' high commands.
     
  17. JBH22

    JBH22 Senior Member Senior Member

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    World's Deadliest Aircraft - AC130






    The AC-130 is used by in the Special Air force wing and is equipped with the state of the art countermeasures,its operated mostly at night for reduce exposure to enemy fire.But AFAIK its send usually in an environment where there is significantly reduce MANPADS or air threats.
    Now in the case of India our potential enemy troops have adequate air defenses and the troops are expected to field MANPADS on large scale. Consider the desert areas suppose armoured formations are thrusting across Pakistan the SU-25T would be an adequate CAS platform and also it has shown its mettle as a COIN aircraft against afghan during 1980s.

    [​IMG]

    Its a cheap,rugged plane too bad the top brass never gave this plane the deserve attention but preferred the Mig-23 or Mig-27 which imo are not good at ground attack
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
  18. civfanatic

    civfanatic Retired Moderator

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    I've always wondered why we went for the MiG-27 instead of the Su-25. I guess because of the commonality with MiG-23s, which IAF acquired back in 70s before Su-25 was even introduced.
     
  19. JBH22

    JBH22 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Or perhaps because back in those days IAF had a preference for the MIG design bureau plane.The ruggedness of that plane is legendary i mean its not a high tech thing but it will still do serious damage and its very cheap.
    Some areas where the armed forces lack for the cold start:

    1- Army lacks seriously APCs and IFV- to keep up with armoured thrust the troops must be mechanised
    2- Lack of Combat choppers for ground support
    3- A dedicated CAS plane like Su-25 or A-10 to knock out enemy armour,troop formation

    But then its India where it takes more than 23 years to buy artillery units,soldiers are still fighting with mediocre weapons and gear.Finally its India where the politician and top brass to hide their lack of foresight always cajole the public by playing with sentiments that jawan will fight and win with what we have:(
     
  20. civfanatic

    civfanatic Retired Moderator

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    Actually we are doing OK in all three areas. We have been producing hundreds of BMP-2s indigenously for quite a long time, LCH will greatly improve ground support, and MiG-27 is still a rather good CAS aircraft. The one area where we are seriously lacking is in artillery, especially self-propelled howitzers that can keep up with rapid armored thrusts and provide quick, effective fire support. God knows when we'll get those.
     
  21. icecoolben

    icecoolben Regular Member

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    Seems a good idea, though not the brightest one, Wouldn't it have self protection, if its ferrying troops into enemy borders. Rather than a gunship, the mrta can better serve as a tactical refueler.
    Lets get somethings straight, the mrta is a tactical heavy lifter and would be definitely useful as a tactical refueler and perhaps even an awacs platform. but for cas it needs armour which adds weight, thus in mountain terrains its a huge hunk of metal, thats easy target for anti-aircraft guns and stingers.
     

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