Mig 29K vs Rafale-M - which one should Indian Navy opt for?

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by Mariner HK, May 15, 2013.

  1. Mariner HK

    Mariner HK Tihar Jail Banned

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    Mig 29K vs Rafale-M - which one should Indian Navy opt for ?

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    Indian navy has bought Mikhoyan Mig 29k for it's upcoming aircraft carriers. There are quite a few aircraft carriers in pipeline so it is quite obvious that IN would be requiring modern jets. As of now Indian navy has ordered 45 Mig 29k for its sea based aerial operations.

    However if we look a bit elsewhere, a contender to Mig 29k comes into view without much difficulty. It is the Rafale, which has already conquered it's first frontier in India, with it's winning of the MMRCA competition. IAF opting for the Rafale should embolden the Indian navy to trod the same path as the IAF.

    As, having experience with Russian equipments and having already used it's former predecessors, it is no surprise that Mig 29k is the first to get onboard India's Aircraft carriers. However, Rafale is a newer aircraft with modern design and technologies. It has it's own advantages. So, let's just compare some points of both the aircrafts.....


    Design

    Mig 29k :
    The MiG-29K program was revived in response to the decision of the Indian Navy to acquire the former Soviet Navy aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov in 2004. Mig-29k is basically an evolved version of Mig-29, fitted with a stronger undercarriage and a reinforced tail section with an arrestor hook. Modifications also include foldable wings.

    Rafale :
    The Rafale was developed as a modern jet fighter with a very high level of agility; Dassault chose to combine a delta wing with active close-coupled canard to maximize maneuverability, the aircraft is capable of withstanding 9 g or −3.6 g. The Rafale is an aerodynamically unstable aircraft, thus digital fly-by-wire flight controls are employed to artificially enforce and maintain stability. The aircraft's canards also act to reduce the minimum landing speed to 115 knots (213 km/h; 132 mph), while in flight, airspeeds as low as 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph) have been observed during training missions. Although not a full-aspect stealth aircraft, the cost of which was viewed as unacceptably excessive, the Rafale was designed for a reduced radar cross-section (RCS) and infra-red signature.


    Cockpit and avionics

    Mig-29k :
    The aircraft is equipped with three multifunctional color liquid-crystal displays (seven LCDs on the MiG-29KUB), a four-channel digital fly-by-wire flight control system, passive anti-radar missile homing system, Sigma-95 GPS receiver, TopGun helmet-mounted targeting system and electronic countermeasures (ECM). Additionally, an onboard oxygen generating system eliminates the need for heavy oxygen canisters.

    Rafale :
    The Rafale's glass cockpit was designed around the principle of data fusion – a central computer intelligently selects and prioritises information to display to pilots for simpler command and control. Some special cockpit features : hands-on-throttle-and-stick (HOTAS)-compatible configuration, direct voice input (DVI) system, wide-angle holographic head-up display (HUD) system, integrated modular avionics (IMA), called MDPU (modular data processing unit).


    Radar and sensors

    Mig-29k :
    Mig-29k was developed with the zhuk-me radar which evolved from the N010 Zhuk radar, introducing newer functions such as terrain mapping and following. The radar, weighing 220 kilograms (490 lb), features improved signal processing and a detection range of up to 120 km vs a 5 m2 RCS target for the export variant. In the air targeting mode, up to 10 targets can be tracked and 4 targets engaged simontaneously. In air to surface mode the radar can detect a tank from up to 25 kilometres (16 mi) away and a bridge from 120 kilometres (75 mi) away, a naval destroyer could be detected up to 300 kilometres (190 mi) away, while up to two surface targets can be tracked at once. The radar has a scanning area of +/- 85 degrees in azimuth and +56/-40 in elevation. The Mig-29K can be outfitted with an IRST system integrated with both optical and laser systems. It can provide targeting solutions for ground and air targets at up to 15 km, with all-round 360 degree coverage. The IRST can also provide detailed trajectories of missiles at closer ranges.

    Rafale :
    The Rafale is typically outfitted with the Thales RBE2 passive electronically scanned multi-mode radar. Thales claims to have achieved unprecedented levels of situational awareness through the earlier detection and tracking of multiple air targets for close combat and long-range interception, as well as real-time generation of three-dimensional maps for terrain-following and the real-time generation of high resolution ground maps for navigation and targeting. The RBE2 AA active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar is planned to replace the existing passively scanned RBE2. The RBE2 AA is reported to deliver a greater detection range, improved reliability and reduced maintenance demands over the preceding radar. By early 2014, the first Air Force front-line squadron will receive Rafales equipped with the AESA radar; the French Navy is slated to receive AESA-equipped Rafales from 2013. To enable the Rafale to perform in the air supremacy role, it includes several passive sensor systems. The front-sector electro-optical system or Optronique Secteur Frontal (OSF), developed by Thales, is completely integrated within the aircraft and can operate both in the visible and infrared wavelengths. The OSF enables the deployment of infrared missiles such as the MICA at beyond visual range distances. It can also be used for detecting and identifying airborne targets, as well as those on the ground and at sea.


    Engines

    Mig-29k :
    The MiG-29K has two widely-spaced RD-33MKs. The early prototypes were fitted with two RD-33K turbofan engines, each with afterburner thrust of 86.3 kN (19,800 lb) and a possible take-off thrust of 92.2 kN (20,723 lbf) for shipborne operations. The RD-33MK engine features 7% higher power over the base RD-33, enabled by the usage of improved materials for the turbine blades.

    Rafale :
    The Rafale is fitted with the Snecma M88 engine, capable of providing up to 50 kN (11,250 lbf) of dry thrust and 75 kN (16,900 lbf) with afterburners. The M-88 enable the Rafale to supercruise at speeds of up to Mach 1.4 while carrying a loadout of six MBDA MICA air-to-air missiles. As of 2007, a thrust vectoring variant of the engine designated as M88-3D was also under development.


    Armament

    Mig-29k :
    MiG-29K has a GSh-30-1 30 mm cannon in the port wing root. It has provisions for laser-guided and electro-optical bombs, as well as air-to-surface missiles like Kh-25ML/25MP, Kh-29T, Kh-31G/31A, Kh-35U, and rockets. Kh-31P passive radar seeker missiles are used as anti-radiation missiles. Kh-35, Kh-31A antiship missiles are for anti-ship roles. For aerial combat air-to-air missile like RVV-AE, R-27ER/ET and R-73E are fitted. The aircraft is also adaptable to various foreign weapons. The MiG-29K has a combination of low-observable technology, advanced electronic-warfare capabilities, reduced ballistic vulnerability, and standoff weapons to enhance the fighter's survivability. According to Mikoyan, extensive use of radar-absorbent materials reduce the MiG-29K's radar signature 4–5 times over the basic MiG-29.

    Rafale :
    Rafales are capable of undertaking many different mission roles with a range of equipment: air defence/superiority missions with Mica IR and EM air-to-air missiles, precision ground attacks typically using SCALP EG cruise missiles and AASM Hammer air-to-surface armaments, anti-shipping using the AM39 Exocet sea-skimming missile, reconnaissance via a combination of onboard and external pod-based sensor equipment, and nuclear deterrence operations when armed with ASMP-A missiles. In 2010, France ordered 200 MBDA Meteor beyond visual range missiles, greatly increasing the distance at which the Rafale can engage aerial targets. The Rafale is typically outfitted with 14 hard points, five of which are suitable for heavy armaments or equipment such as auxiliary fuel tanks, and has a maximum external load capacity of nine tons. In addition to the above equipment, the Rafale can be outfitted with a range of laser-guided bombs and ground-attack munitions. All versions of the Rafale also carry the 30 mm GIAT 30 DEFA cannon.


    Performance

    Mig-29k :
    Speed: Mach 2+ (2,200 km/h, 1,370 mph) / At low altitude: Mach 1.2 (1,400 km/h, 870 mph).
    Ferry range: 2,100 km (1,240 mi) / 3,000 km (1,860 mi) with 3 drop tanks
    Combat radius : 850km
    Service ceiling: 17,500 m (57,400 ft)
    Rate of climb: initial 330 m/s, average 109 m/s 0-6000 m (65,000 ft/min)
    Wing loading: 442 kg/m² (90.5 lb/ft²)
    Thrust/weight: 0.97

    Rafale :
    Maximum speed:High altitude: Mach 1.8+ (2,130+ km/h, 1,050+ knots)Low altitude: Mach 1.1+ (1,390 km/h, 750 knots)
    Range: 3,700+ km (2,000+ nmi)
    Combat radius: 1,852+ km (1,000+ nmi) on penetration mission
    Service ceiling: 16,800 m (55,000 ft)
    Rate of climb: 304.8+ m/s (60,000+ ft/min)
    Wing loading: 306 kg/m² (62.8 lb/ft²)
    Thrust/weight: 0.988 (100% fuel, 2 EM A2A missile, 2 IR A2A missile) version M



    In short, both the planes r proven platforms and has proven it's mettle. However, the decision lies with the IN whether they want a revamped old fighter or a brand new one. Also keeping in mind the price point, Rafale is substantially costlier than the Mig-29k.

    Design of Rafale is 4+ gen incorporating CC materials providing reduced RCS and better stealth than Mig-29k. However heat signatures from Mig-29k engine is very well shielded(one of the best in the world).

    Both the planes provide excellent weapons choices and keeping in mind that India already operates bothFrench and Russian platforms, it wont be problem integrating the Indian weapon systems.

    Reliability of both the aircraft is excellent, though some r skeptical about Russian products, especially Russian engines being susceptible to FOD.

    Radar and sensors of Rafale is a step ahead of Mig-29k and with the AESA radar now ready, the Rafale is quite ahead of it's counterpart in this field.

    Operational range of Rafale is significantly more with comparable service ceiling and also slightly better payload capacity.

    Keeping in mind all these points Indian navy should opt for Rafale if it wants to plan for the future......but, if it wants to be economical, value for money fighter and wants immediate solution, the Mig-29k perfectly fits the bill.

    Guys let me know what do u feel..... :)
     
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  3. lookieloo

    lookieloo Regular Member

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    As I have brought up elsewhere, Vikramaditya's elevator hole appears to be just barely wide enough to handle a folded-up Mig-29K (I can't find the exact dimensions). The Rafale-M does not have folding wings, which may or may not matter to the IN since the next two carriers planned will have proper deck-edge lifts.

    IAC-II being CATOBAR makes the problem even more complicated. If the Mig-29 can't be modified for catapults, you may end up with a situation that requires both types, with only the IAC-I being capable of operating the two simultaneously.
     
  4. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Mig-29Ks are only meant for Gorky and IAC-1.

    A CATOBAR capable aircraft will be chosen for IAC-2.

    The only possible contenders are SH, F-35C and Rafale-M as of today.
     
  5. DivineHeretic

    DivineHeretic Senior Member Senior Member

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    To be fair, we aren't going to see IAC-2 operational anytime before 2024-25. Would it make sense to induct a 4th gen AC for the carrier? Even by most pessimistic mistakes, the PLAAF & PLAN will have inducted the J-20 &j-31 by then.

    As such it would make sense to go for a 5th gen AC, especially knowing that the CVW will not be fully operational for as many as 2 years after induction of carrier.
    It would make sense to go for the AMCA as the carrier borne platform, given that the a naval PAK-FA is not on the anvil as of now, and buying the F-35 is really putting a handcuff to the IN aviation with the keys in the hands of Uncle Sam.

    But then again, I'm being over optimistic.
     
  6. Abhijeet Dey

    Abhijeet Dey Regular Member

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    India should go for naval version of HAL Tejas MK-III version or naval version of AMCA in the future. Self reliance in military equipment is the only way to achieve military domination upon an adversary. Why did the Chinese go for J-15 carrier fighter instead of SU-33 or Mig-29K which they could have easily purchased from Russia. I understand that Naval Tejas is still under development but given a chance it can be developed further. We need more money for R&D in defence.

    As for Rafale Vs Mig-29K I think Rafale is better in terms of technology and quality.
     
  7. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    You will never see J-20 flying off an aircraft carrier. J-31 can't even be mass produced without Russia.
     
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  8. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Plans for a N-PAKFA are currently unknown. In case it is built, it could be a STOBAR version rather than CATOBAR. IN has currently shown no interest in AMCA. So there are no guarantees a CATOBAR version will be made. We don't know the future of AMCA either. So we can count these two fighters out of the N-MRCA race for now.

    The IAF MRCA deal took quite a few years to materialize. RFI was released in 2001, RFP in 2004 and then again in 2007. Contract will be signed this year with expected deliver in 2016 or 2017, 16 years from RFI to delivery. IN sent out N-MRCA RFI in 2009. We don't know when the RFP will be sent out. If we consider two-thirds that of the IAF's schedule, 12 years instead of 16, we can expect N-MRCAs in 2021 as the most optimistic date. Or even 2025 with delays, the same time the carrier is expected to be ready.

    Therefore, the only ones capable of replying to the RFP are SH, Rafale-M and F-35. And only F-35 fits the 5th gen requirement.

    IN may simply choose to purchase two squadrons of Rafale-Ms as an extension of the IAF deal.

    IN seems to be prioritizing offensive vessels and submarines over the carrier. So that's where most of the funds will go.
     
  9. TrueSpirit

    TrueSpirit Senior Member Senior Member

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    I have a query regarding the bigger picture for India (including role of Rafale)
    @Decklander, @p2prada, @ersakthivel, @Rahul Singh, @Kunal Biswas, @Armand2REP, @Ray Sir

    Is PAKFA's stealth really 20 years behind Raptor? If not, how much is the gap (if quantifiable ) & are there any workarounds in sight to bridge the capability gap?

    Is WVR warfare & era of dogfight passe, even in Asian geography ? How prepared is IAF for that ( in terms of training, equipment, skill & vision), especially w.r.t. PLAAF & PAF ?

    Does Rafale or FGFA stand a chance against J-20 (hypothetical scenario) ? If so, how exactly would a typical combat between the 2 aircraft would look like?

    Is the following statement 100% true under all circumstances : No matter how good a conventional fighter is, and how good its missiles and sensors are, an engagement flown against a stealthy fighter aircraft is a no win proposition ?

    Would Su-30MKI becomes completely vulnerable in skies dominated by SU-35 + J-20 ? Would they be rendered useless for Air-superiority missions?
    What would be Indian strategy to dominate & defend its airspace in such cases ?

    How relevant is Rafale as a Air-superiority fighter, especially in formations with SU-30MKI ?

    If stealth is really such an incredible game change & Russia is nowhere to be seen in the stealth game (&, if their stealth tech. are really limited to RAM coating & some nozzle shaping/internal weapons-bays), wonder what tech. absorption we might gain from investing billions in FGFA....&

    & finally, how do think AMCA would shape up in absence of any relevant technical inputs from anywhere (stealth related) ?
    Defence R&D in India has not produced results (especially aviation-related IP). Funding is not going to see much improvement in future, as well.

    Answers to these queries might interest other many others on DFI...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
  10. natarajan

    natarajan Senior Member Senior Member

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    I always wonder why we didt buy mig 29 in mass number like su-30mki,atleast we should have bought 150.
    Is it possible for us to get 80-100 now or get tot and produce here.
     
  11. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    It is certainly behind, it is hard to quantify a year. PAK FA airframe is 4.5 gen. Russians just cut too many corners to bridge the gap between F-22. But it may turn out to be a blessing in disguise with an overpriced crap F-35 and toxic F-22 RAM coat.

    It will never be over until you can ID an aircraft at BVR. I am thinking back to Red Flag with MKI drivers taking pot shots without getting an ID on the target. I doubt they would do that in a real war situation with their own brethren in the cockpit, but without the force wide data link, IAF is not prepare for it at all. The most important thing in an air-war is SA. Compared to Western AFs, India isn't there, compared to other Asian AFs, they are better trained. I would much rather ride in an IAF cockpit than a PLAAF one and expect to come out alive. The only thing to worry about PAF is its very limited cadre of expert F-16 drivers... very small and quickly attrited.

    Both of them would clean the clock of J20. They can both out fly it and with their AESA radars mean they can take BVR shots without J20 ever seeing what killed it.

    No, it isn't true at all if the legacy aircraft has force wide data links. All sensors become its sensors with a much greater chance of tracking. If the stealthy aircraft doesn't have an LPI AESA, it will be seen as soon as it makes a radar scan. As good as optics are becoming, you can almost track and engage a target at the max range of most BVR missiles.

    Honestly, the differences between Su-35 and MKI are not that great. With the Super 30 upgrade it will probably equal if not better. The J-20 might have an RCS of a 4.5 gen fighter, but it will simply be out-flown. It can't really dog fight anything as it is more of a penetration bomber.

    Buy as many Rafale with Meteor as possible and pray PAK FA gets developed on time.

    The sensor fusion and data links on Rafale absolutely dwarf that of MKI. IAF needs its common data link yesterday. Between IAF and PLAAF, the one who wins that race is the one who will win the air war. Rafale and M2000 will be the only aircraft that can communicate fleet wide and be in their own SA bubble with the rest of IAF flying blind. French made fighters will have to operate together and be the only thing holding PLAAF from destroying the front.

    The tech used in and making Rafale is superior to even FGFA. There are far less fasteners on a Rafale than T-50 as well as stronger composites. I hope HAL will take that into consideration to making lighter and stealthier aircraft. Honestly, don't expect too much tech absorption from either deal. Aircraft makers are not in the business to give away their secrets.

    With DRDO on the job, they would have to hire a foreign aircraft maker to design it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
  12. TrueSpirit

    TrueSpirit Senior Member Senior Member

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    Thank you Armand for the quick reply.

     
  13. ersakthivel

    ersakthivel Senior Member Senior Member

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    composite tech is already here a decade before for Tejas LSPs.

    http://tejas.gov.in/technology/composite_materials.html

    In fact the HAL made the Td-1 of tejas with 40 percent composite content and 95 percent composite skin .

    And tejas too has far fewer joints and fasteners on it than it's peers in the air.

    And in Tejas mk-2 the percentage of composites slated to go up even further.

    Even the russian design team meber acknowledged that Indians already have the composite tech very vital for FGFA.

    So HAL needs no foreign consultants for RAFALE's composite build. Infact India has sold the locally developed software tech package for making composite airframe parts abroad with the help of local software firms.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2013
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  14. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    The choice is pretty obvious, no catapults = MiG-29K... with catapults = Rafale M.
     
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  15. Dark Sorrow

    Dark Sorrow Respected Member Senior Member

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    Not the same bullsh*t again. Half of the forums on the net have this thread.
    Man I am really tired of the same discussion again and again.
     
  16. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

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    Russia Asked to Prove Single Engine Landing of MiG-29K


    The Indian Navy has reportedly asked Russia to prove single engine landing of the MiG-29K on the INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier as a safety measure in case one of the two engine fails on India’s only carrier based fighter.

    The Hindu newspaper reported last week that the Russian side will be carrying out the proving trials on its own carrier in Russia, Admiral Kuznetsov.

    Quoting an unnamed Indian official, the report said, “The aircraft is just too good and has a very powerful engine. To allay the fears of pilots, we have asked Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG to prove single-engine landing of MiG-29 K on board the Russian carrier Admiral Kuznetsov. This will happen in a fortnight.”

    India has received some 23 MiG29K and MiG29KUB fighters from Russia so far. The latter are the two seater trainer versions. A further six are to be delivered this year followed by an equal number next year, sources from RAC MiG said.

    Speaking to Defenseworld.net on the sidelines of the Aero India airshow in Bangalore last week, General Director of RAC MiG Sergei Korotkov said that the expanding carrier based operations of the Indian Navy will mean an increase in the requirements for the MiG-39 in future.

    These aircraft need to be based on a shore facility and flown to the aircraft carrier and back. With the Indian Navy announcing a new air base on the east coast of India, a need may arise for additional fighters, he added.

    Russia Asked to Prove Single Engine Landing of MiG-29K
     
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