Rafale A Strategic Blunder

Discussion in 'Indian Air Force' started by Drsomnath999, Feb 18, 2012.

  1. Drsomnath999

    Drsomnath999 lord of 32 teeth Elite Member

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    Dear Editor:
    RAFALE OPTION – A STRATEGIC BLUNDER


    Indian Air Force appears quite contented with the Ministry of Defense upholding their recommendation to select “Rafale - the French air superiority Fighter” due to its technical edge and low cost among Gen 4+ category. None is contesting the decision, perhaps, due to the “Holy Cow” status and ignorance. Thus, the need for reviewing the decision in a holistic and pragmatic manner is more than ever before. After all, technological issues constitute only one part. Others like strategic political, diplomatic and economic fallout need deliberate consideration. Is ‘Rafale’ option a strategic blunder?

    Surely, modernization must take into consideration key variables like the international and regional security environment to include likelihood of war in a short term context, timeliness of induction of systems in the face of their rapid obsolescence, lower cost per unit x more numbers vs higher costs x kill ratio capability x lesser numbers and what makes an effective air superiority fighter in technology age battlefield environment and efficacy of systems on board reinforced by closely allied systems as force escalators. Add to them, technology transfer, assembly initially followed by manufacturing. No longer, one should expect life-cycle of systems to last over 30-40 years.

    When viewed holistically from the above dimensions, the ‘Rafale” deal seems to be seriously flawed. Ipso facto, UK, Germany and other EU collaborators are quite upset over rejection of ‘Eurofighter’ on both technical and low cost count. Even the USA is peeved over the rejection of their F-16 and F-18 upgrades. Its political, diplomatic and economic fallout is likely to be quite significant. In retrospect, the Western allies may refrain extending support for UN Security Council permanent status to India and support Pakistan’s chorus as “Kashmir is the core issue” in sub regional context. Add to them, loss of economic aid, viewed as ‘peanuts’ by Pranab Mukerjee, is not limited to UK only but extends to other collaborators of the ‘Eurofighter”, who may still have a ‘say’ in the World Bank and IMF forums. The ‘Eurofighter’ could also be offered to Pakistan and others interested in gaining a security edge in the region. In retrospect, Pranab Mukerjee’s jingoism and rhetoric appears unwarranted.

    Let me start by review of the most fundamental issue – Is war inevitable in a short term context in the regional environment? The simple answer is “NO” considering the nuclear deterrence capability in South Asia. In such a context, the decision to induct new systems could have been easily delayed by 2-3 years. After all, the Sukhoi T-50 – a 5th generation air superiority fighter - is a joint collaboration between Russia and India, and has cost the two countries an estimated $ 6bn to develop with India shouldering about 35% of the cost. It is intended to match the U.S. F-22 raptor. The fighter made its first appearance at the MAKS 2011 air show outside Moscow, and is expected to be mass produced by 2014/2015. Having waited so long, Air Force could have surely waited for induction of T-50s by 2015.

    Even the timeliness of induction of state-of-the art system needs pragmatic consideration. Rafale is 4 plus generation system of 1990s vintage. The 5th Generation systems are already in service in US Air Force. Considering that China has already demonstrated prototype of 5th Generation system, the choice of ‘Rafale” to be the mainstay of Indian Air Force for 30-40 years is patently wrong. At best, ‘Rafale’ may be a short term substitute and mothballed sooner than later after induction of T-50 commencing after 2015.

    Lower costs and greater numbers, per se, would have made ‘good sense’ for those accustomed to “Gen 3 – Conventional war” scenarios and 3:1 superiority in numbers. Such wars are unlikely to be waged in South Asian security environment out of fear of “escalation to nuclear war status”. Pragmatically viewed, the decision should favor those systems with higher battlefield effectiveness (Kill ratio capability comparison). It is absurd to induct large number of fighters with low technology with less chance of survivability and effectiveness as opposed high-tech effectiveness and survivability. Indian Air Force should overcome their obsession of maintaining 45 squadron sized force considering technical superiority of “Gen 5” systems including kill ratio capability, their astronomical costs and the likelihood of breakout of wars in a regional context. For example, inducting 30 or even less systems with kill ratio of 10 :1 at US $ 60 million each is far more superior than inducting 120 systems with kill ratio of 1:1 systems at US $20 million. Final costs depend on negotiations and options: €50m for each Rafale; €62m for each Eurofighter; US$ 152m for each F-22A; US$ 45m-60m each for F-35 variants.

    Is ‘Rafale’ a combat tested and proved air superiority fighter? No. Combat between modern jet fighters has been very rare. In combat involving the US and its military allies, factors extraneous to the quality of the individual aircraft (such as weight of numbers, ability to train pilots properly, presence of radar systems etc) have typically overwhelmingly favoured them, making a realistic assessment difficult. Moreover, this review does not cover fighter meant for close ground support role.

    What is the latest on indigenous LCA? India claims to be an emerging power and yet our R & D is not delivering results. How long will Indian armed forces depend on induction of systems from external sources and their reliability of supply in case of outbreak of war. Add to them, the appearance of ‘reusable Drones – pilotless aircraft’ - remotely controlled in surveillance and ground attack roles tested and proven in the battlefield of Afghanistan-Pakistan as an alternative option.

    Most important for the general public to note is that an attempt to compare air superiority fighters, that is, fighting other fighter aircraft, is generally a harder task than shooting down aircraft which are not fighters. In general, because of the lack of reliable information about the fighters themselves, and the lack of actual combat between them, it is extremely hard to judge how they will perform in combat. As per Aviation experts, “Rafale” can only be compared with Eurofighter Typhoon manufactured in 2003, USA/UK: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in 2008; Chinese FC-1 / JF-17 in 2006 and J-10.

    Furthermore, the effectiveness of air superiority fighters is dependent on high speed and maneuverability, stealth capability, avionics, on board sensors and weapon systems. High speed and maneuverability - engine power - allows a pilot to choose to disengage an opponent or homing missiles by simply out maneuvering them. A high-powered fighter is also more likely to maintain a crucial overall energy advantage over its opponent thought of as airspeed plus altitude. The Typhoon, the Rafale, and particularly the F-22 have a considerable performance advantage over other craft in that they have the ability to travel at supersonic speeds without the use of afterburners, an ability known as supercruise.

    However, some sources dispute the value of maneuverability of fighters in the contemporary and near future environment, given the expected abilities of medium-range air-to-air missiles to out-turn, outrun, and out-accelerate any manned aircraft, and the ability of new short-range missiles (with helmet sights) to be launched at a very wide range of angles and with a very high probability of hits. The extreme version of this view states that any aircraft will do, as long as it can carry the missiles and radar.

    Next, the most critical factor is the ‘stealth’ capability, which offers a big advantage over one that is more easily detected because the "stealthy" plane should be able to shoot first (or, for that matter, leave without being detected). Actual figures of the stealthiness of the various aircraft are unsurprisingly highly classified. Recent American fighter aircraft development has focused on stealth, and the recently deployed F-22 is the first fighter designed from the ground up for stealth. However, the stealthiness of the F-22 from angles other than head-on is not clear. The in-development F-35 is also regarded as stealthy, but some reports claim it is significantly less so than the F-22, particularly from the rear. The Rafale and Typhoon are not ground-up stealth designs, but since the disclosure of the F-22 and earlier stealthy bomber designs they have undergone substantial detail refinement to reduce their radar cross section (RCS).

    There are some reports that the Rafale's avionics, the Thales Spectra, includes "stealthy" radar jamming technology, a radar cancellation systems analogous to the acoustic noise suppression systems on the De Havilland Canada Dash. Conventional jammers make locating an aircraft more difficult, but their operation is itself detectable; the French system is hypothesised to interfere with detection without revealing that jamming is in operation. In effect, such a system could potentially offer stealth advantages similar in effect to, but likely less effective than, the F-22 and JSF. However, it is unclear how effective the system is, or even whether it is fully operational yet.

    There are claims that the Russians are working on "plasma stealth". Obviously, such techniques might well remove some of the current advantage of the F-22 and JSF, but American defence research also continues unabated.

    Yet another significant issue to consider is the ‘Avionics’. A fundamental part of a fighter's avionics is its radar. In general, Western avionics are viewed as by far the most technologically sophisticated. This is reportedly regarded as highly secret technology, and it is unlikely to be exported. The F-22 and F-35 have a unified avionics design, with most processing performed in a central aircraft computer and with very high-speed interfaces to individual components. The Rafale and Eurofighter have slower main computers and internal data networks. Neither the Rafale (PESA RBE2) or Eurofighter have such an advanced radar (the Eurofighter is equipped with the Euroradar CAPTOR), but a next-generation radar system, the AMSAR, is under development, and has a design similar to the American radars. Does the French offer promise radar upgradation?

    All fighters are generally equipped with a passive device that "listens" for radars targeted at them. The F-22 and F-35's radar is designed to be difficult to detect, while maintaining superior ability to find other aircraft to conventional designs. Another factor to consider is the sophistication of other sensors, such as passive infra-red and passive radar detectors, as well as radar jamming capabilities. By In contrast, little is known about the avionics of the new Indian and Chinese planes. It is generally assumed that they are well behind Western standards. However, reports from the recent Indian-American exercise suggest that India has begun to develop their own expertise in the area.

    The focus on dog fighting capabilities determining the likely outcome of air-to-air combat is archaic, particularly for long-range engagements. Perhaps the most obvious items to consider are the aircraft's air-to-air missile systems. The development of short-range missiles that can fire at targets not directly in front of a plane seems to have radically changed the nature of short-range combat, making the performance of the missile, not the aircraft, the key factor. Missile systems are upgraded more often than the planes themselves. For instance, the British version is intended to be upgraded to replace the AMRAAM missiles for initial deployment with the MBDA Meteor with far greater range and much more manoeuverable at the limits of its range. Therefore, the Eurofighter pilot may be able to fire their missiles much earlier. Similarly, radar systems, and electronic countermeasures, can also be upgraded. Combat systems on exported planes usually are substantially inferior to the ones supplied to the manufacturer's home air force.

    Systems not physically located within the aircraft are also force multipliers. Missile systems are upgraded more often than the planes themselves. Radar systems, such as AWACS planes, as well as shipboard and ground-based radars, can inform fighters of the location of opponents that they cannot detect with their own radars, and do this without the fighters having to use their own radars and thus give away their position. Even the availability of airborne refuelling can make a big difference to combat effectiveness by extending the distance and time fighters can spend in the air. Finally, the human factor cannot be ignored, as pilot ability and training is still believed to play a large part in the results.

    As per data based on simulation available in 1990s, comparative study of modern fighters does not provide a clear insight due to the lack of information gathered on the 5th generation combat aircraft. From various reports, data available in simulated combat against the Su-35 include: F-22 Raptoor -10:1:1; Eurofighter – 4.5:1:1; Rafale C – 1:0:1. These results mean, for example, that in simulated combat, 4.5 Su-35s were shot down for every Typhoon lost. However, it is to be noted that Russia has longer range missiles currently in development. Missiles such as the KS-172 may be intended for large targets and not fighters, but their impact on a long range BVR engagement needs to be factored in.

    Even the results of an exercise in 2004 pitting USAF F-15 Eagles against Indian Air Force Su-30MKI's, Mirage 2000's, MiG-29's and even the elderly MiG-21 have been widely publicised, with the Indians winning "90% of the mock combat missions". Another report claims that the kind of systemic factors mentioned were heavily weighted against the F-15s with the F-15's outnumbered 3-to-1. The rules of the exercise also allowed the Indian side the use of a simulated AWACS providing location information, and allowed them to use the full fire-and-forget active radar of simulated MBDA Mica and AA-12fire-and-forget mode. None of the F-15's were equipped with the latest AESA radars, which are fitted to some, but not all, of the USAF's F-15 fleet. The F-15's were not permitted to simulate the full range of the AMRAAM (restricted to 32 km when its full range to be over 100km), nor to use the AMRAAM's own radar systems to guide itself in.

    When viewed holistically, choice of ‘Rafale’ appears to be a strategic blunder. There is disconnect between the MEA and MoD, besides the CCS which has approved the deal. Costs appear to have over-weighed their final choice and not strategic considerations. Time is ripe for visual media to feature debates with real experts in action. No need to run to either French or British or US.
    Letters to the Editor sent to Indian Express - Rafale´s Choice - Strategic Blunder by Brig (Retd) G B Reddy
     
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  3. Drsomnath999

    Drsomnath999 lord of 32 teeth Elite Member

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    well india's support for permanent status to india would remain unaffected as germany also want permanent status & expansion of P5 & US was indifferent from the very beginning about permanent status of india & had termed resolving of kashmir dispute as pre terms & conditions before supporting india's permanent status which is highly unacceptable to us .

    Regarding kashmir issue we already have 2 important members (russia & french) in P5 to veto any resolution passed against kashmir so no worry for india regarding kashmir .




    well out of 4 partners in EF2000 2 parners are already reeling under economic crisis instead of cutting aid to us they are dependent on
    aid from countries like us (india & china) .So let them keep their aid
    LLLLOllllz can pakistan afford such a platform which is already having many systems still in development & needs funding :lol: & yes if india had chosen ef 2000 then surely france would have sold it's avionics & mica missiles to pakistan for
    JF 17

    well india' induction of FFGA would start atleast not before the year 2016-17 but not 2015 that for sure & if we wait for that time without inducting any new fighter atleast we would have 25-30 squadron of fighter left as many more MIG 21s would
    have crashed by that time

    the author forgot china would have more 4th & 4.5 gen fighters like j10b SU30 J11b J15 compare to their 5th gen fighter which is still in development .
    Rafale has some cutting edge 5th gen avionics & ECM which chinese still cannot make till 7th gen fighter :rofl:

    now how can author say rafale a low technology fighter with less chance of survivability which has some cutting edge avionics /ecm, high manuverabiltry & awesome proven firepower.God knows what was he thinking before writing such craps :lol:

    What !!!! NO i hope the author is not drunk before writing this S##t :rofl:
    PLZ check the war in LIBYA to see how rafale proved it's worth in Air to ground warfare .Hey man plz stop making false claims
    like this PLZZZz

    well regarding air superiority fighter i agree it has not made any killls so do EF 2000 but rafale has a amazing capabilty of passive detection of target with the help of SPectra system & also to cue it's air to air missile without turning on it's own aesa radar for stealth reason only F22 's ALR 94 system is capable of that

    ALso it has some advanced ECMs to dodge radar guided & IR guided missile & also it is going to have MEteor BVRAAM & long range IR guided missile MICA ir (60 KM)& on the top of it's close coupled canards give amazing manuverabilty


    what the FCUK !!! rafale can be compared to JF17 which aviation expert told this just tell me his name , i would slap him for
    this stupid comparision :rofl:

    but atleast rafale has an operational RBE 2 AESA radar which typhoon doesnt have :lol:

    unfortunately this article itself is a blunder :rofl: & pathetic is it's writer

    U should have read my thread for a second ,i bet u, u wouldnt have wrote this garbage article:lol:


    http://defenceforumindia.com/indian-air-force/31082-dassault-rafale-wins-mmrca-85.html
     
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  4. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    [​IMG]

    Hmm..

    The Man is just uninformed & Quick on conclusion without proper research and understanding, like many others..
    Just like the one calling Multi-cal Rifle concept is not feasible..
     
  5. SpArK

    SpArK SORCERER Senior Member

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    Seriously? junk fighter of 2006???:tsk:
     
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  6. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Could not trawl through the article.

    What is our strategic equation with Germany, UK and others?

    Are we not buying enough from the US?

    Must we sell ourselves wholesale to the US?

    Must we buy things which do not suit us but we should buy lest we upset people?

    Why don't we mortgage our defence in that case to the NATO?

    And become another Pakistan and have the same baggage that Pakistan shoulders?

    A motivated article to scuttle the deal!
     
  7. arya

    arya Senior Member Senior Member

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    well i dont now why and what question remains

    yes rafale is the best option available for medium role , we should focus on PAKFA and lca

    in war LCA , su30 and pakfa will play more important role
     
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  8. Drsomnath999

    Drsomnath999 lord of 32 teeth Elite Member

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    what do u mean by rafale is the best option available for medium role???
     
  9. Drsomnath999

    Drsomnath999 lord of 32 teeth Elite Member

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    i think he is a typhoon fanboy whose A$$ is burning :lol:
     
  10. Drsomnath999

    Drsomnath999 lord of 32 teeth Elite Member

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    a bribed & commisioned article from a person to schuffle the deal :lol:
     
  11. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    I doubt, He is a retd Brigadier..

    He just wrote what he thinks about, Which is something he may learned from Media talk or etc.. :rolleyes:
     
  12. ace009

    ace009 Freakin' Fighter fan Elite Member

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    Although I do not agree with a lot of things he says (and agree with some), I still don't think you should do name calling and insinuating his intentions just because you do not agree with him. I would suggest to "Doctor" Somnath, that you provide others (especially those with a different opinion) the same respect that you demand from your peers.

    Also, this person is a retired brigadier. He may have more practical knowledge of warfare than most armchair generals and enthusiasts here.
     
  13. Drsomnath999

    Drsomnath999 lord of 32 teeth Elite Member

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    well plz dont preach me sermon plz .If u find something really abusive plz press the report button & let the mods do their job , plz dont lecture me what to do & what not do .plz
    REGARDS :namaste:
     
  14. arya

    arya Senior Member Senior Member

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    yes rafale is the best option now available and the plus point is that we can induct large number in less time if we required on urgent base i hope you understand


    do you know how many planes we have and how many we required to save our sky , tell me one question why dont you guys understand one thing we need to induct them as soon possible
     
  15. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Many retired military officers work for foreign arms company as Liaison Officers.

    Have you not seen the good Col Shukla change his tune?

    He, too, is an honourable man!

    I wish the article could give concrete evidence as to which one would have suited India in all its ramification, instead of generalities.

    That would have been more authentic.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012
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  16. Drsomnath999

    Drsomnath999 lord of 32 teeth Elite Member

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    of course i understand that & i have never denied that

    now u tell me onething who said we dont need to induct them as soon as possible just tell me who ???? plzzzz
     
  17. Drsomnath999

    Drsomnath999 lord of 32 teeth Elite Member

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    well i dont know what problem this Mr ace 009 has with me he unneccessarily wants to attract my attention for no reason earliers he did that & when i start to reply his comments he started to whine that i am doctor & i should not troll like this .thats why i stopped replying his comments ,now see again
    he is taunting me by preaching sermons
     
  18. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    You are a doctor and he may be a priest prone to giving sermons!

    Just report posts that you feel are rotten giving the reasons.

    We have the Committee who Judge such reports and then takes action.

    Reports have to be official so that it does not allow any Mod to exercise his personal likes and dislikes!

    That is how we try to be as fair as is humanly possible!
     
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  19. Drsomnath999

    Drsomnath999 lord of 32 teeth Elite Member

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    yes thats what i am saying no one should tell anyone what to do & what not to do ?? they should use the report button & let the mod decide what to do ...
     
  20. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    You play your part and report his post that you find are offensive.

    But give reasons!
     
  21. Killswitch

    Killswitch Regular Member

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    Wait another 2-3 years?

    This guy is a jack@$$.

    He should be strapped in an old mig 21 and sent on a few sorties.

    Then let him talk.
     

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