US and Russian stealth war over Indian sky

Discussion in 'Indian Air Force' started by Neil, Nov 12, 2011.

  1. Neil

    Neil Senior Member Senior Member

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    [​IMG]

    Fighter pilots who train alongside the their peers in the Indian Air Force (IAF) are left in little doubt of their tactical pedigree.

    Indian pilots are among the best in the world, with lightning-sharp reactions and the deft hand-eye co-ordination essential to notch up “kills” in aerial exercises.

    However, western counterparts say their instincts are still moulded by Soviet-style training manuals based on mass formations to dominate European airspace dating from the cold war, when the two were close, rather than the freer flight of smaller missions over the Himalayas.

    The influence of Russia, which is still India’s largest arms supplier, is unlikely to wane soon.

    Forming the bedrock of India’s air strike capabilities are Sukhoi-30MKI and MiG-21 fighter jets. And the country’s military planners are now banking on an Indo-Russian stealth fighter joining their ranks within a decade to match the capabilities of China’s J-20 fighter.

    While two European rivals, the Eurofighter Typhoon and Dassault’s Rafale, scrap over supplying fourth-generation combat aircraft to India in a contract that India says could be worth as much as $20bn, Moscow has already secured a partnership with India in military aviation lasting well into the future.

    The prize of a visit by Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s president, to New Delhi last year was an agreement to develop jointly a fifth-generation stealth fighter, called by the Russians the T50 or Pak-FA – although India prefers to call it the FGFA, for fifth generation fighter aircraft. The two sides agreed to build up to 300 over 10 years in a deal estimated to be worth $35bn.

    The T50, the equivalent of the US F-35, is expected to join the Russian air force in operational trials in five years, and India’s four years later.

    So far, prototypes of the T50 have completed 100 test flights. The aircraft has a range of 2,000km and a cruising speed of Mach 1.8. It will cost less than $100m – far cheaper than US rivals such as the F-22 Raptor and the F-35, according to its Russian makers Sukhoi and United Aircraft Corporation.

    Indian participation puts Asia’s third-largest economy at the forefront of military aircraft design and upholds a longstanding Russian promise to share the most advanced technology – something the US has not been ready to do.

    Mikhail Pogosyan, president of UAC, says: “We are not simply offering our Indian colleagues the best prototypes of our aviation technology as a finished product, we are dedicated to sharing engineering resources in the development of the most modern aviation facilities with high potential for the global market.

    “The joint programmes in the area of combat and transport aviation are a launching pad to develop civil aircraft.”

    Bangalore-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), which already assembles MiG, Sukhoi and BAE Systems Hawk jets, has sought at least a 25 per cent share in the production of a two-seat version of the aircraft. The fighter would also be equipped with BrahMos cruise missiles, which have been developed and tested jointly by the two countries. Ashok Nayak, a former chairman of HAL, describes the project as “more daunting” than any of the initiatives India’s aeronautics industry has embarked on in the indigenous development of aircraft such as the Teja, Kiran or Marut.

    At a stroke, the agreement has given India the kind of technological partnership – to match its space programme – it craves, and the promise of defence exports.

    Potential customers for an Indo-Russian stealth fighter include Algeria, Brazil, Venezuela, Vietnam and Egypt. Indonesia and Iran are also possibilities.

    But the US may still fight back on the current tender to supply fourth-generation fighters to India.

    The Pentagon recently told the US Congress that it was prepared to provide information to India about the F-35 Lightning II, produced by Lockheed Martin and viewed as a heavy, cheaper version of the F-22.

    European defence companies have expressed concern that the US authorities might try to short-circuit the bidding process with a new, more attractive offer outside the terms of the competition.

    Ajay Shukla, the defence correspondent for India’s Business Standard newspaper, has urged the Ministry of Defence in Delhi to abandon the purchase of “overpriced” fourth-generation fighters and immediately leap to the stealth capabilities offered by the F-35 in a single-vendor contract.

    “Lockheed Martin has signalled in multiple ways it would supply the fighter at a fly-away cost of $65m per aircraft with deliveries beginning by 2015,” he says.

    But other Indian defence analysts say the process to choose the medium multi-role combat aircraft is too far advanced for a U-turn, and current needs are too pressing.

    A sudden departure from the process would dent India’s credibility, they say, at a time when the conduct of its bureaucracy is under greater scrutiny after a number of corruption scandals.

    One defence expert says that the US offer of stealth technology puts the T50 partnership at risk.

    The expert, who is close to the negotiations for fourth-generation fighters, asks: “What would India want with two stealth fighters?”



    Us and Rusisian Stealth war over Indian sky | idrw.org
     
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  3. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Partial ToT is useless to India. Our geography is too diverse and will be difficult to utilize F-35s full scope of capabilities if we don't get enough radar ToT.

    F-35s primary role isn't A2A and there is no telling what will happen if BVR missiles suddenly become useless as technology advances. Tiny wings are useless over the Himalayas anyway.

    Russia won this stealth war even before it started. We have already signed IPR sharing agreement for PAKFA program and already transferred $295Million for PDC. F-35 has already been officially rejected by officials, they don't have to do this twice.
     
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  4. hit&run

    hit&run Elite Member Elite Member

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    Don't you think they can be the best replacement for sea Harriers.
    Thanks
     
  5. Phenom

    Phenom Regular Member

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    It seems the Americans won't give up that easily. The effort to push F-35 into India is just amazing.
     
  6. SpArK

    SpArK SORCERER Senior Member

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    Why is US peddling a hangar queen?




    Nov 10, 2011


    A multi-role combat aircraft is one of those things air forces the world over love for no good reason other than the desire to fly a plane that can do everything. Some 30 years ago, when the Indian Air Force selected the Jaguar as an MRCA (Multi-Role Combat Aircraft) when plainly it was only a low level short range strike plane, I had pointed out that the trouble with aircraft designed for multiple missions is that they cannot perform any particular role very well. Nothing has changed, except now “medium range” is added to the Air Staff Quality Requirements, two planes have been shortlisted, and the US is trying to scramble the competition by offering the Lockheed Martin Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) F-35 Lightning-II just as the bids by Dassault Avions for its Rafale fighter and by the European consortium EADS for its Typhoon warplane were being opened. This offer, while sudden, was not entirely unexpected, and has a whiff of the spoiler even though there’s a more substantive reason behind it. In any event, if aircraft quality and performance is what matters, scrutinising the JSF makes sense.






    JSF can, at best, be considered a work in progress, and at worst an enormously expensive failure, that has already racked up 89 per cent cost-over-run and time delays of several years, with no end in sight to major design and technology problems confronting it. Winslow Wheeler, a combat aviation expert formerly with the US’ government accountability office (GAO) and ex-staff adviser to several US senators, deems this aircraft “a bad idea that shows every sign of turning into a disaster as big as the F-111 fiasco of the 1960s.”






    The serious nature of F-35’s troubles is not a secret. According to news reports, the Pentagon’s director of operational test & evaluation earlier this year pointed to a raft of problems afflicting the JSF, among them, the “transonic wing roll-off (and) greater than expected sideslip during medium angle of attack testing”, unreliability of the components, the after-burner on the Pratt & Whitney F-135 engine disrupting the air flow causing severe vibrations and preventing realisation of maximum power, helmet-mounted display that has restricted testing to the preliminary Block 0.5 and Block 1 mission systems software, and the inability of the on-board inert gas generation system to obviate the buildup of oxygen in fuel tank that can result in fire and explosion. A news story additionally revealed significant structural weakness in the “forward root rib” providing “core strength of the wings”, and a recent GAO report referred to the faulty manufacturing of the outer mould of the aircraft that has undermined its stealth characteristics, rectifying which, it said, has major cost and time impacts.






    JSF, it turns out, is an over-weight (49,500 pounds at takeoff in air-to-air role), under-powered (with an engine rated at 42,000 pounds of thrust) aircraft with a relatively small wing span (460 square feet), rendering it, in Wheeler’s words, “appallingly unmaneuverable” and in the same league as the short-lived F-105. Worse, it has only two tons of ordnance carrying capacity in its internal bays; loading additional bombs and weapons on outer wing stations will light up the aircraft like a Christmas tree on enemy radar, making nonsense of its vaunted stealth qualities. And in ground support mission, it is seen as a “non-starter” — “too fast to independently identify targets, too fragile to withstand ground fire”, and too lacking in payload capacity, including fuel, to pull useful loiter time over battlefield. The crux of the problem, according to Wheeler, is that the JSF “has mortgaged its success on a hypothetical vision of ultra long-range (air-to-air) radar… that has fallen on its face many times in real war”, eventuating in performance that is “embarrassing in the air-to-air role” even when compared to “elderly” aircraft such as the A-10.








    But that’s not the half of it! The F-35, when it enters service, will be the least test-proven of any new aircraft. In this regard, the GAO report mentions that “Open air testing (is) constrained by range limitations that are incapable of providing realistic testing of many key (Block 3 systems software-driven) capabilities” that are available, but mostly on paper. What this means, according to Wheeler, is that 97 per cent of “flight testing (is) still unflown” and eventually only 17 per cent of JSF’s flight characteristics will be physically tested and proven. Dismayed as much by the sub-standard aircraft in the offing and the escalating costs as by the unwillingness of the US to share “critical technologies”, many of the Nato partners have reduced their requirement of this aircraft. Britain, for instance, has cut back to 40 F-35s from its initial order of 138 aircraft, and Israel, which contracted for 20 JSFs, is seeking refurbished F-16s and F-18s instead, as a near and middle-term solution.





    The F-35 has been pushed into a virtual death spiral also by the seemingly insurmountable difficulties facing its vertical take-off variant, compelling the Royal Navy to junk it, a decision the US Navy and the US Marines are expected to soon follow. Costly attempts to rectify design flaws and to meet performance criteria amidst slashed domestic and foreign sales have raised the programme expenditure to the one-trillion-dollar level and the unit price of this platform to a “catastrophically high” $200 million, leading the US Congress to threaten a cut-off in funding.






    It is the imperative to save the JSF programme that has prompted Washington to offer this plane to IAF. Delhi has to decide which combat aircraft industry — American, French or European, it will play the white knight to. Lockheed will flourish even if India rejects the F-35. But failure to sell Rafale or the Eurofighter will respectively put the survival of future combat aircraft development and production in France at risk and severely dent the prospects of EADS.



    With so much at stake and the urge to recover some of the costs, France and the consortium of European countries will be prepared to give far more in return and by way of offsets to get a deal done.



    The writer is a professor at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi
     
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  7. JBH22

    JBH22 Senior Member Senior Member

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    not to forget all the arms twisting they are doing in Delhi i won't be surprised if this plane gets through.

    PS:Some years back Chinese hackers got their hands on data of this plane :)
     
  8. charlyondfi

    charlyondfi Regular Member

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    Dear P2prada - allow me to put this: I am YET that sure India's decision on T-50 is so justified. When the quarrels show up again & again about how much India can count on Russia arm industry, this FGFA deal has been used for positive/supporting Russia is a countable source of defense technology. Yet, is it so true? or it's just a "self-escalation" cycle.

    Well, the "creditability" when signed of FGFA contract at 2010, shows the opposite: it's actually a peak of continuous disappointing & embarrassing outcomes: from A/C Vikramaditya (Dec-2009 a final cost of US$23.5b agreed by both sides, no need to mention what storm was arroused in India public back then) to batch 2 Talwar (same in Dec-2009, Yantar shipyard started to ask higher price). Of course, China J-20 made its maiden flight at Jan-2011, which turns out a 'justification' for FGFA. Nevertheless, can that be a "blind justification"?

    So, come to my point: yet more details revealed, the FGFA deal and what India can get from it, need to be 200% scrutinized. Or, it's too late for a contract of $35b?
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2011
  9. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    A replacement to the Sea Harrier is the F-35B. It is not a very good aircraft as compared to the F-35C. It is much more maintenance intensive and with lesser capability. Even Britain wants the carrier version so IN has the option to go for it.

    The IN deal will be much smaller than the Air force deal. They will also want the deliveries completed quickly. Case in point the Mig-29K deal. The entire aircraft will be delivered from Russian production lines. Hence the gestation period required to set up production lines in India will be lesser. ToT for radar will be an issue but it does not have to be as stringent as the IAF one because of a much more uniform geographic and climatic condition that we seen in the Oceans as compared to land.

    I would support IN's choice for F-35 purely on a technical basis. If the Navy believes the FGFA, SH or Rafale suits better then nobody should be complaining.

    The Gorky saga was a black mark on Indo-Russian cooperation, but it shouldn't affect Sukhoi-HAL project simply because Sukhoi can deliver as they have been consistently been doing since the fall of the Soviet Union. Most of the departments that we had problems with were mainly from companies which were propped up artificially by the Russian govt like the Sevmash shipyard(Gorky's handlers). Lack of orders from their primary clients, Russian armed forces, does not bode well for any captive industry.

    As for rising costs, it has less to do with conspiracy and more to do with the economic crisis and rising inflation. If you haven't noticed it already it is plaguing the F-35 program as well. Delays are happening and costs are rising in the US too. So, why target only Russia? Delays are happening in India as well and we know it is the same for China.

    BTW, the Gorky's revised price was $2.3 Billion and not $23.5Billion. Public in India shouts for everything, but nothing ever happens. :)

    The F-35 deal will be more of a buyer and seller relationship. The FGFA deal is a 50-50 partnership where both countries fund and sell together. The IPR agreement has already been signed and is meant for all foreground IP for PAKFA. Considering Russia considered 100% ToT for MKI in 1996(the most advanced Russian aircraft at the time and still is), they will have no issues in doing the same today. Heck we have a 50% share with Russia unlike the F-35 where the US can sell to anybody irrespective of their partners wishes.
     
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  10. agentperry

    agentperry Senior Member Senior Member

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    if India gets too lazy with f-35, usa will surely use its 123 nuclear agreement and nsg card, creating trouble for India and its energy security, usa have dual strategy in India, India can buy much from usa and also it will be a very good pet of usa to be used against china and protect the sea lanes for american goods and companies.
     
  11. Neil

    Neil Senior Member Senior Member

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    thats why we are buying so many aircraft from them...c130 c17...i wouldnt be surprised if the MMRCA deal goes to typhoon to please Americans...
    Chindits: Raytheon To Do The Entire Weapons Suite For Typhoon!!

    that said if US is offering India its 5TH gen fighters...and give India source codes but not ToT..is still F35 a no go...??
     
  12. SPIEZ

    SPIEZ Senior Member Senior Member

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    Someone had posted earlier that that American missile's can be easily used on-board French fighters as done in Mirage 2000's.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2011
  13. agentperry

    agentperry Senior Member Senior Member

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    first of all source code wont be given to India at any cost. second thing the weapon platform supplied by usa to any country comes with agreement which makes them inquire about the where about and use, ie if asked India needs to tell usa where these planes are stationed, if usa relations with pakistan improved in future, i guess they may, then it will be a big blow Indian security apparatus.
    these transport planes are no big problem but fighter aircrafts are, because stationing a fighter aircrafts means all the support infra is developed over there only while transporters are like free birds, they can be operated from more than one base and also there base can be shifted with relative ease.
    usa is not a reliable partner and russia is now somewhat less than friend, we crooked up ourselves
     
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  14. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    what happens with Ajai Shukla ? He has done it once again, faced heavy criticism with his earlier effort to pitch for F-35.

    Regards
     
  15. Zebra

    Zebra Senior Member Senior Member

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  16. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    I don't comprehend the emphasis on stealth. Are these aircraft in fact comparable to the F-117, or is the F-117 now passe?
     
  17. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Passssseeeeeeee. It is too old and too dead. It's like the old 60s radio as compared to the iphone.

    These aircraft make the 117 look like something from Evil Dead.

    EDIT: The F-22 probably has an RCS 30 times less than that of the F-117. The planned bomber for induction after 2020 will supposedly have an RCS that's another 100 times smaller than the F-22.

    In strictest sense the RCS for F-35 will compare well with the F-117, but it is a fighter and not a bomber, so more varied roles which means the F-35 is a better aircraft.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2011
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