IDN TAKE: Why India Should Buy the F-35 Lightning II

Zebra

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http://www.indiandefensenews.in/2015/08/idn-take-why-india-should-buy-f-35.html

IDN TAKE: Why India Should Buy the F-35 Lightning II

Thursday, August 20, 2015 by Indiandefense News

INTRODUCTION
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole fighters undergoing final development and testing by the United States. The F-35 Lightning II, the world's most advanced multi-role fighter is virtually a flying computer, which is a combination of a stealth bomber and a fighter jet and it promises to be the most effective fighter aircraft in decades to come. The F-35 will be a valuable asset to any air force in its arsenal, it will also be a viable proposition in the long-run when compared to any other aircraft in the next decade or more as it is now become an unstoppable proposition. Lockheed Martin has designed and built a fighter that has blown through the boundaries of imagination.

KEY FEATURES

STEALTH: The F-35 is designed as an ‘affordable stealth’ air dominance fighter. It has exceptional abilities as a fifth generation fighter which features radar evading all aspect stealth capability, supersonic speed and extreme agility, network-enabled operations, advanced sustainment, combined with air-to-air and air-to-ground combat potential, unmatched air dominance air combat roles with the most powerful and comprehensive integrated sensor package of any fighter aircraft in history. The sensors and communications systems enable pilots to share information securely with forces at sea, in the air or on the ground for more cohesive operations. The F-35 is a fifth generation technologically sophisticated single seat, single engine aircraft, but unlike its predecessor the F-22A Raptor, it has the capability to perform additional functions such as reconnaissance, air defense missions along with similar tasks like ground attack, interdiction and tactical strikes, electronic warfare, and signals intelligence roles.

SENSORS: The F-35 is equipped with an advanced APG-81 AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) Radar strong AESA advantages of simultaneous air-air and air-ground capabilities, major maintenance & availability improvements, and secure, high-bandwidth communications benefits. The F-35 also shares a “sensor fusion” design, based on an even more extensive sensor set embedded all around the airframe. F-35 has a superior infrared and ground-looking sensors.

Rockwell Collins F-35 Helmet-Mounted Display System
These sensors are connected to a lot of computing power, in order to create single-picture view that lets the pilot see everything on one big 20 inch LCD screen. As part of that sensor fusion, the F-35 will be the first plane is several decades to fly without a heads-up display. Instead, pilots will wear Elbit/Rockwell’s Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS) helmet or BAE’s Helmet-Mounted Symbology System (HMSS), and have all of that information projected wherever they look. JHMCS is both a strength that adds new capabilities, like the ability to look “through” the plane’s floor, and a single point-of-failure weakness.

Pratt & Whitney F135 Engine on a Testbed


ENGINE: The F-35 was set to offer interchangeable engine options. That has been an important feature for global F-16 and F-15 customers, improving costs and performance. The Pratt & Whitney F135 powers the F-35. An alternative engine, the General Electric/Rolls-Royce F136, was being developed until it was cancelled by its manufacturers. Neither the F135 or F136 engines are designed for supercruise, the F-35 can achieve a limited supercruise of Mach 1.2 for 150 miles. The F135 is the second stealthy afterburning jet engine. Like the Pratt & Whitney F119 from which it was derived, the F135 has suffered afterburner pressure pulsations, or 'screech' at low altitude and high speed. The F-35 has a max speed of over Mach 1.6. With a max takeoff weight of 60,000 lb (27,000 kg),the Lightning II is considerably heavier than the lightweight fighters it replaces.



WEAPONS: The fighter employs several cutting-edge but uncharted technologies hence it has to undergo fifty six thousand separate tests everything from making sure a bomb will fall out of the concealed bay to seeing what happens when dropped at supersonic speeds.The F-35’s internal weapon bay gives it the ability to carry larger bombs and missiles, but the price is that F-35s can carry just 2 internal air-to-air weapons, instead of a maximum of 8 in the F-22A. As table above shows, development, testing, and software issues have also combined to give initial F-35 fleets a very narrow set of weapons. Indeed, the initial operational set that comes with Block III software has about the same weapon options as the single-role F-22A.

SOFTWARE POWER: The F-35 is laden with advanced software which runs into millions of lines code, to assist the pilot in all spheres of operations ably assisted with sophisticated avionics hardware. It comprises of more than 24 million lines of code mainly written in C and C++ and also uses ADA programming language incidentally the same language which is used in the Flight Control System of LCA Tejas. As in any complex cutting-edge software-technology development, the program has faced some production and implementation setbacks. As per the 2013 Annual Report of the Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT'&'E) the F-35’s software development is falling behind schedule, and beginning to seriously threaten the Marine Corps and Air Force plans to declare “initial operational capability” in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

The F-35 runs on DO-178B securely partitioned, safety-critical, certified real-time operating system (RTOS).

The F-35 is also equipped with Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS), which determines whether the plane is safe to fly or not.

The F-35 “power-by-wire” system represents advancement on the more electric aircraft topology integrating:

>>Self-contained electro-hydrostatic (EHA) actuators to position primary flight surfaces
>>Electronic Control Units to remotely drive and control the EHAs
>>Electrically driven Power-Driven-Units (PDU) to position the maneuvering leading edge flaps


The F-35 Lockheed Martin fighter aircraft has recently surpassed 15,000 cumulative hours of flying marking a major milestone for the program. “Flying 15,000 hours itself demonstrates that the program is maturing, but what I think is even more impressive is the fact that operational F-35 accounted for more than half of those flight hours,” said J.D. McFarlan, Lockheed Martin Vice President for F-35 Test and Verification.
F-35 VARIANTS AND COST STRUCTURE


F-35 BF-03 Short Take Off Vertical Landing Version

The F-35 is a tri-variant family, the F-35A is a conventional take off and landing aircraft (CTOL), the F-35B is a short take-off and vertical-landing variant (STVOL), and the F-35C is a carrier-based variant (CV). However, there have been allegations of considerable delays in its development cycles, prohibitive cost and time escalations and several technological complexities such as compromised "extreme plus agility" that are yet to be resolved. There are arguments against the fighter that the use of stealth technology has increasingly offset the F-35's payload capacity and range and the stealth technology in and of itself and would negate its primary role as a stealth aircraft with advances in Radar and Infrared detection technologies.



There have been also many wild speculations about F-35’s price tag since it is the world’s most expensive military weapons program. Lockheed Martin now projects that if production ramps up, the fighter will match the cost of a current F-16 in inflation-adjusted dollars. It also claims that the unit cost expected for the F-35A is around $85 million in 2019 (which would be far cheaper than Dassault Rafale). However, the Senate Armed Services Committees and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) estimated the total unit cost for the cheapest version, which is the F-35A, is around $172.7 million per aircraft, certainly a dreadful factor for all concerned.

ANALYSIS



Now that we have learnt a little about the F-35, let us explore how we can accommodate and integrate this amazing state-of-the-art fighter into the Indian Air Force (IAF). Traditionally, India has always opted for Russian military hardware especially when it comes to fighter jets and the only deviancy made has been acquiring the French Mirage-2000 and the Anglo/French SEPECAT Jaguar. Over the decades, the Indo-Russo diplomatic relationship has stood the test of time particularly well even after the fall of the Soviet Union except on a few contentious issues.

COUNTER ARGUMENT

Several Indian critics have argued that the F-35 is not an ideal choice for India based on the following contentions:

Firstly we already have an ongoing program with the Russians to develop a Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA)

Secondly the F-35 is still in developmental phase and yet to see the production floor

Thirdly is its prohibitive cost of ownership and

Finally, and the lamest of the lot is that India will not gain any industrial or technological accruals since there will be no licence production involved. (Disputation based on an article published by Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses)

Let us examine each point in detail:

Firstly, if we go ahead with the FGFA proposal as envisaged, we have to factor in the perceivable cost escalations due to inordinate delays mainly owing to our notorious bureaucratic processes, red tape impediments, dithery, inept and callous decision makers and Russia's reluctance to transfer crucial technologies. Our relationship with the Russians is also patchy these days now that the pugilistic fervors is more pronounced and sporadic. Russia is also looking at Pakistan as a steadfast defence partner.

The serviceability of the Su-30MKI front line fighter has been affected due to the lack of repair and overhaul facilities that Russia had agreed to set up but has not done so far. There has also been incessant negative reporting by the media, which claims that Russia is not fulfilling its obligations under the FGFA program.

Another prime drawback is our passiveness and lethargy to absorb technology. It is also evident now that HAL will not be associated in the co-development or co-design of FGFA and in the end would be just involved in the customization process similar to their involvement in the Su-30MKI project. We have to bear in mind the Russians have progressed briskly on the PAK-FA project for any meaningful technological sharing that HAL can now hope. As per latest estimates, the FGFA project will finally cost both India and Russia $12 billion with India bearing half of it, and as per Lockheed, the F-35A will cost around $85 million or less in 2019. Assuming it stays around the $75 to $80 million mark per aircraft during 2019, India can then purchase around 80- 85 fighters out of India’s share of $6 billion for the FGFA project. Therefore, I presume, going forward we stand to gain nothing commercially or politically out of this partnership except earn the goodwill of the Russians. Eventually the final cost of FGFA project will match or even exceed the purchase cost of the F-35A but with this proviso that the US government subsidizes the purchase as the cost levels would be way beyond our fiscal reach.

Secondly, despite what detractors say the F-35 program is very much on track since it has completed several extended, rigorous and complicated tests, set major milestones, progressively validated respective performance parameters, delivered more than 100 jets to various users that include the first five international deliveries. Recently, South Korea has selected to buy F-35 CTOL variant as its next-generation fighter, South Korea becomes the third foreign customer to buy the F-35, joining Israel and Japan. The fighter is flying on a daily basis verifying aerodynamics and mission performances, fixing software bugs, performing protracted mid-air refueling exercises, conducting night flights, live fire and targeted weapons testing, carrier trials and VSTOL performance testing.

Thirdly, the F-35 is a truly global program consisting of international partners ensuring interoperability not only with the three US services but also with other participating countries. The production involves leading international aerospace companies like Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Pratt '&' Whitney and BAE Systems. Lockheed Martin is the principal contractor. The program provides significant job opportunities for both the domestic and international entities and it promotes industrial competitiveness and provides substantial technology benefits. Suppliers in all the partner countries are producing F-35 components for all the three variants.

The global nature of the program results in significant cost savings, the cost of the F-35 will be comparably low once economies of scale sets in since the Pentagon has committed to buy more than 2,400 fighters. Moreover, there has been undue delays in the procurement of Rafale which has escalated costs exponentially, and as per agency reports the defense ministry had envisaged a budget of about Rs. 42,000 crore in 2007 for buying 126 fighter aircraft. But (hold your breath here) the cost in 2014 could go up as high as Rs 100,000 crore, with each Rafale costing about Rs 590 crore. This means the Government will have to find additional funds since the defense budget has seen only a modest growth of 5 per cent each year.


Building the F-35’s at Lockheed Martin Corporation

Lastly, the argument that India does not achieve any industrial or technological benefits by purchasing the F-35 is a daub. To controvert this justification, we have to retrospect to the so-called technology transfer programs that HAL is involved with the various foreign defense partners over the past few decades. It is evident that nothing significant has accrued out of this arrangement either by HAL or by other defense agencies. Some of the significant Transfer of Technology/Licence Production/ Joint Ventures platforms is the SEPECAT Jaguar, Mig-29, Sukhoi-30MKI and the Mirage-2000. Despite several decades of manufacturing these fighter jets in India, we have not been able to leverage the surmisable knowledge and experience thence gained. The LCA-Tejas has taken close to two decades to evolve as a credible fighting system and it is still limping toward its crucial Final Operational Clearance (FOC), the lumbering KAVERI engine development has also not accomplished its objectives, and let us not forget the IJT-SITARA/NAL SARAS/HTT-40 fiascoes also in the bargain.

Since off late “Offset” provisioning has become a de jure part of the defense procurement policy constituted by Ministry of Defense, although some dilution has already been initiated by the government, a detailed analysis is required to assert the extend of leverage it lends to the overseas vendors. Therefore, it becomes imperative to understand what a TOT arrangement is as against an Offset obligation. Offset obligates the arms seller to reinvest arms sales proceeds in the purchasing country. Transfer of Technology on the other hand is assignment of technological intellectual property, developed and generated in one entity, to another through legal means such as technology licensing or franchising. Hence, in general, the difference in scope is insignificant between these agreements and regretfully none of our defense agencies has gained any substantial strategic advantage or exploited the opportunity to absorb technologies, as notably China has been able to achieve in the past few decades.

LCA TEJAS EMBROILMENT: The Tejas will not see active service for a minimum of seven years or more and the FGFA for well over a decade, given the pace at which the negotiations are heading, additionally the MMRCA deal with Dassault is also going through an unpredictable tumble. In the interim, the F-35 can provide total air dominance '&' superiority over our airspace as a stopgap arrangement, the F-35 can thus smoothly transition as a substitute for Rafale by following a similar delivery schedule as defined in the MMRCA deal. Buying the F-35’s outright from Lockheed Martin Corporation with no preconditions from them will enable the government to eschew the myriad and cockeyed offset regulations and other related contractual obligations attached to such a deal and it is also apparent foreign investors are rather dicey about it. Shedding the mental apartheid perceptibly demonstrated by our politicians, bureaucrats, analysts and writers especially when it comes to having any defense dealings with the Americans would not only have considerable and tangible benefits for IAF but also for the other armed services as well.

EXIGENCY PLANS

Hence, the most suited and prudent course of action the government should undertake is:

1. Scrap the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) deal in its entirety (This is a tough call since France has stood by India during tough times). Thankfully, this has since been achieved.
2. Scrap the nascent FGFA program before it becomes a typical public sector nightmare, though the PAK-FA on which it will be generically based on by itself is a highly advanced, extremely agile and low observable signature aircraft with surprisingly superior capabilities.
3. Buying the F-35 will bring cutting-edge technology to the battlefield" as IAF's "backbone" for 50 years. It will clearly be the most survivable tactical aircraft we've ever fielded. Therefore, an outright purchase should be planned with all other conditions included except Offset obligation.
4. Promote and optimize AMCA (Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft) as an indigenous alternative to FGFA, strive to exceed or at best match or assimilate the technical and tactical superiority benchmarks of F-35/PAK-FA by providing sizable funds, infrastructure, human resources, and government administrative support. This approach is absolutely necessary for our military goals.
5. Elevate the Tejas program as an exigent National Security initiative, augment further funding, human resources, infrastructure, and accord unconditional organisational support. Strive to realign Tejas as a deputized MMRCA.
6. Formulate exhaustive and unconditional contract control policies (US government & Lockheed Martin are bound to comply since the aircraft has gone over budget, a block of around 100 aircraft will send good cheer to the program) before embarking on the purchase of F-35’s thus obviating future commercial, technical and logistical conundrums such as total immunity assurance against impromptu sanctions, establishment of spare parts bank, price protection stipulation based on "complete-full-package" deal to ensure the projected price includes the aircraft, avionics, mission systems, and the engine, optimal maintenance training procedures, access to software codes, coalesce comprehensive risks mitigation policy to address risks identification, planning, analysis, management, monitoring and control methodologies etc.,
7. Mitigate conflict between probity and speed in defense equipment acquisitions
8. Lastly, India urgently needs to reform its armed forces reporting structure and should adapt the US model of having a Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff and a subset of theater commanders as the nature of future wars imposes the need for an overall commander to formulate strategies and coordinate overall military operations. This structure will largely help in preventing corruption, cronyism, nepotism, indiscipline and inefficiency.


CONCLUSION

Finally, if India goes ahead with the F-35A plucky deal it will be assuredly a winning proposition on all fronts and it will be foolhardy if it does not. The F-35 will have a future. The F-35 would be an essential component to any future conflict with an adversary. High-intensity combat against a peer competitor opponent, or into the teeth of an advanced anti-access/area denial system, may not occur within the lifetime of the airframe. But if the opportunity comes to demonstrate the F-35’s quality, the result could very well be magnificent.

The limited purchase of 70 to 80 aircraft on account of fiscal prudence or constraints would sacrifice force structure but it will however deepen India's strategic depth, act as a force multiplier, effectively meet the aggressive operational challenges because of its technological lead over existing stealth fighter programs in and around the Indian subcontinent. It is important to note that both Russia and France have been strong allies of India in the past and our relationship goes well beyond mere immediate lolly. The tough measures quoted above are the dire need to strengthen India's future as a bulwark of current and future international multipolar political order.

Washington for many Indians cannot be trusted and it is in America’s interest to backpedal the waning diffidence that this Obama administration has tardily percolated, especially if it wants to project India as a containment component to China. China is going gung ho over the South China Sea region. It has also been belligerent in the recent past especially condoning the North Korean regime by providing them with weapons and sensitive technology, it has been an overt proliferator of nuclear weapons and technology, especially to India and America’s immediate adversaries Pakistan, Syria and Iran. China has been browbeating, grandstanding, posturing and blustering its neighbors including India in the recent past.

India is a strong democratic country which will play a crucial role in the near future since it occupies an all-important Geo-strategic location between China and the Middle East. The emergence of India as a blue water naval power needs to be accredited and bucked up by the Americans as a powerful ally who will play a crucial role in the Persian Gulf shipping corridor. India’s enunciation of Russian action in Crimea despite its unwarranted belligerence should be a grim reminder to America that it will not play ball unless it is treated on par with its other NATO allies and cannot be treated just as a ephemeral mollifying adornment. How the US aligns itself from here on (since a strong and stable government is in place now under the mollifying stewardship of Narendra Modi) would have enormous ramifications for these two democratic superpowers for the future. Strengthening bilateral and military relationships between the two superpowers will provide ample room for a stable and strong global order.

(This article has been adapted from one of IDN's associated blog)

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Zebra

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Imagine F-35 with MATV engine and fuselage panels made with Titanium.

:hmm:
 

niku456

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india should go for FGFA and our own 5th gen plane AMCA. These are cost effective, while comparable to f35.
 

Zebra

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india should go for FGFA and our own 5th gen plane AMCA. These are cost effective, while comparable to f35.
Are there any guarantee that another Gorshkov type price drama won't happen?

Anyway, any details of cost comparison of F-35 and FGFA....!
Consider 2020 price, if you can.
 

indiandefencefan

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@Zebra the above article is such utter :bs: that I am surprised that you even took the effort to even post this article (Unless you happen to be an F-35 fanboy).

Any sane persons counter-arguments to the above aricle
  1. The IAF does does have a mammoth defence budget and cannot afford to operate this fighter in significant numbers to suite our needs in a two-front warfare sceneario.
  2. The jet was first marketed by Lockheed-Martin as a fighter from its inception.However as reports surfaced about its pathetic dogfighting capabilities Lockheed-Martin backpedaled and instead branded their jet primarily as a ground attack platform. However its low weapons holding capacity makes it ineffective in attack and CAS roles too. So then for what should the IAF buy it for as contemporary 4 & 4.5 gen jets can outclass it.
  3. India is already committed to the T-50 ,AMCA,LCA and not to mention the Rafale.
 

Immanuel

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@Zebra the above article is such utter :bs: that I am surprised that you even took the effort to even post this article (Unless you happen to be an F-35 fanboy).

Any sane persons counter-arguments to the above aricle
  1. The IAF does does have a mammoth defence budget and cannot afford to operate this fighter in significant numbers to suite our needs in a two-front warfare sceneario.
  2. The jet was first marketed by Lockheed-Martin as a fighter from its inception.However as reports surfaced about its pathetic dogfighting capabilities Lockheed-Martin backpedaled and instead branded their jet primarily as a ground attack platform. However its low weapons holding capacity makes it ineffective in attack and CAS roles too. So then for what should the IAF buy it for as contemporary 4 & 4.5 gen jets can outclass it.
  3. India is already committed to the T-50 ,AMCA,LCA and not to mention the Rafale.
1. IAF does have the budget, they just have to scrap the Rafale which is just as expensive
2. F-35 is a multirole aircraft, it will be able to deploy plenty of air ordnance including Aim-9x Block 2, Aim-120C/D, Meteor, I Derby-ER, Python-5. The only aircraft that will outclass it if the F-22, PAKFA. As for its dogfighting capabilities (you would be quite silly to buy into the BS article, the aircraft that went up against the F-16 was deliberately put into those particular maneuvers to allow for further software tweaking of its control laws)
3. India is committed to PAKFA, AMCA, LCA, Rafale is something that may or may not show up, all indications point to Rafale deal being scrapped. The F-35 is a decent over-all aircraft, it is a jack of all trades, that puts ease of flying, 360 situational awareness, sensor power, VLO characteristics over sheer aerodynamic performance. With state of the art sensors, it will see all 4/4.5 gen aircraft first, it will have the added advantage of deciding how to fight. To think that this aircraft will be a pushover in an A2A fight is all but silly. Besides, with current gen base engine alone it flies a bit like the F-18 & the F-16, by 2019 its power plant will be uprated so performance will only increase. Not to forget that it is the easiest aircraft ever made to fly, pilots will be more focused more on the fight that on flying the aircraft while maintaining some sort of situational awareness.
 

salute

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@Zebra the above article is such utter :bs: that I am surprised that you even took the effort to even post this article (Unless you happen to be an F-35 fanboy).

Any sane persons counter-arguments to the above aricle
  1. The IAF does does have a mammoth defence budget and cannot afford to operate this fighter in significant numbers to suite our needs in a two-front warfare sceneario.
  2. The jet was first marketed by Lockheed-Martin as a fighter from its inception.However as reports surfaced about its pathetic dogfighting capabilities Lockheed-Martin backpedaled and instead branded their jet primarily as a ground attack platform. However its low weapons holding capacity makes it ineffective in attack and CAS roles too. So then for what should the IAF buy it for as contemporary 4 & 4.5 gen jets can outclass it.
  3. India is already committed to the T-50 ,AMCA,LCA and not to mention the Rafale.
1. IAF does have the budget, they just have to scrap the Rafale which is just as expensive
2. F-35 is a multirole aircraft, it will be able to deploy plenty of air ordnance including Aim-9x Block 2, Aim-120C/D, Meteor, I Derby-ER, Python-5. The only aircraft that will outclass it if the F-22, PAKFA. As for its dogfighting capabilities (you would be quite silly to buy into the BS article, the aircraft that went up against the F-16 was deliberately put into those particular maneuvers to allow for further software tweaking of its control laws)
3. India is committed to PAKFA, AMCA, LCA, Rafale is something that may or may not show up, all indications point to Rafale deal being scrapped. The F-35 is a decent over-all aircraft, it is a jack of all trades, that puts ease of flying, 360 situational awareness, sensor power, VLO characteristics over sheer aerodynamic performance. With state of the art sensors, it will see all 4/4.5 gen aircraft first, it will have the added advantage of deciding how to fight. To think that this aircraft will be a pushover in an A2A fight is all but silly. Besides, with current gen base engine alone it flies a bit like the F-18 & the F-16, by 2019 its power plant will be uprated so performance will only increase. Not to forget that it is the easiest aircraft ever made to fly, pilots will be more focused more on the fight that on flying the aircraft while maintaining some sort of situational awareness.
india has experience in vtol aircraft ,the sea harriers,
india is being using them from decades,
so indian military must know that how much its truly useful and what could be significance of this capability and having this tech in war scenario,

why indian navy using sea harriers in first place ???
maybe at that time india wanted its hands on this tech,
or because india didnt had catapult tech to launch aircrafts,
but is india still requires or interested in vtol aircrafts ??? high price f35,

maybe india could buy few f35,govt to govt deal like rafale,
as india gonna use atleast 3 aircraft carriers and 4 lhd,
f35 can hop on these ships if required.
 

pmaitra

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Whoever wrote the article presented in the OP is nothing more than a fanboy.

@Zebra, seeing you posts, Sir, it appears that you are talking in the language of @Casper.

Would you offer such unflinching support if the F-35 were offered to India by Russia? Just asking.

FGFA is bad, but F-35 is even worse, and I will explain that in a separate post later on.
 

cannonfodder

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Let us for one moment assume F-35 is good/best air fighter; one has to look at the long term repercussions of buying foreign platforms. Can we afford paying for acquisition, maintenance of this platform and weapons system it requires?

India has to design/develop platforms(aircraft to tanks) that it can tweek and modify according to its defence needs to reduce defence spendings and for self reliance. This continued dependence on foreign platforms is and will cost much more in future. We have developed ICBM's and missiles for what? Let us tell our neighbors that we will not hesitate to use nukes if faced with 2 front attack and build good inhouse defence industry under our nuclear umbrella. This is learning curve and some shortcomings/failures should not alter long term vision.
 
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pmaitra

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Should India opt for the F-35 JSF?

Does India need the F-35? That should be the question. India needs a 5th generation fighter that will, in the event of war, lead the charge against countries that offer viable challenges, such as Pakistan and PRC. There are two characteristics of the F-35 that works against it.
  1. It is a single engine aircraft. Any first strike multi-role aircraft must have high survivability. A twin engine aircraft is a necessity for first strike aircraft or multi-role aircraft. It is very optimistic to think that using a single engine aircraft against Pakistan or PRC is a viable option.
  2. It is extremely weak in dog fights. A first strike aircraft against Pakistan or PRC is almost guaranteed to encounter potent foes in the sky, and any aircraft that does not have decent dog-fighting capabilities will find itself at a serious disadvantage.
There might be some counter-arguments against these two points, but please see the quotes below as these counterarguments might have already been covered.

Stealth has been oversold. Quite so for F-35, as much for several other platforms. Stealth is not the only feature of a 5th generation aircraft. It is one of the few features of a 5th generation aircraft. Considering at least one foe that India might encounter, a stealth aircraft might not necessarily give India a significant advantage.

Joint Development? India approached Russia for joint development of the FGFA, which is based on the Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA, because India sought to learn how to make a 5th generation aircraft. The US has reportedly offered to "match" whatever Russia is offering to India, and while we are unclear whether it is F-35 or something else, let us assume it is F-35.
  1. With FGFA, India was supposed to invest 50% of the development cost, which is about $6 billion. If India were to co-develop the F-35, which has a development cost of almost $60 billion, and assuming India were to pay even half of it, that would amount to $30 billion.
  2. Moreover, with the FGFA, India gets to work on 20% of the aircraft, which is one point of dissatisfaction India has with Russia. While it is unclear how much India will get to work with the F-35, one must keep in mind that the Canadian share is less than 20%.
  3. With the FGFA, India gets an aircraft that has been conceived keeping in India's specific needs in mind, while drawing on the time tested Russian expertise that they have put into their Sukhoi T-50. With the F-35, however, we would be stuck with an aircraft that was designed with someone else's needs in mind.
While many often keep repeating why should India fund Russia's development, the very premise is faulty, because India is paying for developing the FGFA, not the Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA, whose prototypes are already flying, with or without India's participation in the FGFA programme. If India were to co-develop the F-35, India would end up funding a programme that was designed for someone else.

Biting off too much? Has anybody attempted to highlight the key areas where India could potentially build self reliance? Is there any effort being considered for working with foreign companies, so that we can build aircraft engines in India? Snecma was roped in to help out with the Kaveri. Can GE help us out as well? After all, our LCA is being powered by GE-F404. Why are we not focusing on the problem areas? Without closing the gaps, we cannot build a complete aircraft. So, we should not try to bite off more than we can chew.

These are a few technical points. There are political points to consider as well. There are legislative restrictions in working with any US company, and the restrictions are from the US Congress, which does not exist with Russia. Moreover, the US has a tendency to apply sanctions which Russia will not do. IAF does not have an infinite budget, and there is an agitation regarding OROP going on in India. India cannot keep spending money to import from Russia or the US. While many might feel that Russians are demanding too much money, the truth is that we have become used to USSR's benevolence, and we need to come to terms with the fact that the Russian Federation is a capitalist state, and they expect us to pay the rightful price.

________________________________________________________
Interestingly, this issue has been discussed in various places, so I will quote already presented posts for the convenience of the readers:

Is the F-35 an alternative to the Rafale?

In my opinion, no.

There are several reasons for it.

It is expensive: First of all, the F-35 is expensive. What started off at an estimate of $50 million, is not hovering at around $140 million.

Tailoring requirements: The Canadian government did not pick a plane that meets its requirements. It picked its requirements that matches a plane. This is very similar to speculation about India's recent RFI on a new battle tank that appeared to be match the Russian T-14 Armata. See from 31:34 in the video below:

Stealth sells: While there has been a lot of publicity to sell the idea of stealth, and how it gives an edge to the F-35 user that it makes it undetectable. In reality, it can be detected by "VHF bands" and by "a growing number of Russian and Chinese radars." See the excerpts from an article below:
. . .

These problems are not secret at all. The F-35 is susceptible to detection by radars operating in the VHF bands of the spectrum. The fighter’s jamming is mostly confined to the X-band, in the sector covered by its APG-81 radar. These are not criticisms of the program but the result of choices by the customer, the Pentagon.

To suggest that the F-35 is VHF-stealthy is like arguing that the sky is not blue—literally, because both involve the same phenomenon. The late-Victorian physicist Lord Rayleigh gave his name to the way that electromagnetic radiation is scattered by objects that are smaller than its wavelength. This applies to the particles in the air that scatter sunlight, and aircraft stabilizers and wingtips that are about the same meter-class size as VHF waves.

The counter-stealth attributes of VHF have been public knowledge for decades. They were known at the dawn of stealth, in 1983, when the MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory ordered a 150-foot-wide radar to emulate Russia’s P-14 Oborona VHF early-warning system. Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth division—makers of the F-35—should know about that radar: they built it.

. . .

Neither did the technology to add broadband-active jamming to a stealth aircraft exist in 1995. Not only did stealth advocates expect jamming to fade away, but there was an obvious and (at the time) insoluble problem: To use jamming you have to be certain that the radar has detected you. Otherwise, jamming is going to reveal your presence and identify you as a stealth aircraft, since the adversary can see a signal but not a reflection.

. . .

Marketing is its strength: The F-35 has been touted as one of the best and stealthiest aircraft that can do a wide variety of things. In reality, it has been found to be wanting. While US Navy brass thinks it is overrated, it has been found inferior to the F-16 in a dogfight, which it was designed to far exceed, which means, it is useful only at long range engagements.

F-35 ToT worse deal than FGFA: With India's negotiations with Russia regarding the FGFA that seems to have stalled, the Russians are moving ahead with the T-50 PAK-FA, with or without India. Contrary to what many claim, Russia is not asking for funding from India for its PAK-FA programme. India's funding was for the FGFA, which is tailored to suit India's needs, unlike in case of Canada, who tailored their needs based on what they were going to buy. If India invests in F-35, it will be funding an already delayed and beyond budget project for a plane that was not designed to meet India's requirements. With the F-35 programme having run over budget and sounds of criticism growing, one must be cautious and consider that Lockheed-Martin might be looking to rope in more partners to ensure that its struggling JSF programme succeeds.

What is the solution?
The solution is to go for 36 Rafales off the shelf, get more Sukhoi-30 MKIs, go for a batch-wise upgrade to Super Sukhoi, and produce more LCA I-P.
JSF is not expected to see a lot of dogfights as F-22 is supposed to complement it.
FGFA is supposed to partake in a dogfight as it is an air-superiority fighter.
Saying that modern warfare means dogfight engagements and kills will always be beyond visual range is like saying active hardkill measures on tanks (like Trophy on Merkava) will completely replace passive measures like tank armour.
(Apparently Israelis planned to do that until the Russians came out with the RPG-30)
That means stryker with an advanced CIWS will replace M1A2 Abrams.
Since that is impossible => Air-superiority fighters WILL SEE DOGFIGHTS.


Will the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter be on the Cards? - Countries like the UK, Germany, Sweden and France, too, are looking to join hands with India to manufacture fighter aircraft

NEW DELHI: The US today offered to produce fighter aircraft jointly with India to promote deeper military ties as it spoke about the Indian Air Force facing a "critical shortage" of front-line fighter jets.
Talking about the new developments in bilateral military ties, the American Ambassador here, Richard Verma, noted that India faces a critical shortage of front-line fighter aircraft for keeping India's air space safe.
"Defence cooperation can help to counter this challenge and I see no reason why the US and India can't produce fighter aircraft together," he said at the Observer Research Foundation here.
Countries like the UK, Germany, Sweden and France, too, are looking to join hands with India to manufacture fighter aircraft as the country faces a depletion of its air strength due to modernisation delays.
Referring to US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter's visit here in June, Verma said both countries had established a new aircraft carrier working group to support India's indigenous program.
"I'm happy to report that the first meeting of that group took place this week in the US," he said.
Verma stressed that US has committed to deepening its maritime security relations with India and, in March and again in April, the leaders of the US and Indian navies met and discussed how to improve maritime domain awareness.
"Now, we are into the planning stage of our 2015 Malabar joint naval exercise. We want to continue this exercise to deepen our maritime security relationship with India," he said.
Referring to the recent "cross border terror attacks," Verma said the US condemns such acts in "the strongest possible terms" and stands with the people of India and all free people in fighting the curse of terrorism.
"There can be no place, no accommodation and no justification for violence on innocent people. As (US) President (Barack) Obama said during his visit to New Delhi, the US and India are united in this fight and the two countries will continue our focus for a better future," Verma said.
Verma said that the way India chooses to define its own world as a leading power can have a profound impact on their shared interests in defending and preserving assured access to shared spaces.
"As the (US) President articulated in his February, 2015, National Security strategy, shared spaces are the arteries of the world economy, a sure access is pre-requisite for the governments of the world to continue to provide their citizens with better standards of living," he said.
The top American diplomat here said he believes that as leading powers, cooperation between the US and India will lay the ground for the next breakthrough in bilateral ties.
"Let's start with the seas, free the sea for everyone; It has been a foundational argument for naval freedom. 90 per cent of the trade worldwide operates on the oceans.
"Our oil, fuels, imports and exports depend on the safe passage of cargo ... but, today, the safety and security of sea (commerce) faces a genuine threat from terrorists, natural environmental disruptions, mass migrations and organised criminal activities," he said.
Piracy on the high seas continues to create uncertainties, Verma said, adding that world powers have stood up and worked to address these concerns with the US and India often at the forefront of such efforts.
"We are both maritime powers, our navies engage in joint training and exercises as partners, our leaders have expressed an interest to work together in both the US-India joint statement and US-India defence agreement.
"We demonstrated it in the case of Somalia in 2009, but we can do more," he said.
Verma added that as natural disasters may also affect the maritime domain, India and the US, being leading powers, must be prepared to deal with such phenomena. The US ambassador said that India has proven herself in this regard in 2004, when it immediately responded to the devastation caused by the tsunami, saving thousands of lives in south and south-east Asia.
"There are thousands of other examples of India's humanitarian disaster response capability," he said.

Added link: http://www.financialexpress.com/art...-jointly-make-fighter-jets-with-india/119537/
While Americans have/will spend trillions of dollars developing and buying the 5th gen fighters, China has defeated them using the technology developed in the Eastern Europe in the late 1950s.

Despite such brilliance of China's anti-stealth radars, Americans are undeterred and will continue their stealth programs. Apparently, after spending years in Middle East, suicidal tendencies are now a part and parcel of US military which have been rubbed on to them by the suicidal jihadis.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

The DWL002 came to light in recent years and has been pitched by Chinese sources repeatedly as a credible counter to conventional stealth military aviation. The DWL002 is an emitter locating system (ELS) which partially iterates on innovations found in older Russian designs, including the KRTP Tamara series and ERA Vera-E. The DWL002 is a more advanced ELS compared to China’s YLC-20 system (which is itself based on the KRTP-91 Tamara). The United States and other Western European countries have abandoned the use and development of passive-detection radar systems, citing poor accuracy.


http://thediplomat.com/2014/10/how-effective-is-chinas-new-anti-stealth-radar-system-really/
This is not news to me. Even some radars developed around the WWII that have a wavelength that more or less exceeds the wing edges can detect the F-35.

The F-35 vs. The VHF Threat
Electromagnetic radiation is known to scatter from bodies smaller than its wavelength. This phenomenon, known as Rayleigh scattering, is often used by F-35 critics to point out that the aircraft could be detected by enemy radar operating in the VHF range, given that some of the aircraft’s geometrical features such as the wing and elevator edges are smaller than the 1-3 meter wavelength within which such radars typically operate.
  • US MIC mumbo-jumbo. Since F-35 is a shitty dogfighter they came up with the "no more dog fight" BS. They also predicted era of gun kills are over and paid for it in Vietnam. Same people came up with the "missile with a man in it" F-104 which is now known as Witwenmacher ("The Widowmaker"). Then came the "missilers", the F-6D and F-111B.The now gold standard of single engine fighter the "middle weight" F-16 is not something its designers envisaged or wanted.

  • Similarly, TVC is a useless thing when its on a Russian aircraft (only good for air shows) but not so much when on F-22 which also "invented" super-maneuverability(Flankers), super-cruise(English Electric Lightnening, TSR-2) basic tenets of a fifth generation until F-35 came along and suddenly these were not the criteria anymore.

The joint strike fighter has the similar internal payload of that of a Nachang Q-5. So much for the "strike aircraft". Anything carried outside compromises the precious stealth.
 
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Zebra

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Whoever wrote the article presented in the OP is nothing more than a fanboy.

@Zebra, seeing you posts, Sir, it appears that you are talking in the language of @Casper.

Would you offer such unflinching support if the F-35 were offered to India by Russia? Just asking.

FGFA is bad, but F-35 is even worse, and I will explain that in a separate post later on.
Sir, Zebra is Casper...................................................... :yo:
 

Zebra

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Let us for one moment assume F-35 is good/best air fighter; one has to look at the long term repercussions of buying foreign platforms. Can we afford paying for acquisition, maintenance of this platform and weapons system it requires?

India has to design/develop platforms ( aircraft to tanks ) that it can tweek and modify according to its defence needs to reduce defence spendings and for self reliance. This continued dependence on foreign platforms is and will cost much more in future. We have developed ICBM's and missiles for what? Let us tell our neighbors that we will not hesitate to use nukes if faced with 2 front attack and build good inhouse defence industry under our nuclear umbrella. This is learning curve and some shortcomings/failures should not alter long term vision.
Sir, so no to Armata Universal Combat Platform and T-50 / PAK-FA / FGFA, yeah, its final now.......?
 

cannonfodder

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If I was in-charge would have acquired minimal and encouraged in-house R&D and manufacture.

ISRO learnt and prospered even after sanctions. Navy is doing well with their limited funds. Why can't it be done in other areas with limited foreign co-operation? By the way have u read @pmaitra post on F-35? Y do u think Americans are still keeping the project running?

Sir, so no to Armata Universal Combat Platform and T-50 / PAK-FA / FGFA, yeah, its final now.......?
 

niku456

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Should India opt for the F-35 JSF?

Does India need the F-35? That should be the question. India needs a 5th generation fighter that will, in the event of war, lead the charge against countries that offer viable challenges, such as Pakistan and PRC. There are two characteristics of the F-35 that works against it.
  1. It is a single engine aircraft. Any first strike multi-role aircraft must have high survivability. A twin engine aircraft is a necessity for first strike aircraft or multi-role aircraft. It is very optimistic to think that using a single engine aircraft against Pakistan or PRC is a viable option.
  2. It is extremely weak in dog fights. A first strike aircraft against Pakistan or PRC is almost guaranteed to encounter potent foes in the sky, and any aircraft that does not have decent dog-fighting capabilities will find itself at a serious disadvantage.
There might be some counter-arguments against these two points, but please see the quotes below as these counterarguments might have already been covered.

Stealth has been oversold. Quite so for F-35, as much for several other platforms. Stealth is not the only feature of a 5th generation aircraft. It is one of the few features of a 5th generation aircraft. Considering at least one foe that India might encounter, a stealth aircraft might not necessarily give India a significant advantage.

Joint Development? India approached Russia for joint development of the FGFA, which is based on the Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA, because India sought to learn how to make a 5th generation aircraft. The US has reportedly offered to "match" whatever Russia is offering to India, and while we are unclear whether it is F-35 or something else, let us assume it is F-35.
  1. With FGFA, India was supposed to invest 50% of the development cost, which is about $6 billion. If India were to co-develop the F-35, which has a development cost of almost $60 billion, and assuming India were to pay even half of it, that would amount to $30 billion.
  2. Moreover, with the FGFA, India gets to work on 20% of the aircraft, which is one point of dissatisfaction India has with Russia. While it is unclear how much India will get to work with the F-35, one must keep in mind that the Canadian share is less than 20%.
  3. With the FGFA, India gets an aircraft that has been conceived keeping in India's specific needs in mind, while drawing on the time tested Russian expertise that they have put into their Sukhoi T-50. With the F-35, however, we would be stuck with an aircraft that was designed with someone else's needs in mind.
While many often keep repeating why should India fund Russia's development, the very premise is faulty, because India is paying for developing the FGFA, not the Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA, whose prototypes are already flying, with or without India's participation in the FGFA programme. if India were to co-develop the F-35, India would end up funding a programme that was designed for someone else.

Biting off too much? Has anybody attempted to highlight the key areas where India could potentially build self reliance? Is there any effort being considered for working with foreign companies, so that we can build aircraft engines in India? Snecma was roped in to help out with the Kaveri. Can GE help us out as well? After all, our LCA is being powered by GE-F404. Why are we not focusing on the problem areas? Without closing the gaps, we cannot build a complete aircraft. So, we should not try to bite off more than we can chew.

These are a few technical points. There are political points to consider as well. There are legislative restrictions in working with any US company, and the restrictions are from the US Congress, which does not exist with Russia. Moreover, the US has a tendency to apply sanctions which Russia will not do. IAF does not have an infinite budget, and there is an agitation regarding OROP going on in India. India cannot keep spending money to import from Russia or the US. While many might feel that Russians are demanding too much money, the truth is that we have become used to USSR's benevolence, and we need to come to terms with the fact that the Russian Federation is a capitalist state, and they expect us to pay the rightful price.


________________________________________________________
Interestingly, this issue has been discussed in various places, so I will quote already presented posts for the convenience of the readers:
Thanks sir for these information.
@Zebra, I think you got your answer. Sir has answered your question.
 

Zebra

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If I was in-charge would have acquired minimal and encouraged in-house R&D and manufacture.

ISRO learnt and prospered even after sanctions. Navy is doing well with their limited funds. Why can't it be done in other areas with limited foreign co-operation? By the way have u read @pmaitra post on F-35? Y do u think Americans are still keeping the project running?
Sir, India can take US support / co-operation. US already offered it anyway. DFI already has thread on that topic.

In pmaitra 's post there is nothing new. We already talked about it many times in past.
But still you have doubts about F-35 project ....! Any reason....?
 

indiandefencefan

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1. IAF does have the budget, they just have to scrap the Rafale which is just as expensive
2. F-35 is a multirole aircraft, it will be able to deploy plenty of air ordnance including Aim-9x Block 2, Aim-120C/D, Meteor, I Derby-ER, Python-5. The only aircraft that will outclass it if the F-22, PAKFA. As for its dogfighting capabilities (you would be quite silly to buy into the BS article, the aircraft that went up against the F-16 was deliberately put into those particular maneuvers to allow for further software tweaking of its control laws)
3. India is committed to PAKFA, AMCA, LCA, Rafale is something that may or may not show up, all indications point to Rafale deal being scrapped. The F-35 is a decent over-all aircraft, it is a jack of all trades, that puts ease of flying, 360 situational awareness, sensor power, VLO characteristics over sheer aerodynamic performance. With state of the art sensors, it will see all 4/4.5 gen aircraft first, it will have the added advantage of deciding how to fight. To think that this aircraft will be a pushover in an A2A fight is all but silly. Besides, with current gen base engine alone it flies a bit like the F-18 & the F-16, by 2019 its power plant will be uprated so performance will only increase. Not to forget that it is the easiest aircraft ever made to fly, pilots will be more focused more on the fight that on flying the aircraft while maintaining some sort of situational awareness.
1.I did not say in my my post that the IAF does not have the budget, I said that it did not have the money to operate it in significant numbers.
2.The F-35 may be multirole but what you are saying is that the jet can utilize many different types of weapons.What I am saying is that it can carry very few weapons due to only having 4 internal pylons.
A plane carrying only 4 AA missiles or just 4 bombs cannot perform its roles effectively unless you use the wing mounted pylons which compromises its stealth.
And to those who say that the F-35 does not need maneuverability because of BVRAAM missiles, they should retrospect because that is what they said during Vietnam.
3.Jack of all trades !! My @$$. Let my give you an example, the JSF can hide itself from radar but it cannot hide its engine's heat signature which can be easily picked up by any aircraft operating infrared tracking devices(such as the T-50,Rafale etc.). Feel so confident in the F-35 now?
The F-35 is not good in AA combat due to bad maneuverability and capacity of just 4 missiles.
The F-35 is not good in AG roles because it can carry only 4 bombs.
The F-35 is not good in CAS roles because it has very low fuel capacity and cannot loiter to support troops.
So what is the F-35 good in ? Since you claim that it is the "jack of all trades".
 
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indiandefencefan

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india has experience in vtol aircraft ,the sea harriers,
india is being using them from decades,
so indian military must know that how much its truly useful and what could be significance of this capability and having this tech in war scenario,

why indian navy using sea harriers in first place ???
maybe at that time india wanted its hands on this tech,
or because india didnt had catapult tech to launch aircrafts,
but is india still requires or interested in vtol aircrafts ??? high price f35,

maybe india could buy few f35,govt to govt deal like rafale,
as india gonna use atleast 3 aircraft carriers and 4 lhd,
f35 can hop on these ships if required.
The indian navy was using the harriers as the INS Viraat was not a very large carrier and the navy was limited in its options as to what aircraft it could use on the carrier as the Viraat could not operate heavier planes.
The harrier at that time was the best choice as the royal navy was using it too.

The carriers India will induct will be larger and more capable to operate jets without worrying about operability.
The F-35 here will not be an efficient choice as it can carry very few weapons internally(4 AA missiles or 4 bombs or a mix) and does not have enough fuel capacity when compared to other 4 & 4.5 gen jets.
The navalised LCA or AMCA will better suite Indian need as:
  1. It will be made in India giving a necessary boost too indian defence industries.
  2. There will be no worry of Americans holding back technology.
  3. The indigenous jets will be able to carry more weaponry.

The F-35 is very expensive to maintain and hence we will be able to use fewer F-35s at the same cost to operate more nos. of other jets.
 

indiandefencefan

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1. IAF does have the budget, they just have to scrap the Rafale which is just as expensive
2. F-35 is a multirole aircraft, it will be able to deploy plenty of air ordnance including Aim-9x Block 2, Aim-120C/D, Meteor, I Derby-ER, Python-5. The only aircraft that will outclass it if the F-22, PAKFA. As for its dogfighting capabilities (you would be quite silly to buy into the BS article, the aircraft that went up against the F-16 was deliberately put into those particular maneuvers to allow for further software tweaking of its control laws)
3. India is committed to PAKFA, AMCA, LCA, Rafale is something that may or may not show up, all indications point to Rafale deal being scrapped. The F-35 is a decent over-all aircraft, it is a jack of all trades, that puts ease of flying, 360 situational awareness, sensor power, VLO characteristics over sheer aerodynamic performance. With state of the art sensors, it will see all 4/4.5 gen aircraft first, it will have the added advantage of deciding how to fight. To think that this aircraft will be a pushover in an A2A fight is all but silly. Besides, with current gen base engine alone it flies a bit like the F-18 & the F-16, by 2019 its power plant will be uprated so performance will only increase. Not to forget that it is the easiest aircraft ever made to fly, pilots will be more focused more on the fight that on flying the aircraft while maintaining some sort of situational awareness.
http://nextbigfuture.com/2015/08/air-force-admits-big-f35-problems-and.html
 
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F-35 would become an extremely costly venture for india not only the cost of the planes and maintenance but india would need dramatic infrastructure changes. This kind of investment would take a huge bite of the defense budget and hurt indigenous efforts and have india putting all it's eggs in one basket.
 

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