Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning and F-22 'Raptor' : News & Discussion

Ashwin

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The F-35 isn't the right choice for Indias defence
 

randomradio

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Nice to see some press articles written by people who know how to look beyond the defense manufacturers' shiny brochures and can see the bigger picture.

There's too much irrelevant stuff in there.

The Israelis have fixed their own interfacing issues with the F-35, which is an option for us. For example, the F-35 has the Link 16, which can easily be replaced with the Indian ODL. Their ALIS fix can be used on our F-35s also.

The issue of refueling can be taken care of by the new A330s with both probe and boom.

Except for the actual requirement, there is nothing really stopping the F-35s from operating in India. The main hurdles are political and financial. We are yet to sign India-specific CISMOA and BECA.
 

A Person

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The Israelis have fixed their own interfacing issues with the F-35, which is an option for us.
You're dreaming if you believe the USA would treat you in the same way they treat the Israeli. Not even the other Five Eyes nations are treated like that; why would they give India something they deny to the UK and Australia?
 
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randomradio

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You're dreaming if you believe the USA would treat you in the same way they treat the Israeli. Not even the other Five Eyes nations are treated like that; why would they give India something they deny to the UK and Australia?

The Five Eyes haven't asked for it. As for India, we will only have to give the Israelis our customization requirements and they will do the work.

The F-35 is not a closed system, it is NATO compatible. Weapons integration will be possible.

Why Israel's Stealth F-35I Is Truly One of a Kind
One key technology is the integration of an Israeli-developed command, control, communications, computer and intelligence (C4I) system into the Adir. The stand-alone system draws sensor data from the aircraft but otherwise does not interact with the F-35’s computer system. From there, the C4I system pushes out the data to other Israeli military assets, particularly nearby fighters, via locally made data links to help detect, prioritize and attack enemy targets.

This stuff is not difficult to do if the Americans allowed it. In the case of the Israelis, they may not be open to share this tech with anybody else, but they may make an exception for India.

The thing is it's not like the US is allowing India to make the configuration changes, it will be the Americans and Israelis who will do it using their own tech. The Israelis will end up lobbying for their tech on Indian F-35s if that happens. The I in F-35I doesn't have to be Israel alone.

The possibility of F-35 being operated by India is very low, but it's not zero. New naval requirements will play a large part here.
 

A Person

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The Five Eyes haven't asked for it.
The UK did, and backed their demand with the fact they were Tier 1 partners -- the only country to be so. The US response was "LOL" and it didn't go farther than that. (On the other hand, Israel kept insisting and were finally given what they wanted.)
U.S. to withhold F-35 fighter software code

The F-35 is not a closed system, it is NATO compatible.
It definitely is a closed system, and it definitely isn't NATO-compatible. The entire play of the US with the F-35 is to say "we've defined a new standard with the F-35, if you want to be compatible with our new standard you have to buy the F-35, all other aircraft -- your old US aircraft like the aircraft built by our European competitors -- are not going to be compatible so do not even think about buying them instead, it's the F-35 or nothing, do as we tell you and obey." The F-35 networks, be they for maintenance and logistics, for in-flight data transfer, or for mission preparation, are all closed proprietary software instead of conforming to NATO standards. They're using the arguments that NATO standards are either insufficient (Link 16 bandwidth doesn't have enough data throughput to share high-res video feeds in real-time, so stuff like MADL is required) or inexistent so as to go with their own proprietary design instead of creating new NATO standards. And they keep as many details under wraps as possible to get a competitive advantage in the few remaining NATO countries that haven't bought the F-35 yet. They won't open these standards as long as they haven't won all the contracts they think they can won.

Quoting Trappier:
Et bien justement, moi je l'ai fait quand j’étais jeune ingénieur chez Dassault; je participais à des groupes d'interopérabilité de l'OTAN dans les cercles OTAN à Bruxelles, et on définissait les normes qui nous permettent de travailler. Le modèle américain du F-35 casse ces codes. Il vous dit "il n'y a plus interopérabilité, il y a intégration avec le F-35" c'est à dire "vous êtes Américain ou vous ne l'êtes pas". Et c'est proprement scandaleux que l'OTAN accepte ça. Normalement c'est l'interopérabilité et on est en train de passer à l'uniformisation et l'intégration dans les armées américaines.
Translation:
And as it happens, I did that when I was junior engineer at Dassault; I participated to NATO interoperability groups in the NATO offices at Brussels, and we defined the norms that would let us work together. The American model of the F-35 breaks those codes. It tells you "interoperability no longer exists, now there is integration with the F-35 instead", that is to say, "you're either American or you aren't". And it's a right scandal that NATO accepts that. Normally it's interoperability and we're transitioning to uniformisation and integration in the American armed forces.

Also it's not just European countries that are affected by the F-35's obfuscating proprietary nature:

U.S. Navy vexed by lack of access to F-35 logistics coding

The US Navy criticizes the F-35's maintenance and logistics software for being a black box that they can't integrate with their onboard software, and which requires the presence of LockMart contractors on their ships. Again, that's the United States Navy. Not Japan or Turkey or Australia, but the United States' own military navy that is frustrated by the closed nature of the F-35 software. If they can't access it, what makes you think you can?

Israel is an anomaly. Its situation in US politics is incomparable to anything else in the world. Bringing unconditional support to Israel in all circumstances is a key platform of the religious right in the USA because they're persuaded that the existence of Israel is a necessary precondition for the second coming of Jesus Christ and the Rapture. It's a whole bunch of nonsense which only proves that they're shit at theology, but it has a tremendous impact on US foreign policies. The key point here is that India is not at all in this situation; no other country in the world is.
 

randomradio

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The UK did, and backed their demand with the fact they were Tier 1 partners -- the only country to be so. The US response was "LOL" and it didn't go farther than that. (On the other hand, Israel kept insisting and were finally given what they wanted.)
U.S. to withhold F-35 fighter software code

We are not gonna ask for software codes. We didn't ask for it when we signed the Rafale GTG either, you guys are doing the customization for us. The same with the Americans. We are expecting ToT only on stuff that's to be manufactured in India, which is impossible otherwise. And since it's a manufacturing program, we will be buying large numbers, so we will need some software codes for integration and customization of new stuff on our own. So this has no relevance to us since we don't plan on manufacturing the F-35 in India.

It definitely is a closed system, and it definitely isn't NATO-compatible. The entire play of the US with the F-35 is to say "we've defined a new standard with the F-35, if you want to be compatible with our new standard you have to buy the F-35, all other aircraft -- your old US aircraft like the aircraft built by our European competitors -- are not going to be compatible so do not even think about buying them instead, it's the F-35 or nothing, do as we tell you and obey." The F-35 networks, be they for maintenance and logistics, for in-flight data transfer, or for mission preparation, are all closed proprietary software instead of conforming to NATO standards. They're using the arguments that NATO standards are either insufficient (Link 16 bandwidth doesn't have enough data throughput to share high-res video feeds in real-time, so stuff like MADL is required) or inexistent so as to go with their own proprietary design instead of creating new NATO standards. And they keep as many details under wraps as possible to get a competitive advantage in the few remaining NATO countries that haven't bought the F-35 yet. They won't open these standards as long as they haven't won all the contracts they think they can won.

Quoting Trappier:

Translation:

When I said NATO compatibility, I was referring to adding non-American weapons to the mix, not integration with the other stuff we have.

This issue is not relevant to us because our fix will come from the independent Israeli C4I system they have designed by themselves.

Also it's not just European countries that are affected by the F-35's obfuscating proprietary nature:

U.S. Navy vexed by lack of access to F-35 logistics coding

The US Navy criticizes the F-35's maintenance and logistics software for being a black box that they can't integrate with their onboard software, and which requires the presence of LockMart contractors on their ships. Again, that's the United States Navy. Not Japan or Turkey or Australia, but the United States' own military navy that is frustrated by the closed nature of the F-35 software. If they can't access it, what makes you think you can?

I doubt we are expecting this level of integration. Our objective is to remove ALIS from the equation.

Israel is an anomaly. Its situation in US politics is incomparable to anything else in the world. Bringing unconditional support to Israel in all circumstances is a key platform of the religious right in the USA because they're persuaded that the existence of Israel is a necessary precondition for the second coming of Jesus Christ and the Rapture. It's a whole bunch of nonsense which only proves that they're shit at theology, but it has a tremendous impact on US foreign policies. The key point here is that India is not at all in this situation; no other country in the world is.

As time goes, some of our dependency on the Israelis will reduce to potentially zero. If we are to keep our defence relations alive, it has to be through various joint ventures like the Barak. Our relationship is at the point where the Israelis themselves will fight for their tech to go on our F-35s.

There's the China factor as well. As time goes, China will only get more and more assertive and the US will become far more flexible when dealing with India to counter China. For example, the US wants their new armoured vehicles, new generation helicopters etc made in JVs with India, so our relationship is slightly different.

https://www.indiatimes.com/news/ind...-choppers-and-vehicles-with-india-268545.html

You are right that India is in a very different situation compared to the rest. We can make our own argument about ALIS and EW due to our operational requirements, and it will be as strong as the Israeli argument. It's not like the US can blackmail India like they have done in Europe and elsewhere.

The problems listed in the article are real for any air force, but I don't see the problems affecting India that much. And if an F-35 deal does happen, the US will be forced to accommodate India's interests anyway. This will be the first time in US history that the Americans will be dealing with a potentially peer ally, so nobody knows how it will go. You already see the US making India specific laws to take care of India's interests. And this will only increase as both India and China become potential peer nations.

There's too many things in India's favour compared to all other countries.
 

randomradio

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The USA will not consider India to be a peer.

At least not during the timeframe in which the F-35 will be relevant.

I agree with that. But there's not gonna be anyone else close to us when the F-35 stays relevant. For example, we will be the only navy around with 200+ ships in the IOR over the next 10 years, never mind 15. We will have the only army capable of invading China, not even the US. We will have major strategic relations with a lot of countries, like ASEAN, that the smaller European countries cannot even think of. We will have very good nuclear and space capabilities by then as well.

We are not going to be a peer dollar for dollar, but that doesn't make one a peer country regardless.
 

sunstersun

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You're dreaming if you believe the USA would treat you in the same way they treat the Israeli. Not even the other Five Eyes nations are treated like that; why would they give India something they deny to the UK and Australia?

Only Israel has the operational requirement and more importantly avionics to have such a requirement. Other nations are fine with what the USA puts on their F-35. Israel is just odd like that.

UK wanted the source codes, what Israel is doing is different. They aren't replacing the current US subsystems, just building over it.
 

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U.S. PACOM boss comes out in support of F-35 sale to India

In what is the first public statement made by a senior U.S. government official on the prospect of an Indian order for the F-35 fighter, the Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, Admiral Harry Harris Jr. has come out in support of a potential sale of the fifth generation fighter aircraft to India.
In a hearing held by the U.S. House Armed Services Committee last month, Admiral Harris told members of Congress, “At the moment, India is considering a number of U.S. systems for purchase, all of which USPACOM fully supports: the F-16 for India’s large single-engine, multi-role fighter acquisition program; the F/A-18E for India’s multi-engine, carrier-based fighter purchase; a reorder of 12-15 P-8Is; a potential purchase of SeaGuardian UAS; MH-60R multi-role sea-based helicopter; and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.”
The reference to a sale of the fifth generation F-35 has never been made before by any U.S. government official and represents a shift in their willingness to bring it up for discussion with India.
As analyzed by StratPost in January, the main reason why there has been no discussion on such a potential sale is the reluctance on both sides to be the first to initiate a conversation about the prospect.
This appears to have changed.
Admiral Harris includes the F-35 among platforms that ‘India is considering’ ‘for purchase’ and emphasized these sales were ‘all of which USPACOM fully supports’.
Admiral Harris told the committee, “India will be among the U.S.’s most significant partners in the years to come due to its growing influence and expanding military. As a new generation of political leaders emerge, India has shown that it is more open to strengthening security ties with the U.S. and adjusting its historic policy of non-alignment to address common strategic interests. The U.S. seeks an enduring, regular, routine, and institutionalized strategic partnership with India. USPACOM identifies a security relationship with India as a major command line-of-effort.”
The two countries have planned a 2+2 meeting of foreign ministers and defence ministers next month.
Admiral Harris said in his remarks, “USPACOM will sustain the momentum of the strategic relationship generated by the POTUS-Prime Minister-level and the emerging 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue through strengthening our military-to-military relationship and working toward additional enabling agreements to enhance interoperability.”
He pointed out, “Over the past year, U.S. and Indian militaries participated together in three major exercises, executed more than 50 other military exchanges, and operationalized the 2016 Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA). Defense sales are at an all-time high with India operating U.S.-sourced airframes, such as P-8s, C-130Js, C-17s, AH-64s, and CH-47s, and M777 howitzers.”
 
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randomradio

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@A Person @Picdelamirand-oil

Admiral Harris told members of Congress, “At the moment, India is considering a number of U.S. systems for purchase, all of which USPACOM fully supports: the F-16 for India’s large single-engine, multi-role fighter acquisition program; the F/A-18E for India’s multi-engine, carrier-based fighter purchase; a reorder of 12-15 P-8Is; a potential purchase of SeaGuardian UAS; MH-60R multi-role sea-based helicopter; and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.”

Don't dismiss the F-35 for the navy.
 

Picdelamirand-oil

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Admiral Harris told members of Congress, “At the moment, India is considering a number of U.S. systems for purchase, all of which USPACOM fully supports: the F-16 for India’s large single-engine, multi-role fighter acquisition program; the F/A-18E for India’s multi-engine, carrier-based fighter purchase; a reorder of 12-15 P-8Is; a potential purchase of SeaGuardian UAS; MH-60R multi-role sea-based helicopter; and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.”

Don't dismiss the F-35 for the navy.
My estimate was and remain that it will be ready for war in 2031.....