Need for 5th Generation fighters for IAF.

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#1
as we all know Indian gov has cancalled FGFA deal a year ago with Rusia and we pulled out from PAkfa development as well. China is already flaying its F-20 and F-35 is going to join their Airforce in next few years as well while we are still struggling with MMRCA 2.0 deal.

worrying part is we are sure that China is going to export it's F-31 to Pakistan in sizable amount while we wont even have a 5th generation fighter to tackle it at that time, it's 80's F-16 all over again to me.

we dont have FGFA now and dont tell me about AMCA till 2050. it seems to me that we only have two options left, F-35 and su-57(MKI).
 

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#2
as we all know Indian gov has cancalled FGFA deal a year ago with Rusia and we pulled out from PAkfa development as well. China is already flaying its F-20 and F-35 is going to join their Airforce in next few years as well while we are still struggling with MMRCA 2.0 deal.

worrying part is we are sure that China is going to export it's F-31 to Pakistan in sizable amount while we wont even have a 5th generation fighter to tackle it at that time, it's 80's F-16 all over again to me.

we dont have FGFA now and dont tell me about AMCA till 2050. it seems to me that we only have two options left, F-35 and su-57(MKI).
Completely and thoroughly agreed. Lack of planning and a misplaced faith in the state-run companies and their tall claims of their ability to deliver has hurt the IAF for decades, and looking at the state of affairs right now, seems like it will continue in the future as well with AMCA.

It is an utter disgrace that a $200 billion economy will be inducting stealth fighters first and the Air Force of a $3 trillion economy is left to play catch up. Nothing but a total inability to plan & execute realistic acquisition roadmaps is to blame for this.

People wonder why HAL takes so long to deliver on projects like LCA. The reason is that we do not have the funds to speed the work up and deliver the plane while it still hasn't become obsolete already. We've spent all of a $1 billion dollars and some change on LCA program. The Swedes spent over $13 billion on Gripen. French over $60 billion on Rafale. How do we expect our programs to deliver competitive products like fighter planes on time with such pitifully small allocations?

A hard choice has to be made: If we want to develop a truly competitive fighter plane in-house, then we should be ready to spend a SIGNIFICANT SUM on it. Significant as in to the tune of $10 billion for a 4th gen fighter. If we wish to develop a 5th gen fighter, we should be ready to spend over $30 billion minimum, over a period of 8 years at least. You can still develop a plane with pitiful amounts....just that it will taken twice or thrice as much time to deliver because of it.

And if we decide that we are not in a position to spend such amounts, then we should stop these projects from becoming a drain on resources and serving as a means to hold up other procurement projects, and just terminate these programs until the time we are in a position to fund such undertakings to the fullest extent possible.

As of the realistic choices for a 5th gen jet, here's what I think ought to be done: -

The US won't sell us any F-35s until and unless we purchase either F-16 (aka F-21) or the F/A-18 first. At least not within the timeframe that we may need to decide on a course of action. That much is clear.

For the near term, an off-the-shelf purchase of at least 2-3 squadrons of Su-57 seems the most likely scenario. For the long-term, in my opinion, the only truly logical way to go would be to seek a joint partnership agreement with France and become a member of the FCAS program, which should deliver a cutting-edge fighter in the 2030s.
 

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#3
Completely and thoroughly agreed. Lack of planning and a misplaced faith in the state-run companies and their tall claims of their ability to deliver has hurt the IAF for decades, and looking at the state of affairs right now, seems like it will continue in the future as well with AMCA.

It is an utter disgrace that a $200 billion economy will be inducting stealth fighters first and the Air Force of a $3 trillion economy is left to play catch up. Nothing but a total inability to plan & execute realistic acquisition roadmaps is to blame for this.

People wonder why HAL takes so long to deliver on projects like LCA. The reason is that we do not have the funds to speed the work up and deliver the plane while it still hasn't become obsolete already. We've spent all of a $1 billion dollars and some change on LCA program. The Swedes spent over $13 billion on Gripen. French over $60 billion on Rafale. How do we expect our programs to deliver competitive products like fighter planes on time with such pitifully small allocations?

A hard choice has to be made: If we want to develop a truly competitive fighter plane in-house, then we should be ready to spend a SIGNIFICANT SUM on it. Significant as in to the tune of $10 billion for a 4th gen fighter. If we wish to develop a 5th gen fighter, we should be ready to spend over $30 billion minimum, over a period of 8 years at least. You can still develop a plane with pitiful amounts....just that it will taken twice or thrice as much time to deliver because of it.

And if we decide that we are not in a position to spend such amounts, then we should stop these projects from becoming a drain on resources and serving as a means to hold up other procurement projects, and just terminate these programs until the time we are in a position to fund such undertakings to the fullest extent possible.

As of the realistic choices for a 5th gen jet, here's what I think ought to be done: -

The US won't sell us any F-35s until and unless we purchase either F-16 (aka F-21) or the F/A-18 first. At least not within the timeframe that we may need to decide on a course of action. That much is clear.

For the near term, an off-the-shelf purchase of at least 2-3 squadrons of Su-57 seems the most likely scenario. For the long-term, in my opinion, the only truly logical way to go would be to seek a joint partnership agreement with France and become a member of the FCAS program, which should deliver a cutting-edge fighter in the 2030s.
Short term solution should be buying Xerox Printers, that should cover us for dossiers.
 

RATHORE

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#4
I was told earlier, on this forumn or the previous one, that to a great extent the custom Indian Rafale would fulfill a lot of India's "stealth fighter" requirements. So once the future of that program becomes more clear, we'll have a better picture.

Pair those with a few squadrons of off the shelf Su-57's (we can simply try to "jugaad" them up once we have them).

F-35's are a discussion for the future; because there definitely isn't the money right now, and an F-35 purchase may be linked to first buying other aircraft.
 

randomradio

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#5
as we all know Indian gov has cancalled FGFA deal a year ago with Rusia and we pulled out from PAkfa development as well. China is already flaying its F-20 and F-35 is going to join their Airforce in next few years as well while we are still struggling with MMRCA 2.0 deal.

worrying part is we are sure that China is going to export it's F-31 to Pakistan in sizable amount while we wont even have a 5th generation fighter to tackle it at that time, it's 80's F-16 all over again to me.

we dont have FGFA now and dont tell me about AMCA till 2050. it seems to me that we only have two options left, F-35 and su-57(MKI).
We are not going to take part in the development aspect of the FGFA, but we will most likely be choosing the MKI route with license production or a flyaway option or both. You can even say a flyaway GTG like Rafale can give way to a production deal later on.

We do not have plans for developing an aircraft in the PAK FA's class anytime soon, so we have no choice but to import some in its class. And as the Varthaman Committee pointed out, FGFA and AMCA do not clash when it comes to roles, so AMCA can't replace FGFA.
 

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#6
We've spent all of a $1 billion dollars and some change on LCA program. The Swedes spent over $13 billion on Gripen. French over $60 billion on Rafale. How do we expect our programs to deliver competitive products like fighter planes on time with such pitifully small allocations?
You are combining acquisition budget with R&D budget. When it comes down to it, LCA Mk1 and Mk1A's total budget will be about $10+B. And MCA's will easily go well above $30B.

If we wish to develop a 5th gen fighter, we should be ready to spend over $30 billion minimum, over a period of 8 years at least.
You have all the numbers for R&D spending wrong. In just 8 years, even the F-22's development budget wasn't that big, and this even after considering inflation. It took them 20+ years to spend $30B.

ADA+DRDO have asked for the allocation of $4.5-5B for AMCA. And if we build 200 jets, the acquisition cost will be above $50B. And unlike the F-22, the AMCA is feeding off of other aircraft programs, namely LCA, MCA and IUSAV.
 

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#7
I was told earlier, on this forumn or the previous one, that to a great extent the custom Indian Rafale would fulfill a lot of India's "stealth fighter" requirements. So once the future of that program becomes more clear, we'll have a better picture.

Pair those with a few squadrons of off the shelf Su-57's (we can simply try to "jugaad" them up once we have them).

F-35's are a discussion for the future; because there definitely isn't the money right now, and an F-35 purchase may be linked to first buying other aircraft.
The IAF does not need the F-35. Rather it's not desirable for them. It has significant performance deficiencies.

And no, there is no need to buy other aircraft first, if we want F-35s. But we have to wait for quite a while before the F-35 matures as a jet. If we want to procure it, we have to wait until the mid-end 30s, when it's fully modernised and comes with a new engine that solves a lot of performance deficiencies.
 

Sathya

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#8
After F16 got shot down, i doubt legacy aircraft ( which already needed political weight ) will have any chance.
 

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#9
You are combining acquisition budget with R&D budget.
Twice the amount we spent on LCA program till 2015 was spent by the Swedes just to develop the E variant of the Gripen. An even higher amount than that was allocated for development of just the F4 standard for Rafale.

Our budgets are piss poor.

You have all the numbers for R&D spending wrong. In just 8 years, even the F-22's development budget wasn't that big, and this even after considering inflation.
Including cost of R&D, production of prototypes, testing, infrastructure for mass production etc.

It took them 20+ years to spend $30B.
That much was spent on just buying the 183 birds. If you include development cost, the amount is over twice as much.

ADA+DRDO have asked for the allocation of $4.5-5B for AMCA.
As always, tall claims. The AMCA will come minimum 10 years behind schedule, and by then will already be 15 years outdated. And will require an improved variant just to satisfy the prevailing IAF requirements of the time.

And unlike the F-22, the AMCA is feeding off of other aircraft programs, namely LCA, MCA and IUSAV.
You think Skunk Works didn't have like ~100 R&D projects ongoing at the same time as development of F-22? And you think F-22 didn't siphon off techs from any of them?

After F16 got shot down, i doubt legacy aircraft ( which already needed political weight ) will have any chance.
I doubt the incident will have any effect at all on the selection process. As long as the acquisition remains a tendered process and not a G2G deal, It will be down to the raw figures and graphs. If F-21 emerges the victor (very unlikely, but for sake of argument), then F-21 we will have to buy.
 

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#10
Twice the amount we spent on LCA program till 2015 was spent by the Swedes just to develop the E variant of the Gripen. An even higher amount than that was allocated for development of just the F4 standard for Rafale.
That's fine. You forget that their scientists get paid many times more money in salaries.

Our budgets are piss poor.
Because of salary. Everything else is more or less the same.

I would recommend looking up the R&D cost of Gripen E versus MCA. You will notice how similar they are.

Including cost of R&D, production of prototypes, testing, infrastructure for mass production etc.
All that included, since it has accrued from the past programs as well, it was a fraction of $30B.

https://www.gao.gov/assets/150/146085.pdf

In the first 8 years, ie, the ATF program, the contract amount was just $1.8B. This included development and production of the 2 YF-22 and 2 YF-23 and their respective engines and flight testing.

That much was spent on just buying the 183 birds. If you include development cost, the amount is over twice as much.
No. $30B was the R&D budget. The acquisition budget was $40B. Total = $70B.

As always, tall claims. The AMCA will come minimum 10 years behind schedule, and by then will already be 15 years outdated. And will require an improved variant just to satisfy the prevailing IAF requirements of the time.
Money wasn't the reason for why LCA was delayed. So why do you think AMCA will be delayed?

You think Skunk Works didn't have like ~100 R&D projects ongoing at the same time as development of F-22? And you think F-22 didn't siphon off techs from any of them?
Not the way you think. For example, they developed a brand new radar whereas we plan on further developing Uttam for AMCA. The same with the EW suite, which was developed by BAE from scratch, whereas ours will be a next gen iteration of what's being developed for MCA. And so on.

What will be new on AMCA will be the airframe and engine. And the Americans did this part in a TD form with just $1.8B. Everything else will be a follow-on from the previous stuff.

It's the F-35 that received spin-off tech from the F-22 program. Airframe, engine and EW suite from the same companies that developed the F-22.
 

RATHORE

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#11
The IAF does not need the F-35. Rather it's not desirable for them. It has significant performance deficiencies.
As a main fighter; no. I was thinking more about that prospective plan (discussed here and elsewhere) to buy 4-5 LHD's and arming them with F-35's as part of an expeditionary force well into the future once we have money to blow.

And no, there is no need to buy other aircraft first, if we want F-35s.
That's good if true, I wasn't aware. There's been a lot of talk about buying F-16's or F-18's if we want access to things like F-35's - I was going off of that.
 

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#12
After F16 got shot down, i doubt legacy aircraft ( which already needed political weight ) will have any chance.
No. The F-21 will be chosen or rejected based on its tech specs only.

Yes, the F-21 is too old to be relevant to the IAF, but that has no relation to it having been shot down.
 

randomradio

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#13
As a main fighter; no. I was thinking more about that prospective plan (discussed here and elsewhere) to buy 4-5 LHD's and arming them with F-35's as part of an expeditionary force well into the future once we have money to blow.
Yep. Big fan of that.

The Chinese will be doing this as well. So it would be good to see the IN matching their induction.

That's good if true, I wasn't aware. There's been a lot of talk about buying F-16's or F-18's if we want access to things like F-35's - I was going off of that.
All that's gibberish. We haven't requested for any F-35s, so there's no question of it being used as a carrot.

Anyway, the Americans are desperate to trap us into a fighter jet deal. We should resist all attempts at buying their outdated jets and risk allowing them into IAF bases.

It's not the same problem for the IN, since we are the ones who need access to their bases and vice versa and also their carrier technology. So it's mutually beneficial.
 

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#14
No. The F-21 will be chosen or rejected based on its tech specs only.

Yes, the F-21 is too old to be relevant to the IAF, but that has no relation to it having been shot down.
F16 is already with PAF, IAF doesn't want it. Will accept only with latest Gizmos making it expensive .
Production is coming to end .
Can't integrate with Russian weapons ,
i doubt we ll get free hand to integrate what we want.
Strings that come attached.

Considering all this , we will need big political push to get it signed .

I am not saying selection process will be affected because of shot down aircraft.
But the political push ( much required )will take a dent .

Imagine the political counter..

XY has become US stooge ...
Buying outdated aircraft that PaK is retiring .
Its was even shot down by a vintage Mig21.
At a rate , Tata gets gets to pocket 50000 cr..

Better to invest in F4 upgrade of Rafale and use it to Mk2 & Amca .
 

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#15
That's fine. You forget that their scientists get paid many times more money in salaries.

Because of salary. Everything else is more or less the same.
It is, except because of lower expenditure, it takes much more time for us to deliver on the same promises.

I would recommend looking up the R&D cost of Gripen E versus MCA. You will notice how similar they are.
If we think we can conduct R&D for a 5th gen fighter at the price of R&D for an improved variant of an exsiting 4.5 gen fighter, that's exhibit A in why these are tall claims, and why those figures will end up being bogus (either in terms of cost, or delivery time. In the US, program costs are overrun by billions of dollars and more often than not, they get the additional funding. In India, the budget allocations stay the same, instead the delivery schedules are overrun by decades.

All that included, since it has accrued from the past programs as well, it was a fraction of $30B.

https://www.gao.gov/assets/150/146085.pdf

In the first 8 years, ie, the ATF program, the contract amount was just $1.8B. This included development and production of the 2 YF-22 and 2 YF-23 and their respective engines and flight testing.
Its a 1988 document dealing with estimates. The costs were overrun multiple times.

Besides, even the same document on Page.23 estimates some $10 billion for R&D costs, in 1985 dollars.

Not the way you think. For example, they developed a brand new radar whereas we plan on further developing Uttam for AMCA. The same with the EW suite, which was developed by BAE from scratch, whereas ours will be a next gen iteration of what's being developed for MCA. And so on.
Exact same is true for F-22 as well. Americans weren't making their first AESA radar or EW suite for F-22. What went on the Raptor drew from decades of experience working on these systems. The systems that go into the back end did not spring into existence out of nowhere, without having anything to do with previous systems worked on by the same companies for F-16, F-15 and F/A-18.

What will be new on AMCA will be the airframe and engine. And the Americans did this part in a TD form with just $1.8B.
If only developing a TD was enough.

Everything else will be a follow-on from the previous stuff.
You have the concept of "drawing from experience of previous products" wrong. If we really think an incrementally improved Uttam will be sufficient for a post-2030 (realistically closer to 2040) 5th gen fighter aircraft, we are mistaken.

It's the F-35 that received spin-off tech from the F-22 program. Airframe, engine and EW suite from the same companies that developed the F-22.
5th gen aircraft did not pop out of nowhere. The companies that worked on F-22 were the same ones that worked on F-16, F-15 and F-18, and various other programs who's size & scope far exceeding anything India hopes to be working on in the next 10 years.
 

RATHORE

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#16
It is, except because of lower expenditure, it takes much more time for us to deliver on the same promises.



If we think we can conduct R&D for a 5th gen fighter at the price of R&D for an improved variant of an exsiting 4.5 gen fighter, that's exhibit A in why these are tall claims, and why those figures will end up being bogus (either in terms of cost, or delivery time. In the US, program costs are overrun by billions of dollars and more often than not, they get the additional funding. In India, the budget allocations stay the same, instead the delivery schedules are overrun by decades.



Its a 1988 document dealing with estimates. The costs were overrun multiple times.

Besides, even the same document on Page.23 estimates some $10 billion for R&D costs, in 1985 dollars.



Exact same is true for F-22 as well. Americans weren't making their first AESA radar or EW suite for F-22. What went on the Raptor drew from decades of experience working on these systems. The systems that go into the back end did not spring into existence out of nowhere, without having anything to do with previous systems worked on by the same companies for F-16, F-15 and F/A-18.



If only developing a TD was enough.



You have the concept of "drawing from experience of previous products" wrong. If we really think an incrementally improved Uttam will be sufficient for a post-2030 (realistically closer to 2040) 5th gen fighter aircraft, we are mistaken.



5th gen aircraft did not pop out of nowhere. The companies that worked on F-22 were the same ones that worked on F-16, F-15 and F-18, and various other programs who's size & scope far exceeding anything India hopes to be working on in the next 10 years.
I'm not arguing whether Indian projects need more funding or not; but I definitely think this work should be handed over to the Private Sector. Public sector in general is lethargic and wasteful as it is, as for the Indian public sector, the less said the better.
 

randomradio

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#17
F16 is already with PAF, IAF doesn't want it. Will accept only with latest Gizmos making it expensive .
Production is coming to end .
Can't integrate with Russian weapons ,
i doubt we ll get free hand to integrate what we want.
Strings that come attached.
They have to hand over all the necessary tech required for integration of any weapon we want. Of course, we have no need to integrate Russian weapons. We want more Indian weapons instead.

But the political push ( much required )will take a dent .
It won't make any dent. IAF will decide, not politicians.

Buying outdated aircraft that PaK is retiring .
Yeah. It is one of the main reasons why it was rejected the first time. The same with SH and Mig-35.

As far as I'm concerned, these three aircraft won't even be considered, the same with the Su-35.

Only Rafale fits the needs with the Typhoon and Gripen following closely. And even with Typhoon and Gripen, Typhoon does not have the avionics, Gripen does not have the performance. Rafale is the whole package.
 

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#18
It is, except because of lower expenditure, it takes much more time for us to deliver on the same promises.
That's due to starting problems. Not for future programs. Look at how quickly we develop BMs. Every few years we are coming out with a new one.

If we think we can conduct R&D for a 5th gen fighter at the price of R&D for an improved variant of an exsiting 4.5 gen fighter, that's exhibit A in why these are tall claims, and why those figures will end up being bogus (either in terms of cost, or delivery time. In the US, program costs are overrun by billions of dollars and more often than not, they get the additional funding. In India, the budget allocations stay the same, instead the delivery schedules are overrun by decades.
The big bang approach of US development makes it expensive.

Its a 1988 document dealing with estimates. The costs were overrun multiple times.
For the development of the F-22, yes, but not for the ATF program.

Besides, even the same document on Page.23 estimates some $10 billion for R&D costs, in 1985 dollars.
Yes, for development of the F-22, not the YF-22.

Exact same is true for F-22 as well. Americans weren't making their first AESA radar or EW suite for F-22. What went on the Raptor drew from decades of experience working on these systems. The systems that go into the back end did not spring into existence out of nowhere, without having anything to do with previous systems worked on by the same companies for F-16, F-15 and F/A-18.
The US follows a system called Technology Readiness Level. When the TRL reaches a certain point, they decide to use it. Other countries use a higher standard of TRL compared to the US. So the US needs far more R&D compared to other countries like Russia, which is also why they have stayed ahead.

That's why the US is said to follow the big bang approach while countries like Russia, even India, follow a more progressive and incremental approach.

If only developing a TD was enough.
The other stuff is coming in through MCA and IUSAV. We are working from a much higher TRL than the US.

You have the concept of "drawing from experience of previous products" wrong. If we really think an incrementally improved Uttam will be sufficient for a post-2030 (realistically closer to 2040) 5th gen fighter aircraft, we are mistaken.
Considering what's being developed for the Rafale F4, an incrementally improved Uttam should be sufficient in 2035. The American PCA is also expected to use something of the sort. No doubt the modernised F-35 as well.

5th gen aircraft did not pop out of nowhere. The companies that worked on F-22 were the same ones that worked on F-16, F-15 and F-18, and various other programs who's size & scope far exceeding anything India hopes to be working on in the next 10 years.
Of course they didn't. But you are relating all the wrong things to each other. The F-35's development was supposed to be quick because it was using spin-off tech from the F-22. That doesn't mean the F-22 did not use the big bang approach. In fact the Americans are now switching to a more incremental approach instead.
 

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#19
We should join the british tempest project.The russians are not serious atm about building a true stealth fighter,having focused their doctrine on SAMs and tactical missiles with nukes.They dont have money to build a 5th gen with true stealth features.
 

Shajida Khan

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#20
We should join the british tempest project.The russians are not serious atm about building a true stealth fighter,having focused their doctrine on SAMs and tactical missiles with nukes.They dont have money to build a 5th gen with true stealth features.
Nothing British is trustworthy. British have a record of starting projects with other countries and only to leave the projects. Look at British contribution for european space program. They went for a pan-european project and then left it. We are talking about the most unreliable partner in the world. French, Germans are best suited. Use Russia as a bargain chip.

There is a French + German project. India might join it before anyone else does. Especially during the project definition phase. We can supply experience and technologies for tropical and varied kind of environment.