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Indian Military Aviation News and Discussion
Purpose of this thread is to discuss development that affect Indian Military Aviation (I.e. Not only IAF but IN, IN and other R&D/production organizations)


[url="http://www.domain-b.com/defence/air_space/iaf/20091209_fighter_tests_oneView.html"]Russian 5th Gen stealth fighter tests commence 2010 news[/url]

Quote:09 December 2009

Nizhny Novgorod: Russia will begin testing its fifth-generation PAK-FA fighter in 2010, Russian deputy prime minister, Sergei Ivanov, said Tuesday. "The trials will begin in 2010," Ivanov said.

This is a change over earlier announcements that tests would commence before the end of this year. The prototype under development is the T-50.

The aircraft is intended to match the qualities of the US stealth F-22 Raptor and the JSF-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft. Currently the F-22 Raptor is the world's only fifth generation fighter.

The PAK-FA T-50 is scheduled to enter service with the Russian Air Force in 2015. The T-50's maiden test flight has been repeatedly postponed since early 2007. In August 2009, Russian Air Force chief Alexander Zelin had indicated that there were problems with the engines and research was ongoing.

Sukhoi PAK-FA and the HAL FGFA

In 2007, Russia and India agreed to jointly develop what the Indians dubbed as a Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) programme. At that time, Sukhoi director, Mikhail Pogosyan, was quoted as saying, "We [India and Russia] will share the funding, engineering and intellectual property in a 50-50 proportion."

The Indian version would be different from the Russian version in that it would be twin-seat configuration based on its operational doctrine which calls for greater radius of combat operations. The Russian version is a single-seater.

Given the specific needs of a two-seater aircraft, the wings and control surfaces of the Indian variant need to be redesigned.

The Russian side is optimistic that a test prototype of the two-seater version will be ready for its initial flight-testing by 2012, and eventual induction into service by 2015.

The PAK-FA will be stealthy, will have the ability to supercruise, will carry the next generation of air-to-air, air-to-surface, and air-to-ship missiles and carry an [color="#000080"]AESA radar with a 1,500-element array[/color].

It will initially carry two Saturn 117S engines (about 14.5 ton thrust each), which is an advanced version of the AL-31F.

Later versions of the PAK FA will use a completely new engine (17.5 ton thrust each), developed by NPO Saturn or FGUP MMPP Salyut.
[url="http://www.domain-b.com/defence/air_space/iaf/20091128_tejas_lca_oneView.html"]Tejas LCA to be powered by indigenous Kaveri engine news[/url]

Quote:28 November 2009

Bangalore: The prestigious Kaveri gas turbine engine development programme, intended to develop a state-of-the-art fighter jet engine for the indigenous Tejas Light Combat Aircraft programme, may finally achieve its goals with one of the engines dispatched to Russia for high-altitude tests. Scientists at the Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) have expressed confidence that this time round the Kaveri is likely to meet all expectations.

Earlier tests had failed.

Speaking to reporters at the 23rd convention of aerospace engineers here, GTRE director, T Mohana Rao, said the establishment had overcome all obstacles and one of the engines, had been taken to Russia for high altitude testing. Once it cleared the test, another engine would be shipped subsequently for the flying test, he said.

"Once that's in good shape and a good success, we will be using one more engine for flying test bed trials", Rao said.

On current expectations, the engine should be ready by March or April next year and be in a position for integration in one year's time.

''We are also looking to develop a marine version of the Kaveri engine and the Indian Navy would be our working partners. This includes financial participation,'' he said.

The naval version would be co-designed by the two organisations and it would have low-pressure compressor and turbine.

GTRE was also looking at developing small gas turbine engines for unmanned aircraft.

''We are ready to develop any type of gas turbine engines for the country. There are lots of other projects in the offing,'' Rao added.

He revealed that GTRE's bid to find a joint venture partner was yet to be finalised as final sanction from the government was yet to be received. ''We had shortlisted 'Snecma' of France for the JV, but we have not started the work yet as some government approvals are still pending. Indian Air Force and DRDO would have to approve the JV,'' he said.

Current status

An integral part of the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft programme, the Kaveri engine development programme has come so near and yet remained so far from a successful conclusion.

Stuck for a long period of time at an efficiency rate of 90-93 per cent, a last minute surge by GTRE scientists has resulted in the engine once again landing on Russian shores for high altitude testing. Earlier tests had failed.

A team of around 50 GTRE scientists has been stationed in Russia since October to monitor the test, which is being carried out at the Gromov Flight Research Institute outside Moscow.

As far as the GTRE is concerned the Kaveri's development programme is complete, with the engine clearing all performance parameters laid down in 1998 in ground testing. The Moscow tests will confirm whether or not it performs during flight.

These tests have already begun and will continue over a period of 3-4 months.

The reason for the Kaveri's continued failure was two-fold. It turned out to be about 15 per cent heavier than originally planned. The problem was further compounded with the Tejas coming in 500 kilogramme heavier than envisaged. This resulted in a situation where the Tejas would be underpowered if loaded with the Kaveri engine.

Both ends of the problem have been sought to be resolved with foreign experts brought in as consultants for both the engine as well as the fighter.

While it was French Snecma for the engine, it was EADS for the fighter. The JV with Snecma has apparently been just cleared after initial rejection from the Indian Air Force.

The engine, however, appears to have made it to Moscow on the efforts of the GTRE scientists alone. Another month or so should reveal how successful their efforts have been.
This is a golden article, that I hit upon today; Its the unchanging truth; that was true in past, is true today, and will be in future.

[url="http://www.domain-b.com/aero/20080218_duds01.html"]India's Light Combat Aircraft: When duds begin to fly news :: domain-b[/url]

Quote:Rajiv Singh

18 February 2008

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the R&D arm of India's defence ministry, is not one of the most transparent organisations in the country. Involved as it is in development of military hardware of the future, it perhaps cannot really open up all its secrets for friend and foe to see.

That's the story of defence R&D organisations all over the world.

This compulsion to keep things under wraps can work against an organisation. It does, against the DRDO sometimes, because the DRDO is unable to rise to the bait and provide details to refute newspaper stories based on ignorance, bias or sheer motivation.

That these stories begin to fly around the time when a major aerospace or defence exhibition is held makes one wonder whether some of these reports are indeed motivated by a desire to please deep-pocketed global defence equipment companies that are desperate to sell their materiel to the Indian armed forces.

A year ago, before the Aero India 2007 show in Bangalore in February, a series of articles referring to ''DRDO's duds'', run almost like a campaign, adorned the pages of a national daily, hammering the DRDO with some truths and some half-truths. This year, just before the DefExpo2008 in New Delhi, beginning 16 February, we see another attack on the DRDO for its supposedly miserable performance in developing the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), the Tejas in another leading national daily.

A recent report in a leading national daily calls upon defence minister A K Antony to ''take a close look at the fighter which typifies all that is wrong with defence projects in India''. Then it proceeds to list ''all that is wrong with defence projects in India''.

The article points out that the LCA project was sanctioned in 1983 at a cost of Rs.560 crore; now, 25 years later, the cost has escalated to Rs.5,489.78 crore, even as the fighter remains another four years away from becoming fully operational.

That is damning. Sanctioned in 1983 and still not done! The conclusion that people are left to draw is that it was a complete waste investing in the indigenous development of the LCA. It would have been far simpler, cheaper, and safer (from the point of view of India's current defence needs) to have imported the aircraft from an American or European company – or maybe the Russians.

But that's not all. Intended or not, these campaigns end up drumming into our national psyche the stereotype of the inferior, shoddy, third-world DRDO versus technologically sophisticated Western aerospace companies.

[color="#0000FF"]So let's take a look at how some of these global defence companies have fared with their projects.[/color]

Take the Eurofighter Typhoon, one of the most ''advanced'' fighter aircraft projects in the world, and also a bidder for the Indian Air Force's medium range multi role combat aircraft (MMRCA) tender. The Typhoon owes its genesis to a European Combat Aircraft (ECA) study group formed in 1979. Development began officially in 1983 and the deadline set for commissioning it was fixed as December 1998. This deadline was then extended to December 2001. The induction of the Tranche1 versions into the UK's Royal Air Force was made in 2003 – fully two decades after an official start, more if you go back to1979.

The Tranche 2 version was inducted into service in 2005, another two years later. [color="#4169E1"]Now, in 2008, 25 years down the line (or three decades if you take 1979 as the starting point), the Eurofighter programme is yet to field a fully developed Tranche 3 multi-role version – the version that all the partner nations have actually been waiting for.[/color]

This is how it is with not one but several European nations that can pump in resources way above anything India and the DRDO can manage. The Eurofighter programme is a project of a consortium that includes British, Germans, Italians and Spanish governments and companies.

The irony is that by the time the Tranche 3 multi-role version finally enters squadron service, the American stealth fighters, the F-22 Raptor and the JSF-35 Lightning II, would have made their entry in sufficiently large numbers to put the Eurofighter in the shadow.

Since the Typhoon wouldn't really like to go up against either of these aircraft on a one-on-one basis you can say that obsolescence is built into the design of the Typhoon!

[color="#4169E1"]So what is the big deal about the Typhoon? The fact is that development of the Typhoon has given European aerospace industries a depth of experience and expertise that they wouldn't have missed out on for anything.[/color]

In terms of functionalities, the Eurofighter Typhoon combines the capabilities of the American F-15 Eagle and the F/A-18 Hornet in one compact platform. Some experts argued that the Europeans could have saved a lot of time, grief and money by opting for a mix of these American aircraft early on in the game.

[color="#4169E1"]However, the Europeans refused to make off-the-shelf purchases of these American fighters. Why? Because they did not want to lose out on the design expertise and the building of a sophisticated manufacturing base that the development of such an aircraft would result in.


Almost three decades later they are still lumbering on.

Cost overruns

Let's see how the Eurofighter has fared in terms of cost overruns. In 1988, the UK's secretary of state for defence told the House of Commons that the European Fighter Aircraft would cost the UK about £7 billion. The figure soon ballooned to £13 billion. By 1997 the estimated cost was £17 billion, and by 2003 it was £20 billion. Since 1993, the UK ministry of defence has refused to release updated cost estimates on the grounds of 'commercial sensitivity.'

Now, a late January 2008 press report says that the Eurofighter consortium has informed partners that the project cost has escalated by another £7.5 billion or so. That too, only for partners; ''clients'' will have to shell out even more.

However, these figures are subject to change, if the UK, for example, should back out of its commitments for Tranche 3 aircraft, of which it is committed to receive 88. Costs per unit of the Eurofighter would go up accordingly.


The Eurofighter consortium argues that its cost increases and delays compare favourably with those of the US F-22 Raptor programme. According to the Eurofighter consortium, the Typhoon is apparently only 14 per cent over-budget and just 54 months late, as compared to the Raptor, which is 127 per cent over-budget and 117 months late![/color]

So, if the Europeans haven't been very efficient with their project it appears the Americans haven't been managing all too well either with their famed Raptor. This, in spite of their deep, deep pockets and the vast experience and arms producing infrastructure that they have.

Not indigenous …

The litany doesn't stop with complaints about the cost overruns. The article on DRDO's failures points out that when the IAF eventually inducts an LCA squadron, around 2012 or so, it will be powered by American GE-404 engines and Israeli radars, besides several other 'foreign' parts. Hardly 'indigenous', wouldn't you say?

This only betrays ignorance about the way in which R&D is done worldwide. The Eurofighter is a classic example of how Europe has gone about trying to negate American dominance in the field of fighter technology.

Everything about it - engines, armaments, airframes, et al - is a collaborative venture. The left wing, to provide one instance, will be manufactured by the Italian firm Alenia Aeronautica, and the right wing by Spain's EADS CASA. The aircraft's EJ200 engine has been developed by Eurojet GmbH, owned jointly by Rolls Royce, MTU Aero Engines, Fiat Aviazione and ITP.

Such collaboration applied to the US too. Several suppliers are involved in programmes identified with any one company. A Lockheed project, for instance, would easily have a competitor like Boeing or Northrop Grumman, or other companies, involved in the manufacture or integration of specific systems – and nobody's perishing of shame because of that.

So, if American GE-404 engines power our first lot of LCAs no need for any Indian to perish of shame because of that.

As for Israeli radars, there are any number of top-of-the-line, hush-hush projects where the Americans access Israeli technology and expertise, and vice versa. Why should we have a problem with their radars?

India recently launched Israel's state-of-the-art TecSAR spy satellite into 'pinpoint' orbit. According to ISRO chairman G Madhavan, the Israelis were very specific about the kind of orbit they wanted the TecSAR to achieve, which ISRO met flawlessly. Our boys are proud of their achievement, and so far, no Israeli appears to be blushing with shame.

As the decade rolls by there will be much of Israel that we shall be using, and not just radars. For that matter there is much that Israel will use, which it would have jointly developed with India.

Decades of development

[color="#4169E1"]The report concedes that developing a supersonic fly-by-wire fighter jet from scratch, with international sanctions in place, can be an extremely complex task, but says that taking almost three decades is ''criminal'', it implies.

Is the three decades of development for the Eurofighter also criminal? As for the Americans, the F-22 Raptor programme, for instance, was initiated in 1986, after years of initial study. It achieved 'full operational clearance' (FOC) only on 12 December 2007 - a full 21 years after the requests for proposals were issued. Is 21 years criminal or slightly less than criminal?[/color]

A distant FOC …

The article also takes a dim view of the defence ministry's happiness at the LCA conducting a successful test firing of an air-to-air missile. The ministry's proclamation of it as a ''historic event'' marking the beginning of the 'weaponisation' of the LCA seems inappropriate to the author.

The author of the above-mentioned article points out the repeated rescheduling of the initial operational clearance and final operational clearance of the Tejas: ''As things stand now, IOC is projected by 2010 and FOC by 2012.'' [color="#4169E1"]Well, the Eurofighter still has to assume its final Tranche 3 avatar, so it will actually complete three decades before it achieves FOC itself. And, as pointed out earlier, the F-22 Raptor achieved FOC on 12 December 2007, a full 21 years after project sanction.[/color]

Changing requirements

The article says that blame for the delay in the LCA programme needs to be apportioned equally between various agencies involved, such as ''the Aeronautical Development Agency, Defence Research and Development Organisation, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, and even the IAF, which has frequently changed requirements of weapons and electronic warfare midway, have to share the blame''.

Sure, playing the blame game is so easy. But what happens worldwide? What do similar organisations around the world, such as the USAF or US Navy or US Army do with their programmes?

The question is, why not? Life is dynamic - scenarios change overnight. War strategies and battlefield scenarios have changed dramatically since 1983. Should the DRDO have stuck to the scenarios as they existed 25 years ago, and rendered the LCA obsolete even before it went into production?


The article points out that the IAF has placed an order for only 20 aircraft even though early projections were for 220 aircraft for the IAF and the Indian Navy. It also says that the IAF is worried whether ''the LCA will be a top-notch fighter once it is ready.''

The 20 limited series production aircraft order from the Indian Air Force is an initial order. Any order for a new fighter aircraft is invariably for at least 40. A naval version is also under development and an initial order from the Indian Navy is also very likely. A naval version will allow our Air Defence Ship, currently under construction at the Kochi shipyards, to carry a larger complement of fighters onboard, as compared to the larger Mig-29Ks that are currently scheduled to operate only from the INS Vikramaditya (ex-Admiral Gorshkov).

As for worries about the LCA not being a top-notch fighter when finally ready, how different is this predicament that from the Eurofighter? By the time the Tranche 3 Eurofighter achieves full operationalisation, America's F-22 and JSF-35 programmes will already have overtaken it technologically. So, no surprises if the same is true for the LCA.

[color="#4169E1"]The point of trying to develop the LCA indigenously was not merely to supply aircraft to the IAF and the navy. Just as the Europeans have used the Eurofighter to develop their technologies for next generation projects, the Indian defence R&D establishment has sought to use the LCA as a platform on which to develop several technologies for the future.[/color]

[color="#4169E1"]The Europeans know that if there is a political rift with the Americans, they will find themselves up a creek without a paddle.[/color] The development of top-notch technology through the Typhoon programme gives them independence from US hegemony.

[color="#9932CC"]It would, therefore, be wrong to look upon the LCA merely as a fighter-manufacturing programme. It is in fact a unique test bed for the development of aerospace technologies that will take us to an acceptable level of competence in this field. It is a fighter programme, a technology demonstrator and a technology generator, all at the same time.

Upon maturity, the programme may serve the purpose it was designed for, which is to fight - or it might not. That wouldn't matter. By then it would have developed enough technologies to provide a technology base for our own medium combat aircraft (MCA) programme.[/color]

The MCA is India's own fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) programme. Though we have a pact with the Russians to co-develop an FGFA with them, the MCA is our fallback. If and when the Russians act tough and repeat a Gorshkov on this programme, we shouldn't find ourselves scrounging around for the required technology.

[color="#4169E1"]By the time the LCA achieves maturity it would have already paid back in full, by way of technologies and expertise that it would have generated over the life of its programme.[/color]

For that matter, domestic orders aren't the only option for such a project. Pompous though it may sound, there is a possibility that smaller countries may opt for something like the LCA, which for them may well be a more comfortable, manageable aircraft, both in terms of cost and technology. Not every country will be interested in the F-22 Raptor, purchasing a squadron of which could very likely wipe out half, or more, of some national economies.


If India builds its own technology capabilities, who loses? It's the arms merchants of the world.[/color] So, come events like the DefExpo in New Delhi, they would love to have some mainline newspapers do some DRDO bashing. [color="#4169E1"]That can reinforce some myths about Indian R&D and help them sell some of their wares. But there is no reason we should fall for these ploys.[/color]
Navy demanding new fighter , Kaveri Co-development with French and Sarkozy paying visit in few months all point to bright chance for French in clinching MRCA deal. French are also collaborating with Russians. Here comes Rafale.
[quote name='prem' date='01 January 2010 - 01:48 AM' timestamp='1262290257' post='103234']

Navy demanding new fighter , Kaveri Co-development with French and Sarkozy paying visit in few months all point to bright chance for French in clinching MRCA deal. French are also collaborating with Russians. Here comes Rafale.


Yes this engine deal is good balanced decision and very good for India, in both military and geo-political wise.

As regarding MRCA contract Eff-solah(f16) is a sun set craft and exclusive worldwide spare and mfg to India alone will ensure India does not fund/maintain Paki Air Force. Since this will never happen, this is a sure dead end.

F-18 Super hornet with its AESA is a uber-trojen "ghoda" whose "ankhh aur lagaam" will remotely be brain wired with amrikhan. So that is a dead end too. because at time of war the ghoda will inadvertently take "kumbhakaran" property or will fly conflicting duel-control with yindoo pilot and yankee remote control.

Splitting the contract between Mig and French is best military choice as well as strategic.
It is a positive sign that we have a parliament okay for Kaveri help. But what is not sure is that what GTRE gains with this French help, as nothing is clear from the op-ed abstract disjoint reports.

Going from other news that relates to the specifications drawn specifically from GE-F414 and EJ200, and both these engines were highlighted in various reports about the possibilities of getting into Tejas for first two squadrons, and perhaps seeing a brighter future for MRCA as well.

There was also a report that IAF agreeing to F404-IN for the first squadron.

We need emphatic information as to:

1. What did IAF froze on the engine specifications ? or it is still dilly-dallying?

2. If Snecma, then there are no reports yet that this is a joint venture rather just a plan to keep the M88-ECO core for Kaveri as the interim solution. They are willing to sell ECO technology at high price is what I read.

3. Offers from EJ200 was very promising for both MRCA and LCA. Why IAF and MoD not considering EADS offer for engines is a surprise.. However I do see french has solutions, but nothing promising in the offer that enables india-genization in the near or distant future.

Homemade Kaveri, and without any help from any firang is the only answer seems correct now.

India, Russia close to PACT on next generation fighter

It has a Radar Cross Section (RCS) of just 0.5 square metre

I hope this RCS is without external weapons load.. and RCS of Raptor is never revealed yet, and is much lower than 0.5 sq mtr. and I am not sure at what distance these measures were applied by the author.

Quite a lot of money India is investing, and there must be enough gain in these., in terms of the core requirements like high performance engines & production engineering setup.

If pakfa can bring these core engine saturn technologies to India, its a shot in the arm for restructuring GTRE.

I am sure some of this pakfa money can be diverted to augment Kaveri++ to be on par with the best other engines for FGFA and further on to MCA.

Stealth and Radar technologies anyways we have better options as our R&D and collaborations with Israel and other firms can substantiate quite a bit.

Though the news has lot of info, but nothing is clear yet.
If some one can translate this russian page?


[Image: 030110_114101_64141_2.jpg]

A JSF/Raptor front look, and MKI back!
[quote name='sai_k' date='03 January 2010 - 11:39 PM' timestamp='1262541683' post='103294']

It is a positive sign that we have a parliament okay for Kaveri help. But what is not sure is that what GTRE gains with this French help, as nothing is clear from the op-ed abstract disjoint reports.[/quote]

When Su-30MKI deal was expanded to IIRC 180 crafts, there was engine know-how that was also part of the deal. Something that HAL/GTRE never took a bit to eat, and left it on the table what was paid for. That engine would have given enough metallurgical and disign information/insight to fix Kaveri, but no one bothered to use it.

So IMHO the issue is also what is it that GTRE can absorb? and if French engine has design elements that are close to Kaveri core, in which case GTRE team can build on jet engine knowhow for LCA interim solution using a bastardized engine (seed of french core), and jump on the next generation required to power not just MCA but smaller compact engines required for drones and armed drones.

IMHO after the MCA and FGFA there will not be a need for manned fighter, and the heavy lifting will be done bu small/medium sized UCAV.

Quote:Going from other news that relates to the specifications drawn specifically from GE-F414 and EJ200, and both these engines were highlighted in various reports about the possibilities of getting into Tejas for first two squadrons, and perhaps seeing a brighter future for MRCA as well.

There was also a report that IAF agreeing to F404-IN for the first squadron.

We need emphatic information as to:

1. What did IAF froze on the engine specifications ? or it is still dilly-dallying?

2. If Snecma, then there are no reports yet that this is a joint venture rather just a plan to keep the M88-ECO core for Kaveri as the interim solution. They are willing to sell ECO technology at high price is what I read.

3. Offers from EJ200 was very promising for both MRCA and LCA. Why IAF and MoD not considering EADS offer for engines is a surprise.. However I do see french has solutions, but nothing promising in the offer that enables india-genization in the near or distant future.

Homemade Kaveri, and without any help from any firang is the only answer seems correct now.

While EJ200 is a good engine bed, the key question is if GTRE/HAL will again be biting too much than what ti can chew. I do not know if Kavari core is more in line with the design concept of EJ200 versus French engine.

However amongst other consideration, tieing strategic choices for the two programs MRCA and LCA is eminently desirable. Also because engine is a big cost as well a key know how/spare/inventory issue for IAF user.

IMVHO MRCA should be split between Mig-31 & Rafael, (must definitely exclude F16/F18); the key question then is what is of value out there that will make India tip over and chose EJ-Typhoon versus Rafael?

If India chooses Rafael, then I think GTRE deal with French is correct, if India OTOH chooses Typhoon, then EJ200 will be right thing to power LCA-Mk2.
[quote name='sai_k' date='05 January 2010 - 06:30 AM' timestamp='1262652765' post='103329']

It has a Radar Cross Section (RCS) of just 0.5 square metre

I hope this RCS is without external weapons load.. and RCS of Raptor is never revealed yet, and is much lower than 0.5 sq mtr. and I am not sure at what distance these measures were applied by the author.[/quote]

RCS is always far field measurement (which is easy for microwave frequency band) but also at a distance when RF perspective view is largely unchanged and below radar's spatial resolution (~ few hundred meters), thus one does not need to measure further out at 2 km , 10 km or 50 km.

Quote:If pakfa can bring these core engine saturn technologies to India, its a shot in the arm for restructuring GTRE.

But why buy it one more time, we already paid for it in the second MKi deal. Pls see my previous post.

Quote:I am sure some of this pakfa money can be diverted to augment Kaveri++ to be on par with the best other engines for FGFA and further on to MCA.

Also pls see my previous post.
Regarding FGFA RCS of 0.5 sq meter, can someone point out what is corresponding figure for JSF?

IIRC JSF is at either 0.1 sqm or may be 0.5 sq meter.

It is given that to command 0.5 m RCS, it has to have internal weapons store.
Unlike any other aircraft in history this, one must understand this is not simply yet another aircraft, it is a system. The airframe, engine, weapons payload & flight control is just one half of the system, [color="#0000FF"]the better half is sensor, sensor fusion, communication, network, stealth, decision support, mission automation, network centric warfare {a.k.a Firmware, Signal processing and Software}. [/color]

[url="http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/india-to-develop-25fifth-generation-fighter/381786/"]India to develop 25% of fifth generation fighter: Ajai Shukla Biz Std[/url]

Quote:Ajai Shukla / New Delhi January 6, 2010, 0:36 IST

Scrutinising the Sukhoi Corporation’s work on the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) — a project that India will soon sign up to co-develop — gives one an idea of Russia’s size, and its aerospace expertise. During daytime, in Moscow, the Sukhoi Design Bureau conceptualises FGFA components; by 10 pm the drawings are electronically transmitted over 5,000 kilometres to a manufacturing unit in Siberia. Here, at KnAAPO (Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Production Organisation) — seven time zones away — it is already 5 am next morning. Within a couple of hours, the drawings start being translated into aircraft production.

Having designed over 100 aircraft (including India’s Su-30MKI), built over 10,000 fighters, and with 50 world aviation records to its credit, Sukhoi understandably regards Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) — its partner-to-be in designing the FGFA — as very much the greenhorn.

But the newcomer wants its due. Bangalore-based HAL has negotiated firmly to get a 25 per cent share of design and development work in the FGFA programme. HAL’s work share will include critical software, including the mission computer (the Su-30MKI mission computer is entirely Indian); navigation systems; most of the cockpit displays; the counter measure dispensing (CMD) systems; and modifying Sukhoi’s single-seat prototype into the twin-seat fighter that the Indian Air Force (IAF) wants.

  • Cost of development :: $8-10 billion

  • India's requirement :: 250 fighters

  • Russia's requirement :: 250 fighters

  • Cost per aircraft :: $100 million

  • Indian name :: FGFA

  • Russian name :: PAK FA

India will also contribute its expertise in aircraft composites, developed while designing the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA). Russia has traditionally built metallic aircraft; just 10 per cent of the Su-30MKI fuselage is titanium and composites. The FGFA’s fuselage, in contrast, will be 25 per cent titanium and 20 per cent composites. Russia’s expertise in titanium structures will be complemented by India’s experience in composites.

With India’s work share almost finalised, the 2007 Russia-India Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) to build the FGFA will soon evolve into a commercial contract between Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) and HAL. Ashok Baweja, until recently the chairman of HAL, told Business Standard: “When HAL and UAC agree on terms, they will sign a General Contract. This will include setting up a JV to design the FGFA, and precise details about who will fund what.”

This contract will mark a significant shift in the aeronautical relationship between India and Russia. For decades, HAL has played a technologically subordinate role, assembling and building fighters that Russia had designed. Now, forced to accept HAL as a design partner, the Russians have negotiated hard to limit its role.

The reason: Russia is sceptical about India’s design ability in such a cutting edge project. In June 2008, Business Standard interviewed Vyacheslav Trubnikov, then Russia’s ambassador to India, and an expert on Russia’s defence industry. Contrasting the Su-30MKI with the Tejas LCA, Trubnikov pointed out snidely, “I know perfectly well the Russian ability. But I don’t know what contribution the Indian side might make. So, one must ask the question to the Indian designers, to HAL…what is their claim for building a fighter of the fifth generation type? Either avionics, or engine? What might be India’s contribution? To be absolutely frank, I don’t know.”

For long, the UAC argued that HAL could not expect a major role in the FGFA because Sukhoi had finished much of the work while New Delhi dithered about joining the project. UAC asserts that 5,000 Sukhoi engineers have worked for five years to design the FGFA. Such claims are hard to verify, but it is known that the Sukhoi Design Bureau has about 8,000 engineers, distributed between many different programmes.

With Sukhoi’s ploughing on alone, Minister of State for Defence Pallam Raju admitted to Business Standard: “The longer India waits to join the project, the lesser will be our contribution. But, we are not sitting idle. Through the defence ministry’s existing programmes [such as the Tejas LCA] we are building up our capabilities.”

Most Indian officials agree that India has not lost much. Even if the FGFA makes its much-anticipated first flight this year, it is still at a preliminary stage of development. Ashok Baweja assessed in early 2009, “The FGFA’s first flight is just the beginning of the programme. My understanding is that the Russians are going ahead (with the test) to validate the FGFA’s “proof of concept” (conceptual design). Whatever composite materials they have now, they’ll use. But, because the composites will change… the FGFA will keep evolving for a fairly long time.”

A top ministry official estimates, “It will take another 4-5 years to develop many of the FGFA’s systems. Then, the aircraft will undergo at least 2000 hours of certification flying and, possibly, some reconfiguration. The FGFA should not be expected in service before 2017. And the twin-seat version may take a couple of years longer.”

With just a 25 per cent share of design, South Block policymakers still believe that the FGFA project is a vital step towards India’s emergence as a military aeronautical power. “Developing 25 per cent of this fighter is far better than just transferring technology to build it in India, as we did with the Su-30MKI,” points out a defence ministry official.

Ashok Baweja puts the project in context. “India can only (develop the FGFA) by partnering with Russia. They have so much experience. It’s not just the design… you must also have materials… maraging steel, titanium, composite alloys, and the industrial base to convert these into high-tech components like gyros, sensors and optics. The FGFA will give us important experience for building fighters hereafter.”
Not sure if this was posted earlier:

[url="http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/india-to-develop-25fifth-generation-fighter/381786/"]India to test fly light combat helicopters by month-end,

Ramnath Shenoy/ PTI / Bangalore December 14, 2009, 11:21 IST[/url]

Quote:India will shortly test fly the indigenously designed and built Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), which will augment the IAF's fleet of small and highly manoeuvrable rotary flying machines.

A 'baby' of the Bangalore-headquartered defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, the first prototype of LCH is expected to take to the skies between December 26 and December 29, a senior HAL official told PTI here today.

HAL has already bagged a firm order to deliver 65 LCH to the IAF and 114 to the Army, company sources said.

Unlike HAL’s Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) "Dhruv" which has been described as broad and bloated, the LCH is very, very sleek. The new light chopper is currently undergoing functional tests, and is expected to be ready for ground run by December 24.

"It (LCH) is quite different from ALH in terms of configuration and structure," the official closely associated with the project, said on condition of anonymity.

HAL hopes to obtain certification for LCH in 2012-13,
and the delivery of the machines is expected from 2014-15.

LCH would also have a weaponised version, similar to ALH.

"There will be rocket pods, a machine gun as also an air-to-air missiles in the combat version of LCH. But in the first prototype all these features will not be there," the official said.

HAL has also started design of a light observation helicopter (LOH) which would eventually replace the ageing fleet of Cheetah and Chetak helicopters which have been in service since 1978. "We have got about 600 of them (Cheetah and Chetak) in service now. They are reaching the end of their technical life as they have flown 60,000 hours or more," he said.

India plans to buy 197 LOH helicopters, for which it has short-listed Eurocopter, Augusta Westland and Rosoboronexport. Sources said India is expected to place the order after finalising one of them by next year-end.

HAL has already secured an order to supply 187 LOH. "So, while India will buy 197, HAL will also make 187," officials said.

Meanwhile, HAL officials said platforms offered by major global manufacturers in response to the company’s request for proposals on finding a foreign partner for its proposed medium lift helicopter project were found to be “not exactly meeting our requirements’.

"We are choosing a platform which will be modified to suit our requirement. All the platforms are not exactly meeting our requirement. So, we will have to call them for discussions, freeze the specifications and then tender it out formally," they said.

LCH’s maiden flight comes at a time when helicopter business is booming for HAL, which has already sold 100 numbers of Dhruv, mostly for armed forces, with further order to deliver another 159, worth Rs 15,000 crore.

HAL is mulling to set up more helicopter divisions. "We will have to create infrastructure for making new helicopters.The present infrastructure is full, to the brim. We may not be able to do more there. We will have to put up new facilities for helicopter manufacturing".

Did this flight take place in Dec?

BTW I took few photo of the ALH full scale mockup from Aero India 2007.
[quote name='Arun_S' date='06 January 2010 - 01:59 AM' timestamp='1262722911' post='103361']

Regarding FGFA RCS of 0.5 sq meter, can someone point out what is corresponding figure for JSF?

IIRC JSF is at either 0.1 sqm or may be 0.5 sq meter.

It is given that to command 0.5 m RCS, it has to have internal weapons store.


RCS Figures : As per USAF the RCS of JSF is that of Golf Ball and F-22 is that of marble information released translates to (link

Frontal RCS Figures

JSF : 0.001 m2 ( Golf Ball Size , Only X Band Stealth )

F-22 : 0.0001 m2 ( Marble Size , Broad Band Stealth )

The news of PAK-FA having 0.5 m2 RCS is not very accurate and highly unlikely , Sukhoi for its Su-47 Berkut (FSW ) TD has declared a RCS figure of 0.3 m2 , So PAK-FA will be better than that figure.

What is more important to me is if Russian have a broad band approach to stealth like F-22,F-117,B-2 or just go for a selective RF stealth like X band in case of JSF , the days ahead once the first prototype flies will give the answer
India's Medium Combat Aircraft

[Image: 111.jpg]

In August 2008, right about the time the Indian Air Force had decided to officially kickstart procedures to get the Medium Combat Aircraft (MCA) off the realm of theory, then Chief of Air Staff Fali Major happened to bump into DRDO chief M Natarajan and then HAL chairman Ashok Baweja at an industry suppliers function in Bangalore. The Chief was mildly irritated that both Baweja and Natarajan had provided media sound-bytes and interviews suggesting that the MCA would have "fifth generation technologies". He impressed upon both gentlemen, over tea, that if the MCA went the LCA way, it would be not just unacceptable to the air force, but an act of criminal disregard for the country's security. "Give the air force a bloody first-rate fourth generation aeroplane. That is the job before you," he said.

Two months later, in October 2008, the name of the MCA programme was changed (on recommendation to the Secretary, Defence Production) to "Next Generation Fighter Aircraft", though MCA continues to be used alternatively without any particular distinction.

As per official documentation by the IAF, it wants the MCA to be a twin-pilot configured multirole stealth aircraft capable of "close air support, all weather interception, air defence suppression, long-range strike, electronic attack, limited command & control and reconnaisance" -- that's the profile from an official IAF wishlist to the ADA last year. That might roll right off the air force's tongue, like off a brochure, but they're deadly serious. Putting all speculation to rest when it officially began dialogue about the MCA in 2008, the IAF said it was not willing to look at a strike aircraft with other capabilities. It wants a fully multirole (preferably, swingrole) aircraft for the job.

As we speak, a joint committee of several bodies involved with the NGFA is finetuning the configuration of the final jet, before work begins on building a tech demonstrator, three prototype vehicles and two production series trial jets -- the wind tunnel model unveiled at Yelahanka in February 2009 is largely what the aircraft will look like, though there are three other variants that have not been displayed yet. A twin-engine delta planfrom version, which was a direct derivative from the LCA, has since been shelved -- low observable requirements demanded a fully new airframe approach, which finally ended in the design that people got to see at Aero India 2009. While the wind-tunnel model, fabricated by a Bangalore-based engineering firm, is the product of an ADA/HAL study, there will be dramatic changes yet to the aircraft's intakes (utterly radar friendly, according to the IAF), vertical stabilisers and dorsal section, say sources.

Air Chief Marshal PV Naik, in his first interaction with the ADA last year, seemed to nitpick on indigenous radar capability, more than anything else when it came to the topic of the MCA. Sources say he was deeply incensed when given a brief on the Multi-mode Radar (MMR), pioneered by the Electronics Research & Development Establishment (LRDE) for the LCA Tejas programme. In a chat with the director of the ADA, he said the next aircraft that the agency designed and built, needed to be centred around an Indian active array combat radar. In fact, the LRDE has already proposed a second radar (deriving from the MMR) for the MCA, with technological spin-offs currently being gleaned from its partnership with Israel's Elta. But Naik didn't buy that. He said it didn't matter what the DRDO was learning from who at this stage. When it came down to putting the nails in, he said he wanted a fully Indian radar on the MCA.

While configuration fructifies, the following work has begun on the MCA in full earnest: DARE, Bangalore has appointed a special team to begin identifying avionics and cockpit packages for the first prototype vehicle, and will supply this in published form to the ADA by July 2010. This will include cockpit electronics, cockpit configuration, man-machine interface, mission console systems and computers/software with a focus on data fusion and modular architecture. The LRDE will, in about the same time frame, provide a separate project proposal for an all new radar, to be re-designated for the MCA, as a derivative of the MMR currently being completed with technology from Israel's ELTA. LRDE will independently look in the market for a partner for active array technology, though it communicated to ADA in June 2009 that it had sufficient R&D available to build a reliable AESA prototype with assistance from Bharat Electronics Ltd and two private firms based in Hyderabad.

There is a collossal amount of work going on as far as materials is concerned for the MCA/NGFA. With the IAF unmoving in its demand for an aircraft that has stealth characteristics built into it from the drawing board forward, the DRDO has powered teams within its materials laboratories in Pune and Hyderabad to come up with new composities, low observable materials fabrication techniques, and of course, radar-absorbent control surface aggregates, airframe materials and paints.

The most crucial part of the programme is of course the engine. The Kaveri-Snecma turbofan is being counted upon vigorously to be ready to power prototypes of the MCA by the middle of this decade. There is no Plan-B just yet as far as engines go. However, technologies such as single crystal and nickel-based superalloys in turbofans are still some way off as far as Indian development is concerned -- the IAF wants the use of both to be a given in the engines that power the MCA.

According to the ADA, the government will look to purchase upto 250 MCAs when its done and ready -- not just as a replacement to the MiG-27s and Jaguars, but to complement the MMRCA fleet that will hopefully be half-inducted by then.
This made my day !!!

Thanks Austin.
Regarding the technology that should be going into MCA(NGFA), why not use LCA as prototype vehicle, and produce various blocks/tranches that perhaps get the required wet thrusts, AESA radar (perhaps GaN based), stealth skins and advanced absorption materials, reduced signature etc.

We could use LCA models as staging platform for MCA. We need a lot of investment though.
On the flip side, these Aircrafts have joined IAF after way toooooooo long a delay. IIRC IAF placed order during Op Parakram back in 2002.

At that time Air Chief SK Mehra, said that 3 AWACS will be enough (as force multiplier) and I sugged that we should ahve gone for 5. He saud lets get the first 3 crafts, that will be a big enough change and we can order more.

[url="http://beta.thehindu.com/news/national/article81512.ece"]India's second AWACS to arrive in March[/url]


The Indian Air Force (IAF) will get its second Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS), called the eye-in-the-sky, in March providing a dramatic boost to its capability to see beyond enemy lines and to detect incoming airborne threats.

“The second AWACS will arrive in March. Though a little delayed than the scheduled delivery, it would enhance IAF’s capabilities tremendously,” a senior IAF official, requesting anonymity, told IANS.

The IAF has purchased three AWACS from Israel to give it a capability beyond conventional ground-based and tethered electromagnetic radars. The first one arrived in May last year.

Like the first one, the cutting-edge technology Phalcon airborne radar is being integrated with the IL-76 heavy-lift aircraft.

“The second AWACS will also be based at Agra air base (home to the IAF’s Il-76 and Il-78 transports and mid-air re-fuellers) only,” the official added.

Agra airbase is one of the largest in the country and has immense strategic importance. It already has an extended runway and an avionics lab. The ground exploitation system that will sift through and disseminate the data transmitted by the AWACS is already in place.

With its ability to detect aircraft, cruise missiles and other flying objects at ranges far greater than is possible through existing systems, the AWACS can also collate surface information about troop movements and missile launches even while “listening-in” to highly confidential communications between the enemy{gt}s front line units.

To this extent, the second AWACS, as a potent force-multiplier, will significantly enhance the effectiveness of the IAF’s offensive and defensive operations. Given the intensity and pace of modern-day air warfare, the AWACS will provide an impregnable aerial umbrella to neutralise any incoming threat.

India is in the select club of nations — the US, Russia, Britain, Japan, Australia and Turkey — that operate such a sophisticated system. Other countries — notably Pakistan, Brazil and Greece — too operate AWACS but at a much lower end of the scale in terms of capability.

The AWACS project is a tripartite contract between India, Israel and Russia. The $1.1 billion deal for the three AWACS was signed in 2004.
[quote name='sai_k' date='18 January 2010 - 09:56 AM' timestamp='1263788331' post='103568']

Regarding the technology that should be going into MCA(NGFA), why not use LCA as prototype vehicle, and produce various blocks/tranches that perhaps get the required wet thrusts, AESA radar (perhaps GaN based), stealth skins and advanced absorption materials, reduced signature etc.

We could use LCA models as staging platform for MCA. We need a lot of investment though.


LCA needs to be operationally flyable before one can consider using as a platform for validating these futuristic technologies.

All these technologies can be developed and proven on aircraft that is already a workhorse in IAF. HS748 is out of production line but there are enough in inventory to use.


Signature reduction OTOH however can only be in anechoic lab or actual prototype aircraft. One can't bastardize a non-stealth craft to calibrate small test structure that are stealthy.
[url="http://www.dnaindia.com/bangalore/report_ir-chief-marshal-pv-naik-wants-missiles-to-destroy-enemy-satellites_1338174"]Air Chief Marshal PV Naik wants missiles to destroy enemy satellites[/url]

Quote: Bhargavi Kerur / DNA Saturday, January 23, 2010

Bangalore: Taking serious note of China’s growing defence capabilities, particularly its anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon system, Air Chief Marshal PV Naik on Friday sought the development of India’s own missile system that can destroy enemy satellites.

“Our satellites are vulnerable to ASAT weapon systems because our neighbourhood possesses one,” Naik said, while delivering the Air Chief Marshal LM Katre memorial lecture at the HAL Convention Centre here.

“We need to develop ASAT technology. It is one of our challenges of future war capability,” he said.

He was referring to the vulnerability of a series of communication, weather and remote-sensing satellites of the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro), which are in orbit.

If the satellites are targeted, there could be widespread chaos in the country. Indian TV channels would go off the air, satellite communication links would snap, and there would be no updates on weather and climatic data, which is crucial for aviation, shipping and meteorology.

Isro also has the Technology Experiment Satellite, launched on October 22, 2001, in orbit.

The satellite is equipped with a one-metre resolution camera and

is capable of sending images of troop movements and installations.

The first images of this satellite were requisitioned by the United Statesfor its Afghan operations.

“Defending our space-based assets is important and the IAFhas to protect them,” said the air chief.

China demonstrated its ASAT capability in January 2007; the US followed suit the next year. These are the only countries with ASAT capability as of now.

S Chandrashekhar, National Institute of Advanced Studies, who is studying India’s space weaponisation, toldDNA that scientists only need to fine-tune the existing missile and rocket-launching technologies to develop an ASAT system that will act as an effective counter to China’s.

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