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    Russian Patriot
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    US-Indian defense ties

    Post  Russian Patriot on Wed Jul 22, 2009 1:39 am

    US, India Expand Partnership with Defense, Nuclear DealsBy David Gollust
    New Delhi
    20 July 2009

    The United States and India have expanded their emerging partnership with agreements that could clear the way for large-scale Indian purchases of U.S. nuclear and military technology. The accords were announced as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton capped a five-day visit to India.

    The agreements announced by Clinton and Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna aim to accelerate a growing partnership ignited by the two countries' landmark nuclear cooperation accord reached in 2005.

    In a step to advance the nuclear accord, India has approved two sites in that country where U.S. firms will have exclusive rights to build nuclear power plants, action that could mean $10-billion worth of business for American companies.

    The sides also reached a so-called "end use" monitoring agreement that would ensure U.S. military technology provided to India is not sold or otherwise transferred to third parties.

    That accord mandated by the U.S. Congress is a necessary prerequisite for American aerospace firms to bid on a pending Indian purchase of 126 multi-role fighter jets, potentially the largest-ever arms sale.

    At a news conference, Clinton and her Indian counterpart said they had agreed to launch and be co-chairs of a "strategic dialogue" that will involve a wide range of government agencies on both sides.

    Clinton said the two countries, which had frosty relations during the Cold War era and beyond, still differ on some key issues but that their new partnership has the potential to be a "signature accomplishment" of the two governments.

    "At a time when the headlines are filled with challenges, the relationship between the United States and India is a good news story. And I believe, minister, that it is going to get even better," she said.

    Clinton said Indian Prime Minister Monmohan Singh, with whom she met earlier Monday, had accepted an invitation from President Obama to visit the White House November 24 for the first official state visit for the Obama administration.

    Foreign Minister Krishna said the understandings reached with Clinton add a "qualitative substance" to the bilateral relationship.

    "India and the United States of America regard each other as global partners. Our two democracies can play a leading and constructive role on the global level in addressing the urgent global challenges of our times," he said.

    The Clinton visit was not without discord, with India saying flatly Sunday it intends to stand firm against western demands that it accept binding limitations on the growth of its greenhouse gas emissions.

    Clinton, who insisted India can make emission cuts without harming its economy, said she is optimistic the two governments can reach a common approach before the world conference on climate change in Copenhagen in December.

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2009/07/mil-090720-voa08.htm
    Discuss!

    milky_candy_sugar
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    Boeing Submits Proposals to India to Sell Helicopters

    Post  milky_candy_sugar on Thu Nov 05, 2009 5:12 pm

    Dow Jones Newswires

    NEW DELHI – Boeing Co. said Friday it has submitted initial bids to the Indian Air Force offering the AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopter and the CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift, twin-rotor helicopter.

    The proposals, submitted this week, are in response to bids sought by India from global helicopter makers to supply its air force with 22 combat helicopters and 15 heavy-lift helicopters. The total cost of the acquisition is estimated at $2 billion.

    Boeing said India is yet to give a date for announcing the winning proposals.

    India plans to buy new combat jets and helicopters to modernize its fleet of mainly Soviet-vintage planes as Pakistan and China expand their military capabilities. The Indian Air Force has about 1,700 aircraft, including helicopters and transport planes, according to its Web site.

    It is estimated India will buy $31 billion worth of military equipment in the next 10 years, Boeing said last February.

    "If selected, Boeing will build the Apache helicopters at its rotorcraft facility in Mesa, Ariz. and the Chinook helicopters at its rotorcraft center in Ridley Park, Pa.," the company said. "Suggested production rates and delivery schedules have not been announced."

    Attack helicopter makers such as Russia's Kamov and Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, Italy's AgustaWestland, a unit of Finmeccanica SpA, and Textron Inc.'s Bell Helicopter unit earlier expressed interest in the deal.

    Eurocopter, the helicopter manufacturing unit of European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co., had pitched its Tiger attack helicopter for the tender.

    This is the second time India has issued a tender for attack helicopters. The first tender--issued in May 2008--was scrapped in March by the government.

    Both Boeing and Bell helicopter had pulled out of the original tender as the Indian Air Force wanted to buy directly from the manufacturer, but the U.S. wanted it to be a government-to-government deal, defense ministry officials had said earlier.

    Sikorsky Aircraft, a unit of United Technologies Corp., also plans to bid to sell heavy-lift helicopters, its India and South Asia managing director, A.J.S. Walia, said in February.

    http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/NEWS/newsrf.php?newsid=11805

    Vladimir79
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    Re: US-Indian defense ties

    Post  Vladimir79 on Thu Nov 05, 2009 7:05 pm

    Boeing can have it, as long as we get MMRCA! Exclamation

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    Re: US-Indian defense ties

    Post  milky_candy_sugar on Thu Nov 05, 2009 7:08 pm

    Yup, Mig-35 for the win!

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    Re: US-Indian defense ties

    Post  Viktor on Thu Nov 05, 2009 8:52 pm

    Ka-52/Mi-26 is mutch batter combo. Ka-52 is mutch cheaper/batter armed/batter agility/ and like hell cheaper missiles that will with HERMES upgrade reach unprecedented lethality althrow Vikhr does its job just fine. Also has batter crew survivability due to its ejection seats. I wont even spend my words on monster Mi-26.

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    Re: US-Indian defense ties

    Post  f-insas on Sat Aug 20, 2011 1:45 pm

    apache is a tested machine, and it can effetively give indian armour protection agaist any hostile attacks .

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    Re: US-Indian defense ties

    Post  Corrosion on Sat Aug 20, 2011 8:14 pm

    Not necessarily, what if some senator wakes up on wrong side of bed and decides to slap sanctions on India and there are no spare parts to service those super Apaches, then what??

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    Re: US-Indian defense ties

    Post  GarryB on Sun Aug 21, 2011 8:07 am

    Apache is not that well armoured... even 50 cal ball ammo seems to penetrate the side canopy... and that side canopy is a large area.

    The Apache requires a lot of support to keep it operational.

    It is of course completely up to India, but I think when the Mi-28 is fully mature it will be a better aircraft in every respect. Right now I have some questions about whether its radar systems all work properly, but I would expect it would be much simpler and cheaper to operate, with rather better armour and weapons that are likely cheaper and already in Indian service.

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    Re: US-Indian defense ties

    Post  f-insas on Sat Sep 03, 2011 8:15 am

    Vladimir79 wrote:Boeing can have it, as long as we get MMRCA! Exclamation
    mig allreadt out of the race Twisted Evil

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    Re: US-Indian defense ties

    Post  GarryB on Sun Sep 04, 2011 4:52 am

    mig allreadt out of the race

    The Mig was the only plane in the competition that was going to cost you 10 billion or less for 126 planes.

    Rafale or Typhoon is going to be $100 million plus per aircraft so you are going to save money on spare parts and training.

    Typhoon comes in so many "tranches" and none of them have real air to ground performance yet.

    Buying Rafale would be hilarous because the original plan was to simply buy more Mirage 2000s and the French said no... buy Rafales for lots more money, to which India said no, lets have a competition and get something cheaper...

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    Re: US-Indian defense ties

    Post  Pervius on Tue Sep 06, 2011 4:53 pm

    Ka-52 would be better than Apache.

    Better Air to Air missile with more range and superior resistance to countermeasures. If they wanted a moveable gun turret they could get the IAI gun turret Turkey wanted.



    If China attacks the US when it tries to deliver Apache's/F-16's to Taiwan....India may find a problem getting parts for Apache's. Unless they buy the wreckage from China at a discount..."slightly burnt".

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    Re: US-Indian defense ties

    Post  GarryB on Wed Sep 07, 2011 6:59 am

    On a standard helicopter... and I mean the traditional helicopter with a large main rotor and a small anti torque tail rotor when a helo is flying forward at speed the little tail rotor simply doesn't have the force needed for pedal turns because the air flowing over the airframe applies too much force to keep the nose pointed forward.

    In a coaxial rotor helo like the Ka-52 however it is the torque of the blades that turns the helo in pedal turns and the rotational force of the two sets of opposite rotating main rotors is enormous.

    Basically what I am trying to say is that the Kamov helo doesn't need a gun turret like an Apache because the Kamov helo can perform pedal turns over a much wider range of its flight envelope and is able to aim not just its gun but all its pylon mounted weapons at a target while not directly flying towards that target.

    The result is that the gun is attached to the aircraft near the aircrafts centre of gravity, which leads to much greater cannon accuracy than any other helo, despite using ammo that is rather more powerful than other ammo types used in helos.

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    Re: US-Indian defense ties

    Post  f-insas on Fri Sep 09, 2011 2:16 pm

    GarryB wrote:
    mig allreadt out of the race

    The Mig was the only plane in the competition that was going to cost you 10 billion or less for 126 planes.

    Rafale or Typhoon is going to be $100 million plus per aircraft so you are going to save money on spare parts and training.

    Typhoon comes in so many "tranches" and none of them have real air to ground performance yet.

    Buying Rafale would be hilarous because the original plan was to simply buy more Mirage 2000s and the French said no... buy Rafales for lots more money, to which India said no, lets have a competition and get something cheaper...
    but urs tech is outdated and migs weapon carring capabillity is not good enough ,and after sales service ,as for the russian planes ,i know its pathetic. Mad

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    Re: US-Indian defense ties

    Post  GarryB on Sat Sep 10, 2011 3:43 am

    but urs tech is outdated and migs weapon carring capabillity is not good enough ,and after sales service ,as for the russian planes ,i know its pathetic.

    Yeah, AESA is rubbish, and of course the 360 degree EO system for air and ground targets is completely unnecessary... and the fact that you already have 60 odd older model Mig-29s that are being upgraded right now and your navy is buying Mig-29Ks... it is just more of the same quality product that seems to deliver what your Army and Navy want.

    BTW what exactly is wrong with the Mig-35s carrying capacity?

    It can carry 2,000ltr fuel tanks, which means it should also be able to carry the KAB-1500 bombs and Kh-59MK missiles and other similar weapons.

    It wont be carrying Brahmos, but then you want a large aircraft for that anyway.

    Look at the program to fit long range cruise missiles to Il-76 transports... it would be an ideal platform to carry Brahmos in significant numbers in a way that doesn't reveal its military nature till missiles start falling out the rear...

    BTW After sales service is a service you organise and pay for... if you expect it to just happen... well you are in for a surprise.

    If you want to save money and buy parts on the Eastern European market then you are going to get burned.

    India seems happy to spend 10 years negotiating contracts to save a few dollars here and there and get extra bits and bobs added there, but doesn't seem to find the time to negotiate support agreements.

    Might come as a shock but spares and support is an area of planning and logistics and seems to have been ignored by so many militaries... a spares pool used to be standard practise, but when you are counting pennies then it saves money to simply buy parts when you need them.

    Of course grounding your aircraft because parts take longer than expected saves even more money because you are not burning fuel or risking pilots.

    The real question of course is your focus on saving money or having an air force.

    The huge irony is that you are now going to buy western aircraft, and I agree their support and service performance is excellent... it is also very expensive.

    Perhaps if you spent half the money you are going to spend on these new western planes on a serious spares and support program for Russian aircraft you might get what you want... at half the price.

    You wanted more Mirage 2000s and France said no, buy Rafales for $100 million each... you said no that is too expensive.

    When you do the calculation and work out that these new Rafales you are buying will cost $120 million each just think about that for a few minutes...

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    Re: US-Indian defense ties

    Post  f-insas on Thu Sep 15, 2011 1:05 pm

    GarryB wrote:
    but urs tech is outdated and migs weapon carring capabillity is not good enough ,and after sales service ,as for the russian planes ,i know its pathetic.

    Yeah, AESA is rubbish, and of course the 360 degree EO system for air and ground targets is completely unnecessary... and the fact that you already have 60 odd older model Mig-29s that are being upgraded right now and your navy is buying Mig-29Ks... it is just more of the same quality product that seems to deliver what your Army and Navy want.

    BTW what exactly is wrong with the Mig-35s carrying capacity?

    It can carry 2,000ltr fuel tanks, which means it should also be able to carry the KAB-1500 bombs and Kh-59MK missiles and other similar weapons.

    It wont be carrying Brahmos, but then you want a large aircraft for that anyway.

    Look at the program to fit long range cruise missiles to Il-76 transports... it would be an ideal platform to carry Brahmos in significant numbers in a way that doesn't reveal its military nature till missiles start falling out the rear...

    BTW After sales service is a service you organise and pay for... if you expect it to just happen... well you are in for a surprise.

    If you want to save money and buy parts on the Eastern European market then you are going to get burned.

    India seems happy to spend 10 years negotiating contracts to save a few dollars here and there and get extra bits and bobs added there, but doesn't seem to find the time to negotiate support agreements.

    Might come as a shock but spares and support is an area of planning and logistics and seems to have been ignored by so many militaries... a spares pool used to be standard practise, but when you are counting pennies then it saves money to simply buy parts when you need them.

    Of course grounding your aircraft because parts take longer than expected saves even more money because you are not burning fuel or risking pilots.

    The real question of course is your focus on saving money or having an air force.

    The huge irony is that you are now going to buy western aircraft, and I agree their support and service performance is excellent... it is also very expensive.

    Perhaps if you spent half the money you are going to spend on these new western planes on a serious spares and support program for Russian aircraft you might get what you want... at half the price.

    You wanted more Mirage 2000s and France said no, buy Rafales for $100 million each... you said no that is too expensive.

    When you do the calculation and work out that these new Rafales you are buying will cost $120 million each just think about that for a few minutes...
    recently cag (controller and auditory general ) raps navy to buy mig-29 k without weapon ,they say its a total wastage of money and the irony is the carrier is still no way vissible ,if this type of delay continious ,rissian will be lagging behind in race to supply weapon platform to india.

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    Re: US-Indian defense ties

    Post  GarryB on Thu Sep 15, 2011 2:32 pm

    Of course... the guy is clearly an idiot.

    What is the point of an aircraft carrier?

    Is it to look big and shiny, or is it to carry aircraft?

    What is the point of buying an aircraft if you don't have the planes?

    More importantly what is the point of gettig an aircraft carrier and then getting the planes so you have your nice shiny carrier and a few planes to sit on the decks but no pilots trained to fly those planes from that carrier.

    It is not rocket science to work out that a carrier is nothing without aircraft AND pilots to fly those aircraft that are actually trained to operate aircraft from an aircraft carrier and that without the planes you can't train pilots to fly the aircraft they will be flying.

    Weapons are not urgent now, because the training will be focusing on takeoffs and landings and aircraft ordinance has a limited lifespan on a weapon pylon so you never carry real weapons during takeoff and landing practise.
    It would be like wearing a condom while having a w@nk. Pardon my French. Embarassed

    Once the carriers arrive then they can start by practising takeoffs and landings for real and then do a bit of navigation practise and then they will likely look at night launches and landings as the toughest skills, and then weapon training can start.

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    Re: US-Indian defense ties

    Post  Pervius on Thu Sep 15, 2011 5:33 pm

    Instead of buying the old Russian aircraft carrier which will have to be gutted and rebuilt....India had another option.

    Look at allll the cargo container ships sitting idle since exports stopped. India could pick up a couple cargo container ships cheap. Put a team of welders/cutters on it for a few months to make a basic carrier and spend a couple years practicing launching and landing propellor planes and helo's. CHEAP.

    Once you have a few aces put a couple Mig-29k's on the ships.

    India wasted its money with the old Russian cruiser which needs major work to ever become a carrier.

    Atleast the cheap container ships you could pick up already have modern diesel power plants.

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    Re: US-Indian defense ties

    Post  GarryB on Fri Sep 16, 2011 7:13 am

    On paper it sounds like a great idea, but there is an enormous difference between a civilian cargo ship and a military vessel... not the least of which is damage control in design and structure.

    The electronic equipment needed for a Carrier would look completely out of place on a converted cargo ship and would make the vessel quite distinctive.

    Such ideas are great for quick conversions during war but during peace time the secret is revealed and cargo vessels are very easy to hit and sink and a "carrier cargo boat" would be justification to destroy any cargo vessels you come across that are acting suspiciously.

    The real problem was that after India decided to go for a quick short term stop gap solution... they spent the next decade going over the contract with a fine tooth comb.

    If they had not been so bureaucratic and penny pinching and signed the contract in 2000 instead of 2005 the vessel would have been in service for a while and would likely have been fully operational now.

    Of course I have said it before and I will say it again... if you don't like spending money... don't buy aircraft carriers.

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    US ready to offer F-35 JSF stealth jet to India

    Post  Russian Patriot on Thu Nov 03, 2011 10:44 pm

    US ready to offer F-35 JSF stealth jet to India

    Washington is prepared to offer India its latest F-35 Lightning II stealth combat aircraft, otherwise known as the Joint Strike Fighter, according to India’s IANS news agency, after U.S. companies lost a tender earlier this year to sell 126 fighter aircraft to Delhi.

    If India is interested in the JSF, the United States is prepared to supply information about the aircraft as part of the sales process, according to a Pentagon report on cooperation with India presented to Congress.

    “If India shows interest in the JSF, the USA would be prepared to provide information about it, including its technical characteristics, and other information to support India’s request,” the agency said quoting the report.

    The F-35 is currently still being tested, but low-rate initial production is already underway, with full-rate production due to begin around 2016, according to Aviation Week magazine. The United States alone wants to buy almost 2,500 F-35s.

    India is currently involved in another procurement program for a Russian-built stealth design, the Sukhoi T-50, also known as PAK-FA. Two T-50 prototypes are flying on test in Moscow, while a third is close to completion at the assembly line in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. Series production is due to start around 2014-15, with a derivative of the design built in India due to enter service with the Indian Air Force around 2020.

    Indian press reports claim the United States is willing to offer the JSF as an alternative to the T-50.

    Developed by the U.S. Lockheed Martin group, the F-35 is a multirole stealth design. The aircraft will replace thousands of F-16s, A-10s and other aircraft in the air forces of the United States, Britain and many other NATO allies.

    Earlier this year, American companies were dropped by India from a tender competition to supply 126 light fighter aircraft. Russia’s MiG-35 fighter and the Swedish SAAB Gripen were also dropped. Only the Eurofighter Typhoon and France’s Rafale remain in the competition.

    Indian military sources quoted by the local press said only the Typhoon and Rafale met the technical requirements of the Indian Air Force, which had been demonstrated in extensive flight trials by all the participating aircraft in India.

    http://www.en.ria.ru/mlitary_news/20111102/168346252.html

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    Re: US-Indian defense ties

    Post  GarryB on Fri Nov 04, 2011 12:35 am

    Interesting move by the US.

    Wonder what US allies like the UK are thinking... the US wouldn't even allow the UK the source codes to integrate their own weapons, so if Britain wanted to use Brimstone or ALARM on their own F-35s they would have to hand over those weapons to the US and get them to integrate them.

    I am sure India would want to assemble their own aircraft and perhaps even produce a few parts, but the real question is what sort of stealth performance level will the Indians get in comparison with the US version.

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    Re: US-Indian defense ties

    Post  Corrosion on Fri Nov 04, 2011 4:37 am

    Well MMRCA bids are to be opened today in presence of MoD people and reps from Rafale and EF consortium. So, US thinking goes like this. Indian officials could get sticker shock when they open files from two companies. There is a bench mark price which is agreed upon by Contract Negotiation Committee(CNC) which comprises of people from various organizations/entities such as HAL, DRDO, MoD, offset facilitation agency, IAF etc.etc. The L1 bid(lowest one) should normally be lower than the benchmark which is agreed upon by CNC. If L1 is below benchmark then the contract will be signed with L1 bidder without any more discussions on price. If if L1 bid is higher than Benchmark price then the process could be delayed. So, in that case US will pull/try to pull all the levers to rattle MMRCA process and give an offer of F-35 and LM has been beating the drum that F-35 could be delivered to India from 2015 and with the flyaway cost of $65 million each. That is mouth watering price to say the least, considering HAL built MKI costs between $50-60 million. IMO Rafale and EF will be around $100 million or more each. But off course downsides are no or minimal ToT for F-35 and questions marks over manufacture in India, CISMO & EUM agreements, source codes and question marks over integration of Indian weapons on F-35. Funny part is the timing of this F-35 announcement, just before bids are to be opened. So that if there is a sticker shock, the F-35 offer is fresh in the minds of officials and IAF. BTW decision on bids will take atleast a month or so. If the difference between the two bids is more tahn 15%, it should take minimal time.

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    Re: US-Indian defense ties

    Post  GarryB on Fri Nov 04, 2011 6:36 am

    Interesting... except there is no way they could deliver F-35s for less than twice that, and probably not even three times that price.

    Not to mention the maintainence costs... if stealth really was that cheap... everyone would have it.

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    Re: US-Indian defense ties

    Post  suryakiran on Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:11 pm

    F-35: Should India Really Ride The Lightning?

    The recent statement by a United States Department of Defence official, that the US would be willing to discuss a possible sale of the F-35 Lightning II to India, or even consider bringing India into the ambitious programme as a partner, has generated a lot of attention in
    the Indian media. While this is not the first time the F-35 has been offered to India, the timing of this fresh pitch is interesting. Coming six months after the two American contenders vying for the lucrative Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) contract -- the F-16 and F/A-18 -- failed to make the Indian Air Force (IAF) shortlist, and just days before the bids by EADS Cassidian and Dassault were opened, many perceive this as an attempt by the US and Lockheed-Martin to work themselves back into the equation. Sections of the Indian news media – both print and electronic – have called for the F-35's consideration in the MMRCA tender itself (and some have called for an outright purchase) resulting in a new round of teeth-gnashing over a topic that has stretched over a decade. All things considered, here's why we don't think the F-35 for India is a very good idea.

    To be clear, there is no doubt that the F-35 will meet accuracy and modernity standards required from any new-generation military equipment. But does it provide true bang-for-buck that the Indian Air Force needs? The way we see it, not really.

    The Lightning II can barely be called a “medium weight” aircraft – the only aircraft heavier than it in the MMRCA competition was the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. Now couple this with the fact that its payload just about matches that of the Tejas, and you start to wonder whether it's such a good fit for the IAF. Next, even if it is advertised as a “multirole” aircraft, its capability on the aerial warfare front is still seriously suspect. At present the best it can do is carry four air-to-air missiles internally, less than half the capability of either the Typhoon or Rafale. It cannot operate without air cover as it does not possess a swing-role capability. Also, its stealth is not all-aspect like the F-22’s, and so it cannot be relied upon to make its way in and out of enemy territory unassisted.

    Additionally, the F-35 features a significantly smaller combat radius than either MMRCA finalist when on internal fuel and weapons (which also means a smaller payload due to restrictions on space available). There is no official mention yet about external fuel tanks on the F-35, and the moment you hang weapons on external pylons, you can kiss both range and stealth goodbye. There are doubts, too, about its aerodynamic capabilities. The aircraft features thrust-to-weight ratio and wing loading figures poorer than those of any contemporary fighter. One wonders how well it would perform in the key strike role in the thin air over the Himalayas and the Tibetan plateau – the likely setting of any future India-China conflict.

    There is also an issue that seems minor at first sight, but could throw a spanner in procurement. The IAF has, over the last two decades, gravitated towards two-man crews for any aircraft that will be involved in strike roles beyond close air support. This was highlighted in the Kargil War when IAF Mirages had to perform precision bombing tasks at high altitude while avoiding air defences, staying within the border and keeping an eye on possible interception. It is the reason why a third of the MMRCA batch is touted to comprise tandem-seaters just as all the new Jaguars have been. The lack of a two-seat F-35 means that not only will the IAF not get what it wants for deep penetration strike roles, but it means that any pilot training will have to be done on expensive simulators only.

    Another problem is the complexity of the design itself and the fact that many of its technologies are radically new and untried. The USAF is learning the hard way that the F-22’s radar absorbing skin (which the F-35 also uses) is highly vulnerable to rain and dust, and very expensive and difficult to maintain. Advertised as having the computing power of two Cray supercomputers, it is so complex that it can only fly for an average of 1.7 hours before suffering a critical failure. Even six years after it entered service, new and potentially fatal problems continue to surface with alarming regularity. It isn’t too hard to guess how the F-35, whose design borrows heavily from that of the F-22 and even outclasses it in certain aspects, will fare in this regard.

    If that wasn't bad enough, it gets worse once we start talking about timelines and costs. As of today, the F-35 (without development costs included) is priced at the same level as the Eurofighter and the Rafale. But while the latter two are combat proven and available today (in a fashion), the Lightning II won't be for a decade. Going by past experience, further schedule slippages and cost overruns look like a distinct possibility. Now, factor in the additional uncertainty created by the possible need to develop a tandem-seat version for the IAF alone, and one quickly begins to see why any optimism regarding timelines and costs could be highly misplaced. In the midst of all these arguments and calculations, the main reason why new medium fighters are being bought is often forgotten: the IAF needs new aircraft as fast as possible to shore up numbers and make up for the rapid obsolescence of a large portion of its fleet, and each delay only serves to make an already precarious situation worse. It is already taking a significant risk with the Indo-Russian Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) as it is. What is the point of bringing more uncertainty into the equation now, that too to procure a fighter that offers little in addition to low-observability?

    And speaking of low-observability, how much will it cost to maintain the stealth features, especially in the hazy, dusty conditions of India? For that matter, will the IAF even get an aircraft that is as stealthy as the ones the US and UK operate? Will it get all the avionics, even watered down versions? The US is reluctant today to provide the UK, the only level-1 partner in the project, with full access to the aircraft’s source code. What are the chances of India getting a better deal?

    Finally, there is one additional issue that bears examination in this debate, and that is how procuring the F-35 will affect the indigenous Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) project. Because of the similar roles the two aircraft shall be expected to fulfil, there is a distinct possibility that purchasing the F-35 will kill the AMCA for good, with disastrous long-term consequences. Detractors may argue that the AMCA is nowhere close to completion, and may be delayed by years just like the Tejas has been. That may well be the case, but if the AMCA does suffer inordinate delays, India can always place a future order for an F-35 with many of its niggles hopefully sorted out. There is little reason to make that call now, when the AMCA is still a design on paper.

    Having said all that, one can imagine a few scenarios in which the F-35, even with all its problems, would serve a useful purpose in the IAF. For years, the IAF maintained a handful of high-maintenance MiG-25R Foxbats for a niche profile: reconnaissance of enemy territory, out of reach of interceptors or SAMs. Likewise, the IAF could consider one or two squadrons of the Lightning II, for the simple purpose of “kicking the door down” in the first few days of the war, taking out vital air defence nodes, logistics nodes, or AEW&C and tanker aircraft before handing over the heavy lifting to other aircraft that can announce their presence.

    And yet, the reason this may turn out to be a bad idea is that in the same way the MiG-25 was replaced not by another aircraft but an indirect replacement – spy satellites – the F-35's role can be performed not by another aircraft, but by missiles. We already operate the ground-launched BrahMos. The air-launched version should be available within the next few years, giving us a 300-km reach anywhere beyond its launch point. Throw the Shaurya into the mix and suddenly we can hit targets deep inside enemy territory without having to risk aircraft or pilots. Granted, missiles cannot do everything an aircraft can but even if cruise missiles provide partial coverage, the costs in maintaining a squadron’s worth of special aircraft and pilots cannot be justified.

    This is not to suggest that the F-35 Lightning II is a turkey, or that the US military is making a humongous blunder in buying it. But in the Indian context, we see little rationale behind spending large sums of money today on something that will only arrive a decade from now at the very best, be a difficult fit in our existing doctrine as well as punch a hole in our finances. If Lightning should strike our enemies, we would rather it not have our tricoloured roundels on it.

    f-insas
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    Re: US-Indian defense ties

    Post  f-insas on Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:43 am

    GarryB wrote:Interesting... except there is no way they could deliver F-35s for less than twice that, and probably not even three times that price.

    Not to mention the maintainence costs... if stealth really was that cheap... everyone would have it.
    we have enough to handlem the cost Twisted Evil

    GarryB
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    Re: US-Indian defense ties

    Post  GarryB on Sat Nov 12, 2011 1:33 pm

    If you have so much you want to throw some away let me give you my address to send a few big bags of money to... in fact, no, just set up an account with Rosoboronexport in my name and put money in it... Smile

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