Why don't we take the MiG-29 for example... 15 years after having developed the SMT upgrade, there are only 4 MiG-29SMTs and they aren't even in Front-line aviation.
And why is that?
The Mig-29 design was a point interceptor of short range for Frontal Aviation.
The Russian AF had no money so even if they wanted to upgrade their aircraft they couldn't. If they had the money there was no need to upgrade the Mig-29 to SMT standard because it continued to be able to do the job it was designed for.
Why would an interceptor need the ability to deliver expensive guided munitions that the Russian AF couldn't afford either?
Now they are getting money, why waste money upgrading old Mig-29s to SMT standard when they would get a better deal by spending the new money on brand new airframes like the Mig-35 and Su-35 that are significantly more capable than the SMT upgrade.
The only reason we get more is because Algeria didn't want them.
That had more to do with Sukhoi than Mig. I would expect that they simply liked the Flanker more and wanted them in service rather than the Fulcrum. The Flanker clearly suited their needs better. A bit like South Korea buying F-15Es instead of F-18Es. Both are capable aircraft and lets face it, both are overkill if the enemy is North Korea. The range of the F-15E suggests they want to reach to China.
Speaking of ECM, Gardenyia isn't even a DRFM jammer.
In the late 1980s it was pretty good. Now there are other options including pod mounted systems, and I don't think the systems in the Su-35 and Mig-35 are the same as those fitted to the Mig-29S in 1989.
I also doubt the latest Russian jammers are likely to be exported anyway, whether the customer wants them or not. The latest generation of that sort of stuff is not usually cleared for export for obvious reasons.
If you want DRFM jammers then there are Russian models available like the MSP-418K or the KS418 being developed from it.
The Malaysians even opted for a South Afrikan RWR over Russian for their Flankers... South Afrika!
South Africa make some good stuff, lots of it clandestinely with the Israelis and others. New Zealand is not well known as a high tech exporter of weapons and technology but a New Zealand company developed a chip the size of the nail on your little finger that acts as a GPS receiver that can be put in things that already have an antenna like a cellphone to give electronic devices the ability to act as a GPS receiver. Not everything new and high tech comes from the US or western europe.
We have to increasingly put French, Israeli, and Italian avionics in all of our exports just to keep our customers interested.
Customising a product to meet the needs or wants of the client. That is just normal.
For the Russian Armed forces however the client in this case wants stuff made in Russia, even if it is developed elsewhere they want to licence produce it in Russia. That is no big deal either, every major user of military equipment does that... the US has Italian pistols, Swedish AT4 rocket launchers, their tanks have had british 105mm and then german 120mm guns, their tanks currently have british designed armour, etc etc, all licence produced in the US.
The point is that a lot of stuff that went into Russian aircraft came from the Ukraine or Belarus or wherever. These are now foreign countries, so if you don't want to wait ten years for a Russian company to develop the technology from scratch and then create factories to produce it then the alternative is to find a foreign product that is the best that you have access to and negotiate licence production.
It worked well with the Thales Catherine Thermal imager. There are several Russian companies that have developed cooled and uncooled thermal imagers, but Thales has products tested and ready to go. The Russian company that will make these sights will gain tooling and a skilled workforce and the agreement includes future cooperation with Thales France to improve and develop new systems.
The other Russian optics companies will also learn from the new technology and also improve or they will use the money generated from sales of what they can sell to improve their products.
Don't fool yourself, The SMT/M2/Kub are all variations on the same theme, they are not upgrades over the other.
SMT 1 is a minor change that retains the existing radar, but adds self diagnostic equipment and changes the maintainece method to save money and parts. The original maintainence method simply had time limits for parts, when the time expired the part was replaced without inspection or testing. This meant that you went through a lot of parts as life span was a very conservative number.
It also added R-27E compatibility and also R-27T and ET compatibility and also added some guided air to ground weapons so operationally was a significant change. Lots more fuel is added including inflight a refuelling probe.
SMT 2 changed the radar and added R-77 capability and added RHAWs and RWRs and jammers. It also included new engines and a lot of other internal changes including a digital mil std bus so new weapons could be added plug and play. The larger wing of the Mig-29K is fitted with a 4 pylon and larger control surfaces but it doesn't fold like the Mig-29K.
SMT 3 replaced the radar to the best available and added lots of stuff that was intended for the Mig-29M.
The M2 was based on the M which has a different structure from the previous model Migs. The single seater and two seater are the same but the single seater just has stuff where the other crewman would sit.
Certainly they wouldn't make them completely different but the similarities are constrained by the fact that SMT is an upgrade programme to modify previously made Mig-29s and would have been what the Russian AF had applied to its in service Mig-29s if it had the money. Any new build replacement aircraft would have been M2s simply because they were superior.
The K was designed from the outset to be a naval fighter for use on a carrier, so much stronger undercarriage, folding wings, tail hook, more powerful engines etc etc.
The only true upgrades for them are buying European avionics.
...because the Russian AF has spent peanuts in the last 20 years on new avionics... the companies that develop avionics in Russia have been starved of funds for two decades.
The heavily upgraded MiG-35 comes with a plethora of European goodies as well.
Even the F-22 has parts made in Japan. The F-35 has parts made all over the world... including the jet nozzle which is Russian designed because no one in the west has any experience developing a jet nozzle that can turn more than 90 degrees in full afterburner.
And that is why RAC-MiG has to partner with SIBIT (Israel), Finmeccanica (Italy), and SAGEM (France) to make MiG-35 an exportable platform.
Russian aircraft design bureaus never worked alone before. Mig has never made engines or radars or cockpit displays etc etc. It has always been a company that Mig was working with. Whether that company is in Italy or Kazakhstan is not important. What is important is the final product. The Russian government have stated they will buy some Mig-35s but that is clearly to give it a chance in the Indian MRCA competition. It is a bit like the Mig-29K, when the Indians reordered that kept the production lines open so it became the best choice for the Russian Navy when they decided they would need a new fighter for the Kuznetsov. The Mig-29K is a capable aircraft but there was no competition because the Su-33 is not in production.
US built the Super Viper years ago, where is MiG-35?
How many of the latest F-16s does the USAF have in service? Most of the newest model F-16s were for export weren't they?
Except the correct answer is the difference in development and deployment is directly related to the defence budget different between the USAF and the RuAF over the last two decades.
Even buying everything from the west that the west is prepared to sell will not solve that problem and in some ways will just make Russia dependant on the west for new gear in the future.
The problem is the state doesn't place orders for them. They mentioned a possible order at MAKS but nothing came of it.
Those kms of factories are mostly empty shells because to make a state of the art modern fighter you need more than a lathe and a chisel like in WWII. You need high tech computer controlled tools and skill workers who can use those tools... and you need money for the raw materials. You get the money from orders so when you have no orders, you have no tools or trained workers or raw materials.
The orders mentioned at MAKS were a step forward as they included new weapons too. There is no point having T-50s if they are armed with R-73s and external R-27ERs.
Orders are easy to make, but you need to get the money and use that money to retool and when you retool, you have to retrain and hire. Securing raw material is obviously important too and then you finally get to start production... assuming your parts suppliers deliver the parts on time and in good condition.
We spent 5 billion rubles on drone research and all was for nothing. At least Israeli drones work.
I would suggest Israel spent more than 5 billion rubles to make their drones work.
You make it sound like all Russian UAVs are rubbish and were a waste of money and time.
I would suggest to you that there are an enormous number of a wide variety of Russian UAVs which look to be as good as any other you might buy anywhere else.
The problem is that the Russian AF wants long range high altitude and high speed, which basically means something like a manned aircraft performance, which is very expensive to develop when there is no money and no guarantee that the Russian Armed forces will even buy it.
Now that the Russian Armed forces show they are prepared to spend money on UAVs, which got almost no attention before the Georgian invasion of South Ossetia BTW, the makers in Russia can now look at what they want and start to work towards that.
Before the invasion of SO the Ru Armed forces didn't want anything, after they still didn't know the details of what they wanted, they just wanted a working system.
With an aircraft industry like Russias there is no reason why Russian UAVs and UCAVs can't be developed in Russia... except for this "I want it now" problem.
No one says we are importing foreign assault rifles.
Sorry, I wasn't clear. What I was trying to say was that the AK-103 has new modern plastic stocks and is made on new computer controlled machines to a much higher standard than the Soviet period AKM.
The practical difference in performance is not important at all as the weapons are very similar. The AK-103 on paper is much better, but in practical terms both will do the job.
But we are importing foreign sniper rifles which is a disgrace considering we almost let Izhmash go bankrupt waiting 20 years to enforce patents of the AK-47.
Now you seem to switch sides?
Do you mean import western stuff to give Russian workers a kick in the pants and to get them moving after a period in the doldrums?
I would say a better solution is for the government to get the funds to the factories and designers so the former can start making new stuff and the latter can start working on upgrades for the new stuff.
Soldiers should always be properly armed. If you aren't willing to give them night-sights then they will never be able to fight in the dark. There are simple things that need to be done now while we modernise C4ISR, which will take a decade.
A soldier with an obsolete rifle is still properly armed. They are just not optimally armed. BTW regarding night sights I was looking at a website yesterday showing some interesting new toys:
and here are some more devices from the same company, some of which include digital compass's, GPS, and laser rangefinders.
and for scopes with laser rangefinders and ballistic calculators here:
T-95 isn't being dropped due to production issues, it is being dropped because it is obsolete now, much less when it gets off the production line
The things I have heard suggest to me that it is more like the F-22 than the F-4 you are suggesting. The Black Eagle was largely a shell, a concept vehicle that was not operational. The T-95 has been worked on for a very long time and I can't see how it can go from... this is technologically difficult to make to obsolete overnight, especially when most western tanks were developed in the 1980s and have just received upgrades the same as the T-90.
If the issue is being netcentric then what is the point of buying the Leclerc when the issue is the computers and systems inside the vehicle. Why not just buy the "system" and install it on T-90s, the latest Burlak upgrade looking rather good and certainly not inferior to any foreign tank.
It will be the most networked MBT in the history of the world and would go well with our Thales based communications network.
But where do you draw the line? Replace your rifles with FAMAS rifles because they fit the FELEN design better? French APCs because they are integrated into the C4I system already too? Drop the T-50 for the RAFALE?
If Russians can create a netcentric 5th gen fighter, even if it takes 10 years, why can't they design and build a system for their army and take 10 years doing that?
Even if they buy a French Net centric system that will take a decade to introduce so why make any decisions about replacing the T-90 with Leclerc now?
It costs more money to maintain old aircraft which comes directly out of the operations budget.
Not really. Most of the spares should have been bought, and there are lots of old airframes that can be canabalised too which are all already paid for.
That money should be put to buying new aircraft that are cheaper to maintain.
Certainly most of the money should be invested in new aircraft, but upgrades of existing types can be implimented during overhauls and as most earlier upgrades like SMT for the Fulcrums and SM for the Flankers were focused on reducing operational costs keeping some of the old aircraft can be affordable.
The SMT upgrade for the Mig-29 replaces the old obsolete non digital wiring and hardware and reduces operational costs by 40%.
Some old aircraft can just be used till they need an expensive overhaul and scrapped, others can be upgraded at low cost... the SMT upgrade was something like 6 million per aircraft but as I said reduced operational costs by 40%.
In the long run we will be able to operate double as many aircraft than we do on the current budget.
But buying new aircraft is expensive. Compare spending 40-60 million dollars for the new aircraft with 10-20 million at most for upgrading existing aircraft to a level where they have R-77 compatibility.
Remember with the withdrawl of all those single engine fighters the Russian AF lost most of its short range strike aircraft like the Mig-27s and Su-17s, so having a few Mig-29SMTs and Su-27SMs able to carry guided air to ground weapons will fill a large capability gap too.
Retooling a factory is not going to improve the research divisions. They are full of geriatrics that have no vision. What is needed are good salaries and university partnerships to bring in young blood to reinvigorate the R&D. We need people trained in Western management to bring reform to our state run disaster areas. We need an infusion of European technology to give the researchers the tools to get back on track and stop focusing on Soviet obsolescence.
That is your opinion and of course I respect that. However I think a better way is to actually make orders of Russian hardware, put it in service and then with experience with the hardware give the design bureaus feedback of what needs to be improved and what they want to replace it.
As I keep harping on, some technologies simply did not exist in a mature form in Russia like thermal imagers. The solution was French for tanks and I believe Swedish for helicopters and French for fixed wing aircraft. Right now several Russian optics companies have caught up and are able to offer rifle sights and portable thermal imagers so Russian soldiers are actually going to be getting Russian thermal sights for their rifles rather than French models.
This makes sense to me.
Stating that the T-95 is rubbish already is highly suspicious because it will be a net centric tank in an armed force that is not yet net centric.
Stating the current attempt to make the armed forces net centric is useless because it crashed twice... welcome to the world of computers.
I have read an article that stated it was too easy to jam, but then the system it replaced... a radio... was slow and inefficient and also easy to jam.
Progress can happen in leaps but also in small steps.
The important thing is to keep the steps in the right direction.
This French FELEN suit will have certain elements that are rather more advanced than Russian designers can provide, but in other areas like protection levels I would expect Russian stuff would be good enough.
It is a bit like India and the Brahmos.
The system the Russians end up with will be a combination of French technology and ideas and Russian technology and ideas.
For the T-95 though, it was a project going on for a long time, with (most likely) the cost going up for both research and parts, yet probably was not meeting the MoD's requirements.
Yet, the designer said in an interview I read that it met all the requirements from the Armed Forces. I suspect if there is a problem that it is because the Armed forces has raised its expectations.
Problems with it is the lack of battle management software, the gunner must feel very uncomfortable, and maybe SATCOM (although I am not sure about that one).
The Burlak upgrade has added a battle management system, and also a second autoloader in a turret bustle in addition to the underfloor autoloader.
With no ammo in the crew area it should be as safe for the crew as an Abrams.
Edit: Something though caught my attention to one of Vlads posts. He mentioned about sniper rifles being bought from elsewhere rather then domestically. And I am wondering as to why that is? Is the SV-98 just poor quality? Or what is it?
I have spoken to someone on another site that said the SV-98 was not cheap and that the standard scope supplied was rubbish.
He did say it was accurate.
The other thing I see as a problem is that their military industrial complex is far too bloated. You have Yakovlev, Mikoyan, Sukhoi, Ilyushin, Tupolev, Beriev, multitude of research institutes and various other industries. While in most other nations, there is less. Thales and Thales derivatives (Thales-Samsung in Korea as an example), Boeing, Lockheed in US, EADS in Europe, Chengdu in China......
In the 1980s and before each design bureau had thousands of employees. Talk about bloated. Now they are much smaller organisations, a fraction of their size previously and each specialises in a specific area, though they tended to dabble in other areas. For example look at the pattern of Sukhoi aircraft. Su-9, Su-11, Su-15 were all interceptors for the PVO to replace older models from Yakovlev. Su-24 was a strike aircraft, Su-25 Combat air support. The Su-7 was a fighter bomber, as was the Su-17. Mostly ground attack and interceptor... till the Su-27 series that included navy and strike variants. Now they are primarily a fighter design bureau but also the S-62 UAV for high altitude and even the S-60 replacement for the Backfire.
Tupolev focused on bombers and airliners.
Ilyusion was transports, Yakovlev is now jet trainers and UAVs.
The big joining of all these design bureaus into large companies doesn't mean enormous companies, it means big companies with design bureaus almost as departments. If you want to look at helos go to the Mil department or the Kamov department for example.
The conglomeration was necessary because there were no orders and anyway a design bureau can't build anything... they just design so they needed a way to make money so they joined with the factories to make new companies already.
The MIG company was made up of a dozen companies already before it was absorbed by OAK.
BTW Vlad, I am not trying to be annoying, and I don't see this discussion as an arguement and hope you don't view this that way either.
I respect your inside knowledge and understand you probably don't have time to spend all day answering my posts...