Indian policy is "no first strike" in case of Ballistic Missiles.
Hopefully you never need to use them, but if you do why wait till the other side uses theirs?
And Garry, you didn't mention F-35?
I didn't mention F-35 because India would only be allowed to use it against China and it would be a downgraded export model that will not likely be available for 10-15 years anyway.
You are already spending lots of money on the FFGA... it makes no sense to then spend even more money on an off the shelf aircraft that is less capable in most areas.
With its touted EOTS/DAS it is going to be a perfect stealth strike aircraft.(F-117 is already dead after the induction of F-22)
The touted EOTS/DAS is also fitted to the Mig-35 and will almost certainly be on the FFGA... so again... why spend money on something you are already buying?
So, who knows Mr. Ajay Shukla's wet dream may come true and India may cancel Rafale and buy F-35s instead!
If India cancels the Rafale buy it should make the most obvious and most sensible decision it could possibly make and invest that 10 billion into solving any remaining issues with Tejas and getting it into mass production as soon as possible.
If they need a short term stopgap aircraft then Mig-29M2s would be relatively cheap numbers aircraft with full multirole capability.
But getting Tejas into service in large numbers would be much more useful... perhaps a joint development on a new engine and a new AESA radar for Tejas... with France or with Russia would also make sense and make them feel they don't have all their eggs in one basket still.
As far as Su-34 is concerned, well, I'm a great fan of this fighter-bomber. But don't think IAF would want to buy another heavy class fighter since they already have the MKI and would receive FGFA's in next 6/7 years!
I agree. It is too similar to the planes they are already committed to buy. this means to me that if they do want a strike aircraft that a Tu-22M3M able to carry up to 8 Brahmos or Brahmos II missiles externally with the internal rotary launcher for up to 6 heavy bombs (1,500kg) or short range attack missiles could be considered. Certainly a long range strike using enlarged Brahmos II missiles developed together with Russia but modified by India to have much greater range independently so it does not violate export restrictions on missiles could be an option.
Instead of penetrating enemy airspace with subsonic stealthy aircraft... do it with hypersonic missiles...
But as I said IAF basically is looking for a medium range striker, and both these other planes have much bigger claim to that than Mig-35.
Why do you say that?
Rafale uses three big external fuel tanks for strike missions... the Mig-35 could easily do the same. the F-35 can't use external fuel tanks and remain stealthy, so in terms of range with its inflight refuelling probe and external tanks the Mig-35 should be just as capable as Rafale in terms of flight range.
With air launched Kalibr it should have long range land attack capability too.
I am not a great fan of American fighters, but on the paper F-35 with its touted EOTS/DAS looks like an awesome strike-fighter. So, may be Ajay Shukla has a point?
The F-35 is only going to get more and more expensive... which suggests that for export models performance might be greatly reduced to save money. What the F-35 is not important if only the US models can do it.
Equally why spend money on the F-35 when stealth was not a consideration in the competition?
The real role is medium sized replacement for Mirage 2000s... if it can't be Russian, then make it Indian... more Tejas's.
Nevertheless, the F-22 is considered to offer full stealth, unlike the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, which has a very good radar profile from the front, a less stealthy profile from the sides, and a not-so-stealthy profile from the rear quarter.
This says it all... who can afford a strike aircraft that is not stealthy from behind? Especially a relatively slow aircraft like the F-35...
The F-22 is also considered stealthier than radar-evading aircraft that preceded it, including the F-117 Nighthawk and B-2 Spirit.
It is not stealthy against IRSTs, and I suspect its stealthiness is against X band radar rather than broad bands.
DAS is for 360 degree situational awareness, with all around video facility. Can't replace that with pods. Yes having MAWS/LWS sensors all around (like Su-35??) would help.
The Su-27 from the early 1980s had EOTS called IRST. 360 degree visibility sounds amazing and might occasionally be useful, but you have to ask yourself what a stealth aircraft will be doing getting within visual range of things in the air or on the ground.
In the US forum(f-16), I came across a similar post. One of the very reasons F-117 was replaced was because of its high maintenance(RAM coating all around after each sortie et al), while they touted F-22 as lot more maintenance friendly than the Night-hawk.
Then the F-117 must have been a real dog because I have heard reports saying the first F-22s had maintainence hours of 40 per flying hour because any access panel that needs to be opened they have to remove the stealthy coating first... open the panel and do the maintainence and then close the panel and then tape up the panel again so there are no edges or gaps and then apply layers of the stealth coating and let it cure before the aircraft is ready to fly.
BTW I agree with Austin in that the B-2s size allows its shape to be effective against longer wave radar frequencies, whereas the F-22 is too small so the entire aircraft will resonate a radar return in longer wavelengths that don't give much target shape data but can detect the presence of the aircraft.