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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dassault Aviation’s Rafale Wins India's M-MRCA Competition

This is what I have been saying since last December: that Dassault Aviation's bid was L-1. Am glad that the ‘buzz’ I had come across in Delhi—claiming that the Rafale’s per unit cost was US$5 million cheaper—has now been confirmed. Within the next 60 days, India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) is widely expected to finally ink the contract for procuring up to 189 Rafale medium multi-role combat aircraft (M-MRCA), inclusive of firm orders for 126 units, with an option for another 63. Around a quarter of the total projected fleet of IAF Rafales will be tandem-seaters. The final contract value will include the flyaway per-unit cost of the aircraft, plus administrative costs related to project implementation. Following this, over the next 36 months, various supplemental contracts are likely to be inked with various French and non-French OEMs, such as those relating to the procurement of guided-weapons (including the MICA-IR and MICA-EM BVRAAMs, AASM family of PGMs, GBU-49 laser-guided bombs, Taurus KEPD-350 cruise missiles, and probably the Brimstone anti-armour PGM) and their part-task trainers, procurement of mission avionics sub-systems (like the ASTAC ELINT pods, Litening-3 laser-designator pods EL/M-2060P SAR pods, and EL/M-2222 self-protection jamming pods), COBHAM’s 754 buddy-buddy refuelling pods, mission planning systems, procurement of tactical flight training and maintenance simulators, procurement of hardware required for a new Base Repair Depot (catering to depot-level maintenance requirements and 1,000-hour aircraft inspection schedules), establishment of four avionics intermediate workshops for ensuring serviceability of the Rafales at the IAF Wing-levels, and creation of licenced-assembly lines (for the airframes, engines, avionics and accessories) so that the MoD-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) can begin rolling out the Rafales within 48 months of contract signature. While Dassault Aviation will deliver between 18 and 24 Rafales between mid-2015 and 2018, HAL’s annual aircraft rollout rate is presently a targetted 14 units per annum.


Following contract dignature, R & D work will begin in both France and at the IAF’s Bengaluru-based Aircraft & Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) to customise those Rafales destined for the IAF in order to accept mission-specific avionics that will ensure compatibility with the IACCCS. For instance, HAL-built IFF transponders, TACAN, software-defined HF/VHF/UHF radios, SATCOM terminals, and operational data-links with built-in encryption modems for ensuring two-way communications between friendly combat aircraft as well as platforms like the A-50I AEW & CS and IL-78MKI aerial refuelling tankers, will be installed on-board. Once the deliveries get underway, four Rafales from the first delivery tranche will be attached to the Gwalior-based Tactics & Combat Development Establishment, which, along with the IAF’s College of Air Warfare, will begin work on validating all the operational parameters of the Rafale within an India-specific operating environment, and consequently begin drafting the Rafale’s IAF-specific operations and maintenance manuals—a process that will take up to three years.

When I had last viewed the Rafale at Le Bourget, Dassault Aviation was then using the 49th International Paris Air Show to describe its combat-proven Rafale as being an ‘omnirole’ M-MRCA, a tag that it said denotes the type’s ability to perform multiple mission types simultaneously. This differs from the widely adopted multi-role description used by its rivals (read: Eurofighter EF-2000) largely as a result of the aircraft’s ability to provide its pilot with data fuzed from on-board sensors, it said. These range from its THALES-built RBE-2 AESA-based multi-mode radar (MMR), Spectra integrated electronic warfare suite and OSF passive front sector optronics equipment to the variety of precision-guided munitions (PGM) on offer from both SAGEM and MBDA. By 2030 the Rafale will be France’s sole manned M-MRCA, although the country’s air force could also start to field an unmanned combat air system from around this time. Signed in December 2009 and covering the delivery of 60 aircraft, the Rafale’s fourth order tranche will extend production up to the end of 2019. Paris’ commitment takes to 180 the number of Rafales to be produced for its air force and navy, from a total commitment for 286 aircraft: 228 B/Cs and 58 Ms, respectively. The current production rate delivers 11 aircraft a year, with around six on the line at any one time at Dassault’s Merignac site. The goal is for each Rafale to spend around five months between the arrival of its main structures and customer acceptance, with roughly 70% of the activity at the site concerned with test activities, such as on fuel and hydraulics systems and flight controls.
Growing combat experience in both Afghanistan and Libya only strengthened Dassault Aviation’s efforts to sell the Rafale to international customers like India. While the company has maintained guarded optimism over its prospects in India (in the aftermath of its shortlisting last March), it is waiting on the outcome of the roughly 36-aircraft F-X2 competition in Brazil, where a decision is expected to be made in 2012. Fresh speculation has also emerged over the past few months with regard to a long-expected deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where France already bases some of its combat aircraft. The next standard to enter frontline use, in mid-2013, is dubbed Rafale F3-04T. This will introduce the RBE-2 AESA-MMR, the laser-/GPS-/imaging infra-red-guided AASM PGM from SAGEM, improved OSF infra-red search-and-track system from THALES, and MBDA's DDM-NG passive missile approach warning system. Down the line, MBDA’s Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile should enter service around 2018. In addition, funded research and development studies are already looking towards possible enhancements--to be made several years beyond this point--in areas such as a reduction to the Rafale’s radar cross-section, expanded flight envelope, human/machine interface enhancements and new communications equipment and weapons. A mid-life update is also planned from around 2025.
The advantage of electronic scanning is that the radar beam is directed electronically, rather than by mechanically swiveling the antenna back and forth to scan the sky. That means the beam can be switched in microseconds from one area of the sky to another, or used for ground mapping and air surveillance at the same time by flipping between the two modes. The current RBE’s passive phased-array antenna uses electronic lenses consisting of arrays of diodes to direct the beam horizontally and vertically. The active array eliminates the grids; instead, the front end of the antenna is populated by hundreds of transmit/receive (T/R) modules, each combining a high-power transmit amplifier, low-noise, receive amplifier and beam control. Eliminating the grids also eliminates the power lost by the signal going back and forth, improving the radar’s detection capability. Such a high level of integration is made possible by the gallium-arsenide, integrated-circuit technology. THALES has also developed a new liquid-cooling system for the T/R modules. The gallium-arsenide chips, which carry out digital processing and frequency management at the same time, are produced by United Monolithic Semiconductor, a THALES/EADS joint venture, then integrated into sub-assemblies by THALES Micro Electronics before being integrated into the antenna itself. Future enhancements to the RBE-2, such as a finer aperture for ground-mapping in synthetic aperture radar mode and simultaneous mode operations will be achieved through new software, with no change to the hardware. In fact, the large number of T/R modules means some of them can fail without noticeably affecting the system’s overall reliability and performance. Their reliability is such that the RBE-2’s active front-end should not require maintenance at intervals of less than 10 years.
In addition to the RBE-2, THALES is also developing a digital colour head-up display (HUD) for the Rafale. This would be the first colour HUD in the world for a combat aircraft, as presently all combat aircraft have analogue HUDs that are able to display geometric forms in two dimensions only with a single green font. THALES’ new digital HUD will offer a three-dimensional display of the ground with important items like obstacles or the runway for example, assuring a safe flight by night and bad visibility. The higher resolution of this new HUD will allow displays of perfect geometric forms (variable line thickness and brightness) and several different fonts in different colours (green and red for the current prototype) in order to match the other displays’ colour codes used in the aircraft (such as red for high-priority threats). SNECMA Moteurs, meanwhile, is delivering enhanced M88-4E turbofans. Drawing on the activities of SNECMA’s ECO development programme of 2004-2007, the new standard reduces ownership costs and maintenance demands, gives an impressive 50% better lifespan, and also has the growth potential to increase available power from a current maximum of 17,000lb (75kN) to roughly 19,800lb. Key changes include a new high-pressure (HP) turbine, three new HP compressor stages and some changes to materials and geometry. The proposed derivative of the M88-4E for the UAE, called M88-9, will reach 9 tonnes of thrust by increasing the entering airflow from 65kg/second to 72kg/second, as well as the compression rate from 24.5 to 27. Using this engine, however, requires the Rafale’s air intakes to be enlarged, which was earlier a major blocking point in the negotiations with the UAE. Such a structural modification is not cheap and the R & D costs will most probably have to be shared between the two countries.
Another capability that is now being made available for the Rafale is the laser-guided version of the AASM ‘Hammer’ precision-guided bomb. Used extensively during France’s on-going involvement in Libya, the weapon is now available with GPS/INS guidance. This will also be combined with an infra-red seeker in use from 2012. But while the AASM boasts all-weather capability and a standoff range of more than 32nm (60km), it lacks the ability to strike moving targets. A new laser-guided version was demonstrated in three test firings in  2010. These included a strike against a target from a vertical trajectory, another which replicated the future availability of an advanced targeting pod, and a shot in which the PGM tracked a laser spot from a turret-mounted ground illuminator travelling at 43 Knots (80kph) and replicating a moving vehicle. It hit the target less than 3 feet away from the spot. At the same time, the THALES-built Reco-NG pod will receive a new function enabling in-flight GPS coordinates extraction of detected targets.
According to Dassault Aviation, there are three main reasons why the Rafale fully complies with the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) stringent parameters for choosing the optimum M-MRCA. Firstly, it comes with no strings attached. Secondly, the team of Dassault Aviation, THALES and SNECMA Moteurs claims that it has tailored its technology transfer packages to ensure total operational autonomy over the Rafale, and thirdly, as Dassault prefers to phrase it, “when a single country makes your aircraft from nose to tail, you know exactly what you’re getting into”. Dassault officials are of the view that since every political decision-maker knows guaranteed operational sovereignty is a key parameter when selecting a new-generation combat aircraft, therefore, unlike alternative sources of such combat aircraft types, the Rafale team has been fully amenable and sufficiently flexible to establish a wide range of strategic partnerships with its customers, all geared towards enabling the customer country to take part in military-industrial production joint ventures, enabling the customer air force to locally service and modify the Rafale’s airframe, transferring all the relevant software source codes, facilitating the integration of new or indigenous weapons and systems, and adapting the Rafale to accept operator-specific hardware for communications, IFF, and data-linking.
The main step towards achieving full operational sovereignty being the ability to carry out in-country maintenance of its combat aircraft assets, the Rafale team has evolved a Rafale fleet management and support programme that can be accomplished in situ. Extensive know-how and technology transfers, in addition to comprehensive training packages, will ensure that the Rafale’s operator remains capable of operating, servicing and upgrading this M-MRCA throughout its life-cycle. The Rafale team has also designed and fine-tuned its comprehensive industrial package of services encompassing flying training and simulation, spare parts supply, systems calibration, repair and overhaul of components, supply of documentation, and technical assistance. This type of fixed-price programme for contractor logistics support packages also contributes to long-term cost management, while providing guaranteed results. The Rafale team has also promised to ensure that full-scale in-country fleet maintenance-cum-upgrading will be carried out by the IAF. To this end, the French government has already approved source-code transfers for the Rafale’s mission management avionics, which include the RBE-2 AESA-MMR and Spectra EW suite. In addition, the Rafale team will also supply mission-preparation and restitution tools like EW programming systems, which will enable the customer air force to locally update the Rafale’s on-board EW threat library and jamming/decoying sequences.
The Rafale F-3’s latest tranche 4 variant (as we now know from the data released by Dassault Aviation and the French Armee de l’Air in connection with the on-going M-MRCA competitions in Brazil and the United Arab Emirates) for the IAF was proposed with the THALES-built Radar à Balayage Electronique-2 (RBE-2) multi-mode radar, which has an antenna array equipped with 1,001 transmit/receive modules, has a detection range of 180km, and performs track-while-scan (TWS) of up to 40 airborne targets. It will, in future, also feature a ground moving target indication-cum-tracking (GMTI/T) mode simultaneously interlaced with the airspace TWS mode. In addition, a synthetic aperture radar mapping mode will be available. Also on the cards is a growth variant of Snecma Moteurs’ M88 turbofan, which will be rated at 90kN (20,000lb) with afterburner (a 20% increase over the original M88-2) and a higher time-between-overhauls (from the present 800 hours).—Prasun K. Sengupta

92 comments:

kattayikonan said...

you are always right in analyzing the MMRCA right from the beginning. and also not biased in comparing all the air crafts...

buddha said...

sir credit goes to high price Mirage deal
However this is the perfect for India and kaveri project to

Anonymous said...

Great news !!! The Best "man" won !!!!!

Yawn said...

Prasun,

I can only say this-You Da Man!!!

Anyway, there was a Reuters report stating that the a follow-on contract for up to 80 jets could be opened to other bidders. Do you think this offers a chance to the Americans.

AKG said...

this deal would give a major economic boost to the french economy
in the current eurozone crisis

Mr. Ra 13 said...

Fortunately the best deal has been reached, perhaps due to the magic of the mirage.

Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun, has the IAF confirmed that the Rafale has been chosen over the Typhoon? After all the Typhoon was the better of the two. If not pls give your reasons.Has the deal been signed in favor of the Rafale?

KSK said...

Very good news indeed!!!!!!

So,will India be the full development partner of Rafale....ie can future exports to other countries could be produced jointly by both?

Anonymous said...

Sir,
Why didnt we consider buying F-15E Fighter?

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To kattayikonan: VMT

To Yawn: VMT. The 189-aircraft order won’t be split.

To Anon@11.04PM: Below is the official press release of Dassault aviation:
Following the announcement of the final selection of the Rafale in the frame of the MMRCA program, Dassault Aviation and its partners are honored and grateful to the Indian Government and the people of India to be given the opportunity to extend their long-lasting cooperation. Dassault Aviation and its partners reiterate their commitment to meet the operational requirements of the Indian Air Force and underline their pride in contributing to India’s defence for over half a century.

French Presidency Press release :
The President of the French Republic has learned of India’s selection of the Rafale for the acquisition by the Indian Air Force of 126 fighter aircrafts. France is pleased with the Indian government’s decision to select the French aircraft to enter into exclusive negotiations with Dassault. This announcement comes at the end of a very high-level, fair and transparent competition involving two European finalists. The Rafale has been selected thanks to the aircraft’s competitive life-cycle costs, after the April 2011 pre-selection on the basis of its top-level operational performance. The negotiation of the contract will begin very soon and has the full support of the French authorities. It will include important technology transfers guaranteed by the French government. The realisation of the Rafale project will illustrate the depth and scale of the strategic partnership between France and India.

To KSK: Not developmental partner, like what the UAE aspires to be. But just a much-prized customer. After all, the Rafale comes fully developed, and there’s not much that Indian OEMs can do to make it better. Customisation yes. But in terms of becoming a strategic industrial partner in other areas, like the Kaveri-powered Tejas Mk2 or the AMCA or the Aura UCAV, yes the doors in India will now be wide open for French OEMs to strike risk-sharing industrial partnerships with their Indian counterparts.

To Anon@11.25PM: Why would one want the F-15E when the Su-30MKI is already there???

Black Hawk said...

when we first issued RFI for MMRCA, somebody from Dassault said that if the Rafale was selected, then Snecma would work with GTRE to develop a variant of the Kaveri to go on board the IAF Rafales.
Is that a possibility now? Did that swing the deal?

Anonymous said...

why did you mention 189, is it because the clause is to have 1 and 1/2 the tender numbers at the negotiated cost. Do we really require that many of MRCAs (assuming no attrition) at such high cost. Also since Unmanned aircrafts are the preferred machines of future is it really useful.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Black Hawk: That's no longer a possibility, but a finite certainty. But that alone did not swing the deal, as there are several more offers on the table, such as the one for cooperation in the area of new-generation nuclear-powered submarines, which we had discussed and analysed before.

To Anon@1.22AM: Don't forget that 125 MiG-21 Bisons & 165 MiG-27Ms will have to be retired between 2014 and 2020. The 189 Rafales will be delivered over a 15-year period, and the entire fleet will be required to undergo at least three mid-life refits, as mandated by the IAF. UCAVs will remain as unmanned droppers of offensive aerial ordnance like ATGMs or LGBs at least till 2025, and are not expected to engage in aerial combat.

Anonymous said...

sir my question was about the need to have the mandated strength of squadrons (39 or so) when MRCA actually can do the job of multiple aircrafts (like if 1 rafale can do the job of 2 Mig21 ) do real numbers matter. Quality wise the modern fighters can make up the quantity of cold war fighters especially with force multipliers AEW&C and fuellers, networking, realtime situational awareness etc. Also since the modern threat scenario and future battles might be completely different from cold war do we require a large number of fighters (we will have ~300 Su-30, 50 mirage2000,100+ Jaguars,and to be inducted LCA and futuristic FGFA). Considering the Network centric warfare do the size really matter, again not to mention the UCAVs who will do the donkey job. Again the scenario has to be assessed when there is shortage of OLQ cadets for fighters. Is not a Lean and Mean force better than a swanky but complicated force especially when def expenses need streamlining for future capabilities.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@3.57AM: You have to take note of certain parameters whenever analysing the IAF’s projected force structure. Firstly, the IAF’s projected fleet strength for the years to come is dictated by the force postures designed to concurrently tackle two fronts: along the Sino-Indian LAC and along the India-Pakistan borders (i.e. international boundary, working boundary & the LoC). Secondly, on H-hour (i.e. when hostilities begin), the fleet availability rate is the highest, i.e. 80% (this goes down to 60% in peacetime). Thirdly, between the first 72 and 96 hours of a high-intensity air campaign, the fleet availability, even for fourth-generation combat aircraft, goes down to 50% and this figure is meant to be sustained until the end of hostilities, supposedly not exceeding 14 days. Now, taking all this into account, it would definitely appear to be the case that the procurement of 189 M-MRCAs is an optimum figure, considering that these M-MRCAs will also progressively replace the 125 Jaguar IS interdictors between 2020 and 2030.

Anonymous said...

" various supplemental contracts are likely to be linked with various French and non-French OEMs, such as those relating to the procurement of guided-weapons (including the MICA-IR and MICA-EM BVRAAMs, AASM family of PGMs, GBU-49 laser-guided bombs, Taurus KEPD-350 cruise missiles "
Are we gonna purchase all these weapons ? MBDA also offered us Taurus for Super 30 upgrade program, is IAF interested ?

"procurement of mission avionics sub-systems (like the ASTAC ELINT pods, Litening-3 laser-designator pods EL/M-2060P SAR pods, and EL/M-2222 self-protection jamming pods)"
Why are we not using french mission avionics sub-systems ? Are the israeli system officially finalized or they ask for RFP ?

Are we using the above sub systems in LCA mk2 also ? Are we gonna use some EW suite like Spectra on LCA mk2 ?

Is SAMTELThales also producing this new digital HUD ?

Has IAF also asked for this high power engine that UAE asked for or energy efficient one that French will be using ?

What is it that French are offering to us ? I mean there are many speculations like Barracuda design or Neuron UCAV or Kaveri engine which is it ? Also what are the offsets ?

I also have a very unsettling question, why is IAF purchasing separate weaponry for each fighter jet in IAF inventory ? IAF is using Israeli missiles for LCA, russian origin missiles for russian fighter jet, european missiles for Rafale, new russian missiles for FGFA and may be even a couple US missiles might be inducted. Why so many missiles ?

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@4.23AM: Are we gonna purchase all these weapons ? YES.
MBDA also offered us Taurus for Super 30 upgrade program, is IAF interested?---------THE Taurus offer is presently only for the M-MRCA, and not for the Super Su-30MKI. It remains to be seen if the Taurus will be made available with range limitations (300km) or not (600+km).
Why are we not using french mission avionics sub-systems ? Are the israeli system officially finalised or they ask for RFP? THE M-MRCA RFP had specified that the offered M-MRCA be compatible with these sub-systems. It makes no sense for an air force to make use of more than one type of laser designator pod or self-protection jammer.
Are we using the above sub systems in LCA mk2 also? Are we gonna use some EW suite like Spectra on LCA mk2? WHY should the tejas Mk2 use Spectra, when the Virgilius EW suite from Elettronica of Italy has been selected and will also be on the MiG-29UPG.
Is SAMTELThales also producing this new digital HUD? NOT for a decade, at least.
Has IAF also asked for this high power engine that UAE asked for or energy efficient one that French will be using? Of course. That’s why I’ve stated above that the IAF’s Rafales will be subjected to three distinct mid-life upgrades throughout their service lives.
What is it that French are offering to us? I mean there are many speculations like Barracuda design or Neuron UCAV or Kaveri engine which is it? Also what are the offsets? ALL THOSE WILL BE REVEALED LATER IN GREATER DETAIL. The direct offsets are already mentioned above & have been highlighted by me in the narrative above.
I also have a very unsettling question, why is IAF purchasing separate weaponry for each fighter jet in IAF inventory? IAF is using Israeli missiles for LCA, russian origin missiles for russian fighter jet, european missiles for Rafale, new russian missiles for FGFA and may be even a couple US missiles might be inducted. Why so many missiles? THIS IS INEVITABLE. Can’t be helped, unless one begins producing indigenous solutions that are common to all combat aircraft (like what the US, Russia, France, the UK & China are doing).

Unknown said...

Hey, great article


Will Rafele applied to IAF come with HMDS? As I don't think the French have HMDS on their Rafeles but the EFT does have such a system operational right now. Also could you outline specifically what benifit the Indian aerospace industry will get from this deal? what technologies will be given and what organisations/program's will be directly benefited?


+ regarding the missile dilemma isn't that what DRDO/IAF is attempting to do ie with Astra as a start- will be used on LCA and MKI. Not to mention atleast their will be community with M2K and Rafele, if EFT had one then yet more different missiles would have to be procured for this separate platform.

Vayuad said...

I have just one question, IN HOW MANY WAYS WILL INDIA BENEFIT IN IMPROVING ITS TECHNOLOGY KNOWLEDGE FOR USE IN ITS INDIGENOUS AIRCRAFT LIKE TEJAS AND AMRC? Will it even help?

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Unknown: Both the TopSight & TopOwl HMDS are available for the Rafale. In fact, the TopOwl is already in service with Indian Navy MiG-29Ks. As for technologies to be shared, I've already highlighted them above and they're all part of direct offsets. There will also be several vendor development programmes administered by HAL and BEL and the principal beneficiaries will be several SMEs (up to 400) of the type already involved with the Tejas & Su-30MKI programmes. The indirect industrial offsets are a different story altogether and will involve certain 'strategic' programmes.
The Astra BVRAAM us at least another five years away.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

Vayuad: Well, for starters if you had seen photos of HAL's assembly line in Nashik for the Su-30MKI and the assembly lines of HAL for the Jagyar IS or Hawk Mk132, you would have realised the difference when it comes to upgrading one's licenced-assembly skills. Other than that, there won't be much to look out for, because most of it is already existing in-country. For instance, the RLG-INS (Sigma-95N) is common to the Su-30MKI, upgraded Mirage 2000H/TH Rafale & Tejas Mk1/2. There are several other France-origin components on the Tejas which are also there on the Su-30MKI and will also be on the Rafale & upgraded Mirage 2000s. The TopOwl HMDS which is for the MiG-29K will also be used for the Rafale & Mirage 2000.

Unknown said...

Hey,

I think you mean TopSight HMDS is in service on Mig-29K, TopOwl is for helicopters. And will it actually be on the first Rafele delivered to IAF? Or is it just an offer that won't nessercarily be taken up? As it seems all other IAF planes have/will have HMDS by end of the decade. And btw what HMDS will be part of the SUPER-30 MKI upgrade?

Anonymous said...

Prasun,

Since the UAE had wanted a higher spec engine-which would also be useful for India no doubt, what are the possibilities of the three entities (india, France, UAE) pooling together for such an upgrade? It would undo some of the bitterness that the UAE had with Dassault over price last year.

If Dassault indeed gets to sign the dotted line, the positive bounce it shall have could help further upgrades-am I right on this.

I remember almost a decade back that Dassault/Thales/Snecma had proposed a Mk2 variant of the Rafale with CFTs, AESA radar and the M88-3 engine for the South Korean and other export competitions. It would be nice to see it rise again

Mallu said...

You are really good in analysis. I really appreciate your blog. This is great indeed. I never seen any other bloggers who respond to his or her readers' comments. So please try to continue and pls keep on posting articles.

What I do not understand is why UAE wanted to aspire with Rafale development? It seems to me UAE does not have good pool of engineering and technology graduates and why does it want to be in development?
Also why UAE wanted more power engine for Rafale? UAE's immediate 'enemy' is Iran, but a war is much unlikely between Iran and UAE in the next 25 or more. So only reason why it wants to have power engine for rafale is it can fly rafale over to Pakistan if there is any war broke out between India and Pakistan? Am I right?

BTW, is this 'developmental aspiration of UAE' is similar to what India offer for PAK-FA?

Anonymous said...

Prasun for the IN proposed 4 LPH is the Canberra or Juan Carlos I by Navantia on offer. Out of all the offers Dokdo,MHD-2000,Mosaic,Mistral etc I believe Canberra class to be truly multi-function platform over the others.

With the presence of Ski Jump air cover could also be provided by few onboard fighters MIG-29 or Rafale to the landing forces both Heli and amphibious. If required the same ship can function as a back-up aircraft carrier by clearing out choppers or vehicles below deck.

Anonymous said...

Prasun MBDA offered IAF Taurus for Su30 mki few months back.

http://www.defencenow.com/news/336/european-consortium-mbda-offers-taurus-stand-off-missile-for-iafs-upgraded-su-30-mki.html

This is an excerpt from one of the MMRCA decision article :
" One of the sources said France's Rafale jet was the likely winner, adding that the defense ministry was now considering buying another 80 or so jets and could invite bidders excluded from the current process to take part. "
Is this true ????
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/31/us-india-defence-idUSTRE80U0A820120131
Source can't be wrong as it is REUTERS...

Anonymous said...

Great News.........and, damned good article.........like brushing my teeth each morning...i log on to your blog every day !!! (except on Sunday's!! - for both !!)

Really good for the AF got the Rafale........far better MMRCA than the Euro.........

What news of the poor Pilatus Pc-7II order !! hope it does not get lost/delayed in all the euphoria of the Rafale...........

Anonymous said...

Sir,
Can you tell what Technology india lost by not selecting Typhoon.

If cost was only constrain, then US planes were also good for consideration.

Please post your detail analysis on the above subject.

Thanks

THINK TANK said...

From Think Tank...
Prasun Da RAFALE was gr8 choice...B'cse IAF is already oprating MIRAGES from Dassualt...and it will save the Logistics,training and interactive time of both IAF & Parent company.Now if IAF & HAL will have some brain and will go in China's way...soon India can have itz own version of Rafales...like Chinese had their SU-27.Rafale is most Stealthy in 4+ generation of air crafts..., also help Navy for Aircraft Carrier operations...hope IAF-HAL will in comming decades join hand with Dassult-Thales, and bring up timely up gradations of RAFALE...so that it can replace MiG 21,23,27,29,Mirage2000, and IAF could operate highly sophisticated 4+ generation fighters like SU-30MKI & SU-30MKI Super, RAFALES, TEJAS MK2 & Fifth Generation PAK-FA & AMCA.
FRENCH have gr8 weapon manufacturing technologies and MOD-IAF must use this opportunity, and use "Leap Frog" methodology to fill technology gap we are facing.
Now kindly open ur mouth and post on ARJUN MK3...itz long in parda and now must come out...
Regards.

VJ said...

Broadsword Broadsword What you gonna do, what you gonna do as the Rafale is choosed!

hehe

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Unknown: The TopSight HMDS will be mandatory on all Rafales & upgraded Mirage 2000s. For the Su-30MKI upgrade, a new-generation lightweight HMDS from Russia will be used.

To Anon@9.03AM: As I had explained above, the Rafale will be subjected to at least three successive mid-life upgrades whilst in IAF service. Therefore, all the proposed upgrade packages will be fully implemented on these Rafales.

To Mallu: VMT. The aims and objectives of India and the UAE are quite different when it comes to the Rafale. Unlike the UAE, India has approached the issue purely from an operational standpoint. For nthe bUAE, the approach has been a financial one, i.e. the UAE wants to become a risk-sharing investor in the Rafale programme not because it wants a super-duper combat aircraft to be used by the UAEAF, but because it wants to make money out of its financial investments by charging a royalty fee for every unit of the Rafale that is to be exported in future, this being similar to the approach taken by the UAE when acquiring the F-16E/F Block 60 Desert Falcons. Therefore, it will be splendid if the UAE NEVER procures the Rafale, just as no one else has procured the Desert Falcons thus far.

To Anon@12.10PM: Why should the Indian Navy acquire LPHs with ski-ramps when the Navy already has dedicated aircraft carriers? Canberra-type LPHs are meant for those that don’t have aircraft carriers and therefore want some kind of limited force projection capability with on-board STOVL combat aircraft like the F-35 JSF.

To Anon@1.32PM: Nothing was lost by rejecting the EF-2000. The gains are far greater when procuring the Rafale and these gains were analysed and discussed in earlier threads over the past two months.

To THINK TANK: What Arjun Mk3? Let the Arjun Mk2 make its debut first. As of now only the Arjun Mk1 & Mk1A have been unveilled. Arjun Mk3 is due only by 2020. One now has to focus on the enormous challenges to be faced by the IAF in terms of drafting and validating the new operations manuals for the upgraded Su-30MKI & the Rafale. This is because—in case no one has as yet realised—the IAF and its ASTE and TACDE will be the only air force in the world to be concurrently evaluating and analysing the performances of two new-generation AESA-based MMRs within the same time-frame: the RBE-2 on the Rafale and the MIRES on the Super Su-30MKI. These will be very interesting times indeed for the IAF, since the lessons learnt will all be applied on the Tejas Mk2 and LCA (Navy) Mk2 programmes. How all this is to be done is itself the subject of a standalone analysis.

To VJ: hehehe…I concur.

Vayuad said...

See my point in saying what is the benefit that India gets in terms of its technology base means its indigenous technology base. For example India is a partner in PAK-FA, but still we will not be getting first hand experience in so critical fields like engine development. Kaveri is still not able to fly after after decades of work.
My suggestion is to also give priority to indigenous weapon systems. We are ready to buy but not to put effort to build. Iam happy with Rafale decision but not happy with how precious Forex is going out of India. If we open the private sector to defense more vigorously i feel there will be more traction on quality and time scale. Plus it will generate a lot of high skill employment and opportunity for export and power projection.

Indranil said...

Hi Prasun. Thanks for the informative article.
Are the sub-systems and weapons package included in the 20 billion dollar deal or will they cost us extra?

Vayuad said...

Think Tank...
The idea of India developing its own version of Rafale like the chinese did with SU-27 to make Shenyang J-11 is good but India will not be able to do it.
Firstly cos we do not have that good experience in reverse engineering.
Secondly it is illegal to do so, the chinese have been doing this and so other countries are reluctant to give them their latest weapons.
What we can actually do is what India did with Su-30, i.e create its own customized version of the plane like Su-30MKI. So India can or rather should ask for a more powerful engine and other electronic customization as per its unique requirements.
The one major benefit that i see in Rafale selection is the existence of a naval version so if Indian Navy plans to go for Rafale for the 2nd indigenous Aircraft carrier which is expected to be a CATOBAR-type carrier. So the cost of maintenance and spares could be shared.

Anonymous said...

prasun,
What are the Air to surface /ship attack missiles (mainly longer range ),
which longer range nuclear capable missile is offered.

Does any US made missiles are offered with this pack

what may be price of single jet apporx .

Mr. Ra 13 said...

Thanx for all that information you have provided since long regarding Rafale.

BTW now Indians should be ready with appropriate sponge to absorb the TOT.

Anonymous said...

Prasun its Anon@12:10. Whats wrong in having additional capability in a LPH to become a aircraft carrier (AC). You mentioned India already has AC so don't need the LPH to have Ski Ramps what if there is limited conflict with Pak where western AC is engaged in a air operation but no expeditionary operations are planned then the LPH can replace it expeditionary cargo filled bays with Fighters say Rafale. LPH-AC can easily accommodate 16-18 fighters. And perform back-up as AC or even relieve the carrier after its complete its operation.

Anonymous said...

this prasun nutcase initially said gripen will win... about 1 year back... in regard to rafale vs eft (after the shortlisting), he has always been sitting on the fence. so now he claims he was always right... we still remember the ''prahaar'' = lora / extra saga and the ''ATV will not be christined INS xxx''' episode. of coz he will delete this. to those who have a chance to read this comment, look for it tomorrow or after 2 days, it would have dissapeared.

Anonymous said...

Prasun,

The British PM has said he would appeal the Rafale bid with the Indian government. Do you think something would come out of it? I imagine Sarkozy would do the same if the Brit proposition is accepted!!!

There was a weird post on the Broadsword blog which claims that if you read between the lines, Casssidian would contest the Rafale decision-do you think they have any successful chance to do that or is the Rafale more or less assured of success?

Shree said...

Fantastic Post Sir....Excellent read....the best Rafale article online..

Buying is good But there is another issue..

http://idrw.org/?p=6579

Do IAF deserve some criticism over their changing demands...it also seems that they prefer foreign equipment over desi...is this point valid?

And could you also throw in a few lines about the Antrix-Devas scam(Chief Vs Former Chief)...
and the Naval info leak(Is it serious)?

abs said...

superb prasunda
tumi onek agei amader ke bolechile. seriously any layman like me can and will know more about defence and national security than most if they happen to pay a visit here in your excellent blog. cheers :)

abs said...

and prasunda
while i have come across many write-ups from individuals and think tanks alike as to how the eurofighter is a more capable fighter especially when it comes to one to one dog fight and other parameters, can you tell us how having a rafale would be more beneficial solely in terms of the capability of the aircraft as compared to having EF-2000??

Anonymous said...

Hi PRASUN regarding the RBE AA aesa radar has only 1000 TR modules whereas APG-79 on the Super Hornet had 1500+ modules. The RBE according to u has a track range is 180 km where as APG-79 has a track range of 270 km. The Rafale also has a smaller nose than the Typhoon and hence smaller radar aperture . So the target detection range of The CAPTOR aesa variant is probably more than the RBE aesa. Also the detection range depends on avg power per TR module. Whose avg power/TR module is more ? RBE or CAPTOR-E? Also the F-16 I has a greater radar aperture than the RBE? So how does the APG-80 fare against the RBE? Is the APG-80 aesa superior? Also with such small tracking range the RBE will not be effectively track current fen PLAAF fighters optimized for stealth . The Typhoon would have been the better choice. Pla shed light on this matter. The MoD has only declared the lowest bidder. It hasn't finalized anything . So now if EADS reduces the flyaway cost of Typhoon so as to make it lowest bidder then will IAF go for it. Also the Typhoon was leading the competion on the basis of no of points. The only prob is it's expensive. If IAF was to purchase the lowest bidder then why didn't it go for the Super Hornet ? U said that the Rafael airframe can be modified in country. Then cab and will the IAF increase the nose area so to fit a bigger radar?

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To VAYUAD: Well, let’s start in chronological order. India can obtain the required technological competencies not by importing foreign-designed weapons, but only by embarking upon national R & D programmes aimed at devising indigenous solutions like the Tejas Mk1/2, Dhruv ALH, LCH, GHT-36, BTT-40, and warships like the Project 17/17A, Project 28 and project 15A/B. In almost all these endeavours, French companies have traditionally been extremely helpful in terms of willing to sell their most advanced sub-systems, and also acting as project consultants for programmes like the Tejas Mk1/2, and the weight-budgeted Kaveri K-9 and in future the K-15. And of late, similar technology development ventures have been initiated by Israel, South Africa, Italy, Finland, Germany, the US and Sweden. But in the end it must be realised that indigenous technology development in frontier areas is only possible when there is a parallel military-industrial infrastructure of equal sophistication. And it is here that India lags behind, thanks to strategic follies of the past, like the decision to adopt the Soviet model of planned economic development since 1956. For had the models adopted by the likes of Japan, Taiwan or South Korea been adopted at that time, the situation would have been totally different today. And for all this to happen, the final and most critical reqmt is for an assured availability of financial resources, like a non-lapsable defnce modernisation fund. However, this is not possible in India since the planning process follows a five-year timeframe, and defence/force modernisation allocations continue to classified as non-planned expenditure. Therefore, in conclusion, unless the fundamentals are corrected, the present situation will prevail.
Regarding the naval reqmts, just wait and see what the Russians will reveal in future about the navalised FGFA. In any case, any work on the IAC-2 will not begin until the end of this decade.

To Indranil: The bill will be higher than the figure you’ve mentioned, but in the end, most of the spending will be in areas of infrastructure development and setting up of military-industrial facilities not just for the Rafale, but also for projects involving the Tejas Mk3 (powered by the GTRE/SNECMA-developed Kaveri K-15) and, hopefully, the AMCA. Trickle-down effects will also be felt in other projects like the IACCCS, and the AEW & CS programmes of the DRDO. Therefore, in the final analysis, the process of amortisation of the Rafale programme’s total procurement costs will be such that there will be a high degree of R & D-/production engineering-related cost-savings when it comes to future projects like the Tejas Mk3 and AMCA.

To Anon@7.11PM: The Taurus KEPD-350 is on offer. If reqd, the AGM-84 Harpoons now used by the Jaguar IMs can also go on the Rafale, since the aircraft has an open-architecture avionics suite that can accept all types of weapon systems and mission sensors. Flyaway costs for the Rafale or EF-2000 are not available, since they newer mattered. Only fleet life-cycle costs were calculated.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Mr.RA 13: VMT. Will provide more in the near future by updating the narrative above. Rest, assured that the various ToT schemes worked out over the past five years for both indirect and direct offsets will now place in place in an orchestrated manner. I was personally involved in my professional capacity for assisting in the MoD’s formulation of the indirect/direct offsets packages and their aims/objectives and ensuring their upstream & downstream industrial spillovers (all after conducting an exhaustive evaluation of similar industrial offsets guidelines of no less than 26 countries since 2004!), and I can emphatically state that the detailed roadmap that was drawn up consequently will address all the future national R & D endeavours—be they for the Tejas Mk3 or the AMCA or even other ‘strategic’ projects. How else do you think I became aware of the ‘buzz’ emanating out of New Delhi about the M-MRCA’s selection since the first week of last December???

To Anon@9.01PM: O yaar you’re confusing me with those who have undertaken all-expenses-paid trips to Sweden for taking joyrides on the Gripen. That I was right about the ‘buzz’ is an inescapable fact of life that is borne out of my comments in the previous few threads since last month. And since when has the Arihant acquired the prefix INS? While I had always maintained since 2005 that the Arihant would be a technology demonstrator, it was ‘nutcase’ folks like you and from certain other discredited chat forums who kept on insisting (and are still insisting) that this ATV would be commissioned by 2011. And at the end of the day all you can do is try to engage in needless cockfights? You therefore need to take heed of the following: A fierce fighting cock is a cock with balls. Although I have never yet seen where the balls are, I assume they must be hidden there somewhere. If not they would not be such fierce fighters. That is why I presume the likes of you & your ilk love Hindi movies. Hindi movies always start with the baddie terrorising the entire village. Then along comes the hero who gets beaten up to the point of death as he stands up for the democratic rights and civil liberties of the entire community. He then recovers from his injuries and singlehandedly defeats the baddie and his army of 65 toughies, plus in the end he gets to marry the most beautiful girl in the village. These are movies made for your mind. The trouble is folks like you measure the size of your balls according to the size of the cock’s balls. And to qualify as a man you must have balls the size of a cock’s balls. You’re not concerned whether you have brains bigger than a cock’s brains. I really don’t know how big the cock’s balls are. But I am more concerned with saving my balls, whatever size they may be. So I use my brains, which are bigger than a cock’s brains, and not my balls to make my decisions. I am not sure what decision I would make if I use my balls to make these decisions. But by using my brains to make decisions I think I am able to make better decisions and in that same process save my balls as well. I suppose this is because I have a better brain than folks like you, who may have gone to university but yet still use their balls rather than their brains to make decisions. And since they use their balls rather than their brains to make decisions they do not always make the cleverest of decisions. This is the problem with you and your fellow-farts in certain chat forums who suffer from the cock syndrome. You all think like cocks and use the balls in deciding things. I refuse to think like a cock so I use my brains. And that is why anonymous farts like yourself can never match me. You can’t come even close.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@9.23PM: Anyone can appeal for sure, but no one will not be able to contest or question the conclusions, since the entire process of competitive bidding from start to finish was was done extremely professionally and without fear or favour. One hopes this will henceforth become the norm rather than the exception.

To SHREE: VMT. The story you’ve quoted is factually wrong. Firstly, the IAF won’t receive the FGFA until 2018 and it will be achieve FOC only by 2022, just like the Su-30MKIs, when inducted into service in September 2002, achieved FOC by only early 2008. Secondly, development of indigenous solutions like the HTT-35/HTT-40 BTT or HJT-36 or Tejas Mk2 is nor the IAF’s responsibility, but that of the DRDO & DPSUs like HAL, both of which are controlled wholly by the MoD. Therefore, if anyone’s to blame, it is the MoD for not allowing HAL to develop the HTT-35 BTT since the early 1990s, and being unable to acquire the Hawk Mk132 LIFTs until 2008. And since the Hawk Mk132s were ordered so late, the HJT-36 IJT was sought as an interim solution. And now that the Hawk Mk132s are available, the HJT-36 project has outlived its usefulness/utility and is therefore everyone at HAL and the MoD is keeping mum about it. Therefore, it wasn’t the IAF or HAL that was responsible for this mess, but the MoD for the past two decades.

To ABS: VMT. Capability-wise, the Rafale, EF-2000 & F/A-18E/F are all on par, as was confirmed by the previous CAS of the IAF last February during Aero India 2011. The problem with the EF-2000 was its high cost of acquisition, a point highlighted in 2010 by the UK’s National Audit Office. Had there been only one final assembly line for the EF-2000 in the UK with BAE Systems (since the RAF will end up as being the largest operator of this aircraft), the EF-2000 would have been cost-competitive. However, the decision by Germany, Italy and Spain to also have parallel 3 final assembly lines have made the entire Eurofighter programme totally unviable in financial terms, just as was the case with Panavia GmbH’s Tornado IDS/ADV programme. As for dogfighting superiority, in future air campaigns such ‘dogfighting’ will be done by a combination of within-visual-range air combat missiles and helmet-mounted displays, and not by supermanoeuvrable manned combat aircraft. Supermanoeuvrability will be used for self-defence, but initiation of air combat within visual range will be done first by IRST sensors (for target detection & identification) followed by air combat missiles guided by HMDs.

To Anon@11.10PM: The transmitting power of any T/R module can be adjusted (increased or decreased) by the aircraft operator. And what’s the use of having a 270km-range AESA-MMR when the reqmt may be for no more than 150km (in case of Pakistan, whose airspace has a width of only 150km)? In an India-specific scenario, hostile airborne target detection will be done by either long-range airspace surveillance radars on the ground or by AEW & C platforms. Therefore, the task cut out for any M-MRCA or even FGFA during air dominance missions will be to outflank and stealthily approach the airborne hostile targets using IRST sensors and non-cooperative target recognition modes of operation (like ELINT,SIGINT and engine exhaust profiling of stealthy aircraft) and engage them with passive within-visual-range AAMs in conjunction with HMDs. Therefore, the number of T/R modules in an AESA array, maximisation of their generated outputs, or increase of radar antenna diameter in order to achieve superior detection range, will not be reqd for future air campaigns. Such issues will matter only for those countries that don’t have AEW & C platforms or a networked array of ground-based airspace surveillance radars. For India, however, the very nature of air combat has changed a lot for the better. For the IAF, therefore, it is much more important to have AESA-MMRs like the RBE-2 that can carry out interleaved functions all at the same time.

Anonymous said...

According to drdo annual report they gave production
clearance for the Bo5 underwater and A3 systems. What are these two systems ?

Is India making any anti radiation missile ? I also heard recently IAF issued RFP for anti-radiation missile and very long range air to air missile. Any information about these RFPs ?

Is India using Novator K-100 ? Is it true India partnered with Russia in its development or its successors development ?

Is drdo also working on armed variant of AUV ?

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@12.29AM: B-05 is the Shaurya/K-15. A3 musy be the Agni-3 MRBM. No one in India is making anti-radiation missiles. For the IAF RFP on anti-radiation missiles for the M-MRCA and upgraded Mirage 2000s & MiG-29UPGs, Raytheon's AGM-88 HARM, MBDA's ALARM and Tactical Missile Corp's Kh-31P Krypton are on offer. No one uses the Novator K-100 in India, nor is the DRDO involved with it. The AUV is being developed for seabed mapping using sidescan sonars. It can also be used with modifications for mine detection/neutralisation. There's no need for an armed underwater AUV.

Mr. Ra 13 said...

"How else do you think I became aware of the ‘buzz’ emanating out of New Delhi about the M-MRCA’s selection since the first week of last December???"

I have logic to believe you.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Mr.RA 13: The moral of the story being: logical reasoning always scores over cock-syndromes & cock-fights (LoLz).

Unknown said...

Hey there Prasun,
I have just been on Thales TopSight website and it makes no reference to being integrated on the Rafele (but it does say it has been integrated on the Mig-29 AND Mig-29K for IN, I'd say the Mig-29 they are talking about is the Mig-29UPG for IAF right?). So will the Rafele in IAF service all have TopSight? And why will the SUPER 30MKI have a different Russian HMDS when so many of the IAF/IN fleet are getting the TopSight? And what exactly is the Russian HMDS on offer? How does it compare to the TopSight?


Will FGFA/PAK-FA come with a HMDS for the IAF? And what will it be?

And does the LCA have the TopSight or the ELBIT DASH HMDS?

Am I right in assuming the IAF MIG-29UPG will come with TopSight?

And which NVGs will IAF be using on all their fighters? Will all IAF fighters be night-mission capable by the end of the decade? As we have seen recent MIG-29 crash was partially caused by lack of NVGs/NV compatibility.

Regarding the C-17 deal (yes a bit off topic I'm afraid) will miscalanious equipment be provided such as the HUGE 20 wheeler loading vehicle and what about combat gear for the loadmasters like flight helmets with NVG (a trivial point for some but these are very important for successful ops and make the crew much more effective). And has this deal actually been signed yet? As it seems to have gone a bit quiet on this front, what numbers do you eventually expect IAF to get? Numbers as large as 25-30 have been floated around.

abs said...

prasunda
i so totally agree with you about how future dogfights would be increasingly about on-board avionics and radars and missiles rather than the super manouevrability of an aircraft, besides with the advent of AWACS and other such sophisticated airspace management systems its going to be increasingly difficult for an aircraft to be solely judged on its dog fighting capabilities, which are going to be at best rendered to something very minor due to the above.
but its assuring to find that the capabilities of the two fighters are the same, however i do believe that the rafale is going to possess superior multirole/swing role capability vis-a-vis the EF-2000 especially with so many doubts that were earlier raised on the typhoons air to ground capability

abs said...

Hey prasunda here is an article that in a way bears out your assertions (atleast hints to them) as to how INDIA and France are going to use this deal for a tighter 'strategic' relationship involving even high profile SSGNs.http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/article2851361.ece?homepage=true
The first para however throws up something interesting where it says "Paris will now be looking to enter into a new era of relationship with New Delhi encompassing intelligence sharing, nuclear enrichment and reprocessing and even joint production of sub-theatre range missiles." do you know anything about what and how these sub theatre missiles could be???? thanks

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Unknown: That's why I had first stated that the TopOwl-F is the HMDS for Rafale & also for MiG-29K/MiG-29UPG & upgraded Mirage 2000. However, you refused to believe me and were insisting that the TopOwl is for helicopters. Now see this: http://www.thalesgroup.com/Portfolio/Documents/Defence_TopOwl-F/?LangType=2057
It is nowadays mandatory for all new-generation combat aircraft to come with HMDS. As for which HMDS is for the tejas Mk2, do search the topics on earlier threads in this blog since last April, and you will see photos of the HMDS for Tejas Mk1 & Mk2. NVGs used by IAF for fixed-wing aircraft are all supplied by HALBIT Avionics.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To AB S: Sub-theatre missiles refers to ALCMs like the MBDA-supplied Taurus KEPD-350.

Anonymous said...

Well, pardon the nutcracker anonymous's ignorance.He doesn't know that he doesn't know until he knows what he doesn't know that he needs to know but doesn't know.If he knows that he doesn't know then he will know not to say things he knows he doesn't know until he knows.

Pierre Zorin said...

The fact Saudi Arabia has EF2000, could this have also influenced the decision to buy Rafale?If Saudi has EF2000 then by virtue of Islamic brotherhood, Pakistan will get not only the techological knowhow but also perhaps a flight experience flying Saudi Airforce planes?

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@3.42PM: Well put.

To Pierre Zorin: That was not the reason. It was just the cost factor that went against the EF-2000.

buddha said...

sir plz make me clear about the proposed 88 airfraft MMRCA RFI (apart from Rafale ) by Indian defense ministry.
YOUR ANSWER IS HIGHLY SOLICITED
THANKS AND REGARDS

Anonymous said...

The Pakistani airspace may be 150 km but the MMRCA is also intended to be used against China. And in air superiority missions over China it will lose in BVR combat with modern 4+ gen fighters like the Su-30 MKK due to poor radar detection range. Also what I want to ask is that how many TR modules the Captor AESA variant will have? Will it have greater air-air detection range than RBE2 aesa. Also the Captor AESA variant can also perform interleaved functions. Does the APG-80 provide greater detection range than RBE2 aesa. How many TR modules it has?

Anonymous said...

Prasun Da, will the first lot of 18 Rafale have Meteor as their main BVR weapon?? Since when Meteor would become primary BVR weapon of Rafale. Or IAF should wait for Astra MkII instead of costly Meteor.

Unknown said...

Hey,

Thanks alot for your replies, If possible could you reply to my qs about the C-17 and FGFA HMDS?

Unknown said...

Hi,

Do you have any idea if India is still involved in the JLTV? As it was quite a while ago we heard the news India had signed up but nothing since and very little results. As far as other LSVs go do you have any idea what vehicles are to bid for the recent IA RFI for LSVs for SOFs? And what vehicles?

Ved said...

Hi Prasun,

Do you really believe that Rafale will meet the requirements of the IAF considering till 2040. Well i donot mean that Rafale is inferior to EFT but don't you think buying more su30mkis would have made more sense. Rafale cannot match Su30mki in any role let it be speed, range(both aircraft and radar) weapon load, or even the nuclear strike option.

If i am right why not did the IAF replace Mig 21s,27s,29s and Jaguars by adding around 300 more su30mkis in the fleet.

We could always have bought the best avionics and missiles and could have got them integrated in Su30mki with french and Israeli firms.

Why MMRCA even started when we had a superb jet like su30mki?

dashu said...

ha ha ha ha ... cock syndrome... great reply ..lolz

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Buddha: Which RFI are you talking about and for which aircraft?

To Anon@6.33PM: Even against China the air campaigns will be of a tactical nature and will not involve striking deep into the hinterland. And what is the range of the Su-30MKK’s airborne radar and in what way is it superior to the RBE-2 or even the NO-11M ‘Bars’? Captor-E has roughly the same number of T/R modules as the RBE-2. Remember, that both the RBE-2 and Captor-E have originated from the common European AMSAR R & D project aimed at developing AESA-MMRs. I’ve already explained the range issue before. There are no fixed range-fates and it all depends on what a customer wants.

To Anon@8.12PM: The Meteor will be available from 2018. No one is even thinking of the Astra Mk2 for the M-MRCA. Astra Mk2 is Tejas LCA-specific and will be inferior to the Russian RVV-SD BVRAAM that is destined for the Super Su-30MKI.

To Unknown: The FGFA’s HMDS is still under development and will be similar to what will go on the Super Su-30MKI. India is still an observer in the JLTV programme, and nothing more. All kinds of LSVs from India, the US, Singapore, Spain, Turkey, etc have responded to the RFI.

To Ved: Both the Rafale & Su-30MKI have their respective strengths and weaknesses. But they cannot be compared in terms of their envisaged roles. The Rafale is more of a tactical interdictor aircraft with enviable air combat capabilities, whereas the Su-30MKI is for strategic air dominance when it comes to both air combat and long-range interdiction. It cannot be a ‘either this or that’. Both types of aircraft are reqd to achieve the optimum techno-economic matrix when planning for and conducting various types of air campaigns.

To Dashu: Am glad you liked it.

Anonymous said...

Should India consider buying Yak-130 as LIFT which can also perform as light bomber or AWACS specific A2A role.
At 15M$ a pop these make a good deal
or in IAF will order a LIFT varient of LCA?

Anonymous said...

Prasun,

There are reports in Reuters that the UAE's plans to buy the Rafale are back on track and could be signed by April-

http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/02/02/france-emirates-rafale-idINDEE8110GZ20120202

While this may seem like a double delight for the UAE, how will this affect us? Is there enough distinction between the two deals or will all three players (France, UAE and India) use negotiations to arm twist each other. One fear I have is that the French, for their own reasons start becoming stubborn in negotiations once they have a UAE deal in their laps-I hope I'm proved wrong.

Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun,

This is wat Mr MK.Bhadrakumar says in his blog about the US - India relations

Somehow, the Indian elites (including bureaucrats) and strategic pundits have come to develop an atavistic fear that US-Indian partnership is highly perishable unless Delhi keeps harmonising its policies with the US global strategies even by sacrificing its interests. This sort of inferiority complex is completely unwarranted.
The heart of the matter is that the US is a highly experienced practitioner of diplomacy. If it began abandoning its historic cussedness toward India sometime during Bill Clinton administration’s second term, it was because Washington saw the growth potential of India and the great possibilities that would arise for a beneficial relationship.
Even today, that consideration is the prime mover of the US polices toward India. It is a well-known fact that after being grumpy for a few weeks after India spurned the US offer for the 10-billion dollar multi-purpose aircraft tender, Washington moved on.


Why are India's IAS officers still archaic and old fashioned? Is the civil services curriculum getting dusty?

He makes a point abt india shaking with fear wen confronted by the US(My words).Why are we so pessimistic?I think historicaly we have made a huge mistake somewhere

Wat do u think of his comments?

Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun,
Congratulations!!! on predicting the MMRCA to be chosen by the GOI.
You deserve it
Nobody else seemed to have any coherent argument about a winner in the days before the announcement.
Also u said:
"Capability-wise, the Rafale, EF-2000 & F/A-18E/F are all on par, as was confirmed by the previous CAS of the IAF last February during Aero India 2011"

Can u throw more light as to how the F 18 and the Rafale could be similar in capabilities when u said last year, the Rafale does not have an international roadmap like the F18 for future enhancements as well as the f18 having better detection and tracking?

And lastly, could you let us know if really this competition was w/o pressures of any kind as strategic thinking has seemed to have prevailed (with ur help? as u mentioned in earlier post?)
If u can help the GOI analyze the offsets, I am sure in coming days u would 'help' the GOI in making sensibe decisions w.r.to aquisitions in you Professional capacity.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@1.01AM: There's no way now for anyone to indulge in any arm-twisting or becoming stubborn in the 11th hour regarding contract valuations, since the price quotes for the aircraft procurement part of the M-MRCA deal are now fixed and frozen, and therefore cannot be changed. The UAE could stand to benefit from lower flyaway pricing levels since Dassault Aviation--in the aftermath of the Indian M-MRCA decision--may now be in a position to lower its price quotes for the UAE.
By the way, watch this: http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/ndtv-special-ndtv-24x7/what-does-the-rafale-deal-mean-for-the-indian-air-force/222680
Looks like some folks just don't see the writing on the wall, and at the same time cannot explain in layman's terms the differences--if any--between fourth-generation MRCAs and fifth-generation MRCAs (sigh)!

To Anon@1.16AM: He is absolutely right in his analysis, and his views have frequently been echoed by the likes of Ambassador Ronen Sen. The sad fact is that for India’s foreign service (IFS) officials, there’s no course on ‘Strategic Visioning’ in their academic curriculum. None of them are taught the principles of statecraft or geo-diplomacy of the type practiced by Chanakya/Kautilya thousands of years ago. Due to the absence of this, the element of self-esteem is missing among such officials as well as those decision-makers sitting in the executive branch of the Govt of India. On the ither hand, in China, their foreign service mandarins as well as PLA officials all study the same curriculum when it comes to their indigenous legendary strategists like Zhuge Liang (the 36 Strategems), Sun Tzu (The Art of War) & Mao Zedong. That is why it is indeed very sad to see Indian citizens learning from the US that India is likely to face a limited border conflict with China in future, when it should be India's political decision-makers who ought to educate India's citizens about India's threat perceptions and the consequently national security postures.

Anonymous said...

i have a small disagreement on that last statement. It is not that Indian ctizens learns from US that we are going to have clashes of small scale, but instead it is just one of the possibilities projected by another country. Among the geopolitical awareness no one comes near USA, since unlike many other powers USA tries to have a soothsaying power not only in defence but also in almost all areas. How far it is successful is another question, but the intent is always clear. The assessment is based on inputs (as they gain from being the sole super power) and assessment may not after all be correct. At the same time India has been passive in the threat assessment and even today such assessment if any are classified and always a lipservice is pronounced that 'all is well'. Ofcourse since what USA says has a bit more credibility it gets media hype. Not to forget the hyped words of Retd Gen S. Padmanabhan that India and US may have clashes in 2017 and Mr. Brahma Chellany's assessment that India and China may face clashes in 2012 (both of which stands a bit hyperbolic as of now).

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@1.32AM: Very many thanks. Dassault Aviation & the French Air Force do have a planned capabilities enhancement plan for the Rafale, which is likely to become available by 2020. For the Super Hornet, on the other hand, the International Capability Roadmap is being made available to any export customer within 36 months of contract signature. Secondly, the US-based radar manufacturers like Raytheon & Northrop Grumman are already offering third-generation AESA-based MMRs, while both the RBE-2 on the Rafale and Captor-E on the Eurofighter EF-2000 are first-generation products, although they will undoubtedly mature in terms of offered capabilities as the years go by. Thirdly, in terms of network-centricity, the US is far ahead of Europe (while the US, for instance, already has the Navstar GPS constellation of satellites and a whole variety of military communications satellites, the Europeans have yet to make the Galileo GPS constellation operational). Consequently, India could have leveraged a M-MRCA contract award to the US by seeking & obtaining US help & mentoring in strategic projects like the IRNSS GPS satellite constellation and the BMD-related space-based missile monitoring system. (cont'd below)

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

Continued from above.......
But the US lost the M-MRCA competition due to ONE MAIN REASON: While the US was totally willing to share all the relevant source-codes and make the IAF more than 90% self-reliant in terms of through-life aircraft maintenance and serviceability, the US was not able to make the same type of concessions in the arena of licenced-aircraft production; i.e. the US was asking for adequate firewalls and physical separation when it came to licenced-production of US-origin sub-systems, especially avionics. In other words, a HAL facility that’s producing the OLS-30 IRST & NO-11M ‘Bars’ for the Su-30MKI could not be allowed to set up a parallel assembly line within the same facility for licence-producing the IRST of Lockheed Martin & AESA-MMRs from Raytheon. What the US, instead, had proposed was to set up a series of JVs with their Indian counterparts (DPSUs as well as private-sector companies) which would set up tailor-made product-support facilities within India and only these facilities would be authorised to open-up the avionics LRUs and conduct 100% in-country servicing/maintenance/repair/overhaul and then forward them to HAL or to the IAF’s designated Base Repair Depot for aircraft installation. Therefore, while the US was not blocking any kind of access to leading-edge technology, it was complicating the IAF’s operational sovereignty, since the IAF relies primarily on its customised and aircraft-specific Base Repair Depots & on HAL for its major MRO and aircraft mid-life upgradation activities. It is for this very reason, therefore, that the US was leaning heavily over India to ink the CISMOA agreement, since only after India’s inking of this agreement would it have been legally possible (as mandated by US Congressional legislation) for US-based OEMs to set up all the necessary product-support JVs on Indian soil. That is why you may now perhaps realise why the former US Ambassador to India had remarked in late 2010 that Indian military-industrial entities would be hard-pressed to absorb the quantum of industrial offsets (direct & indirect) expected out of the M-MRCA deal. This is also the reason why the likes of Ajai Shukla are now parroting the disingenuous US view/perception in NDTV by claiming that no one in India wants to be associated with industrial offsets as this will only increase the overall programme costs, and that’s also the reason why folks like him have been harping off late about aircraft ‘flyaway costs’ for the F-35 JSF, which is normally associated with only off-the-shelf procurements under which there’s no need for ‘legally complicated’ ToT agreements and erection of technological/IPR-related firewalls within designated licenced-production facilities located in India.
For the Europeans and Scandinavians, there were no such ‘legal’ preconditions and limitations, since several sub-systems and components of French, UK and Israeli origin are already under licenced-production (within the same facilities where Russia-origin sub-systems/components are produced side-by-side) within India by the likes of HAL & BEL.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@2.12AM: I concur.

Anonymous said...

I tried posting the following comment on Broadsword's blog but Ajai Shukla didn't accept and publish it. Because much of the readership of both these blogs is the same, I thought to post it here at least:

Just saw Ajai Shukla on NDTV (on the videos section of their website) still dissing the Rafale MMRCA deal (he called it "terrible") and trying to push his F-35 JSF agenda through (as usual). What a shame. Air Marshal Ahluwalia totally owned him in the ensuing debate, giving the perfectly valid points of (a) the national defense strategy and the IAF doctrine within it and how Rafale was the best suited for that, and, (b) the fact that the JSF is still a few years from full operationalization and *was not on offer to the IAF through this whole open tendering and competitive evaluation process*. Ajai countered with some lame assertions, (a) that the F-35 is the "latest and greatest" strike fighter and "best ever" (Why? Because Ajai says so, it must be true! Surely the good Colonel knows best for us, at least better than some IAF Air Marshal, right?), and, (b) that the JSF will surely be offered to IAF *now* (US being our bestest closest homie these days), never mind the small fact that the company that actually produces it has not made any such offer formally as yet, even 10 months after being eliminated from the competition (and even if that offer is made, it will be encumbered by restrictive conditions and clauses). Apparently Ajai will manufacture and offer them to IAF all by himself! And then he went on to ramble about how IAF has no 5th gen fighters and so the F-35 is absolutely essential for the future and mixed in some trivia about China (because good old China FUD always works with us Indians). Well, Ajai, not even China's PLAAF is (or will be in the next 2 decades) a FULLY-5th gen air force. There is something called a "hi-lo mix" that every force (hell, every *organization*) in the world must necessarily conform to (cash doesn't grow on trees). Moreover, we are already (jointly with Russia) developing a 5th gen multirole fighter (slightly skewed towards air superiority this time, because again, different horses for different courses) which will be entering service within 5 years anyway, so then why this obsession with the F-35?

Finally, Ajai needs to shed the arrogance that only he knows what's best and that we can (or should) ever base a massive $20 billion USD purchase decision solely on the basis of journalists' opinions. There is a reason why *open tendering and competitive evaluation processes* are the best (we should in fact be proud that the MMRCA has so far been relatively fair, clean and controversy-free). Even if Lockheed-Martin were to offer us some variant of the F-35 now, it would still take several months for our pilots to test them out in Rajasthan and Ladakh (like what was done during MMRCA) and for our engineers to understand and evaluate their technical capabilities. Sure, for the 80 remaining MMRCAs that we intend to buy next (including carrier-based ones for the IN's air arm), we should definitely float a new tender and then let's see if L-M puts the JSF up for sale. Bring it on, let's evaluate it just like we did to all the birds this time, and if it's really the one most suited to our doctrine and requirements, I would be the first one to support the F-35 JSF in IAF colours.

Anonymous said...

(Continuing from previous comment)

BTW, there was more in the last bit where the NDTV anchor and Ajai (I wonder why he always gave the last word to Ajai) dissed the offsets clause. Here, I actually agree with Ajai's basic gripes about the offsets slowing things down and sometimes even bumping up net costs (ToT is never free), but it is something that is *necessary* for future learning purposes. While it's always more convenient (and probably cheaper) to just get the fish on the plate, at some point it becomes *necessary* to *learn how to fish* (in spite of short-term costs and hiccups). Speaking of NDTV, there is this 20-minute news video being broadcast on it this week (also available on their videos section, google search for "ndtv revolution in modern warfare") which seems to be a thinly-veiled advertisement for US military hardware and technologies masquerading as "news". I wonder why everybody seems to be pushing the F-35 JSF at India so hard? The US is a terrible vendor -- sanctions, armtwisting, dirty tricks. Thankfully, more mature minds make our purchase decisions.

Anonymous said...

(Continuing from previous comment)

BTW, there was more in the last bit where the NDTV anchor and Ajai (I wonder why he always gave the last word to Ajai) dissed the offsets clause. Here, I actually agree with Ajai's basic gripes about the offsets slowing things down and sometimes even bumping up net costs (ToT is never free), but it is something that is *necessary* for future learning purposes. While it's always more convenient (and probably cheaper) to just get the fish on the plate, at some point it becomes *necessary* to *learn how to fish* (in spite of short-term costs and hiccups). Speaking of NDTV, there is this 20-minute news video being broadcast on it this week (also available on their videos section, google search for "ndtv revolution in modern warfare") which seems to be a thinly-veiled advertisement for US military hardware and technologies masquerading as "news". I wonder why everybody seems to be pushing the F-35 JSF at India so hard? The US is a terrible vendor -- sanctions, armtwisting, dirty tricks. Thankfully, more mature minds make our purchase decisions.

Ved said...

Dear Prasun,
What will be engine offered by France in Rafale and what is the engine characteristics in terms of thrust in KN?

Also please share your inputs on the max. thrust of the GE414INS6 which will be used by Tejas MarkII?

Further i read that the effective range of RBE2 radar is 100kms. Then what are the LRAAM options for IAF Rafale in extended BVR role? I believe only Meteor could be a likely candidate for it.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Ved: The Rafale’s latest variant, the F3-04T, which will enter service next year, will be the production-standard version for the IAF as well. The powerplant data is already given above, and the engine will be upgraded by 2020. For data on the Tejas Mk2’s turbodan, kindly see this: http://trishul-trident.blogspot.in/2011/04/tejas-mk2-m-mrca-crunch-time-for-ada.html
The range of the RBE-2 is definitely much more than 100km. The range of the NO-11M ‘Bars’ itself is 135km. The RBE-2 will be able to detect targets at least 150km away, if necessary.

Ved said...

Dera Prasun,

I forgot to acknowledge the role that will be played by AWACS and AEW&C aircraft in detection of hostile aircrafts.

Its seems that the thrust of the Mirage 2000 engine and LCA Mark2 engine are very nearly the same 98 KN. With LCA being lighter than Mirage 2000s in weight could LCA Mark2 be a perfect match for Mirage 2000-5 in interception given that M2Ks will armed with MICA and the LCA mark2 with Derby and R 73.

What are your views of the capabilty of LCA Mark2 in interception role?

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Ved: Your query on the AEW & CS issue has already been answered to a certain extent in the following thread. If te Tejas Mk2 LCA is equipped with the IRST sensor, then it will definitely have a distinct edge over the upgraded Mirage 2000.

An Indian said...

Prasun da,
Nomoskar! kothay acho ekhon..?
Please correct me...

As per my understanding the range of RBE-2 with around 1000+ T/R modules...is around 180 Kms for a 5 Sq.Mtr object and it can track 40 aircraft and to engage 8 of them.Also it can work Track while Scan mode in both mode (Air Search+ Ground Search)simultaneously..instead of switching the mode manually..it's working on a unique Gimbal based macanism..to increase it's Vertical and Horizontal region.

Range of NO11 Bars is said to be around 250 Km for a 5 Sq.Mtr object.

India also supported the IRBIS-E radar deveopment..which will have a 350 Km range for a 5 Sq Mtr object..IRBIS-E is slated to be fitted in SU-30 MKI midlife upgrade ..later along with K-175 long range AAM .

Ref:- http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-Flanker-Radars.html

I am really surprised about no detailed information regarding the range of Rafale's passive Spectra suite available...the best i know is with F-22 called AN/ALR-94 with 250+ NMI range..(even more than the APG-77's range) and can be used to direct the AMRAAM towards the target without switching the main radar i.e. APG-77...and THIS PASSIVE system makes F-22 un-defeatable in long range.

Prasun da..do you have any info on Spectra's range and features ?

Regards,

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To An Indian: Range of the NO-11M ‘Bars’ is 135km. In my earlier thread on the Super Su-30MKI last year I had already uploaded the radar’s performance chart. India never supported the IRBIS-E’s development. Instead, the MIRES AESA-MMR destined for the FGFA will also be installed on the Super Su-30MKI. This was confirmed last February 11 during Aero India 2011 by the then CAS of the IAF. The Spectra suite is not just passive. It is passive and active. It is passive only for ESM and missile-launch detection. For missile jamming the AESA-based apertures of the Spectra are used. The ALR-94 also works in a similar manner and is not 100% passive. For jamming one always has to go active, and can never stay passive. ALL stealth aircraft, be it the F/A-22 or F-35, can be detected by the radars of AEW & C aircraft when operating in bistatic mode.

An Indian said...

Thanks Prasun da,

Quoting your reply
>"The Spectra suite is not just passive. It is passive and active. It is passive only for ESM and missile-launch detection. For missile jamming the AESA-based apertures of the Spectra are used. The ALR-94 also works in a similar manner and is not 100% passive. For jamming one always has to go active, and can never stay >passive."

Could you provide any link or ref:
as my understading was ALR-94 or Spectra were purely passive systems..and does not emit..radio frequencies at all also hence consumes very less power.Also since they are not designed to emit radio signals...and consumes very less power..their effective ranges are less too.(i.e. can not jam a radar at all in long ranges)

And the jamming work is purely done by powerful active radars ..who consume lots of power and can radiate huge radio signals towards the desired direction/location to make enemy radars blind(offcource with the same frequency/s on-which the enemy radar is scanning/operating ).

So if a fighter is operating on a passive mode...i.e. main radar is switched off yet a very good passive scanners on them can still pick the enemy's radar emition and get's it's location.

If possible could you please put up some writing on this kind of passive systems like US,Russian,French and Indian ones..and put up some comparisms on their effective range/mode.
like: RWR mode/range
and : Direction Finder mode/range

Regards,

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