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muralir
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Re: Comparing Programs: Tejas vs JF-17

Sat Feb 20, 2021 9:05 am

kitplane01 wrote:
muralir wrote:
They are making these things. The Tejas Mk1, for all its warts, is now in production. That means things like avionics and the airframe are being produced. ...

You seem super focused on only the results as they stand today, with no allowance for the type of background infrastructural changes that will allow for faster and more advanced development in the future.
...
After 30 years of developing the Tejas MkI, their development pipeline looks like this:
* Tejas MkI -> in production
* Tejas MkIA -> production beginning in 2023/24
* Tejas MkII -> production beginning in 2026
* AMCA MkI -> first flight in 2025


After 30 years they have produced 34 airplanes. Airplanes the Air Force doesn' t want. Therefore I am focused on production.

Two questions:
1) Do you really think they will meet this schedule. Hint: If you say yes, I'll mention past history.
2) Is this really what they were hoping for? Is this really success as they would have defined it? Is it even close?


No, for 25 years they didn't produce any planes. Then they've produced 34 planes in the past 5 years. Currently, they're producing 5-8 planes a year. Moving forward, they plan to produce 16. The point is progress is being made. When you say 34 planes in 30 years, that implies that they're producing 1 plane/yr. If you're going to focus on current production, you should compare yearly rates. Pakistan's production rate for the JF-17 is ~25/yr (to the best of my knowledge; correct me if I'm wrong). So India is still behind, but is ramping up (as is Pakistan), and certainly nowhere as low as 34 planes in 30 years would imply.

The AF doesn't want MkI. Agreed. But they seem happy with the specs for Mk1A. Of course, it's not in production yet, and 2023 would be a very aggressive timeline for volume production. But they're not going to slip 30 years. Mk1->Mk1a is not some cleansheet development plan. It's not even a brand new production line (rather the Mk1 lines will be transitioned to Mk1a). So more like probably 1-2 years delay, for initial production starting in 2025, and volume production in 2026/27. That would be my best guess.

Given that the Mk2 appears to be proceeding on a parallel track (with a lot of stuff being developed in common for both Mk1a and Mk2), I think 2026 for initial production of Mk2 might actually be reasonable. If you believe HAL, they're starting metal cutting and tooling this year, with prototypes planned for next year. Of course, operational clearance can take several years, so even if they start flight tests in 2022/23, that might not guarantee production and induction by 2026. But again, I don't think the delay is going to be 30 years.

The AMCA, and the naval variant, are, IMHO, still pie-in-the-sky. I don't think their development is close to being finished, so yeah, I doubt their timelines (you'll notice I didn't even bother listing their expected timeline for the naval variant :-) )

2) Is this really what they were hoping for?
No, of course not. Is anyone ever happy with their fighter program? Tell me the US is happy with the JSF. Or the F22 before it. Or the Osprey. Heck, even something as simple as their tanker, basically a 767 with extra fuel tanks, is mired in delays and cost overruns. Everyone would love a 10thgen fighter that costs $1million that has Wonder Woman's cloak of invisibility and Austin Powers' sharks with laser beams attached :-)

The JF-17 seems to have been quite successful in achieving Pakistan's objectives, which I would argue were to have a good fighter while developing indigenous manufacturing capability (without, notably, any real design or development capability).

The Tejas has been less successful in achieving India's objectives: the initial Mk1 fighter did not meet IAF requirements, and the development took far longer than expected. But India's objectives with Tejas were far more ambitious than Pakistan's. And if you compare the actual achievements, I do think that India has achieved more than Pakistan, because it *has* kick-started their indigenous aerospace industry, and their development and design capability. Let me ask you this: for all of the Tejas's flaws, do you think Pakistan would like to have the design capability that India has developed with Tejas? I'm not saying they'd trade the JF-17 for it, but it is something of immense value.

I would say the sticking point is this: Pakistan achieved its goals quite well on a far more limited program, while India did less well in achieving its goals on a far more ambitious program. So who "succeeded"? Pakistan, that set its goals lower and met them, or India, that set its goals higher, didn't meet them, but still (I'd argue), met a higher set of goals than Pakistan's program? (Please note, I'm not trying to denigrate the JF-17 program by calling its goals more limited. I think Pakistan was right in setting their goals where they did).

Again, I think the true apples-to-apples program comparison is the JF-17 and the Su30. Both had more limited goals of indigenous manufacturing, with limited design work, partnering with a more experienced country to "jointly" develop a fighter for their requirements based off a pre-existing platform. And both succeeded quite well. India's Su30 program was largely on time and on-budget, met IAF requirements, and manufacturing was gradually turned over to India. It's now 80% indigenously built (although designed largely by Russia), and is an important part of the IAF's force structure. Tejas was an entirely different beast.
 
art
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Re: Comparing Programs: Tejas vs JF-17

Sat Feb 20, 2021 12:36 pm

muralir wrote:
No, for 25 years they didn't produce any planes. Then they've produced 34 planes in the past 5 years. Currently, they're producing 5-8 planes a year. Moving forward, they plan to produce 16. The point is progress is being made.


Yes, progress is being made, but not quickly. As for producing 16 per year, HAL have been saying they would raise production to that level for years without it happening.

Where is your figure of 34 planes in the last 5 years from?

The first Tejas squadron was set up with 2 IOC aircraft in July 2016. A further 14 IOC aircraft were delivered up to April 2019.

The second Tejas squadron was set up in May 2020. 2 FOC aircraft were delivered in 2020. 4 more were expected to fly by April 2021*.

* source: https://idrw.org/hal-fumbles-lca-tejas- ... r-83-jets/

By my calculation a maximum of 16 IOC and 6 FOC deliveries will have taken place 2016 - April 2021.
 
muralir
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Re: Comparing Programs: Tejas vs JF-17

Sat Feb 20, 2021 3:17 pm

art wrote:
muralir wrote:
No, for 25 years they didn't produce any planes. Then they've produced 34 planes in the past 5 years. Currently, they're producing 5-8 planes a year. Moving forward, they plan to produce 16. The point is progress is being made.


Yes, progress is being made, but not quickly. As for producing 16 per year, HAL have been saying they would raise production to that level for years without it happening.

Where is your figure of 34 planes in the last 5 years from?

The first Tejas squadron was set up with 2 IOC aircraft in July 2016. A further 14 IOC aircraft were delivered up to April 2019.

The second Tejas squadron was set up in May 2020. 2 FOC aircraft were delivered in 2020. 4 more were expected to fly by April 2021*.

* source: https://idrw.org/hal-fumbles-lca-tejas- ... r-83-jets/

By my calculation a maximum of 16 IOC and 6 FOC deliveries will have taken place 2016 - April 2021.


I'm just going by the number that @kitplane gave, but I believe that number includes prototypes, trainers, etc.:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HAL_Tejas#cite_note-6
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Comparing Programs: Tejas vs JF-17

Sun Feb 21, 2021 6:15 am

You seem confused as to what I'm saying.

I'm NOT saying "Wow. They spent 30 years and untold billions $$$ and got nothing zero nada"

I AM saying "Wow they spent 30 years and untold billions $$$ and got so little as to be failure."

Maybe you have some emotional investment in the program. But after 30 years and untold billions $$$ they have not produced a single plane the IAF wants. That's failure. You can talk about development behind the scenes, progress toward some future thing, and so on. It's still 30 years and not a single plane the IAF wants. Failure.

muralir wrote:

Is anyone ever happy with their fighter program? Tell me the US is happy with the JSF. Or the F22 before it. Or the Osprey. Heck, even something as simple as their tanker, basically a 767 with extra fuel tanks, is mired in delays and cost overruns. Everyone would love a 10thgen fighter that costs $1million that has Wonder Woman's cloak of invisibility and Austin Powers' sharks with laser beams attached :-)


The JSF, KC-46, and Osprey (to use your examples) produced working aircraft. Late and and extra cost, but working aircraft. They are examples of programs that worked better than the Tejas, which after 30 years has not produced a single wanted aircraft. I don't think this helps your point.

muralir wrote:
The JF-17 seems to have been quite successful in achieving Pakistan's objectives, which I would argue were to have a good fighter while developing indigenous manufacturing capability (without, notably, any real design or development capability).

The Tejas has been less successful in achieving India's objectives: the initial Mk1 fighter did not meet IAF requirements, and the development took far longer than expected. But India's objectives with Tejas were far more ambitious than Pakistan's. And if you compare the actual achievements, I do think that India has achieved more than Pakistan, because it *has* kick-started their indigenous aerospace industry, and their development and design capability. Let me ask you this: for all of the Tejas's flaws, do you think Pakistan would like to have the design capability that India has developed with Tejas? I'm not saying they'd trade the JF-17 for it, but it is something of immense value.



Pakistan set correct goals, and made a nice plane at low cost. It shows what India might have done.

It took the Tejas program 25 years to learn to make an airplane no one wants.

They say they are close to the ability to make an airplane for almost the cost of a JSF with the performance of a T-50. This is not of "immense value". It's of almost no value. And I don't even believe it's true! I don't believe their future promises. Because of their history.

This is our big difference. You think that they are close to producing something of value, because they say they are. I don't believe their claims, because their past claims are all crap. But if I did believe them, I'd still think the program a failure. It just doesn't take 30 years to make a Tejas. Korea made the T-50 (a better plane that people will pay for) in about 8 years, and that's with a suspension in the middle.

They have not "kick started an aerospace industry". Brazil, Israel, and Korea have done that. But India has not, because an industry would be able to make planes someone wanted, which they cannot do.
 
art
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Re: Comparing Programs: Tejas vs JF-17

Sun Feb 21, 2021 11:08 am

kitplane01 wrote:
Pakistan set correct goals, and made a nice plane at low cost. It shows what India might have done.

It took the Tejas program 25 years to learn to make an airplane no one wants.


India wanted a MiG-21 replacement. India (eventually and far too late) got more than a MiG-21 replacement.

kitplane01 wrote:
They say they are close to the ability to make an airplane for almost the cost of a JSF with the performance of a T-50.


Almost the cost of a JSF? So far the cost of ownership of F-35 has turned out to be much, much higher than promised. The promise was that the aircraft would cost about the same to operate as F-16.

kitplane01 wrote:
I don't believe their future promises. Because of their history.


I didn't believe their past promises either because, almost without exception, they broke them. No fuss made over that. No investigation into the reason for the failure concerned, no examination into what needed to change to avoid repeated failure. No changes made to avoid repeated failure means failure will continue. The attitude throughout the project seems to have been to simply reschedule by a year or two every time objectives were not met. I am not aware of changes to create an ethos of realism.

kitplane01 wrote:
They have not "kick started an aerospace industry". Brazil, Israel, and Korea have done that. But India has not, because an industry would be able to make planes someone wanted, which they cannot do.


IAF anticipated needing to start replacing light fighters from the 90's IIRC. I would say that the Tejas program did kickstart a fast jet aerospace industry on the back of that need. Will Tejas Mk1A be good enough to compete in the export market? I think it is more or less condemned to failure unless there are radical changes in thinking and practices within the Indian government and military aircraft industry. I do not see selling a few fighters to other countries as a success unless you support them.

Apart from all the technological know how developed, Tejas Mk1 has been useful in exposing many structural hindrances to success within the sector that need addressing. I'm not optimistic that GOI will embrace the need for change but if it does, I could see Mk1A being a success where Mk1 was a failure.
 
muralir
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Re: Comparing Programs: Tejas vs JF-17

Sun Feb 21, 2021 8:49 pm

kitplane01 wrote:
You seem confused as to what I'm saying.

I'm NOT saying "Wow. They spent 30 years and untold billions $$$ and got nothing zero nada"

I AM saying "Wow they spent 30 years and untold billions $$$ and got so little as to be failure."


I guess that is the big difference, and you and I will have to agree to disagree on this, since it's more of a value judgment than a disagreement on facts. I think we largely agree on what India got for its money and time. The question is whether it was worth it. You think no, which I assume means you think they should never have pursued the program, or maybe should have dropped it years / decades ago. And I would say yes, that despite the massive cost and time overruns and the lackluster results so far, they should have done it. Sure, there were some almost criminal incompetence and structural failures within the govt, the IAF, and HAL that led the program to the suboptimal results that they are at, but, IMHO, yes, it was still worth it. Because at some point, a country as large as India has to stop depending on other countries for their national security needs, and jumpstart their own industry. And that's what they've done.

kitplane01 wrote:
Maybe you have some emotional investment in the program. But after 30 years and untold billions $$$ they have not produced a single plane the IAF wants. That's failure. You can talk about development behind the scenes, progress toward some future thing, and so on. It's still 30 years and not a single plane the IAF wants. Failure.

muralir wrote:

Is anyone ever happy with their fighter program? Tell me the US is happy with the JSF. Or the F22 before it. Or the Osprey. Heck, even something as simple as their tanker, basically a 767 with extra fuel tanks, is mired in delays and cost overruns. Everyone would love a 10thgen fighter that costs $1million that has Wonder Woman's cloak of invisibility and Austin Powers' sharks with laser beams attached :-)


The JSF, KC-46, and Osprey (to use your examples) produced working aircraft. Late and and extra cost, but working aircraft. They are examples of programs that worked better than the Tejas, which after 30 years has not produced a single wanted aircraft. I don't think this helps your point.


The osprey program started in 1981. It wasn't approved for full production until the 2000s. In the meantime, it was nearly cancelled numerous times, by everyone from Congress to the President to the military itself, because of its failures and crashes which caused several Marine deaths. By your standards, it was a failure for decades. Right up until they finally worked out the problems and became a success.

FWIW, I fully supported the program during those times, because it was a genuinely new technology that gave a different set of capabilities than regular helicopters or fixed-wing aircraft. So it was worth working through the failures and cost overruns and delays, and even the death of early pilots, to figure this stuff out. Yes, there were problems on Boeing's side (there always is with that company...) not to mention the military program managers, etc. It was hardly a better development program than Tejas. But in the end, IMHO, it was worth the slog through those middle years of failure and multiple near-death cancellation threats.

And that's what I feel about the Tejas program today. If you evaluated the Osprey program in the 90s, you would have cut it. Heck, plenty of congresspeople and DoD officials would have agreed with you. It was an unmitigated failure, and a track record that didn't seem to point to any light at the end of the tunnel. And yet it got there. And now, no one is talking about cutting it.

Neither one of us has a crystal ball, so we'll just have to see which one of us is right. In 5-10 years, either the program will be a failure, with no viable aircraft, no viable industry, and no development know-how applied to subsequent programs. Or it will be a success, with all of those goals accomplished. We'll have to see. But I think calling it a failure right now (implying they should cancel and just go for a more limited program like the JF-17) is premature.

kitplane01 wrote:
muralir wrote:
The JF-17 seems to have been quite successful in achieving Pakistan's objectives, which I would argue were to have a good fighter while developing indigenous manufacturing capability (without, notably, any real design or development capability).

The Tejas has been less successful in achieving India's objectives: the initial Mk1 fighter did not meet IAF requirements, and the development took far longer than expected. But India's objectives with Tejas were far more ambitious than Pakistan's. And if you compare the actual achievements, I do think that India has achieved more than Pakistan, because it *has* kick-started their indigenous aerospace industry, and their development and design capability. Let me ask you this: for all of the Tejas's flaws, do you think Pakistan would like to have the design capability that India has developed with Tejas? I'm not saying they'd trade the JF-17 for it, but it is something of immense value.



Pakistan set correct goals, and made a nice plane at low cost. It shows what India might have done.


Pakistan set correct goals *for its country*. No one is arguing that. India had, and should have, a different set of goals. India already has the manufacturing experience that Pakistan wanted to get with the JF-17. It manufactures the Su30, with 80% indigenous components.

Sure, India could continue doing this, just keep licensing someone else's design, have them set up a local production line, rinse and repeat. That's basically what their tender for medium weight fighter was for. FWIW, I'm not trying to denigrate that choice. Plenty of people would say that's the way to develop an indigenous capability: keep transferring more technology with each program you start, keep replacing small bits as you gain more production experience. But India felt that they should reach higher for their light fighter program.

Because the truth is, as much manufacturing expertise as people are willing to transfer to you, very, very few countries are willing to transfer cutting-edge design expertise, or software, or other core, high-value IP (perhaps Russia might have given their close relationship with India, but no one else would even come close). At some point, you have to make the jump and start doing these things yourself. That's what India is trying to do.

kitplane01 wrote:
It took the Tejas program 25 years to learn to make an airplane no one wants.

They say they are close to the ability to make an airplane for almost the cost of a JSF with the performance of a T-50. This is not of "immense value". It's of almost no value. And I don't even believe it's true! I don't believe their future promises. Because of their history.

This is our big difference. You think that they are close to producing something of value, because they say they are. I don't believe their claims, because their past claims are all crap. But if I did believe them, I'd still think the program a failure. It just doesn't take 30 years to make a Tejas. Korea made the T-50 (a better plane that people will pay for) in about 8 years, and that's with a suspension in the middle.

They have not "kick started an aerospace industry". Brazil, Israel, and Korea have done that. But India has not, because an industry would be able to make planes someone wanted, which they cannot do.


Korea's T-50 is a derivative of Lockheed's F16, a jet that they were already assembling under license from Lockheed when they started the T-50 program. And then, they decided to customize and improve the jet in partnership with Lockheed. That's far more similar to the JF-17 and Su-30 programs (I'd argue even less of a leap than those, since they were already manufacturing the original design) than to a cleansheet design like the Tejas. And the timelines for all 3 programs (T-50, JF-17, Su-30) are all fairly similar. I don't think Korea is particularly exceptional in executing such a program (which is not to detract from their success; I'm just saying all 3 comparable programs were successful).
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Comparing Programs: Tejas vs JF-17

Mon Feb 22, 2021 2:08 am

muralir wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
You seem confused as to what I'm saying.

I'm NOT saying "Wow. They spent 30 years and untold billions $$$ and got nothing zero nada"

I AM saying "Wow they spent 30 years and untold billions $$$ and got so little as to be failure."


I guess that is the big difference, and you and I will have to agree to disagree on this, since it's more of a value judgment than a disagreement on facts. I think we largely agree on what India got for its money and time. The question is whether it was worth it. You think no, which I assume means you think they should never have pursued the program, or maybe should have dropped it years / decades ago. And I would say yes, that despite the massive cost and time overruns and the lackluster results so far, they should have done it. Sure, there were some almost criminal incompetence and structural failures within the govt, the IAF, and HAL that led the program to the suboptimal results that they are at, but, IMHO, yes, it was still worth it.



We so are failing to communicate!

I'm not saying "Wow, that was a failure they never should have tried".
I'm saying "Wow, that was a failure they should have done better".

The choice was not between (1) crappy never-delivered-a-wanted-aircraft-after-30-years and (2) don't-even-try.

I want (3) do a better job!

I don't even expect perfect. Korean Aerospace, Israeli Aerospace Industries, and Embraer (to name three examples) are imperfect. But they delivered more, for less investment and fewer decades.

muralir wrote:
Because at some point, a country as large as India has to stop depending on other countries for their national security needs, and jumpstart their own industry. And that's what they've done.


OK. But the way to achieve that is not the Tejas program. You would need some successes, and the Tejas doesn't deliver successes.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Comparing Programs: Tejas vs JF-17

Tue Mar 02, 2021 9:24 pm

muralir wrote:
Because at some point, a country as large as India has to stop depending on other countries for their national security needs, and jumpstart their own industry. And that's what they've done.


Seems to me they should take a lesson from the Australian. Buddy up with Boeing and over time, you can get a project going like the Loyal Wingman.

Mind you, it would not be easy as the Australians started working with Boeing on the Wedgetail project over 20 years ago, and with the commercial counterpart before that.

bt
 
muralir
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Re: Comparing Programs: Tejas vs JF-17

Thu Mar 18, 2021 3:16 am

kitplane01 wrote:
muralir wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
You seem confused as to what I'm saying.

I'm NOT saying "Wow. They spent 30 years and untold billions $$$ and got nothing zero nada"

I AM saying "Wow they spent 30 years and untold billions $$$ and got so little as to be failure."


I guess that is the big difference, and you and I will have to agree to disagree on this, since it's more of a value judgment than a disagreement on facts. I think we largely agree on what India got for its money and time. The question is whether it was worth it. You think no, which I assume means you think they should never have pursued the program, or maybe should have dropped it years / decades ago. And I would say yes, that despite the massive cost and time overruns and the lackluster results so far, they should have done it. Sure, there were some almost criminal incompetence and structural failures within the govt, the IAF, and HAL that led the program to the suboptimal results that they are at, but, IMHO, yes, it was still worth it.



We so are failing to communicate!

I'm not saying "Wow, that was a failure they never should have tried".
I'm saying "Wow, that was a failure they should have done better".

The choice was not between (1) crappy never-delivered-a-wanted-aircraft-after-30-years and (2) don't-even-try.

I want (3) do a better job!

I don't even expect perfect. Korean Aerospace, Israeli Aerospace Industries, and Embraer (to name three examples) are imperfect. But they delivered more, for less investment and fewer decades.

muralir wrote:
Because at some point, a country as large as India has to stop depending on other countries for their national security needs, and jumpstart their own industry. And that's what they've done.


OK. But the way to achieve that is not the Tejas program. You would need some successes, and the Tejas doesn't deliver successes.


Everyone always wants option 3. Even Pakistan, I'm sure, wishes the JF program was faster, less expensive, more capable, etc. I'm not saying this to excuse India's incompetence. They couldn't even execute a buy order for a medium-weight fighter for the better part of a decade. And I'm not saying that no one should try to draw lessons and make improvements.

But saying Tejas should have been executed better is a far cry from calling Tejas a failure, which is what you've argued. And my point is, it's premature to say that. There has been real, tangible progress. You might think writing fly-by-wire control software for a relaxed stability delta wing and a single pilot setup (i.e. you need to minimize cognitive demands on the pilot) is easy-peasy, but it isn't. And they haven't had a single crash in all its testing. That's not a small accomplishment. And now that it's done, future FBW systems will be much easier to write.

I would still bring up the Osprey: in the 90s and early 2000s, most defense watchers called it a failure. Unlike Tejas, it even had several pilot deaths and crashes during its development, even in later stages. It was such a horrible development process, marked with delays, missed goals, cost overruns, that literally everyone tried to kill it at some point or another (including the military itself). You can find numerous articles by experienced defense analysts calling the Osprey an unmitigated disaster that embodied everything that was wrong with American defense procurement. The articles were far more scathing than anything written about Tejas. And yet the Marines slogged through it all, and in the end, they have a game-changing, unique piece of hardware that makes a qualitative difference in their capabilities.

Could the Osprey program have been improved? Undoubtedly. Was it a failure? Everyone in the 90s thought so, but they were wrong. Was it worth it? Ask the Marines. It's their most deployed air transport platform.

My point is that the Tejas program is similar: developing something that (India) had never done before, but, if successful would make a strategic difference in their military capabilities, but that is currently mired in delays, missed goals, and cost overruns. Could it be improved? Absolutely. Is it a failure? IMHO, that's a premature conclusion. We'll have a better idea in 5-10 years. (It could still be a failure; not every program turns out like the Osprey. But there are hints that it might be a success too. It's just too early to say yet).
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Comparing Programs: Tejas vs JF-17

Thu Mar 18, 2021 5:57 am

muralir wrote:

But saying Tejas should have been executed better is a far cry from calling Tejas a failure, which is what you've argued. And my point is, it's premature to say that. There has been real, tangible progress. ... But there are hints that it might be a success too. It's just too early to say yet).


Development was started in 1985 (36 years ago). First flight was in 2001 (20 years ago). They have delivered zero planes the military actually wants.

I think that's long enough. More than long enough. Way too long.
 
angad84
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Re: Comparing Programs: Tejas vs JF-17

Sat Mar 20, 2021 3:24 pm

kitplane01 wrote:
Development was started in 1985 (36 years ago). First flight was in 2001 (20 years ago). They have delivered zero planes the military actually wants.

I think that's long enough. More than long enough. Way too long.


You can choose between 1987 (project definition) and 1993 (first actual development contract) for start date. Otherwise you'll have to start western 4G+ programmes off in the mid/late 1970s and then that begs the question of how much of a shambles the western programmes were!? Also, like most western programmes (barring the Gripen) which took a bit of a funding/development "holiday" when the Cold War ended, the Tejas also had a half decade "go slow" albeit for different reasons. India nearly went bankrupt in the early 1990s, and very little meaningful funding could be released to the LCA programme through most of the decade. This is also the reason India never went ahead to produce either the MiG-29 or Mirage 2000, which had entered service in the mid-1980s. The MiG-29 was to have been licence produced after the MiG-21s, and the Mirages after the Jaguars. It could easily be argued that learning from these two programmes would have greatly sped up and de-risked the LCA. As it was, there was not enough money for any of the three.

As for "planes the military wants" this is again not a black and white issue. In issues of defence, I tend to come down on the side of the user, as s/he is after all the one putting it all on the line by strapping up and going off to fight, so yes, I will tend to agree that the delivered Tejas LCAs leave a lot to be desired. But again, objective comparison will show nearly all modern fighter development programmes have entered service with some sort of concession/waiver or another. I don't see people griping about things like the hilariously stupid canted pylons on the Super Hornet, and issues like those are far more egregious (IMO) than deficiencies in the Tejas, nearly all of which are fixable and indeed have fixes in the pipeline.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Comparing Programs: Tejas vs JF-17

Sun Mar 21, 2021 12:41 am

angad84 wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
Development was started in 1985 (36 years ago). First flight was in 2001 (20 years ago). They have delivered zero planes the military actually wants.

I think that's long enough. More than long enough. Way too long.


You can choose between 1987 (project definition) and 1993 (first actual development contract) for start date.


You can chose program definition, start of development, or first flight. It's been TWENTY YEARS since first flight.

angad84 wrote:
As for "planes the military wants" this is again not a black and white issue.

The Indian Air Force does not want to spend enough to buy an F-35 or F-18 ... and get a Tejas. And they say so.


angad84 wrote:
I don't see people griping about things like the hilariously stupid canted pylons on the Super Hornet, and issues like those are far more egregious (IMO) than deficiencies in the Tejas, nearly all of which are fixable and indeed have fixes in the pipeline.



If what you wrote above makes sense to you then maybe we should just stop talking. See the quote below.

According to IAF assessments, the Tejas LCA, when compared to Saab’s JAS-39 Gripen and Lockheed Martin’s F-16, boasts reduced airborne endurance — 59 minutes versus three hours for the Gripen and nearly four hours for the F-16. The Tejas can also only carry a weapons payload of around three tons against nearly six tons by the Gripen and seven tons by the F-16.

Furthermore, maintenance requirements for the Tejas LCA are also higher than with foreign combat aircraft. The Tejas LCA requires 20 hours of serving for every hour of flying against six hours for the Gripen and 3.5 hours for the F-16. In addition, the service life of the Tejas LCA is also half that of the 40 years found in both the Gripen and F-16. ...

The IAF did chose to procure Tejas jets, but the service’s auditor general criticized the design for failing to meet 53 criteria, including deficiencies in its radar- and missile-warning systems, limited internal fuel, underpowered engine relative airframe weight, and lack of electronic warfare support.


https://thediplomat.com/2017/11/indian- ... ian-skies/
 
angad84
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Re: Comparing Programs: Tejas vs JF-17

Sun Mar 21, 2021 2:25 pm

kitplane01 wrote:
If what you wrote above makes sense to you then maybe we should just stop talking.

Agreed. If you're going to tell *me* what the IAF is thinking, and quote Franz-Stefan Gady, who in all likelihood has never interacted with an IAF officer outside of an embassy party, then this discussion is indeed quite pointless.
 
muralir
Posts: 161
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Re: Comparing Programs: Tejas vs JF-17

Sun Mar 21, 2021 8:28 pm

kitplane01 wrote:
muralir wrote:

But saying Tejas should have been executed better is a far cry from calling Tejas a failure, which is what you've argued. And my point is, it's premature to say that. There has been real, tangible progress. ... But there are hints that it might be a success too. It's just too early to say yet).


Development was started in 1985 (36 years ago). First flight was in 2001 (20 years ago). They have delivered zero planes the military actually wants.

I think that's long enough. More than long enough. Way too long.


The first development contract for the Osprey was given to Bell and Boeing in 1983. First flight was 1989. It was finally inducted in 2007. Nearly 20 years after first flight. Oh yeah, it also killed ~30 Marines and had numerous crashes while developing it. I guess it's a failure too?

Why do I keep bringing up the Osprey? Because, IMHO, it points to the trade-off in terms of leeway in program development and ambitiousness of goals. If all the Marines were looking for was a new helicopter with maybe longer distance and higher payload than what they already had, then spending 20 years to develop it is absolutely a failure and should have been cancelled decades ago (sort of like how the Army's Comanche program was cancelled). But the Osprey was a much more ambitious program, developing novel technologies that, if successful, would be a true game-changer in terms of their operational capabilities. In those cases, a higher rate of problems can be tolerated and the program can still be considered a success.

IMHO, that is what the Tejas represents for India. If all they wanted was to license-build or kit assemble a pre-existing design and then slap a "Made-in-India" sticker on it (which is, frankly, what the JF-17 program is, and for that matter, Korea's T-50 which is basically an upgraded F16), then taking 30 years to do so would be an abject failure and the program should have been cancelled a long time ago. But Tejas was designed as a strategic leap in India's design and manufacturing capability. As such, it should be granted more leeway before deciding it's a failure. Of course, it would be great if everything happened quicker, etc. And the jury is still out. The currently produced fighters do not meet IAF requirements. But the MK1a does, and the MKII appears to be a genuine leap forward in capability. That's why I say the jury is still out. If they are able to deliver the MK1a to spec, and launch the MKII in the next 5-10 years, in the process fostering a domestic military aviation industry that serves as the basis for future indigenously developed platforms, then that would be enough for me to call it a success.

Also, you keep saying that Tejas has delivered zero planes the military wants. Neither has the F35, even though it was "inducted" several years ago. Tejas calls their revisions Mk1a, Lockheed calls their revisions Block A/B/C/D/etc. Both hide the fact that neither fighter yet meets the requirements set out by their primary customer (https://www.defensenews.com/smr/hidden-troubles-f35/). Both are making progress to addressing those problems but they aren't there yet.

Honest question, do you consider the F35 a failure? (FWIW, I do: far from the ambitions of the Osprey or Tejas, the F35 was supposed to be *less* capable than the already developed F22, using proven technologies to speed up development time and lower lifecycle cost. They failed at both goals. There is no reason for the F35 to exist aside from inertia and sunk cost fallacy at this point.)
 
art
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Re: Comparing Programs: Tejas vs JF-17

Sun Mar 21, 2021 8:44 pm

I started to take an interest in the LCA project about 15 years ago. Over the years I formed the impression that the environment in which this aircraft was being developed was not a healthy environment for decent project management. I would say that Tejas (Mk1 as it became) is limited in its usefulness. Very short range. Limited payload. However, its raison d'etre was twofold - to replace MiG-21 as that platform aged and at the same time to allow India to build a fast jet design and manufacturing capability. It is certainly a far better fighter than the MiG-21. India has built a fast jet design and manufacturing capability (albeit without a jet engine design and manufacturing capability). So, a mixture of success and failure. Nevertheless a project that failed entirely in producing aircraft in time to replace the MiG-21's it was intended to replace,

It will be interesting to see if India can run the Mk1A project substantially better than Mk1 was run.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Comparing Programs: Tejas vs JF-17

Sun Mar 21, 2021 9:17 pm

muralir wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
muralir wrote:

But saying Tejas should have been executed better is a far cry from calling Tejas a failure, which is what you've argued. And my point is, it's premature to say that. There has been real, tangible progress. ... But there are hints that it might be a success too. It's just too early to say yet).


Development was started in 1985 (36 years ago). First flight was in 2001 (20 years ago). They have delivered zero planes the military actually wants.

I think that's long enough. More than long enough. Way too long.


The first development contract for the Osprey was given to Bell and Boeing in 1983. First flight was 1989. It was finally inducted in 2007. Nearly 20 years after first flight. Oh yeah, it also killed ~30 Marines and had numerous crashes while developing it. I guess it's a failure too?


Why do I keep bringing up the Osprey? Because, IMHO, it points to the trade-off in terms of leeway in program development and ambitiousness of goals. If all the Marines were looking for was a new helicopter with maybe longer distance and higher payload than what they already had, then spending 20 years to develop it is absolutely a failure and should have been cancelled decades ago (sort of like how the Army's Comanche program was cancelled). But the Osprey was a much more ambitious program, developing novel technologies that, if successful, would be a true game-changer in terms of their operational capabilities. In those cases, a higher rate of problems can be tolerated and the program can still be considered a success.


Maybe. I'm not arguing the Osprey was a success, and if it was my money I'd have spent it elsewhere.

The Tejas is not a good comparison to the Osprey. The Osprey is a new-in-catagory invention, worldwide. No one else anywhere in the world has a production aircraft like the Osprey (there were some prototypes).

The Tejas is a very standard lightweight fighter. And maybe the technology is new to India, but lots of nations have already shown how not-hard it is to develop a lightweight fighter. Sweden's Gripen, Taiwan's F-CK-1, Japan's FD-1, Korea's FA-50, Pakistan's JF-17 are all examples. All these programs produces a lightweight fighter with foreign radar and engines (the Gripen uses a Swedish radar). All have similar domestic vs foreign content (Tejas 60% doemstic, JF-17 56% domestic) . The Tejas has taken the longest and been the worst of all these programs. I'm comparing the Tejas to these programs and finding it wanting.


muralir wrote:


Also, you keep saying that Tejas has delivered zero planes the military wants. Neither has the F35, even though it was "inducted" several years ago.


I don't think that's true. In fact, I believe the Air Force would like more F-35s, not less. Isn't that what they keep telling Congress?

muralir wrote:
Honest question, do you consider the F35 a failure?


I'm not sure. It clearly failed at the originally stated goals. It's also the best fighter in production today, anywhere in the world.

(The head of the USAF) Brown, when asked Thursday if the F-35 program is a failure, said that is “nowhere near” the case. “The F-35 is a cornerstone of our [tactical aircraft] capability and for our fighter capability,”. https://www.defenseone.com/business/202 ... ys/172318/


I imagine we are never going to agree. I believe I understand your position and I hope you understand mine. If you have any new points to make I'm interested ..

-Peace
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Comparing Programs: Tejas vs JF-17

Sun Mar 21, 2021 9:30 pm

angad84 wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
If what you wrote above makes sense to you then maybe we should just stop talking.

Agreed. If you're going to tell *me* what the IAF is thinking, and quote Franz-Stefan Gady, who in all likelihood has never interacted with an IAF officer outside of an embassy party, then this discussion is indeed quite pointless.


Actually, I went back to edit my tone and it wouldn't let me. So sorry about the tone. Tone on the internet is hard.

I was actually trying to describe the IAF report. Here's another two descriptions ..
https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/governm ... eed-761618
https://thediplomat.com/2017/11/indian- ... ian-skies/
 
angad84
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Re: Comparing Programs: Tejas vs JF-17

Sun Mar 21, 2021 10:01 pm

art wrote:
Over the years I formed the impression that the environment in which this aircraft was being developed was not a healthy environment for decent project management.

Sir, I tip my hat to you.

art wrote:
It will be interesting to see if India can run the Mk1A project substantially better than Mk1 was run.

I wouldn't hold my breath. It's already being turned into a political free for all.
 
angad84
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Re: Comparing Programs: Tejas vs JF-17

Sun Mar 21, 2021 10:07 pm

kitplane01 wrote:
angad84 wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
If what you wrote above makes sense to you then maybe we should just stop talking.

Agreed. If you're going to tell *me* what the IAF is thinking, and quote Franz-Stefan Gady, who in all likelihood has never interacted with an IAF officer outside of an embassy party, then this discussion is indeed quite pointless.


Actually, I went back to edit my tone and it wouldn't let me. So sorry about the tone. Tone on the internet is hard.

I was actually trying to describe the IAF report. Here's another two descriptions ..
https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/governm ... eed-761618
https://thediplomat.com/2017/11/indian- ... ian-skies/

No worries.

The problem with F-S Gady, The Diplomat, National Interest, etc etc, is that they have ZERO exposure to what they're writing about, and ZERO access to primary sources. They're just repackaging a mishmash of (often conflicting) reports from halfway around the world.

Which then gets us to problem number two (heh): the Indian mainstream press (particularly newsdesk reports without bylines like the one you've linked here) are NOTORIOUSLY bad at understanding defence issues. So it's a bit of a blind leading the blind type situation if these are the sources of information you choose.

The LCA doesn't have, will probably never have, the kind of transparent, honest, and self critical appraisals in the public domain that so many people have become used to thanks to the excellent work of the F-35 and its watchdogs. But equally, it is precisely because we know the kind of concessions being granted in programmes like the F-35 (or the A400M, Super Hornet, Gripen, etc etc) that makes the finger pointing at Tejas baffling.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Comparing Programs: Tejas vs JF-17

Mon Mar 22, 2021 1:45 am

Tejas economics question:

Wikipedia says (and has lots of citations)

₹162 crore (equivalent to ₹208 crore or US$29 million in 2019) for IOC Mk. 1 (2014)
₹299.45 crore (equivalent to ₹541 crore or US$76 million in 2019) for FOC Mk. 1 (2010)
₹303 crore (US$42 million) for Mk. 1A and ₹309 crore (US$43 million) for export variant (2021)

Why would the export variant of the Mk 1A cost just of half as much as the Indian version of the Mk 1?
The Mk 1a is a better plane!
 
art
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Re: Comparing Programs: Tejas vs JF-17

Mon Mar 22, 2021 3:14 am

I think that HAL, the manufacturer/integrator, wanted a much higher price than $43 million for Mk1A but was beaten down by the government. Additionally manufacture of front fuselage, centre fuselage, rear fuselage, wings et al are now outsourced to private industry. I imagine that the cost has dropped substantially. Additionally there are more indigenous components in the Mk1A (which I guess are cheaper than imports).

HAL was supposed to deliver 40 Mk1 aircraft by Dec 2016. Production has been at a fraction of the planned rate with 16 being delivered by April 2019. The current schedule is for completion of deliveries in 2022. Production capacity will be raised from 8 to 16 a year for Mk1A. Doubling/tripling/quadrupling the historic production rate must result in a considerable reduction in costs per frame..
 
angad84
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Re: Comparing Programs: Tejas vs JF-17

Mon Mar 22, 2021 2:44 pm

kitplane01 wrote:
Tejas economics question:

Wikipedia says (and has lots of citations)

₹162 crore (equivalent to ₹208 crore or US$29 million in 2019) for IOC Mk. 1 (2014)
₹299.45 crore (equivalent to ₹541 crore or US$76 million in 2019) for FOC Mk. 1 (2010)
₹303 crore (US$42 million) for Mk. 1A and ₹309 crore (US$43 million) for export variant (2021)

Why would the export variant of the Mk 1A cost just of half as much as the Indian version of the Mk 1?
The Mk 1a is a better plane!


On no planet does the Mk1 cost 76M USD. You cannot just inflation adjust a 2010 contract. To get an accurate price of the Mk.1 today, you have to get HAL to price you an aircraft, simple. No one is sitting and inflation adjusting F-16 or F-18 costs from decades ago to figure out what a new build will cost today.

The Mk1A is a pretty competitive plane at around 42M USD, and as the baseline standard being built in large numbers (73 Mk1A vs only 20 Mk1 FOC) is likely to work out cheaper than the Mk1 under any circumstances, but I don't think it'll be by much. Ergo, if you really wanted a Mk1 today (why?), it wouldn't cost HAL more than 50M USD to deliver.

Also, internal Indian government contracting is notoriously difficult to pick apart because it's basically the government buying from the government, so there's lots of scope for contracts and payments to be amended on the fly. This is less of an issue with more recent contracts -- basically anything since HAL was listed on the exchange -- because now the accounting has to follow established corporate norms. But it does make accurate cost tracking for anything older than 2015 a bit of a headache. You generally have to wait for *actual* expenditure numbers to be tabled in obscure parliament reports and the like.

art wrote:
I think that HAL, the manufacturer/integrator, wanted a much higher price than $43 million for Mk1A but was beaten down by the government. Additionally manufacture of front fuselage, centre fuselage, rear fuselage, wings et al are now outsourced to private industry. I imagine that the cost has dropped substantially. Additionally there are more indigenous components in the Mk1A (which I guess are cheaper than imports).

HAL was supposed to deliver 40 Mk1 aircraft by Dec 2016. Production has been at a fraction of the planned rate with 16 being delivered by April 2019. The current schedule is for completion of deliveries in 2022. Production capacity will be raised from 8 to 16 a year for Mk1A. Doubling/tripling/quadrupling the historic production rate must result in a considerable reduction in costs per frame..


All of this is correct to varying degrees. And it ended in the Government getting a pretty solid deal on their Mk1As. If HAL can maintain a similar price, or even lower the URF over time, I think the IAF will have a hard time justifying imported fighters going forward. At least any less capable than the Rafale, which the Government has already invested significant funds into, and so can justify amortising those non-recurring costs.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Comparing Programs: Tejas vs JF-17

Tue Mar 23, 2021 2:01 am

angad84 wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
Tejas economics question:

Wikipedia says (and has lots of citations)

₹162 crore (equivalent to ₹208 crore or US$29 million in 2019) for IOC Mk. 1 (2014)
₹299.45 crore (equivalent to ₹541 crore or US$76 million in 2019) for FOC Mk. 1 (2010)
₹303 crore (US$42 million) for Mk. 1A and ₹309 crore (US$43 million) for export variant (2021)

Why would the export variant of the Mk 1A cost just of half as much as the Indian version of the Mk 1?
The Mk 1a is a better plane!




The Mk1A is a pretty competitive plane at around 42M USD, and as the baseline standard being built in large numbers (73 Mk1A vs only 20 Mk1 FOC) is likely to work out cheaper than the Mk1 under any circumstances, but I don't think it'll be by much. Ergo, if you really wanted a Mk1 today (why?), it wouldn't cost HAL more than 50M USD to deliver.

Also, internal Indian government contracting is notoriously difficult to pick apart because it's basically the government buying from the government, so there's lots of scope for contracts and payments to be amended on the fly. This is less of an issue with more recent contracts -- basically anything since HAL was listed on the exchange -- because now the accounting has to follow established corporate norms. But it does make accurate cost tracking for anything older than 2015 a bit of a headache. You generally have to wait for *actual* expenditure numbers to be tabled in obscure parliament reports and the like.


The Mk 1a at $42M is a much better deal. But the Indian government is actually paying $6.5B for 85 planes, and that's $76M each. And that's the fly-away cost, ignoring development costs!
https://www.defensenews.com/air/2021/01 ... ghter-jets

If there is some cross-subsidy going on .. that makes things worse! The IAF (presumably) makes decisions based on the $76M number, and if that's not the actual costs it's making decisions on wrong data.

I'm having a hard time imagining HAL charging Indonesia/Philippians/South Africa/Take Your Pick only $42M when the IAF gets charged $76M for a worse plane.
 
art
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Re: Comparing Programs: Tejas vs JF-17

Tue Mar 23, 2021 1:03 pm

kitplane01 wrote:
...the Indian government is actually paying $6.5B for 85 planes, and that's $76M each. And that's the fly-away cost, ignoring development costs!
https://www.defensenews.com/air/2021/01 ... ghter-jets

If there is some cross-subsidy going on .. that makes things worse! The IAF (presumably) makes decisions based on the $76M number, and if that's not the actual costs it's making decisions on wrong data.

I'm having a hard time imagining HAL charging Indonesia/Philippians/South Africa/Take Your Pick only $42M when the IAF gets charged $76M for a worse plane.


Surely the deal cost includes spares, ancillary support equipment, possibly SIM's, training etc?
 
angad84
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Re: Comparing Programs: Tejas vs JF-17

Thu Mar 25, 2021 8:45 am

kitplane01 wrote:
But the Indian government is actually paying $6.5B for 85 planes, and that's $76M each.

Come on man. Contract value is not the same as URF.

URF cost before taxes is ~42M
URF after (domestic) tax is ~50M
Since export customers do not pay domestic taxes, the export price is the base URF.

The rest of the contract was fixed costs -- dev costs for Mk1 to 1A, GSE/GHE, training and basing infrastructure, a PBL arrangement with a minimum guaranteed uptime, and so on.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Comparing Programs: Tejas vs JF-17

Fri Mar 26, 2021 11:25 pm

angad84 wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
But the Indian government is actually paying $6.5B for 85 planes, and that's $76M each.

Come on man. Contract value is not the same as URF.

URF cost before taxes is ~42M
URF after (domestic) tax is ~50M
Since export customers do not pay domestic taxes, the export price is the base URF.

The rest of the contract was fixed costs -- dev costs for Mk1 to 1A, GSE/GHE, training and basing infrastructure, a PBL arrangement with a minimum guaranteed uptime, and so on.


What is URF? And why does it matter more than what the government is actually paying?
 
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golfradio
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Re: Comparing Programs: Tejas vs JF-17

Sat Mar 27, 2021 6:52 pm

kitplane01 wrote:
What is URF? And why does it matter more than what the government is actually paying?


Unit Recurring Flyaway cost. It basically buys you a plane that can't fly, not for combat, not for training, not even for the delivery hop. It does not include the support and training equipment, initial spare parts or even the gas and lubricants. Or in terms of a car anology, the dealer invoice price.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flyaway_cost
A good way of looking at the difference is the flyaway cost is the cost of making the aircraft, but the procurement cost is the cost of buying the aircraft. Procurement costs may include ancillary equipment costs, one time non-recurring contract costs, and airframe, engine and avionics support costs. For example, the flyaway cost for the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet up to 2009 (for the 449 units built) was US$ 57.5 million per unit, but the procurement cost was 39.8% higher, at US$ 80.4 million per unit.

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