Ozair
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Indian Navy now seeking domestic twin engine fighter

Mon Nov 25, 2019 4:24 am

Well this is an interesting new position from DRDO on the future Indian Naval fighter. There has been discussion for a while now that the Indian Navy felt the Naval Tejas variant was underpowered, to the point of not taking any Mk1 variants but looking forward to the Mk2 variant. Now the intent appears to be to develop the Mk2 variant further to be a twin engine airframe, using probably two GE414s in place of the original one. It will also likely be STOBAR and used as a replacement for the MiG-29K.

India’s DRDO Forced To Ditch LCA Navy Mk2 For Cleansheet Twin-Engine Jet Design

A new twin-engine naval fighter design proposal is taking shape at India’s principal combat aircraft design house in Bengaluru to supply the Indian Navy with a future fighter for its aircraft carriers. The proposed fighter, with officially stated plans for a first flight by 2026, isn’t a choice but a compulsion. And it effectively puts on hold the Mk.2 version of the single-engine naval Light Combat Aircraft (N-LCA).

The proposal is a dramatic shift in plans by the DRDO-administered Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), which until as recently as February, had been fine-tuning design changes on the LCA Navy Mk.2. Plans on the new jet design were first revealed earlier this week on Delhi Defence Review here. But here’s the rub: the DRDO isn’t switching tracks willingly, but has rather been forced into pursuing a twin-engine design by the Indian Navy. After years of studies on the LCA Navy and the proposed LCA Navy Mk.2, the navy has made it clear it doesn’t want a single engine fighter.

The proposal, intended as a convergence of work done thus far on the LCA Navy Mk.2 and the twin engine design studies on the concept fifth generation AMCA stealth fighter, has an ambitious deadline right out the door.

The top leadership of ADA told Livefist on Tuesday, “The Indian Navy is looking for a twin-engine deck based fighter in lieu of the LCA Navy Mk.2. With confidence generated from AMCA design, we have developed twin engine competence. Hence configuration is currently being worked out. This is being targeted as a replacement for the MiG-29K with a first flight by 2026.”

...

https://www.livefistdefence.com/2019/11 ... esign.html

Plenty more to the article than the above quote but this one stuck out to me more than anything else…
“We have all the elements required from both projects (LCA Navy and AMCA) to assemble the new design,” says the ADA leadership. “We are also equipped with knowledge of the pitfalls in the design and prototyping phase from past projects, so we have an adequate level of confidence. The bigger picture is that the next deck-based fighter of the Indian Navy should be an Indian design.”


First flight is apparently planned for 2026.
 
P1aneMad
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Re: Indian Navy now seeking domestic twin engine fighter

Mon Nov 25, 2019 7:28 am

So AT BEST in 15 years time the Indian Navy will start operating the successor to their MiG-29s.
Cause what they are proposing is starting a completely new aircraft program.
Also will it be just a Navy program or will the Air force participate as well and therefore add its own requirements?
 
Ozair
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Re: Indian Navy now seeking domestic twin engine fighter

Mon Nov 25, 2019 9:59 am

P1aneMad wrote:
So AT BEST in 15 years time the Indian Navy will start operating the successor to their MiG-29s.
Cause what they are proposing is starting a completely new aircraft program.


If they have first flight in 2026 and use the current planned Mk2 Tejas, which I assume will still be developed, as the test bed for the systems then they can go a long way to reducing the development and testing time.

P1aneMad wrote:
Also will it be just a Navy program or will the Air force participate as well and therefore add its own requirements?


The Indian Air Force could be interested on a twin engined Tejas variant, especially if a number of the systems remain common between the Navy jet and the planned Tejas Mk2. It would seem a good candidate for a long range strike aircraft especially if stripped of some of the navy specific equipment.

The first problem is a twin engined Tejas isn't going to reach Air Force squadrons before 2030 and more likely 2035 so it misses the replacement for the Jaguar fleet. The Mirage 2000 was already planned to be replaced by the single engined Tejas Mk2 and that could conceivably go ahead. There is still the MiG-21 and MiG-27 fleets to be replaced but Tejas Mk1A is the likely candidate for those, along with either the new fighter competition or perhaps additional top up Rafale orders. Perhaps replacement of early build Su-30MKIs is possible?

Second problem is what happens with AMCA. I assume the quest for an Indian 5th gen aircraft is still going on and this program would compete for Indian Air force funding with both likely looking at similar timeframes for first flight and production. I doubt the Air Force will give up AMCA for a twin engined Tejas.

The final problem is I don't think any of us can trust the timeframes being suggested here for any Tejas variant, the AMCA or even the selection of a new fighter. Nor can we trust that the aircraft will be built in the numbers planned. They have struggled to build the Tejas Mk1 against a reasonably conservative schedule and there doesn't seem much light at the end of that tunnel.

I'd love for them to succeed as I really like the current and planned Tejas variants but I'm just not confident they can keep to any sort of timeframe or set of requirements.
 
P1aneMad
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Re: Indian Navy now seeking domestic twin engine fighter

Mon Nov 25, 2019 10:20 am

A twin engined aircraft would be a "Tejas" in name only.
Its subsystems can be tested on any test bed.
But its flight characteristics, its geometry, flight control software etc will be all new.
So I just do not see how India's HAL and DRDO can design, test and produce a new aircraft program in less than 15 years.
If they had that capability they would have already demonstrated it.
Hell, even most western programs need at least that long from design faze to introduction of operational aircraft in fighter squadrons.
Now if they decide that it will also be a stealthy aircraft we should add a few more years to the timeline.
 
Ozair
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Re: Indian Navy now seeking domestic twin engine fighter

Mon Nov 25, 2019 10:56 am

P1aneMad wrote:
A twin engined aircraft would be a "Tejas" in name only.
Its subsystems can be tested on any test bed.
But its flight characteristics, its geometry, flight control software etc will be all new.

It really depends on how they build it. The F-35 CLAW was an extension of the F-22s even though they are very different in size and engine configuration. I expect it would have the same engine, radar, avionics, MAWS, ECM etc.


P1aneMad wrote:
So I just do not see how India's HAL and DRDO can design, test and produce a new aircraft program in less than 15 years.
If they had that capability they would have already demonstrated it.
Hell, even most western programs need at least that long from design faze to introduction of operational aircraft in fighter squadrons.

To a reasonable level of capability every single current in production western fighter took 18+ years so I agree 15 is a very big ask.

P1aneMad wrote:
Now if they decide that it will also be a stealthy aircraft we should add a few more years to the timeline.

Agree as well, the last thing they need is requirements creep. A naval STOBAR aircraft won't have an export market so this really is a single nation capability and perhaps a vanity project. I don't expect it to be more capable than either Rafale or SH.

I expect though that the intent will be similar to Tejas, a capable aircraft at an affordable price and most importantly furthering domestic industrial and technical capability.
 
art
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Re: Indian Navy now seeking domestic twin engine fighter

Mon Nov 25, 2019 1:38 pm

My source (well-informed poster on another site) says Mk2 Tejas prototype metal cutting has already begun. Seems unlikely that this design for the IAF will be abandoned at this point. Would it not make more sense to buy Rafales for the IN? It would not matter then if development of an indigenous twin for the navy took 20+ years.

Additionally, the deal for 36 Rafales is reported as being in excess of $7 billion. A big chunk of that (even allowing for India-specific design changes) must be a one-off cost for support and equipment. Additional Rafale orders would help dilute a lot of that one-off cost.

The other aspect is certainty. I have watched the progress (if that's not the wrong word) of the Tejas project for many years. The IAF have changed the requirement many times, pretty much every development and production target has been missed, been rescheduled, been missed again. Buying a developed foreign naval fighter which is in production would give a high degree of certainty regarding delivery date.

If India was determined to develope a home grown carrier jet, perhaps there is some way of developing AMCA to encompass a naval version a la JSF. Such an aircraft could replace a navy Rafale M 20 years or so after its delivery.
 
P1aneMad
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Re: Indian Navy now seeking domestic twin engine fighter

Mon Nov 25, 2019 6:02 pm

How many aircraft carriers does India envisions to have operational in 10 years time?
In 15?
If it isn't more than 6 and if the Indian Navy does not intend to have shore based squadrons I can not see the justification of going through all the trouble and cost of developing a specialty fighter for the Indian navy
 
LightningZ71
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Re: Indian Navy now seeking domestic twin engine fighter

Mon Nov 25, 2019 9:33 pm

Does the Rafale even make sense for the IN in a STOBAR configuration? I have to imagine that it's going to be taking a significant payload/range hit in loosing the catapult. They are essentially going to try and build a home-grown Super Hornet it seems, with maybe marginally better maneuverability, that won't be in the fleet for over a decade from now, and will be facing off against 5th generation aircraft from their regional competitors. It would make WAY more sense, from a dollars and sense point of view, to make the needed changes to get the Super Hornet now (they can have them in the fleet in a year or less probably) and start a long program for a 5th generation fighter of their own. While the SH won't be leaps and bounds ahead of their Mig 29s, it's still a modern platform that's been steadily upgraded, and the frames will have no non-delivery flight hours on them. Heck, they'll have the same engines that they are planning to use for this proposed Tejas MK2 version!

I get that they want a local capability to produce a competitive fighter, but, they can work on that in parallel to this purchase by continuing their own development on their local fighters until they get the development end right. Manufacturing the design is a more manageable problem.
 
art
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Re: Indian Navy now seeking domestic twin engine fighter

Mon Nov 25, 2019 11:18 pm

LightningZ71 wrote:
Does the Rafale even make sense for the IN in a STOBAR configuration?


I'm curious that you question Rafale but later recommend Super Hornet. Could you explain?
 
Ozair
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Re: Indian Navy now seeking domestic twin engine fighter

Mon Nov 25, 2019 11:28 pm

P1aneMad wrote:
How many aircraft carriers does India envisions to have operational in 10 years time?
In 15?
If it isn't more than 6 and if the Indian Navy does not intend to have shore based squadrons I can not see the justification of going through all the trouble and cost of developing a specialty fighter for the Indian navy

Indian intent is for three carriers.
India’s only operational carrier, INS Vikramaditya, is a heavily modified ex-Soviet Kiev-class carrier, and at 44,500 tonnes full-load displacement somewhat smaller than China’s ex-Soviet carrier, Liaoning, which weighs in at 59,400 tonnes. There were significant delays and cost overruns in the Vikramaditya’s modernisation. At the end of the 1990s, Delhi also announced its ambition to produce its first home-built – or ‘indigenous’ – aircraft carrier, the Vikrant, now well behind its original schedule. The latest timeline would see the 40,000-tonne vessel begin basin trials (when the ship’s machinery is tested in floating conditions, prior to sea trials) in 2020, enter Indian Navy service in 2021 and be fully commissioned in 2023.
But it is the planned third carrier (and second indigenous vessel), a larger vessel with more capability, on which attention is now focusing.


https://www.iiss.org/blogs/military-bal ... ooperation

I don’t expect shore based Naval fighter squadrons but is a possibility.

LightningZ71 wrote:
Does the Rafale even make sense for the IN in a STOBAR configuration? I have to imagine that it's going to be taking a significant payload/range hit in loosing the catapult.

Apparently both the Rafale and SH have confirmed they are capable of STOBAR.
He said that the company would be responding to the request for information (RFI) from India for 57 multirole naval fighters that can be adapted to the country’s current short-takeoff but arrested recovery (STOBAR) aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya and for the future aircraft carriers that will employ catapults for takeoff. “The Rafale Marine is adapted to both technologies,” Trappier noted, adding that only a few modifications would have to be made.

https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news ... -prospects

I agree there may be a payload hit but that is generally a consequence of operating a STOBAR configuration anyway.

LightningZ71 wrote:
They are essentially going to try and build a home-grown Super Hornet it seems, with maybe marginally better maneuverability, that won't be in the fleet for over a decade from now, and will be facing off against 5th generation aircraft from their regional competitors. It would make WAY more sense, from a dollars and sense point of view, to make the needed changes to get the Super Hornet now (they can have them in the fleet in a year or less probably) and start a long program for a 5th generation fighter of their own. While the SH won't be leaps and bounds ahead of their Mig 29s, it's still a modern platform that's been steadily upgraded, and the frames will have no non-delivery flight hours on them. Heck, they'll have the same engines that they are planning to use for this proposed Tejas MK2 version!

Agree 100% that the sane option is to acquire SH or Rafale instead of developing a domestic aircraft, especially for such a limited number of potential aircraft and especially since the intent is to continue to acquire the 57 SH or Rafales anyway.

LightningZ71 wrote:
I get that they want a local capability to produce a competitive fighter, but, they can work on that in parallel to this purchase by continuing their own development on their local fighters until they get the development end right. Manufacturing the design is a more manageable problem.

At least from DRDO’s perspective a domestic option is the future option. Perhaps this concept will get shot down but clearly India wants to be a fighter jet manufacturer and the Indian Navy seems quite keen on a twin engine Tejas. The alternative is this is all a play to end up with more SH or Rafales through delays to the development of this aircraft. New build SH may not be available in the late 2020s while the Rafale is expected to be.
 
Kiwirob
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Re: Indian Navy now seeking domestic twin engine fighter

Tue Nov 26, 2019 6:48 am

P1aneMad wrote:
How many aircraft carriers does India envisions to have operational in 10 years time?
In 15?
If it isn't more than 6 and if the Indian Navy does not intend to have shore based squadrons I can not see the justification of going through all the trouble and cost of developing a specialty fighter for the Indian navy


Based on how fast the IAC is being built they will be lucky to have 2 in 10 years time. They intend to operate 3. The second IAC hasn't been ordered as far as I know.
 
angad84
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Re: Indian Navy now seeking domestic twin engine fighter

Tue Nov 26, 2019 9:55 am

Man, I feel so bad for you folks trying to make sense of the Indian mil-tech-procurement landscape...
 
ThePointblank
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Re: Indian Navy now seeking domestic twin engine fighter

Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:52 pm

angad84 wrote:
Man, I feel so bad for you folks trying to make sense of the Indian mil-tech-procurement landscape...

Because it often rivals Canadian military procurement in terms of convolutedness, silliness and infuriating stupidity...
 
LightningZ71
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Re: Indian Navy now seeking domestic twin engine fighter

Thu Nov 28, 2019 7:53 am

art wrote:
LightningZ71 wrote:
Does the Rafale even make sense for the IN in a STOBAR configuration?


I'm curious that you question Rafale but later recommend Super Hornet. Could you explain?


Sure. It is my understanding that the SH is capable of taking off with a larger usable load of fuel and munitions than the Rafale when configured to use a ski-jump. I get that idea from an article that I read last year on just that subject, though, I am fully ready to be convinced otherwise as I do not recall where the article was located and can not provide a link. With that being my understanding, it would make sense to me for them to acquire the SH now, and develop something better than both platforms for future production.
 
art
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Re: Indian Navy now seeking domestic twin engine fighter

Thu Nov 28, 2019 10:43 am

LightningZ71 wrote:
art wrote:
LightningZ71 wrote:
Does the Rafale even make sense for the IN in a STOBAR configuration?


I'm curious that you question Rafale but later recommend Super Hornet. Could you explain?


Sure. It is my understanding that the SH is capable of taking off with a larger usable load of fuel and munitions than the Rafale when configured to use a ski-jump. I get that idea from an article that I read last year on just that subject, though, I am fully ready to be convinced otherwise as I do not recall where the article was located and can not provide a link. With that being my understanding, it would make sense to me for them to acquire the SH now, and develop something better than both platforms for future production.


Question is how much more load can the Super Hornet get off the deck (if it is more) for mission distances of x,y and z. Both OEM's would have to test both types with ski jumps, wouldn't they, to find out? Then there is always buddy refuelling, available on both types.

If Super Hornet were in service with IAF, I would think it a better idea than Rafale but it is not.

Another aspect is development. I don't see India actually designing and building a naval twin so whatever existing twin was introduced would likely be in service past 2040. Whereas France is committed to continuing development of the Rafale certainly into the 2030's,US has no plans for F/A-18 development long term.
 
Ozair
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Re: Indian Navy now seeking domestic twin engine fighter

Thu Nov 28, 2019 8:50 pm

art wrote:

Question is how much more load can the Super Hornet get off the deck (if it is more) for mission distances of x,y and z. Both OEM's would have to test both types with ski jumps, wouldn't they, to find out? Then there is always buddy refuelling, available on both types.

It is unlikely we would get an specific numbers for either the Rafale or the SH for Ski Jump operation and you won’t see a ski jump test until one of them wins the contract. If the Indian Navy had been smarter they would have required this as a test for the tender. The aircraft have already been fit tested around the current carrier, with the SH and MiG-29K being fine while the Rafale is a very very tight fit on the elevators.

We know Boeing is confident the SH is compatible.

"We've done a lot of simulation work with the Indian Navy to better understand their requirements and we fill comfortable that the Super Hornet can operate from all their carriers, both the ones fielded today and the ones in the future... We think we can move around the deck, be very mission capable with a relevant weapons load-out and fuel load-out to give the Navy what they need... The Super Hornet as built today can operate from Indian carriers."

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/1 ... p-carriers

art wrote:
If Super Hornet were in service with IAF, I would think it a better idea than Rafale but it is not.

I doubt that will play any role in the selection. The Indian Navy is not bound by what the Air Force has selected, as evidenced by their rejection of single engine Tejas.

art wrote:
Another aspect is development. I don't see India actually designing and building a naval twin so whatever existing twin was introduced would likely be in service past 2040. Whereas France is committed to continuing development of the Rafale certainly into the 2030's,US has no plans for F/A-18 development long term.

Both the Rafale and the SH have a consistent development path outlined. The Rafale has the F4 program coming up while the SH has upgrades mapped out to the mid 2030s and is expected to be in service until at least 2040 off USN carriers. Were it any other operator I would say that would be a concern but India has demonstrated an excellent ability to keep older aircraft in service past their primary operator retirement and I expect this wonlt be too different.

Boeing also see a role in assisting with the AMCA as per below and while that was focused on the IAF the Indian Navy is also interested in the AMCA as a future platform.

Image
 
art
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Re: Indian Navy now seeking domestic twin engine fighter

Fri Nov 29, 2019 12:10 am

Ozair wrote:
art wrote:

Question is how much more load can the Super Hornet get off the deck (if it is more) for mission distances of x,y and z. Both OEM's would have to test both types with ski jumps, wouldn't they, to find out? Then there is always buddy refuelling, available on both types.

It is unlikely we would get an specific numbers for either the Rafale or the SH for Ski Jump operation and you won’t see a ski jump test until one of them wins the contract. If the Indian Navy had been smarter they would have required this as a test for the tender. The aircraft have already been fit tested around the current carrier, with the SH and MiG-29K being fine while the Rafale is a very very tight fit on the elevators.

We know Boeing is confident the SH is compatible.

"We've done a lot of simulation work with the Indian Navy to better understand their requirements and we fill comfortable that the Super Hornet can operate from all their carriers, both the ones fielded today and the ones in the future... We think we can move around the deck, be very mission capable with a relevant weapons load-out and fuel load-out to give the Navy what they need... The Super Hornet as built today can operate from Indian carriers."

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/1 ... p-carriers

art wrote:
If Super Hornet were in service with IAF, I would think it a better idea than Rafale but it is not.

I doubt that will play any role in the selection. The Indian Navy is not bound by what the Air Force has selected, as evidenced by their rejection of single engine Tejas.

art wrote:
Another aspect is development. I don't see India actually designing and building a naval twin so whatever existing twin was introduced would likely be in service past 2040. Whereas France is committed to continuing development of the Rafale certainly into the 2030's,US has no plans for F/A-18 development long term.

Both the Rafale and the SH have a consistent development path outlined. The Rafale has the F4 program coming up while the SH has upgrades mapped out to the mid 2030s and is expected to be in service until at least 2040 off USN carriers. Were it any other operator I would say that would be a concern but India has demonstrated an excellent ability to keep older aircraft in service past their primary operator retirement and I expect this wonlt be too different.

Boeing also see a role in assisting with the AMCA as per below and while that was focused on the IAF the Indian Navy is also interested in the AMCA as a future platform.

Image


Well, I was ignorant that SH upgrades were intended into the 2030's. I was under the impression that political pressure to keep the SH line going was mostly responsible for additional SH orders for USN (plus perhaps reservations about F-35C at the time?)

I can see that if getting Rafale down below deck is difficult, that's a minus on the current carrier.

While IN may not be interested in operating a common type to IAF, they don't have to pay the extra for operating 2 entirely different types. I think they rejected the naval Tejas (a) because they thought it underpowered (b) like most navies, they preferred a twin engined carrier fighter. Seems reasonable to me.

I see a navalised AMCA as a more sensible idea than 2 entirely seoarate developments - AMCA for IAF and a different twin developed for the navy, Apart from 2 designs costing more $$$, can India handle developing Tejas Mk2 , AMCA and a navy 'twin-engined Tejas' in the next decade? The Tejas project so far has been characterised by incessant delays. You could argue that even now it is a demonstration of India's continuing inability to organise development and production of a fast jjet.

Regarding Boeing's offer to help out on AMCA, so could BAE or Dassault or LM. I guess all of them would be interested in helping out on AMCA (for lots of $$$).
 
Ozair
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Re: Indian Navy now seeking domestic twin engine fighter

Fri Nov 29, 2019 1:52 am

art wrote:

Well, I was ignorant that SH upgrades were intended into the 2030's. I was under the impression that political pressure to keep the SH line going was mostly responsible for additional SH orders for USN (plus perhaps reservations about F-35C at the time?)

There is a great slide that was published by I believe NAVAIR I am trying to find which illustrates really well how deep the upgrade path is to 2040. One thing you can be sure on is the ability of US Services to upgrade aircraft right up until their last flight. For example, the USMC is upgrading the AV-8B with AIM-120C, it currently only operates the B version, even though the upgrade program will finish in approx. 2023 and the aircraft will only fly to approx. 2026. Additionally they will add Link 16, HMCS etc.

art wrote:
I can see that if getting Rafale down below deck is difficult, that's a minus on the current carrier.

The lack of folding wings is the key factor I believe. Rafale wingspan is approx. 35ft while SH folded is 30ft and the MiG-29K folded is approx. 26ft.

art wrote:
While IN may not be interested in operating a common type to IAF, they don't have to pay the extra for operating 2 entirely different types. I think they rejected the naval Tejas (a) because they thought it underpowered (b) like most navies, they preferred a twin engined carrier fighter. Seems reasonable to me.

They would still likely have to pay a large amount of the fixed costs given the location of Naval Rafales compared to IAF Rafales. Yes Tejas being underpowered was the claim. As to whether that is actually true I don’t think we 100% know.

art wrote:
I see a navalised AMCA as a more sensible idea than 2 entirely seoarate developments - AMCA for IAF and a different twin developed for the navy, Apart from 2 designs costing more $$$, can India handle developing Tejas Mk2 , AMCA and a navy 'twin-engined Tejas' in the next decade? The Tejas project so far has been characterised by incessant delays. You could argue that even now it is a demonstration of India's continuing inability to organise development and production of a fast jjet.

Twin Engined Tejas only makes sense if it is developed alongside and essentially shares as much commonality as possible with Tejas Mk2. I also think that trying to build three new fighter jets is a step too far. I don’t think anyone honestly expects AMCA to be to schedule, and while there are claims of a f2025 first flight that seems highly unlikely to me.

art wrote:
Regarding Boeing's offer to help out on AMCA, so could BAE or Dassault or LM. I guess all of them would be interested in helping out on AMCA (for lots of $$$).

No doubt but we are and were talking about the SH, hence why I didn’t post the other plans. All the vendors have confirmed interest in helping India move forward with its fighter programs.
 
angad84
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Re: Indian Navy now seeking domestic twin engine fighter

Fri Nov 29, 2019 12:21 pm

Ozair wrote:
It is unlikely we would get an specific numbers for either the Rafale or the SH for Ski Jump operation and you won’t see a ski jump test until one of them wins the contract. If the Indian Navy had been smarter they would have required this as a test for the tender.

There is no tender, so how can a test be required under a tender that doesn't exist?

Ozair wrote:
The aircraft have already been fit tested around the current carrier, with the SH and MiG-29K being fine while the Rafale is a very very tight fit on the elevators.

No they have not? The Navy wants (roughly) one foot of space between the airframe and elevator, and no aircraft apart from the MiG-29K offers this.

1. The SHornet fits with "single digit inches" to spare on either side of the hinges on both lifts of the upcoming IAC-1. This is not good enough, and there are concerns about the time and precision required to slot jets "just right" on the elevator time and again. Boeing is offering a robotic precision placement solution and a mechanism to tilt the aircraft on the lift, thereby increasing clearance.
2. The SHornet DOES NOT fit the aft lift on INS Vikramaditya. Fit on the forward lift is even tighter than the fit on IAC-1, since this lift is marginally narrower (like 6-odd inches). Effectively, the SHornet does not fit the front lift either, and really needs the tilt-and-place solution for any repeatable operation on Vikramaditya.
3. The Rafale fits no lifts on any Indian carrier. Dassault has proposed detatchable wingtip rails, which allows them to fit on both IAC-1 lifts and the forward lift on Vikramaditya, albeit still with very minimal clearances. There's also the issue of introducing too many removable bits and bobs to a carrier environment that will not go down well.

Ozair wrote:
We know Boeing is confident the SH is compatible.

No one looking to make this sale will say "you know, we can't work with your carrier, but please buy 57 of our jets"

Apart from the lifts, there's also the small matter of actual testing and certification with the ski-jump and the Russian arresting gear.

"We've done a lot of simulation work with the Indian Navy to better understand their requirements and we fill comfortable that the Super Hornet can operate from all their carriers, both the ones fielded today and the ones in the future... We think we can move around the deck, be very mission capable with a relevant weapons load-out and fuel load-out to give the Navy what they need... The Super Hornet as built today can operate from Indian carriers."

They called this presscon 48h after the news on the compatibility issues broke, full marks for careful honesty though. They don't specifically address any data points, just say "we fit" — which they do, albeit HEAVILY caveated, and "we think we can work" — which while reassuring is an ultimately meaningless statement.

Ozair wrote:
Boeing also see a role in assisting with the AMCA as per below and while that was focused on the IAF the Indian Navy is also interested in the AMCA as a future platform.

Image

Every OEM pitching for every contract in India is playing up some level of assistance that can be offered for the AMCA programme. AMCA is far off enough (and N-AMCA even farther) that this will not be a significant factor.
 
art
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Re: Indian Navy now seeking domestic twin engine fighter

Fri Nov 29, 2019 12:32 pm

Ozair wrote:
Twin Engined Tejas only makes sense if it is developed alongside and essentially shares as much commonality as possible with Tejas Mk2..


I don't see (apart from electronic systems) what commonality there could be. An airframe designed for about 20,000lb max thrust is not going to have much in common with an airframe designed for about 40,000lb max thrust. (assuming the GE 414 is used). Different wing, fuselage, nose, fin, landing gear... What is not going to be different?

By the way, IIRC one of the problems with the Tejas naval prototype was that the landing gear was way, way too heavy, Unless the designers have learnt a great deal more about carrier landing gear design, they will need outside help.

I don't see a homegrown twin carrier fighter getting far - too little knowhow, too few resources available with 2 other fighter projects vying for them, too expensive with outside consultancy needed. Better to buy foreign and spend time on trying to improve navy Mk1 prototypes to gain knowledge to feed into a possible naval AMCA.

Late addition:

No they have not? The Navy wants (roughly) one foot of space between the airframe and elevator, and no aircraft apart from the MiG-29K offers this.

1. The SHornet fits with "single digit inches" to spare on either side of the hinges on both lifts of the upcoming IAC-1. This is not good enough, and there are concerns about the time and precision required to slot jets "just right" on the elevator time and again. Boeing is offering a robotic precision placement solution and a mechanism to tilt the aircraft on the lift, thereby increasing clearance.
2. The SHornet DOES NOT fit the aft lift on INS Vikramaditya. Fit on the forward lift is even tighter than the fit on IAC-1, since this lift is marginally narrower (like 6-odd inches). Effectively, the SHornet does not fit the front lift either, and really needs the tilt-and-place solution for any repeatable operation on Vikramaditya.
3. The Rafale fits no lifts on any Indian carrier. Dassault has proposed detatchable wingtip rails, which allows them to fit on both IAC-1 lifts and the forward lift on Vikramaditya, albeit still with very minimal clearances. There's also the issue of introducing too many removable bits and bobs to a carrier environment that will not go down well.


Sounds like they could use something like a navalised Tejas Mk1A with a more powerful engine.
 
angad84
Posts: 2032
Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2012 3:04 pm

Re: Indian Navy now seeking domestic twin engine fighter

Sat Nov 30, 2019 11:31 am

art wrote:
Sounds like they could use something like a navalised Tejas Mk1A with a more powerful engine.

That was always the plan, but too many penalties have already been paid in adapting a land based light single for the deck -- a tailless delta is probably the absolute worst layout you could pick for carrier ops. Add to that the small size, and by the time the design can operate safely and reliably from the deck, it's got no usable payload/range/endurance.

This is why the Naval programme has firmly broken away from the IAF-oriented Mk1a/Mk2/AMCA. They realise they need to work on a purpose built carrier jet, or they will be hamstrung with similar compromises down the line. FWIW, I think the best bet would have been a naval AMCA a la Rafale -- start with a baseline you know will work on a boat and take it it from there -- but the IAF variant has progressed too far to now go back to the drawing board. What ADA could have done from the outset was design a carrier jet (or carrier-ready) against the IAF's AMCA KPPs, and have it ready to offer to the Navy if/when required (which turned out to be sooner than anyone predicted).
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 4413
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: Indian Navy now seeking domestic twin engine fighter

Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:30 pm

angad84 wrote:
There is no tender, so how can a test be required under a tender that doesn't exist?

There is a process that is leading to a tender. The RFI has been issued, the RFP is expected soon which will be followed by a tender.

Boeing is proposing its F/A-18 Super Hornet and Saab has touted its Gripen M concept in responses to a request for information (RFI) on the naval contract but they are waiting for a more formal request for proposal (RFP) to be issued.
Boeing Vice President Global Sales Defence, Space & Security Gene Cunningham said the Indian Navy and Ministry of Defence were evaluating the answers to the RFI to see if there were any changes to requirements or expectations before releasing the RFP.
“We see that evolving over the next year or so, then driving to a competition,” he told Reuters at the Singapore Airshow.
An Indian Navy spokesman said work was in progress and he expected an RFP would be issued in the months ahead detailing specific requirements.


https://www.reuters.com/article/us-sing ... SKBN1FT10D

It may be slow as all Indian procurement is but there is clearly an RFI/RFP/tender process in train.

angad84 wrote:
No they have not? The Navy wants (roughly) one foot of space between the airframe and elevator, and no aircraft apart from the MiG-29K offers this.

Sounds like they have been fit tested then doesn’t it… It may have been done digitally but clearly, given you have that information, that a process was conducted to evaluate whether the aircraft can fit and operate from the respective carriers. Why would Boeing even continue in the competition if the aircraft didn’t fit the elevators? Dassault is a special example as they march to the beat of a different drum.

angad84 wrote:
Apart from the lifts, there's also the small matter of actual testing and certification with the ski-jump and the Russian arresting gear.

Perhaps that will be done during an RFP/tender process, which is happening…

angad84 wrote:
They called this presscon 48h after the news on the compatibility issues broke, full marks for careful honesty though. They don't specifically address any data points, just say "we fit" — which they do, albeit HEAVILY caveated, and "we think we can work" — which while reassuring is an ultimately meaningless statement.

It’s a sales contest Angad84, I’m not sure what you expect from any of the companies involved if they can’t make claims like this. Dassault made the same claim as well.

angad84 wrote:
Every OEM pitching for every contract in India is playing up some level of assistance that can be offered for the AMCA programme. AMCA is far off enough (and N-AMCA even farther) that this will not be a significant factor.

I didn’t claim it was a significant factor, and caveated the above graphic in a further post on how other OEMS also offered similar assistance.
Ozair wrote:
No doubt but we are and were talking about the SH, hence why I didn’t post the other plans. All the vendors have confirmed interest in helping India move forward with its fighter programs.
 
angad84
Posts: 2032
Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2012 3:04 pm

Re: Indian Navy now seeking domestic twin engine fighter

Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:47 am

Ozair wrote:
There is a process that is leading to a tender. The RFI has been issued, the RFP is expected soon which will be followed by a tender.

Boeing is proposing...

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-sing ... SKBN1FT10D

It may be slow as all Indian procurement is but there is clearly an RFI/RFP/tender process in train.


Just got out of a Navy press event where we were told the IN is re-tendering for anti-mine boats, 15 years after the RFI was floated. The point I was trying to make, and perhaps should have spelled out much more clearly, was that this will be another decade-plus boondoggle after which nothing will be bought. Even the twin-engine domestic fighter might never take to the air. Carrier aviation is a pricey affair, and with only 13% of a cratering defence budget, the Navy is having a hard time convincing anyone on the Hill (we have Raisina Hill like y'all have the Capitol) that there is a case for further investment. Their proposals for a third carrier have been kicked back by the ministry more times than anyone cares to count.

Ozair wrote:
Sounds like they have been fit tested then doesn’t it… It may have been done digitally but clearly, given you have that information, that a process was conducted to evaluate whether the aircraft can fit and operate from the respective carriers. Why would Boeing even continue in the competition if the aircraft didn’t fit the elevators? Dassault is a special example as they march to the beat of a different drum.

Can't tell if you're being naive or provocative, but Boeing and Dassault are marching to the beat of the same drum — securing a sale in any shape or form. They don't care if fit is sub-optimal, just that it can be demonstrated — because they're selling the jets, not operating them. If you've been on any carrier, big or small, you will know that both proposed fixes for the tight squeeze are laughable. They're taking the piss because they feel the IN is desperate, which of course, it is. No sane or serious Navy would give either of these makeshift solutions any real consideration otherwise.

Ozair wrote:
Perhaps that will be done during an RFP/tender process, which is happening…

I admire your optimism. There remains the small matter that Indian defence procurement rules do not allow for this, so either Dassault and Boeing have to swallow costs upfront with no guarantee of winning the contest, or assume a shedload of risk and convince the IN they can do it after the contract is signed.

Ozair wrote:
angad84 wrote:
They called this presscon 48h after the news on the compatibility issues broke, full marks for careful honesty though. They don't specifically address any data points, just say "we fit" — which they do, albeit HEAVILY caveated, and "we think we can work" — which while reassuring is an ultimately meaningless statement.

It’s a sales contest Angad84, I’m not sure what you expect from any of the companies involved if they can’t make claims like this. Dassault made the same claim as well.

That's... exactly what I said. Sales pitch. I think it behooves a discussion forum of (mostly) informed people to dig past PR speak, no?

Long story short, I wouldn't get too worked up about any of the song and dance that's out there about Indian carrier aviation. There's no money for it, and even less political inclination. If funds become available, they will go first to the domestic programme of record (clever of ADA to call the Navy's MRCBF bluff, frankly) because that is now the path of least political/financial resistance. Time, as we have already established, is meaningless in the Indian system.
 
UnMAXed
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:55 am

Re: Indian Navy now seeking domestic twin engine fighter

Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:46 pm

Why on Earth would the Indian Navy order, pay and accept carriers with lifts too small for all modern and future aircraft?

And why after they made that mistake I stead of fixing it by changing or enlarging the lifts they are thinking about launching a 15 year long process of developing an aircraft small enough to fit on those small lifts?
 
ThePointblank
Posts: 3256
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:39 pm

Re: Indian Navy now seeking domestic twin engine fighter

Wed Dec 04, 2019 7:16 am

UnMAXed wrote:
Why on Earth would the Indian Navy order, pay and accept carriers with lifts too small for all modern and future aircraft?

And why after they made that mistake I stead of fixing it by changing or enlarging the lifts they are thinking about launching a 15 year long process of developing an aircraft small enough to fit on those small lifts?

I can easily see the reason why.

When they were designing the ships, they very likely made a series of assumptions regarding the future air fleet of the Indian Navy. Specifically, the Indians assumed that the future air wing of their carriers was going to be a mix of MiG-29K's and Naval Tejas, which are fairly small aircraft. Therefore, there was no benefit to designing the lifts to accommodate larger aircraft; it added costs in terms of material and engineering costs. As such, since ships take a long time to design and build, and deck edge lifts are a fairly significant structural component, the design had to be frozen at least a year or two before the keel can be laid down so steel can be cut and fabricated.

By the time everyone realized that the lifts were too small; the design and construction were too far along to stop without significantly impacting the schedule and massively increasing the costs.
 
angad84
Posts: 2032
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Re: Indian Navy now seeking domestic twin engine fighter

Wed Dec 04, 2019 11:22 am

ThePointblank wrote:
UnMAXed wrote:
Why on Earth would the Indian Navy order, pay and accept carriers with lifts too small for all modern and future aircraft?

And why after they made that mistake I stead of fixing it by changing or enlarging the lifts they are thinking about launching a 15 year long process of developing an aircraft small enough to fit on those small lifts?

I can easily see the reason why.

When they were designing the ships, they very likely made a series of assumptions regarding the future air fleet of the Indian Navy. Specifically, the Indians assumed that the future air wing of their carriers was going to be a mix of MiG-29K's and Naval Tejas, which are fairly small aircraft. Therefore, there was no benefit to designing the lifts to accommodate larger aircraft; it added costs in terms of material and engineering costs. As such, since ships take a long time to design and build, and deck edge lifts are a fairly significant structural component, the design had to be frozen at least a year or two before the keel can be laid down so steel can be cut and fabricated.

By the time everyone realized that the lifts were too small; the design and construction were too far along to stop without significantly impacting the schedule and massively increasing the costs.

This.
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 4413
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: Indian Navy now seeking domestic twin engine fighter

Wed Dec 04, 2019 8:32 pm

angad84 wrote:
Just got out of a Navy press event where we were told the IN is re-tendering for anti-mine boats, 15 years after the RFI was floated. The point I was trying to make, and perhaps should have spelled out much more clearly, was that this will be another decade-plus boondoggle after which nothing will be bought. Even the twin-engine domestic fighter might never take to the air. Carrier aviation is a pricey affair, and with only 13% of a cratering defence budget, the Navy is having a hard time convincing anyone on the Hill (we have Raisina Hill like y'all have the Capitol) that there is a case for further investment. Their proposals for a third carrier have been kicked back by the ministry more times than anyone cares to count.

angad84, I am in no way claiming I know what is going on with the Naval fighter contract, nor am I claiming I am in anyway an expert of Indian procurement. All I am highlighting is that there is a process going on. I do expect it will move quicker than you suggest and I also expect that the Indian Navy will get one of Rafale or SH in the end but I could be wrong, it happens often…just ask my wife.

angad84 wrote:
Can't tell if you're being naive or provocative, but Boeing and Dassault are marching to the beat of the same drum — securing a sale in any shape or form. They don't care if fit is sub-optimal, just that it can be demonstrated — because they're selling the jets, not operating them. If you've been on any carrier, big or small, you will know that both proposed fixes for the tight squeeze are laughable. They're taking the piss because they feel the IN is desperate, which of course, it is. No sane or serious Navy would give either of these makeshift solutions any real consideration otherwise.

My reference was to Dassault not submitting valid proposals to other tenders and expecting them to be considered. For all its faults Boeing does generally follow the acquisition tender process as per the directions. Dassault, not so much.

I have limited experience with carrier aviation but enough to understand the difficulties of moving these jets around. I still think it is surmountable though especially in the context of the reluctance of the Indian Navy to go down the MiG-29 route again.

angad84 wrote:
I admire your optimism. There remains the small matter that Indian defence procurement rules do not allow for this, so either Dassault and Boeing have to swallow costs upfront with no guarantee of winning the contest, or assume a shedload of risk and convince the IN they can do it after the contract is signed.

In that context, why was a fly off, or more appropriately termed a flight trials, of the MMRCA completed?
 
angad84
Posts: 2032
Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2012 3:04 pm

Re: Indian Navy now seeking domestic twin engine fighter

Wed Dec 04, 2019 11:02 pm

Flight trials on land for CTOL jets are essentially free (i.e. the vendor pays for the cost of eval).

There is, however, no mechanism to allow a foreign vendor to first certify at an Indian facility (the SBTF in Goa), without which STOBAR cannot be trialled. A lot of rules will have to be rewritten just to let that go forward. There are other issues that will stall certification and trials even after the paperwork is completed, but I will not get into those here. In any case, cost and risk is heaped on the vendor's side. There are many, many, many reasons an RFP hasn't been issued yet, even though the RFI responses were submitted over two years ago...
 
Ozair
Topic Author
Posts: 4413
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: Indian Navy now seeking domestic twin engine fighter

Wed Dec 04, 2019 11:35 pm

angad84 wrote:
Flight trials on land for CTOL jets are essentially free (i.e. the vendor pays for the cost of eval).

There is, however, no mechanism to allow a foreign vendor to first certify at an Indian facility (the SBTF in Goa), without which STOBAR cannot be trialled. A lot of rules will have to be rewritten just to let that go forward. There are other issues that will stall certification and trials even after the paperwork is completed, but I will not get into those here. In any case, cost and risk is heaped on the vendor's side. There are many, many, many reasons an RFP hasn't been issued yet, even though the RFI responses were submitted over two years ago...

Fair enough. I don’t doubt there are obstacles but I would also suggest that both vendors wouldn’t be adverse to accepting those risks to win this contract. It would after all be nearly twice the number of airframes Dassault sold the Indian Air Force and the largest export order of the SH.

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