Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Light 5th gen program remark

About the recent news: 'Besides the common heavier platform, Russia has also agreed to jointly develop a lighter fifth generation fighter tailored to meet specific requirements of the Indian Air Force (IAF).' I must add some words:

1) Surviving of a fighter project is depending of an alive and progressing engine program, which it is built around. Respectively the 5th gen fighter project has to be built around a 5th gen engine already exist or in active developing.
2) Light class 5th gen fighter  can be built around a 10-12 t thrust engine (if two) or a 15-18 t thrust engine (if single).
3) Only one true 5th gen engine program in the world is valid in 10-12 t thrust category: it's EJ200, but it cannot be ToTed to India for many reasons. The indigenous Kaveri engine is a promising program but it's unrealistic to expect from it 5th gen level in visible future.

Then, I think the only option to push the Indian medium 5th gen fighter program ahead and to avoid LCA-type delays is to build it around 117/type30 engine, which should be ToTed and produced in India like  Al-31FN for Su-30MKI and RD-33 ser 3 for MiG-29. Time will say if they indeed discussed such possibility in Moscow.


  1. Hello Igor,
    Indians can always chose GE 414 EPE or EJ2000 (if typhoon is selected) The kaveri project is expected to yield a 95 KN engine by 2016, which would put the thrust of a twin engine variant at 190 KN, a lot like JSF. The first flight of AMCA is planned around 2017 and induction by 2025. I would expect GTRE-Snecma to develop a 120 KN production variant engine by 2025 atleast.

  2. The purpose of light 5th gen is cheaper and simpler aircraft that can be bought and operated in numbers.

    This means cheap to buy and cheap to operate.

    Single engine reduces operational costs, but potentially creates a problem for a stealth aircraft.

    Most single engine fighters like Mig-21 and F-16 are pretty much shaped around the engine so there is little excess internal volume for large bulky items like internal weapons bays.

    With twin engine aircraft a separation of the engines and instant gap for weapon bays.

    For a supercruising small fighter wing thickness will not be sufficient for internal weapons carriage in the wings so it leaves the fuselage for undercarriage AND internal weapons carriage bays.

    Perhaps a new solution like stealthy weapons that can be attached directly to the aircrafts surface with no pylons and catapulted into the air stream clear of the airframe on launch???

    Small light cheap to operate aircraft would sell well but making them fully stealthy with internal weapons carriage might be a problem.

    Perhaps weapon bays for AAM for fighting other larger stealth aircraft and external carriage for air to ground missions where stealth is not so important?

  3. Hello GaryB,
    Supercruising medium size fighter (in the class of rafale typhoon and mig29) with internal bays seems a little too far fetched. If you add on internal bays, increased fuel capacity to say, mig 29, for thirstier power plants, the dry weight would be in excess of 14000 Kg (if you see the example of f-16 to JSF, it seems completely plausible) Loaded up with fuel the weight may be 18000 to 19000 Kgs. The MTOW may reach around 25 tons. Even in the basic A2A config with weapons only in internal bays that would make it in the range of 22 tons (max). I dont suppose that 200-220 KN with a massive surface area and drag is sufficient to make the bird super cruise.

  4. to anon say ==Indians can always chose GE 414 EPE or EJ2000 (if typhoon is selected) ==

    - It means the engine for AMCA is yet final selected. Kaveri program is promising, but I dont think they want fall second time in the same trap like they do with LCA.

  5. To Igor,
    Choosing GE 414 EPE or EJ2000 (phase2) instead of Kaveri can as well add 50 KN overall to what promises to be a rather sluggish fighter.

  6. In the meantime the F 22 modernization program is making progress in fits and starts.


  7. igor i don't think IAF likes single engine fighters.

    Unlike Russia low level flying in some regions of india is very dangerous.You have massive continuous sandy winds blowing in places like Rajasthan and much of n west India called loos or andhi in hindi language during the summer.

    A much better option would be for Russia to let us co-develop fifth generation RD-333 engine with Klimov.Russia can use it in yak-130 trainer / mikoyan skat UCAV/Future JSFski and we can use it in AMCA and maybe our own UCAV.
    There is a market for atleast 1000 such engine so economics of scale should not be a problem
    AMCA 300 airframes=700 engines(100 spare)
    YAk 130=150 engines
    Skat=150 engines

    -Shantanu Chatterjee

  8. Shantanu bro,
    the thrust class of Yak-130 engine is 5 t, not 12. Why cannot AMCA fly safely above India if LCA does?

    It may be look as seeking arguments for Russian stuff from my side but the final product development always more important than any component.

    Also plz take in to consideration the unexpectedly fast progress of Chinese 5th gen programs, while for India is very important to have AMCA before China makes its own 5th gen project in this weight class. So, quick development of AMCA program is critically important for India I think and worth some flexibility in engine issue.

  9. I am not thinking in terms of Mig-29 and Typhoon class fighter weights, I am thinking lighter.

    I am also thinking that as most of its time will be spent as a bomb truck and a numbers aircraft that it will likely only be fully stealthy when used in the air to air role with perhaps internal individual weapon bays for short and medium range AAMs over its underfuselage area and perhaps even in the upper fuselage designed to be thrown upwards at launch.
    The latter were rejected as being to difficult to reload but with a rather small jet design I think a simple gantry with pulley mounts to lower AAMs onto the fuselage spine mounted launch bays could be made practical.

    For the air to air mission it will be stealthy and reduced weight from the small size and single engine design should keep initial weight to a minimum.

    A decent 5th gen engine should offer high thrust and fuel efficient burn and super cruise performance.

    For ground attack missions external weapons pods can be used attached directly to the wing surface. They will be conformal and stealthy in design and may contain several small weapons in tandem or fuel or electronics or mixes of all three. The pods will be attached at front line bases and will remain on the aircraft throughout flight. In an emergency they can be jettisoned to reduce drag but with TVC engines manouver capability should not be an issue.

  10. urgency for FGFA is why we collaborate with Russia for PAK FA.

    We MUST make AMCA ourselves to fully mature our industrial base developed for LCA program.

    What this collaboration will mean is Russia handing us a pre designed aircraft concept like Mikoyan LMFS and we calling it indigenous.

    No thanks we need to get across the learning curve to 5G on our own.Some help such as RCS consultancy etc is obviously welcome but this extreme outsourcing model i.e India=money Russia=plane has to stop after PAK FA in case of delay we should simply boost PAK FA production.

  11. @GaryB : Do you mean tejas and mig 21 class ? look at the bottom of tejas and half a meter sideways and on bottom on tejas for internal bays (considering this allows us to fit 30-35 cm thick A2A missiles inside those bays, and you might realis that thing may not even fly without increasing its wing area significantly, when you do so, the weight has gone up significantly requiring an uprated engine to maintain a decent TWR( more than GE 414 EPE) which will push the engine into AL 31 Class at which point you plane will be way closer to JSF than Tejas :)

  12. to anon June 2, 2011 7:47 AM said^

    ==No thanks we need to get across the learning curve to 5G on our own.==

    - Hm... 5th gen engine, totally new weaponary (which's not yet ready even in paper). When India will get 'across the curve'? in 2050?

  13. Hm... 5th gen engine, totally new weaponary (which's not yet ready even in paper). When India will get 'across the curve'? in 2050?

    well 2025-30.And btw this is the same patronizing attitude I'm talking about.Basically most Russians think this way...
    'Indians are basically incompetent but we have the same long term enemies i.e China and 'religion of peace' so we have to cooperate and be friends'

    'joint programs' lets give them non essential work to these so that the final product gets built and then we open an assembly line over there.In the bargain we get $$$ and economies of scale

    nothing personal even the west is like this but at some time every self respecting country has to build its own defence base no two ways about it.

    Everyone has to start somewhere and yes the first ingegenous product will not be as good as of the shelf license produced stuff.

    Our supersonic ADM missile(under development) is not as good as brahmos let alone brahmos 2 hypersonic BUT that is how people learn and experience curves get built.

  14. we should not go with Russia on this.

    Just like in MRCA we did not select them to prevent a Russian monopoly on our 4G fleet

    We should not select them for this as this will give them monopoly on our 5G fleet.

    Russia has been a good friend BUT a 5 G aircraft is a 30-40 year investment.No one can predict what will happen in this time frame.The world is in flux enemies can become friends(see US/Russia MS-21 flies on US engines/avionics and US is talking about resetting relationship etc turning down Georgia NATO membership bid etc).
    Friends can become enemies (Russia China were very close in the early 90s now they are very suspicious of each other this is repetition of similar cycle in which they went from friends to enemies in the 1960s)

  15. Anonymous... don't you think there would be a difference in performance for the Mig-21 if it was made of nearly all stealthy composite materials and redesigned fundamentally so that it is stealthy in shape?
    A true 5th gen fighter doesn't need a huge weapon payload as all its weapons will be modern intelligent weapons, not dumb rockets and bombs.
    Instead of unguided FAB-500s to drop in pairs the area of an enemy tank what we are talking about is guided KAB-50s that will take out individual tanks... one shot one kill.
    This is not going to be the best fighter Russia or India ever had... it is going to be cheap and reliable and most likely the last models of it will be UCAVs that look like Migs Skat.
    Air Forces don't like risk so single engine aircraft are often frowned upon but the low cost Mig-21 and the much loved Mirage 2000 suggest a modern well maintained single engine fighter can be more than that.

    Regarding why India should want this... the simple fact is that India does not have an aviation industry like Russia does and it has a choice... it can try and go it alone, or it can work with Russia.
    If it chooses to go it alone that is fine, but it will be spending money on things that the US and Russia have already spent money on, which is completely up to India even if very wasteful.
    Working with the US is not an option... they want customers to lease their products and have full control of those products even after they are obsolete... I am from New Zealand and the US wont let us sell our A4K Skyhawks so we spend 10 million a year keeping them in flyable condition hoping someone will want to buy them that the US congress approves of.

    The point is that it is admirable that India wants to learn to do things for itself.
    It is sad that some here think money will solve all problems and make any level achievable in any area.

    The current Indian made tank has a German engine and French optics and various bits from Israel and elsewhere.
    Not throwing stones there are plenty of foreign components in Russian military equipment these days too.
    The point is that you can learn on your own and get an adequate product for a significant outlay of money.
    Or you can partner with Russia and believe it or not spend a lot less and get a much better product.

    Your analogy of Russia providing the design and India providing the money is terribly flawed.
    Do you think the design just falls from the sky?
    Russia is spending lots of money on these programs too... do you think the development of the entire Flanker series was cheap?

    Russia has spent likely tens of billions of dollars on the PAK FA design plus engines and weapons and radar etc... India puts up 2 billion after the flying prototype is ready for flight and you think India is paying for the PAK FA?

    Russia could easily decide that PAK FA is not for export and all technology involved with it will be secret and not include India at all.
    They would end up with a less impressive plane and India would end up spending 30 billion dollars to try to achieve the same sort of result, but it would be hit and miss as to whether they get it right.

  16. Part II

    That is not a shot at India... if 5th gen fighters were easy to make there would be more than there are currently. Even Europe can't make a 5th gen fighter on its own... it has taken most of the west to create the F-35 and its progress seems very rocky.

    The Russians will likely develop a cheaper 5th gen fighter whether India is interested or not.
    If India joins the program I am very happy because the result will be a much better product.
    If they want to do it on their own then that is OK too, but going alone is expensive and takes much longer... by the time they are finished they might find their manned light fighters are facing thousands of unmanned fighters able to pull 30g turns and kill enemy aircraft from very long ranges.
    Even the US didn't want to go it alone in the F-35... what you want to achieve even a country spending more than the rest of the world on "defence" could not achieve... perhaps when India is spending three quarters of a trillion dollars a year on defence it might realise people saying they will fail at something no one else can achieve either are not being anti Indian... just realistic. Trying economically undermined the Soviet Union... will it do the same to India?

  17. Even if AMCA is ready by 2030 it is OK

    AMCA plane or a lighter stealth plane that India WISHES to make is NOT a necessity for India

    Because FGFA PAKFA / MMRCA /SU 30 MKI /Mig 29/ Mirage 2000 AND LCA MK 2 are enough for India

    But we cant let OUR designers and Engineers sit idle .

    They will QUIT their jobs and go the private sector

    Technological capabilities have to be increased and built up steadily ; NOT thrown away

    After LCA MK 2 is ready in 2015 our designers and engineers must have a new challenge

  18. Very few aircraft remain unchanged throughout their operational life time.

    Designers and engineers are required to react to new developments and to solve new problems.

    When China or Pakistan introduce a new aircraft existing aircraft will need upgrades to prepare them to deal with the new threats.

    Sharing a program with Russia doesn't just result in a better product, it also increases the potential safe market and increases production numbers.

    Japan is another country that wants to learn from its programs but its aircraft are hideously expensive because only Japan will buy the result. India has a very good relationship with Russia in comparison... but if India thinks it has outgrown Russia as a partner and ally I am sure the US will be able to sell even better components.
    The US will be happy to see India in a war with China too because it would suit their interests.
    Just don't expect to be able to use any of your new high tech stuff your engineers and designers come up with against Pakistan while Pakistan is still of use to the US.

  19. to anon June 2, 2011 5:37 PM said:
    ==Our supersonic ADM missile(under development==

    - I mean there are no missiles for internal bays in development in India. However, I would prefer to be wrong in this aspect, so said me the truth. Till that I believe that in fact AMCA can be developed around Russian or/and western 5th gen missiles program. Of course in the future there will be Indian missiles too, but not in the first stage.

    The engine also can be Russian or Western till Kavery becomes 5th gen. Oh, sorry: almost forget the radar... Of course somewere it will be indigenous, but not on the first AMCA I suppose.

    Now: I fully understand degree of 'romantics' in Patriotic Indian view on AMCA prospects. Probably I have the same sentiments to Russia's stuff. But let's to eliminate this bias from cold calculations.

  20. 'Now: I fully understand degree of 'romantics' in Patriotic Indian view on AMCA prospects. Probably I have the same sentiments to Russia's stuff. But let's to eliminate this bias from cold calculations.'

    Agreed as the saying goes 'don't look a gift horse in the mouth'

    5G engine on a platter to for our country which doesn't design any jet engine will be very very foolhardy to reject.

    Though again I would prefer RD-333 over type 30 if possible.Statistically speaking 2 engined planes crash much less than single engined planes which is why Russia since 1975 or so has not made any single engined plane.

    Mikoyan LMFS concept also has a twin engine variant which looks very similar to AMCA model.That should be the basis for codevelopment.

    To placate Indian nationalists and to distinguish tech sharing framework from PAK FA Russia and especially Mikoyan/klimov whose future pretty much depends on this should offer to involve India from the planning stage itself i.e in Jet engine development the stage when u decide whether to make blades out of titanium alumnide or CMC or something else and the relative strenghts and weaknesses and what to put in what stage etc ditto for airframe...
    -Shantanu Chatterjee

  21. Actually as far as I know twin engined aircraft are not statistically less likely to crash, though they are less likely to crash because of engine failure.
    Crash statistics has more to do with whether the planes are properly maintained and the standard of the pilots that fly them, and of course what they are being used for than the number of engines fitted.

    I would like to see a 5th gen light fighter developed by Mig too and that includes a 5th gen engine and radar and EO system too.

    Unfortunately in Russia I think the cult of personality and politics drives what is bought and what is not bought for the military.

    Mig enjoyed good times under the communists, but when they lost power Sukhoi was in the position of having the large fighter design with the promise that the larger longer ranged Flankers could be used at fewer more widely separated airbases which should save money.

    The reality is that the bigger heavier Sukhoi is probably more capable but numbers are important when covering a larger area.

    This is the logic behind a small light 5th gen numbers fighter.

    Replacing 200 Mig-29s with 100 Su-27s means half the number of planes, so while the 100 Sukhois can cover the same area as the Migs because of the extra flight range and because they can carry more AAMs on paper they can do the same job in reality it means less coverage because there are fewer airbases and fewer groups of planes covering an area.

    Big and small aircraft compliment each other, and with a modern net centric management system with ground and air sources of data the extra radar range of the Flanker is less important than the fact that one flight of Flankers can cover a radius of 50km or so with missiles, whereas two Mig flights can cover two widely separated areas with a radius of 50km or so with the same missiles.

    A 5th gen engine should be reliable enough to not need being used twice in the aircraft.

    Certainly an upgraded RD-33... I remember talk of the 5th gen version of the RD-33 being called RD-45 but I can't remember whether it was western expert speculation or if it was official... could be used.

    I am talking really light, so the idea of putting a single RD-45 in a Yak-130 sized aircraft makes sense. Its weight will increase with a new radar and enlarged fuselage for conformal weapons and internal weapons bays.

    If the engine is still over powered then use a model of the engine with no Afterburner so it can supercruise to mach 1.4-1.6 or so... that is much more practical than being able to run an afterburner for 2-3 minutes and maybe accelerate to mach 2.4 for 30 seconds and then have to slow down because you are out of fuel.

    I would think that working with the Russians on a Mig 5th gen fighter design and upgrading the RD-33 to something that is a 5th gen engine would be worth rather more to India than starting from scratch.

    India already has the LCA and its own engine, surely work done in keeping weight low on the Mig aircraft and the work done converting a 4th gen engine to a 5th gen is worth more to their Indian equivalents than simply starting from scratch.

  22. Part II
    At the end of the day the Russians will probably go with Mig anyway... it is not just about Mig... like Sukhoi, Mig have a whole chain of suppliers that make radars and engines and other bits and pieces for them that will be saved right along with Mig.

    There is enough variety in the roles played by modern fighters and multirole fighter bombers for having two fighters in service.

    Actually there is enough for three if you count the Mig-31 and the role of interception.

    The Russian AF lost a lot of swing fighter bombers when it withdrew its single engined fighters. It lost its Mig-15s, Mig-21s, Mig-23s, Mig-27s, and Su-17s... They kept their CAS aircraft (Su-25) and their strike aircraft (Su-24 and Su-34) but there is a large gap that could certainly be performed by Su-35s and Mig-35s but eventually they will end up with PAK FA doing mud moving missions, which might make sense as a replacement for the Su-34 deep behind enemy lines, but for short ranged missions it makes more sense to have something like the F-16 in US service that can be a fighter when fighters are needed, but most of the time to be a bomb truck.

  23. Actually as far as I know twin engined aircraft are not statistically less likely to crash, though they are less likely to crash because of engine failure.

    Well most Indian crashes are due to engine failure in mid air during the summer over north west India when during low level flying massive amounts of fine corrosive sand in the air gets ingested by the engine...

    I rest my case...Also Russian engines are not as reliable as western engines which probably explains russian aversion of single engined fighters.I think this is a wise precaution.

  24. ALL said and done India's AMCA will be a reality by 2030

    India will NOT make the same mistake again that we made in the 60s when we made our aicraft industry DEFUNCT

    The technological knowledge and capabilities that we have accumulated very slowly and painfully MUST only be increased and AMCA is the best way to do it

  25. India has got many programmes running concurrently
    1 Ballistic and cruise Missiles
    2 Radars other survellaince and reconaissance devices , 3 Aircraft 4 Nuclear submarines
    5 ABM systems ,6 Aircraft engines, 7 SAM s and AAMs

    IF we FEAR that we are behind the rest of the world and so we SHOULD NOT even ATTEMPT to develop something then India will never develop

    We must make efforts .If we are successful fine other wise we can import

    There is no harm in trying

    When you start a programme then automatically other countries come forward to collabrate and work and costs are shared

  26. to anon June 4, 2011 7:28 AM
    ==Russian engines are not as reliable as western engines which probably explains russian aversion of single engined fighters==

    - It's wrong conclusion, less time between overall and shorter lifetime (for old soviet engines) doesnt mean less reliability if the service is OK. For example: RD33 has famous reliability in hard conditions of flying, doesnt die out in any degree of angle of attack (not like western 4th gen engines).

  27. Shantanu,
    the 5th gen engines are designed to be significantly more reliable, so technically it must be more easy to rely on one instead two. The only fear -s missiles, when an IR missile strike Su-25, it in 85% or so comes back to the base.

    Concentrating on one engine development (Type30) will allow more quickly progress, and serial economy than both Type30 and RD333. The cost reduction will allow more argessive sell abroad for both Russian and Indian variants (if the coop succeed).

  28. There is a reason why fighter jets have only one or two engines and not strange numbers like three or four.

    Low level flight resulting in dust ingestion would effect all jet engines, not just Russian engines.

    As far as I know a properly maintained Russia engine is no less reliable than a western engine... in fact the gimmick of tail slides is not practised by western aircraft... at airshows or otherwise.

    It seems they choke on reverse airflows and take too long to recover before impact with the ground if performed to low.

    Clearly the Russian engines are far more tolerant of extreme flight parameters which suggests to me they would also be more reliable too. The fact that they have shorter times between overhauls and maintainence just makes them more expensive to operate, but as they are orders of magnitude cheaper to buy they are likely cheaper overall.

    When operating over Northern India at low level I would suggest western engines would suddenly find they were no better than Russian engines... in fact their long gaps between overhauls would probably result in more damage and more failures...

    Of course all this is pointless because the whole point of developing a stealthy fighter is so that it doesn't need to fly low and fast to evade enemy air defences and would probably operate most of the time at medium altitude relying on stealth to evade attention and avoid the low level dust and solve the problem in a sensible way.

    Personally I think having two 5th gen engines would be more useful... especially for use in UCAVs where 12 ton thrust class engines make more sense than 18 ton thrust class engines.
    I think limiting the program to a 12 ton thrust class engine will ensure the aircraft remains light and therefore also in theory cheap.

  29. build it around 117/type30 engine, which should be ToTed and produced in India like Al-31FN for Su-30MKI and RD-33 ser 3 for MiG-29.

    AFAIK RD-33 and Al-31 being produced in India is license production with some parts made in India and others being flown in from Russia especially critical hot section.

    Russia will definately NEVER give India 5G engine technology,a license production is what is probably on offer this is not too different from GE/RR offer to produce EJ 2X0,F414 IPE in India.

    Bottom line tech is either invented or stolen(like Russia stole Rolls Royce Nene from UK for Mig 15)

    NOBODY gives you tech TOT concept is a joke.Why would Russia voluntarily do long term demand destruction in its most profitable market by making India self sufficient in jet engine tech??

    AMCA MUST BE 100% Indian.We need to throw money at this program and China/USSR style invent or steal tech that we don't have!

  30. USSR (not Russia) legitimately licenced RR´s jet engine. Not stolen.

    I don´t think ´type 30´ is really the penultimate engine for PAK-FA/FGFA, but clearly it is of the line that will be developed for those platforms...

    There´s also another program that could easily synergize with AMCA engine program: PAK-DA. Not much decided/in public view AFAIK, but that could easily correspond to a F35 style single-engine layout, and could well promise things like variable bypass that would allow for very nice range/fuel fraction numbers while exceeding F35 performance (easily). (Pratt is considering a hybrid of F135 hot parts and it´s GTF parts for an engine to suit the US´ NGB, which pretty much coresponds to PAK-DA, though final forms are yet to be seen)

    Such an engine not existing currently might mean PAK-FA engines could well be used as early test-flight engines, they would certainly have the thrust in light-load conditions to explore basic flight envelope.

    I love these fanatics going on about 100% Indian. Except for the EADS consultancy. Except for the Snecma IP and consultancy. Etc. What is the hysterical need for India to be 100% self-sufficient at SOME date? Why that date and not 5 years before/after? Does anybody think Russia, much less other willing partners, are not going to sell India their stuff at any forseeable time? So where is the need to abandon rational cost/benefit analyses? Of course, indigenous production has a benefit and should be pursued to a rational extent, but at the cost of capacity, much less risk of program delay and costs? A rationale course would be start 100% indigenous or JV engine programs in NON-defense critical applications, e.g. civil aircraft... that, along with experience from PAK-FA engine, MMRCA engine, etc, is what leads to real capacity. And that is ultimately self-financing, at least mostly or in theory.

    Back to the topic, the issue can really be seen with MiG 35 currently, it just doesn´t actually offer a compelling cost/benefit vs. Sukhois. If it´s going to be a ´lighter´ plane, it´s maintenance, etc, really needs to be lighter, which a single engine will help with. A twin-engine Indian-only AMCA would face the same dynamic vs. PAKFA, but worse if it is an India only program, i.e. limited market. Russia isn´t the only option here, France plans extensive MLU of Rafale mid 2020´s, and similar is probable for Eurofighter, but those would remain twin-engined planes, while a single-engine option seems to make sense for both India and Russia. It´s to India´s benefit to be open to both approaches to get the best deal and capability, though. I don´t see India spending even more money on AMCA for a result like Tejas, they need a front-line top notch platform when it is inducted, not 3 blocks down the line. AMCA should be IAF´s #2 platform when it is inducted, only out-done by upgraded Super30´s in parameters like range, radar range, and payload.

  31. I also love the idea that India should really just go and start stealing tech from people. Maybe that works for China... who happens to not have realistic short-term prospects for war, much less with nuclear armed opponents with equally formidable conventional armies. FOR SOME REASON India seems to put some priority into actual operational capacities, which are currently best gained thru some sort of deal with foreign producers (such deals are increasingly moving to indigenous production and ToT, as seen with MMRCA). But sure, go steal tech and refuse to partner, I´m sure some countries will love it when India can´t field replacement armaments that are up to snuff, but it´s indigenous programs are going full-steam ahead.

    It´s so funny how short term people are.

  32. I agree that the Mig-35 is not really light enough in comparison to the Flanker series, but I think the with its optics setup optimised for ground attack and the enlarged 5 pylon wing, and if the model at AeroIndia 2011 is to be believed it had 1,500kg ordinance on its inner wing pylon, the Mig-35 could certainly carry most things a Flanker can carry for a smaller lighter aircraft.

    Not all combat occurs at extreme range so for most of the time the Mig-35 will be the best choice.
    With modern precision weapons heavy war loads of dumb bombs is not really needed any more... it is simply physics that smaller lighter aircraft use less fuel and should in practical terms be cheaper to operate.

    BTW PAK DA is not really an F-35 like aircraft. Currently the Tu-160 is being upgraded to enable it to use conventional precision guided weapons for a theatre role. The Tu-95 and Tu-22M3 are going through similar changes, but in practical terms The Tu-160 can do what the Tu-95 and the Tu-22M3 are doing as well as what only it can do (ie strategic range supersonic bomber). This really means that the PAK DA is the replacement for the Tu-160 in the sense that it will be a large aircraft able to perform theatre and strategic heavy bombing roles. Its design has yet to be confirmed but it could be a stealthy flying wing, or supersonic improved Tu-160.
    At the end of the day it will likely have a 30-35 ton thrust engine and be nothing like a medium or light 5th gen stealth aircraft... except in the sense that its payload will likely be more than the loaded weight of a heavy 5th gen stealth fighter. (Tu-160 in its upgraded form can carry 45 tons).

    My last post seems to have disappeared, but I remember also mentioning that Russia only sold its best stuff to China in the 1990s when it was desperate for money. With ilegal copies appearing I think the Russians will not be in any hurry to sell their best to China again.
    Europe on the other hand is ignoring all of this and is chomping at the bit to sell stuff to China except for sanctions imposed by the EU prevent them.
    When the sanctions are lifted China will pick and choose all the high tech it needs while it can. Eventually a copy will appear and the Europeans will come to the same conclusion as the Russians. The question is what will the Europeans have sold by the time they realise the Chinese are different from them.
    Perhaps there might be a window of opportunity where Europe will sell to China something they wont sell to Russia and Russia might end up buying the technology from China instead of Europe... that would be funny.

    Anyway... there has been lots of talk of a light 5th gen fighter, the issue I have is that if you base the new light fighter on two 12 ton thrust engines or one 18 ton thrust engine the resulting aircraft might not be enough lighter than a PAK FA class fighter to warrant the effort.
    Look at the Mig-21... a very successful little fighter that was popular because it was supersonic and cheap to buy and operate.
    The new light fighter needs to supercruise, but doesn't need to go faster than mach 1.5 or so, which means an afterburner is an option rather than a necessity. You could add one later in life as the aircraft gets heavier till a more powerful engine is available.
    An 8 ton dry thrust engine will force composite construction and maximum weight reduction.
    Only necessities will be fitted.
    This will reduce costs and avoid gold plating.
    The resulting aircraft will still be stealthy but it will be light and cheap and may outsell all other aircraft combined.
    Ironically the last aircraft they tried this with was the F-16 and looking at the latest block models they failed.

  33. I think my point about F135-class engine was poorly written.

    PAK-DA (or NGB) of course wouldn`t use just one of these engines,
    they would use several of them while AMCA would just use one (like F-35).
    Compare the thrust of NK-25 or NK-32, they are easily in the class of F135.
    Pratt is openly discussing their plans to offer a F135 derivative (with GTF/PurePower-derived cool sections) for the US` NGB.

    It obviously depends on how PAK-DA or not it uses the EXACT same engine, it seemends up envisioned, whether it would need 2, 3, or 4 engines of this class, and whether s there could be synergy if a substantial single-engine F-35-class fighter program was pursued.

  34. To be a strategic bomber it will need at least the same engine power of the current Tu-160, which is 100 tons of thrust from four 25 ton thrust engines.
    If it is a flying wing, perhaps with super cruise capability it will more likely have similar or even more powerful individual engines but reduced in numbers to only two.

    The NK-321 and NK-25 are both 25 ton thrust engines designed for supersonic speed... I rather suspect they will be quite different to the engines used in the NGB, because being subsonic the NGB will have engines optimised for large mass airflow to efficiently fly at subsonic speeds. (Like the big engines on a Boeing 747 are quite powerful, but no matter how small an aircraft you fit them to it will never be supersonic because while powerful the airflow velocity is not high enough)
    The Russian engines on the other hand will have lower mass airflow but higher airflow velocity.
    The Russian engines will be much better for supersonic flight whether in super cruise or in afterburner.
    I suspect they will go for a super cruise all the way aircraft, which while not as fast as the Mach 2 capable Tu-160 and Tu-22M3, will make strategic flights faster because of higher average speed of perhaps mach 1.4-1.6 all the way.

    Also I don't think you can compare this new light 5th gen fighter to the F-35 because the F-35 has a MTOW of 30 tons or so... which is likely similar to or heavier than the PAK FA.

    F-35 is not a light fighter... it is the "low" multirole fighterbomber to partner with the "high" F-22.

    Making an F-35 class aircraft to partner with the PAK FA would be like using the F-18 as a heavy fighter and an F-16 as a light fighter... they are too similar and there are too many performance overlaps to warrant even bothering.
    ...and they would cost the same to buy and operate.

    This new light 5th gen fighter might be the primary fighter of some air forces when it is available for export. Countries like Vietnam or perhaps even South Korea or Brazil might consider it as their primary fighter simply because it is both affordable and actually stealthy as opposed to low observable like the Eurocanards.

    The simple fact is that in 15 years time there might be the light 5th gen fighter, there will be the PAK FA, and the F-35 to choose from. They are not going to make any more F-22s though they will certainly upgrade them, and Europe isn't going to start a light 5th gen fighter program in competition to the F-35.

    Countries will have to pick and the terms and conditions around Russian/Indian aircraft will likely be more appealing than a US fighter you can't even upgrade on your own... to integrate Brimstone the UK will have to hand all the technology and info over to the US who will then integrate it.

  35. Yes, it´s all kind of un-known with most of these programs, what NGB will be, what PAK-DA will be, etc. I found it implausible that India could participate in a ´light stealth fighter´ program in ADDITION to AMCA (F-35 class), so I assumed they were the same, the terminonlogy used in reports like this can´t be taken as rigorous technical usage. The thing is also that the concept of what is ´light´, ´medium´, etc, tend to grow over the years, just look at MMRCA which when it started was Mirage 2000 class, and when it finished Gripen NG was excluded while being equivalent to Mirage 2000.

    BTW, I assume it´s obvious that AMCA with or without Russia should easily be able to out-do F35 in A2A and in top speed, whether or not it´s MTOW equals F35 as a bomb truck (using external stores) is an open question. If a partnership with India for AMCA doesn´t emerge, I still think it would make sense for Russia to develop such a fighter of it´s own, and that it would have great export chances, like you said.

  36. nope even mighty usa doesn;t have 3 manned fighter 5g programs India certainly won't

  37. I am sure a 5th gen light weight fighter would be useful to India. The Tejas is not a 5th gen fighter AFAIK so it could be a program to create the Tejas II.
    Additionally it could simply be something to assist in the development of the AMCA. Anything developed for the new light aircraft should be scalable and able to be fitted in the AMCA too, or it might be a new model for India.

    In the past an Indian company has used foreign support to develop something for the Indian military.

    Perhaps this is a new direction for India where they will simultaneously develop two competitive programs with different Indian companies teaming up with different foreign companies and the military can decide which it wants and the loser can try and get export sales on its own or use the technology developed for a different program.

    Lets face it, a 5th gen fighter design would involve a lot of the ground work for a 5th gen UCAV too.

  38. Mig have always been at the cutting edge of aircraft designs from the 15 to the 1.42, they have always been innovative in designs and new technology, dont be suprised when they come out with a outstanding 5th gen aircraft.

  39. Russians are behaving like jerks nowadays!
    Nothing personal Igor I see u like Indians but I'm talking government!

    First Gorshkov then refusing to part with Akula!!

    We should quit PAK FA NOW! and rope in SAAB/BAE for AMCA program immediately China FGFA will not enter service before 2020-25 so we have time.

    The way I see it:
    Navy will be fully independant of Russia by 2015-2020 in which we will be able to make everything ourselves with some codevelopment with Israel.

    Brahmos 1/2 will be the only component which will require Russian assistance.

    Army should be well on its way to be independant except some items like brahmos/Konkurs etc

    IAF is the huge leverage they will have if we don't abandon PAK FA now.

  40. Excuse me but calling the russians jerks is unfair, you forget so quickly who has helped you and provided you with military hardware and assistance for decades. Even under sanctions by other countries. without our help, the only way you could see off any aggression from mainland china would be with the use of nuclear weapons.

  41. The Gorshkov was an error in judgement on both sides.
    The amount of work needed was greatly underestimated by both sides and the increase in materials costs was not expected either.

    The real point is that the Russians could have left all the Sh!tty wiring and piping in the vessel and got it ready on time and within budget, but India would end up with a piece of crap that kept having ongoing problems with electrical shorts and fires for its operational life till the wiring and plumbing was fixed.

    Instead they do the right thing and fix it up properly and with the extra cost it comes to 2.5 billion including airwing, which is not actually that expensive for an aircraft carrier.
    If you didn't know carriers are expensive... otherwise everyone would have one.
    You want to cancel the FGFA project because the Russians cancelled two military exercises?

    Are you 12 years old?
    You want to cancel a program worth billions with the only other country making 5th gen fighters that wants to cooperate with you because at the last minute they cancelled two dates with you?

    I don't want to be rude, but harden up dude.
    Do you even know why the exercises were cancelled?
    If you believe the Russians planned all along to keep charging more and more for the Gorshkov, and they planned to never lease an Akula sub to India and they just cancelled two military exercises for fun then perhaps you need to get some more independent news sources... the ones you are using so far obviously want India to turn elsewhere. What you need to ask yourself is do they want that for the benefit of India or to punish Russia or to help themselves. I suspect the latter two.

  42. GaryB,

    We ( India ) are a country of 1 billion people . Majority of Indians see Russia as a friend .

    Plz ignore any anti Russian sentiments /comments.


    Debo , India (Calcutta)

  43. Hi all,
    Igor nice blog.Congrats.
    GarryB - always a pleasure to read your insightful and erudite arguments.BTW, I think I used to see you active in keypublishing forums? bharat-rakshak? dont see you much these days...

  44. @Debo... nice to know the dissenters are a minority.

    @Matt thanks for your kind words. I have been to a few forums and have come to the conclusion that I needed to find a site focussed on Russian stuff where I was normal and not an eccentric tolerated for the sake of appearing tolerant.

    I currently spend most of my time here:

    Might need to remove the last full stop to get that link to work.
    I also very much enjoy this blog, though it is not updated as much as it used to be... I can understand it though Igor is busy... it is a bit like Christmas when I find a new post with new news... :)

    My last few posts however have disappeared and I am not sure why...

  45. Igor and GarryB,

    In your assessment do you believe that the PAK FA can be fielded by India against China because it seems to me that the PAKFA is shaping up to be a "F 22 " killer and will be take on a dense high-performance surface-to-air missile threat that India will have to encounter if it has to strike deep inside China .

    I recon China's HQ 19 SAM can very easily take out the PAK FA.

    Sujith Kumar

  46. Sorry I meant to say that the PAKFA will not be able to take on a dense high performance surface-to-air missile threat that India will have to encounter if it has to strike deep inside China.


  47. At the moment they rate its RCS at 0.5m.
    That is without RAM and final sophisticated shaping etc which will probably take the RCS down to much smaller figures.

    Stealth doesn't make a plane invisible, it just limits the options of those facing it as a threat.

    A stealthy aircraft at 15,000m at mach 1.5 holds the high ground and covers lots of ground very quickly.
    SAM systems that can reach targets at that height are large and expensive so China will not operate thousands of such systems.

    This means the tactic will be to start with a mix of low flying cruise missiles and medium height flying stealth aircraft armed with ARMs.

    Non stealthy aircraft near the Chinese border can receive data about the locations of SAM sites from their emissions and of course satellite recon and other sources can be used to locate them and the Stealth aircraft will fly around known sites to hit communications centres and HQs to reduce the AD network.

    To be brutally honest I don't think F-22s could operate without fear over China any more than PAK FA could, though the PAK FA will have the advantage of a 3 antenna X band AESA with LPI radar modes in addition to two L band AESA antennas on the leading edge of the wing to detect datalink emissions and also an IRST with likely 360 degree coverage which seems to me to put it at an advantage in passively detecting and engaging targets.

    The best systems the Chinese have are Russian... their own equivalent copies are inferior. Their should be some pieces of advice the Russians could offer the Indians now that the Chinese are largely making their own SAM clones and not buying Russian products.
    Similar perhaps to the advice the French specialists that put together Syrias old AD system were able to give to Israel to allow them to slip in unnoticed a few years back... if you know what I mean.

  48. BTW perhaps India should invest in UCAVs... a few hundred platforms with ARMs should deplete the numbers of Chinese SAM stocks... good way to find SAM threat sites and use up some of the enemies SAMs.
    If they don't cooperate and fire SAMs then arm the UCAVs with TV guided weapons like AS-18 KAZOO and make them choose between firing and being destroyed.

  49. Note the NATO method in Libya was to overwhelm the defences too, but in that case the old Libyan SAMs could be overwhelmed by as few as 2 cruise missiles because detection of low flying targets was not great and the engagement rate of the systems meant that even if one missile was engaged the other had time to hit the target before it was ready for another engagement.
    S-300 systems are able to be used against low flying missiles and can engage large numbers at once so low flying cruise missiles cannot be the only answer.
    Combinations of UAVs and UCAVs armed with ARH and other guidance systems would be the systems of choice to force the S-300s to engage or die.
    The mobility of the system will be a problem and surprise attacks will be an issue, but right after the UAVs and UCAVs have aroused the SAM sites then cruise missile attacks to hit those that survive the ARMs and to wake up other SAM sites while stealth aircraft will try to hit communications hubs and AD centres and HQs is how it is done... though even NATO has never taken on such an opponent... for good reason.

  50. to Sujith Kumar:

    The effectivenes of aviation using above hostile territory for even stealth aircrafts is more dependent from EW level, using AR missiles and netcentric coordination. Now it's mainly not platform- but the net-centric factors of success. I think, PAKFA have good chance against Chinese AADS as a part of Fighters-AWACS-GLONASS-SateliteIntelligence combo.

  51. GarryB,

    Further to your take on UCAVs ,just wanted to drop a line to let you know that media here in India is reporting that Russia and India are already contemplating the development of a killer drone.



  52. @Debo
    That would be cool.

    The funny thing is that a think tank has recently pointed out that drone attacks in foreign countries are illegal... to which the most common reply from the west is that at least the west tries to minimise casualties and only targets bad people.
    If India and Russia start flying drone aircraft and are ever tempted to use them... say India hitting terrorists in Kashmir or Russia hitting terrorists crossing the border to Georgia then I am sure the attitude will change overnight and while western governments will admit they surgically take out enemies with Hellfire missiles the Indian/Russia attack will be a brutal excessive use of force that cannot be tolerated by the international community.
    (Can't remember the last time in surgery a doctor asked a nurse to had him a 50kg missile with a 15kg HE warhead, but the west has no respect for the actual meaning of words any more... it is all spin now.)

  53. GarryB,

    Appreciate your response . Very well said . I will add two more sentences here . First is should we ( India & Russia ) pay any attention to what the west is saying . Look at China , they pay scanty respect to the west when it comes to selling Nuclear technology or Ballistic Missiles to North Korea , Pakistan and Iran .

    Second, if India ( or for that matter ) even Russia purchases UCAVs(drones) from the west , viz US, France , UK they will have no qualms about us using it in Kashmir , Pakistan , Chechnya or Georgia , coz our purchases will provide employment to thousands of workers in the West.



  54. ....Probably India is already taking the first step.

  55. The west speaks with forked tongue and should never be trusted.
    I you listen to the snake it will tell you it won the cold war and is successful because it is right and moral. It is justifying its actions which are not better than any enemy it has ever fought... enemies it likes to demonise to make its hatred more understandable.
    The West is a bunch of colonial powers that still think they know best and includes failed former defeated colonial powers (like Japan and Germany) who were stripped and rebuilt in the western image, and now lots of hangers on from eastern europe.

    The Choice for Russia and India is to bow down and let the west come in and take all their resources in the hope that a new threat will require the West to rebuild and strengthen them against a new threat... or to remain independent and think for themselves and deal with foreign countries as they see fit.

    The only potential threat would be China, but looking at Germany and Japanese experience they are only just getting out from under the thumb in the last 10 years and they are not in brilliant shape.

    The real challenge will be when China starts offering EU countries money for surviving the economic problems... if they take it there will be a shift away from the US and towards Asia.

    India is in a better position than Russia simply because Russia has been seen as a threat by Europe for centuries and that will never change overnight.

    Will be interesting times.

  56. Hello Igor,

    For the benefit of your Indian readers will you please give us an update about the state of Unmanned Aerial Combat Vehicles (UCAVs) projects in Russia . Here in India , the media has reported that Russia & India are discussing the possibility of a Joint Venture to manufacture UCAVs.

    My understanding is that going forward Manned Aircrafts like the F 35 will operate in tandem with UCAVs like X 47 B . Does Russia have any such plan for a UCAV ?



  57. Igor,

    Exactly a year ago The Moskovsky Komsomolets reported that the T-50 has been designed to be more maneuverable than the F-22 Raptor at the cost of making it less stealthy than the F-22.

    Why did Russia sacrifice on stealth ? Is it because Russia has realized that Russia will not be able to master stealth to the same degree as the US ? Won't it be better for us ( India ) to have an aircraft that's more stealthy than maneuverable to penetrate Chinese Air Defenses ?


    Akhil Suri

  58. Akhil Suri,

    Yes Russians want more balanced aircraft then Raptor, including true multiroling. The Indian variant of T-50 (ie FGFA) will be rather different from the variant for RuAF. So if IAF really wants more stealthiness at the cost of maneuverability it can insist on this, for example on flat nozzles. The current development of the aircraft is in the middle way in all senses including the well known principle 'Madhyama-pratipada').

  59. Igor,

    Correct me if I am wrong , but the PAK FA already has flat nozzle. The general planform is a tailed delta, similar to the F-22, with the all-moving horizontal tailplanes close-coupled and on the same plane to the wing without any gap. The RCS as stated by India Air Force Officials is around 0.5m. But is it enough to penetrate Chines Air Defenses ?

    Nicolai Novichkov of ITAR-TASS conducted an interview with Anatoliy Korteev, the director of the Russian Scientific Academy in which Mr. Korteev spoke about surrounding an object by a cloud of plasma. Will Russia incorporate plasma in the PAK FA ?


    Akhil Suri

  60. No the PAK FA in its current form does not have rectangular exhaust nozzles... most pictures from the rear clearly show round nozzles in the current two prototypes.

    The TVC nozzles on the Mig-29OVT are actually separate from the engines so perhaps rectangular nozzles might be being developed but not fitted, certainly the whole rear of the engines being exposed in the PAK FA might change when the production standard engines have been finalised... like the Su-34 the engine body is covered, unlike the Flanker aircraft.

    There has been talk of using plasma stealth in the nose of the Su-34 where a sealed container in the hollow nose of the radome is filled with exotic gases and an electric current passed through it ionises the gas to radar waves from the outside or the inside are absorbed.

    It is the sort of thing you would use occasionally rather than all the time because when it is in operation your radar will not work through it... either actively or passively.

    With it turned off you can use your radar normally to transmit and listen to radar emissions. When a threat is detected... like an incoming AMRAAM, simply by running a current through the gas ahead of the radar you effectively hide the large AESA radar antenna from external radar detection... which would greatly reduce the RCS of the aircraft and perhaps reduce the lock on range of the AMRAAM to the point where it can't detect the target and it misses.

    Another option of course would be to concentrate the energy of your AESA radar and fry the radar seeker of the AMRAAM, but that could be detected and would confirm your presence whereas plasma stealth might make the enemy doubt you are there.

    It is like ERA tank armour... it doesn't replace anything... it is just another layer of defence to help improve protection from known and unknown threats. Relatively cheap and simple, but no super all powerful stop everything sort of thing.

  61. @anon- quote" l i.e India=money Russia=plane has to stop after PAK FA in case of delay we should simply boost PAK FA production.
    June 2, 2011 7:47 AM "
    indiahas no money to show to russia. whenever oil price goes up by even one cent russia gets more money than indian could ever give to russia for buying advanced donto show off your money -when we idnians were starving and angloamericans were attacking us through paksitan it was russians who helpd us beggars-so donto show off plse.

  62. No thanks we need to get across the learning curve to 5G on our own.==

    - Hm... 5th gen engine, totally new weaponary (which's not yet ready even in paper). When India will get 'across the curve'? in 2050?
    good one mate.
    in fact russia has helpd india by giving msot advanced plane of timelike mig 29 when it came out. now5thgeneration thing is also gift by russia unlike americans who pimp their old f15 and idnian feel so honoured by that offer of decrepit plane of 60s design. whqat a loser people indian middle class are.

  63. unelelcted primemisnter of idnia wants to nudge defence chief because he may nto like to selelct the corrupt BE system plane or soemother angloamericna crap.

  64. igor judging by the comments of my countrymen about thier ingratitude to russia shoudl convivne you aslo that russia is wasnting time on india. russia shoudl join hands with china to counter angloamerican evil empire to which is now attached my country india aswell . theough indianwill remain thrid rate country for another oen hundred years becaue of their slaish attitude ot their anglos masters.

  65. janaury,2007

    Indian anglophile class -especially indian english language media -is a race of Coolies and traitors.
    the same class of indians who are doing propaganda agasinty china today are the same people who forced rajiv gandhi in 1987 to make friendship with china(and recognise tibet as part of china) why-? because the usa had ben friend with china since 1984 and wanted india tobe friend too as opposed to russia.-therefore the indian parasite class foll=made the Indian foreign policy viz china not to suit india but to suit american interests-it is doing the same but in revere direction this time because their anglo-american masters want them to do so.the same indian elite class (for example the president of ranbaxy ,a sikh, chairman of FICCi at the time in 80s was vehemently opposing any6 defence increase of buying of defence equioments while asking dfor freidnship with r=china qas desired by usa ain 80s). the same FICCi is making propaganda agasint DRDo and(with 6% of defence budget) and indian scintisits saying it has not kept the develpopmnet of innovations and kept the 50 yurs old mig 21 not in shape!.) These same indian traitors want india to buy 40 yrs old arms (like junk f16 and f-18) from america knowing fully well that it comes with a heavy conditions unlike almost condition free and better arms(new mig-35) from russia.-but then thse elites are agents of angnlo american interests -so no surprise here-it is high time that thse elites are killed or kicked out of india-these are allwais(iraqi traitor) of india.• Russia is already supplying India with the Sukhoi-30MKI, an advanced "fourth generation" warplane that consistently defeats its Western counterparts, such as the frontline US fighters, the F-15C and F-16. Versions of the Su-30 are also being sold to China, Venezuela, and Malaysia.

    How the Empire will Prevail: Will Washington Foment War Between China and India?

    I do not think China’s ultimatum was reported in the US press, but it was widely reported in India’s press. India is concerned that China has stepped up to Pakistan’s defense.

    The Chinese ultimatum is important, because it is a WWI or WWII level of ultimatum. With this level of commitment of China to Pakistan, Washington will now seek a way to maneuver itself out of the confrontation and to substitute India.

    The US has been fawning all over India, cultivating India in the most shameful ways, including the sacrifice of Americans’ jobs. Recently, there have been massive US weapons sales to India, US-India military cooperation agreements, and joint military exercises.

    Washington figures that the Indians, who were gullible for centuries about the British, will be gullible about the “shining city on the hill” that is “bringing freedom and democracy to the world” by smashing, killing, and destroying. Like the British and France’s Sarkozy, Indian political leaders will find themselves doing Washington’s will. By the time India and China realize that they have been maneuvered into mutual destruction by the Americans, it will be too late for either to back down.

    With China and India eliminated, that only leaves Russia, which is already ringed by US missile bases and isolated from Europe by NATO, which now includes former constituent parts of the Soviet Empire. A large percentage of gullible Russian youth admires the US for its “freedom” (little do they know) and hates the “authoritarian” Russian state, which they regard as a continuation of the old Soviet state. These “internationalized Russians” will side with Washington, more of less forcing Moscow into surrender.

  67. No matter what anyone says on this Blog or on any other blog (myself included of course), Russia and India will continue to cooperate because cooperation in the past and in the present and in the future benefits both countries far more than any suggested benefit of parting ways.
    India has problems with poverty and making sure everyone within the population benefits from development and growth.
    Russia... like every other country on the planet has the same problems, though Indias population makes it seem worse, fundamentally we all have the same problem where a few have way more than they could ever need, a lot have enough, and far too many have not enough and no legal way to get enough in their current situation.
    There needs to be a cultural change where the poor are no longer considered stupid or lazy or dangerous. They just need some of the opportunities the better off people got, in regard to education and jobs etc.
    The problem is that most people see their goal in life to make as much money for themselves as they can, when they should be thinking about what makes them happy and aim for that instead.
    If what makes you happy means making as much money as you can then I feel sorry for you... it solves problems, but it changes people, and not in a good way.

  68. India's relation with USSR/Russia has withstood the test of times for over 4 decades .

    While it's true that London is just 3 hrs away from Moscow and Delhi is 6 hrs away it's necessary to state that Distance never separates any relation , time never builds any relation . If feelings are true , friends will always be friends.



  69. Hi Igor and GarryB,

    Is Russia taking into account the fact that the F 22A Raptor is going through a massive overhaul so as to make it a "PAK FA killer" ?

    Additional sensors such as IRST, cheek AESA arrays and lower frequency radar are being fitted that will detect the PAK-FA before the PAK FA can detect the Raptor.Also a new Air to Air Missile is being developed to kill a 9G target at 60,000 feet.

    Will the PAK FA still stand a chance against the Raptor ?



  70. So they are adopting many of the anti raptor features that the PAK FA was designed from the start with?

    No surprise, but good confirmation that they clearly see these features of the PAK FA as a viable threat to truly stealthy aircraft.

    More to the point the 189 F-22s in US service will need to be very good to face off with 250 plus Russian planes and probably 300 odd Indian examples, not to mention anything the Chinese can come up with.

    First they copy the Su-35BM with their Silent Eagle and now they are doing a PAK FA upgrade to the F-22... clearly confirmation to the Russian taxpayer that they are clearly getting the best bang for their rouble.

    Wonder what their next amazing new development will be... perhaps BVR IR guided missiles?

  71. GarryB,

    What's of concern from our (Indian)perspective is that in case of any large scale eventuality with Pakistan ( who will be backed by the US and Islamic nations)the US will use F 22s to take out Indian SAMs.

    Increment 2 hardware and software being fitted in the F 22, will let them launch JDAM bombs, and improves performance with the AIM-120C AMRAAM.New additions also include ground-looking synthetic aperture radar (SAR) modes, some electronic attack capability, geo-location of detected electro-magnetic emitters, and initial integration with the GPS-guided GBU-39 Small-Diameter Bomb (SDB-I). That last change expands the F-22’s ground attack arsenal from 1 JDAM per bay to 4 SDB-Is.

    Also, they intend to use the F22 in concert with UCAVs against the PAKFA with the help of the MADL datalink upgrades . In this way they are trying to make up for the fewer F 22s that are/will be in service.

    Under these circumstances I recon Sukhoi should seriously take into account the F 22 modernization program so that the F 22 does not end up becoming a PAK FA killer. Sukhoi may also loose prospective markets like South Korea bcoz the US may start selling F 22s to Korea as the F 35 has no future .


  72. Akhil,
    no doubts currently F-22 even without the promoted upgrade is the main rival to PAKFA\FGFA aircrafts in the sky, like vice versa is right too. Only after further development and tech details disclosing the chances of each fighter in the dueling condition may be clarified correctly. However, I dont see how two may be competitors on the world market since US refuse to sell them even to their closest allies. Ru\India 'consortium' doesnt hasten to sell them to a third country too. So, about competition we can hardly discuss before 2030. Then additional players can appear there as well.

  73. The US has never directly supported a Pakistani attack on India, and I really don't see that changing.
    In fact I am sure a lot of US businesses have noticed the 1 billion plus Indian potential consumers and their power will likely outweigh any influence Pakistan has traditionally held in the US... money talks.
    Regarding Updates to F-22s to let them hit SAMs... Russian SAMs are optimised to hit stealth targets and also their weapons so even if a TOR system can't detect an F-22 it can still shoot down JDAMs and SDBs in flight so they can protect the larger SAMs.
    Pantsir-S1 has the same role, though its ability to engage targets at 15km altitude likely suggests that a radar silent Pantsir-S1 would be a real threat to an F-22 as well as any weapons it chooses to deploy.

    What makes you think that F-22s with UCAVs can beat PAK FAs with UCAVs and an air defence network?

    The F-22 cost well over 100 million each and restarting production is not an option... they wont do it for the USAF why would they do it for South Korea?

    What do you suggest Sukhoi do?

    Fit the PAK FA with an X band main AESA array?
    Fit side mounted X band AESA antennas?
    Fit wing mounted L band AESA antennas?
    Fit IRSTs facing front and back?
    Develop new AAMs for it?

    They are doing that already.

    New things like ground mapping radar are new for the F-22 because it had no ground attack requirement.

    The PAK FA is a fighter bomber and from the start had these sorts of features and capabilities intended for it.

    The fact that the US clearly thinks this makes their plane capable of engaging the PAK FA suggests that Sukhoi have gotten it right and their PAK FA will be just ideal for engaging F-22s and F-35s.

    The US will not compromise the F-22 to help defend Pakistan... in recent years US drones have probably killed more Pakistani nationals than India did in their last conflict with Pakistan.

  74. Contd...

    Currently to the best of my knowledge their are no programs in Russia (and certainly not in India) where manned fighter aircrafts have the ability to control squad flight of UCAVs in automatic mode. The US is planning to do this with the F35/F 22 and the X 47B and Europe plans to do the same with the nEUROn.

    Therefore, Sukhoi/HAL must develop a cutting edge UCAV to complement the PAK FA .


  75. **My posts seem to be disappearing .


    I raised the question of competition bcoz the PAK FA is competing in South Korea's FX project.


    The US supported Pakistan in the 1971 war but fortunately the USSR interfered on our behalf. The US needs Pakistan as a bulwark against India.

    Sukhoi will have to negate the F 22A's APG 77s agile beam approach as this will enable the F 22 to target the PAK FA without revealing it's own position.

    What I would want Sukhoi to include in the PAK FA are : side-mounted AESA radar arrays to improve radar field of view and improve ground scans, multispectral/infrared search and track (IRST) systems for aerial and/or ground targets, and the JHMCS helmet-mounted sight,improved jamming capabilities are another item that will always see demand, and side-mounted radar arrays would add a hardware boost to that goal.


  76. to Akhil:
    this is your post that came on my e-mail, so, I recover it. The cause of posts disappearing is unknown to me, but probably technical. Suggest to save your posts locally for keeping option for recovery.


    The reason I spoke about the competition is because PAK FA is one of the fighters competing in South Korea's FX project. Also, Australia , Israel and Japan are lobbying very hard with the US for the sale of the F 22 A. Since it has become clear now that the F 35 is not an all aspect stealth aircraft the US may choose to sell a watered down version of the F 22 to these countries . For example replace APG 77 radar with the APG 81 radar.(Also Igor, if I have to raise my concerns about the challenges that PAK FA might have to face, do you know who I should contact in Russia.)


    The US did support Pakistan directly in the 1971 war however the USSR interfered on behalf of India. Even then India's population was 500 million plus.

    The US needs Pakistan as a bulwark against India, just like it needs India to counterbalance China.

    What I suggest is that Sukhoi will have to negate the APG 77 agile beam radar because this radar will enable the F 22 to target the PAK FA without giving away it's own position.

    Also, I would suggest a hyperspectral suite of embedded sensors to help the PAK FA map and exploit gaps in enemy SAM positions in real time, as sensor fusion displays the known safe and danger zones


  77. Or they could develop wing mounted L band AESA radars that will allow the PAK FA to detect the F-22 at much longer range than the F-22s X band radar can detect the PAK FA.
    The F-22 doesn't have an L band radar so it wont detect L band emissions no matter how strong they are.
    It would be like trying to pick up TV stations with a radio that only operates in radio bands.

    The PAK FA already comes with a forward looking large nose mounted X band AESA, side looking smaller X band AESA radars, and wing mounted L band AESA radars.
    The multi spectoral IRST... yes... front and back looking IRSTs... yes.

    These things you are asking for are already part of the design.

    Australia and Japan and Israel can lobby all they like the F-22 factory is closed and to reopen it and restart production will mean $250 million per plane at least.
    The US wont allow it because it will kill the F-35 which has cost them billions too.

    I am pretty sure the makers of the PAK FA are keeping a very close eye on what the Americans and everyone else is doing.

    It is clear from the upgrades to the F-22 that the Americans are looking very closely at what the Russians are doing too :)

    Why does the US need to use Pakistan against India?
    India is a democracy and an enormous potential market for US goods... in many ways Pakistan is in bad shape and has a lot of problems the US will not want to get involved with.

    The US is more worried about China than India and will likely prop up India as a counter to China. The fact that entering the Indian market might be at the expense of Russian influence would be an enormous bonus to them.

    They get to improve India against a potential threat from China while at the same time hitting Russia in the pocket... they already took the eastern europe market away from Russia, now if they can take India away suddenly that weakens Russia a lot at the same time creating a huge new market for the US consumer goods.
    The Soviets had sensor fusion in the early 1980s with the Mig-29 and Su-27 where helmet mounted sights, IRSTs, and radars were linked and could support each other.
    There is no reason to believe they have not made further progress on the PAK FA.

  78. BTW most of the posts I have lost have been where I have typed out a comment and then selected a profile and filled in my name and then clicked on the post comment button and then closed the tab straight away to go to another tab with a different thread.
    I find if I don't close the tab and click on a few links within this forum so new pages are loaded in the tab where I posted my message that the message is saved.
    After clicking on a few links I come back to the thread I posted to to make sure my post worked and then I close that tab.

    Has worked so far.

  79. GarryB,

    I can vouch for the fact that the US needs Pakistan , because it would not want an India that is too strong. So the policy is use India against China and use Pakistan against India.

    Russia will never loose the Indian market , because the US will never share technology. What drives Indo US relation is the 2 million Indians in the US who lobby intensely on behalf of the US govt ( at the behest of the US Govt. of course) and the dozens of US Back Process Offices in India . I believe Russia needs to market itself in India , in all spheres , (exactly what the US / UK did) and India needs to do the same in Russia.


    Coming to the question of the PAK FA , going by the prototype extreme manoeuvrability has been given precedent over all aspect stealth so the PAK FA may not carry out the deep penetration role of the F 22 A. My understanding is that the PAK FA has been designed from the onset to detect the F 22 or similar stealth aircrafts from a long distance using it's IRST and then destroy these aircrafts in a Within Visual Range conflict.

    Obviously , designing the avionic suite of the PAK FA is not going to be easy for Sukhoi.The provision of high capacity avionic cooling, which does not produce infrared hotspots, and in the design of wideband, yet very low RCS radio-frequency apertures for both passive and active sensors ( similar to the F 22s Agile Beam), and aircraft datalink/network terminal transceivers.

    For the benefit of both Russian and India I hope things turn out well.



  80. I am sure there are plenty of Americans who look at the Indian market and think dollars of sales and cheap labour resources.
    The west loves new markets for their products that has cheap labour... there is nothing that gets profits up more than having $300 US dollar Nike boots made by workers earning $1 US dollar a day in 15 hour shifts.
    The US has had plenty of recent lessons on what goes around comes around and what they have learned is that Pakistan the medicine is very similar to the disease...

    I agree both Russia and India need to expand their cooperation with each other... in fact I think all the BRIC countries should start to work together... and I would add South Africa to the BRIC to make BRICS... and a lot of other countries too like South Korea and Indonesia etc etc. There should be a lot more cooperation and colaboration rather than just relying on the west or the east.

    Better economic ties makes conflict less palatable.

  81. Igor/GarryB,

    Was just reading the online edition of Pravda .

    Pravda is reporting that unlike the F-22, which uses stealth technology, 85 percent of the surface of PAK FA is covered with unique nanotechnological materials that decrease both the visibility of the plane and air drag.

    Till date the general perception was stealth is dependent more on design ( around 75% - 80%) and less on composites .Do you guys believe this is possible ?



  82. Ramesh,

    I discover this issue in a previous post here

  83. You can only get so much return for changing an existing design regarding stealth.
    Proper stealth needs to be a factor from the very start of the design stage because every aspect of the design will influence the final radar cross section.
    There are two aspects that are important with stealth and they are shaping and materials absorption.
    Shaping means designing the reflecting surface to redirect radar waves coming from any direction in any direction other than the direction the energy came from.
    Materials absorption means materials that absorb radio waves.
    Having a composite radar invisible skin is pointless.
    The currently use dielectric nose radomes that cover the nose mounted radar are invisible to radar... otherwise the radar inside them would not work through them.
    Making the outer skin of a plane out of that material would just make the insides of the plane visible to the radar and all that external shaping to redirect radar so that it doesn't return to the radar antenna would be completely wasted.
    There is no reason why the PAK FA needs to use all the same methods to reduce RCS that the F-22 or any other aircraft uses.
    New technologies and methods are created all the time... each with their own advantages and problems.

  84. One thing is for sure . If the US has already become so concerned about the PAK FA even before it has become fully operational what plan does it have up it's sleeve ? Trying to convert the F 22 into a fighter that can take on the PAK FA in a WVR combat is not possible. With the current modernization the F 22 might well become a jack of all trade & master of none aircraft.

    For Russia the PAK FA has become a prestige issue. The minor setback in the MAKS airshow notwithstanding Sukhoi is going out with all guns blazing. Leading Russian Defense Analyst, Olga Vasilieva mentions that the use of metamaterials and so-called “e-camouflage” makes the optical visibility of the PAK FA almost nil.The negative refraction index of metamaterials makes them an ideal means for camouflaging military targets, as they cannot be discovered by radio reconnaissance equipment within a certain range of frequencies. Using this technology, on-board cameras record everything surrounding the aircraft, in real time mode. Supercomputers and metamaterials allow the cameras to project the image on to the aircraft’s surface, making it invisible.

    The PAK FA, is a pioneer in the revival of Russia’s aerospace industry.

  85. Igor,

    Can your provide some insight as to how Irkut plans to reduce the RCS of our SU 30MKI under the Super Sukhoi programme.Alexei Fedorov, the head of Irkut said that Irkut is planning to improve the stealth capability of the SU 30MKI .


  86. composites and RAM treatment in frame and intakes/engine blockers... Su-35 lite.

  87. Akhil,
    I don't think it will be deep airframe rework excepting strengthening for Brahmos carry. Probably it will be the implementation of so-called 'nano-material' covering, recently developed in Russia, LPI mode for the upgraded radar, and may be the diverterless supersonic inlets (DSI) for new airframes.

  88. Actually I have been thinking about this for a while... aerodynamically the Flanker is already excellent, but a standard way of adding capability is to add conformal bits to an airframe... a bit like the Mig-21SMT and Mig-29SMT both added space by attaching humps to their backs to allow more internal space for fuel and electronics.
    F-15s also got conformal fuel tanks to increase flight range without taking up a weapons pylon.

    Why not have a stealth conformal add-on... it could correct major shape problems and allow conformal launch positions for commonly carried missiles so when they carry for instance R-77s they could be semi buried in the under engine and belly positions to greatly reduce their effect on RCS.

    The sides of the engine nacelles can be reshaped to be more stealthy from the sides, and the vertical tail fins could be angled out etc etc.

    I know it is a lot more work than applying RAM and some radar blockers, but if you make the add-on bits out of radar absorbent material then you get quadruple the benefit because a radar wave has to pass through the outer skin and then perhaps a cavity containing fuel and then the inner skin and then hits the aircraft itself and then has to pass through the two layers again to reflect back to the antenna it came from... with perhaps inward facing reflectors on the inner surface facing the aircraft to redirect the beams along and around the surface so it does not return the way it came...

    Just a thought.

  89. Igor,

    I have an idea about an Air-to-Air missile so thought of running this idea past you to get your views :

    What are the chances of developing an Air to Air Missile with multiple warheads in order to engage multiple targets simultaneously ?

    The post-boost (or bus) stage can dispense the warheads against multiple targets across a broad area. Also , it will reduce the effectiveness of anti missile system that relies on intercepting individual warhead and provide greater target damage for a given missile payload.



  90. The Starstreak SAM/ATGM has a warhead that consists of 3 hypersonic darts that are individually guided to a target, though in this case it is intended to hit the one target but spread around the damage.

    I would see the main problem as being weight as each warhead would need separate guidance and their own means of mobility, whether that is their own propulsion or just fins to steer to allow them to manoeuvre to hit separate targets... unless the targets are nice enough to be very close together.

    The main problem I see is similar to that of an ICBM... the multiple separate warheads will make your missile much bigger and if the defences can intercept your missile before the warheads separate then it will get them all in one shot. Separating the warheads early in the flight phase means each warhead will need its own separate propulsion system which makes them like separate missiles on their own in terms of size and weight.

    I think what you would end up is something very big like a 1 ton cruise missile with a small jet engine with perhaps a cluster of short range AAMs like R-73 on the front covered in an aerodynamic fairing... say 4 missiles... which would mean about 450kgs in weight, which would make the missile a Tomahawk class weapon... with a flight range of 600km or so you could launch it from standoff ranges and it could fly at very low levels to an enemy air field drop the fairing and use a wide angle IR sensor to pick out 4 targets, slew the missile seekers to those targets and get locks and then fire all four missiles.

    The problem is that a subsonic cruise missile will take a long time to travel 600km and there is no guarantee those 4 targets will even be aircraft let alone valid military targets.

    What do you think Igor?

  91. Multiple warheads are more actual for stationary targets, when they are on known and rather close range one from another. The anti-armor cassette munition with individual guiding is too. If the range between different targets is variable the need for multiple warheads is questionable . From killing probability POV the bigger warhead has better chances because you can put there better sensors and better fuse. So I think one well-guided missile can do its work against isolated aircraft with EW equipment better then three tiny 'darts' .

  92. Exactly.

    The nature of the target is also important to the type of warhead... if the target is a tank then a single concentrated heavy warhead is needed to have an effect.

    If the target is infantry in a spread out group then a guided weapon is needed to put the warhead in the centre of the group, but a random spread of small hand grenade sized fragmentation explosives is a more efficient way to get a large number of soldiers than one single heavy warhead... a good analogy would be a burst of fire from an automatic grenade launcher where the individual grenades are relatively small but 20-30 exploding around an area might be more effective than a single 82mm mortar round.

    When attacking modern ships a single large explosive warhead can do quite a bit of damage, but some modern warheads fitted to anti ship missiles have an explosive spreading charge that blows smaller incendiary charges into the ship that start fires that will explode on contact with water. This means that any attempt by the crew to deal with the fires will likely make them worse and the fires will do far more damage than the original warhead if it were all explosive in one HE charge.

    Instead of multiple charges, modern Russian SAMs often use directional warheads that in the last fraction of a second of an intercept determine where the main bulk of the target will be a fraction of a second later and use a special fusing design to detonate the main warhead in that direction to make sure the majority of the fragments go through the correct part of the target.
    In the case of an aircraft then the centre of mass or wing would suffice, but for intercepting a Scud that is not good enough as was shown in Desert Storm, where the centre of mass was hit repeatedly to little effect as that was the engine section and by the time of the interception over the target area the engine was not doing anything... the Scud was falling and the engine was attached to it... destroying the engine altered the trajectory slightly but did nothing. The Russian SAMs would know they are intercepting a missile by a push of a button at launch and would have aimed for the warhead in the tip of the missile to defeat the incoming weapon properly.

  93. Igor,

    The reason why I was thinking about an Air to Air Missile with multiple warheads is because Russian and Indian Sukhois carry between 10-12 Beyond Visual Range ( BVR) missiles so they can fire more than three or four round Beyond Visual Range missile salvo during the opening stages of an engagement. In this manner the aircraft being targeted will face a difficult problem as it must jam, decoy and/or outmanoeuvre three or four tightly spaced inbound missiles.

    I was hoping that the kill probability would go up if the enemy aircraft is faced with an Air to Air missile that carries multiple warheads since it will become impossible for it to outmanoeuvre three missiles almost simultaneously. Also, it will save Indian and Russian aircrafts from carrying large number of BVR missiles .



  94. But they have the advantage of already being able to carry not only large numbers of BVR missiles, but also more importantly a range of BVR missiles with different seeker options so one jamming or defensive technique will not defeat all the incoming threats.
    An F-18F might be able to launch 3-4 AMRAAMs at one target, but what is the point? The method that defeats the first missile will likely defeat the other 2-3 as well because they all use the same guidance.