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17 février 2015 2 17 /02 /février /2015 08:35
Photo F. Robineau, Dassault Aviation

Photo F. Robineau, Dassault Aviation


February 17, 2015 Rediff.com (Business Standard)


Air force brass is ignoring a project to develop a fifth-generation fighter for fear it will take attention away from buying the Rafale. Ajai Shukla reports


The priceless Indo-Russian project to co-develop the eponymous Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft is dying of neglect. With the Indian Air Force brass focused single-mindedly on procuring 126 Rafale fighters, the air marshals fear that an FGFA on the horizon would undermine their argument that the Rafale is essential. With the costly Rafale procurement imploding in slow motion, the FGFA is becoming collateral damage.


In October 2012, then IAF boss, Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne, announced the IAF would buy only 144 FGFAs instead of the 214 that were originally planned. Having cut down the numbers, the IAF is now undermining the FGFA project itself.


After the apex Indo-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission for Military Technical Cooperation met on January 22 to discuss military cooperation, IAF officers whispered to a gullible media that the FGFA was dead. It was reported that Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had told his Russian counterpart that joint research and development was a waste of time. This was factually incorrect. What is true is that the IAF -- for reasons that can only be guessed at -- is scuttling a project to develop a fighter that would rank alongside the world's best.


Why is the FGFA important, more so than the Rafale? It is a fifth-generation fighter, which makes it operationally more capable than contemporary fourth-generation fighters like the Rafale and the Eurofighter Typhoon. Gen-5 fighters are designed to be stealthy, which means enemy radar cannot detect them until it is too late. They "supercruise", i.e. fly at supersonic speeds without lighting engine afterburners (the Rafale can do this too); and Gen-5 aircraft have futuristic avionics and missiles. In a war with China, stealthy Gen-5 aircraft would be ideal for missions deep into Tibet, evading China's radar network, to destroy the Qinghai-Tibet railway and roads leading to the Indian border -- to prevent China from quickly switching troops around on its superior border infrastructure.


So vital was the FGFA considered to India's aerospace capabilities that, in October 2007, New Delhi and Moscow signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement to co-develop the fighter, which placed the project above defence ministry procurement rules. The IGA states that Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd would partner Rosoboronexport, Russia's defence exports agency, in co-developing the fighter. Furthermore, Indian engineers say the expertise gained from the FGFA would be valuable in building the planned indigenous Gen-5 fighter, designated the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft.


Following the IGA, New Delhi and Moscow signed a General Contract in December 2008, stipulating general principles of cooperation such as the share of work and cost, and the sale of the FGFA to third countries. In December 2010, a preliminary design contract was signed in which both sides contributed $295 million towards finalising the fighter's basic configuration, systems and equipment. With that completed in June 2013, the central R&D Contract is now being negotiated. This will govern the bulk of the work - the actual design and development of the FGFA.


Even as the IAF stonewalls the R&D contract negotiations, the need for India to come on board grows ever more pressing. Russia has already designed, built and flown the first prototypes of a Gen-5 fighter they call the PAK-FA (Perspektivny Aviatsionny Kompleks Frontovoy Aviatsii, or "Prospective Airborne Complex of Frontline Aviation"). The PAK-FA, built to Russian Air Force specifications, has already completed 650 test-flights. India's work share will lie in adapting this fighter to the IAF's requirements -- which include advanced capabilities like all-round radar that can detect threats in a 360-degree envelope, and voice recognition software that allows the pilot to call out commands. In all, the IAF has specified some 40-45 improvements that they want over the PAK-FA. Indian designers, who will have to integrate these improved capabilities with the existing PAK-FA, are losing out by not participating in the on-going design and test flying in Russia.


How Rafale is killing the (Indian) air force's future

Gen-5 fighters are designed to be stealthy, which means enemy radar cannot detect them until it is too late.


The IAF's objections to the FGFA are (a) The Russians are reluctant to share critical design information; (b) The fighter's current AL-41F1 engines are inadequate, being mere upgrades of the Sukhoi-30MKI's AL-31 engines; and (c) It is so expensive that "a large percentage of IAF's capital budget will be locked up." It is ironical that an air force that is eager to spend an estimated $20 billion on the entirely foreign, Gen-4 Rafale is baulking at spending a fraction of that on co-developing and indigenously manufacturing a Gen-5 fighter, which can be maintained and upgraded cheaply for decades to come.


An entire mythology has come up around the cost with even senior air marshals incorrectly stating that India will spend $11 billion on the FGFA. Even this inflated figure would be modest compared to the $40 billion that America spent in the 1980s and 1990s to develop the Gen-5 F-22 Raptor. Yet, in fact, this $11 billion figure was a defence ministry estimation in 2010, which included numerous items that have nothing to do with R&D. Firstly, the amount included both Russian and Indian expenditure; second, it included several options that India may not require, e.g. $1.5 billion for developing a twin-seat FGFA (which the IAF now says it does not want), and $1.5 billion for a new engine. Third, this included the cost of infrastructure that India must establish to manufacture the aircraft in large numbers for the IAF.


Since India urgently needs to start participating in the flight-test programme, of which the PAK-FA has already completed some 20 per cent, Sukhoi would have to build another prototype for India. That cost too is included in the estimation, along with the ground support equipment and training needed for a full-fledged Indian flight-test programme. With all of this factored in, officials closely involved in the negotiations say that India's share in the project could be about $3.5 to 4 billion.


Both sides have already talked around the R&D contract in such detail that it can be concluded in one sitting, provided Indian negotiators are given the green light from a clear-minded political leadership. The FGFA perfectly fits the "Make in India" idea; the strategy of being ready for a two-front conflict; and the IAF force structure of the future. From the standpoint of negotiation strategy, the timing is perfect. The rouble has plummeted more than 60 per cent against the dollar and the rupee in the last five months after the Ukraine crisis. The Russians will agree to the lower dollar rate that New Delhi has been proposing. The time to strike is now.

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28 janvier 2015 3 28 /01 /janvier /2015 17:35
La Russie et l’Inde boostent leur programme FGFA


25.01.2015 par Info-Aviation

L’Inde et la Russie ont décidé d’accélérer leur programme militaire conjoint pour le Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) dérivé du T-50 PAK-FA russe.


« Nous avons discuté de toutes les questions, y compris le FGFA dont nous avons décidé d’accélérer le développement en raison des inquiétudes que suscite la lenteur de son excéution, »  a déclaré le ministre indien de la défense Manohar Parrikar à New Delhi.

S’exprimant après avoir présidé conjointement la Commission intergouvernementale sur la coopération militaro-technique (IGC-MTC) avec son homologue russe Sergueï Choïgou, M. Parrikar a déclaré que les deux parties maintiendraient des « interactions » régulières pour respecter les délais du projet.

Le futur avion de combat russo-indien FGFA de 30 tonnes sera dérivé du Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA qui est alimenté par deux turboréacteur NPO Saturn AL-41F1 développant une poussée de 14,7 tonnes chacun.

L’Inde a également insisté sur le fait que la Russie avait ramené sa participation dans le programme de développement de 25% à 13% soit 10.5 milliards de dollars, sans consulter Delhi. Elle cherche également un plus grand accès à la configuration de conception du chasseur, qui, selon elle, lui est refusé.

L’Indian Air Force (IAF) prévoit l’acquisition d’environ 130 avions de combat, contre une demande initiale d’environ 220 unités.


Suite de l'article

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18 novembre 2012 7 18 /11 /novembre /2012 12:45

Sukhoi T-50 (PAK-FA) source Ria Novisti


November 15, 2012 Andrei Kislyakov, specially for RIR - indrus.in


Modern Russo-Indian military and technical cooperation is focussed on research-intensive areas like aviation and missile manufacturing.


The hallmark of cooperation between Russia and India in the aviation sector is the joint development and manufacturing programme of fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) for the Indian Air Force. According to the Centre for Analysis of World Arms Trade’s latest estimates made in late October, the countries intend to start serial production of the FGFA in 2020. The plane – an Indian version of the Russian T-50 fighter – will be built at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) production facilities. The Russian fifth generation fighter, code-named T-50, should be deployed in the Russian Air Force after 2017.


India’s Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Norman Anil Kumar Browne has stated that it will be a single-seat plane equipped with practically the same components as its Russian twin. Some of the equipment, however, such as onboard computers, will be different, as is the case with the Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter upgraded for use by India.


According to Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation, the Russian side will supply 117C engines, as well as stealth technology for the Indian planes. India plans to manufacture onboard computers, software, a targeting system, and other onboard systems for its fifth generation fighter.  This is keeping in line with Indian participation in the programme for the India-licensed manufacture of the Russian multi-purpose Sukhoi 30MKI fighters at Indian factories. As a result, Russian-made components in the serial model should make up 60 percent, compared with India’s 40 percent.


Official data estimates the total cost of joint Russo-Indian FGFA development to be $12 billion. According to Marshal Browne, “the project will be carried out on a parity basis. It includes financing for detailed design, a full battery of tests, and the production of prototypes.” He added that they are currently at the preliminary design stage, estimated to cost $295 million.


Meanwhile, the contract for developing the aircraft for India has undergone considerable modifications. The Indian Air Force originally planned to buy 214 fifth generation planes (166 one-seaters and 48 two-seaters). That number has since been reduced to 144. The original number would have been built if the plane had been ready for deployment by 2017, and if Russian factories had been able to deliver the first batch of the machines. However, because of delays with the production of the T-50, India has decided to expand its participation in FGFA development, pushing the starting date for the production of its Indian version back to 2020.


India is in the process of a large-scale upgrade of its Air Force. Around 130 Russian-made multi-purpose Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighters (which should increase to 270) and around 70 MiG-29s form the backbone of the country’s fighter fleet.


Besides modern equipment, the Indian Air Force also has 51 French Mirage 2000 fighters and around 200 MiG-21s, almost half of which will be decommissioned within the next two or three years, while the rest will be upgraded.


India recently held a tender for supplying its Air Force with at least 126 multi-purpose fighters for a total of more than $10 billion. The French Dassault Rafale fighter won the tender.


In addition to modern military aircraft, Russia and India continue close cooperation in missile building, including the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile.


Russia and India are working with BrahMos Aerospace to promote a family of all-purpose supersonic BrahMos land-launched and ship-launched versions of the missile based on the Russian medium-range P-800 Onyx anti-ship missile, which some experts believe is unrivalled in the global marketplace.


According to Russia’s deputy prime minister in charge of the defence industry, Dmitry Rogozin, BrahMos Aerospace is not only a successful Russo-Indian joint venture, but it also represents an optimal model for bilateral cooperation that has tremendous political importance for both countries.


In early October 2012, the missile was test-fired from the Teg frigate built in Russia to India’s order. A contract for the construction of three frigates of this type was signed in 2006. India said the test was successful, with the cruise missile hitting its target at a distance of 290km.


One thousand land-launched and ship-launched versions of the missile are scheduled for production by 2016, with half of this number intended for sale to third countries.


The joint venture BrahMos Aerospace is working overtime to create the hypersonic BrahMos-2 missile. With a speed of more than five times the speed of sound, it will be practically impossible to intercept.


First Deputy General Director of Russia’s NPO Mashinostroenia Aleksandr Dergachev announced in mid-October that air tests for the BrahMos-2 would begin next year.


During Dmitry Rogozin’s visit to India in mid-October, BrahMos Aerospace CEO Dr Sivathanu Pillai presented the Russian delegation with a strategic plan for the joint venture development through 2050, which includes the design and implementation of innovation technologies for the BrahMos missile family, allowing the company to remain a global market leader in this area. Dr Pillai pointed out the importance of deploying the BrahMos missiles in the Russian Navy, as well as the need to develop new systems as soon as possible to maintain a technological edge over other countries

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25 juin 2012 1 25 /06 /juin /2012 12:20
DRDO's Strike Scenario For 3 Indian Fighter Efforts


June 25, 2012 by Shiv Aroor LIVEFIST


Wanted to write about this, but I just got back to Delhi from a weekend in Bangalore, and I'm rushing off to work, so I'm putting it up anyway. It's from a recent DRDO presentation and perhaps the first that depicts the LCA, AMCA and FGFA in an operational scenario. Comment and tell what you think this slide tells us.

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