Wednesday, May 19, 2010

COLUMN: M-MRCA, A Difficult Choice For The IAF

By Air Commodore (Retd) Ramesh Phadke

The trial phase of the proposed purchase of the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) is nearing completion. Last heard, the Swedish JAS-39 Gripen was not able to take part as the company had brought a different (older?) model for trials supposedly because the new Next Generation model proposed for India was undergoing some trials in Sweden. Whatever the truth, the competition is heating up.

What should be the criteria for the final choice? The IAF strength has dwindled to some 30 squadrons in the last few years. But the effect has been mitigated to some extent by the induction of the Su-30, which, with its multi-role capability, long range and highly advanced avionics and armament suite, is far more capable than the phased out fighters such as the MiG-25, MiG-23 (MF/BN), MiG-21 and some others. In any case the Su-30, Mirage-2000, MiG-29 and Jaguar combination have proved themselves in many joint exercises with the air forces of Singapore, the UK and US. Does it then mean that simply getting more Su-30s, and according to the Air Chief, some 150 more are being ordered, would make up the shortfall?

The Su-30 is a very large and heavy twin-engined fighter in the 30 ton class (empty weight: 18,400 kg, loaded weight: 24,900 kg, and maximum take-off weight: 38,000 kg), two engines of 131 kN max after burner thrust each) which gives a thrust to weight ratio at loaded weight of 1.07 and 1.15 with 50 per cent fuel. Its price is reportedly in the US$ 34-53 million range. That is not something to be scoffed at. Given such sterling qualities and a long, if at times uneven relationship with its manufacturer, Russia, why is the IAF looking for another fighter?

The main reasons could be to diversify the sources of foreign supply, access Western technologies, work out mutually beneficial Joint Venture (JV) deals and perhaps leverage the buy for larger foreign policy goals. Given the rapidly changing regional geopolitical scenario, the last factor seems critically important. Having set the background straight, let us now look at the six contenders for the MMRCA competition.

All six contenders are equipped with state-of-the-art avionics and AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) airborne radar with only marginal differences in performance. There is also little difference in their armament carrying capacity and, where needed, such changes/modifications should be possible.

The French Dassault Rafale, the European Consortium Eurofighter Typhoon and the American Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet are all twin-engined fighters in the 25-30 ton class. All of them are reportedly very expensive, with reported prices ranging from Euro 48 million for the Rafale to Euro 88 million for the Eurofighter and US$ 58 million for the Super Hornet. Admittedly, these are only notional figures and no vendor/buyer is likely to divulge the real/actual price and the services, equipment, spares/maintenance support that it might include. Would the IAF want to purchase such ‘heavy duty’ and expensive (?) aircraft?

The MiG-35 is a further development of the MiG-29K version that the Indian Navy is now inducting. It was first unveiled at Aero India Show-2007 at Bangalore. While it no doubt has some extra wing area (8-10 per cent?), smokeless (?) and supposedly the latest version of the RD-33 engine fitted in the MiG-29, the Phazotron Zhuk AE- AESA radar with additional provision for the ground attack role, LCD Multi Function Displays (MFD) and possibly the option to fit Western avionics if needed, it is not exactly a proven design nor are its life cycle costs known. Its official price is not known but going by our past experience it is likely to be low.

That leaves us with the F-16 IN Super Viper (F-16 E/F Block 60) described by Lockheed Martin as, “the most advanced and capable F-16 ever,” and the JAS-39 NG Gripen. Both these are relatively lighter aircraft at a maximum all up weight of just 16,000 kg and yet each carries an external/armament load of around 8,000 kg. They are highly manoeuvrable multi-role fighters.

The F-16 has been around for nearly 40 years but it still commands respect among the experts. It is combat proven, has operated in all parts of the world in very demanding conditions and like the freak if admirable design of the venerable MiG-21 and DC-3 Dakota, is destined to be remembered as the best multi-role fighter ever. It comes with conformal external fuel tanks to reduce drag, and the GE F110-132A engine giving a maximum afterburning thrust of 143 kN. About 4400 F-16s have been sold to 25 countries so far. The aircraft has a total accumulated flight time of some 4.5 million hours and hence the Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) is likely to be very high. Snags and technical problems are likely to be more predictable. It should also help reduce life cycle costs to a large extent. The Saab JAS -39 Gripen is also reportedly as good. It is relatively new on the scene and has an American GE F 414G engine, which means that Sweden would have to get US permission before it is sold to India.

The issue of access to technology and how each vendor fulfils the ‘offset’ commitment is not yet known, but it is reasonable to assume that no country is likely to transfer the latest technologies without necessary safeguards and confidentiality/end-user agreements. The main issue, therefore, is one of continued reliable spares and maintenance support throughout the projected life of at least 30-40 years. Would Lockheed Martin keep the F-16 line open that long? Another sticking point may be that Pakistan also flies the same fighter. But then the Chinese air force (PLAAF) also flies the Su-30 in fairly large numbers and is likely to use them for another 30-40 years and that did not deter India from buying it in 1996. The Gripen has been offered at reduced cost to Bulgaria, so some further bargaining might be possible. The F-16 could also cost India less if the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route is followed but one cannot predict how the Obama administration would handle the deal and, who knows, Lockheed Martin might even transfer the entire production line to India as was once promised in the case of another American fighter the F-5.

There was some talk of the contract being split between two vendors and a separate tender for the AESA radar. This, in my opinion, might have been conjectured to meet the Tejas LCS radar requirements. India is already committed to buying six C-130J, 10 C-17 Globemaster heavy lift aircraft and other equipment from the US and hence it might become somewhat easy to buy additional GE 404 or more powerful engines for the indigenous LCA.

In the final analysis, it seems that the political factor is likely to influence the choice of the MMRCA more heavily than just the performance parameters. As an old fighter pilot, however, I would always pitch for a light, easily manoeuvrable, agile and relatively inexpensive fighter that delivers every time, generates high sortie rates and is easy to maintain and train on a day to day peace time schedule. What counts in war is the number of fighters one can launch every hour, every day, day after day, with full confidence and ease of operation.

(Air Cmde Phadke, a former fighter pilot with the Indian Air Force, is currently Advisor (Research) at the Indian Institute for Defence Studies & Analyses (IDSA) This column appears courtesy the institute | Photo by Shiv Aroor / Laage AFB Germany)


Technofun said...

Nice one, I agree with Commodore that Lockheed Martin will not keep F-16 line open for 40 years. Already they are spending lot of effort in next generation F-35 program. Also it is of last generation, India should look for advance fighter to fill its gap.

Anonymous said...

"... I would always pitch for a light, easily manoeuvrable, agile and relatively inexpensive fighter that delivers every time, generates high sortie rates and is easy to maintain and train on a day to day peace time schedule."

Sounds a lot like Gripen to me ;)

Subho said...

Quite insightful and unbiased opinion that says much without speaking a lot. I agree with his final assessment that the choice of the MRCA should focus on procuring a light , maneuverable aircraft that has quick turn - around ( read hot- refueling) capabilities at an affordable price. It translates to only one choice - GRIPEN NG and nothing else !

Bring it on ....

Anonymous said...

Very nice and unbiased opinion.

Anonymous said...

Good article. Read in conjunction with another article on dynamics of US defense industry and geopolitics, Gripen NG is the only one that fits the bill with a capability to even have a Naval Gripen in very near future. The only deal that would make this sweet would be complete software TOT along with a line to produce the same in India for all exports in the world.

Anonymous said...

"... I would always pitch for a light, easily manoeuvrable, agile and relatively inexpensive fighter that delivers every time, generates high sortie rates and is easy to maintain and train on a day to day peace time schedule."

This actually is exactly what PAF chief said and it is the reason they are getting the JF-17 at $12 million a plane. We need the LCA and in large numbers. Forget all this foreign stuff.

RAT said...

OK that means there are only 2 choices and they are definetly not F-16 or the Gripen

1> F-16 no full technology transfer also cannot trust Americans remember what they did with Iran also they always sell stuff that they know is not equivalent to what their forces have and that too with sanctions.

2> Gripen is using GE engine again American its like a beggers plane avonics from here electric suite from there radar from some where power plant Am where going no where also it will kill Tejas project

the choices are
1> Eurofighter it will take us lot of time to absorb the technology but we have the option to be partners in the project an it is new thing yes it has some american stuff but not major stuff and our likley foes have nothing comperable to it.

2> Rafale (slim Chances) due to the French approch in recent years also we have used French stuff Gnats/Mirages easily adoptable also
we are in collobrotion with Schema for engine development for Tejas or the indegenious MCA


Anonymous said...

Do you know what engine the LCA uses??????

The ES05 Raven is accually a swedish RADAR (software, signal processor, transmitter, receiver, avionic integration etc......the disc is from Selex)

Hmmm....stupid "experts".....

Anonymous said...

Whoever wins this will get morethan 126....i gurantee you that. Just look at the numbers for Su-30, Jags, etc....Question is which one will leave room for the LCA to survive? This is where i agree with the RAT. There are also rumers that the budget is likely to double as the prices have increased over the last few years. India is about to get screwed.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... that's rather a difficult choice for the Government. The IAF will likely downselect 4 ac to let a maximum choice to the Govt, which will have to make the best choice in terms of ToTs with a (as much as possible) neutral political solution. In this perspective the US should be ranked last. Don't you think? It's a shame that the Commodore (an IDSA member, apparently) doesn't give more explaination on that point. That would have been much more interesting.

Anonymous said...

FMS itself is a scandal. On what basis is a "country" selected for a direct purchase? At least you can weigh relative technical merits among candidate fighters but among countries what is the basis for preference ????

Subho said...

Yeah we have a lot of LCA backers on this forum for sure. They usually chose to post anonymously - so many of them might actually be DRDO insiders trying to influence the course of discussions on this forum because their jobs depend on it. Well for one the MoD has finally taken note and is planning to restructure the institution at long last.

Focusing on the argument that the LCA somehow is swadeshi beats me ! As someone else has pointed out already on this thread - the LCA if it ever ends up serving in the IAF will do so with an American or European engine and perhaps other foreign avionics. 'Nuff said in the name of self reliance etc.Stop the bluster ! No other nation other than India and the Soviet block patronizes a federally owned R & D institution over private players and they seem to be doing fine. The most powerful military in the world bids out most of its contracts to private entities and it doing just fine.
personally I think the Gripen NG platform offers the best balance in terms of being a evolving 4 + generation fighter that has the lowest TCO and the promise of total TOT beats the competition hands down. Besides, we could join hands with the Brazilians and get a price break through collective bargaining. Everyone wins !

RAT said...

Anonymous said...
(Hmmm....stupid "experts"..... )

YES LCA is using a American engine and the American Govt has stopped any of it company from providing any tech support for LCA and yes Gripen NG is still under development do not say it is done with development then why did it not come to India ha just a question expert?

Anonymous said...

At a base price of $48M (possibly less after negotiation), the Rafael seems like a good deal... The French are more reliable than Americans. And the Swedes, how can we forgive their non-cooperation during the Bofors scandal?

Sardar Ram Singh said...

Looks like it going to be the F16 that is going to be accepted. I think the Indian govt lost out when the French also wanted to transfer their entire production line for Mirage but now if the US would do the same then India should grab the oportunity because there are a lot of third world nations like Pakistan,Indonesia,Afghanistan, who would like to buy them and then India can develop good fighter aircraft like the Tejas Mark ll for themselves and sell the F16 to them. Indian exports of weapons will soar and Indian & US friendship will reach a new level

maratha Mind said...

:-[ Yawnnnnnnnnnnnn!!!!

Anonymous said...


If pure developement is a concern, then -

1.Euro is still not developed. Rememember it does not have an AESA radar. Plus its made in Tranches. So which one do you think is right for IAF?

2. Rafale is also not developed because it would need to be tested again with new missiles and its required software(Russian amramski to k 172 and Astra etc). It would also spend considerable time being developed with Indian and Izraeli avionics.

So are these two developed then?

Anonymous said...


What do you mean?
As far as I understand the SAAB Gripen has been sold to 5 (6) different customers. Both Nato and non Nato members. Not in any case has there been any problems with tech. support.

As for the latest Gripen model, it's still a demo and it just cleared some of the toughest tests on the MMRCA list of tasks (same tasks that many of the other contestants failed):

And yes.....IN INDIA...
(please read the first article here at livefist) or this:

Gripen Demo REPORTEDLY clears Leh trials beautifully ... doing ALL routines required.
Gripen Demo REPORTEDLY clears heat trials in Adampur (I would stand corrected on location) beautifully.

Will bring in more details on this later.

Vishnu Som
Associate Editor

Abhiman said...

I disagree with some of the views of Sqn ldr Phadke. If the purpose of the MRCA is just to acquire technology -- most notably, the AESA radar technology -- then only that technology can be purchased separately off the shelf. So for example, only AESA radar sets can be purchased for Tejas Mk.2. Why purchase entire fighter jets, that have the radar pre-installed ? Are the obscene costs justified, when the separate AESA radar sets can be purchased off-the-shelf ?

Secondly, the author is, I'm afraid mistaken that F-16 is a "light" fighter simply because it is single engined. The empty weight of F-16 is close to 10 tons, which is equal tot the Rafale and Typhoon. Loaded weight is also similar to these two jets. The only difference is that the F-16 has 1x145 kN thrust provided by a single engine, whereas Rafale and Typhoon being twin-engined, have 2x75 kN engines, that provide ~150 kN in all.

So, only the Gripen is the lightest fighter in the competition. Also, the IAF is fooling itself if it thinks that F-18 SH is a so-called "medium fighter", because this very fighter has competed with the Su-30 MKI for the MRCA trials of the Malaysan Air Force. Now, when the IAF wants the MRCA to be a "medium" fighter as opposed to the "heavy" Su-30 MKI, the F-18's inclusion is needless.

This all the more makes us doubt the usefulness of the MRCA competition.

joydeep ghosh said...

@ Shiv Aroor & Air Cmde Phadke

I disagree with what Air Cmde Phadke has said about Su-30 with respect to MMRCA.

Air Cmde Phadke should remember that using the Su-30 for medium to low intensity ops is like 'using a sword to cut a cake'. This is nothing but wasting a potent aircraft for minscle job.

Also it should have been in his notice that the air launched version of Brahmos will be ready by 2012. As per reports 40 Su-30 will be jury rigged to carry 2/3 air launched Brahmos.

So if Su-30 is such a potent aircraft, why waste such a aircraft where it cant carry any other weaponary.

Moreover these 40 will have to be given cover by other aircraft.

Thruth is we need as many options we can have to have a potent and robust Air Force.

Air Cmde Phadke is right about the French Dassault Rafale, the European Consortium Eurofighter Typhoon and the American Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, as well as MiG-35.

But opting for 40 yr old F-16 IN Super Viper will be a harakiri, if we are aware of the fickle mindedness of US defco, who always move as per US government instructions. Forget LM setting up a production line for F-16s in India.

That leaves the JAS-39 Gripen NG, as a completely commercial deal with respect to geo political compulsions.

It may be remembered that the original JAS-39 Gripen flew just in late 1990s. It has everything going for it. Its priced less than F-16s, has equal punch, and also gives the IAF option of adding Indian, Israeli and Russians systems and weaponary to further boost its capability.

So the confidence shown by Gripen team hot refueling the JAS-39 Gripen D and the JAS-39 Gripen NG Demo clearing Leh trails, where 4 other aircrafts failed clearly shows that its the front runner to win the MMRCA.

Despite this, who wins MMRCA will be a political decision. Lets just hope that if JAS-39 Gripen NG Demo is selected India should go in for separate deal for GE F 414G engine that will ensure unrestricted supply of these engines.

I m keeping my fingers crossed. Lets see who wins the Mother Of All Deals.

Anonymous said...


I guess if you were handed the latest Ferrari F1 engine and four tyres from Bridgestone, then you will be able to make a competitive F1 car eh?

How about Maruti? Maruti will surely be able to make a F1 car then right away. Tata?

Can you list out the activities that the ADA and HAL conducted to get the LCA to where it is today? Can you then give your opinion on how easy or difficult these things were?

Its okay to be ignorant, but why invite ridicule by parading it in public?

Daveil said...

What is amusing is why are there so many anonymous erudite gentlemen in the country? What if we invited all of them to party hosted by Shiv? Will they come wearing masks?

Mayuresh Gaikwad said...

The guy is out and out batting for the F-16!

I wonder why the Mig29 (and by extension, the Mig 35 airframe) is not a proven aircraft like the F-16 and F-18

Anonymous said...

The write up by an IAF fighter pilot is deficient in many areas. The main problem is that he uses the price to cull main contenders, after making a major assumption based on his judgement that all jets are essentially equal in performance.
Then he discusses the MIG-35 and the F/16 in detail to reject them both - finding happiness in the Swedish Gripen.
I do not think the Eurofighter which is undoubtedly ranked high by simulation experts, works for the Indian IAF. It is too expensive and of the borrowed argument that we would get Russian style TOT is prematurely hypothetical.
Gripen is simply not an effective fighter jet excepting for short take off, hot refueling - interesting features - but one cannot build a modern IAF with Gripen and look ahead. Its engine is a strategic liability.

The best option is really the MIG-35. It has multi axes vectored engines and all the interesting data linking, networking avionics that the best fighter jets have.
AESA, OLS. Multin trget management, helmet instructions etc
India should get it in complete TOT - with RD33 engine - quite possible because there are hints that China has mastered fighter jet engine technology.
It is not a given and India would do well to make its own engine.
Apart from MIG-35 fitting seamlessly with the IAF, the jet is the best in aerial maneuvers something to think about if/when the era of stealth is nullified with radars.
I am very impressed by the Youtube presentations I have seen. I feel with a better engine it can improve its range, speed and thrust, loaded weight and truly become a very intimidating small multi role fighter jet - exactly what India is looking for...In a class of its own unknown beast to the world ... strictly a baby of Indo-Russian knowhow and joint expertise.

Anonymous said...

Don"t want to sound rude..........................

but, did i miss something ?????.......nothing really new in the article.........

and if i may add my 2 bits..........somewhere i am sure the IAF/Navy would take into account the problems they faced with US sanctions and be wary..........they may buy support equipment/aircraft like the C130J or C17 (or maybe the Boeing P8I)......but to depend for a major part of their new attack/frontline fleet on the US ???????????

and the no's are closer to 126+63 options = 189 plus a few follow on orders like the Jaguars/Su30's...............

Abhiman said...

Anonymous @ 1:39 PM, this Subho fellow is a known Tejas basher. He's done it on other threads also. Just ignore him.


RAT, I fully agree with the above. Tejas Mk.2 especially is likely to equate the Mirage-2000 and Gripen-NG in specs. So, no need of importing an expensive MRCA.

Anonymous said...

Gripen is simply not an effective fighter jet excepting for short take off, hot refueling - interesting features - but one cannot build a modern IAF with Gripen and look ahead. Its engine is a strategic liability.

Aha....who told you that??? So....supercruise, Aesa radar (120 degrees each side), worlds most advanced datalink acknowledged by LM, Boeing, Dassault etc. (since decades), full integration of IrisT, Meteor (and of course the second division missles like sidewinder & amraam), Full integration of almost all offensive ordonance in the west, low RCS, the effective EWS39, HMD, MAV, market leading cockpit interface (evaluated by many different pilots) lowest procurement price, 30% operation cost comparing to the others..etc. is n o t considered as an effective fighter jet?????
Its engine is a strategic liability.

Hmm....What about the F18, LCA.....? Tell me..what are the problems you see that no one else (using their engines) has discovered?
Mig 35??
Are you totally out of your mind?
Most of customers to SU & Mig are happy to send them back again...their availability and safety are among the lowest on the entire market...haven't you noticed that they are falling down on daily basis? Doing business with russians.. again??
The most corrupted nation of all simply don't know if the country exists in 10 years...jesus!

Ravi Khanna said...

India Should Go with Eurofighter Typhoon. If They give India Full Transfer of Technology. As india need's Technology Transfer. Also AESA rader with Complete Code's to set according to indian needs. At This point India Should not think of Money. India Needs newer technology for defending. China and pakistan are growing their parnership with Complete TOT. Then Why should India lack. If Eurofighter Typhoon is providing their fighters with Full TOT for some more price then india should go for the deal.

Ravi Khanna said...

I will say INDIA go for Eurofighter Typhoon.

1) New Partnership.
2) Full TOT - India Needs it Badly.
3) With Thrust vectoring Engines Offerd to India.
4)Service - Low maintanence Record. Which Means not to spend time on refurbisment of Aircraft.
5) Great Power & Outstanding Performance.
6) New Radar & New Avionics.
7) Many Armament Choice.(Missiles & Bombs)
8)Range and combat radius is very good.
9) State of Art Technology.
10) Multirole Fighter.
11)Better Upgrades.
12)Better Fuel Consumption.
13)It has ability to Supercruise without using afterburners.
14)Rate of Climb is Superb.
15) Service Ceiling is better than any other contender in race with MMRCA.
16) External Stations are more.
17)Airframe - Best in Class.
18)All Weather Cockpit.
19) Great Stability.
20)Great Voice control - Typhoon DVI system utilises a Speech Recognition Module (SRM) best in it's Class.

This make Eurofighter Typhoon an EDGE Over all contenders to lead the race.

India Pls go for Eurofighter Typhoon. All The Best.

Dont think of money without technology nothing is better. If money can buy technology go and get it.

SUMIT*♠♪☻&дMמ¢ said...

we shld strt production of LCA
it will satisfy all these needs and can be developed more and more... per year..

while we cannot upgrade mmrca's more effectively...

the need is to take more sensible decision

LCA production shld within a year..

F-16 also was not that much agile and sophisticated when it was developed.. now it is 1 of the best ....

invest 12 billion in research and production... for LCA

after all "APNI BANAYI CHEEZ APNI HE HOTI HAI " and we can improve it with Israel and russian help ,JUST Add AESA and it will be a fighting bird...

reply and comment..

Anonymous said...

" All of them are reportedly very expensive, with reported prices ranging from Euro 48 million for the Rafale to Euro 88 million for the Eurofighter and US$ 58 million for the Super Hornet. "
Among the super 3s Rafale is the best suited for IAF as Eurofighter is too pricey. Tech transfer should not be a problem with Rafale. SH has no guarantee of complete tech transfer.

Anonymous said...

I am the "anonymous" poster of the post 11.50 and I just want to clearyfy to all of you that the last sentences in that post is a QUOTE from Vishnu. I repeat, the post itself is NOT written by Vishnu.

My intention with the post was simply to highlight some of the posters cheering for their contender based on feelings rather than facts.

Marcus said...

Nobody is going to give india TOT. They will only give just enough to assemble the components and maybe something for which they already have a successor to. Look at BRAMOS....still very little TOT...all critical components still made in russia. For those countries to give away true TOT, means they loose their competitive edge overnight. The only way india will get ahead is to invest more into LCA.

Anonymous said...

Commit to purchase minimum 400 ej200 based LCAs and purchase of gripen would not interfere with tejas.

Farangen said...

I recommend the FAB and IAF to join hands and select The Gripen Demo platform as their choice.
Brazil and South Africa already is co-developing the A-Darter fifth generation infrared homing air-to-air missile (AAM). (Remember South Africa is alredy flying Jas Gripen 39 C/D, so they will integrate it with the Gripen. the SAAB Gripen has already been sold to different customers. Both Nato and non Nato members
Whats more in the deal? LCA Tejas can also use the Gripen Demo engine GE F 414G. Hot refuling capacity. An already state of the art AAM integrated missile to the Gripen system. The lowest TCO and the promise of total TOT. (AESA) radar and gives FAB and IAF option of adding any weaponary to further boost boths capability.
This is a win-win for Brazil, India Sweden (and the USA that will supply the engine for the whole deal)

RAT said...

@Anonymous said... Gripen Demo REPORTEDLY clears Leh trials beautifully ... doing ALL routines required.

Anonymous said...

Whenever Gripen is mentioned we hear of all the manufacturers in the world and Gripen assembling the pieces.
No one excepting SA has purchased the Gripen.
If having an LCA oriented philosphy of manufacturing i.e. buying elements from multiple nations is not a strategic liability - what is a strategic liability. This is a platform just like the Eurofighter which has not matured and India should invest in something which vaguely resembles the Indian LCA - I am not out of my mind. I want my LCA then.
The Eurofighter specifications written by Mr. Khanna are a copy of the MIG-35 at double the price. I praise the Eurofighter because I have read in many sources that the Eurofighter has locked F-22. Maybe I read a fictitious statement but that to me means it is an excellent fighter worth the price.
I do not think others can claim that distinction. It has supercruise which we pay dearly for - do we need it.
It is a twin engined jet, we have to pay for all that and we will not get TOT - it just does not fit the bill of being a small multirole fighter with immense speed, endurance and power.
Russian may give TOT like T90 and ARIHANT, AKASH, MISSILES etc.
I still feel that when cool heads prevail MIG-35 is an outstanding, the best MADE FOR INDIA buy.
It does need a better engine like Mr. Khanna suggests.

Anonymous said...


AESA radar?

Yes it had!
(since october)

Anonymous said...

If Gripen or the F-16 wins the 126 MMRCA contract the LCAs might be limited to just about 139 aircraft. there is an option of another 49 LCAs and 63 MMRCAs if required.with as many as 270 + SU-30MKIs it is higly unlikely that they would buy an expensive heavy fighter especially when they will have 5th gen jets in less than a decade which would also be twin engined.

RAT said...

@Anonymous said...
Yes it had!
(since october)

GOOD then it will be good bye LCA as 200 or so Gripen will be purchased and LCA will be not be inducted above 50 same engine manufacturer for both the planes Schema contract cancelled India ends up spending a fortune on imported stuff for the atleat next 50 yrs I AM NOT AGAINST GRIPEN HERE B'COZ INDIA WILL HAVE TO REPLACE AROUND 300 FIGHTERS IN COMING FEW YEARS THE MIG-27's ARE AGEING AS WELL WE NEED A PLANE THAT CAN FILL UP THE GAP LEFT VACANT BY MIG 21 AND 27 SO THE CHOICE HAS TO BE RIGHT DO NOT LOOK AT MMRCA AS MERE REPLACMENT FOR MIG 21's AND WE DO NOT HAVE MORE MONEY TO SPEND ON LCA AS WELL AS SOME OTHER PLANE THE GLOBAL ECONOMY IS STILL RECOVERING

Anonymous said...

If LCA dies, how will india become a superpower? Can you imagine a superpower that has to import equipment from a tiny nation for its survival?

Anonymous said...


India...military superpower?...why? of the poorest country in the world with over a billion inhabitants...with all those problems that situation brings!(huge gaps between social groups)

No electricity or drinking water to 25-40% of the people....newborn female babies gets killed on daily basis.....major health problems...starving..over 450 milion people living on less then 1£ per day.

Give me ONE reason for you to spend your money (a lot of wellfare money given by the rest of the world) to become a military super power? (and don't give me the Pakistan farytale again)

RAT said...

@ Anonymous said... (a lot of wellfare money given by the rest of the world)

WELL FARE so that we can Fare well The money is spend wisely enough and any which ways why are you asking that? DO no give me the excuse of being a world citizen

The polio regim medicins do not come for free also we are giving back in Humanitiran Aid to other countries and well as involved in Development of other countries. That is Enough the remaining money that is being spend on purchase is TAX money and money from other income source like disinvestment in Public sector cos.

Chada Singh said...

Spending money on weapons that we will never use gives us pride that we can standup to Pakistan. It makes them think twice before they attack our desh. Anyhow is it the fate of those 450million to be stunted.

Ravi Khanna said...

i want to know which aircraft can fit bhramos missiles. I think india will look this option also as bhromas missiles are heavy and they wnat that kind of heavy aircraft to flow. If bhromos missiles are used with fighter jets then thay also have to test with big fighters in leh that it can take so much load with more droptanks for more range.

Anonymous said...

There is so much of discussion on LCA and cost etc.
1. I have all the respect for Indian scientist. But can we compromise on national security to accommodate LCA?
2. Remember LCA was envisaged in 1985. Finally it may be inducted after compromising on some capability which IAF had asked for in 1985!! We have not manufactured a successful rifle in last 60 years. Even Nepal had refused to accept our donated Insa rifle
3. And what kind of indigenous capability are we talking about? Engine is imported, so is radar and weapon suit!!
4. As far as money is concerned, Defence is insurance. When you take insurance you obviously will get less benefit than mutual fund. But at time of need,insurance will save you. The success of defence strategy is not how many wars have you won but how many wars have you saved! If we did not have war for such a long time it is not because of friendly neighbours but because these neighbours did not find fighting war a worthwhile alternative. So while considering expenditure, carry out the analysis the expenditure on MMRCA and the war it may save.
4. Now on type of aircraft. The article of Air Cmde is undisguisedly tilted towards Grippen. Let experts do their job. The IAF has asked for certain capability, whosoever can offer that at the cheapest cost will be chosen. Rest everything is subjective and should not be considered.

Ravi Khanna said...

F/A-18E/F Super Hornet - It would be the best option for india. As india can also get carrier based version for its aircraft carrier. Go for F/A-18E/F Super Hornet india....

Anonymous said...

Amusing rattle going on here..hmmm.. Well, methinks that our Forcemen know it better... i.e. what suits India best. Though we are free to fantasize the choices as if we are in a pc game..having various fighter options for us. From my side let it be Mig-35 from a good old friend, relying on whose equipments we grilled Pak as ever.

Anonymous said...

It is removed (has mixed section)

Anonymous said...

After that a Swedish JAS 39 GRIPEN fighter shot down 7 of US top pilots in the exercise Cope Thunder (RED FLAG) the US air force realized that their air forces do not hold the measure. On the US air force's webpage, one could read that they must have F-22 in next exercise in order to have a chance against GRIPEN and that this also applied against all other European fighters.
It was also stated that GRIPEN had to be the most cost effective fighter in the world.
Years ago, there was talk hear in the US about building the Gripen under license. The Swedes really know how to build a tough, maintainable fighter that can get the job done without costing too much. If it wasn't for politics and national pride, it would have a lot more buyers.