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Old 19th August 2015, 10:45   #46
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Default Re: MiG-29 Fulcrum : The balance rests on us

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Originally Posted by apachelongbow View Post
If we as a nation can't reverse engineer, steal, copy components what are we good at? Even China or North Korea, forget them even Iran makes entire fighter jets on their own.
The Indian Govt. needs to make investment in critical and strategic defense industry a priority. This has to include several measures incl. paying scientists, researchers, engineers at or near market rates to attract top talent; investing in basic and advance research in top Indian universities; funding projects, R&D at private companies etc.

I however do not believe that India should "reverse engineer, steal, copy". We are not China, North Korea, or Iran where there is little or no respect for intellectual property, innovation, licensing agreements etc. We have the capability to innovate so we should focus on how to do that. Take Brazil's Embraer for example. They are becoming a growing force in commercial and military aerospace the right way.
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Old 20th August 2015, 16:02   #47
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Default Re: MiG-29 Fulcrum : The balance rests on us

@Ricci is the Mig 29 still in service? I mean IAF planes do get refits and upgrades or is this fighter being phased out?
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Old 20th August 2015, 22:06   #48
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I have a problem with this percentages business. Its best left for accountants or bean counters, who get a high discussing decimals or percent points. 87.7 percent means nothing. It also means about 12-13% of a critical component like an engine is still in Russian clutches, and if push comes to shove, without those 12%, we will have no engine to make

If we as a nation can't reverse engineer, steal, copy components what are we good at? Even China or North Korea, forget them even Iran makes entire fighter jets on their own. When we can create complex missiles entirely on our own, make and launch working satellite launching rockets, why on earth can't HAL or some other government company make a working fighter jet over the last 69 years?

This HAL fiasco reminds me about a Pakistani 'intellectual's' view point on how Pakistan makes cars. As per him assembling cars imported from outside is equivalent of producing cars within the country.
When the contract was signed , it was signed with the clause that all metal raw materials will be supplied by Russia as well as critical parts . This is the contract , if we break it by reverse engineering , we break the contract and hence lose trust . Making fighter jets on our own and making quality jets are 2 different things in my opinion, the Russian claims the illegal reverse engineered version of migs and sukhoi's by the Chinese are not as tolerant as the Russian ones . Of course they have good reason to claim that but it still holds weight. You might ask Russia and Chinese relation has improved in spite of such betrayal , well Russia has little option so they accept it as it is . But they won't forget and hopefully they also won't forget we have always honored a contract from our end . We command a very good reputation internationally , if we reverse engineered the sukhoi , then how could we with good faith ask France for full transfer of tech for the Rafael - so it is in our interest to NOT participate in reverse engineering . Russia's arm and tech supply to us is much bigger than fighter jets , they are the only one who offer us full access to nuclear submarine tech , of extreme importance for a nation which abides to no first use but mutually guaranteed destruction stance , we already have a nuclear sub on loan and will loan one more. You think they would show us such courtesy if we cheated on them ? !!!

And HAL cannot get a light attack jet right , they could not even develop the engine in house and most of Tejas today is actually imported tech yet there are 50 critical flaws as per a report from earlier this year after over an year of field testing . So perhaps it is in our best interest they didn't attempt to reverse engineer an advanced engine .

And I will digress further regarding HAL , HAL is clearly not very competent and we are now allowing private companies to supply arms to the nation(we already have many private shipyards supplying navy ) , the positive to this of course is better quality and faster rate of production . The negative remains unless closely monitored , there is nothing to stop such private manufacturers grossly overcharging the nation (As every single US firm does ) and become fear mongers to sell arms or worse active war profiteers which is the very worst form of corruption a state can take part in .

It won't happen overnight but what is to say 20 or 40 years from now once their position is consolidated and they enjoy bilateral support , the lobby of arm manufacturers won't push the nation towards war . It is widely documented how Lockheed Martin , Boeing etc have profited from wars and lobbied in its favor , that is something a state owned company will never do . Hence while we criticize HAL for all its shortcomings and support private sector , we need to fully realize their corruptible power once they consolidate their position as this no ordinary form of corruption . Traditionally being a calm nation unlike aggressive west , it is unlikely we will ever engage in decade long battles but still you assume the worst while fabricating laws even if it impedes in this particular case . I am firmly of the opinion that HAL should remain number 1 and to improve its output and associated quality , we should pay more . You get what you pay for , we found out as much by shelling out a quarter of the price for mig 21 spares from ex soviet bloc nations (as Russia accused us of , I don't recall us objecting or denying the same ) .

Last edited by basuroy : 20th August 2015 at 22:28.
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Old 20th August 2015, 22:45   #49
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Default Re: MiG-29 Fulcrum : The balance rests on us

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@Ricci is the Mig 29 still in service? I mean IAF planes do get refits and upgrades or is this fighter being phased out?
Absolutely, they're being upgraded to the SMT level and several if not all are delivered back to the IAF, with airframe life extended. MiG-29s are expected to be in service till 2025, by which time the MMRCA should be properly in place and hopefully the first FGFAs (PAK-FA) too. The IAF is the biggest MiG-29 operator now after Russia/CIS states. Some forces like Poland and Malaysia will retire their MiG-29s soon, as they possess small numbers only , 10-20 , and consolidating their inventory to align with western/NATO forces and equipment.

Indian Navy took delivery of their first MiG-29Ks in 2012-13, so they're likely to be around till 2030 at least.


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When the contract was signed , it was signed with the clause that all metal raw materials will be supplied by Russia as well as critical parts . This is the contract , if we break it by reverse engineering , we break the contract and hence lose trust .

And I will digress further regarding HAL , HAL is clearly not very competent and we are now allowing private companies to supply arms to the nation(we already have many private shipyards supplying navy ) , the positive to this of course is better quality and faster rate of production .
But if Russia isn't keeping their end of the contract, they can't grudge us for seeking alternatives to keep the jets flying rather than become hangar queens.

US had many private firms that led to strong competition among them.
Fairchild, Vought (LTV), Republic, Grumman, General Dynamics, Rockwell, Northrop, Douglas, McDonnell, Gulfstream, Shorts ; similarly with the British/European companies merging from many entities like Supermarine, Bristol, Handley Page, Hawker, Siddley, English Electric, Buccaneer, Westland, now there's just one big British Aerospace, and EADS.
With the consolidation of the myriad of private organizations into now 2 giant corporates ( Boeing and Lockheed ), there's just these two and the resulting F-22 and F-35 have costs skyrocketed, with the latter failing to deliver even then. It's become a game for senators to keep some voters happy by having some manufacturing work contracted out into their home states. Surely that takes a toll on productivity and cost. Perhaps they have become like HAL ? They (US military) have no others to turn to , so no choice but to accept what's been delivered.

Last edited by Ricci : 20th August 2015 at 22:56.
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Old 21st August 2015, 01:41   #50
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Default Re: MiG-29 Fulcrum : The balance rests on us

Here's an article by a former Managing Director of HAL, on what holds HAL back in his opinion:

https://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/t...im-chopra.html

These are some interesting points in this article:
1) HAL is not as good a design centre as it is an excellent production centre. Except Dr.Kurt Tank (of the HF 24 fame), HAL hasn't had any top design leaders. The HF-24 flew just 5 years after it was first conceived on a drawing board - courtesy of the design excellence of Dr.Tank.
2) The HAL doesn't recruit top-notch scientists from institutes like the IISc. Even if they do, they can't match US-based recuriters to the Dollar.
3) The IJT Sitara project has been shelved owing to design incompetence. Shout-out to point #1 above.
4) HAL is highly vertically integrated. No other air defense manufacturer exists that does everything from start to end. Boeing gets 60-70% of its mfg done by sub-contractors. Developed countries import components from each other. There is scope for such an eco-system to develop in India with private players. But even then, an export market would be needed just to breakeven on the high sunk costs.
5) Verbatim from the article "The diesel engines for the indigenous aircraft carrier are imported from General Electric, USA. I believe no diesel engine has been designed developed in India except for the Tata Indica." This should tell us what chances we have actually at developing the Kaveri jet engine ourselves.
6) There is no succession plan within the HAL. Outsiders, such as Air Marshals have been appointed to lead the HAL, which demoralizes the insiders.
7) HAL needs freedom from bureaucratic govenment interferences like the ISRO.

All in all, these points to me seem to present a proper case of a Complex problem. A complex plroblem is what you have when you know what factors cause a problem, but you can't quite arrive at a solution for those factors. (And then you have unstructured problems, wicked problems and simple problems).

For instance, can we actually pump enough money into funding top home-grown scientists for working for the DRDO/ADA/HAL? Can we actually find solutions for one of these factors at a time in a reasonably short span of time? Is it bound to happen?
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Old 21st August 2015, 08:43   #51
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Default Re: MiG-29 Fulcrum : The balance rests on us

Lets understand this simple fact first. In case of a full fledged war, a nation which doesn't build its own weapons is the first to get destroyed. Don't be sure that Russia will continue to supply us weapons when we are fighting China and Pakistan together.
It is indeed shameful that after 69 years of independence we cant even build a piston engined propeller plane completely in house. Forget planes, lot of our ammunition is still imported. We still measure our fighting ability in terms of how much ammunition we have stockpiled. If our ammo stocks get hit or we are in a war of attrition then god save us.
For all those praising HAL, I believe it is the most incompetent organization ever spawned by the state. The organization got the entire Walchand aircraft factory along with the HAL airport in Bangalore as dowry, but being as incompetent as they are, they squandered opportunities away where as our neighbors grew from strength to strength.
In addition the Nehruvian mindset also pushed us to the dark ages. We constantly try to reverse engineer the wheel thinking this is making us self sufficient. We never think about taking the wheel concept and moving it forward.
Forget about aircrafts for a moment, are we capable of even building a computer chip on our own? For a nation calling itself a software giant, this is beyond shameful...

Coming back to Mig 29s, no matter how good an aircraft we import, we will still be left short in times of war, when we need to depend on the foreign manufacturers to back us up for spare parts to replacements. I have yet to hear of a nation which has won wars on the back of imported arms...

Last edited by apachelongbow : 21st August 2015 at 08:48.
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Old 23rd August 2015, 20:25   #52
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Default Re: MiG-29 Fulcrum : The balance rests on us

Here is a question, could be a dumb question, but have never been able to get an answer to it yet.

Whenever we talk aircraft, we generally speak about Russian, American, French and probably a British make or two. I understand that these countries developed combat aircraft because of their rivalries during the Cold War. However, can someone enlighten me why the following countries have never developed their indigenous combat aircraft worthy of discussion?

1. Japan.
2. Germany.
3. Israel.
4. Italy.


I thought it would be good to know.
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Old 23rd August 2015, 20:48   #53
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Default Re: MiG-29 Fulcrum : The balance rests on us

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Originally Posted by n.devdath View Post
Here is a question, could be a dumb question, but have never been able to get an answer to it yet.

Whenever we talk aircraft, we generally speak about Russian, American, French and probably a British make or two. I understand that these countries developed combat aircraft because of their rivalries during the Cold War. However, can someone enlighten me why the following countries have never developed their indigenous combat aircraft worthy of discussion?

1. Japan.
2. Germany.
3. Israel.
4. Italy.


I thought it would be good to know.
I am not really qualified to answer this, But my 2 cents.

1. Japan had some worthy fighters in WW2, most famous I think was the Mitsubishi A6M zero or maybe the Nakajima Ki-84. There were allegations that it was copied from western designs, but mostly these were discarded. Now of course, Japan cannot wage war, having accepted a pacifist constitution. Their troops are only for self defense, so we do not hear about their military equipment that much.

2. Germany of course had the messerschmitt fighters which were among the best in WW2. After the war, of course, severe restrictions were placed on them. I think in the 60s they received some lockheed aircraft, and now maintains a fleet which contains the Eurofighter typhoon.

Not much idea about Isreal / Italy.
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Old 23rd August 2015, 22:08   #54
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Japan has followed a nationally avowed "benign" foreign policy since WW2. Partly in penance for being the aggressor then, partly because of the stranglehold that the USA held over Japan postwar. This means that no big thrusts were made in defense research nor expenditures.

West and East Germany were practically colonies for the West and the USSR. Any weapons, if needed, were procured from their respective controlling blocs. West Germany sported prominent British and American aircraft and the East had Migs. Local defense research was not espoused during the Cold War in The Germanies.

Israel though, has produced fighter aircraft. The Nesher comes to mind. They have relied a lot on purchased aircraft such as the F15 and F16 though. They are also very good at UAV technology. Much of the modernization of current Indian fighter aircraft has relied on Israeli avionics and electronics. They are certainly no walkover in aircraft technology.
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Old 23rd August 2015, 22:16   #55
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2. Germany of course had the messerschmitt fighters which were among the best in WW2. After the war, of course, severe restrictions were placed on them. I think in the 60s they received some lockheed aircraft, and now maintains a fleet which contains the Eurofighter typhoon.

Not much idea about Isreal / Italy.
I believe the German Airforce actually flew MIG29 as well, obtained after the unification of East Germany. They have had, over the years, many American and a few British and European fighters. From Phantom F4s, F16s to Tornado's

The Israeli's have and still do fly a lot of American hardware, including F4, F15, F16. Also some French Mirages and Mystere's.

Italy has a long list of home grown and imported planes.

Actually, its easy to find. Just google "list of aircraft used by Italian Air Force" Replace Italian by any nation you like.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...lian_Air_Force

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Old 23rd August 2015, 23:50   #56
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I believe the German Airforce actually flew MIG29 as well, obtained after the unification of East Germany. They have had, over the years, many American and a few British and European fighters. From Phantom F4s, F16s to Tornado's
East Germany received 24 MiG-29s in 1989, after the fall of the Berlin wall, the combined Luftwaffe operated the MiG-29 but not as active frontline fighter since they did not have NATO-compatible communication equipment which likely includes encryption/decryption as well. The Russian style databus differs much from NATO's (MIL-STD-1553, there's a newer standard now if I remember correctly). MiG-29s mostly found use an aggressor in training NATO pilots, usually with an upgraded F-4 providing the radar/electronic 'seeing eye' . The MiG-29s were sold to Poland in 2004, for 1 Euro each, and still serving with the Polish air force though plans are to retire them in about 2-4 years. Poland too is going west , so to speak, already flying newer F-16s.

The west German air force hasn't bough US aircraft since the F-4, which they still use.They developed the Tornado in collaboration with UK and Italy, with the F-16s being USAF owned/operated. Now supplanting the Tornado and F-4 is the Typhoon.

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Originally Posted by n.devdath View Post
Here is a question, could be a dumb question, but have never been able to get an answer to it yet.

Whenever we talk aircraft, we generally speak about Russian, American, French and probably a British make or two. I understand that these countries developed combat aircraft because of their rivalries during the Cold War. However, can someone enlighten me why the following countries have never developed their indigenous combat aircraft worthy of discussion?

1. Japan.
2. Germany.
3. Israel.
4. Italy.
Modern fighter aircraft are very costly to develop, and unlike commercial aviation, there is no return on investment as such. Most companies that specialized in aircraft design and manufacture have now merged into bigger entities, so there is less competition as well to act as check on price escalation. Further on, most European countries now have formed partnerships to develop combat aircraft to share the load.

Examples :
BAe - British Aerospace , itself a merged entity of earlier independent British companies like Hawker Siddley, Rolls Royce, while some companies went bust

SEPECAT - partnership firm between BEa and Aerospatiale (of France) to develop and manufacture the Jaguar. The Concorde too is a British-French JV.

Panavia -> Germany , UK , Italy together to develop the Tornado.

EADS -> merger of most European companies, parent to Airbus Industries, designed and developed the Eurofighter Typhoon. Part of this are Italy's Alenia-Agusta and Germany's MBB.


Italy still manufactures helicopters (Agusta , now Agusta Westland), and small light trainer/combat aircraft like Alenia-Aermacchi MB-339 and M-346.

Germany didn't produce fighters after 1945 by itself, but Messerschmidt-Bolkow-Blohm (MBB) did produce helicopters.

France is the lone European nation still producing fighters all by themselves, although they did initially participate in the Eurofighter program, but disagreements over design goals and work proportion led them to go alone, developing the Rafale by Dassault Aviation.

Holland has Fokker, which developed commercial aircraft like the Fokker F-27, F-100 , and a subcontractor for F-16 manufacture in Europe.

Sweden develops its own fighers too, their Saab firm being primary contractor, but they sub-contract a lot of US components like the engines, some avionics and weapons.


Israel did not develop all new fighters of their own, but they did run major modifications of existing aircraft. They modified the Mirage III as the Kfir (Lion cub), and the F-16 derived IAI (Israel Aircraft Industries) Lavi fighter, which did not enter production stage. They do make lot of indigenous weapons and electronics though, including what is now considered the best short range air to air missile , the Python 5.

Japan as mentioned, decided to go with a self-defence only military force, but they did develop some derived fighters, like the Mitsubishi F1 based on the Jaguar/F-4 Phantom II, and the Mitsubishi F-2, based on the F-16. They are used in small numbers, but US fighters form the mainstay of the Japanese air force.

Last edited by Ricci : 24th August 2015 at 00:06.
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Old 24th August 2015, 07:05   #57
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Thanks for that addition. I'm pretty sure the German airforce retired the F4 Phantom several years ago, 2013 or so. Big 'retirement' party with lots of publicity.

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Old 24th August 2015, 09:02   #58
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Reverse engineering always keeps you a generation or two behind unless you have a strong development base. As for material coming from Russia makes sense after we demonstrated our (lack of) competence in manufacturing MiG21 engines. We could bot get the heat treatment right, even though we were given the exact protocols to follow. Normally steel is bcc but at high temperature becomes fcc, which is a bit bigger. Result of not doing proper treatment, engine seizure!
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Old 24th August 2015, 10:25   #59
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bcc & fcc? Education needed please.
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Old 24th August 2015, 13:36   #60
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Default Re: MiG-29 Fulcrum : The balance rests on us

Ricci - Read this one as well. In fact prior to the F-14 Tomcat one. Enjoying your informative posts on these jets.

The information on those that were in actual combat and were shot down is interesting. Do you have similar nos. for the others aircraft's, or is it only available/published for the Mig-29's?
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