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Old 26th September 2015, 15:41   #31
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Default IAF's shiny new Apache Helicopters - India's $2.5 billion purchase

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Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post
Whenever you see a military aircraft carrying so called obsolete avionics look for the words ruggedness, reliability and ease of repair in the field. Also in a battle helicopter you want to be able to see all parameters with one fleeting glance of the eye and not have to tap to see they next bunch of data/parameters.

No, it is just dated. Most Apaches have already had a cockpit upgrade. The picture you are showing is dated. I trust the Indian air force will get the upgraded version?

Hell, even for scale models the upgrade kits have been out for a while!
http://www.fine-scalemodela.com/store/p228/600_AH64_Cockpit_Upgrade_Full_Kit_-_Available.html

These days lots of military kit with very rugged, reliable glass automated cockpit. The last thing you want to do is actually scanning all those parameter on those steam gauges. Takes to much time, to much thought processing. That's where modern avionics come in. Will only display what is relevant, everything else is automated and kept away from the pilot unless he/she calls it up specifically. Modern cockpits have far few switches, levers, knobs and are all about reducing pilot workload. Both in the military as well as civilian aviation.

Just google image Apache cockpit and you will see lots of digital displays instead of these dated steam gauges

Last edited by Jeroen : 26th September 2015 at 15:53.
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Old 26th September 2015, 18:50   #32
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Default Re: IAF's shiny new Apache Helicopters - India's $2.5 billion purchase

Mods, please delete my previous post since it wasn't complete.

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Originally Posted by Jeeper1941 View Post
It's a shame India did not consider the Denel Rooivalk

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denel_Rooivalk

I've seen one of these things fly and it is quite impressive.
India's home grown LCH is more modern and superior. The Rooivalk is pretty pointless for India to consider, and it has never been made or sold in numbers and remains an unproven quantity. It makes sense for India to invest in it's homegrown product.

The Apache is in a different weightclass and brings capabilities, especially the Longbow radar (which is unique in the world) that Indian homegrown R&D has not been able to catch up to yet.

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Originally Posted by pedrolourenco View Post
In what way are American weapons superior to Russian ones? The MiG's ans Sukhoi's are far superior to the American jets. Also I think the Russians have an equivalent of the Apache.
Are you joking, or genuinely ignorant? The Sukhois and Migs were great at aerodynamics but even in their heyday they were well behind the Americans on avionics. Sure in a dogfight they might give a western plane (4th gen and earlier like F-16/18; F-15 would have equal or better low speed maneuverability) a tough fight but most modern airfights are played out over long distances using BVR (beyond visual range) missiles - here is where American radar, computing power, avionics and man-machine interface, and proven missiles like the AMRAAM-D vastly outclass the Russians. And that is the case even with American 4G aircraft like F15s and F16s - check out the Iraq and other wars - with a stealth fighter like the F22, the Migs and Sukhoi will not even know it is around and hunting them. American engine technology is at least 2 generations ahead. The Russians were barely in the game by the time the USSR collapsed, and since they their military-industrial complex has been barely scraping by, mainly due to Indian orders. Whereas the Americans have further upped their game and moved the goalposts with their stealth aircraft.

The Indian SU-30 MKI is a beast, but that is because it uses the brute power of the Russian airframe, combined with Israeli, French and Indian brains. But even that, I am afraid, will be outclassed by the latest western airplanes (even non-stealth 4G ones) because of their combination of AESA radar, superior avionics, sensor fusion, and proven AA-missiles (the R-77 missiles that our planes carry are of 80s vintage and have barely been updated, whereas the American AMRAAM has been proven in war and has had continuous improvement made to it).

Western aircraft are also vastly more reliable, with the availability of the fleet for war-fighting and the turnaround time for maintenance in a completely different leagure from the Russian aircraft. Sure they can put on a nice display in an airshow that wows fanboys, but for the people who have to fight a war, logistics and reliability are the prime parameters. Google for the issues that the IAF are having with our SU30 fleet - the SU27/30 family is BTW, the most widely produced and proven fighter that the Russians currently have. The IAF's Mig 29 fighters had so many problems with spares availability and smoky engines and what not.

This is not to put down the Russian aircraft industry, they had many pioneers of aviation, and they have many legendary aircraft. In fact the mathematical models and concepts on which modern stealth aircraft are based were first invented by a Russian - they lacked the industrial expertise to actually build it, whereas the Americans went ahead and built it. It is just that the Americans have been at the game longer, have a more powerful military industrial complex, and have simply surged way more ahead than they already were, after the collapse of the USSR.

Coming to the helicopters, the Russians make some good, proven rugged helicopters. They were behind on avionics but now they have caught up by integrating avionics from various sources. The Mi-17 for example is a brilliant aircraft, and the fearsome Mi35 Hind is a pretty good (though dated) model that is proven in combat. Their cutting edge attack helicopter is the Mi28n, which is a pretty decent attack helicopter.

However the Apache is head and shoulders above everyone else as an attack helicopter and especially as a tank killer. Pretty much all aspects of the Apache are superior to everything else out there, but the absolute standout feature is the Longbow radar (mounted below the top rotor). It allows a helicopter to hid out behind a mountain ridge or treeline and still kill tanks with it's long range missiles. Nobody else in the world has that tech - the engineering problem of how to stabilize a radar mounted near the rotors so that it remains useful and accurate has been too much for anybody else to crack.

Apart from the Longbow radar, the sensor package including the FLIR (think of it as an infrared camera that can spot people on the ground from 10km away and target the gun to shoot at them like it were a video game) is simply awesome.

Check out this real footage from an Apache's FLIR:






Combined with India's LCH (which has world class capabilities, including high altitude capability) the Apaches will make one hell of fighting force.

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 28th September 2015 at 13:26. Reason: Removing video from the quoted post.
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Old 26th September 2015, 20:17   #33
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This thread is going awesome. Let's pour in as much information as we can.

I sincerely hope that we become the worlds best Air Force with complete superiority and advancement in technology, defence equipment, infrastructure and weapons. An envy to the Chinese. That's all I can say.
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Old 26th September 2015, 21:15   #34
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Default Re: IAF's shiny new Apache Helicopters - India's $2.5 billion purchase

Embee, this was such a useful thread that you started. However, an envy to the Chinese we can and will never be. They are leagues ahead and have already put daylights between them and us. Even the US would not have the spunks to go ahead and invade China like the monstrosity they did in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A direct comparison with our own LCH would have brought in a better perspective to the thread. Well then, that is just my opinion. Without that too, the thread is pretty impressive and informative.

I am sure that the deal is not as easy or gleamy as it seems on first look. We have bought ships and aircraft from the US earlier too. They came with the fine print that it should not be used for offensive means in the time of war. So, I am sure that this will also come with some clause in similar script.

Notwithstanding, everything is fair in love and war
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Old 28th September 2015, 03:37   #35
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Default Re: IAF's shiny new Apache Helicopters - India's $2.5 billion purchase

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Originally Posted by dhanushmenon View Post
Embee, this was such a useful thread that you started. However, an envy to the Chinese we can and will never be. They are leagues ahead and have already put daylights between them and us. Even the US would not have the spunks to go ahead and invade China like the monstrosity they did in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Don't believe all the tom tom that the Chinese and Pakistani's do. If you believe the yarn they spin out Pakistan has never lost a war to India, all their wars were great victories and tall fair warriors always defeat idol worshipers and all that hashish induced thoughts keep going on.
Half to two thirds of Chinese military is antiquated. Most of their huge armed forces are neither prepared nor ready for combat, nor are battle tested, unlike most of Indian forces, who thanks to our meddling neighbors are very well prepared for both guerrilla warfare and a full fledged war too.
All the bling and blah regarding aircraft carriers, submarines and modern Chinese weapons are not evaluated, or proven in any battlefield anywhere in the world, so most of the claims about their effectiveness is what the Chinese propaganda claims. For all the bullshit being spread about a dual front war both with Pakistan and China, it may never happen, if there is any conflict the battle with the Chinese will stay around the northern border, both economies have too much to lose by waging a full fledged war, and if there is any serious gain of ground from either side it will quickly escalate into a nuclear conflict which is unacceptable to any sane person.
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Old 28th September 2015, 10:12   #36
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Default Re: IAF's shiny new Apache Helicopters - India's $2.5 billion purchase

What is equivalent Russian combat chopper ? The blackshark Kamov Ka-50 (maybe the number is wrong). I do remember that it was highly praised for its agility , manouverability and side by side seat configuration in a combat helicopter. I wonder why that did not make the cut.
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Old 28th September 2015, 12:50   #37
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Default Re: IAF's shiny new Apache Helicopters - India's $2.5 billion purchase

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Originally Posted by pedrolourenco View Post
In what way are American weapons superior to Russian ones? The MiG's ans Sukhoi's are far superior to the American jets. Also I think the Russians have an equivalent of the Apache.
Perhaps the following articles will shed more light on why the Apache and LCH combination is an ideal one:

http://thebetacoefficient.blogspot.i...?view=magazine

http://thebetacoefficient.blogspot.i...?view=magazine
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Old 28th September 2015, 13:22   #38
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Interesting article. Im no expert on these military aircraft, but I wonder what the real worth is comparing on technical merits alone. As already pointed out, things like reliability, logistics, training and lets not forget motivation of the crew and a whole bunch of other factors comes into play as well I would think. Weapon superiority will only get you so far.

And of course, air superiority alone has never won a war yet I believe?

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Old 28th September 2015, 15:32   #39
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Default Re: IAF's shiny new Apache Helicopters - India's $2.5 billion purchase

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Originally Posted by ambivalent_98 View Post
What is equivalent Russian combat chopper ? The blackshark Kamov Ka-50 (maybe the number is wrong). I do remember that it was highly praised for its agility , manouverability and side by side seat configuration in a combat helicopter. I wonder why that did not make the cut.
There is simply no comparison. The American planes are combat proven aircraft that have been made in their 100s and 1000s and fought and distinguished themselves in actual wars.

The KA-50 has had very limited production and was never proven in combat. It also uses an unconventional contra-rotating propeller system (two main rotors one above the other) which is typical to Kamov helicopters which is extremely impractical since small arms fire can cause the rotors to collapse on to each other and crash. It would have been an extremely stupid decision to go for the ka-50.
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Old 29th September 2015, 03:32   #40
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Default Re: IAF's shiny new Apache Helicopters - India's $2.5 billion purchase

Quote:
Originally Posted by ambivalent_98 View Post
What is equivalent Russian combat chopper ? The blackshark Kamov Ka-50 (maybe the number is wrong). I do remember that it was highly praised for its agility , manouverability and side by side seat configuration in a combat helicopter. I wonder why that did not make the cut.
The Mil Mi-28 Havoc is the Russian equivalent to the AH-64. Roughly similar in size, appearance and role. The Kamov is a heavier, faster machine and thought to be more of a helicopter interceptor.

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Originally Posted by chncar View Post
There is simply no comparison. The American planes are combat proven aircraft that have been made in their 100s and 1000s and fought and distinguished themselves in actual wars.

The KA-50 has had very limited production and was never proven in combat. It also uses an unconventional contra-rotating propeller system (two main rotors one above the other) which is typical to Kamov helicopters which is extremely impractical since small arms fire can cause the rotors to collapse on to each other and crash. It would have been an extremely stupid decision to go for the ka-50.
I disagree there. While not combat proven, the Mi-28 and Ka-50 are no spring chickens. They are both armoured, the rotors can withstand multiple hits by 12.7mm projectiles, and the cockpit/engine designed for some 23mm hits. That's a bit better than the Ah-64. Avionics-wise, the US sure has the edge. The Kamov's coaxial rotors are no more susceptible than single rotors, they're proven heavy lifters and reliable/robust - and it's pretty hard to hit the hub/shaft on a moving target anyway. If you manage to hit the rotors enough to bring it down, the same number of hits on the main body will bring it down too. And the Kamov is indeed said to be more agile since the coaxial rotors cancel out the torque that otherwise needs the tail rotor (which is an energy expense); additionally the absence of tail rotor means lesser aerodynamic restrictions on sharp maneuvers. I don't have the results of the IAF's evaluation of the Mi-28, unfortunately, it would be nice to know what/where they found it deficient.

Last edited by Ricci : 29th September 2015 at 03:35.
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Old 29th September 2015, 15:56   #41
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Default Re: IAF's shiny new Apache Helicopters - India's $2.5 billion purchase

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Hypothetically speaking, if you consider Russia as a person, they are the ones who consider you (India) as a friend only when circumstances are pleasant or profitable. Basically a fairweather friend.
A very surprising description of Russia there !!! What did Russia stand to gain when they helped us with our space and nuclear programs at a time everyone turned their back at us ? It was not the USA who helped us , in fact the record stands it was USA exploiting their domestic CIA stooges who crippled our GSLV project in 1994 by framing eminent scientist Mr. Nambi Narayan while the Russian's offered us engines and allegedly blueprints as well under the table for the very same project .

As for arms sale , Russia doesn't sells us any arms with strings attached . USA does ,for example they sold us a ship (INS Jalashwa ) with a clause stating that -
1. It cannot be used for offensive purpose , if one does that , USA reserves the right to impose unilateral sanctions .
2. USA has the right to inspect the vessel whenever the request, now a property of the Indian govt. as per some end-user agreement .

I don't recall the Russian's dropping by to inspect our Sukhoi's or tell us how to use them . Also they are the only nation who offer us Nuclear submarines , the importance of even one ( they are critical for a nation whose nuclear stance is no first use but at the same time having the capability to threaten mutually assured destruction ) far exceeds 2 or 3 dozen helicopters . Again is this being a fair weather friend , offering something they don't even offer to China ?
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Old 29th September 2015, 16:34   #42
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Default Re: IAF's shiny new Apache Helicopters - India's $2.5 billion purchase

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Originally Posted by chncar View Post

Are you joking, or genuinely ignorant? The Sukhois and Migs were great at aerodynamics but even in their heyday they were well behind the Americans on avionics. Sure in a dogfight they might give a western plane (4th gen and earlier like F-16/18; F-15 would have equal or better low speed maneuverability) a tough fight but most modern airfights are played out over long distances using BVR (beyond visual range) missiles - here is where American radar, computing power, avionics and man-machine interface, and proven missiles like the AMRAAM-D vastly outclass the Russians. And that is the case even with American 4G aircraft like F15s and F16s - check out the Iraq and other wars - with a stealth fighter like the F22, the Migs and Sukhoi will not even know it is around and hunting them. American engine technology is at least 2 generations ahead.

The Indian SU-30 MKI is a beast, but that is because it uses the brute power of the Russian airframe, combined with Israeli, French and Indian brains. But even that, I am afraid, will be outclassed by the latest western airplanes (even non-stealth 4G ones) because of their combination of AESA radar, superior avionics, sensor fusion, and proven AA-missiles (the R-77 missiles that our planes carry are of 80s vintage and have barely been updated, whereas the American AMRAAM has been proven in war and has had continuous improvement made to it).

Western aircraft are also vastly more reliable, with the availability of the fleet for war-fighting and the turnaround time for maintenance in a completely different leagure from the Russian aircraft.Google for the issues that the IAF are having with our SU30 fleet - the SU27/30 family is BTW, the most widely produced and proven fighter that the Russians currently have. The IAF's Mig 29 fighters had so many problems with spares availability and smoky engines and what not.


However the Apache is head and shoulders above everyone else as an attack helicopter and especially as a tank killer.
Are you aware of the exploits of the legendary mig - 21 in Vietnam , Middle east (against phantoms , not f-15's ) and India (against starfighter ) ? This is in response to your observation that even in their heydays , they were well behind american crafts . It was more of a case of better training of American pilots( even during WW 2 ) , not better airplanes , only the f-84 sabre had a massive kill advantage over the mig-15 but the 2nd and 3rd generation fighters were more or less on par . Don't judge the migs based on gulf war because by then they were up against a whole another class of fighters .


Regarding BVR combat as based on what I read (all opinionated pieces so no gospel ), yes it is how it happens but only when it is a case of an f-15 with AWACS support hunting down an Arab mig 23 without a clue what it is doing in the air . For example , the same f-84 that managed a kill ration of 6 or 7 to 1 against Chinese and korean piloted mig-15 could only manage 2 to 1 against Soviet piloted mig-15 , so you see what a massive difference the pilot makes , no offence to the Arabian pilots but the Russians and us Indians are a whole another category .

The modern doctrine still says that in case of engagement with 4th gen Russian aircrafts , the BVR missiles have a very poor kill ratio and one needs to fire I believe 4 (same holds true for Russian planes as well , they and us fire 2 radar guided and 2 heatseekers , this is standard protocol , minimum 3 , preferably 4 ) to stand a chance of 75% kill guarantee . The real fun still lies within visual range , and if simulations are anything to go by , the Russian aircrafts butcher the American airplanes . Not 2 or 3 to 1 but more like 16 to 1 as they found out while pitting the first gen mig-29(acquired from Germany ) against the f-16 block 50 .

Regarding stealth , the f-35 has stealth as well. It also has a super hot engine that can be painted by the IR sensors from 50+ kilometer away . The f-22 I believe has relatively lower thermal visibility , the f-35 is basically a marketing gimmick waiting to be shot out of the sky .

Regarding reliability , agree with you they make more reliable crafts . But the mig-29 has a fleet availability of 75% in IAF which is more than acceptable so disagree with your comment re mig 29 . It is the su-30mki which has a deplorable availability rate of 55% though the set up of the long delayed Sukhoi service centre will improve that up to 75% if Parrikar is to be believed . Mind you , the other su-30 users report 70%+ availability , ours unlike the other su-30's is a khichdi of soviet airframe , Israeli avionics and what not and this has led to many teething issues as evident by leaked mails stating computer failure is common. The f-22 has an availability rate of 60 or 65% which is not acceptable as per US standards, but it cannot be improved on either as the stealth coating requires application after every flight and apparently that is a time consuming task .

Regarding Russian spare support , it was India who kind of reneged on buyer ethics by opting for spares cannibalized from aircraft's at ex soviet bloc nations for a fraction of the price , this cost us our fighter's reliability , wonder why mig-21's crashed so much ? Not excusing the Russian's either but they are losing hold on us , spares are one way they can still exert influence .

Regarding apache , agree is it a proven helicopter and a very durable one . The question remains does it also comes with clauses attached like no offensive use bla bla bla ....


Best western arms seller if you ask me are the French . Proper businessmen , no clauses nothing and quality hardware (mirage 2000 still rules ). They sell you an airplane , they will support you with spares even during war time (unless of course their interest is involved ) . The Brits refused us spares during war time even though they stood nothing to lose ! Which is why it is said we passed on eurofighter typhoon (Germany also has an law prohibiting spare sell to a nation engaged in war ). I mean what use an airplane is if they refuse to provide spares and weapons during wartime !

Last edited by basuroy : 29th September 2015 at 16:41.
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Old 29th September 2015, 22:06   #43
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Originally Posted by basuroy View Post
Are you aware of the exploits of the legendary mig - 21 in Vietnam , Middle east (against phantoms , not f-15's ) and India (against starfighter ) ? This is in response to your observation that even in their heydays , they were well behind american crafts . It was more of a case of better training of American pilots( even during WW 2 ) , not better airplanes , only the f-84 sabre had a massive kill advantage over the mig-15 but the 2nd and 3rd generation fighters were more or less on par !

There is no such thing as a F84 Sabre. There is a F84 Thunderjet and the F84F Thunderstreak and the F86 Sabre.

in the context of shooting MIG15s out of the sky I assume you meant F86 Sabre.
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Old 29th September 2015, 22:27   #44
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Default Re: IAF's shiny new Apache Helicopters - India's $2.5 billion purchase

We should have gone ahead with KA-50. Russia is our all weather friend.

For those of of us who have not read the history http://in.rbth.com/articles/2011/12/...iplomacy_14041
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Old 30th September 2015, 17:23   #45
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Default Re: IAF's shiny new Apache Helicopters - India's $2.5 billion purchase

Notwithstanding the failed Comanche programme (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing...AH-66_Comanche , http://nation.time.com/2012/05/25/re...al-helicopter/), the fact remains that the U.S. has not really built a successor to the Apache. IMHO, the reason is that the future belongs to the UAV or the drone. This is evident from the immense success drone-based operations by the U.S. have attained against the Taliban/Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Although the Apache is a substantial upgrade, as an attack helicopter, over the Russian helicopters built for other purposes but now strapped with missiles/weapon systems, which Indian armed forces currently use, perhaps India should consider investing in drones in the future, instead of attack helicopters.
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