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Old 30th December 2021, 18:57   #1471
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Originally Posted by dragracer567 View Post
Cost is one thing but what surprised me, even more, is the speed of delivery. According to this link, the first aircraft will be delivered by March 2022. I don't know much about aircraft manufacturing but I don't think an aircraft can be delivered within 3 months of the order being placed, certainly not a 4++ gen fighter jet.

Also, something else cracked me up from that link



Call it a match but far superior?
As per the link, the Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed in a press conference, said that a full squadron will be inducted by March 2022 and that they will take part in 23rd March Parade. Even though he is a minister, I would take take his announcement with a pinch of salt. Better to await for an announcement from ISPR to confirm the same.

Additionally, He is known for his bombastic claims and as per the article, failed to pronounce the correct name of J-10 and repeatedly confused with "JS 10" (probably you would have enjoyed full entertainment as well).

Latest Rafale acquisition by IAF has certainly changed the erstwhile "BVR edge" of PAF over IAF. Therefore there has been proposal wrt. to cheaper acquisition to match the IAF capabilities. J-10C fits in these scheme of thoughts because it is more capable than JF-17 Block3.
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Old 16th February 2022, 10:28   #1472
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

HAL Tejas puts up a show at the ongoing Singapore Air Show:

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Old 16th February 2022, 11:57   #1473
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Originally Posted by Ankur@VNS View Post
Latest Rafale acquisition by IAF has certainly changed the erstwhile "BVR edge" of PAF over IAF.
I think it unlikely the PAF ever had an "BVR edge" over the IAF. If you are talking about the February 2019 then you have to understand the parameters of a missile launch, quoting and old post of mine:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxbat View Post

Also contrary to popular belief, long range missiles launched from a plane don't fly straight towards an aerial target. They follow a parabolic path in which the rocket motors only fires for a small duration enabling it to reach a very high altitude and then it glides to its target. The higher the launch aircraft is the more range of the missile. In this case the PAF F-16s were at 40-45k ft enabling their missiles to have a longer range targeting the IAF Su-30s which were at lower altitude of 10-15k ft. If the positions were reversed the Su-30s would have had a longer range missile firing solution.

Attachment 1993081

Also the range of missile depends on the relative motion of the target, if it is flying away from the launch aircraft range the range is greatly diminished. For example the range for a RVV-AE missile decreases almost 66% when fired against a receding target versus a head on target.

Attachment 1993083

In terms of number of aircraft with BVR and missiles, the IAF was far ahead even before the Rafale came. Most analysts forget that the most potent aircraft of the PAF are the F-16s (about 70-75 remaining), most of which are around 40 years old and not all would be in serviceable condition. Also some of them are 2nd hand purchased from Jordan and are not upgraded and cannot fire BVR missiles.
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Old 16th February 2022, 13:01   #1474
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Originally Posted by Ankur@VNS View Post
As per the link, the Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed in a press conference, said that a full squadron will be inducted by March 2022 and that they will take part in 23rd March Parade. Even though he is a minister, I would take take his announcement with a pinch of salt. Better to await for an announcement from ISPR to confirm the same.
J-10's destined for the PAF in the standard PAF two tone grey paint scheme have already started flight trails in Chengdu. Highly likely that Rasheed's claims will turn out to be true. The J-10s will be flown by two of PAF's ex-Mirage squadrons.

Chances are that the deal for these J-10s was signed in 2019 or 2020 i.e much earlier than what is being claimed by the Chinese and Pakistanis. For a country that runs to the IMF and their godfathers in the Arab world for loans at every given opportunity, it is extremely rich of them to splurge on new jets!!

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With standard PAF serial number format - Year of manufacture followed by aircraft serial number.
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Last edited by skanchan95 : 16th February 2022 at 13:16.
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Old 16th February 2022, 16:18   #1475
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More details on the PAF J-10C order

I'll include some excerpts of note, that should broadly cover a lot of the main questions and talking points I expect to arise to this news. Emphasis mine

Quote:
A rear view of the aircraft seems to confirm that itís powered by a Chinese-made WS-10B Taihang engine, rather than a Russian AL-31F as used in the J-10A and J-10B versions of the jet. That would imply that Pakistan is buying the latest J-10C version, or more likely an export derivative, which would, in turn, expedite the sale since it would not require approval from Moscow for the transfer of engines and related parts.
This is the truly worrying bit because the more Chinese domestic engine equipped jets we start to see in frontline service, the closer they get to closing that key knowledge gap they have.

Context of the J-10 in the PAF fleet:
Quote:
Compared to the JF-17, however, the J-10C is considerably more advanced in terms of aerodynamics and avionics and is a significantly bigger jet with a larger payload. It is also more capable across almost the entire performance envelope.

Notable features of the J-10C in Chinese service include an infrared search and track and laser rangefinder dome in front of the cockpit and a glass cockpit with a wide-angle holographic head-up display. The characteristic fixed diverterless supersonic intake introduced on the J-10B is retained, while the radome accommodates a new AESA radar. The radar is used in conjunction with the same active-radar-guided PL-15 air-to-air missiles as already acquired for the PAFís latest JF-17 Block III jets. These potent missiles feature a dual-pulse motor that gives them an impressive range, prompting the U.S., among others, to start the development of new air-to-air weapons designed to outrange them.
Potential to become part of the air launched nuclear capability:
Quote:
Itís conceivable that the close military and political ties between Beijing and Islamabad could even see the PAF J-10s made capable of delivering airborne nuclear weapons. This is a role currently fulfilled by the serviceís veteran Mirages, carrying the Raíad air-launched cruise missile
J10C in context of the Rafale:
Quote:
The Rafale offers certain advantages over the J-10, including highly advanced avionics, electronic warfare systems, and a potentially wider range of weapons, among them ramjet-powered Meteor BVR missiles, as well as superior all-round performance.
Finally, I found this closing paragraph rather intriguing given the previous discussion regarding comments by the Interior Minister Rasheed:
Quote:
The fact that the first official suggestion of a Pakistani J-10 order came from the interior minister, rather than an official from the air force of the ministry of defense, would also seem to suggest that the deal, to a degree at least, has been driven by political factors, including countering Indiaís high-profile Rafale buy.
All things told, as ever the combat domain in our neck of the woods get more diverse. Wonder if this news provides any impetus for movement on either additional Rafale orders or any of the other major air platform tenders afoot.
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Old 16th February 2022, 21:57   #1476
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Originally Posted by skanchan95 View Post
For a country that runs to the IMF and their godfathers in the Arab world for loans at every given opportunity, it is extremely rich of them to splurge on new jets!!
Pakistan is bankrupt. Their newspapers celebrate when after getting rejected 4 times, IMF approve the loan. Their actual population is 10% more, they don't count their actual population to "save" their face. They did their best till 2017s to artificially keep their currency strong and now it is in free fall. Their population growth rate of 3.5% + inflation rate is more than their GDP rate (which is < 4%) which means the average Pakistani is getting poorer. India is now having companies larger than Pakistan's whole economy. Just a few Indian startups launched 5 years back have a larger valuation than their whole stock market. First-generation Indian 28-year-old are richer than Pakistan's richest person.

The country has no hope and is going in reverse gear. The few hundred people who run the country sitting in Islamabad need to keep the population of 250Million distracted and the only thing that binds Pakistan is India. These purchases are mostly to keep the common man happy. "Hausla rakho, Ghabrana nahi" when in reality the whole country is for sale.

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Originally Posted by ads11 View Post
This is the truly worrying bit because the more Chinese domestic engine equipped jets we start to see in frontline service, the closer they get to closing that key knowledge gap they have.
India is already treating China and Pakistan as the same for some time. Pakistani army (pawns) is just a front for the Chinese. They are already sharing a lot of intelligence and China is providing all the tech to them. I don't see any issue with it. The USA used to provide weapons to Pakistan in the 90s which is now replaced with China.

India can just ignore Pakistan completely and focus on China alone. We ourselves are selling weapons to ASEAN countries and working on QUAD. What India needs to do is grow rapidly economically. We really need to overtake Japan as the largest economy by 2026. Future battles will be fought financially more than in the battlefields. Indian financial might will be equally crucial as military weapons.
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Old 16th February 2022, 22:57   #1477
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Originally Posted by how_you_doing View Post
an just ignore Pakistan completely and focus on China alone. We ourselves are selling weapons to ASEAN countries and working on QUAD. What India needs to do is grow rapidly economically. We really need to overtake Japan as the largest economy by 2026. Future battles will be fought financially more than in the battlefields. Indian financial might will be equally crucial as military weapons.
This is the essence and the focus area. We have to grow at 8-10% (Even more, God willing) for a decade or two till the working age demographics are in our favor. As soon as India crosses the 10 T$ mark, a lot of things will fall in place. The compounded growth will enable us to spend more on newer and cutting edge tech.

I think every Indian should put their head down and focus in what they do best and contribute to the growth of the economy. Everything else will fall in place.
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Old 17th February 2022, 16:59   #1478
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This is the essence and the focus area. We have to grow at 8-10% (Even more, God willing) for a decade or two till the working age demographics are in our favor.
I'd love to share yours and how_you_doing's bullishness but without deviating too much I can't quite see the growth model at those sort of rates (the analogy being the growth we saw in China) really being replicable anymore, not in India. If cheap manufacturing is the goal I think that boat has sailed by because increasingly you see firms moving manufacturing to ASEAN countries like Vietnam for eg, to obviate any issues that might arise from the China-USA friction. And besides, simply hoping that having this demographic dividend would be enough to bulldoze our way through structural labour issues and power growth is a simplistic view (I'm no economist but I'm sure this should be self evident). And then finally, there's no accounting for variables that thoroughly mess up the best laid of plans (take COVID).

Anyway, coming back to the issue of the PAF J-10C's. Again I feel it might be a bad position to take to simply brush aside the threat they pose. Hubris doesn't help in combat ever, better to be circumspect and adopt a cautious wariness at all times.

You need only look at the fact that for the smaller combatant, all they need to do is raise the cost factor of any potential skirmish beyond what the opponent is willing/can afford to pay. By this cost factor I don't just mean fiscal capital, but more human and therefore political capital. And we see this borne out everywhere really in terms of the low intensity conflicts/skirmishes that persist for years on end against numerically and technologically superior foes on one side and limited opposition on the other. In the same way that India's armed forces gear themselves up to use the considerably more limited resources at their disposal (vis a vis China) to hold the PLA at bay, the Pakistani armed forces are geared just the same to hold India's force structure at bay. This part of the equation is pretty simple to swallow without going anywhere near any nationalistic jingoism.

Anyway, hopefully the arrival of these new PAF jets provides some much needed impetus towards reaching a conclusion on some of the many deals that just keep bubbling away on the back burner
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Old 8th March 2022, 22:58   #1479
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Couldn’t find the right defense thread for this discussion, so sharing it here.

As SG’s Cut the Clutter videos on geopolitics and defense generally go, this is one interesting point of view for defense pundits and nerds alike. Along with other aspects, the Turkish Bayraktar drones is playing a key part of the Ukrainians resistance with some videos indicating that they’ve taken out entire towed artillery columns and what seemed like a one-off during the Azerbaijan-Armenia war has repeated itself but this time with a much stronger Russian army. I wonder how this problem manifests itself for India as Pakistan operates the same Turkish drones. Can Pakistan really overcome our armoured and fighter jet superiority both in terms of quality and quantity using such asymmetric systems? I’m aware that the Indian armed forces had noted this development since the Azerbaijan-Armenia war and has been developing counter systems along with India’s own swarm drones but I wonder if these are actually battle-ready! The battlefield has certainly changed since the early 2000s!



PS I don’t think it’s time to write the obituary for MBTs and APCs yet but they certainly are vulnerable till they get sufficient anti-drone defences.
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Old 6th April 2022, 23:04   #1480
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After what has been a rollercoaster ride with many twists and turns, a new option has propped up for the Air Force's long awaited tanker aircraft procurement. It seems HAL and IAI (Israeli Aerospace Industries - for the uninitiated) have signed a MoU for the "conversion of civilian aircraft into air refueling aircraft with cargo and transport capabilities".

Now, it hasn't been revealed which aircraft will actually be converted but a lot of people would bet on the 767 given that the IAI had already converted a 767 into a KC767 for the Colombian Air Force. I believe this version by IAI was a contender for the KC-46 program of the US Air Force as well (if my memory serves me right). Interestingly, the Israeli Air Force itself has purchased the KC-46 directly from Boeing, not the conversion by IAI likely because purchasing weaponry from the US is probably a condition of the US military aid to Israel. Offcourse, after COVID, many other aircrafts might be available as well - 777s, A330s, A340s etc. so, the version for the IAF won't necessarily be based on a 767.

There were talks including a very recent article in 'The Hindu' about wet-leasing a A330 MRTT refueler from the French Air Force followed by dry-leasing some more A330s (or something to that effect) but it seems that there has been a change of track. Should be said though that while the former seems to be an initiative by HAL, the latter is the option being considered by the IAF. Remains to be seen which option is eventually exercised - I'd vote for the former as it is cost-effective, the aircraft is owned by us and given the indication that the conversion will be done in India, will bring some very useful skills into India as well.

Link 1

Link 2
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Old 7th April 2022, 00:48   #1481
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Originally Posted by dragracer567 View Post
After what has been a rollercoaster ride with many twists and turns, a new option has propped up for the Air Force's long awaited tanker aircraft procurement. It seems HAL and IAI (Israeli Aerospace Industries - for the uninitiated) have signed a MoU for the "conversion of civilian aircraft into air refueling aircraft with cargo and transport capabilities".

Now, it hasn't been revealed which aircraft will actually be converted but a lot of people would bet on the 767 given that the IAI had already converted a 767 into a KC767 for the Colombian Air Force. I believe this version by IAI was a contender for the KC-46 program of the US Air Force as well (if my memory serves me right). Interestingly, the Israeli Air Force itself has purchased the KC-46 directly from Boeing, not the conversion by IAI likely because purchasing weaponry from the US is probably a condition of the US military aid to Israel. Offcourse, after COVID, many other aircrafts might be available as well - 777s, A330s, A340s etc. so, the version for the IAF won't necessarily be based on a 767.

There were talks including a very recent article in 'The Hindu' about wet-leasing a A330 MRTT refueler from the French Air Force followed by dry-leasing some more A330s (or something to that effect) but it seems that there has been a change of track. Should be said though that while the former seems to be an initiative by HAL, the latter is the option being considered by the IAF. Remains to be seen which option is eventually exercised - I'd vote for the former as it is cost-effective, the aircraft is owned by us and given the indication that the conversion will be done in India, will bring some very useful skills into India as well.

Link 1

Link 2
An interesting and positive development if it is taken to its logical conclusion. Some points from my side:

1.) The A330 was also supposed to serve as the base aircraft for the DRDO Netra 2.0 which was supposed to double up as a Tanker along with its primary AEW&CS role. However, the CCS instead cleared the conversion of 6 ex-Air India A321s for the Netra 2.0 project. While that was a very positive development as far as the AWACS domain is concerned, it was a setback for IAF's quest to maintain an adequate aerial refueller fleet.

2.) The KC-46 Pegasus program has been a troubled one for quite some time now. Considering the fact the the USAF itself is planning to buy another tanker (possibly based on the A330 MRTT platform) and coupled with the news that the Israeli KC-46s may be delayed, it is possible that the Israelis themselves could consider inducting a couple of these converted tankers once the IAF places a large enough order (a large order would probably translate into a lower unit cost).

3.) As for the choice of the base air-frame itself, it could possibly hinge on the commonality with the civilian aircrafts in Indian airlines inventory (as that would make regular maintenance cheaper and easier). I don't have much knowledge about the types of air-frames in service with civilian Indian operators but I suppose that a Boeing 777 could possibly fit this criteria a bit more than the A330.

Irrespective of which option is chosen, a decision needs to be taken quickly. The IL-78 MKIs are too few in number (only 6 in the entire IAF) and are supposedly suffering from major serviceability concerns. Aerial tankers are crucial to the IAF for maintaining a high tempo of operations and thus ensuring an optimum use of assets in the event of hostilities with our neighbours.

Last edited by libranof1987 : 8th April 2022 at 10:08. Reason: As requested
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Old 7th April 2022, 13:57   #1482
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Originally Posted by dragracer567 View Post
It seems HAL and IAI (Israeli Aerospace Industries - for the uninitiated) have signed a MoU for the "conversion of civilian aircraft into air refueling aircraft with cargo and transport capabilities".
Interesting, I didn't see this coming. I have my doubts though (at least when it comes to a Boeing donor aircraft). I'll elaborate in a bit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sierrabravo98 View Post
2.) The KC-46 Pegasus program has been a troubled one for quite some time now. Considering the fact the the USAF itself is planning to buy another tanker (possibly based on the A330 MRTT platform) and coupled with the news that the Israeli KC-46s may be delayed, it is possible that the Israelis themselves could consider inducting a couple of these converted tankers once the IAF places a large enough order (a large order would probably translate into a lower unit cost).
sierrabravo98 is correct. The KC-46 programme is a categorical disaster but thanks to it being a fixed price contract, seemingly most of the horrendous overruns will be borne by Boeing rather than the US taxpayer for once. It's such a mess that the USAF is using contractor aerial refueling services.

Anyway, to tie into the the potential IAI conversion of a donor civilian airframe, there's some history there. IAI indeed pitched converting older Boeing airframes (think they were 767s but don't quote me on it) using drogues and a traditional boom (ie, rear mounted operator rather than the fancy 3D camera and goggle equipped solution the KC-46 is struggling with). The Israelis were interested because they needed tanker capability if they were to have any substance to their sabre rattling about a strike on an Iranian nuclear facility (these were the prime Bibi Netanyahu years so very hawkish on Iran to say the least), and the KC-46 was clearly a non starter if the USAF was having cold feet and not fielded any of theirs operationally. Converting civilian airframes was a cost effective solution that used domestic Israeli capability and there was interest from export customers too naturally.

So of course big bad Boeing has a hissy fit and slaps export controls to bar IAI from accessing any original spare parts for any of the donor aircraft or something to that effect, thereby killing this project dead in the water. The cheek of the Israelis to moot selling their solution to the USAF no less must've been the straw that broke Boeings back (remember this was when their primary response to being out engineered was to just litigate using the US Dept of Commerce - see the Bombardier C Series saga).

Anyway, you're right, the Israelis were basically strong-armed into accepting the KC-46 on condition of US military aid, but as usual Israel managed to spin a slight positive out of it in terms of jumping the queue I think to get their KC-46s. However the article linked by sierrabravo98 now suggests that inevitably this too is delayed.

To come back to dragracer567s news about this potential MOU, previous history would suggest the use of a Boeing donor airframe is out the question, which leaves us only with Airbus ones. If we use Airbus airframes to base the domestic tanker on, why on earth aren't we just saving time and development money just getting the A330 MRTT?!?!

Quote:
I suppose that a Boeing 777 could possibly fit this criteria a bit more than the A330.
A 777 based tanker would sure be quite a chunky plane, it must be in the same capacity category as the KC-10s.

It's such a shame that India doesn't give the A330 MRTT a chance. Given all Indian plans seem to want to cram a half dozen roles into one airframe, the A330 MRTT is already a viable and successful multi role airframe that's working fuss free with a wide range of partners including QUAD partners.

Furthermore, I always found the plan to somehow merge AWACs and tanker capability into one airframe a very very bad idea. In short I'll explain why. The PLAAF has correctly identified that the key weakness of the USAF in propagating a war over the Pacific is the reliance of their thirsty short ranged fighters on tanker refuelling. Also these forward assets tend to be quarter backed by an AWACs. So you have a long range low observable (crucially in the frontal aspect) jet like the J-20 armed with particularly long range AAMs purpose designed to go and knock out (at long ranges in the Pacific) the vulnerable slow big jets that the USAF fighters depend on, the tankers and AWACs. Combining the two critical capabilities into one airframe just makes it all the more of a low hanging fruit in an early air exchange for adversary forces to take out with stand off weaponry. Besides I struggle to understand where the space to have both fuel carrying capacity, AWACs systems and consoles for operators, and then transport room will be found in one airframe? The only way would be to modularise all the various systems and that adds more complexity. Using the A330 MRTT as the template, I think transport and tanker capability can be had in one airframe but AWACs must be kept apart.
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Old 7th April 2022, 20:37   #1483
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Originally Posted by sierrabravo98 View Post
3.) As for the choice of the base air-frame itself, it could possibly hinge on the commonality with the civilian aircrafts in Indian airlines inventory (as that would make regular maintenance cheaper and easier). I don't have much knowledge about the types of air-frames in service with civilian Indian operators but I suppose that a Boeing 777 could possibly fit this criteria a bit more than the A330.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ads11 View Post

To come back to dragracer567s news about this potential MOU, previous history would suggest the use of a Boeing donor airframe is out the question, which leaves us only with Airbus ones. If we use Airbus airframes to base the domestic tanker on, why on earth aren't we just saving time and development money just getting the A330 MRTT?!?!

A 777 based tanker would sure be quite a chunky plane, it must be in the same capacity category as the KC-10s.
According to The Print, who've been pretty reliable when it comes to defense news, it will indeed be the 767s. Makes sense as I believe the primary expertise of IAI is on the conversion of 767s, I don't think they've done conversions on any other aircraft. However, the 777 idea isn't as wild as it seems, if I'm not mistaken, a pilot trained on a 767 can fly a 777 or 787 without the necessary training required to change platforms (someone please correct me on this if I'm wrong), so it would probably be easier for IAI to work on a 777 than say, an Airbus aircraft.

I sort of get why the government would want to push this idea:

1) Focus on self-reliance where questions have arisen since the Ukraine war on both the west and Russia becoming potentially unreliable partners (for different reasons).

2) This program has gotten delayed for so long that they just went with the cheapest option rather than wait for funds to be available for the A330, the time frame for which is anybody's guess.

Anyway, if IAI indeed is the cheaper option, I hope they don't limit the fleet to just 6 given that the IL-78s are barely functional as per media reports. 14-15 would be an ideal number IMHO.

Some defense tabloids claim that the IAF is still keen on leasing the A330 MRTTs, one temporarily from the French Air Force (this is still a possibility as per the Print article) and the rest leased directly from an operator, possibly running it on the Air Tanker business model followed by the RAF or purchasing old A330s and converting them like the Aussies did though I'm not entirely sure why. Will the A330 MRTT provide any capability that the converted IAI tanker won't?

Both of you are right on the KC-46 program. Had it been a fair competition, the A330 MRTTs would be flying with USAF colours right now while the KC-135s would've been long retired. Now, because of Boeing's refusal to play fair (similar to the Bombardier fiasco), everyone (including the Israelis) is stuck with a white elephant that's too big to fail almost like the F35 program (some of the orders of which are being replaced by the F15 EXs). I think the A330 MRTT is still being considered as a replacement for the larger KC-10s as well. Sad to see where Boeing has come to, they used to be a respectable company before the McDonnell Douglas merger - maintained market share by producing superior products, not using cheap anti-competition tricks (and the US Government & agencies to play ball).

Last edited by dragracer567 : 7th April 2022 at 20:42.
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Old 7th April 2022, 21:58   #1484
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Originally Posted by dragracer567 View Post
According to The Print, who've been pretty reliable when it comes to defense news, it will indeed be the 767s. Makes sense as I believe the primary expertise of IAI is on the conversion of 767s, I don't think they've done conversions on any other aircraft.
I fully get the reasoning that going with the Israelis would insulate India from any secondary sanctions in the post Ukraine War fall out down the line, and obviously this is a cost effective solution given the Israelis made that same pitch themselves before it was shot down by Boeing. But it brings me back to my original concern. Israel is that one country which thanks to its influence on the Hill gets away with stuff no other US partner does (take the fact they're the only operator country with access to F-35 source code! Not even the Brits with their vaunted special relationship were granted such access). So despite that, the Israelis weren't able to get by with their own plan for IAI converted 767s, how could they conceivably be allowed to export it? That's my major concern. I'd like to see Israel get the green light for their own converted tankers first, and then I'll believe an Indian flagged one too. Do you see where I'm coming from?

Quote:
Some defense tabloids claim that the IAF is still keen on leasing the A330 MRTTs, one temporarily from the French Air Force (this is still a possibility as per the Print article) and the rest leased directly from an operator, possibly running it on the Air Tanker business model followed by the RAF or purchasing old A330s and converting them like the Aussies did though I'm not entirely sure why.
I'm curious, while I know the USAF and RAF have history of utilising private contractors for tanking or transport or adversary support in exercises, does India have any history of doing so?

Quote:
Will the A330 MRTT provide any capability that the converted IAI tanker won't?
Not sure how much the converted 767 would work as a transport in the way the Airbus does - maybe that's the main differential?

Speaking of which, in an ideal world (and I've made this argument in the Air India One thread), someone in Delhi would've been clever and clubbed together the IAF tanker requirement with the executive airlift mission and the taxpayer would've stumped for the A330 MRTT that was primarily for the critical IAF requirement, that also met the needs of being a chariot for the heads of govt on occasion, without all the negative optics of a giant executive jet solely for ministerial transport. Modi could've even gone the Boris route and had the IAF A330-MRTT given a special non military livery for that soft power bling. Alas such sensible strategy is blasphemy in Indian procurement.

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Now, because of Boeing's refusal to play fair (similar to the Bombardier fiasco), everyone (including the Israelis) is stuck with a . I think the A330 MRTT is still being considered as a replacement for the larger KC-10s as well. Sad to see where Boeing has come to, they used to be a respectable company before the McDonnell Douglas merger - maintained market share by producing superior products, not using cheap anti-competition tricks (and the US Government & agencies to play ball).
That MD-Boeing reverse takeover was the worst thing that ever happened to Boeing. The death of the engineering led mindset for the sort of MBA-Wall Street driven focus of the ex GE types (the Jack Welch school of thought) that led MD have led Boeing to where they are now and rightly so. Even then, I doubt the continual fires they've had to deal with in recent years is going to be enough for a culture reset given they've got another one of those ex-GE acolytes as their president now.

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Had it been a fair competition, the A330 MRTTs would be flying with USAF colours right now while the KC-135s would've been long retired.
I wonder if Airbus used their US plant (the one they assemble the A-220 in) to slap together the A330-MRTT in CKD form would be enough to get past US lawmakers (and obviously the hordes of Boeing lobbyists on the Hill)?

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white elephant that's too big to fail almost like the F35 program (some of the orders of which are being replaced by the F15 EXs)
To be fair, the F-35 is now starting to come good, especially with the favourable unit economics of scale from all the customers (but can't deny what a mess it was for well over a decade as it just burnt money). The F-15EX orders though serve a different role given it's essentially a long legged weapons truck for the USAF with ground attack capability. It's going to be working in concert with the F-35As. Coming back to the F-35 eg, I have a feeling that only after bleeding money for years in an attempt to fix the flaws, eventually the KC-46 will come good. Which is why the smart thing to do would be to do what the Canadians did with their own F-35 order - essentially wait a decade (not deliberately in their case, that's a whole other saga) for the project to sort itself and then buy in at last when its a mature and capable product not needing day 1 patches so to speak.

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if I'm not mistaken, a pilot trained on a 767 can fly a 777 or 787 without the necessary training required to change platforms
On that note, makes me wonder, how easily do type certifications for the civilian equivalent of a lot of these big jets translate to the military space? Would a 737 pilot be able to operate say a P-8 at a pinch?
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Old 7th April 2022, 23:22   #1485
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Originally Posted by ads11 View Post
I'd like to see Israel get the green light for their own converted tankers first, and then I'll believe an Indian flagged one too. Do you see where I'm coming from?
I get you, I had the same concern. Infact, the only tanker that I can find sold by IAI was a single example of a converted 767 sold to the Colombian Air Force. I do remember reading that our IL-78s have Israeli probes but IAI isn't the only Israeli defense contractor.

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I'm curious, while I know the USAF and RAF have history of utilising private contractors for tanking or transport or adversary support in exercises, does India have any history of doing so?
Not till now. Moreover, it's not even clear if the contractors will be Indian or Foreign - the latter probably works for peacetime but not really for wartime.

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Not sure how much the converted 767 would work as a transport in the way the Airbus does - maybe that's the main differential?
Based on my reading, the A330 MRTT doesn't actually have any additional fuel tanks, so the cabin size and cargo hold remain the same as the civilian model. I think the same is the case for the 767/KC-46 and the KC-10 but not really sure.

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That MD-Boeing reverse takeover was the worst thing that ever happened to Boeing. The death of the engineering led mindset for the sort of MBA-Wall Street driven focus of the ex GE types (the Jack Welch school of thought) that led MD have led Boeing to where they are now and rightly so. Even then, I doubt the continual fires they've had to deal with in recent years is going to be enough for a culture reset given they've got another one of those ex-GE acolytes as their president now.
Hate to digress into civilian aircrafts in a defense thread but I think this is all being enabled by the US government. Back in the day, Boeing had stiff competition from other domestic manufacturers but now, being the sole civilian commercial aircraft manufacturer, it receives immense protection from the US government which has made Boeing even more complacent. Ironic, in a country that preaches about the free market, the downfall of their crown jewel aircraft manufacturer is due to protectionism. Offcourse, the EU protects Airbus as well but not as much as Boeing, unlikely we would've seen the 737 MAX fiasco play out in overregulated Europe.

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I wonder if Airbus used their US plant (the one they assemble the A-220 in) to slap together the A330-MRTT in CKD form would be enough to get past US lawmakers (and obviously the hordes of Boeing lobbyists on the Hill)?
To be fair, Airbus already uses a significant amount of American parts, shouldn't be too difficult to increase this sufficiently to consider it a fully American-made aircraft. The problem is, unlike cars, Americans generally prefer local companies for their defense industry (except maybe the guns) which makes sense since until recently, their local companies have generally been the best or amongst the best in the world. Things are changing though, the US Navy's new Constellation class frigate is based on the FREMM multipurpose frigate designed by the French and the Italians (and offcourse, being French and Italian, you can imagine their smugness!).

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Which is why the smart thing to do would be to do what the Canadians did with their own F-35 order - essentially wait a decade (not deliberately in their case, that's a whole other saga) for the project to sort itself and then buy in at last when its a mature and capable product not needing day 1 patches so to speak.
True. Atleast the Aussies will finally stop teasing the Canadians for using ex-RAAF aircraft. Anyway, I wonder if the same works for the Indian Air Force's Rafales. Assuming it is selected in the MRFA competition, will the Rafales be cheaper now as compared to a decade ago due to economies of scale from the new orders?

I somehow feel there are parallels between the Tejas and the F35 program. Both considered unfeasible at one point but coming along nicely and matured now thanks to some political pressure. Is it just me?

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On that note, makes me wonder, how easily do type certifications for the civilian equivalent of a lot of these big jets translate to the military space? Would a 737 pilot be able to operate say a P-8 at a pinch?
Can't they? Offcourse the P8s have flares, harpoons etc.

Last edited by dragracer567 : 7th April 2022 at 23:24.
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