A difficult choice

Difficult choice

Indian tender for the supply of fighters and MiG-35 chances

Indian Air Force, who organized the tender for 126 fighter jets, conducted tests and passed all the candidates in a multi-page report of the Ministry of Defense. When exactly will be presented by a small list of finalists who will proceed to the second step of the test is not yet clear. Most likely it will happen no earlier than a few months. Meanwhile, the tender price of around 10 billion dollars began to run wild rumors.


The tender for the purchase of the Indian Air Force 126 medium functional combat aircraft (MMRCA) was launched in August 2007. Its completion was initially planned for 2012-2014, but later it was reported that the favorite may be announced earlier. At the end of the competition (because of its price by Indian media dubbed the "mother of all trades"), the favorite will receive a contract in the amount of 420 billion rupees (9.1 billion U.S. dollars) and will have to put in India 18 pre aircraft. The establishment of other fighters will produce under license in the terrain of the country of the customer.

With all of this aircraft purchase terms could be extended — after all fighters for India, the country's air force will be able to place an order for an additional batch of 54-64 aircraft. The tender is carried out in two steps, the first of which has already ended in July 2010. At first, the Air Force experienced flying characteristics and a limited set of weapons. As the first step should be defined small list of finalists, then the Indian pilots will go home for aircraft familiarization with the full range of their weapons.

Are participating in the contest the French company Dassault Aviation, European Eurofighter, South American Lockheed Martin and Boeing, Saab and the Swedish and Russian RAC "MiG". They presented to the contest fighter Rafale, Typhoon, F-16IN Super Viper, F/A-18 Super Hornet, JAS-39 Gripen NG and the MiG-35, respectively.

Popular rumor

After the report on its first step in the tender trials was oriented to the Ministry of Defence of India, in the local press began to appear frequently messages about this or other aircraft at the end. Popular rumor attributed the victory that Russian fighter, then one of the American aircraft, the European aircraft.

Last August 9, 2010 the Indian media announced tender crotch favorites fighter Rafale and Typhoon, who Tipo soon pass additional tests will then be elected as the best of them. Specifically, the press announced that the F/A-18 fighter dropped out of the competition, as concern Boeing refused to hand over the military technology of production of engines for aircraft. Despite the fact that the rumors of leaving the South American fighter of the tender have not been confirmed, Boeing hastened to assure the Indian military: if the F/A-18 will overcome the competition, India will guarantee modernization of aircraft for 40 years.

Difficult choice


Difficult choice


During the summer air show in Farnborough, Boeing unveiled a 40-year plan for the modernization of its own fighter on the principle of stealth aircraft F-15 Silent Eagle. Namely, the fighter can get conformal fuel tanks, internal weapons bays, new avionics, coverings and some other innovations. All this is according to a statement Boeing Indian military will be able to obtain without any restrictions and at a reasonable cost. However, the question of transfer of technology, which are so hungry for the Indian military, it seems, is not.

Difficult choice

F-15 Silent Eagle

Gripen NG did not accept the Indian pilots, as it has a rather weak characteristics of airborne radar. With all of this on the outlook of the Air Force did not affect Saab promise to convey India's initial software code control radar. Russian MiG-35 during the test was able to show a powerful military capability, but the Indians did not suit his engines.

Difficult choice

Gripen NG

It must be stressed that the rumors about the MiG-35 is partially justified. The fact that the car in Russia is still in the development stage and its serial Capacity planned for 2013-2014. Some of the systems on board the aircraft has not yet passed the full range of tests. Maybe that's the reason the Indians could turn away from buying "raw" machine.

Difficult choice


F-16IN Indian Air Force aircraft have found no future, almost entirely generated platform, prospects of development at which no longer exists. Lockheed Martin company, in turn, on such publication in the Indian press was offended and in the middle of August 2010 issued a press release, which stated that the F-16, in fact — a promising, time-tested platform with a weight capacity for modernization. Allegedly, during the development of the aircraft and its implementation will allow the combat to continue to implement the planned improvements.

Difficult choice


In some Indian media reported that the decision to withdraw Rafale and Typhoon in the end almost everything is political, but what is this component of the issue, did not say. Perhaps, such a conclusion is based on the strengthen political and military cooperation between India and France and England (headquarters Eurofighter posted in England).

You have to wait

In order to finish the message flow of the output of this or another fighter to the end of the tender, the Ministry of Defence of India August 11, 2010 denied the existence of non-long list of finalists. According to the official dealer of the Ministry of Defence Sitanshu Kara, the Defense Ministry in the current time multipage report examines the Air Force and did not come to any conclusion. When the finalists will be named, is not yet clear, but it is possible that the choice
would be sudden.

"We have submitted a major report on the results of technical tests 6 types of fighters, but the data must be approved by the Ministry of Defense, coupled with the efficiency, cost and political necessity. All of these factors will be taken into account in the final decision, "- declared a source in the Indian Air Force.

First, in August 2010 the Indian military Livefist blog conducted a poll in the middle of readers who are asked to choose a fighter for the Indian Air Force. In a survey of 2,282 people took part: first place went Rafale, the second went to Typhoon, F/A-18 and shared third Gripen NG, the fourth — the MiG-35, and the fifth — F-16IN. But it is important not even that. Of course, the Indian Ministry of Defence has faced an even more difficult choice than you would imagine.

The fact is that from a tender to supply 126 fighter jets, the Indian Air Force have compiled a list of 643 demands: it is safe to say that such a large volume of requests so far for military procurement ever presented no government in the world. "We conducted tests in clear agreement with the specified requirements to be met by fighter" — added to the Air Force, noting that full compliance with all aspects showed no plane.


All 643 parameter of each of the fighters to see in one article is unreal, but the main mention all it is worth. Let's start with the finalists of the tender, which resulted in the Indian media.

French fighter Rafale was developed in the 80's, and began to enter into service initially 2000s. The plane comes in single and double versions (this figure is typical of all six aircraft provided in the tender), which may be crucial for the Indian Air Force, in which both options are necessary aids. The fighter has two engines Snecma M88-2, are able to develop cravings kilonewtons 50, and with the use of the afterburner — 76 kilonewtons.

Yet the Rafale has supersonic cruise mode, in other words the possibility to fly at supersonic speeds without afterburner implementation. Thrust plane is 0.8 units. Rafale is capable of speeds up to 2-Mach number (usually one Mach number is equal to 1,100-1,200 kilometers per hour, but is dependent on the density of the air) and fly at altitudes of up to 16.8 thousand meters. Combat radius of the aircraft is 1.7 thousand kilometers — on this indicator Rafale essentially bypasses all of their own rivals in the contest. The fighter is armed with 30-millimeter cannon and has 14 points of suspension for missiles and bombs weighing up to 9.5 tons. The aircraft is equipped with radar RBE2 passive phased array antenna.

Eurofighter Typhoon is designed in the 90's, and enters into service since the early 2000s. The fighter has two engines Eurojet J200, which can develop cravings besforsazhny 60 kilonewtons, and with the use of the afterburner — 90 kilonewtons. Typhoon thrust is 1.15. This aircraft has a cruising supersonic mode, capable of speeds up to 2-Mach and fly at altitudes of up to 19.8 thousand meters. Euro fighter combat radius is 1.2 thousand kilometers.

The fighter is armed with 27-millimeter cannon and has 13 points of suspension for missiles and bombs weighing up to 7.5 tons. Typhoon is set on a pulse-Doppler radar Euroradar Captor.

Saab Gripen NG, developed in the late 80s and by the armed forces since the early 90's, has one engine General Electric F414-G, capable of a thrust up to 62 kilonewtons, and with the use of the afterburner — to 98 kilonewtons. Thrust plane is 1.07 units. Gripen has supersonic cruise mode and is capable of speeds up to 2-Mach numbers, flying at an altitude of 16 thousand meters. Swedish fighter combat radius of 800 km.

Saab's aircraft armed with 27-millimeter cannon and has eight suspension points for missiles and bombs weighing up to 8 tons. The change to the Gripen radar Selex Galileo Vixen 500E with an active phased array antenna that provides enhanced detection range.

South American F/A-18 Super Hornet created in the late 90's based on the previous version of the fighter — Hornet, developed in the 70s. This aircraft is equipped with two motors General Electric F414-EPE, to further the craving to 70 kilonewtons and up to 116 kilonewtons — using the afterburner. Thrust-to-weight fighter is 0.98 units. Super Hornet has supersonic cruise mode, but is capable of speeds up to 2-Mach and fly at an altitude of 16 thousand meters. Combat radius of the aircraft is 700 km.

The fighter is armed with 20-millimeter cannon and rovoy has 11 suspension points for missiles and bombs weighing up to 8.05 tonnes. F/A-18 equipped with radar Raytheon AN/APG-79 active electronically scanned array.

MiG-35, the development of which began in the late 90s, to equip with 2 engines Klimov RD-33MK. This powerplant is capable of developing 53 kN thrust without afterburner introduction or 88 kilonewtons in afterburner mode. Thrust-to-weight fighter is 1.03. MiG-35 supersonic cruise mode is capable of speeds up to Mach 2.25 and fly at altitudes of up to 17.5 thousand meters. Combat radius of the aircraft — 960 km.

Russian fighter armed with 30-millimeter cannon and has 10 points of suspension for missiles and bombs weighing up to 6.5 tons. On plane mounted radar "Zhuk-AE", kitted active phased array antenna.

In the end, Lockheed Martin F-16IN, made in the 70s, goes into service since the early '80s. Aircraft engine will equip one General Electric F110-132A, able to develop cravings to 85 kilonewtons, and with the use of the afterburner — to 143 kilonewtons. Thrust F-16 is 1.18. South American fighter has supersonic cruise mode and is capable of speeds up to 2-Mach numbers. The highest altitude of the aircraft is 18.5 thousand meters and a combat radius — 500 km (on this indicator it is significantly inferior to their rivals).

F-16IN is armed with 20-millimeter cannon and has 11 points of suspension for missiles and bombs weighing up to 7.7 tons, Northrop Grumman AN/APG-80 radar with an active phased array antenna.

Among other reasons, which will play a crucial role in the selection of the Indian Air Force fighter or another, have got too easy operation, low cost of maintenance and service life of different parts of the structure, demands on the runways and fuel consumption. Do not forget about the "political factor", because of which the F-16IN at risk to drop out of the tender, despite its other notable features. The fact that the U.S. is rapidly deliver F-16 adjacent to Pakistan and India.

IN FAVOR of the Russian Federation

About how to choose the fighter is a political decision, it is difficult to judge. The logical solution would look India to elect the winner of the MiG-35, taking into account that the country is rapidly buying Russian planes and fighter jets Russian and Russian-made form the basis of Indian Air Force fleet. As a part of the Indian Air Force aircraft flown the MiG-21, MiG-27, MiG-29, also languishing Su-30MKI. Numerically, they are superior to the French Mirage 2000 or Jaguar Sepecat also used by Indian military.

Thus, according to the payroll of the Indian Air Force at the end of 2009, the country's fighter fleet consisted of 167 aircraft of French and English, and the production of 343 aircraft production in the USSR and Russia. Opting for European fighters in the tender, the Indian Air Force would try to "dilute" the share of Russian aircraft in its own park. In general, even after the scheduled write-off of obsolete MiG-21 and MiG-27, the number of Russian aircraft will still be more to 2015-2020 the number of Su-30MKI Indian Air Force should Strength to 272 units.

With all this we should not forget that part of aircraft Mirage 2000 and Jaguar may be written off because of their own generation of flight hours. Meanwhile, our homeland and India are in talks to jointly develop fighter fifth-generation Indian Air Force. The contract for the project can
be signed recently. Details of the document so far unidentified. Earlier it was reported that the fraction of the Indian company Hindustan Aeronautics in the joint with "Dry" project will be more than 25 percent. Total price applets estimated at eight to ten billion dollars.

The implication is that Hindustan Aeronautics bortovik will develop a promising fighter. In addition, India will create a navigation system for the modified PAK FA, a huge part of the information displays in the cockpit and a system of self-defense. Other work will lead Russian company "Sukhoi". For India plans to create two-seat modification of the PAK FA. First production aircraft will appear as part of the Indian Air Force after 10 years.

The bottom line

In any case, it is unclear why India has announced a tender for 126 fighters. Given the small volume (even with the possibility of extension of the contract), and the Indian Air Force's commitment to the Russian aircraft, the competition looks very little surprising. In general, it is possible that he could be a starting point for the formation of a new fleet, in which bit of Russian and, for example, French planes are equal.

When India took the first batch of Su-30MKI fighters, no one could not imagine that in the next couple of years, the country will bring the number of orders for these machines up to 272 units. With all of this aircraft assigned almost the main role in the Indian Air Force — Su-30MKI but the rest will be the carrier of nuclear weapons, and will be used for sporting overcoming enemy air defenses and strike him in the depths of the countryside. That still prevents imagine that buying fighters in the tender can be a problem as hook for subsequent transactions, as it was with the Russian plane?

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