Indigenous Built LCA-Tejas Performed Well During The ‘Gagan-Shakti 2018’

 

The major positive to take away from the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) biggest war-like exercise, ‘Gagan-Shakti 2018′ is the performance of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas. The indigenously-manufactured (LCA) Tejas was put to test by the IAF in the 14-day long exercise. The aircraft performed as per the requirement of the force.

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LCA-Tejas in action during Gagan-Shakti 2018 (Picture Courtesy:Twitter/@IAF_MCC)

The major positive to take away from the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) biggest war-like exercise, ‘Gagan-Shakti 2018‘ is the performance of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas. The indigenously-manufactured (LCA) Tejas was put to test by the IAF in the 14-day long exercise. The aircraft performed as per the requirement of the force.

An IAF official who was involved in the exercise said, “We did trials and validation of operational efficiency of LCA Tejas. We were able to generate six sorties per platform per day. In this exercise, we had deployed eight platforms.” According to the official, on the very first day of the exercise, six Tejas aircraft reported ‘snag’, but the air force rectified it immediately. The ‘Gagan-Shakti’ started on April 8 and concluded on April 21.

The Officials associated with the exercise performed satisfaction regarding the performance of Tejas, but, they are worried about the slow production rate of the aircraft. LCA Tejas is a supersonic, single seat, single jet, multi-role light fighter designed by Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL). It has been under development since 1983. The LCA Tejas was inducted into ‘Flying Daggers’ 45 Squadron of the IAF on July 1, 2016. It is to replace the ageing Mig-21. In December 2017, Defence Acquisition Council had cleared procurement of 83 LCA Tejas Mark 1A.

At present, two contracts have been signed between IAF and HAL for the LCA one for the procurement of 20 Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) standard aircraft and another for 20 Final Operational Clearance (FOC) standard aircraft. Till now only eight Tejas aircraft are in operation in the force. HAL is expected to provide rest 12 (IOC) aircraft this year. These 40 aircraft (20 IOC and 20 FOC) will be Tejas mark 1. HAL is also working on four major upgrades which it will incorporate in the manufacturing of the next 83 fighter jets out of which 10 are trainer aircraft. These aircraft will be Tejas Mark 1A.

Earlier this month the IAF has issued a Request for Information (RFI) for acquiring 110 fighter jets to strengthen its fighter capabilities. Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Block 70, Saab’s Gripen E, Boeing’s F/A 18 Super Hornet and Dassault Aviation’s Rafale are the major contenders for $15 billion deal. Currently, The Indian Air Force is facing the shortage of fighter jets as age-old Migs are about to retire over the next few years. If HAL could provide LCA Tejas on time, then it would definitely help the Indian Air Force to plug in the required gap.

The ‘Gagan-Shakti 2018’ was organised with the aim to counter twin attack by China and Pakistan along western and northern border. Entire fleet strength of the force was put to test under war-like situation. LCA Tejas finally met the requirement of the Indin Air Force.

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DefExpo 2018: Saab and Boeing Eye to Secure $15 Billion Deal with The Indian Air Force

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Boeing Super Hornet F/A 18 (Picture Courtesy: http://www.youtube.com)

The DefExpo 2018 is providing the required impetus to the Indian defence manufacturing industry. US based company Boeing is eyeing to secure $15 billion deal with the Indian Air Force (IAF) to provide 110 fighter jets. It pitches for Super Hornet F/A 18 to the IAF. Boeing on Thursday signed a deal with public sector unit Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Mahindra Defence Systems to manufacture Super Hornets in India. The deal was signed during the ongoing DefExpo in Chennai under the ‘Make in India’ model launched by the Modi government.

The Boeing said that this partnership would will not be limited only to the production of Super Hornets in India but would also work for the development of future technologies in India, which would transform India’s aerospace and defence programmes. Partyush Kumar, President of Boeing India, “Boeing is excited to team up with India’s only company that manufactures combat fighters, HAL, and an Indian company that manufactures small commercial airplanes, Mahindra,” reported The Economics Times. Kumar further added, “Together we can deliver an affordable, combat-proven fighter platform for India, while adding growth momentum to the Indian aerospace ecosystem with manufacturing, skill development, innovation and engineering and job creation.”

According to a report of The Times of India, S P Shukla, Group President, Aerospace & Defence, Mahindra Group, said, “We are excited about the opportunities that this partnership with Boeing and HAL will provide for us to contribute further to ‘Make in India’ for defence.” HAL’s chairman T Suvarna Raju said that the partnership would create an opportunity to strengthen indigenous platforms in India thereby contributing to the Make-in-India activities, reported The Times of India.

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Saab’s Gripen E (Picture Courtesy: http://www.sputniknews.com)

On the other Swedish Company Saab also pitches for Gripen E to secure the deal with the IAF. In an interview to Bloomberg Quint Jan Widerstrom, chairman and managing director at Saab India Technologies Pvt. Ltd said, “We are glad to see that the process has started.” He further added, “Saab is pitching its latest Gripen-E to India.” The Swedish Company partnered with India’s Adani group for manufacture jets for the IAF under the ‘Make in India’ campaign. Saab was also a part of The IAF’s earlier programme for 10 years to provide Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircrafts (MMRCA), but later it was scrapped the Modi government after coming to power. The Modi government then signed a deal with French Government to acquire 36 MMRCA in fly-away condition.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while formally inaugurating the DefExpo 2018 in Chennai said, “We plan to ensure that the process for the new 110 aircraft through strategic partnership is shorter, unlike 10 years it took under the previous government.” Saab also offered transfer of technology to India.

The chairman and managing director at Saab India Technologies Pvt. Ltd said, “We have offered transfer of technology and ‘make in India’ to the government. Our offer is lot more than moving a second-hand production line to India,” Widerstrom further added, “We plan to bring state-of-the-art technology and production line along with capabilities which will eventually lead to thousands of jobs in India.” Saabs involved with the Indian Armed Forces can be traced three decades back.

The Indian Air Force has initiated the process to procure 110 fighter jets last week. Another US company Lockheed Martin, Russian Company Mig and French Company Dassault Aviation will also be eyeing to seal this deal. The companies are required to submit proposals by July 6. The aircrafts will be produced in India by the foreign company in partnership with domestic company under strategic partnership model. The main is to strengthen Indian defence manufacturing sector and to bring advance technology to India.

 

DefExpo 2018: Lockheed Martin and Boeing Gearing up to Secure $15 Billion Deal

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F-16 Block 70 (Picture Courtesy: http://www.indiandefencenews.in)

On the very first day of the DefExpo 2018, two US companies pitch in for their respective fighter jets for getting a deal of supplying 110 fighter jets worth $15 billion to the Indian Air Force (IAF).  This can be considered as a major boost to the ‘Make in India’ campaign

Lockheed Martin offered to set up manufacturing line of F-16 fighter jets in India. Randall Howard who leads F-16 business development at Lockheed Martin, in an Interview to Bloomberg Quint said, “The fighters we offer are state of the art with modern avionics and we are willing to transfer technology to build in India as part of Make in India.” According to Howard, If Lockheed Martin gets the deal then it would shift its entire production line from US to India, which means that India would become exporter of the fighter jets to the world.

Currently 27 countries including Pakistan are flying F-16 Fighter Jets. According to Howard around 4,000 F-16 aircrafts are in use across the world. Lockheed Martin had already tied up with Tata Group to manufacture parts for the C-130J aircraft.

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Super Hornet F/A 18 (Picture Courtesy: http://www.youtube.com)

On the other hand Boeing is also pitching in for F/A 18 Super Hornet for securing $15 billion deal to supply 110 fighter jets for IAF.  According to The Asian Age, Thomas E. Breckenridge, vice-president, India, Global Sales Defence, Space and Security of Boeing, said that they were in the race of acquiring the orders of IAF to procure 110 fighter jets, reported The Asian Age. Speaking on the cost comparison of the two aircrafts, Breckenridge backed Super Hornet. He said that Super Hornet is comparatively cheap and could be maintained at lower cost.

The vice-president, India, Global Sales Defence, Space and Security of Boeing assured of sourcing components from Indian companies. Presently Boeing is sourcing components from 160 Indian companies and would enhance its operation to 400 domestic companies. Breckenridge said that Boeing would soon announce

Russia offers India to Sell 21 used Mig-29s at Cheap Price; Will India Consider The Offer?

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Russian Mig 29

Russia offers India to sell 21 used Mig – 29s at a very cheap price. The Indian government would be very cautious to take a decision of purchasing these 21 fighter jets. India needs to draw parallel from the deal of buying aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov. Russia offered this aircraft carrier free of cost to India, only refurbishment cost was there, which was decided at $950 million. But as soon as the work started, the cost also kept on increasing. Finally India had to pay $2.4 billion, so India ended up paying almost $1.3 billion more than the decided cost. The aircraft carrier was delivered almost five years after the scheduled delivery time.

India will be deeply analysing the proposal of Russia. The Russian government offered a price of $25 million- $30 million for each aircraft, which is almost 30% of the new aircraft. The Indian government would also be considering the hidden cost. The Indian Air Force (IAF) is having Mig -29 UPG in its inventory, but The Russian Migs are different from the one’s the IAF is possessing. India has also rejected the Russian offer to co-develop fifth generation fighter jet because of the high cost involve in it.

Currently The IAF is facing shortage of Fighter squadrons. The Indian Air Force has only 34 fighter squadron against the authorised strength of 42 squadrons. It will reduce further as Migs will be retiring over the next few years. To tackle the shortage and to encounter the joint threat from China and Pakistan, the IAF has initiated a process on Friday to buy 110 fighter jets. Request for Information (RFI) was issued to seek tenders from the companies interested to sell fighter jets to India. Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Block 70, SAAB’s Gripen, Dassault Aviation’s Rafale and Boeing’s F-18 Super Hornet are the main contenders in the race to get $15 billion mega defence deal.

Indian Air Force to get 110 Fighter Jets; Will it Suffice?

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Picture Courtesy: http://www.sputniknews.com

The Indian Air Force on Friday initiated a process to acquire 110 fighter jets. The IAF issued a Request for Information (RFI) for  $15 billion deal. It is considered to be the biggest defence deal. The fighter jets would jointly be produced by a foreign company in collaboration with an Indian company under ‘Make in India’ campaign. This will also give a big push to indigenous defence production capability.

Initially single engine fighter jets of American company Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Block 70 and Swedish company SAAB’s Gripen were the main contenders in the race to get $15 billion deal, but later Indian government asked the IAF to consider Boeing’s F-18 Super Hornet. During French President Emmanuel Marcon’s visit to India in March there were speculations that India would extend Rafale deal by announcing to procure more 36 Rafale jets. The Indian government still has not made any official announcement regarding this.

The IAF would get 85 single engine fighter jets and rest 25 would be twin engine fighter jets. Currently the Indian Air Force has 34 fighter jet squadrons against the authorized strength of 42 squadrons. Though the IAF would be getting 3 squadrons of Sukhoi 30-MKI, two Squadrons of Rafale, but by 2025 most of the squadron if MIG’s would get retired and Indigenous built Light Combat Aircraft Tejas has still not met the requirement of The Indian Air Force. Presently the IAF has 17 squadrons of various MIG fighter jets. So over the next 10 years the IAF would be requiring almost 300-400 fighter jets to attain its full strength.

Now the question arises that when can the Indian government close the deal of acquiring 110 fighter jets or will it take even time than Rafale deal? The second thing is that if in 2019 elections new government comes to power then what is the guarantee that this deal will continue in the same manner or the new government would scrap the old deal as happened in the case of Rafale deal? This would delay the deal of acquiring these jests. As we witnessed that a very big political controversy haunted the Rafele deal regarding the pricing of the jets, what would be the surety that no controversy would haunt this deal as it is much bigger deal that the Rafale deal?

Boeing’s Super Hornet F/A-18 for Indian Air Force?

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Picture Courtesy: http://www.commons.wikimedia.org

In the latest development Indian government has asked Indian Air Force (IAF) to consider twin engine Boeing Super Hornet F/A-18 E/F along with SAABs’s Gripen and Lockheed Martin’s F-16.

already talks are going on between Indian Navy and Boeing to finalise the deal of $8 billion (Approx) for the procurement of 57 fighter jets.

IAF needs almost needs 100 fighter jets to reduce the shortage. IAF has current strength of only 33 fighter squadrons which is the weakest in the four decades. And India’s indigenous build Light Combat Aircraft Tejas is still under development stage.

According to some media reports IAF wants government to issue Request of Information (RFI) in this regard to get the process of procurement started.

So Boeing’s Super Hornet F/A-18 E/F is in the contention of $15 billion deal. As reported by Reuters Boeing India President Pratyush Kumar said that Boeing committed to building the planes in India and had offered to help with India’s plans to develop its own advanced medium combat aircraft.

Super Hornet F/A-18 is already operational in United States (US) Navy.

The Boeing F/A-18E and F/A-18F Super Hornet are twin-engine carrier-capable multirole fighter aircraft variants based on the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet. The F/A-18E single-seat and F/A-18F tandem-seat variants are larger and more advanced derivatives of the F/A-18C and D Hornet.

Lets us look at some main features of Boeing Super Hornet :

  • The Super Hornet was first ordered by the U.S. Navy in 1992.
  • Super Hornet F/A – 18 E/F is equipped with touch sensitive control display with large multi-coloured liquid display for revealing tactical information to the pilot. In addition to this it has two monochrome display and one fuel display.
  • Length of this fighter jet is 18.31 metre with wingspan of 13.62 metre. Height of Super Hornet is 4.88 metre.
  • It has a wing area of 46.5 sq. m
  • Loaded weight capacity of super hornet is 21,320 Kg and take- off weight capacity is 29,937 Kg.
  • Super Hornet F/A – 18 E/F has 2X General Electric F 414-GE-400 turbofan engines. Each engine provides dry thrust of 62.3 KN and 97.9 KN thrust with afterburner.
  • It has 11 hardpoints for carrying ammunitions of varying size.
  • Super Hornet F/A – 18 E/F has maximum speed of 1.8 Mach or 1,190 Miles per hour.
  • Super Hornet has service ceiling of 50,000 feet and has rate of climb at 44,890 feet per minute.
  • It has standard armament of 20mm M61A2 Vulcan Gatling Gun with 578 20mm projectiles.
  • Ferry Range of Super Hornet is 1,800 nautical Miles with a combat radius of 390 nautical miles.