Monday, December 28, 2009

India Navy Issues a RFI to EADS, Boeing, Saab and Dassault for New Carrier-Based Fighter Aircraft

Ravi Sharma

Looking for an enhanced presence, the Navy is planning to buy a state-of-the-art, multi-role, new generation carrier-based fighter aircraft. And in pursuance of this, the Navy has sent out a request for information (RFI) to some of the world’s leading aircraft manufacturers. The aircraft firms included: the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) for their Eurofighter Typhoon, the Boeing Integrated Defence System (for the F/A-18 Super Hornet), Sweden’s SAAB (who are offering the Gripen JAS 39) and France’s Dassault (for the Rafale).

The new naval aircraft are meant for deployment on the Navy’s third aircraft carrier, which is expected to be commissioned around 2018. While the Rafale and the F/A-18 are natural choices for naval operations as they were built specifically for carrier-based multi-role operations, the manufacturers of the Typhoon and the Gripen have indicated that their aircraft could be suitably modified for naval carrier-based flying.

All four aircraft (along with the Russian MiG-35 and the American F-16) are already in contention for another mega Indian defence forces’ deal — the $10 billion -$12 billion Indian Air Force’s plans to acquire 126 medium, multi-role combat aircraft. The Ministry of Defence sources told The Hindu that the Navy has the go-ahead from the government for the purchase. The RFI has not specified the exact number of aircraft that the Navy is keen on acquiring, nor the modalities that will be specified for their manufacture or offset requirements.

Once the manufacturers provided their information, the Navy will send out a request for proposal detailing the Naval Staff Qualitative Requirements that the fighter should possess. After the receipt of the proposals, the Navy will short list, setting in motion the process of flight evaluation trials, selection, commercial negotiations and finally the acquisition. The new aircraft, which will be in the 25-30 tonne class, will be in addition to the 16 Russian-manufactured MiG-29Ks that India is acquiring, and the naval version of the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft Tejas (12-14 tonnes class) which is presently being designed.

The Navy on December 4 received in knocked-down condition, the first of its MiG-29Ks.While the MiG-29Ks will be on the deck of the 44,570-tonne Kiev class Admiral Gorshkov (to be rechristened INS Vikramaditya), the naval Tejas is earmarked for the 40,000-tonne, indigenous aircraft carrier that is being built at the Cochin Shipyard. The Navy’s only fighter aircraft now is the British-made Sea Harrier jump jets which are deployed on the Navy’s sole aircraft carrier, INS Viraat. Official sources said that the Sea Harriers, which were decommissioned by the (British) Royal Navy in March 2006, will be in the inventory as long as the INS Viraat is deployed (could be till 2019).


Deck not ready yet, navy scouts for aircraft

The Indian Navy has invited five global makers of combat planes, including the US-led F-35C Joint Strike Fighter, to participate in a competition for deck-based aircraft that it wants to buy.Deck-based aircraft for navies have special requirements — like foldable wings because of limited space in carriers and ability for short/vertical take-off and landing.India’s biggest military hardware supplier, Russia, which was asked for information on the Sukhoi-33, has opted out of the race saying it is phasing out the plane, a navy source told The Telegraph. But Russia is negotiating with China to sell 50 Sukhoi-33 aircraft for the Chinese PLA Navy’s aircraft-carrier programme.

The first four of 12 Russian-made MiG 29K fighter aircraft contracted for the Indian Navy, however, reached India earlier this month. The aircraft are yet to be assembled because they were delivered in a knocked-down condition.The MiG 29K are to be based on the INS Vikramaditya, as the Indian Navy has rechristened the Gorshkov carrier for which a re-negotiated price is yet to be contracted.

Essentially, the Indian Navy is now beginning to get the aircraft without the carrier to base them in. So it has fashioned an airstrip that is mimicking the Gorshkov’s flying deck in the INS Hansa, the naval base in Goa, to induct the MiG 29K. Among the five aircraft for which the Indian Navy has sent Requests for Information (RFI) are the F-18 Superhornet (made by Boeing for the US Navy), Eurofighter Typhoon (EADS supported by a European consortium) and France’s Dassault Aviation for the Rafale.

The Indian Navy had originally not sent an RFI to Sweden’s SAAB but the company expressed interest and was sent a request for the naval variant of the Gripen JAS 39.The Superhornet, Eurofighter, Rafale and the Gripen are among six aircraft (the other two being the F-16 Super Viper and the MiG 35) contending for the biggest fighter aircraft competition going in the world today — the Indian Air Force’s order for 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft that could be worth more than $12 billion.

The Indian Navy’s overt interest in the F-35C Lightning II is a bit of a surprise. The F-35C is the US Navy variant of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme being implemented by Lockheed Martin and is known in the aviation industry as the only fifth-generation aircraft. The naval variant was rolled out of Lockheed’s plant in Fort Worth, Texas, only in July this year. It is yet to be flight-tested.

Apart from the US, nine other countries are participating in developing the JSF — the UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore and Turkey. India has separate agreements with Russia to co-develop a fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) but that is nowhere near the stage of development that the JSF has reached.

The navy officer said the plan was to raise a squadron (between 16 and 20 aircraft) for the aircraft carrier that India is building on its own in Kochi (called IAC for Indigenous Aircraft Carrier). The IAC will be at least eight years in the making (2018).The deck-based aircraft competition is being thrown open to global makers as a contingency measure because India’s own Tejas Light Combat Aircraft is inordinately delayed.

The Indian Navy’s only aircraft carrier, the INS Viraat, that sails with British vintage Sea Harrier aircraft onboard was refitted after being in the dry dock for nearly two years till November. Its fleet of aircraft is also depleting fast with not enough back-ups. The navy now has less than a squadron-strength of the aircraft.

Telegraph India


Why would you get ANOTHER type of carrier-borne aircraft!? There is already the new MiG-29Ks, the indevelopment navy Tejas' and now a third one!? This sounds like a logistical nightmare! What are they thinking!?!?

Sounds like IN is already unhappy with MiGs even before they arrive!

well it will sure create a havoc in the airforce and navy...... it already has many variety of aircrafts now inducting more!!!!! nightmare for ground staff and for the pilots!!!!!

nightmare for ground staff? and for pilots?

You retarded monkeys need to pass highschool first, before comment on the capacity of the armed forces on a nation. The armed forces have one purpose only, and that is to adapt better and better weapons and strategys.

Just go read a colourinjg book. Filthy Monkeys are always commenting about the armed forces without even knowing the proper definition of Logistics.

Bugg off thirdworld scum

"The armed forces have one purpose only, and that is to adapt better and better weapons and strategys."

But at what cost? Inducting a third naval fighter type is indeed an expensive and ultimately a silly endeavor. You would have to build new infrastructure and use more and different training, which equals $$$. Plus, AFAIK the IN does not operate any EADS, Boeing, Saab, or Dassault aircraft (Aerospatiale and BAE don't really count), so there is there is also the problem of type commonality.

I'm not saying the IN should never induct new types. But if they want to, they should just have ordered these from the start. At any rate, it would probably have beaten the Gorshkov into service.

Just because you seem to have an opinion of the the IN not being able to adopt this Tech easily doesn't mean it has even an inch of truth or even logic.

The IN or for that matter, armed forces of any nation have only one goal, and that is to impliment better tech and strategys than their adverseries.

Imagine a war with Pakistan or China. If the Chinese find a way to overpower the Mig 29'ks, then basically the Indians are toast.

But if Indians have a variety of lethal airfracts, like Rafales, LCAs, MCAs, PakFa, Mirage 2000-5,Mig 29's smt's, Mig 29K's, Harriers and so on. The Chinese or Paks will never ever be able to counter all these techs. Its almost impossible.

You need to grow up and realize Bharat-rakshak or are for clowns. They have no real logic inside them, and they are used and commented on by Geeks who work regular day time jobs or are still in school. Some are even droputs.

Take masters level courses on Political Science and then speak to me about this.

The most expensive aspect of owning aircraft isn't the initial purchase price, it is maintenance, which includes having to come up with money for spare parts and salary for the maintenance crew. With India's current military budget, can it afford a third aircraft type to add to its maintenance tree? Even the US is trying to standardise their aircraft models in order to streamline their logistics. If India acquires the Sea Gripen, which most likely uses the RM12/F404 engine, it will add to the RD-93 engine of the Mig-29 and possibly the EJ200 engine of the Tejas (if India decides to use this engine instead of the F404/414). Talk about a logistical and maintenace nightmare! You've effectively at least doubled the storage space required, as you need space for all the engine types in your warehouse, and you've probably increased your labor force by a substantial amount as well as a result of the increased warehouse space, plus more engines mean more maintence crew to service them so you do not get "flying coffins".

Good strategy. India should diversify their systems and India is a superpower to afford any state of art kind of weapons.

"Sea Gripen" and "Sea Typhoon" look like paper aircraft. Who will finance their development, the IN? US F-18 and French Rafale have been specifically designed for being used on aircraft carriers (with catapult). Physical constraints for take off and landing are huge and the structure of a Navy aircraft has to be reinforced compared to the Air Force's version. It is much more than just adding a tailhook and draw a nice picture of a would-be aircraft !

You seem to be saying that IN fighters would be crucial in a war against China/Pakistan. AFAIK, India shares land borders with both of these countries, so I'm pretty sure that CTOL fighters of the IAF – which have greater range and payload plus less maintenance in the first place – would be of greater importance. So even if China/Pakistan overpowers the MiG-29Ks, the IAF still has a lot in store. Why would the MiG-29Ks be the deciding matter in a war?

I don't frequent those sites you mentioned; I speak as neither an Indian or Pakistani (or Chinese for that matter).

Also, I would dispute the notion that India is a superpower (not yet, at any rate)

comment no4:
dude rather then criticizing the information u r saying its null and wide !!!!! thats ignorance man....
now u tell me a single airforce which is operating on these much variety of aircraft.... even the Israelis said when they captured mig21 said it is hell difficult to fly after flying mirages and F4....
dude as Mao said "quality comes from quantity" not quality comes from variety!!!!!
as for no4 plz define logistics and then answer according to the situation!!!! then we ll see....
"The armed forces have one purpose only, and that is to adapt better and better weapons and strategys."
u said it right u need to adapt but how will u adapt when u don't even have a main stay....
every pilot will have to go through pilot conversion training!!!! and how many times he will have to convert.. and on how many variety of aircrafts!!!! u cant just put a graduate pilot on su 30 on the 1 day..... he will have to prove himself to come and sit on the fine aircraft!!!!!
and no4 criticizing on the basis of knowledge is good but criticizing on the basis of criticizing is not productive..... and sorry to say u r acting like a mule!!!!!
Imagine a war with Pakistan or China. If the Chinese find a way to overpower the Mig 29'ks, then basically the Indians are toast. very rightly said but there also another side!!! mind also looking in that......
tell me one thing when one airforce inducts a capability it goes with the best option available to it.... now this statement shows u r not happy with the equipment...... tell me if u r satisfied with corolla u will not buy honda simple as that!!!!!
and buddy its not the gun which matters its the man who is behind the gun!!!!!! so if u r well trained on one aircraft then u dont need to worry about other things
read the line which is one the front page by president of Israel also X pilot!!!!!

Talk about a logistical and maintenace nightmare! You've effectively at least doubled the storage space required, as you need space for all the engine types in your warehouse, and you've probably increased your labor force by a substantial amount as well as a result of the increased warehouse space, plus more engines mean more maintence crew to service them so you do not get "flying
sir u said it right!!!!! analysis should be on whole basis!!!!!
variety has advantages but disadvantages are more!!!!

MIG 29ks have STOBAR configuration.
Hence it can carry much less weapons when compared to other aircrafts

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