Favour Tejas to Meet IAF Needs

Winston Churchill, as the First Lord of Admiralty in 1911, is credited with “technological prescience” by British commentators for building the 12-inch gunned Dreadnought-class battleships. When the First World War began, the Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet was the British force to keep Kaiser Wilhelm II’s seaward ambitions in check even as an unprepared army was mowed down by the German juggernaut, in the opening phase.

Remarkably, the Churchillian kind of prescience was manifest in Jawaharlal Nehru’s nursing a weapons-capable nuclear energy programme because he believed India could not afford to miss out on the “nuclear revolution” as it had done the “gun-powder revolution” consequenting in its enslavement. And, in the conventional military field, it was evident in his seeding an indigenous defence industry with combat aircraft design and development at its core. Nehru imported, not combat aircraft but, a leading combat aircraft designer—the redoubtable Kurt Tank, progenitor of the Focke-Wulfe warplanes for Hitler’s Luftwaffe. Tank succeeded in putting an HF-24 Marut prototype in the air by 1961 and in training a talented group of Indian designers at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

By the time the Tank-trained Raj Mahindra-led team designed the successor Marut Mark-II, Nehru was gone and neither Lal Bahadur Shastri nor his successor, Indira Gandhi, unfortunately had the strategic vision or technological prescience to provide political support for it. Indira permitted the purchase of the British Jaguar aircraft for low-level attack, leading to the termination of the Marut Mk-II optimised for the same mission. It ended the chance of India emerging early as an independent aerospace power in the manner Brazil and Israel have done in recent years. The inglorious era of importing military hardware was on. The resulting vendor-driven procurement system has decanted enormous wealth from India to arms supplier states—Russia, UK, France, the United States, Israel and Italy.

Arun Jaitley, the BJP finance minister-cum-defence minister, is saddled with the familiar problem of too many high-cost government programmes and too little money. He has an opportunity to reduce the huge hard currency expenditure involved in buying foreign armaments and reverse the policy of ignoring indigenous options and private sector defence industrial capability. He can give the lead to the Indian military as the British Treasury had done to the Admiralty in 1918-1938 by pushing for the development of aircraft carriers when the Royal Navy was stuck on the Dreadnought.

There are two far-seeing decisions he can take. With the US bid of $840 million for 150 M-777 light howitzers (without technology transfer) rejected as cost prohibitive, Jaitley can instruct the army to test and induct the modern, ultra-light heliportable gun, to outfit the new offensive mountain corps, produced jointly by a private sector company and an American firm, Rock Island Arsenal, that’ll cost less than half as much. And he could terminate the Rafale contract and, importantly, restore responsibility for the Tejas programme to the IAF, which was kept out of it by the science adviser—SA—to defence minister V S Arunachalam in the 1980s. It will mean IAF funding further developments in the Tejas programme from its own R&D budget which, according to an ex-senior defence technologist, can be increased to any amount, and was the course of action recommended by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and SA. It will render IAF accountable to Parliament.

The choices before the BJP government are stark. Is it pragmatic to channel in excess of $30 billion to Paris that’ll keep the French aerospace sector in clover and help amortise the multi-billion Euro investment in developing the Rafale, which has no customers other than IAF? Or, use the present difficulties as an opportunity to fundamentally restructure the Indian military aviation sector? This last will involve getting (1) HAL to produce the low-cost (`26 crore by HAL’s reckoning) Tejas Mk-1 for air defence with 4.5 generation avionics, low detection, and other features, for squadron service, and to export it in line with prime minister Narendra Modi’s thinking and to defray some of the plane’s development costs, and (2) ADA and the Aircraft Research & Design Centre at HAL to redesign Tejas Mark-2 as a genuine MMRCA with the originally conceived canard-delta wing configuration (whose absence has made the Mk-1 incapable of meeting onerous operational requirements, like acceleration and sustained turn rates in dogfights) and having it ready for production by 2019—the dateline for Rafale induction.

With the Rafale potentially out of the picture and IAF left with only a limited-capability Tejas for air defence, security needs for the next 15 years until the Russian Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft enters IAF in strength, can be met by buying additional Su-30s and MiG-29s off-the-shelf and/or contracting for larger numbers of the Su-30s to be built by HAL with a deal to get the private sector to manufacture the required spares in-country, all for a fraction of the cost of Rafale. Some Service brass do not care for Russian aircraft but Su-30MKI and MiG-29 are already in IAF’s employ, and are rated the two best warplanes available anywhere (barring the discontinued American F-22) for combat and air defence respectively. A new Su-30MKI, moreover, costs $65 million, which is slightly more than what India forks out for upgrading the 30-year-old Mirage 2000.

Had the design-wise more challenging canard-delta winged Tejas, recommended by four of the six international aviation majors hired as consultants, not been discarded and international best practices followed from when the Light Combat Aircraft programme was initiated in 1982, ADA (design bureau), HAL and IAF would have worked together. IAF would have inputted ideas at the design and prototype stages, HAL produced the prototypes, and IAF pilots flown them. The design validation and rectification, certification, pre-production, and production processes would then have been in sync and progressed apace. The Tejas air defence variant will have entered squadron service and the larger Mk-2, close behind, occupied the MMRCA slot. The lessons are that indigenous weapons projects demand integrated effort, weapons designers need to be less diffident and Indian military ought to helm indigenous armaments projects. Jaitley can ensure these things happen.

[Published in the New Indian Express on August 8, 2014 http://www.newindianexpress.com/columns/Favour-Tejas-to-Meet-IAF-Needs/2014/08/08/article2368799.ece

About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
This entry was posted in Asian geopolitics, China military, civil-military relations, Defence Industry, DRDO, Europe, Geopolitics, Great Power imperatives, India's strategic thinking and policy, Indian Air Force, Indian Army, Indian ecobomic situation, Military Acquisitions, Russia, russian assistance, russian military, society, South Asia, Strategic Relations with the US & West, Technology transfer, United States, US., Weapons, Western militaries. Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to Favour Tejas to Meet IAF Needs

  1. E.r.Sakthivel says:

    Effective combat range with effective weapon load will depend upon the criteria called fuel fraction, i.e weight of internal fuel/empty operational weight of the fighter.

    In this area even tejas mk1 better than gripen C.

    Then a question arises why range of tejas was often quoted less, it may be due to the reason that new super sonic center line fuel tank was not validated till IOC-2, Even without that The press information beruau release clearly stated that the combat range of tejas is 500 Km. It means a combat range in excess of 1000 Km in a low penetration fuel consuming flight into enemy territory, with extra fuel allocation for take off, a few minutes of high fuel consuming close combat and high fuel consuming After burner thrust .

    But other fighter makers give misleading combat range figures with minimum weapon config and high altitude(less fuel consuming flight path) with no allocation for close combat and AB thrust and low penetration mode.

    Roughly the fuel fraction above will give us effective combat utilization of the fighter.

    Su-30MK: 34.9%(Empty weight: 17,700 kg,Internal fuel: 9,500 kg)

    Rafale: 31.4% ~ 33.6%(Empty weight: 9,500 ~ 10,220 kg,Internal fuel: 4,680 ~ 4,800 kg)

    JAS-39NG: 30.6%(Empty weight: 7,100 kg,Internal fuel: 3,130 kg)

    MIG-35: 28.6%(Empty weight: 12,000 kg,Internal fuel: 4,800 kg)

    Tejas: 27.0%(Empty weight: 6,500 kg,Internal fuel: 2,400 kg)

    JF-17: 26.3%(Empty weight: 6,450 kg,Internal fuel: 2,300 kg)

    JAS-39C: 25.0%(Empty weight: 6,800 kg,Internal fuel: 2,268 kg)

    This is a fair comparison of fuel fractions with just internal fuel , and the same percentage will more or less reflect with external fuels also,

    So Tejas mk-1(which still has 400 KG of flight test equipment on board, removal of them will lead to even better fuel fraction) itself has much better fuel fractions than grippen C/D with more TW ratio and lower wing loading,

    Tejas mk-2 will easily compare to RAFALE which has just 4 percent more in fuel fractions than Tejas mk-1.

    So in indian conditions there won’t be no issues with range of tejas mk-1 or mk-2 in useful combat configuration if we take into account that four tejas can be operated for one RAFALE if we include total lifecycle costs and upgrade costs,

    So there is no way Tejas can be faulted on weapon load or range. A full read of the link above will show how fighter makers abroad indulge in word play when it comes to range and load figures!!! , to fool the people.

    • RV says:

      Very important and pertinent figures and arguments!

    • @ersakthivel: would you care to change anything in the following sentence in your above communication? It is apparently a typo/unintended mistake in your quote: “combat range of tejas is 500 Km. It means a combat range in excess of 1000 Km in a low penetration fuel consuming flight into enemy territory”

      • Sorry, it was a typo ,

        http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=102056

        “IOC-2 shall enable Air Force to carry out air superiority and offensive air support missions, forward air field operations, all weather multi role operations, Electronic counter measures and night flying operations.

        LCA Tejas is capable of flying non- stop to destinations over 1700 km away (Ferry Range). It’s Radius of Action is upto 500 km depending upon the nature and duration of actual combat.

        LCA is powered by the F404/IN20- a well proven turbofan engine, designed and manufactured by General Electric Aircraft Engines, USA. The Engine is modular in construction, consisting of six modules, ensuring easy maintenance. The F404-GE-IN20 is a low bypass turbofan engine, with augmented thrust provided by the afterburner. ”

        It should have been combat radius of 500 Km. It means combat range in excess of 1000 Km.

        Because 2X combat radius + fuel reserve for some After burner thrusts and low level penetration gives combat range

      • Also the specific fuel consumption figure of rafale’s each engine is,
        0.80 kg/(daN*h) (0.78 lbm/(lbf*h)) (dry), 1.75 kg/(daN*h) (1.72 lbm/(lbf*hr)) (wet/afterburning)

        If you can work out how much fuel it will take for rafale to stay in air with two engines consuming 0.80 Kg /(daN*h)

        and compare it to one tejas GE-414 SFC’ of

        with any expert’s help we can resolve this matter of ferry range or combat range of two rafale’s flying non stop to reunion islands non stop for 10.5 hours for 10000 Km with two external fuel tanks,

        Two french rafales with two external fuel tanks each and no weapons ,

        needed 5 refuelling for their 10.5 hour long 10000 Km trip from france to reunion islands

        Sure they must have had their tanks full at take off.

        So it amounts to a total of 6 fuel loads for a 10000 Km flight with no weapon loads and only two external fuel tanks for each plane provided that each plane had five refuellings enroute.Rreport does not states whether the 5 refuellings were for each rafale. But since it is an odd number it is safe to assume that it is five refuellings for each plane . Becuase both planes need exactly the same amount of refuelling . SO an odd number can not denote total refuelling for both the planes.

        Then range in tropical climate with two external fuel tanks in optimum altitude conditions(high altitude )comes only to 1500 Km around.

        Why?

        But AVM has claimed that tejas has just one third of rafale range. Even in IOC-2 press information bureau release the farthest tejas can fly without refuelling for tejas was stated to be 1700 Km. ANd its combat radius 500 km, means with weapons it can have close to 1000 Km range with needs for AB thrusts and fuel penalizing lo altitude flight and a few minutes of close combat needs.

        Looking at the fact they flew 10K Kms and needed 5 refuels + 1 to begin with i.e a range of 1600 km with no weapons and two fuel tanks quite clearly shows Rafale doesn’t have the famed deep legs as claimed since the start. Also such long range distances are covered flying at very high altitude i.e over 30K feet at optimal fuel burning cruise speed to minimize fuel consumption, these claimed long ranges would be much lower when slung with weapons flying in low in deep strike missions.

        whatever the optimum flying conditions if you add weapons worth their price, and do a lo lo penetration with reservation for AB thrusts and close combat and take off needs, the result will be the same

        Even if we believe such rafale brochure range of 3600 Km , the hi-lo-hi missions that can use this ,exist in libiya and mali where open skies with no enemy air defence spreads for a vast expanse of 1000s of Km.

        But on india -pak borders and india-china borders enemy air defence is just a couple of hundreds of KM away.

        SO practically those much vaunted 3600 Km ranges has no relevance to two front wars or in Tibet deep strikes.

        Reality is sobering. As I said before in lo-lo penetration flight the differnece between tejas and rafale combat range will hug a figure closer to their difference fuel fraction ratio.

        Dangling more and more external tanks and stuff will add to immense drag in lo-lo strikes . So the Rafale has thrice the range of tejas like statements made by people is just irrelevant in indian air space where enemy air defences are just next door.

        SO this issue needs to be looked into,

      • http://centreright.in/2013/03/the-failed-negotiations-with-snecma-for-engine-technology/#.U-zziPmSy-i

        “But the government of India does not believe in using its leverage in bargaining for what it needs most. It issued a stand-alone RfP for collaboration for developing an improved Kaveri in 2006. A separate RfP for the MMRCA deal followed a year later. The US General Electric (GE) and Britain’s Rolls Royce refused any form of participation. America’s Pratt&Whitney is on record having expressed its willingness to aid the Kaveri project. But later reports said it was willing to participate only as a consultant. In 2008, MoD selected Snecma over Russia’s NPO Saturn as the collaborator for the Kaveri. It was reported that it would take 4 years to develop and certify a new engine, after which the technology would be transferred to GTRE. MoD entered into separate negotiations with Snecma on this deal even as it was processing the MMRCA proposals. Thesenegotiations dragged onfor more than three years. Meanwhile, the Dassault Rafale, powered by a Snecma engine, emerged as the lowest bidder among those shortlisted for the MMRCA and MoD began contract negotiations with it. Was Snecma playing a game, waiting for the finalization of the Rafale deal? It would seem so. It appeared that in a bizarre twist, at this stage India had allowed France to make the Rafale deal an offset for the engine technology deal.”

      • [QUOTE=ersakthivel;933835]Many fighter makers claim fancy ranges for their fighters in ideal cold climate conditions in high altitude.

        gripen’s makers say their fighter has a ferry and combat range closer to that of Su-30 MKI!!!

        And many fancy 9 tons weapon carrying capacity to 3600 Km is claimed for rafale.

        but the point to note is how much these fighters can fly in deep low level altitude penetration mode in indian sub continent where engine thrust and wing lift falls by close to ten percent due to hot conditions?

        Effective combat range with effective weapon load will depend upon the criteria called fuel fraction, i.e weight of internal fuel/empty operational weight of the fighter.

        In this area even tejas mk1 better than gripen C.

        Then a question arises why range of tejas was often quoted less, it may be due to the reason that new super sonic center line fuel tank was not validated till IOC-2, Even without that The press information beruau release clearly stated that the combat radius of tejas is 500 Km. It means a combat range in excess of 1000 Km in a low penetration fuel consuming flight into enemy territory, with extra fuel allocation for take off, a few minutes of high fuel consuming close combat and high fuel consuming After burner thrust .

        But other fighter makers give misleading combat range figures with minimum weapon config and high altitude(less fuel consuming flight path) with no allocation for close combat and AB thrust and low penetration mode.

        Roughly the fuel fraction above will give us effective combat utilization of the fighter.

        Su-30MK: 34.9%(Empty weight: 17,700 kg,Internal fuel: 9,500 kg)

        Rafale: 31.4% ~ 33.6%(Empty weight: 9,500 ~ 10,220 kg,Internal fuel: 4,680 ~ 4,800 kg)

        JAS-39NG: 30.6%(Empty weight: 7,100 kg,Internal fuel: 3,130 kg)

        MIG-35: 28.6%(Empty weight: 12,000 kg,Internal fuel: 4,800 kg)

        Tejas: 27.0%(Empty weight: 6,500 kg,Internal fuel: 2,400 kg)

        JF-17: 26.3%(Empty weight: 6,450 kg,Internal fuel: 2,300 kg)

        JAS-39C: 25.0%(Empty weight: 6,800 kg,Internal fuel: 2,268 kg)

        This is a fair comparison of fuel fractions with just internal fuel , and the same percentage will more or less reflect with external fuels also,

        So Tejas mk-1(which still has 400 KG of flight test equipment on board, removal of them will lead to even better fuel fraction) itself has much better fuel fractions than grippen C/D with more TW ratio and lower wing loading,

        Tejas mk-2 will easily compare to RAFALE which has just 4 percent more in fuel fractions than Tejas mk-1.

        The important thing to note is that gripen Ng and rafale almost has the same internal fuel fraction and are claiming identical ranges whether in ferry or combat range!!!

        tejas mk1 is above gripen C in internl fuel fraction. By the same token tejas mk2 will be at par with gripen NG in internal fuel fraction and almost at par with rafale also.

        Also a recent report in janes claims that gripen NG with huge external fuel tanks,can fly 1300 Km with 6 air to air missiles and loiter for 20 minutes extra.

        Considering tejas mk1 PIB claim of combat range in excess of 1000 Km for tejas depending upon the load even in tejas mk1 config the difference should not be that great.

        Even in the worst case the difference should not be more than 5 percent!!!

        So how can airmarshal barbora claim that rafle has thrice the range of tejas ?

        So in indian conditions there won’t be any great issues with range of tejas mk-2 in useful combat configuration if we take into account that four tejas can be operated for one RAFALE if we include total lifecycle costs and upgrade costs,

        N one has replied till date, why two french rafales with two external fuel tanks each and no weapons ,

        needed 5 refuelling for their 10.5 hour long 10000 Km trip from france to reunion islands?

        Sure they must have had their tanks full at take off.

        So it amounts to a total of 6 fuel loads for a 10000 Km flight with no weapon loads and only two external fuel tanks,

        range comes only to 1500 Km around.

        http://www.ambafrance-in.org/IMG/png/Map.png?10674/a7e41e699f3793c1fbff398991b432dce5b5462c

        http://www.ambafrance-in.org/IMG/jpg/c135-et-rafale-en-vol.jpg?10673/14a0edde58a9cc8615ce18ce1f38714593511109
        Is that anything to do with tropical hot tepmeratures or what?

        I am asking this question for the third time. if people think karnard was tutored by me, why don’t they tutor us on these little nuggets?

        The press information bureau report of tejas IOC-2 also says that tejas can fly to distances 1700 Km non stop. (It does not mentions whether it is with combat load or on internal fuel only or external load ). But by the time of IOC-2 , tejas mk1(with much lesser internal fuel load than mk2) had only validated two exteranl fuel tanks.

        The following is a reply I got for for my query in a forum.

        ——————————————————————–
        “Huh? I don’t think you understand what that means.

        Efficiency is the key here. They don’t fill the tanks up to the brim during such ferry range flights where fuel is preserved to the maximum. Fuel is managed so it provides the best performance figures possible.

        They did not fill all of the aircraft up and then empty the tank before refueling again. They would keep around, say, 75%, use up enough fuel up to 50 or 40% and then refuel again to get it back to 75% and repeat the process 4 more times.

        In actual missions, the refueling process would be different depending on the missions.

        Naturally, in DPS missions the range is much smaller, said to be 3600 Km in a hi-lo-hi profile.”

        —————————————————————————

        whatever the optimum flying conditions if you add weapons worth their price, and do a lo lo penetration with reservation for Ab thrusts and close combat and take off needs, the result will be the same

        Even if we believe such no source fairy tales the, 3600 Km hi-lo-hi missions exist in libiya and mali where open skies with no enemy air defence spreads for a vast expanse of 1000s of Km.

        The trouble with above explanation is,

        When a tanker and two rafales take off from France, they will have x tons of fuels. So even if we accept that rafales were filled partially with fuel as fuel saving technique, it really is not going to save any fuel, because the x tons of fuels sits in the tanks of tanker aircraft and two rafales. SO the fuel saved on rafale by partial fuel filling will be expended by the jet engines of taker in carrying the total fuel in the air,

        Considering that rafale are doing close to thousand Km per hour it is suboptimal for a tanker to fly at the cruise speed of rafale with excess fuel in its tank, rather than filling them in rafale’s tanks,

        It is always nice for the rafales to have the fuel in their tanks, because in case of any emergency on tanker rafales will be in a dicey position. Also in flight refuelling is a dicey affair too with its own excess fuel burn issues, SO it is much better to fill the fuel in all rafale tanks in one go rather than partially,

        Another jarring issue is if rafales are to be filled only with partial fuel , then why two external tanks(which induce drag and reduce fuel efficiency!!!) present on rafale. They could have taken off without any external fuel tanks or at least one center line fuel tank for less fuel burning flight!!!

        So most probably the 1500 Km range is due to the location of the reunion islands in the tropics with high temp(conditions like india) which saps close to ten percent of engine thrust and 12 percent of wing lift. Any other explanation looks suspect. Or we need some official clarification from IAF which tested rafales in hot condition.[/B]

        rafale has just 4.7 tons of internal fuel. Even if we assume that the two external tanks each had a total of 3 tons fuel capacity,

        considering the rafale’s each M-88 has the same Specifi Fuel Consumption of 0.83 Kg as that of GE-404 in tejas mk1

        In the same config tejas mk1 will have close to 4.5 ton external and internal l fuel with just one GE-404 burning with load of just 11 tons weight to support as total aircraft weight.

        It will improve a bit in tejas mk2.

        For the same config in rafale,

        two M-88s in rafale will be burning 8 tons of total fuel with a total fighter weight of of 18 tons to support.

        For each engine of rafale the load is about 9 tons to support with 4 tons of fuel to burn.

        There is no way for rafale to have three times the range of tejas mk1 (let alone the much higher fuel capacity mk2) with this kind of fuel burn , which will result in utmost 20 to 30 percent range gain over tejas mk1 in indian hot atmospheric flying conditions.

        With tejas mk2 this difference will further narrow down as its internal and external fuel carrying capacity is set to imporve

        So how come rafale will have three times tejas range as barbora said?

        But on india -pak borders and india-china borders enemy air defence is just a couple of hundreds of KM away.

        SO practically those much vaunted 3600 Km range flaunted by forum trolls has no relevance to two front wars or in Tibet deep strikes.

        Reality is sobering. As I said before in lo-lo penetration flight the differnece between tejas and rafale combat range will hug a figure closer to their difference fuel fraction ratio.

        Dangling more and more external tanks and stuff will add to immense drag in lo-lo strikes . So the Rafale has thrice the range of tejas like statements made by people is just irrelevant in indian air space where enemy air defences are just next door.

        =======================

        So in indian conditions there won’t be no issues with range of tejas mk-1 or mk-2 in useful combat configuration if we take into account that four tejas can be operated for one RAFALE if we include total lifecycle costs and upgrade costs,

        So there is no way Tejas can be faulted on weapon load or range. A full read of the link above will show how fighter makers abroad indulge in word play when it comes to range and load figures!!! , to fool the people.

        Also indian hot atmospheric conditions sap close to 10 percent of engine thrust and 12 percent of wing lift.

        So most of the fancy , combat specs ,pay load and range figure mentioned in the glossy brochure wont be achieved in indian climatic conditions.

        All tejas specs are for indian hot climate, but other fighter maker’s specs are for IDSA temp which is far less than indian atmospheric temp.

        Close coupled canards are discarded in all fighters from latest fighters from Russia(SU-35) and F-35, F-22 from US, because of RCS concerns arising from latest gen ASEA radars,

        the cranked delta of tejas also does the same job done by canards i.e vortex creation o delay flow separation.

        And LEVCONS(like in PAKFA) can do the job of canards without giving extra radar reflection like canards.

        canards also have may tricky control issues like force coupling and pilot induced oscillation which restrict the efficiency of wing.

        And there are many types of canard arrangements like close coupled on rafale and long momentum arm like typhoon , each of them having their own tricky control issues.

        canards were considered on F-35 and later dropped.

        Even for the evolution of F-16 ino F-16 XL its designers chose cranked delta like tejas , with concerns over RCS emissions from canards. Also in canard arrangements canards are designed to stall before the main wing, so the main wing never achieves its full efficiency.

        There are already some videos on the net with two gripen pilots facing the pilot induced oscilation problem peculiar to canards and let the plane crash unable to recover from it.

        Even though later it was claimed that this problem was resolved, we don’t know how it was done or whether any flight envelope restrictions were added because of this.

        That is the reason why US and Russian fighter designs always rejected canards in their latest 5th gen fighters and are employing compound delta with levcons(same arrangement proposed for tejas mk2).

        So redesigning tejas with canards will be an extremely job throwing its induction into jeopardy.
        Also the reason cited by ADA for not including canards was,
        1.it will add 3 feet to fuselage length,
        2,It will add more weight .
        3.During wind tunnel testing for the small airframe design of tejas , it did not give any considerable performance enhancement for the above two penalties it imposed.
        It is pertinent to note that gripen C which had canards is 300 Kg more in empty weight in tejas and 3 feet longer in length.

        In indian hot atmospheric condition which already saps 12 percent engine thrut and lift this added weight and drag will make tejas further underpowered.

        Also in a quest to make gripen E more of an MMRCA new fairings were added to it further increasing drag and now it weighs more than 7 tons in empty weight.

        But the path chosen for tejas mk2 is very simple. Add 0.5 meter in fuselage to smoothen the cross section increase between 4 and 5 meter lengths in fuselage and retain the same design and go for further weight reduction by increasing the percentage of composites to more than 50 percent.

        It will make teja mk2 far more effective and developmental path would be very short and less complex with no time over run.

        It will be nice if Air Marshal barbora clarifies his view on these point raised here.

  2. E.r.Sakthivel says:

    Also indian hot atmospheric conditions sap close to 10 percent of engine thrust and 12 percent of wing lift.

    So most of the fancy , combat specs ,pay load and range figure mentioned in the glossy brochure wont be achieved in indian climatic conditions.

    All tejas specs are for indian hot climate, but other fighter maker’s specs are for IDSA temp which is far less than indian atmospheric temp.

    Close coupled canards are discarded in all fighters from latest fighters from Russia(SU-35) and F-35, F-22 from US, because of RCS concerns arising from latest gen ASEA radars,

    the cranked delta of tejas also does the same job done by canards i.e vortex creation o delay flow separation.

    And LEVCONS(like in PAKFA) can do the job of canards without giving extra radar reflection like canards.

    • RV says:

      Largely true! Please be careful in how you use upper and lower case letters. Shabby and careless use of these can nullify even the best arguments.

  3. E.r.Sakthivel says:

    canards also have may tricky control issues like force coupling and pilot induced oscillation which restrict the efficiency of wing.

    And there are many types of canard arrangements like close coupled on rafale and long momentum arm like typhoon , each of them having their own tricky control issues.

    canards were considered on F-35 and later dropped.

    • RV says:

      Largely true! Also note that the SU 35 and the PAK FA too are without canards, the latter (PAK FA) possessing very prominent LEVCONS.

  4. RV says:

    IMHO, till the Tejas MK-1/2 are properly tested in IAF service and sufficient data is accumulated on their performance under various operational conditions, it would be a good idea to experiment with “embedding” the Tejas MK-1/2 into select SU 30 MKI units, and have composite units. The exact size and composition of each of these suggested “composite units” would depend the nature of the hypothetical conflict and the theater. The purpose of these “composite units” would be to enable any initial shortcomings in the Tejas (notably in the A2A mode) to be covered and/or compensated by the the presence of SU 30 MKI’s. Naturally, the optimal ingress and egress routes into a combat zone need to be carefully studied, and existing tactics changed/modified.

  5. E.r.Sakthivel says:

    Even for the evolution of F-16 ino F-16 XL its designers chose cranked delta like tejas , with concerns over RCS emissions from canards. Also in canard arrangements canards are designed to stall before the main wing, so the main wing never achieves its full efficiency.

    There are already some videos on the net with two gripen pilots facing the pilot induced oscilation problem peculiar to canards and let the plane crash unable to recover from it.

    Eventhough later it was claimed that this problem was resolved, we don’t know how it was done or whether any flight envelope restrictions were added because of this.

    That is the reason why US and Russian fighter designs always rejected canards in their latest 5th gen fighters and are employing compound delta with levcons(same arrangement proposed for tejas mk2).

    The Chinese J-20 was a copy of the rejected mig 1.44 delta canard stealth version(in favour of LEVCON , compound delta in pakfa exactly present in tejas mk2).

    • RV says:

      Largely true! However the statement:

      “The Chinese J-20 was a copy of the rejected mig 1.44 delta canard stealth version(in favour of LEVCON , compound delta in pakfa exactly present in tejas mk2).”.

      is somewhat incorrect if strictly interpreted. It may be true that the PRC designers drew considerable inspiration from the MiG 1.42/1.44 designs, but the J-20 is a completely new a/c. Then again, good concepts tend to propagate. For example, the Flying Wing is actually a WW2 German concept (the Horten Ho-229). Also, more precisely stated, the PAK FA configuration is a compound delta WITH enlarged and movable LERX’s.

  6. E.r.Sakthivel says:

    So redesigning tejas with canards will be an extremely job throwing its induction into jeopardy.
    Also the reason cited by ADA for not including canards was,
    1.it will add 3 feet to fuselage length,
    2,It will add more weight .
    3.During wind tunnel testing for the small airframe design of tejas , it did not give any considerable performance enhancement for the above two penalties it imposed.
    It is pertinent to note that gripen C which had canards is 300 Kg more in empty weight in tejas and 3 feet longer in length.

    In indian hot atmospheric condition which already saps 12 percent engine thrut and lift this added weight and drag will make tejas further underpowered.

    Also in a quest to make gripen E more of an MMRCA new fairings were added to it further increasing drag and now it weighs more than 7 tons in empty weight.

    But the path chosen for tejas mk2 is very simple. Add 0.5 meter in fuselage to smoothen the cross section increase between 4 and 5 meter lengths in fuselage and retain the same design and go for further weight reduction by increasing the percentage of composites to more than 50 percent.
    It will make teja mk2 far more effective and developmental path would be very short and less complex with no time over run.

    • I am not technically proficient in these matters, but I have, I think, good intuition on most matters technological and strategic, and can grasp the basics fast. Should have mentioned the Levcons built into the navalized variant of Tejas as the most suitable Mk-2- AMCA option. Regret not doing so. But thank you for response(s) on this and other issues re: Tejas/MMRCA on earlier occasions. Between the contributions to this blog by you and @RV, have learned an awful lot about combat aircraft architecture and technologies — as no doubt have the other readers of this blog. Thanks again!

      • E.R. Sakthivel says:

        It’s really nice to see people like you writing in support of sensible approach to induction of indigenous tech stuff, when many Desi Dork Media guys (DDM) keeps beating the life out of tejas with God knows what intention!!!!!

        Keep following it up as it is a very important project for the country.

        Thanks Sir,

      • RV says:

        It’s very kind of you to set up this forum where people can have constructive discussions. With regards to a transition from the LCA MK-2 to a proposed AMCA, there are reasons to believe it will be “one hell of a jump”! But that’s something for the future. The immediate cause for concern is two-fold:

        1. to induct the Tejas MK-1/2 into the IAF in sizable numbers,
        2. to get the Kaveri engine working and certified at an acceptable performance level. Using the GE engines keeps India at the mercy of US whims and fancies, which is not acceptable. One of the primary attractions of the Rafale are the Sovereign guarantees supposedly given by the French Government. The exact nature of these guarantees is unknown, and French intent to honor these guarantees is also something that needs to be analyzed.

      • RV says:

        @E.R. Sakthivel : WRT the portion of your statement :

        “…when many Desi Dork Media guys (DDM) keeps beating the life out of tejas with God knows what intention!!!!!”

        Please provide credible reasons why the Indian MSM are liars, and a very substantial case can be built and set into motion over a multi-pronged front. Whining won’t do here.

      • RV says:

        Bharat, it is a known fact that influential segments of the India MSM, and certain politicians, have played a significant and malicious role in attempting to ensure failure of the LCA program. A study of certain salient instances of such activities needs to be created, along the lines of the IB report on the criminal activities of NGO’s, and made available to the public. These should include testimonies by a whole range of people involved in the LCA program – test pilots, engineers,…, workers on the shop floor…

    • RV says:

      @E.r.Sakthivel, is/are there any detailed simulation and wind tunnel results done by ADA which are available in the public domain that substantiate the following statements:

      “Also the reason cited by ADA for not including canards was,
      1.it will add 3 feet to fuselage length,
      2,It will add more weight .
      3.During wind tunnel testing for the small airframe design of tejas , it did not give any considerable performance enhancement for the above two penalties it imposed.
      It is pertinent to note that gripen C which had canards is 300 Kg more in empty weight in tejas and 3 feet longer in length.”,

      I am aware that there is much substance to these arguments. However, it would help if there was some self-contained basis to the above claims. Further, are these figures obtained by mapping the expected Tejas performance and specs. onto the Gripen, or is there something more principled? WRT your statement:

      “But the path chosen for tejas mk2 is very simple.”,

      I wish it were that easy. The development and certification of an AESA radar, sensor and feature fusion, and the network-centric architecture would require a level of expertise not commonly found anywhere, let alone being available to India.

  7. Atul says:

    Tejas price has been indicated by HAL as US $ 26 million and not 26 crore.

  8. You’re right. Sorry, my mistake! It is Rs 162 crore or $26 million.

    • E.R.Sakthivel says:

      Two french rafales with two external fuel tanks each and no weapons ,

      needed 5 refuelling for their 10.5 hour long 10000 Km trip from france to reunion islands

      Sure they must have had their tanks full at take off.

      So it amounts to a total of 6 fuel loads for a 10000 Km flight with no weapon loads and only two external fuel tanks for each plane provided that each plane had five refuellings enroute.Rreport does not states whether the 5 refuellings were for each rafale. But since it is an odd number it is safe to assume that it is five refuellings for each plane . Becuase both planes need exactly the same amount of refuelling . SO an odd number can not denote total refuelling for both the planes.

      Then range in tropical climate with two external fuel tanks in optimum altitude conditions(high altitude )comes only to 1500 Km around.

      Why?

      But AVM has claimed that tejas has just one third of rafale range. Even in IOC-2 press information bureau release the farthest tejas can fly without refuelling for tejas was stated to be 1700 Km. ANd its combat radius 500 km, means with weapons it can have close to 1000 Km range with needs for AB thrusts and fuel penalizing lo altitude flight and a few minutes of close combat needs.

      Looking at the fact they flew 10K Kms and needed 5 refuels + 1 to begin with i.e a range of 1600 km with no weapons and two fuel tanks quite clearly shows Rafale doesn’t have the famed deep legs as claimed since the start. Also such long range distances are covered flying at very high altitude i.e over 30K feet at optimal fuel burning cruise speed to minimize fuel consumption, these claimed long ranges would be much lower when slung with weapons flying in low in deep strike missions.

      whatever the optimum flying conditions if you add weapons worth their price, and do a lo lo penetration with reservation for AB thrusts and close combat and take off needs, the result will be the same

      Even if we believe such rafale brochure range of 3600 Km , the hi-lo-hi missions that can use this ,exist in libiya and mali where open skies with no enemy air defence spreads for a vast expanse of 1000s of Km.

      But on india -pak borders and india-china borders enemy air defence is just a couple of hundreds of KM away.

      SO practically those much vaunted 3600 Km ranges has no relevance to two front wars or in Tibet deep strikes.

      Reality is sobering. As I said before in lo-lo penetration flight the differnece between tejas and rafale combat range will hug a figure closer to their difference fuel fraction ratio.

      Dangling more and more external tanks and stuff will add to immense drag in lo-lo strikes . So the Rafale has thrice the range of tejas like statements made by people is just irrelevant in indian air space where enemy air defences are just next door.

      SO this issue needs to be looked into,

  9. RV says:

    Another issue that needs to be unambiguously highlighted is the fraud perpetrated on the Indian people through dubious ToT agreements. Eventually, no relevant technology ever gets transferred and only money gets transferred (often through very dubious ways & means) For example, in the case of the Javelin missile, the US manufacturers are willing to do 97% ToT and want to withhold the algorithms related to core infra-red seeker technology. It is these algorithms and their implementations that are required by India, but which are denied.

    For those people who may be enthralled by the ToT clause in the Rafale, they may be best assured that certain critical technologies, such as those to manufacture the GaN T/R modules in the radar (including the technology to manufacture ultra-pure GaN and the related foundries), high precision multi-axis CNC machines,…, and other critical components and algorithms used in the fusion and networking will not be provided to India. To go a bit further, even in the Indo-Israeli Barak 8 JV, India’s intention was to get seeker technology. In the end, this is one of the technologies India can never hope to attain through the JV, despite empty rhetoric.

    In many respects, the very notion of a ToT is bogus. It involves magically encapsulating years of experience, trials, successes and failures of thousands of foreign scientists, and transmitting/transplanting this knowledge to their Indian counterparts (should any exist).

  10. RV says:

    I am at a loss to see why India has opted to squander billions of USD of Indian taxpayer’s money in bailing out the C-17 in order to forestall closure of a Boeing plant, and now this monstrously expensive and operationally dubious proposed Rafale acquisition, to prolong the said a/c’s production and save French jobs.

    Why has wanton & unbridled corruption, and criminal neglect of duty to the Indian Nation by successive Indian governments converted the IAF from a fighting force, to being a veritable Salvation Army where ruinously costly shelter is provide to every derelict in town? The jury is still out on the Boeing P-8’s. However, if certain reports/feedback are to be believed, their performance falls well short of that stipulated in the brochures.

    I have yet to see a sound rationale for the Indian acquisition of C-17’s (especially in such large numbers), when the need of the hour is for more of the excellent C-130J’s. Matters seem to be coming to a head, and these are the questions that need to be asked by the Modi administration, especially since the MMRCA deal stands to bankrupt India, and ruin what is possibly the last chance for the Indian aerospace industry to get off the staring line.

    Finally, I notice that in the letter by AM, (retd.) Barbora to Bharat Karnad, the acronym MMRCA has been used quite repeatedly. What surprises me that in the Youtube clips whose links are put up by Karnad, neither Barbora nor his “expert and specialist” colleagues were able to qualitatively or quantitative the rationale for the classifications “light”, “medium”, and “heavy”. Despite this shameful exposure, Barbora continues to drop acronyms whose expanded form contains the word “medium”, something he was at a loss to provide the basic definition of.

    • RV says:

      CORRECTED SENTENCE:
      _____________________

      The sentence in the 4th paragraph (above) should read as:

      What surprises me that in the Youtube clips whose links are put up by Karnad, neither Barbora nor his “expert and specialist” colleagues were able to qualitatively or quantitative provide any coherent rationale for the classifications “light”, “medium”, and “heavy”.

  11. RV says:

    For the records, the Rafale was the best a/c to have taken part in the MMRCA sweepstakes. It appears that some people are using the controversy surrounding the Rafale to find a backdoor entrance form some US junk or the EF Typhoon. Perhaps, if the National treasury was not looted by the UPA regime, with shocking events like CWG, 2G, Coalgate,…, Augusta-Westland, …, the Vadra creative accounting technique,…, there might well have been money for both the Rafale acquisition and the Tejas & Kaveri programs.

    The development & deployment in large numbers of the Tejas MK-1/2 is nonnegotiable, as is the operationalization of the Kaveri engine to the degree of specification as required by the Tejas program. Bearing these harsh realities in mind and accounting for long-term strategic interests, the Rafale is too far expensive to procure. This is especially true given the limited scope for development it offers, and its true/intrinsic value to the nascent Indian aerospace industry..

  12. RV says:

    IMHO, the following list of possibilities could be considered to address the rapidly declining squadron strength of the IAF, and yo salvage the time and expenditure in the MMRCA sweepstakes:

    1. Scrap acquisition of the additional C-7’s and P-8’s. The rationale for acquisition of the first (C-7’s) in such large numbers has not been justified, and the allegedly degraded performance of the next (P-8’s) has not been seriously discussed or addressed.

    2. If 30 % of the MMRCA costs are to be plowed back into the Indian economy, the exact nature of these offsets need to be made transparent and verifiable.

    3. ToT should be limited to realistic, verifiable, and easily monitored technologies, which can be easily digested by Indian industry. Fanciful talk such as obtaining GaN technology without transferring of the foundries and the technology to build them need to be junked. Instead, the ToT should be strictly limited to complete and verifiable technology transfer of: a.) new composite materials such as carbon/ceramic fibres onto a carbon/ceramic matrix, b.) composite material tooling and multi-axis CNC machines, and if possible, c.) relevant aspects of the technology emanating from FUBICOMP program.

    4. The Contract and Price Negotiating Committee should insist that 30-50% of any MLU’s be offset to Indian industry. This will stop any repeat of the M2K upgrade charade.

    If the above can be accomplished/strictly enforced, then the Rafale deal may not be a bad option. However, under no circumstances should this come in the way of large scale induction of the Tejas MK-1/2 and the development of an acceptable and certified Kaveri engine, which are non-negotiable.

  13. RV says:

    Apart from the 4 Youtube clips on the Vayu-Stratpost roundtable on Indian air power, there is a 5th one dedicated to the LCA and the building a National capability. It makes for very interesting viewing:

    wwwdotstratpostdotcom/video-vayu-stratpost-air-power-roundtable-v

    Please replace all instances of “dot” with “.”.

  14. RV says:

    CORRECTED POST
    ————————–
    In addition to the 4 Youtube clips posted by Karnad on the Vayu-Stratpost roundtable on Indian air power, there is a 5th one dedicated to the LCA, and the building of a National capability. It makes for very interesting viewing:

    wwwdotstratpostdotcom/video-vayu-stratpost-air-power-roundtable-v

    Please replace all instances of “dot” with “.”.

  15. RV says:

    And a 6th Youtube clip too, summarizing findings of the roundtable:

    wwwdotstratpostdotcom/video-vayu-stratpost-air-power-roundtable-vi

    Again, please replace all instances of “dot” with “.”.

  16. RV says:

    The stance of the IAF brass on the LCA, as seen from the 5th clip of the Vayu-Stratpost roundtable, makes for very sad viewing to any self-respecting Indian. As one may recall, when the US bought the Canberra bomber designs from the UK to manufacture the Martin B-57, many influential people in the US said that “it was one foreign plane too many”. That is the attitude of self respecting Nations, though much later on the USMC bought the designs of the Harrier from the UK, and substantially modified it to make the AV-8B,

    Barring a miracle (which do not happen), one may realistically and regretfully consider the Indian design and aerospace industry dead and buried. There are of course other alternatives available, such as telling the IAF brass that the Rafale deal is off and they can either accept, develop, and induct the Tejas MK-1/2, resign, or be Court martialed. There are plenty of the younger breed of IAF pilots who are keen to fly and operationalize the Tejas.

    Simultaneously the production of the Tejas MK-1/2 should be handed over to two of the technically most proficient Indian private sector groups, i.e. L&T and TATA’s (specifically TATA Advanced Systems and TATA Advanced Materials), with close interaction with the design bureau (ADA). A mandate of 2 years (maximum) needs to be given for completion of the FOC and commencement of serial production of the Tejas MK-1 for orders in excess of the paltry 40 currently stipulated. In parallel, work on the Tejas MK-2 needs to commence ASAP. Needless to say HAL should be kept as far as away as possible from the Tejas, other than the necessary HAL facilities and equipment indefinitely leased to the private sector for the duration evolution of the Tejas project.

  17. RV says:

    If news from certain quarters is to be believed, two important developments seem to be on the anvil. First, talks with France concerning price reduction of the Rafale deal, and, explicit sovereign guarantees about “sanction proofing” the a/c’s operational status are taking place. It appears that these discussions are going well from the Indian POV,and a draft contract is in the process of being formulated. Next, it appears that the induction of sizable numbers of the Tejas MK-1/2 will not be allowed to be hindered by the Rafale deal, and certain significant re-organizations of the management of the Tejas program may be expected. Again, the nature of these “re-organizations” is anybody’s guess.

  18. Shekhar says:

    Its really amazing to see such talented and learned people sharing their views here. I got a lot to know about the combat aircrafts. Thank you guys.. I really hope govt supports indigenous development of Tejas and AMCA and does not go ahead with Rafale deal.

  19. Govindan says:

    We won the 1971 war using Gnat, SU7, Super Mystere and Mig21, Gnat plane range was 800 Km and Mig 21 range was 1210 Km. We had problem with Gnat, Two of our Gnat pilots gone and landed in a Pakistan air field. due to less fuel., But there was no problem in other planes . Tejas is a far superior plane than Gnat and MIg 21. So why are we giving importance to thrust, weight and angle of attack etc. All these things are important in case of dog fight. More over these are not a big criteria to achieve Air superiority . Avionic and range of Beyond the visual range missiles. is more important in a modern war fare. Pakistan have not increased the number of planes. They have gone and purchased 500 nos one of the best BVR missiles from USA. Russia and China jointly developed a digital jammer which can jam any BVR of USA planes. USA do not know what to do.That is one of the reason UAS is not directly involving in the Ukraine crisis. Give importance to Astra BVR missiles to increase its range and accuracy. Check the effectiveness of the Jammer. We require a planes which can carry these missiles. I

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