Encouraging a Gripen push, feeling out Russia on Su-35s

The Indian Ministry of Defence (MOD) is nothing if not completely confused about just how to handle the aftermath of the instantaneous decision by PM Modi in Paris to buy 36 Rafales for the spurious MMRCA slot. Assuming the PM’s word is taken as a firm commitment, then the country will be paying a whole lot of monies for very few aircraft, especially if as Parrikar has said, perhaps reflecting the roiled thinking in MOD and PMO — that there simply are not enough funds to buy more Rafales off the shelf nor to even go in for ToT. In this situation, it’d be reasonable to assume that Modi will have to back down, and tell Paris, er, sorry, but I misspoke! And for GOI to begin thinking entirely anew on the topic of augmenting fighter squadron strength fast.

This conclusion is derived from a couple of developments. (1) The Swedish defence minister Peter Hultqvist is in town, with a virtually single point agenda that Stockholm has been encouraged to if not push than at least air in Delhi. Sweden wants India to offtake the Gripen NG (new generation), flight control laws, source codes, advanced production technology and all, and the rpoduction house of Modi’s choice — HAL, pvt, the whole shabang package for nearly as much money as Delhi is willing to pay for the 36 Rafales, about $8 billion! And (2) in parallel, an IAF-MOD team is revealed by Russia & India Report, a Russian news outlet and hence credible about happenings at the Moscow end, in its story datelined June 2, as negotiating for joint production of the Su-35 (http://in.rbth.com/economics/2015/06/02/india-russia_move_towards_co-production_of_defence_equipment_43451.html ). [Amending: I mentioned wrongly that the Su-35 combat aircraft is what the Strategic Forces Command had asked for as the manned bomber leg of the nuclear triad, a request turned down by the Manmohan Singh regime. It was, of course, the Su-34. Too many ac numerals floating around in my head!]

The Eurofighter option has not gained traction despite very determined canvassing efforts by Berlin and London, because it is just as expensive as the Rafale, but with many more operational kinks to resolve.

Could these developments suggest that Parrikar and Modi are using the Rafale buy as leverage to soften up Sweden and Russia for better terms on the Gripen NG tech for incorporating into Tejas Mk-II and fast-tracking its production with Swedish help from Saab, the Gripen maker, and Moscow re: the Su-35 as the IAF’s main combat platform, especially if this is conjoined to Moscow’s promise to upgrade all Su-30 MKI engines to Sukhoi-PAK/FA engine standard? But all this is affordable only if Delhi finally and irrevocably trashes the Rafale.

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.
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24 Responses to Encouraging a Gripen push, feeling out Russia on Su-35s

  1. Shail says:

    The Su-35 is unproven. Even the Russian Air Force has not bought it. Neither is the Gripen a Big Deal compared to the Tejas Mk 2 ( admittedly still on the drawing board..but specs, performance etc head to head) Do we really need the source codes etc of the Gripen? Only if we buy it. either the Rafale should be completely avoided, or completely purchased. This solution of 36 Rafales + Su 35 + maybe FGFA + Maybe Gripen + Tejas Mk 2 + existing inventory will be logistical nightmare and an operational burden for standardisation of indigenous NCW EW etc

    • The logistical nightmare is one of the things I have been warning about for years. Unfortunatrely, the Su-35 and Gripen in the mix reflects serious confusion, and that usual results in bad decisions. Incidentally, the Su-35 talks are reportedly for joint development for Indian and Russian use.

  2. Rahul says:

    I have always advocated the “outright” purchase of Rafales because it is expected to cost us less…TOT and licensed production are useless; decades of TOT and license producing has not taken us anywhere…This “Maybe A”/”Maybe B”/”Maybe C” is not going to take us anywhere. Upgrade all the Su 30MKI to Super Sukhoi standard(again, when the first Super version will come, noone knows, media has put that news into backburner). The Super version should contain AL41F engines of Su-35 even if, lets, assume, PAK FA engines integration is not feasible and with AESA radar and few “here and there” upgrades which would make it more stealthy. Order a few more Super ones to take the total count to 350-360 to makeup 20 squadrons. Forget Su-35.

    Go for outright purchase of Rafales “if” Dassault agrees to sell them at the price qouted in the tender and within total budget of the tender(10.5 billion). Make sure we have enough Rafales to replace existing Mig 27 one is to one…That’s about 4 squadrons, or 72-80 Rafales.

    Read the riot act to HAL/DRDO to complete Tejas Mk1/Mk2 development and start production. Involve 3-4 Production agencies, one of them can be HAL and the rest private sector. Build in parallel, 300-400 Tejas in very quick time, 70-80/year. That will be 15-20 squadrons. Add to it 6 squadrons of upgraded Mig 29 and Mirage 2000’s, we will have 50 squadrons.

    Devote money and resources to PAK FA/FGFA and AMCA. Order 40 PAK FA and rest 100 FGFA’s. If FGFA becomes very costly, drop the idea, build the customized Indian version of PAK FA and take 140(40+100) of them. When AMCA comes along, order 300-400 .FGFA and AMCA can be used to replace Jaguars, Mirages and Mig 29’s.

    if Dassault fails to read the riot act and this has to be decided very quickly, bring in the Gripen inplace of Rafale. Order around 100.

  3. Shail says:

    @ Rahul. Fighter production rate of Tejas Mk I was 8 ac/year. Advertised by HAL what they COULD achieve given obscene amounts (10000 Cr allegedly) to build new facilities was projected as 16/Yr. Actually on ground its 2 a year. So….Riot acts have been read many times over, the IAF has cried hoarse, nothing changes. FGFA/AMCA are still on drawing board / Trial stages nowhere near series production. No country in the world including US, Russia, France can produce 200 modern fighters a year. And oh..No Super sorry..few more years we wont be capable of even a single front war. Buying is not a long term answer. Pvt partnerships are happening but too slowly. Wait for the new DPP. as of today, Pvt players get short shrift compared to the inefficent DPSUs. Things are bleak.

    • Rahul says:

      Partly agree with you…I did not say 200 fighters/year, though, the USA will manufacture 365 F-35 /year when the production is in full steam….They need 2500 F-35’s, so if they go at say, 50/yr, the last F-35 will enter when the first F-35 is slated for retirement….

      When I said “riot act”, I meant carrying the stick and giving a thing or two in their a**….Merely calling them to South Block/Vayu Sena Bhavan and “requsting” them to “understand” the problems of IAF and deliver faster since the IAF is facing depleting fighter squadrons will not work….How many employees/managers of inefficient DPU’s and babus of Defence ministry have been punished for incompetence? I personally believe these DPU people and babus are actually in the payrolls of the foreign arms mafia/enemy army. Because of which they underperform deliberately and open the doors for the foreign companies/enemy armies….

      But the IAF and IA also needs to introspect…How can it be that DRDO has achieved moderate/above moderate success in areas which are strategic in nature, say, missiles and nuclear reactors of submarines? Those things can’t be imported and so DRDO has delivered….Does that mean, it is the IAF and IA who does not want indigeneous fighters and tanks? It well could be…Parikkar also alluded to that when he mentioned “the requirements of IAF and IA are sometimes straight out of fiction books”…

      2 examples…Air Chief P.V.Naik mentioned that LCA Mk1 is “better” than Mig 21 but it still is not a 4th gen fighter…Well, then I, if I am a fighter pilot, I would prefer to go to a battle flying a LCA Mk1 “rather” than a Mig 21…But then, you have orders for only 40 MK1’s, a point mentioned as an excuse by HAL to deliver 2-8 fighters per year…Same case with IA and Arjun MBT…Though Arjun has beaten Bhisma hands down, still they will order more and more Bhisma and will want more and more upgrades for Arjun….

      Time for some serious decissions for everyone….This great nation does not belong to a select few….

  4. Shail says:

    Not even US can dream of producing 365 F-35s, The capacity simply doesnt exist, all the way down the supply chain.
    Not a single Babu has ever been punished for non-performing DPSUs or any PSUs for that matter in India’s History –ever. The unionisation of workers makes it difficult to punish workers (refer case of spanner found in controls of IAF aircraft which crashed – at least 2-3 documented cases where offender was traced) no punishment to anyone EVER.
    Its not do-able in india.
    The DRDO has centres of excellence. some bright spots in a dark circle. The darker part still overshadows. Refer various studies on re-srtructuring DRDO. That ball has not rolled despite broad political consensus on the issue. The issue of uality of intake to DRDO itself – the best and brightest are not joining… and never will. How many top rankers in research in India? Nil? Miniscule? There’s a reason why US Israel etc are R&D kings- from technology and production comes National Power. We are a nation obsessed with ‘value for money’ vis a vis performance. doesnt work that way in engagements lasting seconds where a fraction of a second and a few km range difference between opposing Radars and missiles decide the engagement.
    The only saving grace is that the Pakis are no better. But the chinks are catching up v v fast …with the west..we r not even on the Radar as viable opponents for them. Refer their recent white paper of few days ago.
    Like i said..its dire and complicated.

  5. Shail says:

    Maybe Put a condition in RFP of assurance of timeline of delivery should score over price, technology, indigenisation etc etc. The LCA mk 1 stage should be skipped and we should jump straight to LCA Mk II produced by Pvt Players Thus isolating HAL. In any case the Mk I is an obsolete before induction machine, without even worthwhile warload ( only 2 tons with drop tanks, which are mandated for each and every mission due to low internal fuel), electronic warfare and endurance. Very poor flight line maintainability. The technical manuals are stil not written. Nor is the Technical Ground equipment ready. Give it a miss, GO straight for Tejas Mk 2, save few 1000s of crores. In the meantime, go for proven Su-30s and license manufacture more Jaguars. Not enough but maybe do-able in-house without costly foriegn acquisitions.

  6. Rahul says:

    @Shail: If Mk1 is not good enough then why did P.V.Naik said that Mk1 is better than Mig 21 and why does all test pilots say that Mk1 is better than Mig 21 and in some aspects, even better than current non-upgraded Mirage 2000’s? You carefully avoided replying to that part which I raised in my comments….

  7. Shail says:

    Well, i thought it was obvious. Of course its better than the MiG-21, Its FBW is digital, hence better than M-2000, but so what? Range – (without drop tanks) is atrocious, use drop tanks and you lose out weapon stations and weight and drag penalties crop up. Hence since manoevrability and thrust to weight in Clean config wasnt upto specs to begin with,,,, Now in the wartime configuration with 2/3 drop tanks, and weapons, factor in the GE 404s relatively low thrust, and hey presto – we have a guard who needs a guard…. so…yeah…its better than the MiG-21, ( not in terms of acceleration, turn rates, climb rates, weapon load) but was the MiG -21 such a big deal either? How many countries are still flying them (except us that is)

    But see the neighbourhood.
    Is the MiG-21 a benchmark any more? Aircraft, Ships, Tanks, Weapons are based on environmental realities. i.e. enemy capability. e.g. The shoulder fired missile ( first gen stinger ) in 1980s which shot down many russian fighters in Afghanistan is itself obsolete today. we cannot replace it with a model which is just slightly better, when the aircraft have moved on to missile approach warners , flares, etc etc ( just an example)

    Google the latest capabilities of modern missiles, radars, super-manoevrable ac, ground based air defenses, network centric warfare capabilities, SDR, Electronic warfare, AWACs, Air to Air Refuellers , etc etc. Its a cutting edge field. Progress is on a monthly basis. Radars and EW equipment change and update software ( and hence capability) many times in a year.

    The time and Context of Naiks comment and known own and enemy capability then and now?? another example. see the depiction of the tank destruction by rockets in Longewala (movie : Border… One ac several rockets in Salvo per pass for one tank. Total 40+ sorties flown for 20 odd tanks) Today with a sensor fused weapon payload of 4 weapons each aircraft, just one pair of aircraft can take out an entire regiment actually 64 vehicles ( under test conditions. ..as the ads say). The world is changing around us very rapidly. The capabilities demanded by the conditions are changing. The MiG-21 is extinct and gone. So drop that line.

    Once again the Mk i without aerial refuelling and electronic warfare equipment is a dead duck and non-starter. Proliferation of Chinese ground based very potent AD systems will probably very effectively deny it the Army support role. Point AD is a dead concept when AWACs rules the Air and Networked Ground Radars permit soooooo much more. Its good for Point AD. Better actually due a much better radar and little longer ranged missiles . but who needs Point AD now? That was the MiG-21s role. Once again we cannot prepare for the Last war.

    Dont get me started on maintainability..The MiG-21 could be turned around between sorties literally in minutes. Not this aircraft. Effectively generated lesser sorties and thus less targeting and overall less combat power. Now the elephant in the room…HAL !!! story khatam hai yahin par.

    In short, the idea is to kill the other guy for his country- as quickly and in as large numbers and as soon and efficiently as possible with minimum own losses. Since Fighter planes and especially trained combat pilots are irreplaceable within the short duration of modern wars.
    Will Mk I do it? Nope. Mk II probably. Mk III surely..but our scientists and engineers cannot develop and test and produce them quickly enough and in adequate numbers. The cost benefit and indigenous content also is not too great either.

  8. Shail says:

    And dont get me wrong the Mk II addresses many of the above flaws…and should be fairly potent and upgradeable too. Needs a Solid Govt Push, elimination of HAL and quick delivery schedules.

  9. Shail says:

    And Parrikar is not exactly a defence expert, even though he is admittedly the RM. Comments based on advice from file pusher accountants and fisheries babus turned MoD babus is not always correct, due to many turf games etc etc. Some times its oneupmanship too.

    Not that the requirements are always really fine tuned ( not supporting but…..) Maybe the Bhishma has some flaws that you may not be aware of? By the way, in our tortuous procurement process, all decisions are collegiate with healthy representations from all concerned. Dont pin blame on one dept. All Romans agree ..it aint the legionnaries alone. Some things are said only for effect, some are quick unthinking responses ( e.g. – Many latest statements) Anddd….the final decisions and signatures which matter are done by those who then become CVC and CAG and criticise those very self same decisions. So..the wise keep their own counsel.

    Read between the lines, dont research only on Google. many foreign aircraft and weapons are also crap. What we need is a massive investment in R&D, re-organisation of some scientific depts, better scientific intake in Govt Orgs, and a Major Kick up the Backside for non-performers.

  10. Rahul says:

    Couple of quick questions:

    “Is Mig 21 a benchmark anymore?” Then what is JF-17, PAF’s backbone all about?

    Do you honestly believe that JF-17 Block 1 and 2 are 7th gen fighters that can knock out F-22’s and F-35’s in a matter of seconds? I don’t think so….But still they are been inducted in numbers…Because PAF does not have the money for fancied items….They will survive with whatever they have…Block 3 onwards with AESA radar will have some capabilities….So If PAF can survive with Block 1 and Block 2 which I presume will be upgraded in future to Block 3, what is forcing IAF not to induct Mk1 in large numbers? Availaibility of Rafales/Typhoons/Gripens and FGFA’s? Last heard, every ‘loosing vendor’ of MMRCA is exclaiming in excitement ‘I am back in the race dude, I am back in the race’….

    Lets take IA. Govt and DRDO asked IA to comeup with QSR of FMBT, which is next generation MBT so that in house development can start at the earliest….IA dragged its feet for 3 years and did not supply anything….The moment Russians unveiled their T-14 Armatas’, IA let out a global RFP detailing what it needs for its next generation battle tank, not under the name of FMBT but under a different name…..Do you believe it is a mere coincidence? I will be a fool to accept that….Its all hogwash….

    Do you know that all Generals and Marshalls, once they retire from IA and IAF, go and settle at Chandigarh? Do you know why all of them go and settle at Chandigarh? RAW had conducted a detailed analysis and have termed them as ‘The Chandigarh Gang’….Basically this gang acts as agents of global arms majors and sabotage the Indian indigeneous defence industry on behalf of their ‘firangi’ masters….

  11. Shail says:

    Dont worry about the JF-17. its a rip-off. — its no contest. Seriously, are you still comparing Paki indigenisation (non-existent), industry, economy etc with us ??????? Are u suggesting even remotely that we have the same economic constraints and tech levels????

    Look northwards. That’s the real deal. Tejas, MiG-21 statement refers. Rest u r free to believe what u wish. It really doesn’t matter.

    Re: Mk 1:: did u even read the posts above? i cannot force u. -again it really doesn’t matter to u. u wont get shot. You r just interested in arguing. I am not.

    –and did u get an impression that DRDO is the holy grail of R&D and the Tejas is a big deal which was deliberately sabotaged to buy foreign stuff? Be wise, its been 30 years in the concept coming to fruition. Still we are nowhere close to op utilisation. Its a bad bad thing. No one takes so long. Read about other such programmes. Read about the Gripen, even JF-17, J-10 etc etc. Get real. Just sunk costs are no reason for unjustified attribution of capability.

    Rest choice is yours. No more comments from this end.-Again as i said it just doesnt matter. The Mk-II is coming , its because the Mk I isnt good enough, which is the plain unvarnished (unpleasant ) truth. People find it difficult to swallow. So be it.

    Foriegn dependence is unpleasant. So at least kick DRDOs ass to develop stuff. and really it has to meet the environmental reality of the time it operationalises the equipment.

    I dont know, but Armata specs seem far superior to anything else out there.

    Lastly. dont assume everyone is corrupt.

  12. Rahul says:

    You can blame me for arguing but the problem is you are deliberately, carefully choosing to see logic to make your point….

    “Dont worry about the JF-17. its a rip-off. — its no contest. Seriously, are you still comparing Paki indigenisation (non-existent), industry, economy etc with us ??????? Are u suggesting even remotely that we have the same economic constraints and tech levels???? Look northwards. That’s the real deal. Tejas, MiG-21 statement refers.”

    Last heard, the IAF has been mandated to fight a two front war and not a single front war against China…What I am not understanding is, if the JF-17 is no contest and Indian tech is far superior to Pakistan, then why can’t the Tejas Mk1 be fielded in large numbers in western borders to tackle PAF???? Surely, the JF-17’s would be taken out within minutes….And I am saying this after believing what you are saying about Pakistani tech vs Indian tech….Freed up Su 30MKI’s and other potent fighters can then be deployed in the eastern and northern sectors against China….Same logic goes for IA’s Arjuns….If Arjun, being heavier, cannot be deployed in Sikkim and Arunachal, surely, they can be deployed in the plains of Punjab and the deserts of Rajasthan….That will free up enough lighter T-90’s for the China sector….But then, its illogical and bad habit of “interest in arguing” to make this point….It is indeed logical and good habit to order more and more half cooked T-90’s/foreign fighters and ask for more and more upgrades for Arjuns and Tejas….

    Modern 21st century warfare is as much as physcological warfare as physical warfare….If the IAF had backed the Tejas and accepted it in large numbers, I believe the enemy would have been more circumspect in attacking rather ‘than’ the scenario where the IAF goes on babbling about the deficiencies of Tejas and periodically babbles about the depleting strength of fighter squadrons….The enemy, though in this age of internet information, would have come to know of the deficiencies of Tejas but would have been hesitant in taking offensive actions because IAF has those squadrons…..But then, IAF and IA, having loved pizzas and vodkas from its day of birth hardly understands or cares to understand about physcological warfare….

    I have never said DRDO and HAL are holy grail….Read my first comments where I asked them to be punished….

    As for Mk2, don’t worry, even if turns out to be superior, IAF will not order them in large numbers….If govt falls into the trap of inviting Gripen for Make In India, it will be R.I.P. Tejas….

    IAF can oder 200+ FGFA’s even when the first prototype has not flown, it will order a mearge 84 Mk2 when the Mk1 is on the verge of FOC….

  13. Shail says:

    I dont know about what numbers who is going to order, but i insist that Mk-2 is the plane to buy and not the mark 1 and not gripen or any other. I thought i was clear.
    Dont be so anti IAF and IA, after all they are the ones who are going to fight. ( not u or me)
    your conspiracy theory arguments. words like “babble, pizza and vodka” are generally dramatic, rabble rousing and untrue. I dont think you have met any real fighter pilots. Save your ire for the real architects of disaster , HAL and gang

  14. Rahul says:

    Dude, plz read this article from the same author on whose blog we are debating….Hope this makes you more wiser….


    And yes, I have never met a fighter pilot, I would though love to meet them….I had/have/will have no doubts ever on their professionalism and their sacrifice for the nation and their ability to pull it off when the nation will need them….I was only referring to the ex Air Marshals and ex Generals who have given up fighting 20 years ago, have developed a fat tummy in the subsequent years due to the fat gained from high calorie foods like pizzas and vodkas, who have a say in any final decission taken by IAF and who have mostly settled down at Chandigarh post retirement….

    I can never question the evaluation method of IAF, say the MMRCA deal…I have fought bitterly with the author on this blog over it to the extent that he had to delete my comments….But I am not afraid of calling a spade a spade, though that may make the ex Air Marshals and ex Generals angry….

    At the end of the day, I was, am and will remain a ‘Mango People’, sorry, ‘Aam Aadmi’…..

  15. Shail says:

    The indian system had done well by banning all such middlemen including retired officers. However, i believe they set to come back legally as per the latest DPP. Who is to blame? The system who allows it or the individuals who exploit it? Both actually..but the system more so.
    Transparency and a National debate are the hall marks of a democracy. Both are missing on defence issues. Sadly the real experts are few and far between even in the services. They are often sidelined when decisions of import are taken.
    Indigenisation yes, but no dilution of quality, and most importantly accountability. Thats my stand. I will never ever support a low quality product which doesnt have an operational use in actual war…no matter who made it. That includes the F-16 and F-18 offered to India, the MiG-35, The HPT-32, the Marut, the MiG-23, MiG-27, and a host of other crappy products including Kaveri engine Nag, Trishul which thankfully died. The LCA Mk I is also amongst them.

    • Shail:
      Not to put too fine a point on it but very superior hardware emanates from an indigenous industry only if the govt is determined to go desi no matter what and then holds the feet of everybody in the R&D, production, end-user continuum to the fire, making them accountable, with dire penalties, etc. If, as in India, the services stand aside, have nothing to do with the underway projects, expect the mostest, and then come in at the prototype stage and criticize what comes out of the pipeline, then the exceptions, like the navy, standout as exceptions that get the best out of deficient situations. The Mk-1 of any product is going to be crap (to use your word) for a nascent industry, Mk-IV or Mk-V will be world-class — a natural progression of accumulation of experience and competence. But if GOI is unwilling to take that decisive step of saying only desi or nothing, and we’ll deal with whatever transpires, then every little alarm will set off the counter-trend to seek foreign.

      • Shail says:

        I agree whole heartedly. But Mk I of Bramhos, Prithvi, Kiran trainer and many others were quite adequate. The moot point here is often the IAF / IA are not involved because the DRDO doesnt want it so. Contrast this with the F-16, Gripen, etc programmes where operational crew were involved right from the design stage. The LCA in my opinion is a case of “what not to do in managing an aircraft programme” another little known one is the Idli AVRO which crashed and then of course the Saras by NAL, which killed three crew on a test flight due to a fundamental design flaw. The sad question is who pays for whose sins?
        It is rumoured that the designer of certain LCA components like undercarriage, and some other systems etc HAD NOT SEEN A FIGHTER! I dont know whether to believe it or not, but people insist its true.
        Secondly, The GoI must (ideally) develop its own unbiased aviation expertise to have checks and balances. Preferably apolitical, with adequate clout and non IAS, non services and non DRDO, which directly reports to the RM, and not the Def Sec or some such

  16. Shail,

    Much of this traceable to the killing of the HF_24 Mk-II programme principally by IAF. This from the horse’s mouth — Dr Raj Mahindra, chief designer of the same. So the Tejas project had to learn all the things to make an aircraft de novo. It cannot be blamed for the glitches. The wonder is such a beautiful aircraft has been developed. Now consider how much farther the LCA would have been had IAF taken the driver’s seat and pledged its AD mission future to this aircraft from the start — come hell; or high water. This is the point that is sought to be made. I think highly of the IAF. My classmates have attained AM ranks, been great fliers. But in this the service is remiss. There are no excuses,

    • Satyendra Singh says:

      Buy 5 squadrons of su35 from Russia n stop them them from selling these high tech birds to Pakistan. Su30mki has lower range than su35 n also su30mki do have external fuel tanks. su35 also features the ovt technology for engines. Su30mki cannot supercruise too but su35 can.
      Cancel rafale if possible as it is very costly deal n also will badly effect iaf modernisation. 36 planes would prove to be a maintainance issue. Indo french relations could be effected if rafale deal is cancelled. So MoD needs to play carefully.
      Develop mig 35 with modifications suiting iaf n buy 6 squadrons. Mig corporation will happily n cost effectively provide mig 35 to us even after modifications for suiting needs of iaf as mig is unable to find international customers n is in deep trouble. Mig 35 is not proven platform but we could make it good after modifications. Further ask the mig corporation to help us develop tejas mk2 n they can n will easily provide us with technology as they are keen to sell mig 35 to india. Mig 35 was unveiled at aero india 2007. It could mean that mig 35 was developed specifically for india.
      Develop only single seat pak fa n drop twin seat fgfa plan. Iaf also is not keen on fgfa as it would lead to heavy development n procurement cost. Russia will also try to drench indian money as most as possible for fgfa.
      Rafale money(7 to 8bn $) should be diverted to tejas mk2 and amca development.
      Build 2 production lines for tejas mk2.
      Iaf will need 60 to 70 squadrons of fighter planes as china n pakistan will increase their fighter numbers. China could have 1500 to 2000 fighters n pakistan 300 to 400. To counter this many fighters india might be needing 1300 fighters.
      But all indian fighters should be maintained and upgraded later by indian joint ventures for defence. We need to build and maintain large number of fighters so we cannot depend on imported spares. It will be inherently costly for us.
      Cancelling the rafale deal could also imbalance the geopolitics with france. So all the best to MoD. Tussle inside MoD should also be removed. It is proving to be a hindrance in modernisation.
      India needs to modernise with help from western world t

  17. Satyendra Singh says:

    Indian armed forces need to modernise from wherever possible, may it be the western world, israel or russia. We need to maintain healthy relations with all countries as we need investment from around the globe for infrastructure n economic development too. We need to build strong ties with the world n also try best to become world power economically n militarily.
    Russia has been our proven partner so we should give it a priority. We should make Russia stand with us on all aspects. Further more, Russia needs money as it is under western sanctions. Russia has technology which it could provide us as it needs funds for socio economic n military developments. We should also try to stop russia from selling hich tech technologies to china n pakistan. In future russia can provide india with energy n mineral needs to fulfil the needs of 1 billion plus people.

    Iaf is also not keen on twin seat fgfa as it has said that it can make do with single seat pak fa.
    10 to 15 years after, iaf needs can be around 1300 fighter jets. It is to be fixed by both 4th gen n 5th gen fighter Jets.
    If su30mki can win over typhoon then su35 can easily defeat rafale. 5 squadrons of Su35 will also keep china n pakistan at bay.
    We just need to develop our own defence industry so that in future we can reduce imports for modernisation of armed forces and also be able to build n maintain large fighter jet fleets cost effectively. It could save billions of dollar. India could see a defence industry market of 500 to 600 bn$ from 2015 to 2030

  18. Satyendra Singh says:

    Russia needs money n India needs technology. We could fulfill each other’s needs. We can give a priority to russian defence industry to set up joint ventures with indian firms. It will provide us with high quality products suiting indian needs n also will be cutting edge n cost effective.

  19. Partho says:

    I think India should give Gripen NG a hard look. Gripen NG is the only aircraft available in today’s market which can effective replace IAF’s MiG 21, 23 & 27. If Gripen can be built in mass numbers in India then the cost will come down significantly, plus the contract can be tailored to force SAAB in assisting and coming up with LCA Mk 2 and AMCA in near future. Gripens are highly capable fighters, easy on maintenance and can operate from short airfields/roads. HAL can learn from SAABs years of experience of coming up with cost effective advanced effective aircrafts.

    However India needs either Rafale or F18 to have the desired numbers of fighters in middle weight omnirole class. I think IAF should prefer Rafale due to following reasons
    1. IAF has years of experience of operating the Mirage 2000. As per recent news the newly upgraded Mirage 2000 will have various components and sub components which are common to Rafale. This will take care of the logistics needed to maintain both the aircrafts.
    2. France is not a party to F35 program. It is planning to directly go for 6th Generation unmanned fighters and this will take some time. So that means that they will keep upgrading Rafales capabilities for the near future and IAF can benefit from that, which may not be the case with F18.
    3. Rafales are one of the few aircrafts which are Carrier capable. If India signs for a significant number of aircrafts then it can include the requirements for Indian Navy also. Indian Navy is searching for aircrafts which can operate from all its aircraft carriers along with Mig 29k.

    In case India decides to go for F18 (which is also a very capable aircraft) then it will be a strategic decision. Think about the Geo political effect it will have in the sub continent when a US Defence Major will have a manufacturing base in India. USA/Pentagon will be forced to support India in case of any conflict because they will have huge business interests in India. This kind of an arrangement will force China to think 100 times before coming with any misadventure (not mentioning Pakistan because I don’t think India should compete with Pakistan).

    If I would have been in IAF or MoD then I would have preferred the following numbers in IAF
    1. Gripens/LCA 1A – 40% (of total strength)
    2. Su 30 MKI – 30%
    3. Rafales & Mirage 2000 – 20% (In a decades time the entire 20% should be Rafales)
    4. Mig 29s – 5% (this should get replaced by Rafales in future)
    5. PAK FA – 5%

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