Russian offer of MiG LMFS, F-16, etc. as India faces a troubled world

Persons in the know say Russia is offering India the co-development of the MiG 1.44 in the updated LMFS configuration with a conformal bomb bay. Some years back, as noted in this blog, IAF then in the throes of the MMRCA decision had rejected the 1.44.  The Russian Air Force is streamlining its inventory to two types of combat aircraft — the “super” Su-30 and the MiG LMFS, Su plus a new generation strategic bomber to replace the Tu-160 Blackjack. The US Air Force is likewise restricting itself to the one type, all-purpose fighter plane — F-35 and its service variants.

If IAF is planning on a similar exercise as it should be doing then, as yet, there’s no hint of it. In any case, for the combat complement one type of aircraft, if anybody has any sense, has to be the indigenous Tejas LCA and its future variants, like the AMCA. It is the other type that will prove to be headache for the country. Just too many aircraft manufacturers are chasing down that slot, and have selected their Indian commercial partners in this venture with an eye firmly on the proximity of these partners to prime minister Modi. Dassault has tied up for its Rafale with Anil Ambani’s Reliance Aerospace and the Sweden’s SAAB for its Gripen E with the other A in the business world — the Adani’s. Neither Ambani nor Adani have done any aircraft production and have no production wherewithal ecen of a rudimentary kind set up by Mahindra. The only industrial engineering firm that has the resources, if not the actual experience, is L&T which, incidentally, dithered when asked in late 2014 to set up a Tejas production line to compete with HAL. This to say the country faces a nearly bare cupboard where the private sector manufacture of complex fighter aircraft is concerned.

The situation is actually a lot worse. With Trump in the White House, Modi’s earlier plan (hatched during the Obama Administration) of siddling up to the United States seems to have been upended. Not only has Washington not given a fig about Delhi’s concerns on the H1B visa issue but has gone ahead and issued an executive order to tighten up the Indian techie entry channel. It was just the prompting that other countries needed to put in place their own systems of minimizing the entry of Indian IT  and other qualified personnel. So Australia followed up by amending its 457 programme, notwithstanding Ausi PM Turnbull’s selfie taking with Modi on the Delhi metro, and Singapore clamped down as well. So all the channels are shutting down in Delhi’s face.

And, far from rearing up against China, Trump turned into a pussycat after hosting the Chinese President Xi Jinping at his resort White House in Florida, Mar-e-Lago, purring about how well the two had got along and why every thing is hunky-dory where US relations with Beijing are concerned. Meanwhile, Beijing jumped up and down and renamed certain parts of Arunachal Pradesh as a first step to claiming them outright, even as a confused and inactive Delhi has done little but mumble in its cups, when the right cartographic response should have been, as I have long suggested, for a start showing  Tibet in a colour other than the Chinese red in all Indian maps, to denote its questionable status as per the December 21, 1961 UN General Assembly Resolution seeking self-determination for Tibet. (India’s Kashmir will not be any more jeopardized because China, as it is, has by its actions supported Pakistan’s case.)  This in the context of the Dalai Lama finally showing grit to declare that he may in fact discover his reincarnation here (perhaps, to preempt Beijing’s announcing its own Dalai Lama as it has threatened to do).  Instead, MEA and PMO are most exercised about Cmdr Yadav in Pakistani captivity when Pakistan’s intent is plain — to use him as pawn to trade for ISI’s own Lt Col Mohammad Habib Zair, first lured to Lumbini in Nepal by RAW and then, if Pakistani sources are to be believed, shanghaied into India. In other words, with most of Modi’s foreign policy world collapsing around him, his government, typical of GOI, is preoccupied with the least important issue at hand!

Meanwhile — to return to the subject of aircraft! —  Lockheed is marshaling its considerable resources in Washington to pressure Modi when he visits Trump in June, into buying the museum-ready F-16, to add to the M-777 howitzer. If Modi could be cajoled into impulse purchasing the Rafale, there’s no guarantee he won’t succumb to Trump’s hectoring, lose his nerve and forget the leverage India has always had but which Delhi has never exercised — its vast, still quite open, market of a billion+ people, or succumb to the canny US President massaging the PM’s ego by various contrivances while dipping into Modi’s pockets for oodles of money he may be willing to shell out on India’s behalf for little in return.

Minister Nirmala Seetharaman has not so gently hinted that an obstreperous Trump will have to deal with the operations of US companies being hampered in India if the US does not ease up and here, again, she stressed the wrong issue — the H1B visas, when there are other graver concerns that should be agitating the government. But whether Modi will be clear in communicating Seetharaman’s intent and sticking by it once Trump rolls out the big guns, meaning the big Indian business houses that usually push the Washington line on everything, is another matter.

As suggested in a previous post, Arun Jaitley is not, unlike his predecessor Parrikar, the man to show at least some resistance against Modi. He’s there precisely to stand beside the PM with the national purse open and his mouth closed. The Finance minister has little instinctive interest or understanding of defence and national security matters except in the perfunctory sense. There’s every reason to believe, for instance, that as defence minister he has not so far studied the IAF’s requirements list and the best way to meet it, and understood the techno-economic sense of making Tejas the main combat aircraft for air force and navy, come what may, or considered just how to deal with the Navy’s expenditure plan amounting to Rs 123 Lakh crores in the foreseeable future. Because every rupee expended in extraneous spending such as on F-16 is a rupee denied the armed services to spend more wisely in the nation’s interest.

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 arms exports, Asian geopolitics, Australia, China, China military, civil-military relations, Culture, Decision-making, domestic politics, DRDO, Europe, Geopolitics, Great Power imperatives, India's China Policy, India's Pakistan Policy, India's strategic thinking and policy, Indian Air Force, Indian Army, Indian ecobomic situation, Indian Navy, Indian Ocean, MEA/foreign policy, Military Acquisitions, Military/military advice, Pakistan, Pakistan military, Russia, russian assistance, society, South Asia, Strategic Relations with the US & West, Technology transfer, Tibet, UN, United States, US., Weapons. Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to Russian offer of MiG LMFS, F-16, etc. as India faces a troubled world

  1. &^%$#@! says:

    Bharat, it is planned that the T-50 replace the SU-27/-30/-35,….and the MiG LMFS will replace the MiG-29/-35/…At the very most the Super 30 will be a stop gap measure. While the eventual normal take off weight of the T-50 is around 25 tons, the MiG LMFS would weigh in at around 15+ tons, but is stipulated to have a capability in excess of current a/c in the so called “heavy” category. With Russia and even China making tremendous strides in so-called “photonic radars”, the days of a/c like the F-35 are pretty much further numbered by yet another technological development.

    This is an interesting, though imprecise summary of recent Russian sensor fusion:
    India will naturally sink the LCA/Tejas and reject all offers to make up for any shortfalls with procuring Russian a/c which have been offered. Modi would go in for the F-16 or a F-16/SAAB mix, given that the F-16 has even been endorsed by a catamite of the class of the “exalted” Sumit Ganguly, while SAAB and Adani are heading for some sort of JV, given Adani’s extensive expertise in the aerospace sector.

    • &^%$#@! says:

      By SAAB, I mean the mythical SAAB Gripen E/NG which to the best of my knowledge still has not satisfactorily run high speed taxi tests at the SAAB site in Linköping.

    • Apna says:

      Obsolete f16 was plane which was being pushed to Saudi Arabia in 1981.
      India is so late coming for that obsolete plane now!!
      Indians are shameless with no sense of embarrassment even on talking about f16 buy.

  2. ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

    Re. “The only industrial engineering firm that has the resources, if not the actual experience, is L&T which, incidentally, dithered when asked in late 2014 to set up a Tejas production line to compete with HAL.”

    L&T arguably one of the best magnets for engineering talent dithered and the Indian establishment agreed or at least did not give them reason enough to think it over again.

    Then Adani and Anil come along and convince them with their innate talent and the establishment gets convinced, at least enough to allow them to make Rafale or Gripen.

    Sounds to me like the support given to Tejas all these years by this establishment.

  3. andy says:

    The 1.44 MIG has been talked about for at least 10 years now without much headway being made,the only reason is lack of funds,which have all but dried up for MIG corp with a dearth of orders from traditional clients like the Russian and Indian airforce.Its an interesting concept but probably headed nowhere what with the Russians preferring the PAKFA.

    The Indians have still to sign the final contract for the FGFA inspite of it being in the works for a number of years,the AMCA is also slow moving ,so everything is very fluid at the moment regarding Indias choice of a gen 5 fighter.Throw in the F16 and Gripen into the mix and you have a proper perplexing scenario wherin nothing seems clear about the future force structure of the IAF,although some sense seems to be dawning with talk of procuring Malaysian MIG 29 aircraft,would be even better to buy some M2K from other sources as Bharat has been stressing for long now,this would be a very cost effective solution for “depleting squadron strength”.Getting about 5 squadrons of these two would put an end to the IAFs bogey of depleting squadron strength to force GOI into making stupid purchases like the Rafale.Makes absolutely no sense to increase the logistics nightmare by procuring aircraft of different types than those already in the IAFs stable.

    The Adanis and Ambanis are probably taking their cues from GOI (read PMO)preferences,possibly better if they were asked to tie up with ADA/DRDO to set up parallel production lines for the Tejas.Another thing that needs to happen on the Tejas front is to attempt a twin engined variant(MMRCA?) before taking too much of a technological leap with the AMCA,otherwise one can visualize another rigmarole of changing ASQRs and innumerable delays for the AMCA.Once a twin engined Tejas has been mastered jumping to a gen 5 AMCA would be easier and less time consuming.

    As for the F16 and Gripen less said the better.

    • ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:


      The twin engined LCA option was first mentioned in main stream media by one of the accolytes of this regime. There is nearly no example of a single engined plane being turned into a twin engined one with a reasonable degree of success. Ultimately if success is not to be aimed for then any engine can be ported to anything using a FBW and it will fly.

      If the twin engine is really that important then it may be better to make a AMCA-0.5 instead. With all the payloads inside, stealthier shaping, but with piecemeal integration for different sub-systems. The kind of integration attemped on 4.5 gen planes. As the F-35 shows it is the integration that takes all the troubles. Normally nobody would want a jitter in an aperture to end up throwing up a 363 degree display in a 360 degree real-world, making the target flying 10 km away appear a few mils to the wrong side and consequently getting data, fused on those wrongful basis. Unfortunately even for such a stop gap measure there is no engine to rely on, currently. Courtesy the visions that our establishment keeps deluding us with.

      May be a twin engined stop gap to a Gen-5 AMCA would allow India to get a stealthier, reasonably done machine, while providing a step-by-step path to a real Gen-5 machine. A route also taken by others who moved from Gen 4 to Gen 5 only after a dry run on Gen 4.5.

      A twin engined Tejas would ultimately end up justifying the existence/import of Rafale and F-18 in the Indian inventory. May be the reason why a Modi bhakta mentioned it in the Media, in the first place.

      • andy says:

        Dont know about any Modi bhakt talking about a twin engined Tejas in the media but I have been mentioning it off and on for quite sometime now.Just because there is no preceeding example doesnt mean nothing should be attempted but in some peoples blinkered vision thats how things should happen,so how about a completely new twin engined aircraft ,not named the Tejas ,before attempting the AMCA?Thats probably the logical way to have a thriving aerospace industry,rather than attempting to create complex 5gen technology based on outlandish ASQRs without the wherewithal to make a less complex 4.5 gen twin engined aircraft.The AMCA will also be a twin engined bird by the way.

        As for justifying the Rafale purchase,how developing any indigenous aircraft justifies an exorbitant import remains a mystery?Wether we like it or not the IAF wants a force mix of light,medium and heavy aircraft if India doesnt develop these in country the import option will anyways be exercised so where is the need for justifying any import ?its already done.This force mix of high,medium and low has also got almost no precedent but the IAF is opting for this isnt it?So better not talk about examples,in India we do things our way,especially if it fattens our swiss bank accounts and to hell with precedents.

      • &^%$#@! says:

        @~!@#$%^&*()_+: I would say that a twin engined LCA can only be (say) LCA MK.-5 (or something like that). There will be a significant change in the centre of gravity and consequently in the flight envelope which will necessitate a complete re-derivation and testing of the control laws. This (as you may know) is a non trivial problem. As things currently stand, the CLAWS group has a shortage of skilled manpower. I agree with your approach of reaching even a basic AMCA in an evolutionary manner.

      • andy says:

        Yeah and developing the AMCA from scratch with all the complex technologies inherent to a gen 5 aircraft is obviously a trivial thing isnt it?What kind of logic are you propogating?Are you implying that developing a twin engined conventional fighter is a more complex technological challenge than developing a gen 5 stealth fighter? if you are then you are arguing just for the sake of argument,wont get you anywhere.

      • andy says:

        Re:”I agree with your approach of reaching even a basic AMCA in an evolutionary manner.”

        Oh yeah?evolving from what? The damn thing is still on the drawing board,dont make people laugh by posting silly comments.

      • &^%$#@! says:

        @Andy: Now that a charlatan and soiled tampon like you has chosen to provoke matters, I have stated: “I agree with your approach of reaching even a basic AMCA in an evolutionary manner.”. This would be from a future version of the LCA developed in an evolutionary manner. This will take several years but so be it.

        Nobody knows better than me that the AMCA as envisaged is nothing but some CAD drawings and a few crude wind tunnel experiments. The “fly-by-light” controls as suggested by Saraswat is at least 2 decades away from Indian capabilities. Here information is compressed into solitons (solitary waves) of light. Significant developments in materials (composites in particular) need to be achieved. Full barrel composites methods like the EU FUBACOM program need to be mastered. I do not expect the AMCA to fructify even in the most rudimentary form before 2040. I haven’t discussed the engine and a credible radar which will take at least a decade more to master, assuming funds are allocated.

        WRT an earlier post of yours on the MiG LMFS demonstrating your characteristic stupidity and ignorance, I suppose you know more than the Chief scientific researcher at TsAGI (Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute, Zukhovsky, Russia)?

      • andy says:

        Tch,tch, so much name calling cheee…Mr.Venkatramana you need to mind your language,probably need a crash course in basic ettiquettes.Why the hell do I bother with a psychological case ,are you sure you had your medication today???

      • &^%$#@! says:

        @Andy the soiled tampon – I’ll say what I want and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it, If you make statements like “…dont make people laugh by posting silly comments.”, expect a response.

      • andy says:

        Oh so you dont like the truth do you?What do you expect when you write such nonsense?accolades?A joker like you can only write stuff thats worthy of being laughed at.Are you sure you are even an adult?I really dont have the time or the inclination to get into an argument with a juvenile delinquent like you but just cannot resist pulling your pants down to show everyone what you really are Mr.venkatramana

      • &^%$#@! says:

        @Andy: Who is this Mr. Venkataramana? What are your professional qualifications to sensibly opine on anything discussed herein at a technical level? Why do you address imaginary people? Have you sought psychiatric treatment to cure your malad(y)ies? All I’ve noticed is some nonsense being continually spouted by you. You are a buffoon who insists in parading your stupidity? Instead of hiding behind a moniker and talking nonsense, why don’t you openly provide your genuine identity and your qualifications?

      • andy says:

        Re:”You are a buffoon who insists in parading your stupidity? Instead of hiding behind a moniker and talking nonsense, why don’t you openly provide your genuine identity and your qualifications?”

        This is really mirth inducing coming from an anonymous nonentity who doesnt even have the balls to acknowledge his own name Mr.venkatramana, if this wasn’t so pathetic it would be genuinely funny.If you are not Mr.venkatramana why do you reply when I address him?See your pants have been pulled down again,its like taking candy from a baby.

        As for my credentials they are none of your business,better stick to writing your idiotic nonsense its more hilarious than watching a Charlie Chaplin movie because you really are a joker arent you?Which circus did you escape from?

      • &^%$#@! says:

        @Andy: I don’t call myself Mr. Venkataramana. It is you who quotes explicit portions of my posts and uses this imaginary name to address me. Why don’t you point out material you think are mistakes and logically defend yourself. That is beyond you since you are nothing but an obscene catamite sans any knowledge. Perhaps you should refrain from regularly displaying perverse conduct, and get your head fixed. You are a serious danger to society, and I fear for people who comprise your household. Dung beetle’s like you who know nothing can only get your odious presence felt by talking nonsense and resorting to disruptive behavior.

      • andy says:

        Now, ,now Mr.venkatramana dont tie yourself in more knots than you are already tied up in ,your hilarious and idotic comments are pointed out and only then your pants pulled down otherwise how does one manage that?But the glutton for punishment that you are just keeps coming up with more nonsense by the day and by the way who appointed a joker like you to become the resident judge on this blog?Have a look at your own obscene self first, except for fancy name calling you dont have any other way out do you?

      • andy says:

        …and you didnt tell us the name of the circus did you?

      • &^%$#@! says:

        @Andy: It doesn’t matter what circus I escaped from, if indeed I did. What matters is that people in positions of authority take me seriously. Don’t you think if we behaved as normal people, and if you find something “incorrect” with what I say, point it out and defend your arguments in a professional manner we would be contributing to this blog? I visit this blog to contribute something useful in which I am deemed to have substantial experience. when I take a break from my work. I don’t have either the time or the inclination to get into a abuse match with you. You have no recourse to vent whatever feelings/frustrations except abusing me on this blog. It would be very foolish to discount the possibility that I might be not be constrained to respond to you in ways & means outside of this blog. So, let us all get together and contribute.

      • andy says:

        Ha,ha,ha,this is too much,what are you going to do kill me with your silly jokes?By making the last comment you are proving that “empty threats are the last sanctuary of the terminally inept.”But you do take this to another level dont you?

        Do you in your wildest dream imagine that I can be cowed down by talking about ‘people in authority’ or by writing bullshit like “It would be very foolish to discount the possibility that I might be not be constrained to respond to you in ways & means outside of this blog.” As for my feelings the topmost one is of uncontrollable mirth while interacting with you.

        Plus how can you expect me to stop something you started?If you started something you cannot control then its only right that you put an end to it isnt it?Suffice it to say that I am happy I got you to address Bharat with a bit more respect than the disrepectful ‘Karnad’being used earlier and since the white flag is out from your end I am not someone to press ahead when this happens.

  4. MS says:

    Prof Karnad,

    You are bang on, and every para is written with such a pithy assessment that I wish PMO reads it.
    I do not read your blogs on topics other than Defence and sometimes I do not agree with the theme of the other topics.

    In matters of defence, your thinking is very much worth being discussed in the PMO. I am afraid, even on the issue of helping vietnam go nuclear, your dictum is turning to be wise in light of the events folding in asia. oh my God. I thought it was an option but now, looks like we need to take our chances for our peaceful rise to prosperity and power. Tejas should be the only add on option to the SU 30. but pressure should be there on DRDO from Navy to deliver on time, else the dangling of foreign fighter and loss of jobs in DRDO.

    This is a brilliant piece that paints a nice wide brush. We have to hold our nerve on H1B. Put up a beautiful smile and invite people to manufacture using the latest tech in JV with an Indian set, for India and possibly for the world.

    50 billion per year of trade imbalance with China! It can buy a lot, and we could creates jobs for our yoo\uth in the country.

    Rather than make my appreciation long, I just wish you are heard by the decision makers. Great!

  5. MS says:

    India is seeing a hot summer. Throats are parched as the sweet watermelons are yet to reach shops. Even then, with the throats being dry, we can’t stop laughing upon seeing the Aussie taking a selfie and then going back and announcing that he needs to stop techies from India. Such a fast reaction from him after his visit and selfie.

  6. ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

    @Andy, bhai you are imagining a full up Gen-5 AMCA from the get go. I agree that would be too risky. Have a road map to the end point but no need to cover all the milestones in a single long-jump.

    Shaping, materials, control laws, for AMCA are achievable for our people
    Engines and hot end materials are not.
    Sensor hardware should be available off the shelf.
    Weapons should be doable.
    Integration and sensor software while achievable, will require a mighty effort (dalal risk) and are time consuming (time is a luxury when the establishment is against you). See the F-35 example – softwares, sensor apertures, data fusion, all of it is a mess despite the huge investments.

    Hence the need to start AMCA like the day before yesterday. And the initial lower goal for of the kind the Chinese have taken – see J/F-31 and even J-20 example. Similar way forward was chosen by Russians when they kept the engine development pace on a separate track from the rest of the PAKFA which BTW will only gradually get its full complement of Gen-5 sensors and sensor fusion. Europeans are trying for something else entirely by skipping the Gen-5 completely. Everybody is taking a less risky approach except the Americans.

    So there are many approaches and AMCA-lite is a better bet than a bigger LCA. All IMO.

    And I also agree with views of the other special character when he says that the re-design will be extensive if we try to do a twin engined Tejas.

    And don’t forget AMCA and Indian UCAV efforts are going to be complementary to each other growing on the spin-offs derived off the other and even duplicating some of the methods. Twin engined Tejas is not going to be of any help in this leveraging of spin-offs because nearly everything will be hanging outside in this twin engined Tejas which will force the twin engined Tejas to have a completely different methods of flying, fighting and evading things.

    • andy says:

      Re:”Shaping, materials, control laws, for AMCA are achievable for our people
      Engines and hot end materials are not.
      Sensor hardware should be available off the shelf.
      Weapons should be doable.
      Integration and sensor software while achievable, will require a mighty effort (dalal risk) and are time consuming (time is a luxury when the establishment is against you). See the F-35 example – softwares, sensor apertures, data fusion, all of it is a mess despite the huge investments.”

      If wishes were horses beggars would ride,most of your list is not doable without external help if it is forthcoming ,the point is theres a learning curve in mastering any technology especially jet fighters,the Tejas is a prime example of what happens when a technology overreach is attempted without mastering the basics, innumerable delays is the outcome.Inspite of all their engineering prowess the Chinese are still struggling with their jet fighter program.

      You’re probably right when you say work on the AMCA should have started earlier but how does it help if you start early but take 40years to develop something, all the early bird benefits then go for a toss dont they?You haven’t even mastered the technology for a decent coventional fighter but want to take quantum leaps to stealth, be ready for missing deadlines thats all.Just by wishful thinking things wont work out ,if you dont do the right things nothing happens well,this is like asking a class 10 student to take a PHD exam,we know what the result is going to be.

      • andy says:

        Even after sinking a trillion dollars into it the F35 program is still in a limbo, this in a country that probably has access to the best aviation technology in the world, including development and manufacturing processes,do you think India can sink that kind of money into a single weapons platform?So its no childs play developing a gen 5 aircraft ,a step by step approach to developing aviation technology is a more prudent one wherein the chances of failure are drastically reduced.

    • &^%$#@! says:

      @~!@#$%^&*()_+ s: I beg to disagree with your statements:

      1. “Shaping, materials, control laws, for AMCA are achievable for our people”. I’d be happy to explain why.
      2.”Integration and sensor software while achievable..,” Even a rudimentary capability for a 5 Gen a/c would be decades away for India to achieve.

      • ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

        For #1, I would be willing to listen. But just to forewarn you, I may not necessarily convert, despite the hard work you may end up putting in :D.

        Should you decide to say something on the matter, kindly put in a separate comment. Seems like there are restrictions on replies in this blog format.

  7. raja says:

    Chinese and pakistanis are also human beings only. They will certainly have all the natural weaknesses. Is there any possibility of corrupting them to change their policies?

  8. Shaurya says:

    I have a somewhat different thought process on Stealth. I can elaborate later on how I came to this thinking but it goes as such. It is incredibly difficult to build a manned stealth fighter with decent payload and range along with C4ISR technologies. The best would look something on the lines of an F-22 with all the sensors and fusion of the F-35 in a single plane. No one has it.

    So, given our extremely limited budgets, is it not better for India to build primarily an unmanned sensor detector UAV with the sensor fusion being done somewhere else on a larger platform and the ability to carry some cheap MR/LR ATG smart weapons on this larger platform. The idea is to allow a stealthy UAV to enter contested air space but let the fighting be done by larger 4G platforms. Same philosophy for A2A, whereby a UAV maybe with very limited weapons can fire some BVR missiles. But even BVR missiles fired from a 4G platform can have a better kill probability, if it gets cueing from this stealth UAV.


    • andy says:


      At last a thought provoking comment instead of the mindless chatter some pinheads indulge in here,need a bit of pest control around here.But coming to the point what you seem to be getting at is the concept of”aerial consort”much like the F40 warhawk series of UCAVs of the USAF.The F40 A is not stealthy but the F40B and C have RAM coating to reduce RCS so have some stealth characteristics…quote “although weapons payload is not concealed.Its features are intended to support a flexible, modular configura-tion. The basic aircraft is equipped with antenna mounts and space for radar-warning gear, a self-protection system with
      expendables, satellite communications, optical communications, and a tactical data-link pack-age. Internal payload is located in two internal bays, each sized to carry
      a GBU-32 (v) 1/B 1,000-pound Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) or a four-pack of GBU-39/B.4

      There are two external, fuselage-mounted, re-
      movable hardpoints capable of holding AGM-84s, AGM-88s, or equiva-lent weapons or external fuel tanks.Combat payload, exclusive of mounted sensors and internal fuel, weighs 3,400 pounds.The basic airframe allows the platform to function as a reusable cruise missile, weapon caddy, or reconnaissance package.The F-40 found its key niche in counterland or antisurface opera-
      tions. As a combat aircraft, it acts either as an autonomous asset or as a force multiplier and is commonly assigned to manned aircraft, re-ferred to as “consorts.” Control methods vary with the complexity of
      the mission, but no control mode in the UCAV allows remote pilotage (except for takeoff and landing).

      The F-40 may receive updates and commands frequently or infre-quently, and control can switch from one asset to another. No more than one unit may control any given UCAV although a single unit can
      control multiple F-40s. In short, under mode C the F-40 frequently acts as a literal wingman with no judgment, capable of following limited in-structions.Because the F-40 is not remotely piloted, mission commands are
      simple and easily integrated. It receives assignments of hostile air or surface “tracks” for attack, along with data on other UCAVs working in the same area. Other tasks may be assigned via simple commands, and
      the F-40 takes action based on its programming and the current “pic-ture” provided via data link. Sensors on the F-40 usually integrate with those of the consort via data link.” Unquote..I could have put up the link for this info but want someone to sweat trying to find the source.

      So there you have it the concept is very much there and certainly seems achievable at a fraction of the cost a gen 5 bird entails,so certainly a lot of merit in seriously considering and working upon it for the IAF/ADA combine.

      • &^%$#@! says:

        @Andy: Your reply is another shamelessly plagiarized reproduction from

      • &^%$#@! says:

        I don’t need to sweat to find the link you idiot. These things have been read by me ages ago for accuracy ages.. You will have your dick stepped on every time you commit fraud. That will be pretty often.

      • andy says:

        Before using fancy words like plagiarized you really must look up their meaning Mr.venkatramana,where from do you get the notion that I am passing off the above stuff as my own?But then a fool will always remain one wont he?Who knows this better than you huh Mr.venkaramana?But its getting quite tiresome kicking your butt so often ,no challenge whatsoever you see.

      • &^%$#@! says:

        @Andy: What can one say to a bullshitter like you who hides behind a bogus name and a monicker, and continually spouts technical arguments as his own without providing a credible reference? You are a failure in life @Andy. You’ve done nothing in terms of real achievement in any field, and that will continue. It is more fun seeing you fail in life, than wasting time answering you henceforth.

      • andy says:

        If only you knew about my life

  9. phalkemilind says:

    please write on Kashmir

  10. ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

    Hey bhagwan! ya to mujhe utha le ya in Rahu-Ketu ko.

    @Shaurya, the field of military aviation and UCAV/UAV/UFO is so in flux right now that there are a lot of possibilities opening up.

    A stealthier drone helping out the Gen-4 fighter is something that the Europeans seem to be attempting.

    There was a report sometime back in nationalinterest (US interest) that the next thing after F-35 will be a much bigger much roomier fighter bomber. The report cited bahas in US establishment wherein insiders were not too happy about staging Libya operations relying on F-22s which some claimed had to fly too far to deliver only 2 bombs (supposed to be anti-climatic). There was still another concept drawing floating around from Boeing about drones helping out Gen-6 fighters. The Gen-6 becomes relevant because as in the past generations, the technology developed for the Gen-6 may well become downloaded in bits and pieces to Gen-5. The US has been leading in this though leadership for long.

    Japanese seem to be chasing the standard American dream for long now.

    South Koreans do not seem to be too finicky about what they eat – KFX, F-35, F-15 versions. They are willing to look at everything. India seems to be following the lead of the South Koreans in this regard. Or may be it is just the dalal-jati that is raising such a huge dust cloud.

    Russians are willing to let things evolve organically within their domestic eco-system. They seem to have taken the most honest route to making what they desire.

    Chinese are a funny lot – Chindigenous products which is evolving like a Chimerican product with distinct Russian influence also traceable.

    Somewhere I remember reading that USAF had conducted studies with mixed Gen-4 an Gen-5 defenders. Gen-4 providing the transmitter source for the sensors (Gen-4 are in any case non-VLO). Gen-5 working like snipers. This is the exact opposite of what you suggest.

    So what you suggest also seems to be possible. Actually what if the sensor laden drone you imagine also becomes invisible to the Gen-5 aggressor, till its too late.

    • ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

      @Shaurya : Here read this for instance. A completely new approach to problems :

      • S3 says:


        This is snake oil disguised in technobabble. Nicholas Ernest does not strike me as computer science genius.

      • S3 says:


        One tactic that the Russians used in Ukraine was to let a UAV fly over the battlefield to draw fire and expose artillery positions. That is as far as this stuff will go for a long time. The fundamental computer science techniques needed to deploy them non-trivially in a war between two competent military powers do not exist. Don’t believe everything that you read in the press. We are seeing a repeat of the enormous AI hype cycle of the 1980s. I give about three years before it all goes up in smoke.

      • S3 says:


        I don’t know what you mean by “Japanese seem to be chasing the standard American dream for long now.” They have their own Mitsubishi X-2 Shinshin don’t they?

      • S3 says:


        You should not expect the Russians to maintain their lead for much longer. Putin fixed Russia’s falling demographics, but in a typical Putin half-job didn’t do anything about the education system. The last engineers educated the Soviet era are in their forties now. In about a decade Russia will face severe shortages of skilled manpower. And if that shortage is filled by importing Chinese talent, say goodbye to any special relationship that they ever had with India.

  11. MS says:

    Hey S3, I like your take on UAV, Ukraine and Russia. This what sucks you into this blog 🙂

    Now for everybody here-

    Everybody here is so knowledgeable. I am the least.

    You know, Mr Karnad seems to be aware of the potentially confilcting scenarios everywhere, and he seems to appreciate the fact no situation is idle even though he may not say so. The guys with deep pockets are the ones who could launch a business and so they will be the one to make money. It is not about talent which is mobile and could be lured to some extent.

    It is the management of talent that is a challenge not just faced by govt orgs but also private firms. NASA’s best are recruited by private industry in US to gain advantage. We could also hire them if someone has a will to take a long shot not just a contract mentality.

  12. ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

    The AI win, by itself is not very important for me. What is important is that people are furiously experimenting while our people are actively and delibrately being underfunded and under-staffed just to make sure that our engineers never get to work their way out of problems. People willing to live with the fact that DRDO is forever kept barely as big as Thales (in terms of headcount and moneypower), also then go onto ask for more and preach indigenous – sorry, but that does not inspire confidence.

    On Japanese X-2 I would say it started merely as a way for the Japanese to negotiate for the F-22 which they desperately sought. Ultimately ending up with F-35. Using domestic R&D to negotiate with foreigners is quite common. Japanese are very diligent, smart and well funded but that is no replacement for a spine. Japanese could have re-written the rules of the game. Instead they choose to playing safe, pacifist and diminutive. Japanese apparently are happy that they got some price cut on F-35. But the saving grace for them is their money power will allow them to finish and actually manufacture the X-2. When tomorrow India becomes rich, India runs a real risk of ending up like them.

    Regarding Russians, I believe the Russians have almost forever been second or even third to the finish line. I am very sure they will manage to get what they need, not necessarily in the most appealing/popular manner but nonetheless there is no way to keep a keen man down for long. Same goes for Chinese, though to a lesser extent.

    Off course, I wish the best for India. But this fight will last longer then my stay here on earth. So, best of luck.

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