Military Review

"Air Force can afford." How is Tejas meant to save India from Rafale?

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Developed mainly in India, the Tejas light fighter is not of the same class as the French Rafale, but is far superior to the MiG-21, which it was designed to replace.


The defense minister absolutely justifiably refused to sign a contract with the French Dassault Aviation for the supply of 126 fighter jets to Rafale with a total value of 20 billion dollars, as long as the cost of the life cycle is still under discussion. This amount for 30-50 operating years, as a rule, exceeds the original purchase price at least 3 times. As Delhi prepares to adopt a new government, it is highly appropriate to consider an alternative to such an overly expensive acquisition.

The geopolitical situation dictates to the Indian Air Force the need to be prepared for confrontations of various levels simultaneously on two fronts. Such conditions require a mixed fleet of expensive top-level fighters, such as the Su-30 (or the upcoming promising fifth-generation fighters) and a large number of less expensive tactical aircraft aviation. The latter can easily participate in conflicts of low intensity, where it would be risky to use the most valuable units, like Sukhoi aircraft.

The rapid decommissioning of hundreds of MiG-21, MiG-23 and MiG-27, which for decades constituted the backbone of the tactical aviation of the Indian Air Force, left only 6 squadrons of the upgraded MiG-21 and 4 squadrons of attack aircraft of the MiG-27. This means that the fleet of the Indian Air Force is currently much smaller than the alleged 39 and a half squadrons, and is probably not able to give a full-fledged rebuff even to one enemy.

In 2001, the Air Force’s plans to fill the shortage with the additional purchase of Mirage 2000 fighters crashed on the hard forehead of officials from the Ministry of Defense, which insisted on Mirage's participation in the tender. Delays in the procurement process lasted until such time as Mirage did not cease to produce, and international pressure inclined the Indians to buy a heavier and more expensive fighter instead of tactical ones that the Air Force had originally planned to buy.

By July, 2007 was finally a request for proposal. It was supposed to buy 126 medium multipurpose fighters with the possibility of additional purchase of 63. According to the latest information, today the cost of the Rafale 126 fighters exceeded the 10,25 billion dollars, largely due to the fact that around 126 positions of the “additional equipment” were not initially included in the price French offer. In addition to doubling the value in dollars, the depreciation of the rupee against the dollar during the negotiations (from less than 20 rupees to a dollar to more than 50) led to the fact that the Indians would have to pay about three times more than planned. Moreover, a quarter of the amount was to be paid as a prepayment.

An interesting detail is the 5 of the French fighters who participated in the MMRCA Indian tender at the same time participated in another similar tender - in Brazil. Brazilian Air Force chief Unity Saito (Juniti Saito) recently announced a decision to purchase Swedish Gripen NG, taken as a result of an exhaustive evaluation of bids, during which they verified the performance characteristics, cost, and degree of technology transfer. The Brazilian Air Force calculated that the Gripen flight hour would cost 4000 dollars against approximately 14 000 dollars per flight hour of the heavier Rafale. SAAB representatives reported that their proposal would cost the Brazilians 4,5 billion dollars for fighters plus 1,5 billion dollars for more than 30 years of operation against 8,2 billion and 4 billion dollars, respectively, for Rafale.

The declared cost of one Rafale fighter is higher than the cost of a single-engine Gripen at 82%. However, according to the calculations of the Brazilians themselves, the two Rafale engines, together with more expensive maintenance, will cost 250% more than the cost of keeping the Gripen.

This cost of Rafale is closely related to the calculated by the Committee on Defense and Security at the French Senate, which in 2011 estimated the Rafale procurement program at 43,56 billion euros for 286 fighters.

"Air Force can afford." How is Tejas meant to save India from Rafale?


Developed mainly in India, the Tejas light fighter is not of the same class as the French Rafale, but is significantly superior to the MiG-21, which it was designed to replace. Modern radar and guidance systems, the data from which are displayed on the helmet pilot target designation system, provide excellent opportunities for detecting targets and maintaining rocket fire on them. Advanced missiles for hitting targets out of sight and melee missiles along with high-precision guided munitions make it a more dangerous enemy than the more powerful MiG-23 and MiG-27. Even if the price of one Tejas at the time of its receipt of the final admission to the flight grows to 30 million dollars, Tejas 126 fighters will still cost less than 4 billion dollars, which is one fifth of the cost of the same number of Rafale fighters.

The cost of operation is likely to be comparable to an economical Gripen. In many ways, because Tejas is small, lightweight, and it contains a slightly modified version of the efficient and extremely reliable GE-F404 engine, which stands on those versions of the Gripen that are in operation today.

While an accurate comparison of Brazilian and “leaked” data on Indian Rafale is not correct, mainly due to the difference in the number of units and payment terms, the small difference in the cost of each aircraft suggests that widely publicized expectations of Indians are likely prove real. Indian air forces can buy Tejas 200 fighter jets instead of 126 Rafale, and still save 14 billion dollars, which is quite comparable with the entire Indian army's procurement budget for 2013-2014. every year, even if the Tejas 170 fighter jets, instead of 200 Rafale will fly 126 hours a month each.


Angad Singh - Zone Five Aviation


Undoubtedly, Indian developers have embarked on an ambitious project to develop a technically advanced aircraft without a realistic assessment of the necessary resources in the face of the often skeptical Air Force and not always fully involved in the processes of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Then they tarnished their reputation by issuing absolutely unrealistic deadlines for the project. Fortunately, Tejas has recently made good progress because today's head of HAL, Dr. RK Tyagi, seems to be giving his support to the little fighter.

It would be immensely foolish to smash teams that are actively working to further develop a world-class composite airframe and flight control system for Tejas, while operational readiness is nearing completion, and the possibility of reworking the aircraft to better meet the requirements of the Air Force is at a critical stage.

Some observers do not seem to know that Rafale was exploited since 2001, almost 15 years after it first took to the air. This is a gap that will be only slightly less than the same for Tejas, if the latter receives the status of final readiness for use at the end of the current year. The air force was much more demanding on Tejas than on the MMRCA tender participants and on the hot, high-altitude runway of Leh airport (Leh) and during the summer dust storms in Jaisalmer. Also, representatives of the Ministry seem to have forgotten that the Mirage 2000 fighters were armed with only one gun for three years after their commissioning. Which, by the way, turned out to be for the most part ineffective when conducting risky exercises “Operation Brass Tacks” in 1986-87.

Summing up, it should be noted that the continuation of the MMRCA program in its current form will strangle India for more than a dozen years. Affordable aviation is effective aviation. And, accordingly, vice versa.
Author:
Originator:
http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/affordable-air-power/article5920599.ece
23 comments
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  1. Keeper
    Keeper April 29 2014 08: 15
    +3
    The question is different - who do they want to fight against ?!
    1. mamont5
      mamont5 April 29 2014 08: 29
      +2
      Quote: Keeper
      The question is different - who do they want to fight against ?!


      India and Pakistan seem to have mutual claims.
      1. Baikal
        Baikal April 29 2014 08: 38
        +3
        It seems that India also raised the topic of nationalization + self-sufficiency of the military-industrial complex wink
      2. operrus
        operrus April 29 2014 12: 23
        +2
        I don’t know with whom to fight, and so are Pakistan, China.
      3. The comment was deleted.
    2. Andrey Yuryevich
      Andrey Yuryevich April 29 2014 08: 51
      +5
      Quote: Keeper
      The question is different - who do they want to fight against ?!

      look at the map... hi
    3. Orc-xnumx
      Orc-xnumx April 29 2014 09: 24
      +2
      Quote: Keeper
      The question is different - who do they want to fight against ?!

      And won't the EU be on the side of the enemy, for some of its geopolitical reasons? Do not forget what happened to Gaddafi's Rafals!
      1. Zymran
        Zymran April 29 2014 11: 48
        +2
        Quote: Orc-78
        And won't the EU be on the side of the enemy, for some of its geopolitical reasons? Do not forget what happened to Gaddafi's Rafals!


        Nothing happened, Gaddafi simply did not have them.
        1. supertiger21
          supertiger21 April 29 2014 17: 11
          0
          Quote: Zymran
          Nothing happened, Gaddafi simply did not have them.


          But they could have been if they had managed to sign a contract. At the moment, the new Libyan authorities are still negotiating the purchase of Rafaley.
    4. Nayhas
      Nayhas April 29 2014 09: 41
      +3
      Quote: Keeper
      The question is different - who do they want to fight against ?!

      You have hit the mark! If India needs a combat aircraft capable of withstanding the air force of a potential enemy, then it should be better than their aircraft. Tejas has no advantages over the J-10, moreover, it is worse than the J-10B which has already gone into the series. Rafal is undoubtedly better than Chinese and especially Pakistani combat aircraft. The range of weapons of Rafal is much larger than that of the Tejas and J-10B, and the combat load is just a record. I understand that India, having thrown out a lot of money and especially time for Tejas, is simply obliged to attach it, Rafal is wildly interfering ...
      1. Kasym
        Kasym April 29 2014 17: 23
        +1
        Nayhas (Eugene). Rafal compared to Tejas and J-10 twin-engine. The combat load depends on the payload. If fuel to the eyeballs, then armaments to a minimum; if weapons to the maximum, then fuel ... a bucket.
        If the MiG-35 were ready, the Indians, I think, would not rack their brains. If only they demanded to push "their" there more.
        In general, I think that the lungs in the air force should be more heavy, 1 to 2. And with some heavy ones no grandmothers will be enough. Operation is clearly more expensive, at least in terms of fuel consumption. You can patrol the airspace and the lungs. hi
        PS As I understand it, Kazakhstan is waiting for the MiG-35. Otherwise, I’ve bought something new for a long time. Nazarbayev gave a talk in Moscow yesterday - he sat and waited until 3 at night to watch (Russia24 showed). 100 billion dollars stocks - where to pickle !?
    5. xbhxbr-777
      xbhxbr-777 April 29 2014 10: 51
      -2
      Yes! Whom do they want to fight against ?! Unclear!
    6. APASUS
      APASUS April 29 2014 11: 03
      +4
      Quote: Keeper
      The question is different - who do they want to fight against ?!

      It’s not even a question of war, although India has territorial problems with China and Pakistan. The fact is that weak states immediately queue for democratization with the help of the United States.
    7. And Us Rat
      And Us Rat April 29 2014 13: 50
      +1
      Quote: Keeper
      The question is different - who do they want to fight against ?!

      India is sandwiched between Pakistan and the PRC, and with both of it it has quite serious graters, although this has hardly been surfacing lately.
      1. Kasym
        Kasym April 29 2014 17: 41
        +1
        Guys, what’s the point of fighting? India is swaying at the title of world power, one of the world centers! Yes, now it can only be in the Union with a strong power (it was not for nothing that there was an info about interest in the CU). And what if without a strong army and air force?
        After all the turmoil organized by the US and the EU, the PRC, Pakistan and India are well aware that they can be pulled into this maelstrom. Therefore, fighting each other is only in the hands of the West. Now everyone will strengthen their armed forces and develop a strategy for their development and the development of their military-industrial complex. The PRC has been doing this for a long time. had previously encountered the "interests" of the West. hi
    8. DanSabaka
      DanSabaka April 29 2014 17: 32
      0
      India has territorial conflicts with Pakistan and China.
  2. igor36
    igor36 April 29 2014 08: 41
    +4
    The Indians have two geopolitical adversaries, China and Pakistan. And what the fighter themselves do is also a plus for them to develop technology and save money. Only here with engines, the problem is they are imported.
  3. Giant thought
    Giant thought April 29 2014 08: 45
    +4
    Indians do not want to buy aircraft from us, let them take junk, but more expensive.
    1. supertiger21
      supertiger21 April 29 2014 17: 15
      +1
      Quote: Thought Giant
      Indians do not want to buy aircraft from us


      What do you mean "do not want" belay ? Are we not delivering the Su-30MKI to them since 2002?

      Quote: Thought Giant
      let them take junk, but more expensive.


      About "junk" you got excited, but about "more expensive" you are right.
  4. Vityok
    Vityok April 29 2014 09: 01
    0
    Quote: Keeper
    The question is different - who do they want to fight against ?!

    India has ongoing mutual territorial claims with Pakistan and China.
  5. silberwolf88
    silberwolf88 April 29 2014 09: 14
    0
    Even now ... when Indians can be seen in many companies around the world ... when there are brilliant chess players and programmers among them ... I still do not forget the description of these people (India is very different and multinational) from Kipling's books and other stories ... I remember that they still have a large mass of the country in a different time ... there is a huge tangle of problems (terrible attitude to women, internal racial problems, in some places there are rites of cannibalism and other crap) ... the country is very, very unstable in itself and the next Mahatma did not appear
    1. The comment was deleted.
    2. creak
      creak April 29 2014 12: 24
      0
      Kipling and other stories are not suitable in order to form an adequate picture of modern India, and nonsense like cannibalism is born and, as you put it, other crap ... Despite the multinational composition of the population, social stratification and other problems, India is nonetheless a country with a dynamic emerging economies including OPK ... At one time I was there on a business trip and saw something with my own eyes ...
  6. Magic archer
    Magic archer April 29 2014 09: 40
    +1
    Well done Indians! They started to make their own equipment! Tank Arjun, medium-range missiles, now here’s a fighter! They understand that it’s time to move to a new level. With the purchase of the best foreign models for the production of their own analogues
  7. qwert
    qwert April 29 2014 10: 05
    +2
    The replacement of Mirage did not come out of Rafal.
    Perhaps the engineering flair of Monsieur Marcel Dassault was not enough.
    Therefore, you can understand the Indians, instead of a light and inexpensive plane, they were offered a not quite light and not cheap one. Su-30 turns out cheaper than Rafal. And in this situation, what is the reason to expand the diversity of the park? Saving only on fuel? But, I think there will be other operational ones on Rafal. Therefore, in general, there is no reason to add "light" fighters to the fleet.
    It is a pity at one time (1993year) that the single-engine MiG-29M development project was not completed. Perhaps he would have good commercial potential.
  8. svskor80
    svskor80 April 29 2014 10: 39
    +1
    The management of any technique depends on the person. Any good plane in inept hands will become an iron "coffin" and vice versa, respectively. The Indians are not all right with this and it is useless to spend a lot of money on French and Russian planes, it is better to build your own Tejas and bring it to mind with the following modifications. Perhaps, if you have your own mass aircraft, the training of pilots will step forward.
  9. aud13
    aud13 April 29 2014 11: 39
    +3
    Perhaps the Indians are now looking at how the West is reacting to events in Ukraine and thinking - now buy their planes from the same French, and then if something happens - they will impose sanctions and 126 expensive fighters will be on the ground without spare parts.
  10. cerbuk6155
    cerbuk6155 April 29 2014 12: 58
    0
    In cases of indiscriminate actions by INDIA, FRANCE itself or by decree of the United States will block not only the supply of spare parts, but will send a signal via satellite and not a single aircraft will not only start, but will not even turn on. And then either change the policy or take your planes to a landfill. This has already happened only in IRAQ and not only with airplanes and missiles but also with weapons for the ground forces. So before buying, you need to think everything through. drinks
  11. supertiger21
    supertiger21 April 29 2014 17: 22
    +1
    It can be seen that the positions of the French are noticeably weakened, although they are the winners of the tender. But ours, led by Poghosyan, silently do not react to this situation. In their place, we must try at all costs to squeeze Rafal as a winner, taking our "lion's share" of the market in the form of fighters MiG-35. But Poghosyan does not care about the MiG, he is busy with Sushki. And again we miss the moment, while Tejas and Rafal are tearing off one or another piece of the Indian market.