Friday, October 24, 2008

EADS' A319MPA Detailed

The 75.5-tonne A319 MPA, being proposed by EADS Military Transport Aircraft for the Indian Navy, is based on the A319CJ Corporate Jet (one of which is already being operated by the RMAF for the Prime Minister's Department). The platform combines the ground breaking fly-by-wire flight controls technology and with the most up-to-date design features, including the extensive use of lightweight composite materials, resulting in improved fuel consumption, increased durability and better corrosion resistance in the harsh environmental conditions of LRMR/ASW operations. The A319 MPA is provided with additional centreline fuel tanks and a ferry range of more than 4,000nm. It is also well-equipped with a state-of-the-art air-conditioned bomb bay with eight stations, placed on the rear fuselage, which provides the capability to transport and launch a variety of ASW weapons, including torpedoes, depth charges and mines. Enhanced ASuW capability is provided by four underwing points for carrying anti-ship cruise missiles. The on-board, open-architecture FITS mission management system enables the five-man mission crew to gather, process and display up to 20 times more technical and strategic data than was possible before.

The A319 MPA, like the P-8I—can be flown high, low, fast and slow and remain on-station for very long periods of time (eight to 10 hours without aerial refuelling) while carrying a variety of weapons and mission sensor packages. As the Indian Navy has clearly indicated its preference for a LRMR/ASW platform, the selected platform will be required to undertake the following primary naval missions:

* Monitoring of littoral approaches
* Support to the Indian Navy fleets in the high seas
* Anti-submarine warfare (ASW)
* Anti-surface unit warfare (ASuW)
* Over-the-horizon target acquisition and reconnaissance (OTHTAR)
* Intelligence gathering

To perform such functions, the selected platform will be required to takeoff with maximum engine power and climb to a cruising altitude of 42,000 feet, have a maximum rate of descent at more than 10,000 feet/minute, engage in tactical manoeuvres at the not-uncommon maritime reconnaissance altitude of 200 feet, and accomplish a wide range of tasks within a single sortie, including SSK search-and-destroy missions, monitoring sea traffic, launching anti-ship cruise missile attacks on naval or land targets as required, and engaging in communications relays and electronic signals intercepts. Land-surveillance missions are also a distinct possibility. The resulting aircraft will thus play a role in a number of emerging military doctrines of the Indian Navy.

The Indian Navy has already completed evaluations of the P-8I Poseidon and A319 MPA, with the latter being offered with the EADS/CASA-developed FITS mission management system that in turn integrates an ELTA Systems-built EL/M-2022V(A)3 multi-mode search radar from Israel. But the FITS’ open-architecture and modular configuration based on state-of-the-art components allows easy reconfiguration and integration with alternative state-of-the-art radars like the Seaspray7000e I-band 360ยบ multi-mode active phased-array search radar from Italy's SELEX Sistemi Integrati. Boeing has pitched its P-8I for US$2.01 billion, while EADS Military Aircraft is reportedly asking for US$1.6 billion (for eight platforms). The Indian Navy early last January began negotiations with the two bidders so that the contract can be finalised before the next financial year ends in March 2009. The selected platform is required to operate for more than 15 years, fly at a speed of more than 200mph, and carry a multi-mode radar that can track 80 airborne and an equal number of surface targets, along with an IFF transponder, ESM/ELINT/SIGINT suite, EW suite for self-defence, chin-mounted optronic sensor operating in the 3-5 micron bandwidth, air-to-surface cruise missiles and torpedoes, sonobuoys, secure data links, and a tail-mounted magnetic anomaly detector. Between the two competing offers, the EADS offer appears to be more flexible and tailor-made as it will accommodate the Indian Navy’s peculiar operational requirements in terms the platform’s weapon systems and network-centric mission avionics suites. But most importantly, the proposed A319 MPA for the Indian Navy will simultaneously engage in long-range surface search and target tracking, remain capable of periscope detection in high sea states, undertake warship-imaging and classification using the high-resolution inverse synthetic aperture radar (ISAR) mode of operation (for imaging and classifying small, fast-moving vessels that operate close to the shore), and use the spot-synthetic aperture radar (SAR) mode for overland surveillance, ground mapping (via multiple resolution strip-map), identifying moving overland targets, conducting battle damage assessment, and provide real-time over-the-horizon targeting cues for anti-ship/land-attack cruise missiles. Other key superior performance parameters of the Seaspray 7000e radar that make it superior to other radar like Raytheon’s APS-137 or Telephonics APS-153 include:

* The receptor-transmitter of the Seaspray 7000e AESA is suppressed, as this function is performed by the tiles that make up the radar’s antenna. This in turn increases the radar’s RMA (reliability increases significantly).
* The radar utilises modular configuration items and allows functioning with several of these items in failure mode. For instance, the radar still functions with 10% of the tiles down.
* Much lower maintenance costs, although it has slightly higher acquisition costs than traditional radars.

In light of the above, prudence demands that the LRMR/ASW platform that will ultimately be selected should be based on a new-generation, highly reliable turbofan-powered airframe that can accommodate comprehensive maritime surveillance and attack capabilities, thereby allowing a smaller inventory of aircraft to provide high responsiveness for its three main roles (ASW, ASuW, maritime surveillance, and SAR), adaptable capabilities in maritime reconnaissance and attack operations, and high endurance (with provision for two sets of mission crew on-board) with a smaller support infrastructure. Though turbofan-powered MR/ASW platforms are most economical at high/medium altitudes and less economical at low altitudes, the transit to the operational area can be made at high-altitude and in a turbofan-powered aircraft this is not only economical on fuel but fast as well, compared to turboprop-powered aircraft. After transit, such platforms rapidly descend to the patrol area while using both turbofans for cruise flight, but as fuel is used up and the platform’s weight gets reduced, one engine is closed down. This allows the remaining turbofan to be run at an efficient RPM rather than running both turbofans at less efficient RPMs. A special ‘rapid start’ system should be fitted should the closed-down turbofan has to be started quickly again. Instead of relying only on airspeed for re-starting the turbofan, compressor air from a live turbofan could be used in a starter turbine, which rapidly accelerates the engine being started. For transit back to base, the closed-down engine can be re-started and the aircraft regain its high-altitude flight profile.

Care should also be taken by the Indian Navy to induct into service a new-generation synthetic training suite that will allow the aircraft operator to transfer training from the aircraft to a ground-based training system. This, consequently, will increase aircraft availability for operational missions while optimising flight and mission crew performance and capabilities.--Prasun K. Sengupta


Anonymous said...

to prasun

y navy rejected this aircraft

Anonymous said...

AESA seaspray 7000 is much better than apy10 radar,and EADS offer is much cheaper and safer

upgraded IL38 has all these features except aesa radar

Prasun K Sengupta said...

The Navy HAS NOT YET rejected the A319MPA. Price negotiations are still underway. No contract has been signed as yet with either Boeing or EADS/CASA. But I agree that if the P-8I is acquired, the US will not allow any non-US system on board. Also, the mission management/sensor suite on the P-8I will take a few more years to be certified. On the A319MPA, however, it will be ALL proven systems on board, like the FITS mission management system and the EL/M-2022V(A)3 multi-mode search radar, both of which are already operational and have been integrated on board the Chilean Navy's C-295MPA. Therefore, the project management risks for the A319MPA are a lot lesser than those for the P-8I.

Anonymous said...

to prasun

what is EL/M-2022V(A)3 multi-mode search radar

is this the same elta2022a on tu142

Anonymous said...

to prasun

v need 8 long range patrol aircraft

and 8 medium range patrol aircraft

if v buy both type of aircraft from europe in a combined package rather than negotiate seperately for each aircraft the price can b brought down singnificantly
compared to if v buy one type form US and other from europe of vice versa

and there will b commonality between these two aircrafts in avionics if both r from europe and they r much safer and no end user agreement

Anonymous said...

prasun, any info on

shivalik class,ASuW corvette

first shivalik class was to b inducted on june 2008 but it is not inducted yet and same for ASuW corvette

russia is going very fast this time for three frigates v ordered which r to b inducted by 2012

just c the difference in pace of shipbuilding between russia and india

first shivalik class

Laid Down - 11 July 2001, Launched - 18 April 2003, Commissioning - June 2008

almost 7 years


Laid Down - 27 July 2007, Launched - 2009, Commissioned - 2012

almost 5 years

second and third frigate
Laid Down - 27 November 2007
Laid Down - 2008, Launched - 2010

Anonymous said...

it will b better to order 3-4 more ships to russia in order to keep the pace of inducting ships doesn't get slow,

i am saying this because

after 3 SHIVALIK CLASS and 3 P15A MDL will take another 7-8 years to deliver next batch of ships and that will b around 2018-19

but not sure in which shipyard next 6 submarine will b constructed

Prasun K Sengupta said...

The EL/M-2022V(A)3 multi-mode search radar for the A319MPA is the same as that being proposed for the Tu-142MSD.

The three Shivalik-class Project 17FFGs are still being fitted out and the first unit will be launched for sea trials this December, whereas the hull of the first Project 28 ASW corvette is being fabricated by GRSE. Final selection of on-board systems/sensors for the Project 28 ASW corvette will take place only by the year's end. Therefore, the first corvette will be launched for sea trials only by late 2011.

Thr reason why the three follow-on Project 1135.6 FFGs have been built with such speed is because these are follow-on orders and there are no substantial project management risks associated with the introduction of new weapon systems. The only new weapon system on-board will be the BrahMos instead of the Club-M cruise missile.
For the seven Project 17A FFGs, hull fabrication of the first FFG was to have begun in September 2007, so MDL and the Navy are already behind schedule. The first FFG is now to be launched only by 2012.
The six new SSKs (that are yet to be selected) are likely to be built by the new shipyard that L & T is due to establish off Vizag. But it will also make greater sense if L & T were to buy the existing Hindustan Shipyard Ltd, which is up for sale.

Anonymous said...

u said u were observing some missile trials somewhere.. whats up on that? is it indian?

Anonymous said...

r u a full time defence analyst sir?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Antony said radars and equipment for the Air Force are now being inducted fast. "Most modern radars are being inducted. Now decisions are being taken and things are moving fast. For whatever happened in the past, I can assure you now things are in the current track to provide all armed forces and the IAF in particular, the most modern equipment they want.




Anonymous said...

Hindustan Shipyard Ltd, which is up for sale


Anonymous said...




Anonymous said...

hi what is "Tsung missile" ? do u know any links i can read on it? google coughed up no good results

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@10:14AM: No, not Indian. Royal Malaysian Navy was conducting its annual missile-firing trials. This time an Otomat Mk2 anti-ship cruise missile was fired.

It makes no sense for HMS Invincible to be bought because both this vessel as well as INS Viraat can accommodate only the Sea Harrier V/STOL combat aircraft, which in any casde will be decommissioned by 2015.

To Anon@10:24AM: The radars to be acquired by the IAF are of several types. For air traffic management both primary and secondary surveillance radars are being acquired. For air defence, long-range airspace surveillance radars and gapfiller radars for detecting airborne aircraft and cruise missiles are being acquired. Also being acquired are radars for detecting tactical ballistic missiles. Majority of the radars are being imported.

The Project 17A FFGs will not be the same as the Project 17 Shivalik-class FFGs. The Project 17A FFGs and the follow-on Project 15B DDGs will be a generation ahead of what's being built now and will be highly network-centric in terms of naval operations.

The so-called 'Tsung' missile is only the R-77 RVV/AE AAM.