Friday, October 16, 2009

F-16 Block 50/52 Explained


Gaurav said...

Nice Pics

sachin_sathe said...

hi prasun

a very happy & prosporous Diwali to you.

Thx for the post very informative.
Regarding the M2k upg is it possible tht IAF & Govt may not upg them at all and like UAE trade them for more rafales considering UAE+Indian M2k total is over 100 Dassault can make a pretty decent money out of them by simply refurbishing them & offering them to say african countries wht do u think?

Regarding the Akash SAM there seems to be a plan to use it as a passive attack SAM as it doesn't hav an active seeker also the Himalayan area is higher so tht it suppresses performance of Radar by sheer altitude of peeks.wht do u think?

Do u think tht since DRDo designed the notors for Barak SAM for MRSAM project it will partner Rafael for LRAAM? As MTCR don't apply to both India & Israel they can go for max possible range.wht r ur thoughts on this?

Kaushik said...

Hello Mr. Sengupta:

Thank you for your response on Mig 27 upgrades and Smerch-M orders.

As you pointed out that a total of 3 regiments of Smerch are being raised and a total of 62 launchers are on order till date and more being considered perhaps, can you tell us as to how many total launchers are being planned. Is 62 the final number or more are in the offing.

Happy Deepavali.

Anonymous said...

A very happy deepavali to you Prasun,

A very auspicious occasion, but i would like ur thoughts on the arms industry of the major powers(US,EU{Fra,UK,GER,SWE,ITA},China,Israel,Russia).
since the world is at a major crossroads and many new nations emerge and older powers decline(perception in general) and so consolidation in the arms industry.many may not survive independently since the market seems to be saturated and may have to go the Nissan way(some have said the mmrca evaltn will kill gripen,mig,typhoon).in light of these dev would u say the french might not be able to develop a 5th gen fighter all by themselves considering the cost of dev as well as marketing it (they only got Braz as cust for the rafale)
they need emerging countries to partner them with these progs.they may have to go with the consolidated EU arms industry and share some of their jobs with others do u think its good for India(as is evident with maitri(assumption))
The US may not see their industry decline but will certainly need an India to keep them going while China's seems to b a healthy one
Russia sure seems to be losing theirs(as you suggest in earlier posts)

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To sachin sathe: Both the Rafale and EF-2000 like the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet come in the same category as the Su-30MKI--i.e. for air dominance, and not the M-MRCA that the IAF is hunting for. Only the single-engined F-16IN and JAS-39 Gripen IN fit the bill of these two the F-16IN is both the cheapest and most sophisticated. Therefore, swapping the Mirage 2000H/TH for Rafale is not something the IAF is considering. In addition, the annual production rate of the Rafale is quite low (like the HAL-assembled Su-30MKIs) and therefore the 126 Rafales will not be deliverable within the timeframe desired by the IAF. For countries like Brazil and the UAE where the number of Rafales to be acquired is much smaller, such stretched-out production delivery schedules (6 to 10 per year) is all right, but not for the IAF, which wants to induct at least one squadron (18 aircraft) of M-MRCAs every year, once deliveries begin. Even African countries are unlikely to buy second-hand Mirage 2000s since they are too costly to acquire when compared to available China-built MRCAs like the JF-17 Thunder or J-10A/B. Therefore, the IAF has no choice but to upgrade its existing fleet of 51 Mirage 2000H/THs.
The Akash SAM will be deployed in an E-SHORADS configuration within valleys in order to stage 'ambushes' of those hostile aircraft that might make use of such valleys for terain-masking in both eastern ladakh and northeast India. For this, the existing semi-active homing mechamism is quite sufficient.

Nava said...

Reposted here for your convenience:

Are you sure? Ramjet is much more fuel efficient...

Several points:

1. Rafael has never been a major SUPPLIER of AAMs. It has been at the forefront of technology, but its missiles were designed for the IAF's needs, and didn't enjoy much export success.

2. One must think about the F-35's carriage capabilities, as it will (unfortunately) be the IS AF's future fighter. This might give one an idea of the missile's design.

3. I know that Rafael has been interested in dual mode guidance for a long time, so that should be expected. You claim that the Barak 8ER features it as well, and yet I've seen no evidence to suggest that...

4. Could you inform me as to what exactly sets the Barak 8's propulsion apart from say that of the AMRAAM, if anything does? What does multi pulse propulsion actually entail in terms of missile performance?

Anonymous said...

does china has production facility for jf-17,i think they are not acquiring jf-17 so if anybodywantsto buy jf-17 where they gona buy them from.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: Whether or not a LRAAM should have solid-rocket or ramjet propulsion depends on what the operational reqmts are and what the LRAAM is to be used for. If the idea is to field the LRAAM in large numbers for intercepting MRCAs then Meteor-type or FRAAM-type LRAAMs with 120km range will suffice. However, if the LRAAM is to be employed against long-range/intercontinental bombers equipped with Tomahawk-type cruise missiles and heavily escorted by interceptors, then operational scenario changes dramatically and calls for the employment of KS-172-type heavyweight LRAAMs with a range exceeding 150km. It was for this reason that I refrained from comparing the two diverging LRAAM designs emanating from Europe and Russia.

To Anon@2:57PM: Where do you think Pakistan is getting its JF-17s from? What PAC Kamra has is only an aircraft assembly-cum-rebuild facility. All JF-17 manufacturing from raw materials is done at Chengdu and the RD-95 turbofan is imported directly from Russia's Klimov JSC. All these are then delivered to PAC Kamra in semi-knocked down condition for final assembly.

To Kaushik: For the moment only three Regiments of the Smerch-M are being procured off-the-shelf from Russia's SPLAV FSUE. Separately, the ARDE and HEML are working together to develop a Smerch-like 300mm indigenous MBRL with a range of 120km.

To Anon@1:51AM: Dassault Aviation has already stated that its fifth-generation combat aircraft will be a Neuron-like UCAV and it has already spent the past 15 years developing it along with some European and Scandinavian countries. For countries like India the future lies in multinational industrial cooperation of the type already in progress with Israel, Russia, the UK and soon, the US.

To Nava: I presume by IAF you mean the IDF-AF, am I right? It can get confusing sometimes, as the great majority in this blog refer to the Indian AF as the IAF. And why do you refer to the IDF-AF's expected procurement of the F-35 JSF as 'unfortunate'? Kindly enlighten me, will you?

Nava said...

Yes, I meant the Israeli AF. I think the F-35 is a problematic design; its reliance on (dubious) stealth at the expense of maneuverability and ammo is risky.

RE the LRAAM, why do you assume that a Ramjet design wouldn't be better for the anti Bomber\J-STARS role? Also, I don't think the IS AF needs such a missile, so in that case it would be a different type of JV. On the other hand, A Meteor class missile with WVR+BVR interception capabilities is very much in the IS AF's sights.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: In my humble view the need for manoeuvrable/super-manoeuvrable combat aircraft and its ability to carry 'appreciable warloads (of say 5 to 7 tonnes) has been diminished dramatically due to the greatly increased reliability and agility of within visual range AAMs (backed up by helmet-mounted displays), and the availability of PGMs reqd for carrying out effects-based air campaigns.
Now, with regard to LRAAMs, I'm not assuming anything. The Soviets and Russians were in fact far ahead of the rest of the world in this area and even had functional prototypes of both LRAAM concepts (from Vympel and Novator) by as far back as 1990. It was at the Dubai Air Show in 1993 that I first saw detailed comparative evaluations and analysis of the two types of Russian LRAAMs for engaging varying airborne targets and at that time itself, the Russians had concluded that KS-172-type LRAAMs could intercept targets as far away as 300km. And all this at a time when no one was even murmuring about the Meteor. Therefore, I'm not assuming anything at all, but rather basing my personal conclusions on well-researched documentation available from Russian guided-missile developers.

Nava said...

But why do you go from: "The Russians
haven't used Ramjet in their LRAAMs" to "One shouldn't bother using Ramjet
in a LRAAM"? I think the technology simply wasn't mature.

Anonymous said...

Hi prasun, do you have any update on Kavery Engine?
I saw one news on it that it has achieved its parameters and send to Russia for further higher altitude tests! is it right ?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Nava: As I explained above, the Russians did develop ramjet-powered LRAAMs and still do. The LRAAM of Vympel JSC derived from the R-77 does use ramjets, although its full-scale mock-up was last displayed publicly only at MAKS 2001. The Russians had by 1993 completed wind-tunnel tests of the full-scale mock-up of such a missile and in terms of missile aerodynamics and propulsion, were far ahead of the likes of Raytheon and Aerospatiale Missiles--the two main Western entities that were actively engaged since the late 1980s in developing ramjet-powered AAMs and anti-ship missiles, but subsequently backed off until MBDA in the late 1990s began talking about the Meteor. And as i stated earlier, I never said either of the two types of LRAAMs (in terms of propulsion systems) is superior to the other. Both have their strengths and weaknesses and their niche areas.

To Anon@12:42PM: In terms of laboratory design, testing and development, yes, the Kaveri has achieved its envisaged R & D goals. But has it achieved the status of being a mature design capable of powering a M-MRCA or even a MRCA? The answer is a firm no. Its thrust-rating needs to be increased and for this to happen its hot-section components (the engine core and turbine blades) need to be radically upgraded. There are two options when it comes to undertaking such upgrades: 1) indigenous entities like the DRDO's DMRL and state-owned MIDHANI developing such components, or 2) importing them off-the-shelf from the likes of SNECMA Moteurs.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To sbm: Hope you've already read this:

sbm said...

Of course. Iyengar has not been consistent on the 1974 test as he once gave an interview where he gave a yield as being closer to 10 than 8 kt!

That said, the boosteds might get up to 200-500kt without trouble - the basic tech has been proven unlike the TN.

It could be why the SFC has been so reticent about things.

PKI is correct in the need for a fresh review.

However, some of what he is saying is not quite accurate.

BTW - speaking of LRAAMs - what is the prospect of India obtaining the Meteor, R-172 or even the RVV-AE-PD

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To sbm: Sanjay, the TN warhead issue will come under greater critical scrutiny once the home-grown MIRV technologies begin evolving. With existing unitary fission-based warheads on board IRBMs and MRBMs the weight factor isn't worrying at all, but with the introduction of MIRV-based warheads, the TN warhead reqmt will be of paramount importance. Also to be factored in is the SFC's desire to make the majority of the nuclear arsenal 'survivable' for a retaliatory strike. That being the case the bulk of the MIRVs will have to go on board the projected SLBMs. While some like RADM (ret'd) Raja Menon have elaborated more on this issue, the great majority seem to have, for the moment, a semblance of misguided self-assurance based on the proven success of the fission-based n-devices.
Regarding LRAAMs, the Cympel RVV-AE-PD is now projected for export availability by 2014, while the Novator KS-172 is available today. But this December, when two IAF Su-30MKis will be despatched to Irkutsk for structural strengthening (in order to accommodate the belly-mounted BrahMos, the wings too will be strengthened, enabling the aircraft to carry at least two underwing KS-172s. But so far, only the test-firing schedule of the air-launched BrahMos has been firmed up, and there's no word about the Su-30MKI/KS-172 flight qualifications trials.
Regarding the Meteor, it is already on offer along with the EF-2000 and Rafale, but not for the Gripen IN (Gripen Int'l's website still shows the Gripen In armed with Derby and Python-5 AAMs). Also, Raytheon is no longer talking about the FRAAM.

Anonymous said...

Prasun da,

You didn't answer to this queries-

Regarding the up-gradation of SU-30 MKI,will the uprated variant of the AL-31FP turbofan(which will power the FGFA) will power the SU-30's also.
You have written earlier in your FORCE magazine that it will have concealed weapons.How can the 2.5 ton Brahmos missile be concealed?
Will it have the same AESA radar as that of the PAK-FA?

Regarding the joint development of the FGFA you have written last October (The FGFA Conundrum Explained) that Russia has given the DRDO and HAL a free hand to define and design the open-architecture cockpit(including the quadruplex fly-by-light flight control system) and mission avionics suites while the potential suppliers of active phased-array radars include THALES of France, Israel Aerospace Industries, Ericsson Microwave Systems,EADS.

Does that mean it will have-
1)MIL-1773 standard fibre optic flight control system which will be also onboard the Tejas Mk3 M-MRCA.
2)a new-generation navigation-and-attack system (like the DARIN-3)
3)the EL/M-2052 AESA or even the CAESAR from EADS.

Please explain.

Anonymous said...

Prasun da,

Will there be the Astra Mk II, with a longer range or the spin-offs from the Astra AAM program will be merged with or be used in the futuristic LRAAM that RAFAEL is likely to develop with the DRDO?

As you have written here the IAF will employ the KS-172-type heavyweight LRAAMs with a range exceeding 150km to take on the PLAAF's long range bombers,I think hence the RAFAEL-DRDO AAM project would have a range between 110-150 kms for intercepting MRCAs and also to be competitive against other long range AAM's such as the Meteor.What do you think?

Is it true that the thrust-vectoring capability capability of an aircraft now offers no advantage against highly maneuverable AAM's with thrust vectors such as the Meteor.

How good is the OLS-35 IRST compared to western IRSTs including those on F-16s?

NJS said...

Hi Prasun,
Does F-16IN / F-18 E/F is offered with FRAAM missile in mmrca deal.

In 2004 india placed order for 4 nos longer range Tu-22m3 backfire bombers & lease of 2 nos nerpa class sub's .
one of the sub may reach us in year end , when the other one planned to enter india.

One of the pakistan news says the order for 4 tu-22m3 has been canceled in 2005 itself , it is sure the news is correct .

Does india has any future plan for longer range bombers.

Anonymous said...

There had been a controversy over the high resolution imagery providers operating earth observation satellites who give out images of sensitive defence installations in our case google is this problem overcome?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@7.13PM: The uprated 117S variant of the AL-31FP turbofan(which will also power the FGFA) will power the SU-30MKIs as well. The BrahMos will not be part of the weapons suite that will be carried inside conformal compartments. Only the AAMs and PGMs like the Kh-38, Kh-58 and Kh-59 will be carried inside conformal compartments.
No, it won't have the same AESA as that for the FGFA, but the existing BARS radar will be modified to accommodate the front-end AESA antenna, along with new-generation radar data processors and a new cooling system.
The FGFA will definitely have MIL-1773 standard fibre optic flight control system which will be also onboard the Tejas Mk2 M-MRCA, a new-generation navigation-and-attack system (like the DARIN-3), and the Russian MIRES AESA.

To Anon@7:53PM: The Astra is being developed primarily as a BVRAAM and not a LRAAM, although it is surprising why an IIR-guided variant of Astra is not being developed concurrently, since even in the case of the radar-guided variant the terminal active radar (same as that on the R-77) is being imported from Russia. Regarding the LRAAM reqmt, no decision has as yet been made by the IAF on which type of LRAAM it wants. Regarding TVC, that's right, and it is becoming uneconomical to develop supermanoeuvrable M-MRCAs (by spending prohibitive amounts on TVC nozzles) at a time when helmet-mounted cueing systems along with super-agile all-aspect AAMs are able to achieve a lot more than a supermanoeuvrable manned combat aircraft. TVC is useful only when extra takeoff thrust is reqd when operating from high-altitude air bases (like in Leh or Thoise) or when taking off from STOBAR aircraft carriers.
Presently, the IRSTs from Russia's UOMZ are good for only detecting and auto-tracking manned aircraft at a distance of 35-50km depending on the target's cruising altitude. They're comparable to those IRSTs on board the EF-2000 and Rafale. The IRSTs for the Gripen IN, Super Hornet and F-16 Block 60 are still under development.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Continued from above:
As far as BVRAAMs go, BROADSWORD's latest contention that "A drawback in the Astra remains its high weight; even a heavy fighter like the Sukhoi-30MKI cannot carry the missile on its wingtip stations. In comparison with the Astra’s estimated 150 kg, other BVR missiles like the Israeli Derby weigh around 100kg only" is dead-wrong. This is because even the Su-30MKI does not carry wingtip rail-mounted BVRAAMs. The wingtip-mounted AAM of the Su-30MKI is Vympel's R-73E, whose launch weight isd 105kg. Also, the R-77 BVRAAM's launch weight is 175kg, which is an estimated 50kg HEAVIER than the Astra BVRAAM. I don't know from where BROADSWORD is getting erroneous data (about comparing the Derby, R-77 and Astra) since the Derby is not even flight-qualified on the Su-30MKI, either on wingtip-mounted rails or on underwing pylons.

To NJS: No, the FRAAM is not on offer from the US. And India never exercised the option to lease the Tu-22M3. And only one Akula-3 SSGN is being leased, not two. However, there was some Chinese internet rumor a few days ago with the following points:
- Russia agreed to "transfer" a Tu-22M3 (will be named Hong-10 in China) assembly line to china for US$1.5 billion.
- All parts will be manufactured in china with the exception of the engines.
- Russia agreed to transfer all technical documents for the aicraft.
- First "sample" of a licence-assembled Tu-22M3 is estimated to be completed by end of next year
- The PLA Navy ordered 12 Tu-22M3s in the first batch and 24 more in the second batch. It seems that Xi'an Aviation will be in charge of this assembly line.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@6:44AM: There's no problem at all. The high-resolution photos are periodically upgraded but after long intervals and the revisit times are not the same as those of military overhead recce satellites. Therefore, the photos and data shown by Google Earth are not indicative of the area's current status.

NJS said...

Parsun regarding Tu-22 m3

India has acquired around 200 3M-54 Klub for arming Talwar class frigate, Shivalik class frigate, Kolkata class destroyer and Sindhughosh class submarine[57]. The Russian 3M-54 Klub is a multi-role missile system developed by the Novator Design Bureau (OKB-8) with a range of 250 km-300 km and an average speed of .8 Mach with a maximum of 2.9 Mach.[58] India has both the Klub-N and Klub-S variant to be used for Ships and Submarines respectively. [59]. Both the Klub-N and Klub-S have been tested successfully. India currently has the 3M-54E, 3M-54E1, 91RE1 and 91RE2 variants.

In addition the Navy has plans to arm the Tu-142 and Tu-22M with an air-launched version.

Due to Klub's longer range than BrahMos it may also be used in the Mirage 2000 and Su-30 MKI too. The Navy has shown interest in buying more Klubs which would be incorporated on to the S-1000 submarine if bought by India. India is also keen on other Former Soviet cruise missile such as the P-700 Granit and P-500 Bazalt.