F-16 for India Air Force…Really?


In 2007, MoD (Ministry of Defence) issued a tender to purchase 126 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA procurement programme). Objective of this procurement was to bridge the gap between a light fighter (MiG-21, MiG-23, MiG-27 etc and LCA Tejas) and heavy duty fighter Su-30. Six fighter aircraft (F-16 from Lockheed Martin (USA), F/A-18E/F Super Hornet from Boeing (USA), MiG 35 Mikhoyan (Russia), Rafale from Dassault (France), Eurofighter Typhoon and SAAB JAS 39 Gripen (Sweden)) came to participate in the MMRCA race. Out of these 6, JAS 39 Gripen and F-16 were unofficially out of the race before it even begun for them. Because one of the condition of MMRCA was that aircraft should have two engines and these two aircraft are single engine.

In Jan 2012, Dassault Rafale was declared as the winner of the competition. Negotiations went on with Dassault for years and the total `expected cost of the procurement` went up from $10 billion to $16-20 billion. Govt could not strike a deal with Dassault for 126 Rafale and on 30th July 2015, MoD withdrew the MMRCA tender because Govt decided to purchase 36 Rafale in fly away condition from France with weapons, training, and support package. In Sep 2016 a deal was signed for 36 Rafale for roughly $7.87 billion. As per the deal, deliveries must start within 36 months (i.e. from Sep 2019) and must be completed within 67 months (i.e. by March 2022). Read More…

Credit By : The Northlines

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2 commentsOn F-16 for India Air Force…Really?

  • India is a fast country with a developing military infrastructure. Its long border requires aircraft that can patrol long distances. The larger Russian aircraft and the F-15’s are suitable. But they are big targets as well.

    Where single engines are allowed the F-35 is a long term option in the sense that it will be developing for decades. The F-16 is agile, affordable and a good design to keep developing; especially if manufacture can take place in India. However the F-16 no longer dominates air to air engagements.

    From Europe the Rafale is a good allrounder and the Gripen a superb package with excellent radar and world class missiles cued in. The Eurofighter Tops the class though and offers the greatest stealth (Enemy aircraft have to stick around longer to guide the missile closer, increasing the chance the Eurofighter discovers it).

    If I were India I’d base modernisation on F-35’s, Eurofighters and F-15’s. That’s superior stealth from the F-35, QRA dominance using the Eurofighter, and finally unstealthed grunt from the F-15. After that I’d buy the Gripen over the Rafale on the grounds of both cost and the EWP the Gripen brings to the table. Pilots report that the Gripen is a hard aircraft to find.

    I’d choose F-35’s for aircraft carriers. Anything you can do not to have an aircraft giving away the ship’s position. It’s as simple as that in my opinion.

    The selection process should recognise the tactical advantages in having side scanning radars. The Sukhois, Gripen and AESA Eurofighter have them. Tactically these aircraft can guide missiles to target without have to fly toward them; a far safer option. American aircraft lack this feature, which I can only suggest is derived from the fact that the USA fields far more aircraft and develops the tactics to suit.

    The USA has discovered the advantages of having IRST, so in this regard all aircraft now have this in one form or another. IRST is useful especially if ground based LW radar can provide the aircraft with a heading onto stealth aircraft. Radar stealth does not translate to IR stealth. 5th generation aircraft are vulnerable to IRST.

  • India is a vast country with a developing military infrastructure. Its long border requires aircraft that can patrol long distances. The larger Russian aircraft and the F-15’s are suitable. But they are big targets as well.

    Where single engines are allowed the F-35 is a long term option in the sense that it will be developing for decades. The F-16 is agile, affordable and a good design to keep developing; especially if manufacture can take place in India. However the F-16 no longer dominates air to air engagements.

    From Europe the Rafale is a good allrounder and the Gripen a superb package with excellent radar and world class missiles cued in. The Eurofighter Tops the class though and offers the greatest stealth (Enemy aircraft have to stick around longer to guide the missile closer, increasing the chance the Eurofighter discovers it).

    If I were India I’d base modernisation on F-35’s, Eurofighters and F-15’s. That’s superior stealth from the F-35, QRA dominance using the Eurofighter, and finally unstealthed grunt from the F-15. After that I’d buy the Gripen over the Rafale on the grounds of both cost and the EWP the Gripen brings to the table. Pilots report that the Gripen is a hard aircraft to find.

    I’d choose F-35’s for aircraft carriers. Anything you can do not to have an aircraft giving away the ship’s position. It’s as simple as that in my opinion.

    The selection process should recognise the tactical advantages in having side scanning radars. The Sukhois, Gripen and AESA Eurofighter have them. Tactically these aircraft can guide missiles to target without have to fly toward them; a far safer option. American aircraft lack this feature, which I can only suggest is derived from the fact that the USA fields far more aircraft and develops the tactics to suit.

    The USA has discovered the advantages of having IRST, so in this regard all aircraft now have this in one form or another. IRST is useful especially if ground based LW radar can provide the aircraft with a heading onto stealth aircraft. Radar stealth does not translate to IR stealth. 5th generation aircraft are vulnerable to IRST.

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