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    Any information on the purchase of US Navy phased-out Sea Kings by India ?

  2. 2


    I have said before on this very blog (see my old posts) that Cassidian is indulging in street-smart salesmanship and media manipulation which is not cutting ice with the MoD and now it is confirmed. So, perhaps this is curtains for the Typhoon in the M-MRCA, which, in my opinion, only had a very marginal chance anyway.

    The F-16 should be out of contention for most obvious reasons already much written about (read: reached end of product life cycle).

    The Super Hornet (MTOW=30 MT), though a formidable a/c, is not exactly in the weight-class that IAF is looking at. In fact it is closer to the Su-30MKI.

    The MiG-35 (MTOW=30 MT) would also not qualify for the same reasons mentioned above.

    That leaves us with the Gripen IN (MTOW=17 MT) and the Rafale (MTOW=24 MT).

    If India opts for a single-engined light-weight class, then it is Gripen (there being no other competitor); alternatively, if it opts for a twin-engined medium-weight class, then it could very well be Rafale (the only other competitor was Typhoon). Incidentally, the French have also been the most discreet throughout the M-MRCA saga.

    The Rafale and Gripen are also true omnirole a/c whereas the Typhoon is more of an air superiority a/c.

  3. 3


    @ 5:32PM

    Indian Navy has invoked a national security clause to withhold the RTI request. The motive behind this is unknown.

    Shive any news on this mystery ?

  4. 4


    What happened to a similar case where Lockmart was the culprit wrt MMRCA?

  5. 5


    Shiv, i think you should ask your dear friend Ajai Shukla if he made any money (I hope that he did,would be sad if he was made a fool)from his 'exclusive story' I mean plant.

  6. 6

    Prasun K. Sengupta

    (First posted on September 14, 2009 at “General Electric's F414-GE-400 for the Tejas LCA Mk2 and General Electric's F110-132A for the F-16IN Super Viper. GE will sweep it all…game, set and match! GE also gets to set up an engine MRO workshop for CFM56 and GE90 turbofans at Nagpur, thereby overshooting–in dollar terms–the MoD-mandated industrial offsets requirements. Just prior to announcing the M-MRCA competition's winner, the MoD will announce that the DPP is being 'modified' to recognise the strength and value of 'strategic' indirect aviation-related industrial offsets.”

    Am now inclined to believe that the F/A-18E/F is indeed likely to be the preferred choice as the IAF’s M-MRCA.

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    P K Sengupta @ 12:34 AM

    Shubho Bijoya to begin with. How come You've been inactive for so long? I know you were in Kolkata during pujas, but you've been inactive since long prior.

    While your hunch about SH being favorites is respected and also no dispute that it is indeed a very capable platform and even much more potent if we consider it in combination with the Growler – excellent SEAD/DEAD platform – there however remain several questions as to its utility in the absence of CISMOA n BECA, no source codes come what may, etc. Also, there is the further question of the makeup of the entire IAF fleet with hi-lo mix. IAF cost/budget structure will go haywire with such top-heavy combination. Your detailed analysis of this prediction is solicited.

    By the way, your Trishul blog has only articles up-to 2009. I can't find anything for 2010 – why?

  8. 8

    Prasun K. Sengupta

    To Kunal: Shubho Bijoya to you and all your loved ones as well, as well to all our wellwishers at LIVEFIST. Yes, I have been inactive in the blogosphere for almost a year now, primarily due to urgent business commitments associated with several in-country product demonstrations for prospective Indian armed forces end-users. At the same time, I’m coming up with a customised TRISHUL website that will be part of the corporate TRIDENT Aviation Services website. I hope to get it up and running by next month and will then resume from where TRISHUL had stopped. WTO the SH’s prospects in India, the following are my n’personal’ inferences:
    1) In terms of the cost factor, the Boeing/GE/Raytheon/Northrop Grumman team in presently best-positioned to offer the volume of direct/indirect industrial offsets, the sc ale of which just cannot be matched by anyone else. This factor alone will nullify the higher procurement costs associated with the SH. As far as Air HQ is concerned, I’m led to believe that any kind of estimated financial drain/crunch will not arise from selecting the SH as the M-MRCA, but with the continuing investments in the Tejas Mk2 M-MRCA project and the uncertainties associated with its service induction schedule. Air HQ is reportedly not in favour of making such parallel investments, especially when the capability-gap is widening vis-à-vis the PRC. On top of that, there’s the financial commitment associated with the FGFA project. Therefore, Air HQ is in an extremely tight spot and is therefore likely to favour the least risky option, which is to go for a mature platform that is already in series production in large numbers and which could be licence-assembled with ease in-country, just as the Su-30MKI was eight years ago.
    2) As for CISMOA and BECA, one can definitely live without them and there will be no operational deficiencies as far as the IAF is concerned. After all, when the Indian Army in 2002 procured the TPQ-37 Firefinders, at that time too such agreements were not in place and were not insisted upon. All that the US is now saying is that India’s signature on these agreements will ensure full-scope Indian participation in the US’ global net-centricity operations architecture. But the downside is that the IAF will then have to re-model its entire existing IFF/secure comms protocols, at a time when the IAF has already made enormous investments in conceptialising its unique National Secure Mode (NSM) operational protocols associated with the IACCCS. Therefore, I’m personally inclined to favour the ‘desi’ approach towards a robust standalone IACCCS.
    3) Source Codes are again a non-issue to me as the US has already consented to India receiving the ‘Object Code’ alternative, an approach that was first adopted for the UAEAF’s F-16E/F Desert Falcons.

  9. 9


    Prasun Sengupta @ 3:27 PM

    1)That is precisely the point, with heavy financial commitments to FGFA, holding 270 MKIs, AMCA and Tejas-2 development – why this another top-heavy plane? Doesn't make sense.

    2)PKS said – "but with the continuing investments in the Tejas Mk2 M-MRCA project and the uncertainties associated with its service induction schedule. Air HQ is reportedly not in favor of making such parallel investments" – Does this imply that there is rethinking going on as to whether the indigenous programs should be continued or killed?

    3)I personally don't agree that there exists a capability gap in combat a/c as such between the IAF n PLAAF. Yes, there is a gap viz-a-viz numbers and numbers are important. But then numbers are usually fillers made up with cheaper capable options n not with expensive top of the line. Also, the numbers gap has always historically existed against PLAAF n is likely to continue. The IAF has been weak in transports, helos, n tankers which is being corrected.

    4)The IAF is due to retire ~300 odd MiG-21 and MiG-27 by 2015-2020 and it is this void that has to be filled-in with a combination of Tejas n the proposed purchase. I don't see how SH could fit into this niche.

    5)Lastly, if it has to be SH then it would be more sensible to just buy more MKI from Irkut n not from overburdened HAL to arrest the sinking squadron strength.

  10. 10

    Prasun K. Sengupta

    To Kunal: True, the SH may be regarded as ‘top-heavy’, but not from a financial standpoint. That’s why, as I stated earlier, the deciding factor likely to tilt the balance in favour of the SH will be the strength of the industrial consortium and its ability to offer which no other competing party will be able to match.
    WRT your second point, the answer is no, the IAF is not in favour of scuttling ‘desi’ endeavours like the Tejas Mk2 M-MRCA. On the contrary, it does favour such indigenous warbirds. But the issue is not of either-or, but rather a question of priority, i.e. which comes first—committing the bulk of available procurement funds for readily available platforms like the SH, or setting aside substantial funds for a product that has yet to be flight-certified. In my personal estimation, ADA is unlikely to obtain CEMILAC’s CofA for the Tejas Mk2 until late 2014. Which then brings us to your points 3 and 4: to arrest the capability gap in numerical terms, Air HQ has only one viable option left, which is to procure additional Su-30MKIs directly from IRKUT Corp. This was alluded to by UAC Chairman Alexey Federov during Aero India 2009 when he stated that he expected the IAF to procure at least 100 more Su-30MKIs than what had already been contracted for till that date. AS for the service induction schedule for the Tejas Mk2 M-MRCA, everything depends on the willingness of ADA and HAL to work together, instead of engaging in one-upmanship. After all, HAL could easily play politics and accord higher R & D priority to the FGFA, leaving the ADA high and dry. This is where both IAF HQ and the Ministry of Defence would be required to display their ‘decisive leadership’ qualities.
    WRT your last point, I believe both the MoD and IAF HQ have already made it amply clear through their respective public utterances that “they wouldn’t like to put all their eggs into one basket”. My interpretation of this statement is: a non-Russian M-MRCA solution is politically preferred, even though it makes perfect operational sense to procure additional Su-30MKIs and allocate substantially higher financial resources into the Tejas Mk2 M-MRCA project and fast-track it. But then, what you and me think doesn’t matter much, does it? After all, we’re dealing with a MoD whose Minister is not predisposed to ‘logical reasoning’ and who by his own admittance, was not previously aware about concepts such as maritime territorial boundaries and coastal security!

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    Prasun K. Sengupta @ 11:59 PM

    Patently Prasun Sengupta style – QED – very lucidly clarified. Many, many thanks. So, it is as usual, only politics when it comes to any military hardware decision. And fools like me were hoping against hope that perhaps a time for change has come. By the way, would be delighted to have your E-mail for future queries/discussions. My E-mail is Checked up Trident Air Services: It is showing US, Johannesburg, etc., nothing in India.

  12. 12


    Some of these posts endorse the passions that we are being incited to engender within us. Sorry if this sounds radical or devilish in its advocacy….here goes.

    To stray from the immediate subject for the lack of an option, Indian media has assumed the role of the judiciary. Does a free and independent commentator like the Indian press have the right to implicate and convict arms dealers or murderers or land grabbers alike?

    More importantly, some counterpoints to chew on ….

    1. Do companies manipulate media or is it the media that manipulates public ? Could this story be a product of clever collusion of the opposite camp ? (Read GE Engine: IAF Unhappy in Strategic Affairs Magazine Oct.15 – I didnt write it, I just read it, )

    2. If indeed this is true then why did the decision making body (DRDO) not disqualify the company (it has full right to) ? DRDO possibly (mark the word) did not inform us because a) it did not know of any wrong-doing but the journalist did b) there was no wrong doing c) it did know and of all people it decided to tell a journalist ????

    3. Does correlation substitute for causality ? Does every man who lives in the vicinity of an airport flies often ?

    4. If Eurojet was indeed already indulging in "street-smart salesmanship and media manipulation" and its competitor was winning fair and square would it allow such a story to surface ? If it could allegedly buy a journo to plant misleading reports would it not stop another from launching a tirade.

    Parting shot, a journalist who has been expelled from his previous job must sure know how it feels to be to 'asked to leave immediately' (I didnt hear this….ask Mr. Thapar, he will tell you this himself)



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