Defense Minister: Bulgaria Needs New Jet Fighters.
Novinite.com Defense | October 15, 2009, Thursday
Bulgaria needs new multirole jet fighters, and this will be a priority of the Defense Ministry.
Defense Minister, Nikolay Mladenov, announced this Thursday during his visit in the “Graf Ignatievo” airbase.
He expressed his surprise that none of the previous governments had not started procedures for buying new jet fighters, when they knew that the flight capability of the ones the army had would expire in 2012-2014.
“We take very seriously the matter what we will do, so that the Bulgarian Air Force to have planes to fulfill its missions”, Mladenov said.
The military salaries will not be raised in 2010, he added. However, the social benefits the solders have will not be taken away. The Defense Ministry's budget in 2010 will not be reduced, but the exact parameters are still being negotiated.
Get a move on?? Year is soon over...n then this comes along,
China Close To Testing Next-Gen Fighter
aviation week and space technology ^ | Nov 13,2009 | Bradley Perrett
A Chinese fighter of nominally the same technology generation as the Lockheed Martin F-22 will soon enter flight testing, while a jet airlifter larger than the Airbus A400M should be unveiled by year-end.
Beijing’s fighter announcement suggests a serious failing in U.S. intelligence assessments, mocking a July 16 statement of U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates that China would have no fifth-generation fighters by 2020. Industrial competition looks more remote than strategic competition, however, since China will want to fill domestic requirements before offering the aircraft abroad, even if it judges export sales to be a wise policy.
The new fighter “is currently under development,” says Gen. He Weirong, deputy air force chief. “[It] may soon undertake its first flight, quickly enter flight testing and then quickly equip the forces.
“According to the current situation, [the entry into service] may take another eight to 10 years,” he adds.
No details of the aircraft were given, but it is almost certainly designed for supersonic cruise without afterburning. In April, Adm. Wu Shengli, the navy chief, listed supercruising fighters among equipment that his service needed. Notably, all the other equipment on his wish list looked quite achievable by the end of the next decade, matching the timing that the air force now suggests for the fighter.
China classifies aircraft of the F-22’s technology level as fourth-generation fighters, although they are called fifth-generation aircraft in the West. China’s current advanced fighter, the J-10, is locally called a third-generation aircraft, which in Chinese terms means that it is comparable with the Lockheed Martin F-16.
Work on “the fourth-generation aircraft is now proceeding intensely,” He says.
Whether the upcoming fighter is really comparable with the F-22 remains to be seen. Low radar reflectivity would not be surprising, since aircraft and missiles with stealthy shapes are now popping up in many countries, including South Korea as recently as last month (AW&ST Oct. 26-Nov. 2, p. 42). But sensor performance, information fusion and maximum supercruise speed would also be assessed critically in measuring a claim to have caught up with technology levels that the U.S. did not deploy until 2005.
The existence of a Chinese fifth-generation fighter, usually tagged J-XX, has been rumored for years without official confirmation.
If the aircraft does go into service before 2020, then at that time China may well have jumped past Britain, France and other Western European countries in terms of deployed, domestically developed combat-aircraft technology. That will depend on how quickly those countries move to field combat drones to replace current strike aircraft, says Andrew Brookes of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Brookes takes seriously the Chinese objective of technology equivalent to the F-22, and he sees no reason to doubt that the F-22 would be the standard against which they would judge their design. The know-how can be imported.
“The Russians have the technology and the Chinese have the money,” he says. “If they really set that as a target, then I think they can do it.”
The aircraft may not bother Western manufacturers in export markets, Brookes suggests, simply because an equivalent of the F-22 would be a destabilizing export that China would be prefer to keep to itself.
Even if China decides that it wants to export the fighter, Lockheed Martin should by then be well entrenched with the F-35, which should be mature and reliable at that point. Other manufactures may not be so well placed, however.
Gen. He made his remarks during an interview on China Central Television as part of the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the air force of the People’s Republic of China. (The general’s surname is pronounced as “her” but without the “r.”)
China is probably working on two fifth-generation concepts, says Richard Fisher of the International Assessment and Strategy Center. One of those concepts, appearing most commonly in bits and pieces of evidence that have turned up from time to time, would be a heavy twin-engine fighter probably of about the same size as the F-22. The other is a single-engine aircraft probably closer to the Lockheed Martin F-35.
Gen. He could be referring to either of the aircraft when predicting an entry into service during the next decade. Fisher’s bet is that he is talking about the twin-engine concept.
Like Brookes, Fisher believes China is realistically aiming at the F-22’s technology level. “One has to assume that the People’s Liberation Army is confident in its projections, as it almost never makes such comments about future military programs, especially one that has been as closely held as its next-generation fighter.
“As such, one has to be asking very hard questions: How did the U.S. intelligence community get this one wrong? And inasmuch as no one expects the F-35 to replace the F-22 in the air superiority role, is it time to acknowledge that F-22 production termination is premature and that a much higher number is needed to sustain deterrence in Asia?”
In his July 16 speech, Gates said that even in 2025 China would have but a handful of fifth-generation aircraft.
The new Chinese fighter could come from the Chengdu or Shenyang plants of Avic Defense.
Gen. He says the Chinese air force plans to emphasize development of four capabilities: reconnaissance and early warning, air strike, strategic supply, and air and missile defense.
The J-10 began large-scale service entry in 2006, state media say.
When Wu raised the prospect of a supercruising fighter, an easy answer seemed to be an advanced version of the J-10. That looks less likely now that He describes the future concept as a full generation ahead of the J-10.
“I believe the Chinese have a difficult road if their design is tied to the J-10,” says a U.S. Air Force officer involved in the development of the F-35. “Significantly reduced signature requires more than coatings. It requires an integrated design philosophy with the right shaping, the right structure and the right surface coatings.”
Fisher assumes that China is developing improved fourth-generation fighters in parallel with the fifth generation.
The existence of the airlifter has been known for several years, if only because pictures of it have appeared fleetingly in presentations by the Chinese aviation conglomerate Avic.
As expected, it turns out to be a product of Avic’s large-airplane subsidiary, Avic Aircraft and, more specifically, of the subsidiary’s core plant, Xi’an Aircraft.
Avic Aircraft General Manager Hu Xiaofeng says the airlifter is in the 200-metric-ton class and will be unveiled at the end of this year.
In fact, its design has already unveiled in pictures shown by state media. The four-engine aircraft adopts the universal high-wing, T-tail configuration. The wing is mounted on top of the circular body, rather than passing through a deep segment of it and cutting out much of the usable cross-section. In that respect it is like the A400M, Ilyushin Il-76 and Kawasaki C-X but unlike the C-17, whose embedded wing presents less frontal area.
The main gear of the Chinese aircraft is housed in very protuberant sponsons, like those of the C-17.
A photograph of the cockpit shows five electronic displays of moderate size and conventional transport-style control columns. Engines are not revealed but would presumably be imported from Russia. A wind-tunnel model shows the engines are enclosed in long nacelles, like those of the Perm PS-90 from Russia.
The PS-90 has a standard maximum thrust of 35,300 lb. in its latest version. The C-17, with a gross weight of 265 tons, is powered by four Pratt & Whitney F117 engines of 40,400 lb. thrust.
The airlifter’s fuselage appears to be of conventional metal construction. The aircraft will be significantly larger than the A400M, which has a 141-metric-ton gross weight.
Hu says it has been independently developed in China. However, his parent company, Avic, has a long history of cooperation with Ukrainian airlifter specialist Antonov.
Russia gears up for major marketing launch of its Su-35 fighter jets.
Geostrategy Direct ^ | 12/09/2009 | Geostrategy Direct
Russia has launched its Su-35 fighter-jet program. Russia's Sukhoi Co. has begun implementing a contract to deliver the Su-35 to the Russian Air Force. Under the contract signed in August 2009, the Russian Air Force, in the largest purchase in 20 years, would acquire 48 Su-35 fighters.
"Long-term contracts for the fighter aircraft delivery to the Russian Air Force and foreign customers allow Sukhoi Co. to provide for a steady work load of its serial plants by combat aircraft production and shift from modernizing aircraft in the Russian Air Force inventory to manufacturing new products," Sukhoi said. In a statement on Nov. 17, Sukhoi said its plant on Komsomolsk-on-Amur has begun production of component parts. The company said serial production of the aircraft would begin in 2010.
Executives said Sukhoi and Russia's arms export agency, Rosoboronexport, have been briefing potential clients of Su-35. They said Algeria and Libya have expressed interest in the aircraft.
The Su-35 included a new phased array radar system with long-range aerial target detection. The aircraft, with stealth qualities, has been equipped with new air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles.
"The Su-35 is a substantially modernized highly maneuverable multifunctional 4++ generation aircraft employing technologies of the fifth generation," Sukhoi said. "They make it superior to all other fourth generation fighter jets now under development worldwide."
Post by TsarSamuil on Dec 10, 2009 12:59:57 GMT -5
I'm getting worried that the stealth fighter won't be revealed until next year
MiG Corporation is 70 years old.
Ria Novosti ^ | 08/12/2009 | Ilya Kramnik
On December 8, the Russian aircraft corporation MiG, formerly called the Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau, celebrates its 70th anniversary.
MiG, one of the most popular Soviet aircraft brands, was known all over the world and came to symbolize just about any Soviet warplane, except long-range bombers, in the West during the Cold War.
And in fact, MiG's glory was well-deserved.
The MiG Design Bureau pioneered the development of post-war turbojet fighters in the Soviet Union. Its first jet fighter, the I-300 later designated the MiG-9 Fargo, performed its maiden flight on April 24, 1946 and became the first jet fighter to enter service with the Soviet air force.
It was followed by the legendary MiG-15 Fagot, which brought lasting fame to the MiG Design Bureau and which served with Soviet and foreign air forces for over 50 years. The hard-hitting MiG-15 had three cannons and won a reputation for its high speed and excellent vertical and horizontal maneuverability.
The MiG-15 soon became the main Soviet air-superiority fighter and also entered service with other socialist countries.
The fighter's finest hour came during the 1950-1953 Korean War. In October 1950, the Soviet 64th Fighter Corps was assigned to defend logistics support and border facilities in North Korea. Chinese and North Korean air forces also received new fighters.
The MiG-15, which was the main Soviet, Chinese and North Korean fighter in that conflict, downed nearly 1,400 U.S. and other UN aircraft. 566 MiG-15s were lost in the war, including 335 Soviet MiG-15 fighters. In all, Soviet fighters downed about 1,100 enemy aircraft at the cost of 120 pilots.
The West, which does not like to discuss that conflict, usually recalls the number of downed MiG-15s and the 200-plus North American Aviation F-86 Sabre fighters shot down during the Korean War.
The F-86 Sabre, which was the best U.S. fighter of that period, could not cope with the MiG-15, which virtually controlled Soviet, Chinese and North Korean air space.
Although the MiG-15 began to be replaced with more advanced aircraft after the war, over 15,000 of these fighters were manufactured, making them the most popular jet-fighter model in history. In fact, the Albanian air force scrapped its last MiG-15 in 2005.
Before the advent of surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems, the MiG-15 and its successors, the MiG-17 Fresco and the MiG-19 Farmer, formed a vital element of Soviet air defense throughout the 1950s.
Large fighter units, which had won a formidable reputation in the course of intensive dogfights, became a highly important deterrent at a time when Soviet nuclear weapons were still in the experimental stage and when Soviet long-range bombers were unable to reach the United States on two-way missions.
U.S. military planners realized that strategic bomber groups would be sitting ducks in Eastern Europe and Soviet air space, and that a hypothetical nuclear strike was highly unlikely to inflict unacceptable damage on the U.S.S.R.
The MiG-21, which first took off in 1958 and whose production was launched in 1959, is still in service. The MiG-23 Flogger fighter and its modified version, the MiG-27 Flogger-D/J, the MiG-25 Foxbat and MiG-31 Foxhound interceptors, as well as the MiG-29 Fulcrum, now being converted into the MiG-35 Fulcrum-F, continue to fly today.
MiG-29 tests conducted by the NATO air force revealed that, given equal pilot training, this fighter has an advantage over similar Western aircraft during close-range dogfights, a traditionally strong feature of Soviet warplanes, and during medium-range combat involving air-to-air missiles with a range of 20 to 30 km.
Although the MiG Design Bureau faced major problems after the break-up of the Soviet Union, the situation is now improving. The company now repairs and upgrades previously manufactured aircraft for the Russian and foreign air forces.
The MiG Corporation continues to sign additional contracts. Federal funding has allowed it to develop the state-of-the-art MiG-35 which, as experts say, has good market prospects.
The company is also developing a fifth-generation fighter, due to appear in the next decade.
MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti military commentator Ilya Kramnik)
Post by TsarSamuil on Dec 10, 2009 13:25:52 GMT -5
Russia Delays Test Flight of Stealthy Fifth Generation Sukhoi T-50.
Russia will not test its fifth-generation aircraft this outgoing year. “The tests will begin in 2010,” Vice Prime Minister Sergey Ivanov told reporters Tuesday, RIA Novosti reports.
Ivanov said in May of this year that the test flight of the state-of-the-art aircraft would begin before the end of 2009. Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin said in June that the fifth-generation aircraft would be put into service in 2015.
Prime Minister Putin visited Russia’s largest air show MAKS in August and said that the production of the fifth-generation aircraft was a very important direction in the development of the nation’s aviation industry.
Russia ’s Sukhoi design bureau and NPO Saturn have been developing the fifth-generation fighter jet since the 1990s. It will be reportedly possible to use the fighter in all weathers, 24/7. The stealthy jet will be able to fly at an ultrasound speed and possess a highly efficient automated defense system. Only the United States of America has developed a fifth-generation fighter jet.
In the late 1980s, the Soviet Union outlined a need for a next-generation aircraft to replace its MiG-29 and Su-27 in frontline service. Two projects were proposed to meet this need, the Sukhoi Su-47 and the Mikoyan Project 1.44. In 2002, Sukhoi was chosen to lead the design for the new combat aircraft. The PAK FA will incorporate technology from both the Su-47 and the MiG 1.44.
Russia and India agreed in early 2007 to jointly study and develop a Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft Program, FGFA. On October 27, 2007, Asia Times quoted Sukhoi's director, Mikhail Pogosyan, "We [India and Russia] will share the funding, engineering and intellectual property [of the new project] in a 50-50 proportion." The Indian version, according to the deal, will be different from the Russian version and specific to Indian requirements. While the Russian version will be a single-pilot fighter, the Indian variant will have a twin-seat configuration based on its operational doctrine which calls for greater radius of combat operations. The wings and control surfaces need to be reworked for the FGFA. Although, development work has yet to begin, the Russian side has expressed optimism that a test article will be ready for its maiden flight by 2012 induction into service by 2015.
Although there is no reliable information about the jet's specifications yet, it is known from interviews with people in the Russian Air Force that it will be stealthy, have the ability to supercruise, be outfitted with the next generation of air-to-air, air-to-surface, and air-to-ship missiles, and incorporate a fix-mounted AESA radar with a 1,500-element array. The jet will use on its first flights 2 Saturn 117S engines (about 14.5 ton thrust each). The 117S is an advanced version of the AL-31F, but built with the experience gained in the AL-41F program. The AL-41F powered the Mikoyan MFI fighter (Project/Article 1.44). Later versions of the jet will use a completely new engine (17.5 ton thrust each), developed by NPO Saturn or FGUP MMPP Salyut.
On 20 August 2009, Russian Air Force Chief Alexander Zelin said that there were problems with the engines and research was continuing.
Post by TsarSamuil on Dec 18, 2009 10:22:42 GMT -5
Russian Military Aircrew Numbers Tumble.
Aviation Week and Space Technology ^ | Dec 16, 2009 | Alexey Komarov & Douglas Barrie
Aircrew numbers in the Russian air force are to be cut by 40% as part of a program that will see the service adopt a revised operational-command structure by year-end.
Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin, the air force chief, unveiled the far-reaching plan last summer with the aim of transforming his service into an agile force capable of dealing with more diverse types of threats. Zelin says the new structure will consist of operational commands, air force bases and aerospace defense brigades (to counter aircraft and missile threats).
Existing air force and air defense armies will be replaced with four operational commands with headquarters in St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Khabarovsk and Rostov-on-Don.
The other three organizations will be the long-range aviation command, formerly the 37th strategic air army; the military-transport aviation command, built around the 61st air army; and an operational-strategic command of aerospace defense (the former special missions command with responsibility for defending Moscow and central Russia). The last will coordinate its activity with the space forces, which protects Russia from ballistic missiles as well as potential threats from space.
Thirty-three air bases and 13 aerospace defense brigades will form the core of the renovated air force, which will comprise 180 units and commands instead of the existing 340. Aircrew numbers are to be cut to 7,000 from 12,000, while the officer corps will be reduced to 38,000 from 65,000.
As a result, hundreds of older fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft types will be withdrawn from service as the air force works to improve its overall readiness. The ambition is that by 2020 70% of the combat inventory will consist of either new types or upgraded aircraft.
Delivery of the Sukhoi Su-35S, which is based on the Su-27 Flanker, is due to begin in 2011. The aircraft will give the air force a multirole heavy fighter until the PAK FA enters service during the second half of the next decade. First flight of the PAK FA prototype—the T-50—has likely slipped into early 2010, although officials close to the development say the overall program is now progressing satisfactorily.
In addition, the air force will receive more production-standard Su-34 strike aircraft beginning in 2010, as the type begins to replace the Su-24M Fencer. Upgrade of some of the air force’s MiG-31Bs is ongoing.
The upheaval in the air force mirrors that in the army. Nearly 1,900 army units and commands are being transformed into 172 permanent readiness units and commands, while more than 20 motorized and tank divisions will be replaced by 39 combined arms and two tank brigades.
The changes will facilitate the air force’s being able to concentrate better equipped and trained units at a fewer number of bases, suggest air force sources. They point to Baltimor airfield near Voronezh in central Russia as one potential beneficiary of the consolidation. The intent is to develop the airfield as a major base with several runways up to 3,500 meters (11,480 ft.) long. Once completed, Baltimor will accommodate about 100 combat aircraft.
Other bases have absorbed aircraft and personnel from disbanded units. The military transport aircraft base at Migalovo, near Tver, has absorbed air regiments from Sesha, Smolensk and Krechevitsy. Transport aircraft types moved to Migalovo include the Ilyushin Il-76 and Antonov An-12.
The relocation of aircraft and personnel requires substantial infrastructure development and additional accommodation. The latter concern is likely the defense ministry’s most pressing issue.
Along with an anticipated 28 new-build combat aircraft and the same number of helicopters slated to be delivered in 2010, additional units equipped with Almaz-Antey S-400 surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) are to be formed.
Notionally, a further five air defense battalions are scheduled to receive the S-400 during 2010, but Zelin has already begun to doubt whether this target will be met. The air force has so far equipped two units with the mobile long-range SAM.
Commenting on system trials at the Ashuluk test range in southern Russia, Zelin suggested that while he was generally satisfied, the S-400 “still did not completely match the specification.” Exactly which elements of the system’s performance remain to be fulfilled is not yet known.
Moreover, delivery of the S-400 to the air force is being hampered by production capacity, and the defense ministry has floated the idea of establishing a second manufacturing site.
07:19 GMT, January 6, 2010 NEWTOWN, Conn. | A total of 230 Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter aircraft have been ordered for the Indian Air Force (IAF), including 140 that are being assembled under license in India by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). Recently, the commander of the IAF indicated that his service was interested in acquiring 50 additional Su-30MKIs, which would thus bring the total IAF acquisition to 280 Su-30MKIs.
Fifty Su-30MKIs, produced in Russia by Irkut, were delivered to the IAF by the end of 2007. Under an October 2007 deal valued at around $1.6 billion, Irkut is currently producing 40 additional Su-30MKIs for the service.
Meanwhile, licensed assembly by HAL of the aforementioned 140 Su-30MKIs is under way. Deliveries to the IAF of HAL-built aircraft began in 2005 and are scheduled to be completed in 2014.
India, Russia close to PACT on next generation fighter.
Business Standard,India ^ | January 05, 2010 | Ajai Shukla
Late last year, a defence ministry delegation to Sukhoi’s flagship aircraft facility in Siberia became the first Indians to set eyes upon the next-generation fighter that is slated to form the backbone of the future Indian Air Force (IAF). In that first meeting, carefully choreographed by Sukhoi, the new fighter, standing on the tarmac waved a welcome to the Indians, moving all its control fins simultaneously.
The effect, recounts one member of that delegation, was electric. The senior IAF officer there walked silently up to the aircraft and touched it almost incredulously. This was the Sukhoi T-50, the first technology demonstrator of what India terms the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA). Senior defence ministry sources tell Business Standard that — after five years of haggling over the FGFA’s form, capabilities and work-share — a detailed contract on joint development is just around the corner.
The contract, which Bangalore-based Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) will sign with Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), will commit to building 250 fighters for the IAF and an equal number for Russia. The option for further orders will be kept open. HAL and UAC will be equal partners in a joint venture company, much like the Brahmos JV, that will develop and manufacture the FGFA.
The cost of developing the FGFA, which would be shared between both countries, will be $8-10 billion (Rs 37,000-45,000 crore). Over and above that, say IAF and defence ministry sources, each FGFA will cost Rs 400-500 crore.
Sukhoi’s FGFA prototype, which is expected to make its first flight within weeks, is a true stealth aircraft, almost invisible to enemy radar. According to a defence ministry official, “It is an amazing looking aircraft. It has a Radar Cross Section (RCS) of just 0.5 square metre as compared to the Su-30MKI’s RCS of about 20 square metres.”
[That means that while a Su-30MKI would be as visible to enemy radar as a metal object 5 metres X 4 metres in dimension, the FGFA’s radar signature would be just 1/40th of that.]
A key strength of the 30-35 tonne FGFA would be data fusion; the myriad inputs from the fighter’s infrared, radar, and visual sensors would be electronically combined and fed to the pilots in easy-to-read form.
The FGFA partnership was conceived a decade ago, in 2000, when Sukhoi’s celebrated chief, Mikhail Pogosyan, invited a visiting Indian Air Force officer out to dinner in Moscow. Boris Yeltsin’s disastrous presidency had just ended, and Russia’s near bankruptcy was reflected in the run-down condition of a once-famous restaurant. But, as the IAF officer recounts, the vodka was flowing and Pogosyan was in his element, a string of jokes translated by a female interpreter.
Late that evening Pogosyan turned serious, switching the conversation to a secret project that, officially, did not even exist. Sukhoi, he confided to the IAF officer, had completed the design of a fifth generation fighter, as advanced as America’s F-22 Raptor, which is still the world’s foremost fighter. Russia’s economy was in tatters, but Sukhoi would develop its new, high-tech fighter if India partnered Russia, sharing the costs of developing the fighter at Sukhoi’s plant, Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Production Organisation (KnAAPO).
Reaching out to India was logical for Russia. During the 1990s — when thousands of Russian military design bureaus starved for funds, and a bankrupt Moscow cancelled 1,149 R&D projects — India’s defence purchases had kept Russia’s defence industry alive, bankrolling the development of the Sukhoi-30 fighter; the Talwar-class stealth frigates; the Uran and Klub ship-borne missiles; and the MiG-21 upgrade.
But co-developing a fifth generation fighter is a different ball game, financially and technologically, and India’s MoD hesitated to sign up. Meanwhile enriched by hydrocarbon revenues, Moscow gave Sukhoi the green light to develop the FGFA, which Russia terms the PAK-FA, the acronym for Perspektivnyi Aviatsionnyi Kompleks Frontovoi Aviatsy (literally Prospective Aircraft Complex of Frontline Aviation).
Today, Russia is five years into the development of the FGFA. In November 2007, India and Russia signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement on co-developing the fighter, but it has taken two more years to agree upon common specifications, work shares in development, and in resolving issues like Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).
The prototype that Sukhoi has built is tailored to Russian Air Force requirements. But the IAF has different specifications and the JV will cater for both air forces, producing two different, but closely related, aircraft. For example, Russia wants a single-seat fighter; the IAF, happy with the Su-30MKI, insists upon a twin-seat fighter with one pilot flying and the other handling the sensors, networks and weaponry.
Negotiations have resolved even this fundamental conflict. India has agreed to buy a mix of about 50 single-seat and 200 twin-seat aircraft. Russia, in turn, will consider buying more twin-seat aircraft to use as trainers. But even as both countries narrow their differences, fresh challenges lie ahead: preparing India’s nascent aerospace industry for the high-tech job of developing and manufacturing a fifth-generation fighter.
(This is the first of a two-part series on the IAF’s fifth-generation fighter)
(Part II: FGFA negotiating hardball: Russia says India brings little to the table)
Concluding article of a two--part series on the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft)
by Ajai Shukla Business Standard 6th Jan 2010
Scrutinising the Sukhoi Corporation’s work on the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) — a project that India will soon sign up to co-develop — gives one an idea of Russia’s size, and its aerospace expertise. During daytime, in Moscow, the Sukhoi Design Bureau conceptualises FGFA components; by 10 pm the drawings are electronically transmitted over 5,000 kilometres to a manufacturing unit in Siberia. Here, at KnAAPO (Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Production Organisation) — seven time zones away — it is already 5 am next morning. Within a couple of hours, the drawings start being translated into aircraft production.
Having designed over 100 aircraft (including India’s Su-30MKI), built over 10,000 fighters, and with 50 world aviation records to its credit, Sukhoi understandably regards Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) — its partner-to-be in designing the FGFA — as very much the greenhorn.
But the newcomer wants its due. Bangalore-based HAL has negotiated firmly to get a 25 per cent share of design and development work in the FGFA programme. HAL’s work share will include critical software, including the mission computer (the Su-30MKI mission computer is entirely Indian); navigation systems; most of the cockpit displays; the counter measure dispensing (CMD) systems; and modifying Sukhoi’s single-seat prototype into the twin-seat fighter that the Indian Air Force (IAF) wants.
India will also contribute its expertise in aircraft composites, developed while designing the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA). Russia has traditionally built metallic aircraft; just 10 per cent of the Su-30MKI fuselage is titanium and composites. The FGFA’s fuselage, in contrast, will be 25 per cent titanium and 20 per cent composites. Russia’s expertise in titanium structures will be complemented by India’s experience in composites.
With India’s work share almost finalised, the 2007 Russia-India Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) to build the FGFA will soon evolve into a commercial contract between Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) and HAL. Ashok Baweja, until recently the chairman of HAL, told Business Standard: “When HAL and UAC agree on terms, they will sign a General Contract. This will include setting up a JV to design the FGFA, and precise details about who will fund what.”
This contract will mark a significant shift in the aeronautical relationship between India and Russia. For decades, HAL has played a technologically subordinate role, assembling and building fighters that Russia had designed. Now, forced to accept HAL as a design partner, the Russians have negotiated hard to limit its role.
The reason: Russia is sceptical about India’s design ability in such a cutting edge project. In June 2008, Business Standard interviewed Vyacheslav Trubnikov, then Russia’s ambassador to India, and an expert on Russia’s defence industry. Contrasting the Su-30MKI with the Tejas LCA, Trubnikov pointed out snidely, “I know perfectly well the Russian ability. But I don’t know what contribution the Indian side might make. So, one must ask the question to the Indian designers, to HAL…what is their claim for building a fighter of the fifth generation type? Either avionics, or engine? What might be India’s contribution? To be absolutely frank, I don’t know.”
For long, the UAC argued that HAL could not expect a major role in the FGFA because Sukhoi had finished much of the work while New Delhi dithered about joining the project. UAC asserts that 5,000 Sukhoi engineers have worked for five years to design the FGFA. Such claims are hard to verify, but it is known that the Sukhoi Design Bureau has about 8,000 engineers, distributed between many different programmes.
With Sukhoi ploughing on alone, Minister of State for Defence Pallam Raju admitted to Business Standard: “The longer India waits to join the project, the lesser will be our contribution. But, we are not sitting idle. Through the defence ministry’s existing programmes [such as the Tejas LCA] we are building up our capabilities.”
Most Indian officials agree that India has not lost much. Even if the FGFA makes its much-anticipated first flight this year, it is still at a preliminary stage of development. Ashok Baweja assessed in early 2009, “The FGFA’s first flight is just the beginning of the programme. My understanding is that the Russians are going ahead (with the test) to validate the FGFA’s “proof of concept” (conceptual design). Whatever composite materials they have now, they’ll use. But, because the composites will change… the FGFA will keep evolving for a fairly long time.”
A top ministry official estimates, “It will take another 4-5 years to develop many of the FGFA’s systems. Then, the aircraft will undergo at least 2000 hours of certification flying and, possibly, some reconfiguration. The FGFA should not be expected in service before 2017. And the twin-seat version may take a couple of years longer.”
With just a 25 per cent share of design, South Block policymakers still believe that the FGFA project is a vital step towards India’s emergence as a military aeronautical power. “Developing 25 per cent of this fighter is far better than just transferring technology to build it in India, as we did with the Su-30MKI,” points out a defence ministry official.
Ashok Baweja puts the project in context. “India can only (develop the FGFA) by partnering with Russia. They have so much experience. It’s not just the design… you must also have materials… maraging steel, titanium, composite alloys, and the industrial base to convert these into high-tech components like gyros, sensors and optics. The FGFA will give us important experience for building fighters hereafter.”
Russo-Indian 5th-gen fighter to commence flight tests in January.
Domain-B ^ | January 4, 2010
Moscow: Russia has started initial tests of its futuristic fifth generation stealth fighter jet, dubbed the PAK-FA programme, which it is partnering with India. The PAK-FA, or the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) programme, as it is referred to in India, hopes to match, or outperform, the American F-22 Raptor.
The F-22 Raptor, which is an air superiority fighter, is the worlds only existing fifth generation fighter aircraft programme. A related, fifth generation ground attack version, the F-35 Lightning II, is currently under development.
An Interfax report, without specifying details of time, said that the first prototype of the FGFA rolled out on the runway of KNAAPO aircraft plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur in the country's Far East. The test pilot switched on its engines and made two runs on the airstrip, during which breaks were applied several times.
The PAK-FA will make several more taxi runs before making its first flight in January 2010.
Under an agreement signed in October 2007, India is partnering the Russians on the programme and is developing its own two-seater derivative. The Russian version is a single-seater.
According to sources, at least three prototypes of the PAK-FA aircraft have been constructed at the KNAAPO aircraft plant, and several Indian teams have visited the facility.
Russia's deputy defence minister, Vladimir Popovkin, had announced in mid-September 2009, that the PAK FA, also known as the T-50, was scheduled to enter service with the Russian Air Force from 2015.
The Russian Air Force will commence taking delivery of the PAK-FA only after taking full delivery of 48 4++ generation Su-35 fighters. The first of these long-range strike aircraft will enter service in 2011, with full deliveries completed by 2015.
Post by TsarSamuil on Jan 16, 2010 11:36:59 GMT -5
Russian Navy to receive new carrier-based fighters.
Russia's Navy will take delivery of the first MiG-29K (Fulcrum-D) fighters later this year, a Navy official said on Friday.
"This year we are planning to buy the first batch of several machines," he said.
He did not give an exact figure for the fighters, which are due to be deployed on the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier.
The Navy earlier said it would buy a total of 24 MiG-29Ks in the next three to four years.
The military official said the Navy was currently using MiG-29K carrier-based multirole fighters and the more advanced Su-33 (Flanker-D) fighters, which will subsequently replace the MiGs.
"The Su-33s' service life is to expire in 2015, but we intend to extend it through 2025," he said.
Military analyst Konstantin Makiyenko has suggested that production of new Su-33 aircraft is possible but not cost-effective, given the small production volumes, whereas considering that India has already contracted 16 MiG-29Ks and could place an order for another 28, the latter option is more financially viable.
The 24 aircraft will cost an estimated $1 billion.
Post by TsarSamuil on Jan 18, 2010 13:41:49 GMT -5
India, Russia to ink $1.2 bn deal for 29 more MiG-29Ks.
Times of India ^ | 18 Jan 2010 | TNN
NEW DELHI: Russia is all set to reassert its numero uno status in the Indian defence market with another mega arms deal. The two nations are now poised to ink the around $1.2 billion contract for 29 more MiG-29K fighter jets for Indian Navy.
A Russian team will arrive in New Delhi this week to finetune the contract after it got the approval of Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, top defence sources said.
"The defence ministry is also now also seeking CCS approval for the fresh contract for aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov's refit, with the renegotiated price of slightly over $2.3 billion," said a source.
The two new contracts will further consolidate Russia's position as the largest defence supplier to India, having notched defence sales worth over $35 billion since the 1960s.
Though Israel is now nipping at the heels of Russia, and the US too has bagged some big defence deals in recent times, Moscow will continue to retain its lead for the foreseeable future.
India, after all, already has over $15 billion worth of ongoing arms contracts and projects in the pipeline with Russia. Bitter wrangling over the huge cost escalation in Gorshkov's refit had led to a distinct chill between India and Russia.
But with matters resolved now, India is also on course to formally join the $10 billion Russian project to build the Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA fifth-generation stealth fighter.
The 29 new MiG-29Ks will be in addition to the 16 jets already contracted in the initial $1.5 billion Gorshkov package deal in January 2004. Incidentally, only $974 million had been earmarked for Gorshkov's refit at that time.
Rechristened INS Vikramaditya, Gorshkov will now be delivered to India by early-2013 or so. But three of the 16 original MiG-29Ks have already arrived at the Goa naval airbase to constitute the 303 `Black Panthers' squadron, with the next three slated to follow shortly.
MiG-29Ks will operate from the 44,570-tonne Gorshkov as well as the 40,000-tonne indigenous aircraft carrier being built at Cochin Shipyard, which should roll out by 2014-2015.
Armed with eight types of air-to-air missiles, including extended range BVR (beyond visual range) missiles, as well as 25 air-to-surface weapons for land-attack missions, MiG-29Ks will provide Navy with a lethal punch on the high seas.
While 12 of the first 16 fighters will be the single-seat 'K' variants, the other four will be twin-seater 'KUB' trainer versions. Similarly, four of the next 29 jets will be 'KUB' trainer versions.
Mega Defence Deals with Russia: • Admiral Gorshkov for about $2.3 billion. Induction in 2013. • 45 Mig-29Ks for about $1.7 billion • 230 Sukhoi-30MKI fighters for about $8.5 billion. Over 105 already inducted. India likely to order another 50 jets • Six Talwar-class stealth frigates for Rs 8,514 crore. Talwar, Trishul and Tabar inducted. Deliveries of Teg, Tarkash and Trikand from 2012 • 657 T-90S main-battle tanks for Rs 8,525 crore. Over 310 already inducted. Another 1,000 T-90S tanks to be manufactured in India
Post by TsarSamuil on Jan 20, 2010 20:43:42 GMT -5
FSB Contemplates Procuring Israeli UAV’s.
Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 7 Issue: 12 January 19, 2010 01:29 PM Age: 1 days By: Roger McDermott
The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) has reportedly opened negotiations to purchase unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) in Israel for use within the FSB border guard service. On January 13, Kommersant claimed that the FSB had entered discussions with the Israeli defense company Aeronautics Defense Systems, citing a starting price of $3 million dollars for an unspecified number of UAV’s. The FSB is interested in procuring at least five Orbiter high-performance UAV’s in order to enhance border security. The Orbiter has a tactical operating radius of up to 50 kilometers, capable of carrying a 1.5 kilogram payload (video camera and other equipment), with a flying time of two to three hours at a maximum altitude of 5,500 meters and a speed of 140 km per hour. Fitted with a noiseless electric engine, it can be controlled by a single operator requiring only ten minutes for a catapult launch ( www.aeronautics-sys.com/_Uploads/dbsAttachedFiles/Orbiter.pdf; Kommersant, January 13 ).
That the FSB should express interest in UAV’s is unsurprising; there are a number of locations where they would enhance border security, ranging from the Russian-Kazakh border to potential conflict zones such as Abkhazia, South Ossetia as well as in the North Caucasus. The deterioration of the security situation in the North Caucasus is undoubtedly a factor in the timing of the FSB initiative, since special services are at the forefront of combating the rising tide of insurgency. The possible UAV procurement follows an earlier defense ministry purchase of twelve UAV’s from the same Israeli company at a cost of $53 million. Since the border service was subordinated to the FSB in 2003, the FSB has studied issues relating to the operational use of UAV’s and gained experience in conducting aerial reconnaissance using domestically produced platforms. For instance, the Voron helicopter UAV was designed for special operations in urban areas (Agentstvo Voyennykh Novostey, November 29, 2007). The FSB has used the Eleron-10 UAV in the North Caucasus and reportedly requested further technical modifications. Lieutenant-General Nikolay Rybalkin, the Deputy-Chief of the FSB border guard service claimed in May 2008 that his service constantly used domestically made UAV’s, describing them as the “least expensive” and the “most efficient means” of protecting the state borders. He made passing reference to possible interest in foreign systems, but emphasized that the FSB relied upon the achievements of the Russian defense industry (Kommersant, January 13).
In August 2008, as tension increased in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Army-General Vladimir Pronichev, the First Deputy-Director of the FSB and head of the border service claimed that border aviation including UAV’s had been mobilized. Earlier, in 2007, the Izhevsk Company Bespilotnyye Sistemy (Unmanned Systems) won a tender to deliver ZALA UAV’s to the FSB (both the aircraft and helicopter versions, ZALA 421-04M and ZALA 421-06 respectively). Pronichev stated in May 2009 that drones were deployed in border areas with “challenging terrain” (RIA Novosti, May 31, 2009). Two of these new platforms were delivered in October 2009, although the exact numbers in the contract remain unknown. Nonetheless, in the aftermath of the Russia-Georgia war in August 2008 both the defense ministry and the FSB carried out unsuccessful tests of domestically manufactured UAV’s. Not only were these unable to accomplish their assigned missions, there was also a case of one UAV (Irkut-10) crashing during the tests. In October 2008, Anatoliy Mikheyev, the Deputy-Chief of the technical development directorate of the FSB Border Guard Service said that advanced command and control systems and UAV’s were being considered for wider introduction. He noted that the border troops had experimented with UAV’s on the Russian-Kazakh border and in the Caspian region (Interfax, January 12; Kommersant, June 23, 2009).
While the Russian defense ministry procurement of UAV’s from Israel has undoubtedly set a precedent that can be utilized by the FSB, the distinction between the platform types is significant. The defense ministry purchases from Israel related to new generation tactical I-View MK150 (operating radius of up to 100 km) and the medium-class Searcher MKII (operating to a maximum of 250km). Whereas, the lightweight Orbiter is in direct competition with the domestically produced Eleron-10 and Irkut-10, the FSB interest in foreign procurement may indicate service dissatisfaction with these Russian made UAV’s (Kommersant, January 13).
On January 16, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye assessed the reports of FSB interest in foreign procurement. Analyzing the possible reasons for leaking the fact that this option is being considered, the article portrayed the FSB as using this mechanism to exert additional pressure on the defense industry. Such pressure is now mounting from various quarters, including the defense ministry, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov. However, this seems limited to dressing down the management of defense companies, calling for greater competitiveness and expressions of confidence that the country is still capable of manufacturing high quality products (Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, January 16). Yet, despite fresh injections of capital, protection from the impact of the financial crisis and the optimistic pronouncements of government officials, the system is simply failing to meet the needs of domestic security customers.
The FSB has now joined the chorus of complaints from the army and air force, demanding superior quality drones. In November 2009, Colonel-General Aleksandr Zelin, the Commander-in-Chief or the Russian Air Force rejected domestic UAV’s, characterizing them as inadequate in terms of “speed, altitude or the resolution of the equipment installed on them” (Interfax, November 27, 2009).
However, whereas the defense ministry purchased foreign platforms that were beyond the present capability of the Russian defense industry, the FSB’s expression of interest in lightweight UAV’s is the clearest signal yet of the underlying weaknesses in domestic produce. It may also indicate that the FSB has proven unable to procure sufficient numbers of these drones, and is consequently compelled to look abroad, perhaps also in the hope that it might stimulate future domestic orders. Moreover, it also inadvertently reveals that the Russian state cannot adequately protect its borders using modern technology without foreign assistance.
Post by TsarSamuil on Jan 28, 2010 11:15:04 GMT -5
Russia To Test Stealthy Fifth Generation Sukhoi T-50 Fighter Jet.
Russian fifth generation aircraft prepares for its maiden flight. The test flight will reportedly take place on January 28 or January 29 at the air base in the city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Interfax news agency reports.
“A very important event in the history of the Russian aircraft-making is about to take place. First runs showed very good results. We decided to conduct the first flight here, not in Moscow,” Vyacheslav Shport, the governor of Russia’s Khabarovsk region said.
Only a few people – designers, engineers and test pilots - have seen the new Russian fighter so far. It was said, however, that the plane would develop the speed of 2,100 km/h and fly at the distance of up to 5,500 kilometers.
The first runs of the new fifth generation fighter jet took place in December of 2009 in Komsomolsk-on-Amur.
The new plane, known as T-50 or PAK FA, was developed by Sukhoi design bureau. The date of the maiden flight has been changed several times. Vice Premier Sergey Ivanov said in December 2009 that the new jet would take off before the end of the year. Afterwards, it was said that the tests had been pushed back to early 2010, but the date had not been exposed, Itar-Tass said.
The current prototype is Sukhoi's T-50 is intended to replace the MiG-29 Fulcrum and Su-27 Flanker in the Russian inventory. A fifth generation jet fighter, it is designed to directly compete with the American F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II.
The new jet will be able to take off and land on short runways, 300-400 meters long. The fifth generation aircraft will fly at large distances with multiple refueling in the air.
The PAK FA will use on its first flights 2 Saturn 117S engines (about 14.5 tons of thrust each). The 117S is an advanced version of the AL-31F, but built with the experience gained in the AL-41F program. The Saturn AL-41F powered the Mikoyan MFI fighter (Project/Article 1.44). Later versions of the PAK FA will use a completely new engine (17.5 tons of thrust each), developed by NPO Saturn or FGUP MMPP Salyut.
Russia ’s Air Force will have the new fighter jet in 2015. India’s Defense Ministry already plans to purchase 250 such planes from Sukhoi.
Post by TsarSamuil on Jan 28, 2010 11:24:14 GMT -5
Russian 5th-generation fighter to make maiden flight on Friday.
Russia is set to hold the first test of its futuristic fifth-generation fighter jet on Friday, a source at the country's largest aircraft producer said on Thursday.
"The [test] flight was initially scheduled for Thursday, but has been postponed," the source at the Gagarin KNAAPO company, a subsidiary of aircraft holding Sukhoi, said.
Russia's only known fifth-generation project is Sukhoi's PAK FA and the current prototype is the T-50. It is designed to compete with the U.S. F-22 Raptor, so far the world's only fifth-generation fighter, and the F-35 Lightning II, but has yet to take to the skies.
Speaking at a news conference later on Thursday, the chief of the Russian state-controlled arms exporter Rosoboronexport said India remained Russia's sole partner in the project.
"We [Russia and India] are working to build the fifth-generation aircraft," Anatoly Isaikin said.
Russia has been developing its newest fighter since the 1990s. The country's top military officials earlier said the stealth fighter jet with a range of up to 5,500 km would enter service with the Air Force in 2015.
India, which has a long history of defense relations with Russia, joined the project after signing an agreement in October 2007. But the two nations are still in talks to finalize the contract.
India's Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) was reported to be seeking a 25% share in design and development in the project. It has also sought to modify Sukhoi's single-seat prototype into the twin-seat fighter India's Air Force wants.
Russia accounts for around 70% of India's weapons inventory. HAL has license-produced Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighters, cooperated in the development of the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile, and plans to work on a joint multirole transport aircraft.
Defense ties have strained, however, over the fifth-generation fighter program and the rising cost of refurbishing the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov for the Indian navy.
The PAK FA is to be armed with next-generation air-to-air, air-to-surface, and air-to-ship missiles, and has two 30-mm cannons.
The first prototype of the jet was already tested on the runway of the aircraft plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur in Russia's Far East. The test pilot made two runs on the airstrip, during which the brakes were applied several times.
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Nov 28, 2019 11:30:45 GMT -5
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Mar 15, 2020 10:48:19 GMT -5
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Apr 19, 2020 4:29:09 GMT -5
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