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Beyond FGFA: Can India look at others for Stealth fighter Partnerships?

Discussion in 'Indian Air Force' started by Layman, Mar 29, 2017.

  1. Layman

    Layman Colonel Senior Member

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    Beyond FGFA: Can India look at others for Stealth fighter Partnerships?
    Published March 29, 2017


    2017 will mark 7th year of India and Russia signing on a preliminary design contract way back in 2010 thus beginning official discussion on the proposed joint Indo-Russian project to develop a 5th generation fighter program which is yet to take off with adamant Indian Air Force not ready to accept inferior 5th generation fighter jet, soon we might hear if the long-delayed joint venture does take off or quietly be buried like Multi-role Transport Aircraft (MTA) .

    No doubt development of Stealth fighter completely in-house is no easy task and this elite club is still predominately dominated by only one country that is United States which has nearly four-decade worth of research from SR-71 to F-35 and new entrants like Russia and China who claimed to have developed 5th generation fighters have arrived at somewhat compromised solutions like Pak-Fa and J-20 true capabilities of which are still questionable .

    India to has initiated its own 5th generation fighter aircraft program dubbed AMCA which should take to air by 2030 as per stringent requirement set by Indian Air Force. Multi-role AMCA will replace a large chunk of fighters like Jaguars, Mig-29 and Mirage-2000 by 2040-50 and need for a 5th generation fighter aircraft in the Top tier to complement 4.5th generation Sukhoi-30 MKI was felt which lead to talks with Russia on joint development of FGFA based on PAK-FA.

    Wheather India does decide to look beyond Russia for its 5th Generation Stealth fighter requirements in the Top tier it will be very hard to find another partner since other 5th generation fighter aircraft development are largely based on Medium category aircraft but India does have some interesting partners it can line up with for its requirements and they are …


    Mikoyan LMFS: United Aircraft Corporation (OAK) has announced that it will start working on stealthy, single-engine multirole combat aircraft designed to replace the Mikoyan MiG-29. LMFS is not a new proposal but was Mig Corporations first attempts to develop Stealthy fighter jets in early 2000. Proposed fighter will be an air superiority fighter in the class of F-35 for countries who are looking forward to replacing their ageing fleet of Mig-29s. since the proposal is still in initial design and developmental stage India can afford to hop into the project but it will still be unclear if the new Russian fighter will be able to meet Indian Air Force requirements.


    FCAS: Germany and Airbus Defense and Space are working on a replacement program for its Panavia Tornado bomber fleet which could also complement Eurofighter Typhoon. Proposed 5th generation fighter aircraft will be based on flying wing design which usually has limited air superiority fighter capabilities. FCAS simply does not fit the bill to complement Sukhoi-30 MKI nor it can be claimed to be a rightful successor for Sukhoi-30 MKI fleet.


    Flygsystem 2020: FS2020 is a SAAB proposed a Future concept of manned fighter aircraft and often referred to has Stealth development of it Gripen fighter. FS2020 will feature canard configuration with three internal payload bays. Aircraft could be Gripen E replaced in the long term if it ever gets developed but initial observations suggest it will be light medium class aircraft just below F-35 for comparison. FS2020 will be below India’s AMCA Whether weight class and not above and SAAB will be happy to have a partner like India but IAF is not looking for a fighter matching AMCA weight class.


    Mitsubishi X-2 Shinshin: Japanese experimental X-2 Shinshin aircraft for testing advanced stealth fighter aircraft technologies will be lead to the development of F-3 fighter aircraft to replace Boeing F-15J fighter fleet. With Japan already acquiring F-35 fighter jets from the US, the F-3 concept is still at initial stages and leaked concepts suggest Japan is working on at least 2 to 3 design which is completely different in nature and concept. but it appears that F-3 will be a heavyweight fighter which could be an ideal candidate to replace F-15 fighters and also will be above F-35.

    India and Japan have not yet co-develop any weapons systems together even though both countries have deeper diplomatic relationships, India joining Japans F-3 program is most unlikely to happen due to various factors.

    Conclusion : If FGFA does fail to take off , India will have two options , first is to tie with current programs under development so that it can also somehow benefit India’s AMCA Project in long term or Second options would be to work to create AMCA has lead Stealth fighter aircraft which could be complemented by another fighter aircraft of same weight class .

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