Russian Su-57 Aircraft Thread (PAK-FA and IAF FGFA)


A Bar Brother

Junior Member
I will just give me spill on Indian aviation here, since I might have given a couple of you hard times in other threads for going off topic and this might be the better place to talk about all things IAF.
Hey, no problem.

To make it clear, I don't talk down on PAK-FA because I want India to not do well or anything like that. I just don't think too highly of the aircraft because I don't think it's a stealth design and I don't agree with Russian philosophy of valuing flight performance over stealth. I think F-35 would have been a better choice for India. Rafale is an advanced enough aircraft that India could have waited for F-35 production slot to become available while inducting Rafale. And if possible, future Indian carriers would be better served to support just Rafale-M and N-LCA rather than Mig-29K.
Rafale is actually better than the F-35 in many areas. So why is it a downgrade? Anyway, even with the delays, the production slot will take years to open up.

And the Indian Navy is going for a new program for next generation aircraft. Both Rafale-M and F-35 B/C will be studied.

Let's avoid the discussion on whether the PAKFA is stealthy or not, since you seem to have made up your mind about it. But I will say the same thing as in the F-35 thread. The Rafale is at the same level or higher than the F-35 and the IAF says the FGFA will be a generation ahead compared to the Rafale.

While I've seen some Indian posters dismiss complaints that I've seen online like this one
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I actually find these complaints to make a lot of sense from watching China's past experiences with the Russians. I think engine is an issue with Russians, since 117S is an improved variant of AL-31F and it's unclear when the real next generation AL-41 will be available. Radar is an issue with Russians since there were questions on when they will be able to mass produce T/R modules recently. The Russians are just behind in electronics. And whether you look from frontal view, but especially from side and rear, I just don't see a stealth design at all. These seem to be legitimate concerns.
You have already read my post regarding the article.

Anyway, the Russians have already setup the facility to mass manufacture GaN modules for radars and other antennas. They have setup a facility, I forgot where, which produces 100,000 units a year and upgradable to 200,000 units. GaAs is for the prototype and Stage One program. Indian officials say the radar will be far more advanced than what's been shown to the general public.

I am surprised you believe the Russians cannot deliver, but you seem to have high hopes the Chinese will. Engine is an issue for the Chinese, not the Russians.

The 117S is indeed an improvement over AL-31F but 80% of the components are different. The 117 is the improved version of the 117S and is supercruise capable. Anyway, the AL-41F isn't the new program. The 117S and 117 are AL-41F1S and AL-41F1 resply. But they have little in common with the original AL-41F. The original AL-41F program was cancelled years ago. The designation has been reused for the upgraded AL-31 programs. The Izdeliye 30 is the new engine.

Izd 30 will be the first operational variable cycle engine which will weigh just over 1000 Kg and deliver around 18 tonnes of thrust. A few engines are being assembled and will be delivered soon. The bench testing is support to start in early 2015 and first flight in 2017, and the Russians say the program has been progressing without delays.
 

aksha

Captain
Re: Indian Military News II

The first flight of the PAK FA with new engines scheduled for 2017

an important year for the IAF
1)1st squardon of rafales
2)1st flight of lca mk2(though GE in its adveritisement for GE414 calls it MCA)
(any clarification on the above bar?)
3)first flight of the PAK FA with new engines
 

aksha

Captain
Re: Indian Military News II

To make it clear, I don't talk down on PAK-FA because I want India to not do well or anything like that. I just don't think too highly of the aircraft because I don't think it's a stealth design and I don't agree with Russian philosophy of valuing flight performance over stealth.

I actually find these complaints to make a lot of sense from watching China's past experiences with the Russians. I think engine is an issue with Russians, since 117S is an improved variant of AL-31F and it's unclear when the real next generation AL-41 will be available. Radar is an issue with Russians since there were questions on when they will be able to mass produce T/R modules recently. The Russians are just behind in electronics. And whether you look from frontal view, but especially from side and rear, I just don't see a stealth design at all. These seem to be legitimate concerns.
Let's keep in mind the YF-22 airframe isn't exactly the same airframe as the mass produced F-22A airframe is it now?
 

tphuang

Brigadier
VIP Professional
Registered Member
Re: Indian Military News II

Hey, no problem.

Rafale is actually better than the F-35 in many areas. So why is it a downgrade? Anyway, even with the delays, the production slot will take years to open up.

And the Indian Navy is going for a new program for next generation aircraft. Both Rafale-M and F-35 B/C will be studied.
I would say most people would disagree with your assessment of F-35 and Rafale. Especially Chinese air force.
Let's avoid the discussion on whether the PAKFA is stealthy or not, since you seem to have made up your mind about it. But I will say the same thing as in the F-35 thread. The Rafale is at the same level or higher than the F-35 and the IAF says the FGFA will be a generation ahead compared to the Rafale.
what is IAF suppose to say in public, that FGFA is mediocre and represent no improvement?

You have already read my post regarding the article.

Anyway, the Russians have already setup the facility to mass manufacture GaN modules for radars and other antennas. They have setup a facility, I forgot where, which produces 100,000 units a year and upgradable to 200,000 units. GaAs is for the prototype and Stage One program. Indian officials say the radar will be far more advanced than what's been shown to the general public.

I am surprised you believe the Russians cannot deliver, but you seem to have high hopes the Chinese will. Engine is an issue for the Chinese, not the Russians.

The 117S is indeed an improvement over AL-31F but 80% of the components are different. The 117 is the improved version of the 117S and is supercruise capable. Anyway, the AL-41F isn't the new program. The 117S and 117 are AL-41F1S and AL-41F1 resply. But they have little in common with the original AL-41F. The original AL-41F program was cancelled years ago. The designation has been reused for the upgraded AL-31 programs. The Izdeliye 30 is the new engine.

Izd 30 will be the first operational variable cycle engine which will weigh just over 1000 Kg and deliver around 18 tonnes of thrust. A few engines are being assembled and will be delivered soon. The bench testing is support to start in early 2015 and first flight in 2017, and the Russians say the program has been progressing without delays.
So far, the Russians haven't been able to produce T/R modules economically. Let's hope for India sake that will change and the factories they are building can lower the cost. Russians are looking to buy electronics from China, that should kind of tell you where they are at.
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You will see in all of my responses that the biggest question I have for J-20 and FC-31 is engine. I'm the one that said FC-31 is 10 years away because I don't see any engine solutions. Look up what I said in J-20 thread. And this is from my blog just a few days ago.

"Despite all of the fast progress by CAC the past year, it's unclear what they will do with the engine problem. The earlier J-20s will probably use an underpowered engine."

I do follow the Russian programs though (including what you wrote). I can tell you from Chinese experience on engines and other things, they don't always deliver things on time. Now unfornately for China, its own engine industry is even further behind, so it still has to buy Russian engines. Yes, 117 uses mostly new components, but the design is still based on AL-31 from 30 years ago. Do you expect parts from 30 years ago to still be in production? 117S and 117 are probably in 14 to 15 ton range when adding afterburners. That's an underpowered engine solution.

Just a little on the Chinese experience with the AL-31 series. They basically paid for the development of 99M series for J-10 and flankers, which actually now end up looking like the wrong bet, since 117S is already in service and a better engine So now, J-10 finally received the AL-31FN series 3 (which is basically 99M1), but it's really not sufficient for J-20. the specs 99M3 is about the same as 117S, but considering how long it took the Russians to get to 99M1, you can see it's not good to wait on 99M3. That's why they've been talking with Russians about su-35 for years now. But even they know that 117S is still a 4th gen engine, that's at best an interim solution.
 

A Bar Brother

Junior Member
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  • #5
Re: Indian Military News II

I would say most people would disagree with your assessment of F-35 and Rafale. Especially Chinese air force.
They only need to look at what's offered using open source information. Rafale's aerodynamics completely surpass the F-35's and the avionics are already on par and will be surpassed before the F-35 achieves FOC. Everything that the F-35 offers, Rafale actually surpasses.

The only thing going for the F-35 is a stealthy airframe, but even that is subject to Rafale being equipped with active cancellation and weapons pods (but not really necessary). As long as Rafale deliver 5.5G performance while carrying 8 tonnes of payload, it will always be ahead of the F-35.

what is IAF suppose to say in public, that FGFA is mediocre and represent no improvement?
If something is bad, the IAF wouldn't touch it with a barge pole. Look at the LCA Mk1 program, they have publicly said it is useless. They did not shy away from criticizing their own domestic program, so why wouldn't they do the same against FGFA?

The Su-30 MKI program saw heavy criticism back in the late '90s too. This always happens in India whenever a new program starts. There is a lot of criticism in the beginning. The general mood either becomes very bad or very good depending on how the programs progress. Today, there is not a single IAF officer who has a problem with MKI, but there are plenty of officers who have criticized the LCA program as a whole.

Read this report too.
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No issues with criticism of the forces. It is acceptable here in India.

There is generally a lot of acceptance about the truth about Russian hardware, and the IAF is very vocal about it. If FGFA program has major issues, then IAF would never continue with it.

Let's hope for India sake that will change and the factories they are building can lower the cost. Russians are looking to buy electronics from China, that should kind of tell you where they are at.
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India buys from South Africa. It is just good business. China and Russia are quite friendly, so if they are looking at military grade resistors and capacitors at cheap prices, then China is the market to go to. The difference between the Chinese and Russian industry is the capacity to mass produce quickly.

And this is from my blog just a few days ago.
Can you post the link to your blog? I would like to read that. Thanks.

Yes, 117 uses mostly new components, but the design is still based on AL-31 from 30 years ago. Do you expect parts from 30 years ago to still be in production? 117S and 117 are probably in 14 to 15 ton range when adding afterburners. That's an underpowered engine solution.
The components don't change just like that. If you buy a F-100 today, you are going to buy stuff that was designed in the '70s. That's not the case with the 117. The F-100 from the '70s is the same as the F-100 from 2014. It is a 13 stage engine. But 117 has been redesigned into a 10 stage engine from the previously 13 stage AL-31F. So it is a major change, hence why even the designation was changed to AL-41F1. Actual modernization of the AL-31 series carry forward the same name, the ones being designed for the Su-34 and China.

Just a little on the Chinese experience with the AL-31 series. They basically paid for the development of 99M series for J-10 and flankers, which actually now end up looking like the wrong bet, since 117S is already in service and a better engine So now, J-10 finally received the AL-31FN series 3 (which is basically 99M1), but it's really not sufficient for J-20. the specs 99M3 is about the same as 117S, but considering how long it took the Russians to get to 99M1, you can see it's not good to wait on 99M3. That's why they've been talking with Russians about su-35 for years now. But even they know that 117S is still a 4th gen engine, that's at best an interim solution.
There is a high chance the delays are deliberate. It keeps the J-10 out of the market for a few more years allowing the Mig-35 to catch up to the J-10's development timeframe. Gives more export prospects to the Russians. Since the UAC was created, it has become a very powerful entity. Delaying one of their labs to benefit a very large and important company like Mig is not something they can shy away from doing. Of course, this is speculation.

Anyway, the AL-31FN is a product of infighting between Saturn and Salyut over sharing of prices. While Saturn successfully developed the AL-31FN (even though Salyut finished final testing), it is Salyut which is developing the AL-31FM1 (99M1) which you are stuck with. So while Saturn has successfully developed even newer variants like the 117, Salyut and China are still stuck with the older generation AL-31FM1/2 and 3. Hey, it's not our problem that you are stuck with the black sheep of Russian engine makers. We are very happy with Saturn/UMPO, thank you. :)

Saturn is designing all our engines and UMPO is our manufacturer. This is for the AL-31FP.
Saturn is designing the Izd 30 and UMPO/HAL will manufacture Izd 30, so there is no major infighting issue for us.
Salyut is designing the 99M1/2/3, hence you were in trouble. So, I don't see how issues with your engines affects the PAKFA program.
 

tphuang

Brigadier
VIP Professional
Registered Member
Re: Indian Military News II

They only need to look at what's offered using open source information. Rafale's aerodynamics completely surpass the F-35's and the avionics are already on par and will be surpassed before the F-35 achieves FOC. Everything that the F-35 offers, Rafale actually surpasses.

The only thing going for the F-35 is a stealthy airframe, but even that is subject to Rafale being equipped with active cancellation and weapons pods (but not really necessary). As long as Rafale deliver 5.5G performance while carrying 8 tonnes of payload, it will always be ahead of the F-35.



If something is bad, the IAF wouldn't touch it with a barge pole. Look at the LCA Mk1 program, they have publicly said it is useless. They did not shy away from criticizing their own domestic program, so why wouldn't they do the same against FGFA?

The Su-30 MKI program saw heavy criticism back in the late '90s too. This always happens in India whenever a new program starts. There is a lot of criticism in the beginning. The general mood either becomes very bad or very good depending on how the programs progress. Today, there is not a single IAF officer who has a problem with MKI, but there are plenty of officers who have criticized the LCA program as a whole.

Read this report too.
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No issues with criticism of the forces. It is acceptable here in India.

There is generally a lot of acceptance about the truth about Russian hardware, and the IAF is very vocal about it. If FGFA program has major issues, then IAF would never continue with it.



India buys from South Africa. It is just good business. China and Russia are quite friendly, so if they are looking at military grade resistors and capacitors at cheap prices, then China is the market to go to. The difference between the Chinese and Russian industry is the capacity to mass produce quickly.



Can you post the link to your blog? I would like to read that. Thanks.



The components don't change just like that. If you buy a F-100 today, you are going to buy stuff that was designed in the '70s. That's not the case with the 117. The F-100 from the '70s is the same as the F-100 from 2014. It is a 13 stage engine. But 117 has been redesigned into a 10 stage engine from the previously 13 stage AL-31F. So it is a major change, hence why even the designation was changed to AL-41F1. Actual modernization of the AL-31 series carry forward the same name, the ones being designed for the Su-34 and China.



There is a high chance the delays are deliberate. It keeps the J-10 out of the market for a few more years allowing the Mig-35 to catch up to the J-10's development timeframe. Gives more export prospects to the Russians. Since the UAC was created, it has become a very powerful entity. Delaying one of their labs to benefit a very large and important company like Mig is not something they can shy away from doing. Of course, this is speculation.

Anyway, the AL-31FN is a product of infighting between Saturn and Salyut over sharing of prices. While Saturn successfully developed the AL-31FN (even though Salyut finished final testing), it is Salyut which is developing the AL-31FM1 (99M1) which you are stuck with. So while Saturn has successfully developed even newer variants like the 117, Salyut and China are still stuck with the older generation AL-31FM1/2 and 3. Hey, it's not our problem that you are stuck with the black sheep of Russian engine makers. We are very happy with Saturn/UMPO, thank you. :)

Saturn is designing all our engines and UMPO is our manufacturer. This is for the AL-31FP.
Saturn is designing the Izd 30 and UMPO/HAL will manufacture Izd 30, so there is no major infighting issue for us.
Salyut is designing the 99M1/2/3, hence you were in trouble. So, I don't see how issues with your engines affects the PAKFA program.
You confidence in the Russians really amaze me even after years of delays in all the major projects. Even the all successful MKI project is vastly delayed in getting a lot of the capabilities that Russians promised. don't trust the Russians getting new development done in time.

You have strong confidence in Rafale and that's understandable given that IAF picked the aircraft. And it is a much better overall aircraft than Su-30 in my opinion, but your assessment of F-35 vs Rafale is pretty aggressive to say the least.

My point about PAK-FA is that end users generally don't bad mouth a new product they've invested in unless the situation gets really bad. At this point, it looks like PAK-FA development might be behind J-20. And by the time IAF gets FGFA into service, PAF will probably be within 10 years of getting FC-31.

To me, PAK-FA at its current state is basically a stealth flanker like Boeing's proposed Silent Eagle design (and probably not even as stealthy as that). It's not a true 5th generation design based on Western definition what consistute that. Although, one probably can say the same thing about j-20 and FC-31.

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Air Force Brat

Brigadier
Staff member
Super Moderator
Re: Indian Military News II

You confidence in the Russians really amaze me even after years of delays in all the major projects. Even the all successful MKI project is vastly delayed in getting a lot of the capabilities that Russians promised. don't trust the Russians getting new development done in time.

You have strong confidence in Rafale and that's understandable given that IAF picked the aircraft. And it is a much better overall aircraft than Su-30 in my opinion, but your assessment of F-35 vs Rafale is pretty aggressive to say the least.

My point about PAK-FA is that end users generally don't bad mouth a new product they've invested in unless the situation gets really bad. At this point, it looks like PAK-FA development might be behind J-20. And by the time IAF gets FGFA into service, PAF will probably be within 10 years of getting FC-31.

To me, PAK-FA at its current state is basically a stealth flanker like Boeing's proposed Silent Eagle design (and probably not even as stealthy as that). It's not a true 5th generation design based on Western definition what consistute that. Although, one probably can say the same thing about j-20 and FC-31.

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Very well stated TP, the Russians have a long history of overpromising and under delivering, and you are right about PAK-FA, its comparison to the Silent Eagle is very apropos, I do hear however that each FGFA will come with a bottle of pixie dust to be sprinkled liberally upon the aircraft prior to flight? :confused:that most certainly should not be counted out? just my opinion of course?:p

While the PAK-FA is a gorgeous thing, and will likely have very outstanding kinematic performance, and make a fine platform for flying intercepts, etc where you are up close and personal with the other team, it has very compromised stealth shaping, even with the very small ruddervators etc, it will also depend on an upgraded engine for its ultimate success?

Oh, and very nice blog TP, I have opened a feed so looking foreward to getting that this year. Merry Christmas brudas, and thanks for another exciting and enjoyable year at SDF.
 
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Skywatcher

Senior Member
Re: Indian Military News II

There is a high chance the delays are deliberate. It keeps the J-10 out of the market for a few more years allowing the Mig-35 to catch up to the J-10's development timeframe. Gives more export prospects to the Russians. Since the UAC was created, it has become a very powerful entity. Delaying one of their labs to benefit a very large and important company like Mig is not something they can shy away from doing. Of course, this is speculation.

Anyway, the AL-31FN is a product of infighting between Saturn and Salyut over sharing of prices. While Saturn successfully developed the AL-31FN (even though Salyut finished final testing), it is Salyut which is developing the AL-31FM1 (99M1) which you are stuck with. So while Saturn has successfully developed even newer variants like the 117, Salyut and China are still stuck with the older generation AL-31FM1/2 and 3. Hey, it's not our problem that you are stuck with the black sheep of Russian engine makers. We are very happy with Saturn/UMPO, thank you. :)
Umm, do you realize how much tinfoil would be required to make the hat that would support that insane conspiracy theory?
 

A Bar Brother

Junior Member
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #9
Re: Indian Military News II

You confidence in the Russians really amaze me even after years of delays in all the major projects. Even the all successful MKI project is vastly delayed in getting a lot of the capabilities that Russians promised. don't trust the Russians getting new development done in time.
There were two major delays to the MKI program. The first one came during flight testing and brought a delay of 1 year. The second one was HAL couldn't absorb technology fast enough for production, so there was a delay of one more year. Due to the first delay, IAF insisted on taking only MKI deliveries instead of buying the MK version first. So that added another year to the delay. HAL increased production capacity to make up for the delay, but are still behind by 1 year.

So I would see a roughly 3 year delay, and out of that one year was just procedural and the other was our problem.

We will know of more delays as and when we will know more about the Super Sukhoi program. But as far as we know, IAF could be waiting for newer and more mature technologies, like let's wait another year or two for a GaN based array instead of a GaAs based array. The reason is with the signature of the FGFA deal, technologies that were one denied for the MKI upgrade may have become available after the contract was signed. So I don't really know what capabilities were delayed.

As for other delays, like Gorshkov, it wouldn't be fair comparison because Sukhoi or HAL are not in charge there.

You have strong confidence in Rafale and that's understandable given that IAF picked the aircraft. And it is a much better overall aircraft than Su-30 in my opinion, but your assessment of F-35 vs Rafale is pretty aggressive to say the least.
My impressions of the Rafale haven't changed in the last 10 years. If the Rafale had turned out to be too expensive for the IAF, I would still identify it to be better than the F-35 in many respects. I also believe the Rafale is better than the Su-30, just that the Su-30 has greater endurance and can carry more electronics. The quality of the electronics on Rafale is definitely much better and is overall a better design.

My point about PAK-FA is that end users generally don't bad mouth a new product they've invested in unless the situation gets really bad. At this point, it looks like PAK-FA development might be behind J-20. And by the time IAF gets FGFA into service, PAF will probably be within 10 years of getting FC-31.
The FC-31 is not such a significant threat to the IAF. If you give it away free of cost to the PAF, then it may create political problems. But as a real threat, the numbers will be too few and it will be less capable than the FGFA.

Anyway, you are wrong about the badmouthing aspect as far as the India forces are concerned. The Indian forces are generally dependent on imports, so IAF wouldn't take part in a project that they think is a waste of time. Other forces that invest from the drawing board stage are stuck with it, that was not the case with the PAKFA program. Three prototypes were already done by the time IAF invested in the project. The second phase contract has not even been signed, and Russia is already manufacturing a number of prototypes already. So it has matured far beyond what it was for the F-35 partners who signed up based on paper evaluations.

IAF wouldn't have been part of the FGFA had it been what you said.

To me, PAK-FA at its current state is basically a stealth flanker like Boeing's proposed Silent Eagle design (and probably not even as stealthy as that). It's not a true 5th generation design based on Western definition what consistute that. Although, one probably can say the same thing about j-20 and FC-31.
That's because everybody's hung up on the American definition of stealth.

Anyway, the PAKFA's current state is not the production version, so yeah, in case the J-20's current prototypes are production versions, then the Chinese are much closer to operationalizing it. PAKFA is yet to undergo the stage 2 program. They are yet to build a second static model, and the second set of prototypes. PAKFA is not even half way through while FGFA has barely even begun.

Probably what the final version may look like.


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Thanks.
 

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A Bar Brother

Junior Member
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  • #10
Re: Indian Military News II

Umm, do you realize how much tinfoil would be required to make the hat that would support that insane conspiracy theory?
The failure of Salyut is not a reflection on the PAKFA program or upon Russia's engine capabilities. Would you agree that if Boeing messed up their design, that's like saying Airbus messed up too? While IAF buys from Saturn and UMPO, China relies on Salyut. So whatever failures the Chinese have seen through their deals with Salyut, does not mean the same will happen to India with Saturn.

I do agree that Russian engines are not that great, but the flight safety record of the MKI speaks for itself. There are over 200 in service and 6 have crashed. There have been 5 F-22 crashes. Both the MKI and F-22 are supermaneuverable. Both are operational with similar numbers. Both lost a prototype each. I'm sure there are glitches in any technology, and that holds true for the Americans and Europeans too.

Out of all the crashes, both MKI and F-22 have one crash each related to the engine. Isn't that proof enough? MKIs have been flying for a few years longer than the F-22s too.

Btw, the first paragraph that you quoted was indeed speculation, as I myself pointed it out. But the second is fact.
 

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