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Supercruising F-16XL Offered to India

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posted on Jan, 18 2008 @ 05:02 PM
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In an attempt to win a competitive Indian contract for 126 fighter jets that India is willing to pay up to $100 million, or more for, the US Government and Lockheed Martin are offering up the F-16IN.

The airframe of the F-16IN would be the delta-winged XL configuration, with supercruise and AESA radar.

The F-35 is not being considered in the offer since it will not enter service within India's specified timerange.
The F-16IN fills in all the requirements of the Indian contract, plus it is competitive with the other contenders, namely the US F-18E, the French Rafale, Eurofighter/Typhoon, Russian MiG-35 and Sweden's Gripen.






Source:F-16IN Given Super Powers




posted on Jan, 18 2008 @ 05:12 PM
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Its an interesting ploy if true. THe winner of Indias fighter competiton is going to be the company that offers the most offsets IMHO a role that the F-16 is well suited to do.

If this is actually built, It would have the USAF flying the 3rd most capable F-16's in the world after this variant and the Block 60 the UAE has purchased



posted on Jan, 18 2008 @ 05:58 PM
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Nah the MiG-35 will get the contract when Inidia is happy about the tech it is getting



posted on Jan, 18 2008 @ 06:41 PM
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Originally posted by Harlequin
Nah the MiG-35 will get the contract when Inidia is happy about the tech it is getting


Are you sure? You have to factor in beyond the specs of the A/C itself and go into offsets and otehr political sweeteners etc.



posted on Jan, 18 2008 @ 08:40 PM
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Originally posted by FredT
Are you sure? You have to factor in beyond the specs of the A/C itself and go into offsets and otehr political sweeteners etc.


There are two sides to the Russia coin I'm about to bring up.

First of all, the obvious one. India has bought a lot of stuff for the AF from Russia, including their recent Su-30 MKI purchase. Although the Russians definitely do have problems during the process (Su-30 Renegotiation, Aircraft Carrier Snafu), their relationship with Russia isn't too bad. They have gotten reliable hardware from the Russians in the past. This means that not only is the experience with dealings with Russia, but the infrastructure is as well. India is prepared to accept more Russian jets since they've a lot of experience with them already. As well, MiG-35 was made to complement the Flanker series, which India now has a fair few of. This makes MiG-35 a smart choice.

However, there's no need to count out other motivations as well. India has a developing aircraft industry, and it's coming together in the form of the HAL Tejas at the moment. The Indians would probably love to get their paws on more technology to boost their own industry. The thing is that India already has good stuff from the Su-30 MKI purchase, and is going to be getting more from agreements to develop PAK-FA. They've got no shortage of access to Russian stuff... But what about American toys? The F-16IN would have AESA and probably a few other toys. Access to modern tech from both sides of the Pacific? Pretty tempting.

Tough decision. The US has really pulled a rabbit out of its hindquarters with the blast-from-the-past design in the F-16IN.

My current concerns with the F-16IN:
-Is the airframe going to be modified any other than switching out the guts for new stuff? If not, the Indians will be working off an older airframe design that could probably be better. If so, how long will the development of the design be?
-The F-16IN still has a common shortfall: it's not stealth. This is made even more important by noticing that none of the other aircraft are stealth quite like current 5th-Generation designs. Design changes concentrating on stealth could put F-16IN up above the rest in this competition.
-What armament agreements are coming with the F-16IN? India already has access to Russian armaments due to their extensive use of Russian aircraft.

Just a few thoughts.



posted on Jan, 18 2008 @ 08:54 PM
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Wow Bios that is interesting. I saw the F-16IN proposal mentioned in the press yesterday but had no idea they were basing it on an XL airframe. When I read your post on that I just about wet myself! Have you seen any other sources on this to confirm its true? I had given up on the idea of ever seeing the XL proposal resurected so if true this is good news for the F-16 program. There may also be an alternate play going on here as well. This could be an insurance package for the USAF and Lockheed should the F-35 fall on its guts, as an F-16XL derivative would probably give the USAF almost everything that the F-35 gives (minus a low RCS airframe) in an airframe they are familiar with. I assume that much of the systems developed for the F-22/F-35 program would be ported across to such a proposal. Its probably also a safe bet that they will be fitting either an F-119, F-135/6 or derivative of these engines. This is a development I will watch with close interest.


LEE.



posted on Jan, 19 2008 @ 02:17 AM
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I'll put the money on this is absolutely impossible to being any F-16XL rebuilt for selling to India. If India really wants something like F-16XL, they'd already bought Eurofighter.



posted on Jan, 19 2008 @ 03:16 AM
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reply to post by Darkpr0
 


You make some interesting points
The one issue I will address now is one of stealth. None of the fighters under consideration by the IAF were considered stealthy and teh JSF is too far out for thier operational requirements at this point.

However, who is not too say that a future JSF purchase promise would not be used to favor an American a/c.

The F-16XL did fly and they collected alot of data on that so I suspect that the transition would be fairly fast. If the Indians were given signifigant production rights to the plane (ALA Japan etc) that would make it worth the wait amd like the Japanese did with thier license built fighters include indigenous aviaonics etc.

You are also spot on in the arena of armamments. The F-16 carries most of the NATO inventory so I suspect, paveways, AMRAAMS and the lastest sidewiner variant would be offered. Given the ability to engineer the craft, the UK may even make the Storm Shadow (Which the USAF has looked at) a possibility



posted on Jan, 19 2008 @ 03:23 AM
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Originally posted by emile
I'll put the money on this is absolutely impossible to being any F-16XL rebuilt for selling to India. If India really wants something like F-16XL, they'd already bought Eurofighter.


Perhaps just out of curiosity what is the going rate for Tranch 3 Eurofighters for export?

Again, its more than the plane. Clearly the Eurofighter would outclass the F-16XL but its unlikely given that production is well established that India would allow the craft to be built in India. The F-16XL could easily be licens built there



posted on Jan, 19 2008 @ 04:11 AM
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Yea.. Even I didn't know he F-16IN was going to be the XL.

It seems there's an F-16 campaign on in India..
timesofindia.indiatimes.com...

And I'm still not too sure about the MRCA winner!!



posted on Jan, 19 2008 @ 04:54 AM
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AESA - the MiG has AESA , and the russians are ready to sell an AESA set for the flankers as well ; whilst the F-16XL was the loser to the strike eagle - it has 1 engine , and im sorry but lawn darts are falling from the sky frequently - last year was 13 alone - the record is 18 in 1 year ; as the other F16 thread said - more have been lost to engine problems than combat!

The problem with the US i what they are offering - no one else has bought the F/A-18 (AUS not withstanding and IMO that order will be cancelled) - the F16 is end of line (they are desperate for sales as everything being offered are refurbs now)the strike eagle would be a good choice but why when the indians have the flanker, which leaves the mig and the euro`s - the gripen is the best choice (rafle and typhoon are expensive).

india would love the F22 - but that won`t happen and the F35 `true cost` source not just for the aircraft but for one that will actually fly and fight is said to be $131 million! so yes the buy cost might be $80 million but that gets you a nice paper weight.

but as has been said the F35 isn`t what india want.



posted on Jan, 19 2008 @ 05:13 AM
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This is quite telling, if accurate. Basically the US is admitting it currently has no competitive export fighters isn't it?

The XL has always been one of the great unbuilt fighter designs, when it was revealed in 1982 its combination of large internal fuel volume, low observability enhanced by conformal weapons carriage and high agility and performance were clearly demonstrated to be a quantum leap over the standard F-16A then in service and it was always mystifying to me, as a boy, why the USAF turned its back on this aircraft for the lumpen F-15E instead.

However, 1982 was a long time ago and will the Indians be tempted to opt for an update design that was rejected 25 years ago?

Unlike all its rivals it has not undergone steady and constant development over the ensuing time but appears to have been literally pulled out of the hat. To me it smacks of the F-20 all over again - a perfectly sound aircraft but undermined by the absence of any domestic interest.

When you look at the Rafale, Typhoon and MiG the F-16IN looks more like spoiling tactics than a serious proposal which also begs the question if this is an officially sanctioned offer or have Lockheed pulled it out of their arse? The reason being that, if seen as an 'official US bid' it could be more damaging than helpful because it looks, rightly or wrongly, like an admission that the F-18 isn't up to the job in the face of its rivals which wont impress Boeing, who I'm sure are making no such admission.

I'm sure that both Dassault and Eurofighter would welcome this bid as it strengthens their cases in a "if you reckon thats worth considering you might as well buy our far superior plane" sort of way.

Interestingly, the reasons spelled out previously as to why Russia are near certain to win also apply to the UK with their actually being a much longer history of Indian purchase and manufacture of UK aircraft from the Spitfire right through to the Jaguar and tech transfer would be a feature of any Typhoon purchase, as already demonstrated with Saudi Arabia.

The French appear to guard their jewels more jealously so this might undermine a Rafale bid, but I'm just not sure on that one.


Local manufacture of the F-16IN would certainly be a feature of that bid but would India gain more from this than they might with Typhoon or MiG 35?

I also disagree that Gripen is the best choice of the 'euros', it is just another single engined competitor surely, if that is reason enough to dismiss the F-16, then it must also apply here?

Obviously I need to read more about this.







[edit on 19-1-2008 by waynos]



posted on Jan, 19 2008 @ 05:16 AM
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whilst typhoon is not the cheapest aircraft - i can see the entire Hawk AJT moving to India , which they would love. and this strengthens the position of the typhoon



posted on Jan, 19 2008 @ 05:24 AM
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Yes Harlequin, I said 'up to the Jaguar'. What was I thinking? I forgot all about the Hawk.

I think it is developing into a 2 horse race between Eurofighter and MiG and that is the reason for this F-16 offer.



posted on Jan, 19 2008 @ 06:48 AM
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Originally posted by waynos
This is quite telling, if accurate. Basically the US is admitting it currently has no competitive export fighters isn't it?

I don't see that as being the "basic" message at all. This is just LockMart trying to get in on a potential deal that nearly every other defense/ aerospace corporation is vying for. This is not an admission that the US has "no competitive export fighters" - just that LockMart does not, and that they are ready and able to fast track a system into the fray.


A few more sources on this story:
"US aviation giant Lockheed Martin on Wednesday unleashed a new upgraded version of its F-16 fighter planes with "super cruise" capability and Active Electronic Scanned Array - AESA radars."
Lockheed Martin Unveils New F-16 With Super Cruise Capability, AESA Radars - RTT News

"The F-16IN is the most advanced F-16 ever..." Chuck Artymovich, Lockheed Martin's director of business development.
F-16 maker Lockheed mounts an India campaign - DefenceIndia News Service

Lockheed Martin designates India-specific Fighting Falcon fighter as F-16IN - Domain-B.Com



[edit on 1/19/2008 by bios]



posted on Jan, 19 2008 @ 06:58 AM
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They are offering a 25 year old F16 for the competition - the very same aircraft which isn`t current inventory - with quite possibly the AESA from the desert falcon.

so i do think waynos is right that at present nothing in the US lineup can compete



posted on Jan, 19 2008 @ 07:04 AM
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I doubt the F-16 will win the Indian contract because the Indians are demanding a very detailed level of technology transfer along with the planes. The AESA radar for example would have to be dumbed down with a slower processor before it were to be offered to the Indians. Also the avionics and other network and communications packages would also need to be dumbed down or not included. Add to that the fact of spares and infrastructure (as was mentioned here before). Also there is active reticence by the Indians themselves for American weaponry. Even though India has had the opportunity for quite some years to aquire Western weaponry it has not actively pursued it. I think more than the plane, the Indians want access to the AESA and other avionics packages on NATO planes because at airframe design and engines technology the Russians are on par if not slightly lagging with American know how.

The political ramifications of the contract will also come into picture. With the injection of 126 advanced F-16 to India there would a dramatic power change. We would have to sell Pakistan similar planes or their equivalent. Also, the Russians and the Chinese will react adversly to the deal with India. Their safest bet would be to go for an European aircraft which is capable of handling their Soviet AA missiles and is familiar enough for their ground technicians like the Rafael or the Grippen.

If the Indians go for the Mig-35 they would be putting themselves up for a lot more delays, lack of parts and the whole routine all over again. They might be smart enough to avoid it again.



posted on Jan, 19 2008 @ 10:35 AM
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Originally posted by IAF101
The political ramifications of the contract will also come into picture. With the injection of 126 advanced F-16 to India there would a dramatic power change. We would have to sell Pakistan similar planes or their equivalent. Also, the Russians and the Chinese will react adversly to the deal with India. Their safest bet would be to go for an European aircraft which is capable of handling their Soviet AA missiles and is familiar enough for their ground technicians like the Rafael or the Grippen.


The dramatic power change that you refer to would happen irrespective of fighter involved here. They're all Gen 4+ a/c and I don't really see how that would cause issues. Pakistan 'can' figuratively purchase the Rafale, Gripen or the Typhoon too. So there is no real pressure on the US to equate sales here. There is no monopoly either.

Finally, the actual upset of balance in air power scales in the subcontinent was initiated twice by the Americans themselves:

1) Selling F-16s to Pakistan in the 80s shook an aerial force balance that had existed between the countires since independance.This was only corrected when the Indians, closed the Su-30 deal.(over corrected actually due to the immense capabilities the Su-30 brought into the region)

2)Selling more F-16s(blk 50) to Pakistan just a year or two back, under the excuse of increasing the Pak ability to fight Osama & Co.
Osama, my ass. The F-16 sale included BVR(500 AIM-120 C5) and offboresight HMCS capability with the AIM-9L. Osama(or any terrorist org) does not have an aerial force that needs to be dealt with such advanced a2a weaponry.

Indian aerial force abilities cannot be compared with that of the Pakistanis at a face value because it structures its aerial ability cater to two fronts: Paksitani AND Chinese.




If the Indians go for the Mig-35 they would be putting themselves up for a lot more delays, lack of parts and the whole routine all over again. They might be smart enough to avoid it again.


The only issues here(in the minds of the Indians) would be the intentional arm-twisting tactics of the Russians(a commonplace nowadays) in order to limit growing military relations with the west. I do not think the MiG 35 is a bad a/c for the role.
Russian support for the Su-30MKI has been satisfactory so I don't see a general "Russia=bad" perception in this particular case at least.

I do think the Typhoon or the Rafale are too expensive for the fit.
The Rafale may have an outside chance but I think the Typhoon for the IAF is as unlikely as the F-22 for the RAAF/JASDF, [read: not impossible either(?)]
I think the F-18 is a non-contestant too.
The Grippen is a good fit for the job IMHO. It fits the price AND the role quite
well.

So that leaves the MiG-35, Grippen and the F-16... and maybe the Rafale.. and maybe maybe the Typhoon or F-18.

Here's another thought. The Indians 'might' not choose an aircraft that will also be available to the Pakistanis as well(logical and emotional reasons).
So that undermines the F-16, Rafale, Gripen (and Typhoon?).
I'm not so sre about the Typhoon because I don't think the Pakistanis can afford it. Neither can the Indians actually, but I just don't think the Pakistanis have that much cash on them.
Maybe thats one of the reasons the F-16 was really revamped to give it a new look?



posted on Jan, 19 2008 @ 11:37 AM
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I don't like single engine fighters. I think its a mistake to have the F-35 with this design for the navy. The navy needs multi-role fast interceptor type aircraft. Not some wanna be A-6 replacements. If you are going to spend that much money the plane needs to be a replacement for all the navy aircraft. I wouldn't sell any aircraft that is stealth to any country that has not been a long time good ally of ours. Let the Indians buy the Russian planes if they want. Lets put a big bad thrust vectoring engine in the F-16XL with the new radar and see how many countries come running with big checks.



posted on Jan, 19 2008 @ 01:42 PM
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Actually Single engined fighters are preferred by the Air Force for many reasons, hence the popularity of the F-16 in the USAF and the JSF's similar configuration. The single engine means less maintenance compared to a twin engined aircraft that requires double the maintenance hours. Also Single engined planes are cheaper to run (one engine burns less fuel than 2). These factors play a major role for policy makers because they are footing the bill that the pump and also when an aircraft is looked into helps it gain approval.

Even if they souped up the F-16XL, they might not buy it. Thats what we are discussing in this thread.

[edit on 19-1-2008 by IAF101]



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