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The Military Technology

New Russian Fighter Not Up To Western Standards 354

Posted by timothy
from the does-this-come-with-the-xm-radio? dept.
schwit1 writes "Despite initial high expectations, the Indian Air Force appears to be souring on a joint development deal with Russia for a new fifth-generation fighter jet, according to the Business Standard, a major Indian business publication. The Russian prototype is 'unreliable, its radar inadequate, its stealth features badly engineered,' said Indian Air Force Deputy Air Marshall S Sukumar at a Jan. 15 meeting, according to minutes obtained by the Business Standard. 'They're very good at building airplanes,' Cordesman said. 'The problem that Russia, since the collapse of the former Soviet Union, has been putting out the military equivalent of show cars. They look good, but it isn't always clear how practical they are and how many of the specifications they can actually meet.'"
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New Russian Fighter Not Up To Western Standards

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  • Hrm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Adam Colley (3026155) <mog@@@kupo...be> on Sunday January 26, 2014 @11:25AM (#46073189)

    From model villages to model aircraft eh?

  • To be fair (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 26, 2014 @11:30AM (#46073223)

    They haven't had quite as much opportunities to field-test their designs as the Americans.

  • So a good match... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TWX (665546) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @11:30AM (#46073227)
    ...for the current development level of the F-35?

    In all seriousness, as compromised as the F-35 has been in what's been delivered to customers so far, it sounds like it'd be a fairly even match. Compromised plane against compromised plane.

    And don't rule out older designs, the military used to train pilots in new planes by pitting them against experienced pilots in F4s and other older jets, and routinely the older jets would get kills against the new ones.
  • by hairyfeet (841228) <.bassbeast1968. .at. .gmail.com.> on Sunday January 26, 2014 @12:29PM (#46073653) Journal

    And its all because of that damned stealth which cripples the HELL out of the aircraft! The ONLY advantage it gives you is on sneaking up, that's it, and in return for the sneaking up? 1.- no external hardpoints means you can't carry shit for stores, 2.- this cuts down loiter times to joke levels, 3.- it limits your new toy to a couple of missiles at best, 4.- it drives the costs to insane levels thanks to the exotic materials and perfectly flush seams required.

    Frankly we are making the same mistake that Germany made in WWII, as we are making planes that are extremely complex, have very low flight to maintenance ratios, spend more time on the ground being worked on than anything else,can't afford to have more than a handful built making spare parts costs soar, and are ignoring the fact that any potential enemies are gonna be able to pick up the MiG 29s and SU35s for a song thus enabling them to "plane spam" us with planes that can carry a hell of a lot more stores than our techno turkies ever can.

    If we HAVE to buy stealth toys? The stealth eagle can be had for a song, eagles are reliable, when you don't need the stealth it can carry a ton of stores and most importantly we get the line cranked we could easily have 2 or even 3 of those for every F35 which they STILL haven't been able to show will actually work with any reliability. Its the F22 all over again and all TFA does is show me that stealth is just a bad idea with current tech. the Chinese are likewise finding this out, with their F22 copy ending up on the "for sale cheap" pile because after trying it the Chinese air force don't want it.

  • by MightyYar (622222) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @12:39PM (#46073747)

    pitting them against experienced pilots in F4s and other older jets

    Sometimes the older jets are quite nimble performers, but lack some other quality which renders them obsolete. Maybe they have poor loiter time, low ordinance capacity, or limited range. Maybe they simply cost too much to maintain, or are unreliable. Thus they might still make excellent dog-fighting opponents on a training course where the scenario specifically evens the playing field.

    There is more to a jet's war-fighting ability than simply being good in a dogfight or the ability to go really fast.

  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @12:46PM (#46073793)

    One (of many) reasons that the US military sucks up so much money is that our pilots train continuously.

    Yet another reason to move to pilotless planes. Drones don't need training, they just need to be programmed.

  • Yup, predicted it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @12:47PM (#46073799) Homepage
    Before I clicked on the comments, I was convinced that the comments discussing the Russian fighter would be few, and the comments tearing into America would be many. Yup, I nailed it.
  • Re:To be fair (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 26, 2014 @12:53PM (#46073871)

    Yup, all those wars in the Mid East serve as great testing grounds. It's a pity loads of troops die in the process of testing, but hey you can't let morals get in the way of profits.

  • by Luckyo (1726890) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @01:05PM (#46073965)

    Doing so makes them into very expensive and very inefficient fighters. Not to even mention F-35 which has massive issues with its external hardpoints right now, ranging from not having enough thrust to function as a fighter with full external loadout to actually destroying its engine trying to achieve maneuvreability and acceleration on par with F-4, much less a modern 4th gen aircraft.

    F-35 program is a complete mess right now, and honestly not a good comparison point to anything that is actually functional. Same goes for most post USSR Russian military aircraft development.

  • by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Sunday January 26, 2014 @01:25PM (#46074137)

    In practical terms, no, the operational Air Force is anything *but* made up of experienced pilots. You have a significant fraction that are relatively new (less than two or three years experience). You also have a significant fraction that have (within a year or so) just returned from non-flying duties.

    I disagree. But hey, I've only worked in operational flying for the USAF for around 20 years. Maybe I'm wrong.

  • Re:Hrm...fuck off (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gorshkov (932507) <admgorshkov.yahoo@com> on Sunday January 26, 2014 @01:27PM (#46074147)
    model villages to model aircraft - an (obvious, I think) reference to Potemkin Villages. And a damned good comparison, at that.
  • by rotorbudd (1242864) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @01:29PM (#46074157)

    Wasn't it Stalin that said "Quantity has a quality all it's own" when the Allies told him USSR's equipment was inferior?

  • Re:Hrm... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @02:37PM (#46074567)
    What surprises me is the implication that this is something new. The Soviet jets seldom if ever met the specs of similar Western planes, and pretty much never met the claims made for them.
  • Re:Hrm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mendax (114116) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @03:03PM (#46074755)

    What surprises me is the implication that this is something new. The Soviet jets seldom if ever met the specs of similar Western planes, and pretty much never met the claims made for them.

    Well, historically, that has been true to a point. Originally, early jet fighters from the Soviet Union were hot stuff. The MiG-15 was the equal of the American F-86, more or less. But later, Russian fighters were later designed with the idea that they would be simpler to build and fix. The combat strategy was that they would overwhelm Western air forces in battle by sheer numbers. This theory seemed to change with the development of the MiG-29 which is a pretty good fighter when there is a good pilot sitting at the sharp end.

    There is another analogue of this thinking. The German Sturmgewehr 44, the first assault rifle, was a good weapon but overly complicated. The Russian AK-47 is not as accurate but is more reliable and easier to manufacture because it has fewer parts and was designed to work when wet, dirty, muddy, etc. I dare say that jammed weapon is not much of a weapon no matter how well-engineered.

    Keep in mind that the Russians can build good military equipment if they want to. The Germans in World War II learned that fact the hard way. German military equipment and vehicles was good and well-engineered but was not designed to operate in the bitter cold. Russian equipment was designed to operate in the cold and the rest is history.

  • Re:Hrm... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @03:15PM (#46074853)

    " But later, Russian fighters were later designed with the idea that they would be simpler to build and fix. The combat strategy was that they would overwhelm Western air forces in battle by sheer numbers."

    Yes, this is true but beside the point. Much of the Russian military equipment was intentionally designed to be lower-tech but cheaper to build and replace. I realize this was a strategic decision, but it doesn't change the fact.

    And yes, I almost abandoned my reply when the MiG-29 occurred to me. Instead I modified it to say "seldom".

    My main point was, though: the Soviets were prone to make lofty claims about their equipment that often did not pan out in the real world. That may have been a strategic decision, too... but again, it doesn't change the fact.

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