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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) <mogNO@SPAMkupo.be> on Sunday January 26, 2014 @12:25PM (#46073189)

    From model villages to model aircraft eh?

    • Re:Hrm... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @03:37PM (#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 @04:03PM (#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 @04:15PM (#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.

          • Re:Hrm... (Score:4, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 26, 2014 @06:16PM (#46075611)

            Soviets were prone to make lofty claims about their equipment

            True. I am an reserve officer of Serbian Army. When we learned about Soviet/Russian equipment, we always learned two values - declared value (e.g. range) and actual value proved in practice.

      • The Su-27 was a pretty formidable plane, comparable to the F-15.

  • To be fair (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 26, 2014 @12:30PM (#46073223)

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

    • Re:To be fair (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 26, 2014 @01:53PM (#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.

    • Re:To be fair (Score:4, Interesting)

      by dywolf (2673597) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @04:36PM (#46074987)

      Also worth noting, they dont have 35+ years of experience working with stealth technology.
      The various stealth prototypes and demonstrators (Have Blue, Tacit Blue, Bird of Prey) had their share of problems too.
      Yet the production birds (B2, F117, and F22) have done their jobs well.

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

    by TWX (665546) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @12:30PM (#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 DerekLyons (302214) <`fairwater' `at' `gmail.com'> on Sunday January 26, 2014 @12:40PM (#46073311) Homepage

      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.

      So long as your Air Force is made up of nothing but experienced pilots, you'll do fine then.

      We''l just recruit new pilots from Lake Wobegon.

      • by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Sunday January 26, 2014 @01:02PM (#46073481)

        So long as your Air Force is made up of nothing but experienced pilots, you'll do fine then.

        One (of many) reasons that the US military sucks up so much money is that our pilots train continuously. In the C17, pilots do not reach the Aircraft Commander level until 4 or 5 *years* after putting on wings. Obviously, fighters have a different training program, but clearly huge amounts of continuous training are involved. So, yes, in practical terms, the operational Air Force is made up of almost nothing but experienced pilots.

        • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @01:37PM (#46073739)

          And if you can afford it, it really pays off. Take a good look at what the highly trained, badly outnumbered Israeli air force did to to the Egyptian, Syrian, and Iraqi air force during the Six Day War. The Soviet trainers of those national air forces there were explicitly prevented from providing extensive training and from keeping the aircraft fully fueled and armed. The constant concern was that educated, trained local pilots would steal the planes and fly to NATO airbases, for both economic and political reasons. The list of successful pilot defections during the time is quite long:

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L... [wikipedia.org]

          It's an amazing list, and purchasers of Soviet aircraft of the era were constantly handicapped by the risk of the best trained and educated pilots defecting.

        • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @01:46PM (#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.

          • by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Sunday January 26, 2014 @02:23PM (#46074117)

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

            *Some* drones are pilot-less, mostly high altitude reconesonce drones. *Most* US drones in fact have qualified pilots at the controls, sitting in control rooms at places like Creech Air Force Base, outside of Las Vegas. Creech is both a training / testing base for drones, as well as a Command and Control location where actual pilots sit in rooms controlling drones in "real-time".

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by DerekLyons (302214)

          One (of many) reasons that the US military sucks up so much money is that our pilots train continuously. In the C17, pilots do not reach the Aircraft Commander level until 4 or 5 *years* after putting on wings. Obviously, fighters have a different training program, but clearly huge amounts of continuous training are involved. So, yes, in practical terms, the operational Air Force is made up of almost nothing but experienced pilots.

          In practical terms, no, the operational Air Force is anything *but* made up o

          • by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Sunday January 26, 2014 @02:25PM (#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: (Score:3, Informative)

          by SpankiMonki (3493987)

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

          Off topic, but the USAF flight training budget for FY2014 represents just over 1/2 of 1 percent of the total USAF budget. In terms of money suckers, flight training is way way down the list.

          Total budget = $144,425B (page 4 here [af.mil])

          Flight training budget = $792M (page 1 here [af.mil])

      • by Rick Zeman (15628) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @01:22PM (#46073607)

        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.

        So long as your Air Force is made up of nothing but experienced pilots, you'll do fine then.

        We''l just recruit new pilots from Lake Wobegon.

        Yeah, all the pilots are above average there.

    • As long as it costs less than 1 trillion(the f-35's current running total) it is not only a match but a good counter.

    • 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.

      Now wait a minute... I seem to recall one of those rah-rah! documentaries on cable, where they were boasting about an exercise where the latest plane (probably an F-22) knocked out a whole squadron of F-16s before they could even detect it. I'm not sure how pilot skill comes into play there, unless "camping" is frowned upon in a real war.

      • by 0123456 (636235) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @01:05PM (#46073507)

        If you read the history books, you'll also see how the F-4 was going to destroy all opposing aircraft with missiles, so it would never need a gun because they'd never get close enough.

        Once it actually got into actual combat in the actual real world, there were sudden orders for a gun pod for close-in dogfights.

        The F-22 may be able to hit less stealthy aircraft with missiles from well beyond visual range, but that doesn't help if the rules of engagement won't let them fire missiles at random dots on a radar screen. Also, I was reading recently about new IR trackers which can detect F-22s from well beyond radar range, making radar stealth far less useful.

        • If the F-4 actually had had good missiles, it wouldn't have needed its cannon. The Sparrow missile however was a piece of shit, and it didn't help that it never occurred to the designers that it would be used in a tropical environment. F-4 pilots got into the habit of firing two at a time, because they knew one of them would fail to light and fall into the jungle, or immediately go straight and fail to track, or some other problem.
          • by garyebickford (222422) <gar37bic.gmail@com> on Sunday January 26, 2014 @03:22PM (#46074471)

            Yes, IIRC (probably from Wikipedia) that the Air Force insisted on using the Sparrow despite strong encouragement to use the Navy's Sidewinder, which was already well established as effective. But NIH predominated. The AF finally did accept the Sidewinder, but I think that was much later. I think the Sidewinder is still in use, on its 9th design iteration.

            But from what I've read, missiles alone would still not have been a good idea in Viet Nam. Sometimes getting up close and throwing lead 'rocks' is still necessary. For example, what if all your missiles are gone? If the opponent _knows_ you don't have guns, they know you're a sitting duck. If they don't know, they have to be a little more careful, leaving you a way to either continue fighting or scoot on out of there.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Alarash (746254)
        And I heard stories of the Dassault Rafale shooting down F-22 with their canon. There'll always be stories of "plane X shot plane Y so plane X is better than plane Y" but that overlooks individual skills (dog fighting), tactical conditions (can't shoot from beyond visual range if the target is flying low in a mountain range) or even strategic considerations (can you afford, both money and time wise, to replace your planes when they go down or need maintenance). The whole problem of military design is to fin
        • by Luckyo (1726890) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @02:02PM (#46073941)

          That one is actually feasible. The most distinguishing feature of Rafale is that they have a fully integrated (advertised as) revolutionary electronic warfare suite called SPECTRA. This proved itself well in Libya, where there were two kinds of NATO attack sorties. Those where aircraft were escorted by dedicated electronic warfare aircraft like Prowlers and Growlers, and those where Rafales went in without. The task of electronic warfare aircraft is to jam enemy radar guided missiles. They are the main force responsible for high survivability of NATO aircraft in recent conflicts.

          F-22 is highly reliant on its radar guided missiles to do the job. It's a pretty bad dogfighter as dogfighting would put emphasis on maneuvreability and F-22 is designed for stealth first and foremost. Rafale is designed for speed and superagility, so it's meant for dogfights. If Rafale's integrated electronic warfare suite is indeed powerful enough to disrupt F-22's radar guided missiles as it's rumoured to be, F-22 is going to be boned very hard in a duel against it. If both sides are able to render radar guided missile attacks useless, guns and IR seekers come into play and that puts F-22 at a massive disadvantage.

          The historic analogy here is ninja vs samurai. If a ninja could get a sneak kill, he would win. But a frontal fight against a heavily armoured and armed samurai is a suicide for a ninja.

    • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Sunday January 26, 2014 @01:29PM (#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)

        F-35 has external hardpoints. So does the F-22. They can carry fuel or missiles.

        • by Luckyo (1726890) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @02:05PM (#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 MightyYar (622222)

            The F-35 is indeed very messed up, but then so was the F-18 program back in the day. Not at this level, but you know inflation and all that... :)

            • by Luckyo (1726890)

              F-18 was technologically fairly sound however. F-35 is not.

              • by MightyYar (622222)

                I could be a victim of my own memory, but I remember it being quite under spec until they changed the spec. They didn't really remedy it until the redesign with the Super Hornet.

                • by Luckyo (1726890)

                  That would be because original specs were closer to requirements of superagility and other features that are now considered 5th gen features.

                  Problem is, F-35 is performing on the level of 3rd gen according to reports when under external combat load. We're talking it being barely push mach 1.5 and it actually damages it's engine when doing this. It can barely handle 4g turns and no more. And other similar problems. F-18 was a clear improvement to the existing platforms, where F-35 is looking like a distinct

        • I don't see many people mentioning AWACS here, which is a core component of US battle airspace management. Those stealth aircraft can be guided to their targets by the distant AWACS crew while retaining relative electronic silence, surprise the enemy, and at least knock their numbers down. The US did it in 1991 to enormous effect and it's only improved since then. Once air superiority is established, the hardpoints can be attached for greater payload (or older, less stealthy planes employed).

          Modern air c

      • by khallow (566160)

        And its all because of that damned stealth which cripples the HELL out of the aircraft!

        They have a role. What carried more stuff and has a longer loiter time, a stealth fighter or a smoking hole in the ground? Once you have air superiority, that stark choice no longer exists. But you have to get to that point. Using a lot of gimped stealth planes is the current US approach.

        • What carried more stuff and has a longer loiter time, a stealth fighter or a smoking hole in the ground?

          Well, technically the hole in the ground can carry more stuff, and will loiter there for a long, long time. ;)

      • by rotorbudd (1242864) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @02:29PM (#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?

    • by MightyYar (622222) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @01:39PM (#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 paiute (550198)

      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.

      True. In the '80s, in combat games against Vietnam era pilots flying older planes like the Phantom, hot young pilots in brand new planes were getting their asses kicked. This led to the founding of the Top Gun program - the brass realized that sophisticated missiles were not enough. Pilots still needed lots of air combat experience.

    • not even close to the F22. OTOH, the F35 .... meh.
      • by amiga3D (567632)

        The F22 is certainly impressive. A maintenance nightmare but bad ass in a fight. The F35? A single engine fighter? Just what we needed, another lawn dart to replace the F16.

    • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @03:33PM (#46074543)

      Pierre Spray, the lead designer of the F16 and of the A10

      Sprey was not the chief designer, despite his claims. As a member of the fighter mafia in the 1960's, he did have some influence on their design. Even the influence of the fighter mafia as a whole has been exaggerated. John Boyd's work on OODA hand E-M in the 1950's and early '60's was excellent and highly influential. However, when he created the informal fighter mafia group in the 1960's, along with Christie, Riccioni, Hillaker and Sprey, they emphasized dogfighting above all else, as though these newfangled radars and missiles would never be of any value. Their cause got a boost from the problems with the original F-4, without a gun and with poor maneuverability. However, they were far from the only people that noticed that there was a problem. These days Sprey spends his time "analyzing" military equipment as though nothing had changed in the last 40+ years, and exaggerating his own role in the past.

  • This is different how?

    The F22 and F35 also seem like impractical boondoggles.

    • by DMUTPeregrine (612791) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @12:55PM (#46073437) Journal
      Essentially it seems to be a problem with the entire concept of "fifth generation" fighters. The idea that you can have useful all-aspect stealth without sacrificing performance in other areas is ridiculous with current technology. The PAK FA (Russian version) sacrifices stealth for performance, the HAL/PMF (Indian version) changes the avionics and tries to add more stealth features. No 5th gen fighter has lived up to its manufacturer's promises of "invisible, supermanuverable ultra plane!!! At a reasonable price!!!" They're all over budget with worse performance than promised. The F-35 is an un-stealthy brick, in the variants that actually work. It also costs as much as an F-22, if not more. The F-22 was cancelled because it cost too much. The PAK FA is a 4th gen fighter with some front-aspect stealth tacked on, and better avionics, including anti-stealth radar. It's probably also going to be the cheapest of the lot.
      • Perhaps It's A Game? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Sunday January 26, 2014 @01:05PM (#46073509)

        Your argument is very good. But also consider the possibility that the Indians are simply manipulating Russia and the US to their advantage? It's like Company X publicly announcing they will dump their entire Microsoft IT infrastructure for Linux - until Microsoft offers them a sweet deal. Perhaps they are simply playing Russia against the US for better arms deals?

        • by Luckyo (1726890)

          Not really. India is a long term partner of Russia in terms of arms deals. They're not fishing for a better deal elsewhere. At most they are trying to push their prices down.

          You can't just switch your military supplier. Not even US has the ability to do so. Afghanistan and Iraq made excellent examples - US military industrial complex pulled all stops it could to get those two countries' military build up to be on their tech. It failed completely. The cost and more importantly time that would be necessary to

          • They never even tried to supply Iraq or Afghanistan with US weapons.

            They are both being supplied with Chinese weapons and ammo. So they can pay their own way after we leave them to fight among themselves.

            We could have left them better equipped. But why would we? It's not like we don't know they're not our friends or allies.

          • It likely is at least partly an attempt to lower prices. India is developing the weapons and some other systems for the PMF, and is paying 35% of the cost for the plane's development. They can threaten to lower that 35% and do more of the development at HAL (in-house).
  • Reap what you sow (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rmdingler (1955220) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @12:35PM (#46073269)
    While no nation's government is free of political graft, Mother Russia is a Kleptocracy of the highest order.

    Not that long ago, the Soviets were on the leading edge of science and technology. Nowadays, a fat military contract gets lean in a hurry once all the palms are greased.

    • by PPH (736903) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @12:40PM (#46073317)

      So the Russians are learning lessons well from the decadent western capitalists.

    • ... since most of the corruption in the US seems to be in the arms trade.
      • by amiga3D (567632)

        mostly in Washington D.C. you mean.

      • > .. since most of the corruption in the US

        Oh my goodness. Do you ever attend hardware purchase meetings? Or contractor bid proposals? Please believe me when I say that corruption exists in most fields. The _scale_ of it may be higher in military manufacture.

  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @12:42PM (#46073335)

    and you have to think in Russian to use it

  • In Soviet Russia We Show You!

  • by Chas (5144) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @12:44PM (#46073351) Homepage Journal

    In one of the articles about this, I read that Russia has done the equivalent of building show cars.

    Sure, the prototypes look great.

    But they're not sustainable, serviceable or even functional most of the time.
    And there's no way in hell they can be delivered for what the Russians are charging.

    What they're REALLY doing is playing the long con. They hook you up front. Then gradually bleed more and more money out of you to deliver what you promised.

    Ask India about the Admiral Gorshkov [wikipedia.org].

    And since they're holding all the cards, and you've sunk all that money into it already...

    They've been pulling this crap for the last 25-30 years.

    The only time you get your money's worth is when you want something cheap, simple and produced in massive quantities. Essentially, disposable.

    Then, the Russian defense industry can churn stuff out faster than anyone but maybe China or the US.

  • by Clived (106409)

    Well to be honest, I just think the Russians ran out of money as this aircraft project would have never moved along without the Indian $. Judging from the points in this article, they had to cut corners, older engines, half assed "stealth" profile. Not surprising, as Sukhoi has built some fantastic planes, SU-35, SU-37, SU-47, but they only built a few as demonstrators for air shows (eg. annual Paris Airshow), not having the dollars to put them into active service. They built and marketed the SU-30 to a var

  • by mjwx (966435) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @12:59PM (#46073467)

    That the AK47 and 74 rifles that the Russians would sell to others would have a chamber that was slightly too small so that if they picked up rounds from dead Russian soldiers they would not work in the foreign soldiers rifles.

    I dont know if that was true, but it could easily be the same story here. India is potentially a rising power and with their experience with China, the Russians may be uneasy about providing the Indians with a powerful weapon. In this case the Indians are smart enough to realise it and powerful enough to confront the Russians.

    Of course there's still the old adage, never blame malice for what can easily be explained by stupidity. The stealth fighter had very difficult requirements and rather than admit they couldn't produce the goods, it was easier to present the Indians with a fighter that clearly didn't meet the specifications.

    In either case, I dont blame the Indians for being upset.

    • by Zocalo (252965)

      That the AK47 and 74 rifles that the Russians would sell to others would have a chamber that was slightly too small so that if they picked up rounds from dead Russian soldiers they would not work in the foreign soldiers rifles.

      So, what you are saying is that some rounds might be more equal than others...?

      • by jo7hs2 (884069)
        I'm impressed by how clever this particular animal is in relation to the others.
    • The Russian T-50 is less advanced than the Indian version which is getting more sophisticated, Indian-developed avionics. There can't be much if any withholding of technology for export models.

  • If only Congress allowed the F-22 to be purchased by allies. Even a watered down F-22 for other countries would be better than what we have now: an overbudget F-35 program and other countries buying opposing aircraft.

    • by Luckyo (1726890)

      There is a problem with F-22 in that it's not designed for what NATO needs aircraft for - multirole, attack focused aircraft. It's a stealth fighter first, second and third, with potential attack role being an afterthought at best.

      So here lies a foreign policy issue for US in addition to stealth technology export issues. US wants its allies to have more ability to attack ground targets in NATO campaigns. Selling them F-22 would consume much of their air force budgets will effectively reducing their air forc

  • We need a new bomber, but one that makes sense. A simple idea would be for Boeing to use the BWB as a bomber, and then carry it over to commercial aircraft as well.
  • "'...unreliable, its radar inadequate, its stealth features badly engineered,' said Indian Air Force..."

    Sounds like they're asking the Russians to Do The Needful.

  • Monkey Models (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Distan (122159) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @01:27PM (#46073641)

    The Russians have a very long history of selling inferior versions of weaponry to their allies. They call these inferior versions the "monkey models". That's all that is going on here.

    • by Luckyo (1726890)

      These are called "export versions". Every major weapon manufacturing country does this.

  • How can airplanes that require human pilots remain competitive against (future) drone fighter jets that do not have human limitations of G forces?

    • By having a local pilot whose not nearly as subject to hacking/jamming as current drones' up- and down-links?

      Of course the hacking problems, the not-even-bothering-with-encryption problems, etc. can all be fixed, eventually, but jamming remains impossible to completely prevent with current tech.

      Of course one can take measures to reduce susceptibility, but that's just an arms race with the jammers. Unless/until we invent some SF tech like quantum-entangled transceiver pairs or onboard AIs capable of autonomo

      • By having a local pilot whose not nearly as subject to hacking/jamming as current drones' up- and down-links?

        Of course the hacking problems, the not-even-bothering-with-encryption problems, etc. can all be fixed, eventually, but jamming remains impossible to completely prevent with current tech.

        Of course one can take measures to reduce susceptibility, but that's just an arms race with the jammers. Unless/until we invent some SF tech like quantum-entangled transceiver pairs or onboard AIs capable of autonomous combat, drones will have jammable communication links, and that disadvantage may or may not outweigh the advantage of high-G maneuverability.

        You're assuming a lack of autonomy. Self driving cars today, totally automated fighter jets at some point (no idea when not saying tomorrow).

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

    by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @01:47PM (#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.
  • I am surprised that something life five have already been built. It's a development prototype. Now is the time to voice the concerns, introduce modifications, etc. By the way, how much is the India input in the development, besides the money?

  • unreliable, or well connected to the nsa.
  • by thesandbender (911391) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @03:32PM (#46074539)
    "Bloat" is a feature common to all engineering tasks, not just software. Anyone who follows the aviation industry can tell you that this happens over, and over and over again. Requirements are put out, designs are submitted and then the wonks start coming in and saying "well, we could also add this", "well we could also add that". Every time this is allowed to happen, it's a complete failure. The designs that succeed are the ones that stay true to the original requirements. e.g.
    U-2: I fly high and far, nothing else.
    SR-71: I fly fast, nothing else (attempts we're made to add intercept capability and rejected).
    F-14: I intercept, nothing else (attempts we're made to add bombing capability and rejected).
    F-15: I will own the skies and do nothing else (bombing has been added on but it has not strayed from it's mission).
    AV-8B: I will provide forward air base support and nothing else.

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