JED - June 2011 - (Page 28)

world repor t INDIA ADVANCES FIGHTER JET COMPETITION, PLANS MIRAGE UPGRADE In late April, India selected Europe’s Eurofighter and Dassault’s Rafale as the finalists for its new Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) competition. Despite heavy lobbying by political heavyweights, the move effectively eliminated the United States, in the running with Lockheed Martin’s F-16 and Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet; Russia, with Rosoboronexport’s MiG-35; and Sweden, with Saab’s next-generation Gripen. The estimated $11 billion to build 126 new fighter aircraft for India will end up somewhere in Europe, either with France, home of the Rafale, or with the four nations that make up the Eurofighter consortium – Germany, Spain, Britain (BAE Systems) and Italy (Finmeccanica). India is buying the new fighters to replace its aging fleet of Russian MiG21s, many of which date back to the 1960s. A key component of the competition has been India’s significant offset requirements, which stipulate that 50 percent of the full value be reinvested into Indian industry, realized through the contract, which calls for purchase of 18 completed combat aircraft by 2012, with the remaining 108 to be constructed in country. And, now that it has its finalists, India might be looking to advance the schedule. According to published reports, Pakistan is attempting to expedite delivery of its new JF-17 Thunder aircraft, the multirole fighter co-developed with China. In response, India may attempt to advance its timeline for selection to occur by March 2012. Perhaps as a result of growing threats from China and Pakistan, India has been in a defense acquisition mode of late, also getting ready to ink a long-delayed deal with Dassault to upgrade its 52 Mirage 2000 aircraft. The contract, said to be worth $2.4 billion, has sat for around three years as India worked to come to terms with Dassault and its partners, Thales (as the weapons integrator) and MBDA (as the missile supplier), for an affordable price. And while $2.4 billion might not seem affordable, the argument from the Indian Air Force has been that it needs a combination of new purchases and retrofits to maintain its diminishing edge over its Pakistani neighbors. The assumption is that the Mirage 2000s, which are already 20 years old, should, with upgraded radars, avionics, glass cockpits, targeting systems and electronic warfare (EW) suites, offer the country high-level fighter capabilities for two more decades. Though the agreement isn’t signed, published reports from the region indicate that it has tacit government approval and that a deal over the price might have been a tipping point in favor of Dassault in the MMRCA competition. The contract would upgrade the first four to six aircraft in France, with the remainder to be retrofitted in India by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) with technology transfer from the French companies. The country is currently completing some additional business, including a planned induction of 272 Sukhoi-30MKIs bought from Russia for around $12 billion, along with Russia’s ongoing upgrade of 63 MiG-29s, under a 2008 contract for $964 million. And though reports indicated that the first modernized MiG-29s could be delivered this year, there have apparently been issues with parts as the country issued global market solicitations for spares in late April. But India’s fighter jet defense spending spree won’t end there, as reports also indicated that the country is planning, from 2020 forward, to buy a new fifth-generation stealth fighter, which it is currently co-developing with Russia. The planned 250-300 aircraft would encompass the country’s largest ever defense project, with a price tag of nearly $35 billion. – E. Richardson 28 The Journal of Electronic Defense | June 2011 IN BRIEF ❍ BAE Systems (Warton, Lancashire, UK) was awarded contracts totaling £39 million by the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) to provide support services for maintenance of the Eurofighter Typhoon. The contracts also covers development work to enhance the Royal Air Force’s capability to process intelligence data about operational threats and then upload them to the Typhoon’s EW systems prior to a mission. ❍ Saab Avitronics received an order for its Civil Aircraft Missile Protection System (CAMPS) from Mexican charter airline FlyMex, which flies for the United Nations World Food Program in several countries, as well as operating helicopter, amphibious and jet air taxi operations over Mexico. The contract adds CAMPS, which detects man-portable air defense system (MANPADS) threats with a missile approach warning system and dispenses Chemring infrared decoys, to a third type of aircraft, the Dornier 328JET. It is already operational on Lockheed L-382 and Embraer 120 aircraft. ❍ Malaysia has requested, via US Foreign Military Sales channels, a Mid-Life Upgrade to its Boeing F/A-18D Hornet aircraft, including six AN/ASQ-228 Raytheon Advanced Targeting Forward-Looking Infrared (ATFLIR) pods, software development, system integration and testing, test sets and training in a contract estimated at $72 million. a

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - June 2011

JED - June 2011
The View From Here
Conferences Calendar
Courses Calendar
From the President
The Monitor
Washington Report
World Report
The World’s SIGINT Aircraf
Upgrading Fighter Aircraft
Country Profi le: France’s EW Programs
Technology Survey: Airborne Dispensers and IR Expendables
EW 101
2011 AOC Election Guide
AOC Membership Page
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look

JED - June 2011