2010/01/29

PAK-FA

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The guessing about the new Russian air superiority fighter PAK-FA is (at least partially) over: We know now at least how it looks. It looks like a mix of YF-23 and Su-27.


The Russians seem to follow the "heavy, high-end" fighter path (as expected). I wonder how many of these planes they could afford if their economy's manufacturing sector develops well!?

Sven Ortmann

edit: Old video was removed from Youtube, I linked another one.
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7 comments:

  1. If they manage to go through with a decent procurement (and thats a somewhat big "if"), then in light of the recent JSF troubles it makes Gates decision and reasoning on the F-22 shutdown look somewhat foolish.

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  2. I saw such conclusions quite often yesterday and it seems to be a knee-jerk reaction to me.

    Keep in mind there's more than just the F-22 for the air superiority fight:

    ~400 Typhoon
    ??? F-35
    ~200 Rafale
    ~100 EA-17G
    ~400 F-18E/F
    ?? Gripen

    The F-22 is almost the only fighter with all else being more or less strike fighters, but this kind of reduundancy is probably advisable.
    The limit of 187 F-22 simply means that the F-22 won't be able to carry the burden of air superiority combat alone - it worst case the air superiority would only be defensive or at least not deep.

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  3. Perhaps a more relevant question is for what kind of war should such a plane be used for? If Western experts are right the most likely kind of conflict in the 21th century are insurgencies and anti-terrorist operations. I am not sure if this is correct, but this is the common wisdom today. Building such a high-tech plane to bomb a bunch of insurgents in Caucasus is simply a waste of money. Unless - of course - common wisdom is wrong. Since the war in Georgia I have had my doubts.

    Another question: How large a role do you believe India plays in building the plane? Can cooperation with countries like India help Russia overcome some of its problems with its arms industry? Experts often point out that Russia’s arms industry is a mess, but recent events (the decision to buy a French aircraft carrier and decision to buy drones from Israel) show a new level of pragmatism inside the Russian leadership regarding foreign partners. Can this help Russia’s efforts to modernize its weaponry?

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  4. "If Western experts are right the most likely kind of conflict in the 21th century are insurgencies and anti-terrorist operations."

    "Most likely" means very little.
    The UK had about 60 small wars in a row before WWI and was utterly unprepared for the war that counted.


    I don't know how much the Indians really contribute, maybe not much more than some requirements.

    The PAK-FA certainly looks great, it's apparently a 'heavy' long-range fighter like the Su-27 family and apparently still designed for high maneuverability.

    The next real question is "how many during the 2010's?" because a production run of <100 would be of little consequence in regard to other great powers.

    Btw, I think the Mistral affair is no "decision" yet. Russian (Soviet) prototype imports aren't without precedent either; the Japanese and Soviets did it a lot in the late 20's to mid-30's to catch up technologically (see Heinkel He 100).

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  5. Looks like the video has been pulled. John K.

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  6. Sven...you are certainly correct, that in putting NATO against Russia, the fighter situation does the latter no favors. Then again I feel it to be of consequence, what each country will come up with for itself in terms of keeping a certain technological and force structure level. The benefits of course would be more incentives for cooperation and less "we can do it alone"-attitude.

    But wait for the conclusions, once the Chinese will roll out their new toys...the PAKFA response will seem tame in comparison, I am sure (I also think the Chinese efforts at the moment are being greatly underestimated, esp. in the US).

    "The next real question is "how many during the 2010's?" because a production run of <100 would be of little consequence in regard to other great powers."

    I think its very likely that the number of T-50s in service before 2020 will be significantly less than 100. Its just a guess based on what we can expect in Russian procurements over the next 5 years and the estimated development schedule.

    As far as the Indians are concerned, its just about the cash...thats their only contribution really, in my opinion. And its all the Russians need from them.

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