Will Russian-Indian PAK-FA Fighter Challenge F-35?

22.10.08

Categorie: Air, Alliances, Industry |

Some analysts predict the Lockheed Martin F-35 will dominate the $15-billion-a-year global fighter market for decades, overshadowing rival fighter designs from established aerospace firms in the U.S. and Europe – and from one upstart alliance of Russia and India and junior partner Brazil. But problems deep inside the F-35 program might open the way for the competing designs. The implications are particularly weighty for the Indo-Russian team, whose new fighter could, under the right circumstances, really shake up the world’s combat aircraft market.

But in the fighter business, the barriers to entry are unusually high. The design expertise is stretched thin and political considerations often trump flight performance and even price. Most importantly, fighter development is pricey: the American F-22 program, predecessor of the F-35, has cost some $60 billion for just 200 airplanes. Talk is cheap, but airplanes are expensive – and so far the Indian-Russian plan is mostly talk.

Still, increasing Indian confidence in research and development, plus Russia’s economic resurgence on the back of high oil prices means the Indo-Russian “PAK-FA” fighter (that’s a Russian acronym for “Advanced Tactical Frontline Fighter”) just might be capable of exploiting recently deepening chinks in the F-35’s armor. If so, Russia and India might reap benefits beyond the revenue for its aerospace industries. Fighters have a way of forging and reinforcing political and military alliances that are about much more than mere airplanes.

One thing’s for sure: PAK-FA’s potential for success is directly linked to F-35’s potential for failure.

Read the whole story in Eurasia Critic.

(MiG-1.44 art via Wikipedia)

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12 Responses to “Will Russian-Indian PAK-FA Fighter Challenge F-35?”

  1. I think Russians have proven on many occasions that they can build cheaper and yet better jets than the Americans. Americans boast with their air superiority in past decade and it is like a little brat who forgot how we got his ass kicked not so long ago (in the airspace) in Korea and Vietnam.

  2. Rakesh Krishnan says:

    Yes, the Russian aircraft and pilots really kicked American ass in the Vietnam and Korean wars. It’s the hiding the US Air Force got that forced the Americans to go in for massive programmes such as the F-14, F-15 and F-16. Although they never came up against Russian pilots flying MiGs and Sukhois, chances are the contest would have been interesting. While the USAF and Israelis scored one-sided victories against Russian-armed (but poorly trained) states like Libya, Syria and Iraq, it was a different ball game when a highly-trained and motivated air force fought the Americans. The Serbians really screwed the Americans’ happiness with their doggedness. Even after their air force was shot up on the ground, their anti-aircraft missile teams brought down the much-vaunted F-117 stealth bomber. In a thriller cat-and-mouse battle, the Serbian missilemen radio-tracked and isolated the F-117 pilot who had a couple of days earlier bombed and destroyed a hospital. The missilemen listened in on this American pilot, drew him into a trap and BAM!

    The first time two jet fighters did combat was during the India-Pakistan war in 1965. The Pakistan Air Force sent two F-104 Starfighters into western India. Two Mig-21s of the Indian Air Force were sent to intercept them. In the resulting dogfight, the Pakistanis realised they were up against a superb aircraft. Outgunned and outclassed, they attempted to flee, but the Pakistani Starfighters were outrun and shot down. One pilot bailed out over Gujarat state and was captured while the other tried to take his hit plane home. However, he had to parachute over the shark infested waters off the coast in the Arabian Sea and the body was never found.

    In the 1971 Indo-Pak war, India’s Russian aircraft shot down the entire Pakistan Air Force within the first five days. The American F-86 Sabres and F-104 Starfighters were no match for India’s MiG-21. The remaining 12 days of the war were fought with India having total air domination. In fact, the Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi held an open-air rally of a million people in New Delhi. Now, that’s not a very common thing in war but the Indians could do it because there was nothing to fear.

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  6. Its reality Indian air force has much crafts than PAF…they have Russian gifted migs…
    but I doesn’t matter…in previous wars PAF ***** IAF badly…
    Scores in 65 war (PAF vs IAF)
    1965 war….
    From Independent sources
    IAF air crafts destroyed: 74
    PAF air crafts destroyed: 20
    source:
    The Times, London September 24 1965 Page 11 – Article Name: Air Force’s evidence of Enemy Tank Losses. Available online at http://archive.timesonline.co.uk
    In 1971 war
    1971 war
    PAF: 51 http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/History/1971War/Appendix3.html
    IAF: 75 http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/History/Misc/Loss1971.html
    Above are Indian sources……………
    PAF ROXXX…!!!
    In reality Pakistan has won all air wars with INDIA.

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  9. Rakesh Krishnan says:

    Pakistan has won nothing in any of its wars. War is total. You can’t say you won the air war after surrendering 93,000 soldiers and losing 50% of your country as Pakistan did in the 1971 war with India. Pakistan’s defeat was total. India’s armed forced carved through the heart of Pakistan. After forcing General Niazi to surrender in East Pakistan, India’s army was thundering towards Lahore when Mrs Gandhi called it back. Perhaps the reason was the (very real) threat of the Americans nuclear bombing Calcutta (they won’t dare to threaten India like that). Perhaps India was satisfied that Pakistan had been taught a lesson. India’s army had forced the Pakistani army to its knees. Indian Navy had bombed Karachi, which burned for a week. As for the air force, the IAF was doing all sorts of sorties – attack, defence, bomber escorts. The PAF had really no war doctrine except air combat and runway strafing. The IAF had a full-spectrum role to play and performed brilliantly. The aim of the war was not merely an air war or a missile war. It was to defeat Pakistan, which was conducting genocide in East Pakistan, killing Muslim Bengalis and Hindus. Do Germans claim victory in the Battle of Britain in which Britain lost 11,000 aircraft and the German Luftwaffe 9,000? No because the German air force lost the war despite losing fewer planes. Ditto in 1971 – India may have lost more planes but it won air war. After the first week, there was no Pakistan Air Force!!

  10. Rakesh Krishnan says:

    Also, Syed Saab, please don’t trust sites like The Times. It’s a purely racist websites which is dripping with hatred for Indians as well as Pakistanis. The British press is biased and publishes anything remotely anti-Indian. They jump at any scrap that will show Indians in poor light. in the timesonline website when they write anything about India, they add a standard para about the poverty. Moon Mission story, nuclear submarines, aircraft carriers, UN expanding to include India, anything — but one thing remains the same, that para about India’s poverty will be mentioned ad nauseum. And I don’t need prizes for guessing that when they talk about Pakistan, they describe a nation of long-haired Islamic terrorists!

  11. rich says:

    Lol Russia planes kicked our ass in vietnam and korea??? Wrong Check the KDR of our planes to yours American planes beat Russian planes thru out history its a fact children.

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