USAF Evaluation of SU-30MKI/MiG-21 Bison

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firstimpulse

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Unread post30 Nov 2012, 04:35

Red Flag 2008-4 : Lecture by USAF Col. Terrence Fornof

Here's a little something I found whilst wading through research for a book I'm writing. A lecture by a USAF Colonel on the capabilities of various Indian Air Force jets, with focus on the Su-30MKI.

Some excerpts:


On the topic of the Su-30's engines:
"...the Tumansky engines are very suseptible to FOD (Foreign Object Damage)."
"...Russian engines are not nearly as reliable as [American engines]."
"if an engine breaks down because of FOD, the Russians make them send the engine back to Russia, then you'll send you back a new one..."

Comparing the Su-30 to "legacy" USAF fighters:
"...where does it stand up against the F-16 and F-15, it's a tad bit better than we are."
"And that's pretty impressive, it has better radar, more thrust, vectored thrust, longer ranged weapons, so it's pretty impressive."

On Dogfighting with the Su-30:
"We did a lot of 1 to 1 fighting with it.... and we were very concerned [before the exercises]..."
"Amazingly, we dominated - not with a clean F-15 i.e. Without any wingtanks and other stores, but we dominated with an F-15 in wartime configuration i.e. 4 missiles onboard, wingtanks, and they're sitting there in clean Su-30s except for pylons which did not have anything on it except a ACMI pod. They were amazed, matter of fact they were floored to the point after the first 3 days, they didn't want any more 1 vs 1 stuff. Lets move on the something else (laughs). Funny 'cause in India, they wanted only 1 to 1 - cause they were winning at that.
"The Su-30? No problem. Big airplane. Big cross section. Jamming to get to the merge, so you have to fight close... he has 22 - 23 degrees per second sustained turn rate. We've been fighting the Raptor, so we've been going oh dude, this is easy. So as we're fighting him, all of a sudden you'd see the a$$ end kick down, going post stall - but now he starts falling from the sky. The F-15 wouldn't even have to pull up. slight pull up on the stick, engage guns, come down and drill his brains out."
"Right now, they use TVC and just go into post stall.... so it's only a matter of time before they learn [to beat F-16/15]. "

Profiling the MiG-21 Bison:
"The MiG-21 bison is a pretty neat airplane."
"It is based on the MiG-21 as many of you guys know from the Vietnam (War) era, but upgraded with an F-16 radar built by the Israelis in the nose, active radar missile, and they carry an Israeli jammer on it would practically make them invisible to our legacy radar in the F-15 and F-16."
"MiG-21 had the capability to get into the scissors with you, 110 knots, 60 degrees nose high, go from 10,000 feet to 20,000 feet, very maneuverable airplane, but it didn't have any good weapons. Now it has high off bore sight Archer missile, helmet mounted sight, active missile, and a jammer that gets it into the merge, good radar..."

Interoperability and relations with the IAF:
"They had zero training rule violations. And that in itself was incredible. We were very impressed and thanked them so much because they were very very professional."
"You know what was happening is that they didn't have the datalink with the Awacs. Big internet data links. The Koreans, the French and us could see the complete picture on the HUD, but the IAF had to ask the AWACS. they would ask about a target ahead, "Contact on my nose 22 miles, friendly or hostile?" Awacs would say "No hostile within 40 miles of you" then [the Indians would say] "Fox2!"
"But they took the fratricides very seriously."

Far more entertaining and interesting stuff at the jump! :D

http://vayu-sena.indianmilitaryhistory. ... rnof.shtml
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Unread post30 Nov 2012, 06:22

Doing a bit more reading, it seems the good Colonel missed some stuff and has several factual errors in his explanation of the systems on the Bison and the engine type of the SU-30. It really is best to read the entire piece to get a feel for it. And I don't think I should've named the thread "USAF Evaluation" in hindsight of looking into the facts either. Still a dang interesting perspective though.
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Unread post30 Nov 2012, 07:29

When he said "Jamming to get to the merge, so you have to fight close..." [Su-30 vs F-15], was he referring to the Su30 jamming to the merge or the F-15?

Regarding 'his' weapons having longer range than US AMRAAM, I'm curious if any longer ranged IIR-tipped munitions were used in simulated BVR? Or only longer-ranged Active radar guided? SARH?

And based on the claimed potential of the F-15 being outgunned in the near-future once tactics were developed to exploit better energy fights vs the F-15/F-16 in dogfight, one could could raise concern about F-35 being a viable dogfighter in these near-future DACT ACM fights in high-energy, nose-high scissor, sustained-turn, high climb rate dogfights?

I'm still assessing that an upgraded new F-15E+ would give the more reliable, best overall interim solution in this higher-end department. With the more durable and powerful GE-132 engine possibly for higher sustained energy performance to match the competition's new engines et al.. further contemplate a Tactical, smaller-sized, lighter-weight CFT for improved aerodynamics, ACM performance, negating the wing tanks? Large aperture enhanced IRST, APG-82, modern all-in-one self-protection jammer on the centerline(?), MAWS, DEWS, next-gen computer and next-gen longer-ranged AAM such as perhaps, the proposed Python-6 class? Add the outside wing-point for good measure. imho
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Unread post30 Nov 2012, 13:08

I agree with geogen. The Colonel does provide some interesting point of view. But keep in mind this is his personal opinion and not the view of USAF.

Having said that, he made many mistakes on his view/analysis on the MKI.

There are even pics to discribe many of the incorrect MKI Engines and FOD claims by the Colonel.


geogen@
I'm not sure if any jammer was deployd on the ealier Cope India exercises.
Keep in mind, that IAF did not use the MKI back then, but an downgraded Su-30K/MK.

Back to Red Flag 2008, the MKI did not bring any jammers, due to USAF demanded technical specs, if such equipment was to be used in US airspace. Same story with Flares dispencers and some other stuff. IAF did not feel they wanted to give away any specs of such equipment, so they left it home prior to Red Flag 2008.
And the MKI did simulate their RVV-AE missiles. If it out range the AIM-120, i don't know.. It depends on which version i guess.

The more durable and powerful GE-132 engine comes with a cons.. namly considerbly higher fuel consumption.
But yeah, i agree, USAF should do a deeper Upgrade on its F-15C fleet.
B.t.w. How many units will get the AN/APG-63(V)3 AESA radar?
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Unread post30 Nov 2012, 17:00

I'm not sure about the GE-132 coming with considerably higher fuel burn.

If say throttle was set to achieve the same cruise speed, for both a -129 powered jet and -132 powered jet, the -132 would likely working at less peak output vs the -129 and thus perhaps would even be more fuel efficient? Sure, at say full Mil power, it could be assumed that fuel burn rate would be higher for the -132 but with a likely higher cruise speed too and other improved performance... so arguably a fair trade-off. That is, if the pilot required equivalent performance as the -129 powered platform, then he'd likely save fuel, but when needing to increase performance, it would cost more too, possibly balancing out average fuel consumption?

And imho the F-15C/D upgrade story will probably be revised a few times b4 it's over. Way too much uncertainty with budgets going forward and how much of said fixed-pie Procurement funding will ultimately end up going towards new build (ie F-35A) vs upgrading existing F-15/16 platforms from year to year.

I'd personally support retiring all C/D by say 2020 with minimal upgrades, eg AESA for a portion of the jets (to save maintenance costs) and replace with 80-90 new build F-15E+ tactical variants equipped with latest off the shelf components and upgraded incrementally as required with next-gen enhancements.

I think that would deliver a justifiably improved and more reliable competition to future Su-30 class variants compared to the F-15C SLEP concept, while acting as a hedge in the interim, in case the 180 F-22s are insufficient in numbers or reliability and if F-35s are further delayed or become unreliable.
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haavarla

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Unread post30 Nov 2012, 19:32

We have debated the -129 vs -132 on F-15C earlier on this Forum.
If USAF was to put -129 on the exsisting F-15C fleet, it would be very expensive indeed. You would have to re-build the F-15C airframe.
Better to build new F-15E. Cause you get new fresh airframes.
The -132 use more fuel both on Mil and AB, there is no way around this, it would give a little advantage on an F-15C, but with higher Fuel consumption.
Put CFT and strenghting the Airframe and you are basicly building/upgrading it to an heavier F-15E.

So why not upgrade the F-15C fleet with new Avionics? I keep reading about the F-15 going 14.000 hours after SLEP upgrade.. If so it would ba a cheap alternative vs building new F-15C/E.
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Unread post02 Dec 2012, 17:05

Haav,

Well, any hypothetical F-15C/D engine upgrade replacement would likely be in the form of F100-229, not the F110-129.

As far as your use of the term 'significant' goes though, sure, a -132 in Full Mil power or full AB setting would probably qualify as relatively significantly higher fuel burn. But I'm not sure if economic cruise speed would qualify as a 'significant' increase rate in fuel burn between the two engines in question.. and that was more of my point. That is, economic comparisons overall could justify the upgraded -132 class engine (for a future F-15E+ build), if new-era performance upgrades were required for any hypothetical high-end F-15E+ tactical platform to better compete in the future.

Moreover, it's possible that given the more durable, upgraded -132 engine, such a 'tactical' F-15E+ variant with say 2 wing EFT only (no CFT, or perhaps w/ a new lighter weight, reduced size CFT) could perform more takeoffs during peacetime/training in MIL power vs the number of takeoffs required with AB settings today on legacy F-15E class? That could help offset avg fuel burn too. We're not talking difference between F119 engine and F100-229 eh.

Anyway, for pure conjecture sake only, if a higher-end tactical performance was ever assessed in future to be a required 'hedge' to compete with other worldwide next-gen high-end platforms such as the particular types noted in this thread, I'd maintain advocacy for replacing old, designed-to-retire F-15C/D with new build, upgraded F-15E+. Respects.
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Unread post03 Dec 2012, 13:07

Yes, my bad, i meant the -132, not -129.

Isn't the -132 heavier than the -229. And if the -132 were to be used in a F-15C, then it could be argued that EFT or CFT also be fittet. But than again, that would increase both Drag and weight.. the effect of extra thrust is eaten away.
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Unread post03 Dec 2012, 16:32

Again, I think if there was ever an engine upgrade for F-15C/D, it would be the F100 -229 and NOT the GE-129 or -132.

And if they ever did a structural rework to install GE-132 on an F-15C/D, the thrust to weight gain would be significantly higher even with the clean air defense CFT config added. That extra weight would take a bite out of the extra thrust of course, but the thrust to weight gain would still be a huge gain. Even with an -229 upgrade and adding the heavy CFT in lieu of wing EFT, there would be added thrust to weight. Regarding 'drag' effects (of CFT instead of EFT) vs said higher thrust to weight, that would be interesting to compare, true.

But also note the example above was for a Tactical F-15E+ equipped with an F110-132 engine upgrade and a more aerodynamic friendly, lighter-weight CFT. (or just wing EFT tanks and no CFT). That would give a significantly more capable and more competitive next-gen performance at all altitudes than would a late mod F-15E class with F110-129 and standard CFT.

Combined with noted off-the-shelf next-gen avionics package, it would arguably provide a highly capable, more reliable, more durable, more maintenance friendly and competitive 'high-end' alternative and hedge against shortfalls in the medium-term vs updated F-15C/D SLEP (replacing F-15C/D), if operating a higher-end platform to better compete with next-gen Su-30x class is required. imho.
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