Tuesday, December 29, 2009

EXCLUSIVE: The Sea Gripen Pitch To The Indian Navy



As was reported recently, the Indian Navy has sent out an RFI on a new multirole deck-based fighter. One of the potential contenders is Saab with its little known Sea Gripen. Here's an official brief along with official photographs of the Sea Gripen by Peter Nilsson, VP Op Capabilities at Gripen:

The Sea Gripen Programme Saab AB has since the beginning of the Gripen programme analysed and discussed a carrier based version from time to time. The first studies go back to the mid-90s. The studies have been initiated due to interest shown by difference countries which see the land based Gripen as their future land based fighter alternative and who also have, or are aiming to, develop carriers within their fleets. One of the main reasons is Gripen’s one of a kind capability to operate from rugged short road strips, which leads to the obvious corollary of “How much re-construction is needed to re-design the Gripen into a carrier based version?”

The basic Swedish Air Force requirements in the original design for securing the capability of short strips operations is very like “carrier based ops”. Qualities like; low landing speed, high pitch and roll authority, high precision glide slope control, high precision landing capability, high sink rate clearance, strengthened airframe etc. are built-in from the beginning.

Add Gripen´s character for active service in field with easy maintenance (engine changes < 1 hour in field, no need for external power etc) makes the “jump” much shorter with Gripen compared to other land-based fighters’ opportunity to transform into a “deck-based” fighter.

The decision to launch the programme within Saab AB was taken in the context of Gripen market opportunities in two nations which are both at the beginning of developing a carrier based capability for their Armed Forces, namely Brazil and India. The Sea Gripen Programme is aimed for naval-/carrier based operations.

A few highlights: The Sea Gripen is a development programme with its origin from the Gripen NG programme. Sea Gripen is aimed for both CATOBAR and STOBAR operations. The main technical re-designs are:
  • New undercarriage and nose gear to cope with higher sink rate forces and catapult launches.
  • Strengthened air frame in some areas.
  • Redesigned arrestor hook
  • “Marinazing” of the aircraft (increased requirements on salt water protections, operations in hot and humidity conditions etc.)

All together the re-design will add weight on the airframe which will give an empty weight between 7500-8000 kg. (~400 kg extra weight compare to Gripen NG) Due to its balanced size there are no needs for structural changes like folding wings Sea Gripen will be a very appealing alternative for nations with smaller size carriers. Its well balanced weight/size compare to heavy twin-engine alternatives will allow nations to move from “air defence”- carriers to a concept with strategic capabilities, without a replacement of their carriers. All sensors, avionics and weapons within the Gripen NG programme will be offered in the Sea Gripen.

26 comments :

Bobs said...

Shiv,when was the RFI sent out and what were the major objectives of it ? I mean, is this concept meant for future carriers or do IN plan to accommodate this new a/c type on IAC ? and how does this a/c type fare vis-a-vis the NLCA ?

Karupaswamy said...

Though Gripen might be one of the most cost effective fighter jets available in the market today, the most likely candidate is going to be Super Hornet.

In fact the Navy's RFP at this juncture, just before the MRCA contract is finalized might be aimed to give an advantage to SH or to justify a SH purchase, which is designed as a carrier based fighter.

Also given the strategic relationship that we are looking for to counter Chinese threat, A neutral country does like Sweden does not bring any advantages.

The fact that Sweden sold Saab-2000 AWACS planes to pakistan which will be fielded against the MRCA fighters would be definitely a Negative mark for SAAB & Sweden.

Nitish said...

Hi shiv
I think the sea gripen would perfectly complement the naval LCA but wouldnt rafale be a more potent option for the navy?

..and what about the LCH test run? luks like HAL failed again to make it on time.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back!!

So, does the IN RFI get linked up somewhere in the MOD with the IAF's MMRCA and with the Teja's MkII engine ??? F-414's are gonna make a killin (either thru the F-18 or the Gripen ??)

Also, the way IN is going, they may just order their fighters before the IAF !!!!!

Wolfandman said...

RIP for Naval LCA, if this choice goes through. The Sea Gripen will be more mature than anything the NLCA can ever hope to be.

joydeep ghosh said...

hey Shiv

u r saying "Due to its balanced size there are no needs for structural changes like folding wings"

Q1. Is it possible to place aircrafts on carriers without having foldable wings (that will eat up space, something that is at premium in a carrier)

Q2. If at all the Sea Gripen is selected, by wat time r they expected to becom oprational.

Q3. Is there chance of TOT allowing India to make them as n when they like it.

AKS said...

Can these be operated from INS-Viraat coz its life has been extented till 2018 and there rare only 11 sea harriers i guess

Anonymous said...

India is at the beginning of developing carrier based capability ? oh dear !

Anonymous said...

The pictures are possibly from a simulator , right?

The article also suggests the a/c is yet to make it's flight.

Any information on when the final RFI is supposed to be received?

Any information on other contenders.

Anonymous said...

"In two nations which are both at the beginning of developing a carrier based capability for their Armed Forces, namely Brazil and India".
Actually India have had the old ex British Hermes since mid 80s and Brazil have the old ex French Foch since 9 years in their inventories. Carrier use is not really a brand new capability for neither two countries. Both Brazil and India are however to expand and drastically improve their carrier capabilities to another level. India with one new indigenous carrier + one ex Russian carrier equipped with new modern aircraft. So in that context I assume that the words in the sentence "at the beginning of developing a carrier based capability" might work.

SAC said...

Hmm...

Interesting, a future carrier based Sea Gripen equipped with the formidable RBS15 mkIII missle would be regarded as a VERY dangerous oponent with no equal in the anti ship warfare segment anyware in the world.

And don't forget...if it's also equipped with the Meteor missle (by pilots considered as a "death ray")it might be the "ultimate solution" if such parameters as price, turn around time (<10 min),operating cost e.t.c. are considered...

Anonymous said...

Hmm...

Interesting, a future carrier based Sea Gripen equipped with the formidable RBS15 mkIII missle would be regarded as a VERY dangerous oponent with no equal in the anti ship warfare segment anyware in the world.

And don't forget...if it's also equipped with the Meteor missle (by pilots considered as a "death ray")it might be the "ultimate solution" if such parameters as price, turn around time (<10 min),operating cost e.t.c. are considered...

Anonymous said...

" two nations which are both at the beginning of developing a carrier based capability for their Armed Forces, namely Brazil and India." Come on.....HMS Hercules was recommissioned as INS Vikrant in Nov 1961. At least do your research right.

Vijay said...

The only thing I have against Sweden is them selling AWACS to Paki's.

I hope the MMRCA and the MR deck based fighter is used as a 12 billion dollar bargaining chip to form a strategic & political alliance with the country we make the purchase from. So that they don't sell anything to the Paki's and the Panda.


My personal favorite has been Gripen, in terms of cost effectiveness and getting our hands on western tech. but if they like to sell their weapons to Paki's I wish we would say goodbye to them and never look back.

Anonymous said...

We are strategic and economic power now.Can't we tweak the swedes or other nation as per our benefits and deprive the pakis and chinkis with the latest tech.Hi Guys What is your say?

Anonymous said...

Fcuk Grippen or some other bull shit fighter.Get the N-LCA ready before some Admiral takes bribes and get some US/Western fighter .

Jigish Parikh said...

Agreed with Karupaswamy and Vijay

Those who supply tech to Pakis must not get even the left-overs, forget a piece from the Indian Defense pie. Besides I would support N-LCA development even if comes at the cost of super-delays.

Jigish Parikh said...

@Anonymous,

"We are strategic and economic power now." Really ? Eh, I must have just woken up from a decade of sleep.

Let me re-phrase that one. "We are 'unchecked' strategic and economic power, and can become 'checked' if New-Delhi is run by people with fiery desire to attain that status" Like how Einstein would say,"Sometimes it helps to be a little crazy to get things done"

Anonymous said...

Sweden is a non-entity. It sells for money. Hence, they have to provide value-for-money.

Other players hope to cover up their weaknesses by offering "strategic" relationship.

In that manner, no one will be qualified to sell to India as they are selling to PAKISTAN (Russia - jet engines; USA - Arms and fighters; France - helicopters & arms; Germany - subs) & CHINA (in a even bigger way)

Please note that nations have no permanent enemies or friend; only permanent interests. (Chankaya neeti)

Hence, whether we order from A, B or C, we should see where our interests lie and what is value-for-money for us; what are compromising and what are we getting in return for our compromise. Hence, let us clarity in our purchase and not carried away for others' actions.

This is because we are responsible for our actions.

Anonymous said...

If India genuinely wants a deep partnership built on the principal of tech transfer, we should not look further than the Gripen.

Anonymous said...

Russians have supplied jet engines, French submarines, Americans everything to Pakistan.

Israel has supplied weapons to China, only after US interference did they stop. lol you dumb guys, India does not dictate to anyone.

Jigish Parikh said...

@Anonymous

Sure India does not dictate anyone but whenever we have options we can avoid doing business with people who supply critical technologies to our foes. Saab is one such company. In case of Russia or France, who else will help us upkeep IAF squadrons or submarines respectively?

Anonymous said...

Jigish Parikh

Saab should be eliminated on merit not on prejudice. Cant have one law for one company and another for another. Also I forgot to say Russian since end of Cold War have immesurable helped the Chinese defence industry progress in all services also French have joint Ventures such as EC 175 helicopter that has took its first flight recently. What I listed would be classed as critical technology.

Vijay said...

10:43 Anony,

The Chanakayan philiosophy has not escaped me or anyone else. In fact, what most people have said about Sweden, is exactly along Chanakayan lines of teaching, if only you would care to see it.

It is in our permanent interest to pursue weapons and technological relationships with Sweden in such a way that they do not provide state-of-the-art weapons to our enemies.


Now if only would would care to see, the example of U.S.A, How is it that Russia and China are apprehensive about providing weapons to Iran, Hezbollah and the middle-eastern factions that are killing people in Iraq and targeting U.S. troops there and in Afghanistan?

AND HOW IS IT THAT USA CAN ARM-TWIST ISRAEL AND PREVENT IT FROM SELLING PHALCON RADARS AND FIGHTER AIRCRAFT TECH TO CHINA?

All i am asking is to bring about a similary pressure on the countries that are providing weapons to our enemies. It might not be as effective as American pressure is, but with billions upon billions on line it might be close. For example, we could buy some SAAB, aewacs ourselves on the condition with an agreement that no more saab's be sold to Paki's and no more spare parts of those AWACS be sold to them either once the warranty on the already sold aircraft runs out.

And your statement that Russia has provided weapons to Pakistan is misleading, The engines provided by Russia are technologically backward and if they had not done so Paki's would have gone ahead and started foraging the dumps of western nations looking for a better engine. France and U.S. are ofcourse providing high quality weapons to Paki's and to panda in the case of France. And we should bring on same kind of pressure on these two countries.

So, until, such time that we play gilli-danda with Paki's (which is also theoretically possible as per chanakyan neeti) it is in our present and long time interest to put pressure on countries such as Sweden and let them see that it is only a matter of time that the terrorist tentacles that are emanating from Pakistan would reach Sweden one day and they would have to pay for all the weapons that they are providing to Pakistan.

Anonymous said...

Hi Shiv,

Can you throw some light on the RFI issued by the Indian Navy for the purchase of carrier based fighter aircrafts. Who are the contenders? Is F-35C one of them?

Anonymous said...

Would it be possible to offer Sweden a bigger deal and have the Tejas take a lot of Gripen input?

Sweden is the country most proficient in developing cost effective light fighters and they will be most interested in a strategic partnership that guarantees them substantial numbers for their developments.
Sweden is also a country that integrates lots of foreign input and their products do sell by themselves, not due to political pressure that is used against them. A big longterm partnership in the light fighter business would give (if successful) both a cutting edge in this market and make Indian fighter developments renown exportable as part of Sweden's deals. This will entail a lot of structural efficiency improvements by learning from the Swedes (who are really outstanding in that field).

Kurt