Thursday, September 20, 2012

Heavylift Copter, Tanker Bids Near End

The Indian Air Force chief has said today that the government will shortly open bids in two critical competitions: the 15 heavy-lift helicopter bid (a toss-up between the Boeing CH-47F Chinook and Mi-26T2) and the 6 refuelling tanker competition (between the Airbus A330 MRTT and Ilyushin-78M).

16 comments :

Anonymous said...

Mi-26T2 is the best option with A330 MRTT both best in thier class
Jai Hind

ashwinonblog said...

Mi-26T2 and Airbus A330
That's it!

Anonymous said...

By now it has been very well understood that our govt. has not got sufficient cash to buy 126 rafales and they are again going to buy these costly equipments.

Anonymous said...

are you serious?! the A330 lost its refuelling boom twice while being pre-delivery tested if thats the sorta engineering going into the aircraft....and the Mi26! are you kidding me the damn aircraft is an anachronism some moron dug up!!! while its immensely powerful and capable, so is the ambassador car!! and you dont see that anywhere do ya?!

Anonymous said...

something is grossly wrong with the Gorshakov affair!!!Its high time our govt should talk to Putin whether they want to continue defence business relations with India or not!!!! Putin being an ex KGB,we may have to talk in his own bullying language. Russia is not only squandering the gorshakov deal even after taking more than 15000 crones, but also trying to establish relations with Islamabad. Its time our Govt set things right. we have anti Indian srilanka,Bangladesh,Myanmar,Maldives...etc. surrounding us, with active involvement of Chinese and ISI in these areas. We need some Hawks!!!!

Anonymous said...

This competition is ridiculous:

IS there any competition between Ch-47 and the Mi-26 ?? The Ch-47 Chinook is not even "heavy lift"; the Americans call it medium lift! At least Sikorsky's Ch-53K should have been in contention to give this "competition" any meaning!

As to the "tankers", the A330 is about 4 times as costly as the IL-78 and isn't even a dedicated military aircraft like the Il78 with it austere airfield capability. The Airbus is a passenger refit that requires expensive maintenance facility to repair and can't land on half the military airfields in India making it an expensive target at best.

With the infamous MoD and Indian babudom issuing complicated and onerous tenders, these "competitions" are increasingly becoming a mockery with most credible suppliers staying far away, rather than grapple with the fat and sweaty bureaucrats of the MoD.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @11:21 PM From which of the multiple holes in your brain are you pulling this from?

Anonymous said...

NEVER BUY RUSSIAN.

Anonymous said...

> the A330 lost its refuelling boom twice

The IL-78M will never have that problem . . . because it doesn't have a boom in the first place . . .

> As to the "tankers", the A330 is about 4 times as costly as the IL-78

You know what's really costly? A plane that can't fly when you need it because the manufacturer can't supply the parts.

> and isn't even a dedicated military aircraft like the Il78 with it austere airfield capability.

Tankers don't operate from austere airfields. They have the range to operate from anywhere, freeing the 'austere' airfields for shorter-ranged planes and helicopters that need them. Plus, 'austere' airfields don't have enough fuel to support tanker operations in the first place.

Anonymous said...

@3:12

1. The CH-47 IS a heavy-lift helicopter and the Americans are calling it a heavy-lift. You might be thinking of the CH-46, the Marine Vertol that's being replaced by the MV-22.

2. The IL-78 have HUGE operating costs compared to the A330 MRTT. The Advantage of the A330 is that due to its better range and cost to fly, an A330 could stay up for longer periods of time than the IL-78 which is sort of the point with a tanker aircraft. As for the problems with the A330 MRTT, that would be an issue with the refueling probe, but similar accidents have happened with Russian Air Force IL-78, there's just more hush hush about it. The MRTT is an aircraft that could work well with a developed air force and be converted easily to become a strategic (not tactical) transport aircraft. The advantage of using the IL-78 would be that India already operates the IL-76 and the IL-78 and thus, could share spare parts, training etc. reducing costs.

Anonymous said...

> The CH-47 IS a heavy-lift helicopter and the Americans are calling it a heavy-lift.

It has been called BOTH medium- and heavy-lift depending on the context and what they felt would be more favorable at the time.

But labels are just labels, what matters is being able to do the job and doing it reliably and efficiently.

Anonymous said...

Just don't buy Russian. Even they buy Boeing and Airbus planes for their airlines. Can not match Western efficiency and product support.

Anonymous said...

>>You know what's really costly? A plane that can't fly when you need it because the manufacturer can't supply the parts.

Illyushin has restarted a new production line of upgraded Il-76s at the Aviatstar facility in Ulyanovsk and prototypes from the factory are already under testing with production supposed to be already underway. Spare supply problems are no longer a legitimate excuse, if they ever were!

>>Tankers don't operate from austere airfields.

And yet the USAF categorically asked for austere airfield capability in their RFP for the KC-X tanker competition which is similar to what India is looking at. They did this because an aircraft that can operate in hostile environments and from small airfields of marginal quality closer to the "fight" would be able to stay in the "fight" much longer (on-station time) providing a critical advantage over a much larger, much more expensive aircraft that requires specialized equipment to equip/maintain and requires more extensive ramp and taxi facilities to base compared to an IL78 that can be parked literally off tarmac. Also, just because an airfield is small doesn't mean there isn't aviation fuel available on hand as most small airports have some refueling ability for aircraft. So instead of all the tankers operating out of one base stressing it, the ability to land at smaller airports give operation flexibility beyond just on station time to planners.

>> The CH-47 IS a heavy-lift helicopter and the Americans are calling it a heavy-lift

That is incorrect. The Ch-47 was NEVER designed to be a "heavy-lift" helicopter. The CH-47 was designed primarily by the US Army for air-assault operations, thus the "Squad" size seating of the CH-47A. Further, the CH-47 was never intended to fulfill a Heavy-Lift role on the battlefield. The US Army issued a specific tender for a Heavy-Lift-Helicopter in 70s which was answered by Boeing with an upgraded version of the S-64 called the XCH-62A. It wasn't until the "D" model that the CH-47 was able to lift more than 10 tonnes externally with it new engines and tri hook facility. The "F" model only upgraded this capability further but this is still HALF the Mi-26s capability.
The British and the Japanese also use the CH-47s in their use as a "medium transport" helicopter.

>> The IL-78 have HUGE operating costs compared to the A330 MRTT.

The Il78 with the new engines is significantly less expensive than late model il76s. Further no matter however "huge" the cost per flight-hour of a IL78, it comes nowhere near the cost of an A330MRRT in terms of upfront purchase price! Besides, the newer Il-476 aircraft are significantly more competitive per flight-hour than their predecessors and India can buy nearly 24 Il78 aerial refuelers for the price of 6 A330MRTT! The only "difference" between the two aircraft in terms of capability is their "on-station" times with the A330MRTT being a bit higher while requiring fewer crew.

>>The Advantage of the A330 is that due to its better range and cost to fly, an A330 could stay up for longer periods of time than the IL-78 which is sort of the point with a tanker aircraft.

Any "advantage" of staying up for longer periods is easily negated by the fact that the A330 would have to travel much farther to be "on-station", where as the IL78 could operate much closer to the fight. So while the A330 needs to operate from a major airbase/airport, the IL78 could operate for ANY regional airport with ease. Further, the IL78 could also "bring in" fuel to remote airfields with short runways if roads were made inoperable either due to weather or attack. Finally, while the A330 maybe a more modern aircraft with far greater range, the question that needs to be asked is if 6 A330 MRTT are equal to nearly 20 odd IL78 tankers!

Anonymous said...

> Illyushin has restarted a new production line of upgraded Il-76s at the Aviatstar facility in Ulyanovsk and prototypes from the factory are already under testing with production supposed to be already underway. Spare supply problems are no longer a legitimate excuse, if they ever were!

The Su-30 was produced in Russia and yet still had problems with spare parts.

> And yet the USAF categorically asked for austere airfield capability in their RFP

Which both the KC-30 and KC-767 met. The USAF definition of 'austere' is a bit different from what you're thinking. But if you're going to point to the KC-X RFP, then you're going to have to acknowledge that the KC-30 does indeed have austere capability

> compared to an IL78 that can be parked literally off tarmac.

No one is going to be intentionally parking an IL-78 off tarmac during war operations.

> Also, just because an airfield is small doesn't mean there isn't aviation fuel available on hand as most small airports have some refueling ability for aircraft.

Sure they have 'some', do they have the massive quantities needed to sustain tanker ops?

No

> Any "advantage" of staying up for longer periods is easily negated by the fact that the A330 would have to travel much farther to be "on-station", where as the IL78 could operate much closer to the fight.

Sorry, that's not the way it works. Closer airfields are reserved for short-ranged tactical aircraft who need them.

> the question that needs to be asked is if 6 A330 MRTT are equal to nearly 20 odd IL78 tankers!

False, India will order the same number of tankers regardless of who wins.

> India can buy nearly 24 Il78 aerial refuelers for the price of 6 A330MRTT!

Completely false.

This isn't 20 years ago. Russian prices have been spiraling upward. They are no longer as cheap as they used to be. Your 3x cheaper assertion is ridiculous.

> Besides, the newer Il-476 aircraft are significantly more competitive per flight-hour than their predecessors

Sure, better than earlier models, but that's not the standard. The KC-30 is the standard and it is still nowhere near that.


Another point, the KC-30 can also come with a boom, which would be handy for refuelling the P-8I and C-17 and possibly other future aircraft. The Il-78 can offer nothing in that area.

Anonymous said...

1. Regarding your rather odd and peculiar answers regarding the CH-47, the CH-47 has always been regarded as, and intended to be, a heavy lift helicopter. You can't really put the Mi-26 in the same league, as there are many who'd argue that the Mi-26 would be in a Super-Heavy class like the A380. But then again, what's India looking for? A proven and functional tactical transporter. The problem with too big transportation of troops in battle-like conditions could be seen with the disaster in Chechnya where 127 soldiers lost their lives. That's from the loss of one helicopter. The CH-47 is arguably a better tactical transport helicopter with more modern avionics and systems.

2. The modern IL78's have marginally better operating costs than its predecessors and not really comparable with Airbus who has among the most fuel-efficient engines in the world. Ah yes, the old myth about how former soviet material costs a quarter of western material but is up to the same standards. Unfortunately, this is reality, and there's simply no way in hell that you'd get four IL-78 ships for the price of one A330MRTT. And the A330MRTT outperforms the IL78 in every single factor. It's faster, it carries a bigger payload, it's easier to maintain, it's easier to get spare parts to, it carries much more extra fuel and it has a bigger range. Not to mention that the MRTT can be converted to a medevac plane with 130 standard stretchers, a passenger carrier with 380 seats, or into a strategic transport plane carrying 8 military pallets.

3. I don't know in what alternate universe you get your strategic information, but a strategic tanker is nowhere near "the fight". Especially not against forces like Pakistan or China which both has relatively modern equipment and that definitely poses a threat to Indian military aviation. A tanker is usually far behind the front-line and acts even further back than AWACS-aircraft. This is because they're extremely vulnerable to penetrating enemy forces and require quite a lot of support from fighter aircrafts themselves. There's no such thing as getting down a IL78 on a small dirt road and taking off fully loaded with fuel right at the front line. The Paved conventional runways which a fully-loaded IL78 can take of is certainly no match for a fully loaded A330MRTT which has much more powerful engines.

4. But as I've previously mentioned, India already operates the Mi-26 and the IL78, thus, costs of operating similar aircraft could be greatly reduced as there's lots that could be shared, whilst bringing in new aircraft types require additional support, training spare parts etc. That's really up to the Indian Air Force/Army to decide. But seeing how India usually have 1 of everything, that doesn't seem to be a problem.

Anonymous said...

Look why piss of the russians unnecessarily. they supported us through thick and thin even limiting relations with pakis which americans still have not done. Moreover russian aircrafts will be backbone of our AF for at least 2-3 decades more. Since IL 78 has already cleared its technical trials which means IAF is ok with it why not give it to russkies and keep them happy.