Gripen E VS F 16 block 70 which one is best choice for Indian Airforce??
Now once again here we are where we have to chose between some more new variants of the 4Gs. After cancelling MMRCA tender because of being fucked up by Dassault’s price changes. The new tender floated to locally manufacture single engine fighter aircraft have fighters for it. The tender has attracted two wonderful aircrafts throwing a whole new competition for Indians. And of course a whole new debate topic for Aviation geeks. The F 16 Block 70 which is dubbed to be the most advanced variant of F 16 and The Saab Gripen NG/ E.
Here we are bringing to you the full spectrum of EW capabilities, Weapons and Other warfare capabilities plus potential weaknesses. So that we can make a proper choice as to which one could be better.
Number 1 :- Block 70 F-16
This came up as a Surprise as nobody thought Lockheed Martin would make any further advancement to the system after making Block 60 for the Arabs. The F 16 IN Super Viper a contender in MMRCA competition is considered to be quite close to Block 70. But still Block 70 packs much masala in it to be an attractive choice for the EW dominated battlefield of the future and today. The strategic advantage as what being talked in defence circles is that Last Production line of F 16 will be shifted in India.
The Block 70 is the most advanced of all F-16s. There are 27 countries in the world who fly these planes, with the latest to join in two months time will be Romania.
The Block 70 F-16 will have the 5th generation fighter radar capabilities, some of which are greater detection and tracking ranges, multiple target track, high resolution synthetic aperture radar, auto target classification and cueing, advanced growth modes.
Lockheed martin has been in talks with the Indian Govt since April to bring the Texas production line to India, and 2017 is the timeframe they are looking at. About jobs being impacted back home in the US, Howard said that the F-35 fighter jet facility will be ramped up, meaning the F-16 workers will be absorbed there.
Radar and Sensor Suite :~
It is equipped with AN/ APG 83 AESA radar. Described as Agile beam it can perform Air to Air and Air to Ground Search and Track simultaneously. The noise reduction features of this one has made its range improved to almost 70 miles almost 84 km for engagement. The image quality in air to ground mode is described as imagery-class. Just the same that is acquired from satellites. They can be acquired from long distances for air to ground targets and using its synthetic aperture radar mode pilots can locate and recognise the ground targets. Prioritise them and engage.
The new MMC modules of it’s computers are said to be 30 % faster than previous ones. Which allows sensor data fusion from the EW sensors for better situational awareness , here notably the data transfer network is quite faster than previous systems like Link 16. It is also equipped with Off boresight aiming sensor which allows pilot to sense and target something out of his field of view.
It also features a pilot friendly automatic ground collision avoidance system. Which continuously tracks pilot’s awareness with respect to decreasing altitude. It makes pilot aware and turns up the aircraft automatically if it goes too close to ground. Because while manoeuvring the aircraft to follow an enemy aircraft. The enemy may try to run wmaway by staying low and outmatching F 16 whike taking ups and downs. The F 16 may then be hitting a Mountain or be directed towards the ground then this system becomes ‘Tactically Important’.
Reasons for India to select F16
1 Single Supply Chain. More availability of parts. Faster Availability in wartime.
2 Battle Proven platform and sold to many NATO countries and various countries worldwide. So India can sell F 16 spare parts.
3 One of the most advanced Variant of F 16. With almost Medium Weight Category like capabilties.
4 Strategic advantage of grounding F 16s of Pakistan Air Force.
Reasons for not selecting F 16
1 High Operating and Life cycle costs as compared to Gripen.
2 Less Sensor packed than Gripen.
3 Adversary Air Forces know F 16 better so they can formulate Strategies to counter it.
4 No sepecific advantage to Other Indian Indegeneous products like LCA.
Seeing the requirement of IAF , the track record of F 16. This could be a better choice. Many people feel that Usage of F 119 engine could be a deal breaker but maintenance of that is quite expensive. It is unconfirmed yet. Even the USAF finds it hectic to maintain it. The F 16 has been used in wargames all around the world and therefore it wouldn’t be a formidable challenge for IAF’s enemies to develop counter strategies. The 16000m service cieling allows it to fly over himalayas comfortably.
Number 2 :~ Saab JAS 39 Gripen E.
The Gripen makers since the days of MMRCA competition are quite desperate to make sale to IAF. So much that we all know they even gave an advertisement on a Bus Stop in New Delhi. Be it Draken Viggen or Gripen the Swedes have always impressed the world with thier designs. Now Gripen is something truely solid and comes with an proven combat service. The Canarded Delta Wing design is better in manoeuvrability as we all know. But what the Gripen E offers here is a Contemporary Electronic Warfare abilities that is what truly matters in Next Gen. warfare. The price is high but that is because Gripen has got so much to offer.
Gripen NG is the most advanced multi-role fighter in the world. Gripen is, by design, a true multi-role fighter aircraft, capable of performing an extensive range of air-to-air, air-to-surface and reconnaissance missions under all conditions in any environment.
Saab has also set out a comprehensive plan within India’s Make in India initiative, which will include transfer of state-of-the-art technology; setting up of an aerospace eco-system in India, including a manufacturing facility; creation of a local supplier base; employment of a well-trained Indian workforce in engineering and manufacturing.
Gripen offers operational dominance and flexibility with superior mission survivability. Air-to-air superiority is guaranteed with METEOR, AMRAAM, IRIS-T, AIM-9 missile capability and supercruise. Air-to-surface capability is assured through the use of the latest generation precision weapons and targeting sensors. Gripen’s superior situation awareness is ensured through an AESA radar, IRST passive sensor, HMD, cutting-edge avionics, next generation data processing and a state-of-the-art cockpit.
Sensor Suite :~
This one is quite impressive amongst all the 4Gs.
Selex Galileo-Raven ES-05 AESA. This radar offers a 200° Coverage owing to its swashplate technique it sees where others are blind. This becomes quite important while on a CAS mission.
IRST (Infra-Red Seach and Track) passive sensor system / Skyward G-infrared active product by Selex-ES is synchronized (acquisition data transmission between devices) and also provides the ability to hang missiles reconciliation to fight.
Gripen E has a new electronic architecture (Net Centric Warfare – NCW). Judged ten times faster than its competitors. The new central system PPLI (Participant Precise Location and Identification) and connects all the slopes internal and external sensors (RAVEN, IRST, EW39, ATFLIR pod) and then offer the best responses to threats. This is right now best thing in Gripen as per me and after F 35 it is the only fighter to be able of that.
The Gripen E is driven by General Electric’s (GE) F414G turbofan engine rated at 22,000lb (98kN). It features a new high-pressure turbine and a new six-stage, high-pressure compressor.
“The aircraft’s engine and design enable it to fly at supersonic speed without using an afterburner.”
The Gripen E features a digital cockpit with three large multi-functional displays (MFD) including a few 3D screens. The cockpit also features a hands-on-throttle-and-stick (HOTAS) which provides superior situational awareness for the pilot.
Reasons for India to select Gripen.
1 Gripen has lowest per unit life cycle and operating costs almost USD 4000.
2 Gripen is the most sensor packed and smartest fighter amongst the Fourth Generation Fighter Aircraft.
3 Gripen makers. The Saab has offered to help India manufacture LCA Tejas and Offer Naval Version of Gripen to Indian Navy IAC and IAC 2.
Reasons for not selecting Gripen.
1 Gripen uses American Engine so it will be difficult to manage supply chain.
2 Gripen’s per unit manufacturing cost is higher than that of LM F 16 blk 70.
3 Relatively less battle proven than F 16.
So these were the awesomest 4Gs we have got as a choice for replacing the MiG 21s of Indian air force. Seeing the depleting squadron strength it is critical that the decision be taken fast. The F 16 is experienced, comes with a strategic advantage and is versatile. It is relatively cheaper. While the Gripen is costlier is tactically more dominant and has got much greater amount of smart functions and sensors but have the lowest per unit operating cost.