Rafale v/s. FGFA:-Should India get Su-57 instead of Rafale?
In an era of 5th Gen fighters, and when India has almost acquired the ability to make indigenous 4++ Gen fighters with integrated avionics and ECM, AESA, METEORs and MICAs and ASRAAMs, what wisdom they are showing by planning to spend 25 billion dollars on 4++ Rafale F3R.
Ideally they should wait and be procuring true stealth F-35s. If IAF has misgivings about F-35 given reportage that it still has over 900 shortcomings at least 180 off which will not be rectified before full rate production starts and Israel’s seeming reluctance to procure more F-35, they should at least be spending 25 billion dollars on Su-57E. It has advantages over Rafale in terms of manoeuverability, stealth, DAS and so on. If IAF is so smitten with Rafale, acquire 36 more and wind it up.
Let us look at some features of Su-57 which other aircrafts lack
1. Side Facing Cheek Mounted Radars
side-facing radars mounted below the cockpit on aircraft’s ‘cheeks.’ These active electronically scanned array (AESA) X-band radars supplement the aircraft primarily nose-mounted X-band N036 Byelka (Squirrel) AESA radar.
Supposedly these secondary radars have roughly a third of the transmit-receive modules as the jet’s main radar.
They provide a far greater sensor field of view and thus enhance situational awareness for the Su-57’s pilot.
They also allow the Su-57 pilot to execute a key tactic better than nearly any other fighter around. This tactic is usually referred to as “beaming.”
This feature was long-promised for the F-22 but as of yet, has not been delivered.
2. Infrared Search and Track
The Su-57 sports an advanced 101KS ‘Atoll’ infrared search and track sensor in the traditional position on Russian fighters—installed atop the aircraft’s nose, near its windscreen.
IRST is among the best technologies available for detecting and engaging stealth targets from afar.
It gives the Su-57 some capability to detect and even engage the stealthiest aircraft around even while they are not giving off any radio emissions.
An IRST can also be used to provide targeting information to a fighter’s missiles in-flight, even while that jet is beaming.
Above all else it allows the Su-57 to operate and persecute targets while staying electromagnetically silent (giving off no radio emissions), which is just as big of a deal these days as being hard to detect on radar.
It also is immune to the effects of electronic warfare.
An advanced IRST was also promised for the F-22 as part of the Advanced Tactical Fighter Program but it was axed due to cost-cutting measures as the program moved from prototype to a production configuration.
(As a later addition F-22 will be getting IRST and Cheek Mounted radars by 2020-21)
3. Directional Infrared Countermeasures System
Su-57 has turrets that fire modulated laser beams at an incoming missile’s seeker to blind it and throw it off course.
The Russian system used on the Su-57 is part of the larger N101KS electro-optical suite that includes the missile launch detector systems, IRST, and the DIRCM turrets mounted dorsally behind the cockpit and ventrally under the cockpit.
It can go a long way to defending the aircraft against advanced infrared-homing—also referred to as ‘heat seeking’—missiles.
Having a DIRCM system on a jet fighter is largely unprecedented. The concept certainly exists, but currently, these self-protection suites are largely installed on transport aircraft and helicopters.
Besides it has other obvious advantages over Rafale like lower wing loading and hence greater manouverability, covered ammunition and hence lower parasitic drag, more thrust so weight of the weapons won’t harm maneuverability as in case of Rafale.
The first mass-produced Sukhoi Su-57 fifth-generation fighter jet will be delivered to Russian Aerospace Forces in 2019, Deputy CEO of the Sukhoi Aircraft Company Alexander Pekarsh said on Tuesday.
The stealth jet has enormous potential to modernize the Russian military for at least the next five decades, as it has already proven its worth during combat missions in Syria.
Upon receiving the first Su-57 last August, the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation signed a contract to procure an additional 15 planes in the second half of 2019.
According to Russia’s Tactical Missiles Corporation, Su-57s will have the capability of air launching hypersonic missiles in the early 2020s.
Russian state television listed U.S. military facilities that Moscow would target in the event of a nuclear strike, in a report which Reuters said “was unusual even by its own bellicose standards” and said that a hypersonic missile Russia is developing would be able to hit them in less than five minutes.
Currently, hypersonic missiles can penetrate American missile shields, so any surface-to-air missile system guarding these important assets would be powerless in the event of an attack.
With serial production underway, Russia is now fleeting its military with fifth-generation fighters, along with hypersonic missiles, two key weapons that will dominate the skies in the next global conflict.
Personally I think India will buy SU-57 and also I have some internal sources the upgraded Su-57 with Izdeliye 31 engine which has been developed from scratch and features improved thrust characteristics, better fuel efficiency, fewer moving parts, and subsequently improved reliability and lower maintenance costs. Russians initially will be using AL-41 engines equipped but will later move to Izdeliye 31 Engines but Indian varaint will have some performance improvement.