Shailesh Kumar/ National Defence Bureau,
New Delhi, 06 November 2019
This could perhaps be the last foreign fighter procurement by India while Indian Defence Industry strive to design and develop it’s own fifth generation fighter aircraft starting with AMCA. We have already discussed many technical specifications of fighter jet under MMRCA 2.0 RFI in last 2 episodes. In this episode we will discuss the IAF’s technical requirements like details on flight controls, landing gear, brake system, auxiliary braking device, cockpit layout and ergonomics, human machine interface, HOTAS ergonomics, environmental control system, external vision requirements, instrumentation, oxygen, crew amenities, escape system (ejection system), escape system (life preserver/ parachute), escape system (survival pack) and electrical system.
- What type of the Flight Control system is available and what is the level of redundancy?
- In case of a failure, is reversion to standby system/ manual mode possible?
- Is it possible to manually override the flight control system safeties, such as surpass the „g‟ limits to allow recovery from a dive?
- What is the duration up to which the flight control system is able to perform without cooling air in case of failure of the Environmental Control System (ECS)?
(e) Are the pipelines/cables for the duplicated flying controls adequately separated and protected to ensure safety?
(f) Does the flight controls provide carefree handling of the aircraft throughout its flight envelope?
(a) What is the type of landing gear in the aircraft?
(b) What are the maximum ground speed limits for main and nose tyres?
(c) What is the main and standby mode of lowering the undercarriage?
(d) What is the maximum certified landing weight at sink rate of 10 ft/s and 6 ft/s?
(a) How many brake systems are provided for redundancy?
(b) Is there provision for parking brakes in the cockpit?
(c) What is the provision for emergency braking in the cockpit?
(d) What are the types of Anti-skid devices fitted on the wheel brake system (nose and main)?
(e) What is the maximum Take-off weight up to which Reject Take-off (RTO) can be achieved from rotation speed with / without use of brake parachute, both at sea level (RW length = 2700 m) and at 3300 m elevation (RW length = 3000 m), under IRA conditions? Assume dry, level runway without use of any arrester gear.
Auxiliary Braking Device
(a) Does the aircraft have an auxiliary braking device (such as brake chute, hook etc)?
(b) If an auxiliary braking device is not available, will it meet all landing/ deceleration performance requirements under IRA conditions without damage to/ or requirement of replacement of components of, the braking system, including during emergency landing at maximum landing weight at airfield of 2700 m length at sea level?
(c) What is brake cooling limited turnaround time, after landing in Air Superiority configuration (4xBVR + 2xA4M + 75% internal fuel) at SL (runway length=2700 m) and at 3300 m elevation (runway length=3000 m) airfield in IRA without using any auxiliary braking device?
Cockpit Layout and Ergonomics
How much of the space/volume in „cu cm‟ is available for integration of IAF specified controls/functionality for future systems in the cockpit?
(a) Would it be possible for the vendor to incorporate symbology and display pages as per IAF specifications and finalise the Human Machine Interface, mutually agreed between the vendor and IAF?
(b) Would it be possible for the production agency/user to upgrade/integrate the MFD, HUD and HMSD display symbologies without the help of OEM.
Does the aircraft cockpit have Hands On Throttle and Stick (HOTAS) ergonomics?
Environmental Control System
(a) Does the aircraft‟s air conditioning system cater for cooling in tropical conditions at temperature exceeding 45°C?
(b) Is there provision for cooling reserves for integration of additional equipment? Specify cooling reserves.
(c) Is there a provision of de-pressuring the cockpit externally on ground in the event of system malfunction?
(d) For the cockpit noise level, which MIL or equivalent standard does the aircraft conform to?
External Vision Requirements
(a) Do the canopy, windshield and the surrounding structure provide good all round external vision from the cockpit (indicate field of view)?
(b) Is the canopy material resistant to ‘crazing’ and cracking?
(c) Does the aircraft provide adequate clearance between the pilot’s Helmet Mounted Sight and Display (HMSD/ Night Vision Goggle (NVG) and the canopy, during movement of pilot’s head to either extreme?
(d) Is the windscreen capable of withstanding impact of a bird hit and which relevant MIL or equivalent standards does it conform to? Quantify bird mass and CAS/ Mach no.
(e) In the twin-seat variant aircraft, is the external vision from the rear cockpit adequate for instructional purposes, including combat and armament training/ demonstration, from the rear cockpit? If not, what are the alternate methods to achieve the same?
(f) Provide external vision plot from front and rear cockpits (from DEP).
(a) Does the aircraft have a glass cockpit concept and does it have Multi-Functional Display (MFD) or Large Area Display (LAD) concepts?
(b) Are all mission/safety parameters displayed on the Head Up Display (HUD) and MFDs? What is redundancy provided on these systems? Specify details.
(c) Is the cockpit lighting and instrumentation NVG compatible? If yes, then up to which Gen standards?
(d) Does the NVG goggle need to be manually removed for safe ejection, or is safe ejection permitted without removing NVG goggles?
(a) What is the type and capacity of integral onboard oxygen system? Does the system have Onboard Oxygen Generating System (OBOGS)?
(b) What is the capability (in terms of duration of flight in hours and minutes) of the oxygen system?
(c) What is the capability (in terms of duration of flight in hours and minutes) of standby oxygen system for safe recovery?
Is there a facility to allow the crew members to relieve themselves and take provisions in flight? Is there a specific stowage area for carrying provisions onboard?
Escape System (Ejection System)
- What is the make and type of ejection seat fitted on the aircraft and does it ensure safe ejection under Zero-Zero conditions (zero height and zero speed)?
(b) Define the operating envelope of the aircraft when the system ensures safe ejection?
(c) Does the aircraft have command ejection system in twin-seat variant?
(d) Does the aircraft have canopy severance system or canopy jettison system?
Escape System (Life preserver/ Parachute)
(a) What is the make and type of Automatic Inflatable Life Jacket provided on the aircraft?
(b) What is the make and type of main pilot parachute provided on the aircraft? Also, what is the parachute separation mechanism in case of landing in water?
Escape System (Survival Pack)
(a) Is the survival pack composite or does it incorporate interchangeable survival packs for maritime, desert, mountainous and tropical forests?
(b) Does it form part of the aircrew escape system?
(c) Does it have a provision to carry a Personal Rescue Beacon (PRB)/ Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)? Would it be possible for vendor to integrate PRB/PLB specified by the IAF?
(d) Does the PRB offered by vendor have Search and Rescue (SAR) and Combat SAR (CSAR) mode?
(a) What are the type, capacity and number of power generating systems on the aircraft?
(b) What is the spare capacity of each of the power generating systems on the aircraft at maximum load?
(c) Does the aircraft have adequate redundancy in both AC and DC systems to cater for uninterrupted mission accomplishment despite failure of the single most critical generator? If not, what degradation in mission capability can be expected?
(d) How many internal starts of the engine/s or auxiliary power unit is possible on the internal battery? Does the aircraft have provision for start with external power supply source?
(e) What is the duration up to which the internal batteries are capable of giving emergency electric supply to essential systems to allow safe recovery of the aircraft?
Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 15 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal, National Defence.