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Old 6th January 2017, 13:31   #46
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Originally Posted by sagarpadaki View Post
I wonder why the pilot did not eject! He had plenty of time to try to save the aircraft and eject after knowing that nothing can be done! Nearly 10 seconds. Engine flame-outs at take off are neigh impossible to recover from since there is no altitude to play with. Also there was a possibility of touchdown back on the runway since the aircraft was just meters above the ground until the moment when the nose went down!

Any idea what was the root cause of the flame out?

It's easy to take a decision while watching the video but while taking off there would be many other things in the pilots mind. Also he wouldn't know instantly if it was a catastrophic failure or a minor glitch. Thrust from the engine would have been lost gradually in a few seconds and not instantly.

The Flame out might have been cause by ingestion of foreign particles (rocks, debris etc.) into the air intake of the jet causing it to get damaged and result in a flame out.

Also known as FOD

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_object_damage
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Old 6th January 2017, 13:35   #47
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Originally Posted by Foxbat View Post
It's easy to take a decision while watching the video but while taking off there would be many other things in the pilots mind. Also he wouldn't know instantly if it was a catastrophic failure or a minor glitch. Thrust from the engine would have been lost gradually in a few seconds and not instantly.

The Flame out might have been cause by ingestion of foreign particles (rocks, debris etc.) into the air intake of the jet causing it to get damaged and result in a flame out.

Also known as FOD

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_object_damage
True.

In the pilot seat it would have been a whole different scenario. I agree. Just wondered why the pilot did not eject. Machines can be replaced. Pilots can't be.
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Old 6th January 2017, 14:51   #48
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Thank you smartcat for that amazing article.
The detailed account of our fighting-birds is par excellence. You have made understanding the various pros and cons of each of them very simple.
I was truly impressed with the Rafale's figures when compared with rest of the line up - 14 hard-points for weapons, 9.5 tonnes of payload and what not. It seems miles ahead of the rest. But, I suppose, as you have rightly mentioned, each of the aircraft have their own particular role.
Please share info about rest of the aircrafts. It will be interesting if we could get some info about the arsenal of our neighbours to the west and north.

Cheerio!
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Old 6th January 2017, 15:39   #49
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Originally Posted by sagarpadaki View Post
I wonder why the pilot did not eject! He had plenty of time to try to save the aircraft and eject after knowing that nothing can be done! Nearly 10 seconds. Any idea what was the root cause of the flame out?
Mig 27's flame-outs are because of "fundamental flaws" in design of the engine (not my words). There are rust and leak issues in critical engine components. Russia offered to replace all Mig 27 engines with the engine of Su-30 MKI. But apparently, the airframe of Mig 27 has not aged well and it's better to scrap the aircraft than spend money on engine upgrades.

However, all issues have been reported to be "fixed".

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Originally Posted by Foxbat View Post
It's easy to take a decision while watching the video but while taking off there would be many other things in the pilots mind. Also he wouldn't know instantly if it was a catastrophic failure or a minor glitch. Thrust from the engine would have been lost gradually in a few seconds and not instantly.
Right. Ejecting from an aircraft is a very difficult decision for a pilot to make. It's not just about being responsible for the destruction of a multi-million dollar jet, but one also has to consider repercussions like spinal injury or death from ejecting at low altitude. It's quite possible that the pilot didn't know there was a flame-out. He noticed that the aircraft was not climbing well and pulled up. The Mig dived at that point.

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The Flame out might have been cause by ingestion of foreign particles (rocks, debris etc.) into the air intake of the jet causing it to get damaged and result in a flame out. Also known as FOD
Quite possible. It was side-by-side take-off. Very risky because there is a possibility of foreign objects in the air whipped up by other Mig 27.

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Originally Posted by alphadog View Post
I was truly impressed with the Rafale's figures when compared with rest of the line up - 14 hard-points for weapons, 9.5 tonnes of payload and what not. It seems miles ahead of the rest.
Rafale is miles ahead of the rest, but double the cost of Su-30 MKI. Think Mercedes E-Class and Toyota Camry

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It will be interesting if we could get some info about the arsenal of our neighbours to the west and north.
PAF:

Lockheed Martin F16: 80 (40 are modern, 40 are old)
Chengdu F7: 140 (basically a Chinese Mig 21)
Mirage III/5: 100 (generation older than Mirage 2000, comparable to Mig 27, primarily a bomber)
Chengdu JF-17 Thunder: 80 (equivalent to HAL Tejas)

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Total: Around 400 (PAF is replacing their Mirages & Migs with JF-17, 250 ordered)



CHINESE AIR FORCE:

Sukhoi Su-27/30/35: 400
Chengdu J7: 400 (Mig 21 basically)
Shenyang J-8: 100 (built in 1970s, high speed interceptor aircraft for air defence, equivalent to Mig 25)
Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force-1024pxkampfflugzeugf8china.jpg
Chengdu J-10: 240 (Looks slick! comparable to F16, Mirage 2000 & Mig 27)
Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force-1024pxchina_airforce_j10.jpg
Xian JH-7: 70 (comparable to Jaguar, built in late 1980s)
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China also has some 300 bombers which belong to 1960s. It is not a threat to anybody though.
Total fighter aircraft: 1500 approx
However, they are busy building these two stealth fighters, based on stolen American designs and Russian engines.

Chengdu J-20 (equivalent to F22 Raptor or Sukhoi T-50)
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Shenyang J-31 (equivalent to HAL AMCA or Lockheed Martin F35)
Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force-j312.jpg

Last edited by smartcat : 6th January 2017 at 15:52.
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Old 6th January 2017, 15:46   #50
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
Mirage III/5: 100 (generation older than Mirage 2000, comparable to Mig 27, primarily a bomber)


The Mirage III is two generations older than the Mirage 2000 although it looks very similar.

The French developed the Mirage F-1 after the Mirage III and then Mirage 2000 and finally the Rafale.

The Mirage III is comparable to Mig-21 as it was developed in the same time (1960s)
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Old 6th January 2017, 15:57   #51
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Originally Posted by smartcat View Post

Rafale is miles ahead of the rest, but double the cost of Su-30 MKI. Think Mercedes E-Class and Toyota Camry





CHINESE AIR FORCE:

Attachment 1592576
Chengdu J-10: 240 (Looks slick! comparable to F16, Mirage 2000 & Mig 27)
Attachment 1592573
Xian JH-7: 70 (comparable to Jaguar, built in late 1980s)
Attachment 1592574


However, they are busy building these two stealth fighters, based on stolen American designs and Russian engines.

Chengdu J-20 (equivalent to F22 Raptor or Sukhoi T-50)
Attachment 1592577

Shenyang J-31 (equivalent to HAL AMCA or Lockheed Martin F35)
Attachment 1592578
Rafale twice the cost of the Su-30!. I didn't know that.No wonder!!.

Looks like the chinese are experts at copying designs. All the photos you've put up of the chinese aircrafts bearing a striking resemblance to the F-16, Jaguar, the SR-71 blackbird and the raptor respectively.
Seems like they like their stealthy birds.

Thanks for all the info and keep sharing.

Cheerio!
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Old 7th January 2017, 11:30   #52
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
M
Mirage III/5: 100 (generation older than Mirage 2000, comparable to Mig 27,
Not entirely true. The Mirage III was primarily developed as radar equipped fighter/interceptor capable of firing the beyond visual range, semi-active radar guided R530 missile. Just look at the number of kills Israeli Mirages scored on Arab fighters and it shows it was primarily designed and bought as a fighter.

The Mirage IIIC was in the running when the Indian govt was looking for a supersonic interceptor in the early 1960s. The other contenders were Lockheed F-104 Starfighter, English Electric Lightning and MiG-21F-13 (the govt eventually went with MiG).

In the late 1960s, the Pakistanis acquired single seat Mirage IIIE fighters, twin seat Mirage IIID trainers and Reconnaissance variant - Mirage IIIRs, designated as Mirage IIIEP, DP & RP respectively in the late 60s. These took part in the 1971 war. A Mirage IIIEP shot down an Indian Canberra bomber at night using the Beyond Visual Range R530D missile.

From then on, the Pakistanis acquired non-radar equipped Mirage 5PA & 5A2 which were basically attack aircraft. They also acquired the Agave radar equipped Mirage 5PA3 in the Maritime strike role, which were wired to fire the AM-39 Exocet Ant-ship missile( the same role Indian Jaguar IMs performed with their Sea Eagle missile).

They also acquired lot of second hand Mirage III & 5 variants and became the largest and the most exotic operator of Mirage III/V variants in the world. Below is the list of their Mirage variants and the year the PAF acquired them. I had put together this list while making mods for the flight simulator - Strike Fighters 2.

1967/1968 :24 aircraft comprising 18 Mirage-IIIEP , 3 Mirage-IIIRP, 3 Mirage IIIDP (Brand new)

1970 : 30 aircraft comprising 28 Mirage-5PA , 2 Mirage-IIIDP (Brand new)

1977 : 10 Mirage-IIIRP (Brand new)

1978 : 32 aircraft comprising 30 Mirage-5PA2/3, 2 Mirage-5DPA2 (Brand new)

1990 : 50 aircraft comprising 42 Mirage-IIIEA, 8 Mirage-IIIDA (Second Hand, ex- Australian AF)

1996 : 39 aircraft comprising 33 Mirage-5EF, 6 Mirage-IIIDF (Second Hand, ex-French AF)

2001/02 : 10 aircraft comprising 9 Mirage-IIIEL and 1 Mirage-IIIDL from Lebanon (Second Hand, ex-Lebanese AF), which were stored since 1980s. They formed a Mirage Operational Traning Unit with these ex-Lebanese Mirages.

2003: 13 aircraft comprising of 12 Mirage-IIIEE and 1 Mirage-IIIDE from Spain (Second Hand, ex-Spanish AF). All of them were bought as spares for the operational Mirage fleet. None of them was made operational.

2004: 47 aircraft comprising of 4 Mirage-5DR ,6 Mirage-5DD, ,12 Mirage-5D and 25 Mirage-5DE from Libya (Second Hand, ex-Libyan AF), which were stored for past 15 years.Only 14 of them were put into service. More Ex-Libyan Mirages were also sold to PAF in late 2007, all these were used as spare cannibalization.

Some of these Mirages underwent ROSE upgrades which bestowed upon them modern strike and in-flight refueling capabilities.

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Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
Chengdu J-10: 240 (Looks slick! comparable to F16, Mirage 2000 & Mig 27)
In many aspects, it looks like a scaled up copy of the cancelled Israeli Lavi fighter. Chinese Copy/paste champions at work!!!!
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Last edited by skanchan95 : 7th January 2017 at 11:32.
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Old 7th January 2017, 13:11   #53
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Originally Posted by sagarpadaki View Post
Also there was a possibility of touchdown back on the runway since the aircraft was just meters above the ground until the moment when the nose went down!
Its impossible to abort takeoff and land again once V1 speed is achieved. That aircraft had already crossed V2 speed and was already off the ground. Runways are not long enough to touchdown again. Only option left for the pilot at that time was either to eject, or try to recover the aircraft, turnaround and land again. Unfortunately due to engine fire, 2nd option wasn't there for him.
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Old 7th January 2017, 13:26   #54
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

Dear smartcat,

I am totally impressed! I have given you a well deserved 5 stars!

From the looks of it, you are quite knowledgeable about this topic. I am clearly not....!
I hope you have taken care not to mention any 'confidential' or 'secret' information! Ha Ha! Just kidding - obviously you have not.

Thank you once more for the beautifully written thread.

Regards,

Girish Mahajan
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Old 7th January 2017, 21:06   #55
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Originally Posted by skanchan95 View Post
Not entirely true. The Mirage III was primarily developed as radar equipped fighter/interceptor capable of firing the beyond visual range, semi-active radar guided R530 missile. Just look at the number of kills Israeli Mirages scored on Arab fighters and it shows it was primarily designed and bought as a fighter.
There are 2 reasons why I believe PAF intends to use Mirage III/5 for ground attack missions.

1) In a PAF documentary, their pilot said "Yeh Jahaaz Dushman Ke Ilaaqe Ke Andar Gusskar Maarta Hain", which is Urdu for 'deep penetration strike aircraft'.

2) Look at the inventory of PAF aircraft. The initial lot of F16's are pure air superiority fighters with very little ground attack capabilities. Chinese Mig 21's too are mostly suitable for air defence. Which leaves PAF with Mirages to do the ground attack missions.

All generations of Mirages have excellent low altitude flight capabilities



Anyway, Mirages are 1960's aircraft and are quickly being replaced with JF-17's. Their Mig 21's are relatively new - they were ordering them from China as recently as Year 1998.


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In many aspects, it looks like a scaled up copy of the cancelled Israeli Lavi fighter. Chinese Copy/paste champions at work!!
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Originally Posted by alphadog View Post
Looks like the chinese are experts at copying designs.
Well, they are smart enough to copy and reverse engineer - we have to give them that. One side effect of that is that no Western country/company is ready to sell advanced avionics, radars, missiles and electronic warfare systems to China. Even Russia sells one generation older stuff to China (except for Su-35).

Against China, it looks like IAF has technological and possibly training advantage. IAF is publicly confident of defending the borders in the event of a two-front war.

The technological advantage will vanish after the induction of J31/J20 though.

Last edited by smartcat : 7th January 2017 at 21:25.
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Old 7th January 2017, 23:15   #56
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Dear Smartcat, Thank you for the time and effort in penning down this article on a subject dear to many. Allow me to put my thoughts down in two posts. The first, this one, is a commentary on the very valid issues you raise. The second as requested by you will be on the IAF's current doctrine and how it evolved from 1933 onwards. The second I'll scribble tomorrow after brushing up on my books. As I don't know how to quote the same post in multiple blocks all my points are below in one lot.

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Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
The Indian Air Force has the 4th largest number of fighter aircrafts (roughly around 800) in the world. But reading about Indian Air Force in mainstream media makes for a depressing reading (it's mostly about aircraft lost due to crashes, delays in aircraft acquisition etc). So I'd like to first put my view across on these two purported IAF issues -

INDIAN AIR FORCE AIRCRAFTS ARE VINTAGE

True, many aircraft in IAF are 30 to 40 years old. However -

1) Most of the old aircraft have been upgraded with latest Israeli, French, Russian and Indian avionics & electronic warfare systems.

2) They are all equipped with ultra modern air-to-air missiles and laser targeting pods/guided bombs.

3) IAF pilots' flying hours per year match that of Western powers. The flying hours of pilots in our immediate neighbourhood is guesstimated to be lower.

4) Our neighbors too have the same issues as IAF. Roughly 50% of Chinese Air Force combat aircraft is of 70s/80s vintage. Eg: Chinese Air Force has around 400 Chengdu J-7, which is basically a mildly modified Mig 21. PAF has 140 Chengdu J-7s and 160 Dassault Mirage III aircraft (equivalent to Mig 21)

NUMBER OF ACTIVE AIRCRAFT IN IAF IS FALLING CONTINUOUSLY

The second most favorite topic of mainstream media is the number of active squadrons in IAF. Sure, the numbers are coming down. However, there have been a few significant changes in the way Air Wars are fought these days -

1) Previously, there were 2 types of combat aircraft - air superiority aircraft (Eg: Mig 21) and Ground attack aircraft (Eg: Jaguar). Nowadays, all modern fighter aircraft are "multi-role aircraft" capable of all sorts of missions.

As cheaper and more effective alternatives to combat aircraft are developed, the fall in absolute numbers is expected to continue.

IAF believes that it is better to lose planes in peacetime rather than lose a war. PAF too trains hard and apparently, Chinese Air Force has recently adopted this philosophy.

However, Russian aircrafts do have a higher crash rate per 10,000 flying hours than Western Jets. That partly explains why Russian jets are roughly 50% cheaper. After all, you get what you pay for.
Some thoughts....

As we all know the media today is unfortunately often focused on stories that sell. And negativeness sells. We see it more in the TV media vying for eyeballs. The IAF themselves need to shoulder some of the blame of how they have managed their PR. Our higher than normal crashes in the 1990s and 2000s were largely attributable to two causes - the bigger reason was the lack of an advanced fast jet trainer to train pilots before they join a frontline squadron. Our IAS worthies kept postponing the decision for 2 decades forcing pilots to transition from the sedate Kiran basic trainer to the Mig-21. Just about learn how to drive on a Premier Padmini and bingo you are dropped into a Ferrari that lands at ~320 kmph. So from the phase out of the Hunter trainers in mid-1980s to about 8 years ago young lives were lost to this bureaucratic incompetence. The second reason was that to save money we purchased spares for the Mig-21 made in Bulgaria and Romania - some of which were produced without a license from the MiG bureau. With the Hawk Trainer now in service and the old Mig-21s and Mig-27s being phased out hopefully the situation will get addressed.

With regard to aircraft being old - I can say from some serious experience of my own that a well maintained airframe can metaphorically last and last and last - the key word is well maintained. How old an aircraft is depends on its avionics first and to a lesser extent its engine. With the many successful upgrade programmes on the Sepecat, Mig-21 Bison, Mig-27 and now the Mirage 2000 and so on we are in good shape. We could do with greater numbers but it is not as if the roof is caving in. To put things in perspective at ~800 fast combat jets we are bigger than the combined inventory of Germany, France & UK. But 1000 jets would certainly have been better to arm our desired 45 squadrons. Another perspective is that our potential adversaries to the West have ~450 and to the North ~2000! I wonder if the IAF should induct the Tejas to make up the numbers for the medium term. But as we all know the driver with the fastest car does not necessarily win the race nor does the writer with the best pen have the best handwriting. In this respect the IAF and the Israeli Air Force are the only ones in the last 60 years to have wrestled with an equal adversary and come out on top.While I do not know about the Chinese the Pakistani pilots are well trained and motivated. Our experience in '65 and '71 indicates they are no less than us as indicated by the facts and memoirs of retired Air Chiefs.

Our upgrade programmes have typically been well designed and executed. Credit to DRDO, the IAF engineers and HAL - DARIN III on the Sepecat, Project Vetrivale that created the avionics for the Su-30MKI, the Bison for the Mig-21's are all first class and have taken these machines to a more effective level. The less than perfect up time on Russian origin equipment is a sad fact - spares, reluctance of the Russkies to transfer maintenance know-how and share drawings et al. I have dealt with the Russkies on civilian aircraft and they don't know how to spell c-u-s-t-o-m-e-r.

The number of aircraft will decline, as Samartcat rightly states, as the machines get more multi-role and develop greater flying endurance. Directionally speaking a Su-30MKI today can do the combined work of a Jaguar, Mig-23, Mig-21 of the 1980s and some more. If we could creep back to the 45 squadron plan in the next 10 years we should be as good as we will get to.

In terms of numbers and quality we reached our peak in the late 1980s with a frontline comprising largely of Mig-21, Mig-27, Sepecat Jaguar and the Mirage 2000 & Mig-29 just rolling in. The 1989 to 1999 period was a lost decade thanks to the country's economic woes and several changes of Govt. Even then we owe it to the much under appreciated Narashimha Rao that he took the bold step of going with the Su-30 project in the face of a lot of sceptics and that has saved the day for us two decades on. 2004 to 2014 was another lost decade for our Armed Forces thanks to a certain defense minister. Fortunately we now have a genuinely competent Raksha Mantri and decisions are being taken & implemented. In fact Parrikar is in my opinion the most effective Defence Minister since Jagjivan Ram & Yashwantrao Chavan.

I am now eagerly looking forward to your thread on Tejas.

Last edited by V.Narayan : 7th January 2017 at 23:20.
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Old 8th January 2017, 11:01   #57
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post
As I don't know how to quote the same post in multiple blocks all my points are below in one lot.
How to use QUOTE and QUOTE+
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/announ...-team-bhp.html (How to MULTI-QUOTE (when replying to a thread) on Team-BHP)


Quote:
With regard to aircraft being old - I can say from some serious experience of my own that a well maintained airframe can metaphorically last and last and last - the key word is well maintained.
Is there a concept of "build quality" when it comes to airframes? A Tata Sumo has an useful life of 7 years while Toyota Qualis goes on forever because of its build quality. Similarly, does Western aircraft have significantly higher longevity (with respect to airframes) than Russian aircraft because of "build quality"?

Quote:
Another perspective is that our potential adversaries to the West have ~450 and to the North ~2000! I wonder if the IAF should induct the Tejas to make up the numbers for the medium term.
Three things -

1) Right now, there are 40 confirmed orders for "Tejas 1" and 80 confirmed orders for "Tejas 2" (AESA Radar, more powerful engine). Once these are delivered by HAL, there is a possibility of IAF ordering 120 numbers of Tejas 3 (more upgrades)

2) IAF would probably like to see if any gremlins crop up in Tejas over the next 5 or 10 years. No point in ordering 240 Tejas jets right away.

3) Do a Google search for "Combat Hawk". This is a customized IAF combat version of Hawk AJT. This is likely to equipped with a radar, ability to fire BVR (Beyond visual range)/WVR (Within VR) air-to-air missiles, laser guided bombs and helmet mounted targeting system. Plus, a few design changes are being made to make the "Combat Hawk" more agile.

Sure, it will still be a sub-sonic aircraft but we know what BAE Sea Harrier did in Falklands War to Argentinian jets. Cram "Combat Hawk" with enough technology and it should make for a decent light combat aircraft. The biggest advantage of this is that is a proven platform and is likely to be 30% cheaper than HAL Tejas. Not to forget export potential to African and Latin American countries.

So if this goes through, there might be a few squadrons of Combat Hawk too.

The AJT by itself has a weapons payload of 3 tonnes and can carry out close air support missions.






Quote:
While I do not know about the Chinese the Pakistani pilots are well trained and motivated. Our experience in '65 and '71 indicates they are no less than us as indicated by the facts and memoirs of retired Air Chiefs.
PAF pilots are still among the best because of their training and motivation. They have performed well in friendly combat with USAF. But a significant number of IAF losses during '65 and '71 was because IAF was on the offensive and PAF was on the defensive.

1) A country on the defensive has the advantage of SAM sites taking out aggressor (IAF in this case) planes.

2) PAF pilots can take reckless risky (but battle winning) decisions in air-to-air combat, because if they are shot, they are likely to parachute into their Sasurji's backyard.

That's one of the reasons why IAF is probably confident of taking on China and Pakistan together. IAF then has the advantage of being the defender. By the way, now it is confirmed that RAFALE squadrons will be stationed in WB and UP - Technology (Rafale/Su-30MKI) Vs sheer numbers (of Chinese air force)

Last edited by smartcat : 8th January 2017 at 11:26.
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Old 8th January 2017, 17:13   #58
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Originally Posted by smartcat View Post

Is there a concept of "build quality" when it comes to airframes? A Tata Sumo has an useful life of 7 years while Toyota Qualis goes on forever because of its build quality. Similarly, does Western aircraft have significantly higher longevity (with respect to airframes) than Russian aircraft because of "build quality"?
Russian and Western aircraft are similarly built with a lot of over engineering. Both lend themselves to life extensions of the airframe with similar ease. The IL-38 maritime recce aircraft of the Indian Navy are now over 40 years old (production ceased in the early 1970s) and going strong with modern electronics & weapons. Russian equipment is typically rugged. Their designs are engineered for short MTBO (mean time between overhauls) which the west deride without recognizing that between overhauls they make do with little support. The challenges we face today, with Russian equipment, is due to spares and inadequate transfer of maintenance know-how and not any deficiency of design.

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I'm really looking forward to your views, Narayan. Also, I would like you to touch upon the probable 'doctrine' or 'philosophy' of IAF in case of a full-blown war. In other words, how does IAF intend to use the fighter aircraft at its disposal? Is it one fighter aircraft type (Eg: Su30MKI) for a particular goal (Eg: Air superiority over enemy territory) or is it likely to be a mix and match of everything?
The doctrine of the IAF, or Mission-Vision statement in corporate jargon, is set out in a policy document of 2012. The earlier version was of 1995. Interestingly the 1995 version was the first time the IAF spelt out its doctrine and made it public. The doctrine of the Air Force is derived from the overall policy on national security policy and foreign affairs. It is a function of what we desire (vanity) versus what we need (sanity) versus what our resources permit us to afford (reality). This doctrine also is then set within the constraints of economics, technology we have access to, availability of trained personnel, flexibility needed etc.

Before we come to the doctrine the IAF pursues today let's review the back ground of geography, threats and history.

Our geography is our destiny. We are in a unique position where we have the world's only emerging (and aggressive) super power 'wanna be' in the north i.e. the challenger to the throne and the world's leading incubator of state sponsored terrorism in the west. Almost no other country in the world is surrounded with such belligerence except, in a different context, Israel. Interestingly Israel's Air Force is the only Air Force other than our IAF to have repeatedly stood the test of time against equal or comparable adversaries since WW2. Then comes the context of threat - a squadron of Su-30's in Chinese hands is a credible threat. The same squadron in the hands of Mynamar (only for illustration) is less of a threat as their entire chain of training, co-ordination, supply, command & control would be of a much much lower order. The threat from China is strategic. The threat from Pakistan is their desire to kill us with a thousand cuts while dangling the ultimate nuclear option.

And finally history. In World War II the IAF comprising of 10 fighter squadrons was exclusively an army support ground attack force. In 1965 it operated primarily to directly support army action on the ground and make the ground thrust or defense more effective. But this time achieving limited air superiority in sectors we were operating in was also an aim that was partially achieved. The IAF flew 3937 sorties against West Pakistan for a loss of 59 aircraft. Pakistan flew 2364 sorties for the loss of 43 aircraft. In 1971 the IAF graduated up to being able to pursue two different strategies in the East and the West. In the East it went for total air dominance (a step above air superiority) over the whole of East Pakistan and then to provide close air support to the Army along with air mobility via river jumping helicopters and transport aircraft. It also took on a full blown role of interdiction i.e. destroying the enemy's ability to wage war by destroying centres of command, lines of supply, ports and most importantly supply of fuel. Against West Pakistan the strategy was air defence where needed and close air support to the Army along with hitting the supply chain of petroleum. In the words of PC Lal, the Air Chief in 1971, the IAF's aim in the west was air superiority followed by interdiction of fuel supplies followed by close air support for the army. Notice that words like 'strategic bombing', 'deep penetration strikes' 'precision strikes' had not yet entered into our doctrine.

The IAF realizes that air power alone cannot win a war. But lack of air power can surely make you lose it. It also recognizes that an air force in any country usually operates at a higher level of technology (hardware & software) than those found in the country as a whole.

The doctrine today identifies 4 areas which are a part of its operational doctrine.

1. Counter Air i.e. knocking the stuffing out of the adversary by both offensive and defensive action. Offensive action would be attacking radar and SAM (Surface to Air Missile) sites, attacking air bases (a very difficult & hazardous task), achieving and establishing air superiority over areas selected by us and defending Indian air space (from intruders) with fighters, missiles and anti-aircraft guns. This would include air borne early warning and SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defences). In a limited or full scale war achieving air superiority over the geography you are fighting on is the IAF's first priority in terms of what comes first.

2. Close Air Support i.e. supporting the Army (or in some cases the Navy) to execute its objectives on the surface - battle field interdiction, troop transport, special operations, air supply

3. Strategic Air Campaigns - this includes deep penetration strikes against strategic targets that destroy the enemy's ability to wage war and its ability to control & lead its forces- industrial concentrations, oil refineries, ports, command centres, railway junctions, etc. These today include conventional and nuclear missions. It also includes threat of action as a tool of political deterrence.

4. Combat Support - transport, rapid movements to vital spots, reconnaissance, electronic warfare, net work support, data analytics.

In terms of priority while all 4 are pursued from the first hour the initial priority is to establish air superiority in the first 24 to 96 hours. The IAF's move is towards multi-role aircraft which permit flexibility of response to a changing situation and also the ability to bare teeth with out biting. Su-30MKI, Mirage 2000, Mig-21bison are all multi-role in their own way with the Su-30 leading the way. The humble Tejas is also multi-role in its own way with a lesser range of kms and options but multi-role nevertheless. This is a paradigm shift away from the specialized fleet of say 1987 (Mig-23 for BVR, Mig-21 for air defense, Mig-27 for tactical air support, Sepecat for DPSA and so on). One trick we missed was to have taken up license assembly of the Mirage 2000 in the 1990s. It could have been our mainstay obviating the need for the Su-30 and Mig-29. But if we can work around the maintenance and up time issues on the Su30 we have a winner on our hands

Between the 1970s and today the main shift in doctrine has been from a defensive 'air defense plus army support' one to a doctrine of credible counter strike to deter adventures by the other side in the first place. The Sukhoi Su-30MKI, Mirage 2000, Jaguar DARIN III, Agni, Prithvi, AEW, air to air refuelling all execute towards this credible counter strike. The new frontier is space - ballistic missiles, anti-ballistic missile defense, real time reconnaissance, secure communications, guidance for cruise missiles and communication links for UAVs and so on. The other area for which the strategy is still evolving is the threat of state sponsored terrorism.

Self reliance in material & maintenance is also a part of strategy & doctrine. In the 1960s to 1980s we made real progress towards home production albeit of foreign designs. The IAF started off before the Navy. Today the Navy designs and builds its own big warships and nuclear submarines but DRDO and HAL have completely failed the Air Force and the Indian nation where even basic trainers are being imported 70 years after 1947. In this one area China has overtaken us completely. They have developed an entire infrastructure to design & manufacture aircraft while we fumble.

The US National Intelligence Council wrote in 2005 that over the next 25 years the balance of global power will be mostly determined by the rise of China and India and by 2050 the three most important global players will be USA-China-India. Our story is still unfolding.

References:
Global Air Power by John Andreas Olsen
International Air Power Review, Volume 5, AIR Time Publishing
My Years with the IAF by PC Lal

Last edited by V.Narayan : 8th January 2017 at 17:24.
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Old 9th January 2017, 12:43   #59
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There are 2 reasons why I believe PAF intends to use Mirage III/5 for ground attack missions.

1) In a PAF documentary, their pilot said "Yeh Jahaaz Dushman Ke Ilaaqe Ke Andar Gusskar Maarta Hain", which is Urdu for 'deep penetration strike aircraft'.
In the present scenario, the their Mirage fleet is best suited for ground attack and to some extent BARCAP or TARCAP missions(eventhough they are now armed with the potent M and L models of the AIM-9 Sidewinder) . In the olden days they were suited for air defence, but not now.

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2) Look at the inventory of PAF aircraft. The initial lot of F16's are pure air superiority fighters with very little ground attack capabilities. Chinese Mig 21's too are mostly suitable for air defence. Which leaves PAF with Mirages to do the ground attack missions.
Eventhough they got the F-16s primarily to counter Soviet MiGs and Sukhois on their Western border, the initial lot of F-16s that they received( A/B Block 15 & OCU models) did have quite good ground attack capabilities. Though PAF F-16s were not BVR capable, they were capable of delivering Paveway laser-guided bombs. Pakistani F-16s were also capable of firing the French AS-30 laser guided missile. They carried the ALQ-131 pod for ECM protection. Pakistan also acquired the French-built Thompson-CSF ATLIS laser designation pod for use on its F-16s (the same ones carried by IAF Mirage 2000s during the Kargil War to deliver LGBs). The ATLIS pod was first fitted to Pakistani F-16s in January 1986, thus making PAF F-16s the first non-European aircraft to be qualified for this pod.
The page in my copy of the book "Fiza'ya - Psyche of the PAF" showing an LGB being armed on a PAF F-16A. Ignore the AIM-7 Sparrow part as the PAF never got those BVR missiles with their F-16s.
Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force-img_20170109_121808324.jpg


Their New F-16C/D Block 52s are a generation ahead though both in terms of ai-to-air as well as air-to-ground capabilities. With PAF acquiring AIM-120 for their Block 52s, the IAF has lost the BVR Combat edge that they had. With the help of Turkey and USA, Pakistan managed to upgrade their old Block 15 & OCU models to modern standards making they capable of firing the AIM-120 as well. The US, in its infinite stupidity, "donated" old F-16A/Bs that were bought up to F-16 MLU standards.


Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
]
Three things -

1) Right now, there are 40 confirmed orders for "Tejas 1" and 80 confirmed orders for "Tejas 2" (AESA Radar, more powerful engine). Once these are delivered by HAL, there is a possibility of IAF ordering 120 numbers of Tejas 3 (more upgrades)
It isn’t the Mk.1 type of the Tejas that has the IAF all happy, but a configuration it agreed on last year designated the Mk.1A, that’ll form the true Tejas backbone in service — 80 aircraft, with the possibility of 40 more have been ordered. The Tejas SP fighters inducted into the No.45 Sqdn were in the Mk.1 IOC standards.

Some of the Tejas PVs and LSPs being fitted with a fixed IFR probe and probably being brought up to Mk.1A requirements:
Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force-lca2.jpg
Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force-lca.jpg

The Mk.1A will be mid-air refuellable, sport an updated internal Radar Warning Receiver (RWR) — likely in-house kit from the DRDO’s DARE laboratory — an external Self Protection Jammer (SPJ) pod to enhance survivability and an AESA Radar, both of which the Tejas programme is scouting international suppliers for. The IAF has also stipulated that the Tejas Mk.1A needs to be able to fire different types of BVR and close combat air to air missiles. The Tejas has so far fired Vympel R-73 CCMs and a Derby BVR missile. It’ll need to prove itself using the R-77, Python-5 and DRDO Astra too.

The planned up-engined, beefed up Tejas variant (Tejas Mk.2) has hit a bit of a vacuum now, with the IAF all but pronouncing that it won’t be pursuing the type. A contest awarded to GE for the the F414-GE-INS6 turbofan engine hasn’t translated into a contract yet. But the Mk.2 programme is still very much on.

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Originally Posted by smartcat View Post

The AJT by itself has a weapons payload of 3 tonnes and can carry out close air support missions.
All trainers to some extent are combat capable. Even the Kiran and Iskra trainers that the IAF had, were capable of carrying gunpods, bombs and rockets. The Pakistanis even used their T-33s in the combat role in the 65 & 71 wars.

A single seat, radar equipped variant of first generation of Hawk trainers - designated Mk.200 and used by Indonesia, Malaysia, Oman and Saudi Arabia, is still being used as light combat fighter. Malaysian Hawks, like the one shown below, even saw action against local terrorists.
Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force-m4033royalmalaysianairforcebaehawkmk208_planespottersnet_263931.jpg

Last edited by skanchan95 : 9th January 2017 at 13:07.
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Old 11th January 2017, 02:14   #60
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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SUKHOI SU-30MKI

Attachment 1591544

Brilliant Sir, simply brilliant!

It takes me back to the time when I had undertaken my final year engineering project at HAL to design the ERP system for the LCA in order to ensure that the high-cost imported raw material used to build the LCA shell, which comes in the form of fiber composite sheets held together by a temperature-sensitive resin, is not wasted by putting in place Just-In-Time ordering, temperature and humidity controlled storage and tracking of each piece.

So everytime I see one of these glorious machines, it makes my heart swell with pride that I too made a minuscule contribution towards them.
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