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Old 22nd August 2018, 22:00   #316
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Default Life in the Air Force : Interesting and informative Blog by a Veteran

Slightly Off Topic but I came across a really well written blog by an ex IAF Pilot who has a penchant for the written word, with generous doses of humour thrown in - helps the uninitiated gain an insight into the lives of our bretheren in uniform.

Here's his blog.
http://cyclicstories.blogspot.com/

Here are some interesting and humorous stories (that include experiences in the war, insurgency, a take on Arunachal, a glimpse of life in the services and other interesting experiences) from the blog .


Happy Reading.

Cheers !

(Articles courtesy http://cyclicstories.blogspot.com/)

Last edited by Ironhide : 22nd August 2018 at 22:01.
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Old 23rd August 2018, 14:37   #317
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
This is from 1997. So more than twenty years ago. How do current F15/16 hold out to current MIG 29versions?
Taking stock of the situation:

F-15 Eagle: Changing trends in warfare saw the USAF forget the "not a pound for air-to-ground" motto and put in a lot of pounds for the air-to-mud role, thus devolving from the deadliest warfighter ever built (no Eagle has ever been bought down in air-to-air combat) to a strike aircraft with some self defense capabilities. I'd even bet on a F-15C/D to win against any modern F-15 variant.

F-16 Fighting Falcon/Viper: The F-16s evolution was consistent with their role of a light weight air defense fighter. Over the years it became more potent and the F-16IN offered to India for the MRCA is probably the meanest Viper built

MiG-29 "Fulcrum": The MiG-35 that was a contender for the MRCA was the finest refinement of the Fulcrum, complete with the Zhuk-AE AESA radar and the improved OLS-35 optical systems combined with 3D thrust vectoring. (The current production MiG-35 is a wimp when compared to the one that debuted in the 2007 Aero India)

1997: The Eagle is 25 years old in 1997, the Viper is 23 years old and the Fulcrum is 20. When these were designed the A2A missiles were in their fledgling years, not yet mature to be the ultimate decider in air combat. Energy rich and agile aircraft could kinematically defeat a 70's or 80's A2A missile easily, so these aircraft were designed to be powerful and yet graceful fliers. Toward's the end of the 80's the missiles took some massive leaps in terms of sensor technologies and maneuvering capabilities. The PoK (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probability_of_kill) increased A and F poles (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air-to...le#Performance) became larger making the fighters more vulnerable to the "sticks". In the current century, it is unlikely that two modern aircraft will engage in a gunfight to assert dominance, in all likelyhood the encounter will be initiated and settled Beyond Visual Range (BVR). Put in different words, today's fighters are more of glorified missile carriers, their job is to get to F-Pole earlier, launch and wait for the outcome. The one who sees first and shoots first is more likely to go home and talk about it.

2018: Missiles have advanced even further, the quantum leaps in processing power have made them formidable adversaries, they are more resilient to countermeasures and have better aerodynamics these days. The Israeli fifth generation Python missiles are rumoured to have target reacquisition capabilities in certain scenarios following an initial miss - something that was not possible so far outside of Hollywood.

When it comes to a mano-e-mano between an USAF F-16IN and a VKS MiG-35, the Russian multiple missile launch philosophy should give the Fulcrum the edge. The two BVR options for the MiG-35 are the R-27 Alamo and R-77 Adder missiles. Both have greater range than the AIM-120 AMRAAM (Slammer) that does duty as the F-16's long stick. In addition to the range, the Alamo and Adder have seeker modularity, the same airframe can be adapted for Radar, Imaging Infra Red and Anti-Radiation homing. If the F-16 launches a salvo of BVR missiles, it can be assumed that a flock of active radar homing birds are inbound. When the Fulcrum returns the favor, the inbound threat can be any combination of IIR, Radar or Anti-Radiation missiles. The countermeasures for each of these guidance mode variations differ and this means the end-game tactics for missile avoidance against the Russian combination is more complex. Range and modularity of the R-27 and R-77 should give Fucrum the edge in BVR. In Within Visual Range encounters, the thrust-vectoring R-73 Archer is a little more deadly than the AIM-9 Sidewinder. Once again it will all boil down to who sees first and shoots first, all things being equal, the better range and manueverability of the Archer should sway the encounter in its favor. If it ever comes to a gun fight, the 3D thrust vectoring twin engined Fulcrum is way more maneuverable than the Viper. If it ever comes to running away from a fight, the MiG has the speed advantage over the Viper.

The MiG-29 was designed to defeat the F-16 and over the ages I'd say it retained its edge, mostly thanks to its missile advantage!

(For the comparison I'd used the most advanced missile variants, avionics, engines and airframe capabilities for each aircraft. All systems are assumed to be fully functional, random failures, if any, is equal for both to be fair. It is a one on one engagement with no assistance from external entities like a force multiplier or ground stations. Pilots on each side are assumed to be top in their jobs with equal amounts of training)
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Old 23rd August 2018, 15:37   #318
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

Quote:
Originally Posted by sun_king View Post
Taking stock of the situation:
Sun_king, Beautiful narration. I love your style of writing. Cant help but agree with your assessment. As a child of the cold war I hate to ever sound pro-USAF but the only thing is the F-16 in its later avatars is in production and a proven product while the MiG-35 remained in the prototype stage due to the state of the Russian economy and military and it getting rejected in 2011 from the MRCA contest due to [I believe] inadequately functioning avionics. Unless the IAF were to ever place an order for the MiG-35 I suspect it will sadly fade into history.

All,
Warning:Off topic. As someone from this industry. A comparison between two fighter aircraft tends leave out two other factors - (I) the pilot & the team work between the 4 in a flight and (II) the tactics that are deployed prior to reaching the point where an engagement is possible and the tactics in the first few seconds after first point of overlap. Just like the F1 driver with the most powerful car doesn't win the race or the author with the most expensive pen doesn't write the best book similarly the pilot, his/her state of mind, momentary alertness or lack thereof all make a very big difference. And then we have BVR - well that is a whole different debate on efficacy in a crowded environment versus the one over dominating side the Yanks chose to fight against small countries.

Last edited by V.Narayan : 23rd August 2018 at 15:40.
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Old 23rd August 2018, 17:06   #319
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

The aircraft will work fine but where is the Aircraft carrier ? That's the big question. There have to be three in operation at all times. We are way back in acquisition of four aircraft carriers.
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Old 23rd August 2018, 18:20   #320
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sun_king View Post
. Once again it will all boil down to who sees first and shoots first, all things being equal, the better range and manueverability of the)
Thanks for your elaborate answer on my earlier questions. If it comes down to who sees who first, isnt the electronic capability the most important factor these days? The earlier you see someone, can get a positive i.d. can hide yourself seems to get you the edge.

How does Russian technology in that area stack up to the Americans?

Quote:
Originally Posted by desertfox View Post
The aircraft will work fine but where is the Aircraft carrier ? That's the big question. There have to be three in operation at all times. We are way back in acquisition of four aircraft carriers.

Excuse my ignorance, I know very little on these matter, but why would India need an aircraft carrier?

I always thought aircraft carriers were to project power overseas, far from homeland. And when called for to help fight overseas battles.

How and to what purpose would an Indian aircraft carrier be deployed?

Jeroen

Last edited by Jeroen : 23rd August 2018 at 18:27.
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Old 23rd August 2018, 20:59   #321
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

Quote:
Originally Posted by desertfox View Post
The aircraft will work fine but where is the Aircraft carrier ? That's the big question. There have to be three in operation at all times. We are way back in acquisition of four aircraft carriers.
I'll have to say I'm rather perplexed by this statement. I think you might've missed the point. AFAIK, IN operational doctrine is to have 2 carrier groups, one for the Bay of Bengal region and the other in the Arabian Sea sector. Now I don't think there is any requirement for 2 carrier groups to be at sea at all times. Instead I think the projected force structure is for 3 carriers so that 1 is always at sea. What people fail to understand is that a lot of capital ships spend most of their time in dock undergoing refit or maintenance. Look at the vaunted USN. Out of their 10 Nimitz class carriers only 3-4 at most are out on cruises. It's only under Mattis that their carefully structured deployments have changed with the aim to be able to surge a greater proportion of the carriers to areas where they are needed.Even that gives a total of at best 6 at sea, the rest are too deep in dry dock refit to be scrambled. So with that in mind I don't think the IN is doing anything untoward. When INS Vikrant 2 becomes operational, INS Vikramaditya might go into refit, while IAC-2 would hopefully be off the drawing board and onto first steel stage.

Anyway, tangent aside, just wanted to make a quick note about the F-15. It was always envisioned from the outset as an air to air monster. It was only the Israeli's and their ingenuity (see attack on Osirak reacter, Iraq) that basically introduced the Strike Eagle concept that Boeing has now latched onto for their future sales hopes. The last F-15 variant I saw was a veritable missile truck with up to a dozen missile loadout.

Again with the F-16, I think the current iterations are so far removed from the lightweight fighter that Pierre Sprey proselytises over to no end. The F-16IN that was pitched, what with it's conformal fuel tanks looked like a far beefier fighter than you'd think.

To close I think the days of close in fighting are long over (except maybe in ground support roles). The whole idea of missile trucks has been helped massively by the introduction of the near omniscient data capabilities offered by the sensors aboard something like the F-35 (in fact by traditional metrics it's a bit of a lumpy immobile fighter but by jove does it have the ability to suck up information from all around it). Thus you could have a stealthy jet like that not really acting as the tip of the spear but more as the playmaker, directing the lumbering assets much further out of range of enemy air defences such as a B-52 perhaps to open up and sling a dozen or so cruise missiles at the opponent. So yeah in agreement with Sun-King there.
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Old 24th August 2018, 09:43   #322
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Originally Posted by ads11 View Post
I
It was only the Israeli's and their ingenuity (see attack on Osirak reacter, Iraq) that basically introduced the Strike Eagle concept that Boeing has now latched onto for their future sales hopes.
The 1981 Osirak strike was executed by Israeli Block 10 F-16As, with F-15As providing fighter escort. In 2007, when the Israelis struck a suspected Syrian nuclear plant deep inside Syria, it was the F-15Is that bombed it and F-16Is provided fighter escort.

The F-15E was reluctantly designed to replace the F-111s and F-4s in the USAF from the F-15A/C (the F-15A/C wasn't the role-to-role replacement was the F-4 and the F-16 wasn't quite the bomb truck that the F-4 was). Based on the success of the F-15E with the USAF, customized export variants were sold to countries like South Korea(K), Saudi Arabia(S), Israel(I), Singapore (SG) and soon, Qatar(QA).
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Old 24th August 2018, 10:26   #323
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

This 2008 article suggests Turkey upgraded all Pakistani F16 A/B to F16 C/D Block 40/42 standards.
http://www.f-16.net/f-16-news-article3004.html

Quote:
Block 40/42 (also part of MSIP III) introduced the LANTIRN navigation and targeting pods and the associated holographic HUD, the GPS (Global Positioning System) navigation receiver, APG-68V(5) radar (with a 100+ hour Mean Time Between Failures or MTBF) and ALE-47 decoy launchers, digital flight controls (replacing the old analog ones), automatic terrain following, and a diffractive optics heads-up display. Also included were a new positive-pressure breathing system to improve G-tolerance for the pilot, full provisions for internal electronic countermeasures, an enhanced envelope gun sight, and a capability for bombing moving ground targets.
http://www.f-16.net/f-16_versions_article7.html
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Old 24th August 2018, 18:31   #324
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

Quote:
Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post
Sun_king, Beautiful narration. I love your style of writing. Cant help but agree with your assessment. As a child of the cold war I hate to ever sound pro-USAF but the only thing is the F-16 in its later avatars is in production and a proven product while the MiG-35 remained in the prototype stage due to the state of the Russian economy and military and it getting rejected in 2011 from the MRCA contest due to [I believe] inadequately functioning avionics. Unless the IAF were to ever place an order for the MiG-35 I suspect it will sadly fade into history.
<snip>
Thanks V.Narayan, it means a lot coming from you

The MiG-35 is in production with the Russians wanting about 200 units and a few squadrons for Egypt and Iraq as export. However this is not the stunner that debuted in AeroIndia 2007, it is a wimpy shell of what it could have been (https://nationalinterest.org/blog/th...-pleased-19246). In a way you are right, one of the most manueverable aircraft that had ever graced the skies will fade away into history. Here is an old video, enjoy the sheer audacity of extreme aerodynamics coupled with the 3D thrust vectoring.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
Thanks for your elaborate answer on my earlier questions. If it comes down to who sees who first, isnt the electronic capability the most important factor these days? The earlier you see someone, can get a positive i.d. can hide yourself seems to get you the edge.
"Seeing" is a little complicated here. The radar is your main sensor for long range, but it is an active system, which means it sends out electromagnetic energy. (Un)fortunately, this energy can be detected if you have the radar warning receiver (RWR) and the RWR detects the incoming radar energy at ranges much higher than the transmitting radar. What this means is that when you use your radar, you also risk revealing your position to your opponent. If you and I are about 250 km apart, converging, and you use your radar (say 150 km range radar) to scan the skies ahead, my RWR will probably tell me that there is a fighter radar somewhere ahead. At 250 km, I will know that you are around and your general direction, but it will take another 100 km for you to detect me. Me knowing that you are out there gives me the tactical advantage even though I will not get your quality of data (radar gives range, bearing, speed and possibly the target type while the RWR tells you about presence of an emitter, bearing and sometimes an approximation of who you might be). Americans claim to possess stealthy radars, aka Low Probability of Intercept (LPI), but I have never figured out how an active transmission can be hidden but yet returns airborne intercept quality data!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
How does Russian technology in that area stack up to the Americans?
We will never know for real from where we are! Both sides make tall claims which will be denied by the other. The Americans say that the 1500-odd square feet plan area of the F-22 Raptor has the radar cross section of a golf ball/marble/ball bearing etc. The Russians say they can track a golf ball at 90 km with their Irbis-E radar. And the Russians claim to have a photonic radar which can do even more wondrous things. With both the Russians and Americans using their hardware against primitive foes we have no data to see separate fact from fiction.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
Excuse my ignorance, I know very little on these matter, but why would India need an aircraft carrier?

I always thought aircraft carriers were to project power overseas, far from homeland. And when called for to help fight overseas battles.

How and to what purpose would an Indian aircraft carrier be deployed?
Jeroen
The aircraft carrier does not just project power, it uses its power to control a massive region around it. If our usually green in colour neighbour wants a confrontation with us, we can send the INS Vikramaditya in the general direction of Karachi. Even a few 100 kilometres west of Mumbai, the Vikramaditya constitutes a serious threat to Karachi. The 26 Fulcrums onboard her can defeat any aircraft currently in the PAF inventory, this means the opponent will have to dedicate some serious fighter resources to protect Karachi and Hyderabad from what the Fulcrums are planing to do. In other words, the Vikramaditya can open a Southern front in the air war, something the PAF doesn't want because the IAF Flankers, Fulcrums and the Mirages are already remodelling Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Multan from the east. The Vikramaditya-centred battle group will have absolute control of the Arabian Sea and with the air dominance given by the carrier, the Vishakapatnams and the Kolkatas will have a fun time. Having a floating combat airbase changes the way wars are fought.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ads11 View Post
<snip>
Anyway, tangent aside, just wanted to make a quick note about the F-15. It was always envisioned from the outset as an air to air monster. It was only the Israeli's and their ingenuity (see attack on Osirak reacter, Iraq) that basically introduced the Strike Eagle concept that Boeing has now latched onto for their future sales hopes. The last F-15 variant I saw was a veritable missile truck with up to a dozen missile loadout.

Again with the F-16, I think the current iterations are so far removed from the lightweight fighter that Pierre Sprey proselytises over to no end. The F-16IN that was pitched, what with it's conformal fuel tanks looked like a far beefier fighter than you'd think.
<snip>
skanchan95 is right about the F-15E, it's development was not related to the Osirak strike (which was done by the Netz as he correctly pointed out) and in fact the predecessor of the Strike Eagle flew about an year before the strike by Israel.

Jeroen asked about how the MiG-35 would compare against current versions of the Viper and the Eagle. I did not want to insult the legacy of the original Eagle by taking the Strike Eagle against the more specialised Fulcrum-F, this would be like padding up Roger Federer to face Brett Lee or Shoaib Akthar charging in with a red ball. The F-16 Block 70 would have been the ideal candidate, but it is only marginally better than the F-16IN. And then the IN had the IRST on the airframe, same as the MiG-35, so in the interest of fairness I'd gone for the IN. The Conformal Fuel Tanks (CFTs) are optional, the USAF practically never flies with CFTs. If you are willing to sacrifice some of your range for performance, the Block 70/INs are not really that far off from the lightweight fighter specs of the 70s with the CFTs are removed.
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Old 24th August 2018, 19:40   #325
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

How easy/difficult would it be for fighter pilots to change their aircraft? Like, would a MiG pilot feel at home in a Mirage, in taking those machines to the extremes?

Assuming that not many of these pilots would have experienced something like a MiG25, is there anything like one becoming a top gun in a particular fighter jet and flying rest of the fighter planes would be like child's play?

Last edited by crdi : 24th August 2018 at 19:45.
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Old 24th August 2018, 22:22   #326
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

Here is a pic of hot refueling of LCA Tejas Naval prototype.

Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force-tejasnavyhotrefueling.jpg
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Old 26th August 2018, 00:53   #327
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force-gnat-farnborough-1972.jpg

Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force-gnat-farnborough-1972-descr.jpg

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A write up on our "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" champ.

The Indian built Gnat at Farnborough, 1972. Too bad they had to hitch a ride in a Boeing!

Last edited by travancore : 26th August 2018 at 00:54.
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Old 30th August 2018, 16:48   #328
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A page from history that I was unaware of. Serial BA265; November 24, 1958

Interesting details of our Hunters here:

https://books.google.com/books?id=Ih...265%22&f=false

Last edited by travancore : 30th August 2018 at 16:56.
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Old 30th August 2018, 17:29   #329
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Attachment 1794640

A page from history that I was unaware of. Serial BA265; November 24, 1958
...
One question to the experienced Military historians,

why is that the IAF has only Commissioned officers as pilots whereas other Airforces have JCO's or NCO's flying? Like in the image it was an Flg. Sgt flying the jet. Was it back then a common practice?
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Old 30th August 2018, 19:25   #330
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

^^^^^
Caution - this is as per what I know and my knowledge could be incomplete:

In the RAF & US Army Air Corp till WW-II and, some time thereafter in the RAF, enlisted men, called Flight Sergeants, also flew aircraft in large numbers. And the sheer number of military aircraft in WW2 was such that this system was needed. The US Army Air Corp moved all enlisted men to the Warrant Officer category newly created in 1942.

The system where both men (an officer and a Flight Sergeant) fought together in the air but on the ground went to a different mess and barrack and moved in different social circles was found to be a drain on morale and camaraderie especially as both did exactly the same job. I do not know what the IAF followed in WW2 but by 1948 we had moved to an officer only pilot entry policy. Commonwealth Air Forces also went down this route as did the USAF. The US Army, once it was allowed choppers, in 1948, used the JCO rank grades of Warrant Officers for specialist pilot only personnel ie they never moved to command while serving as W.O.'s. The RAF moved in this direction rather slowly and by 1970 had an all-officer pilot corp - hence Flight Sergeant Jones above. The British Army continued to have a career progression route for enlisted men to be chopper pilots as specialists along with officer candidates. The system, I believe, continues to date. The USAF has now re-started their Warrant Officer scheme for pilots in command of UAVs. Hope this helps.
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