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Old 31st May 2019, 13:42   #601
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Originally Posted by locusjag View Post
I've read too that their strike formation was startled and their battle plans went awry when our Mig 21s came out of nowhere out of the radar-shadows of the Pir Panjal range. They panicked and prematurely (note to self: ahem, keep it civil man) let go of their missiles before turning tail.
Additionally, the Indian MIGs were flying low and the PAF fighters totally missed them sneaking up on them. It was the PAF AWACS that noticed the Indian MIGs and alerted their pilots. If the PAF AWACS had noticed the IAF MIGs a bit later, things would have been different.
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Old 2nd June 2019, 11:17   #602
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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n our Mig 21s came out of nowhere out of the radar-shadows of the Pir Panjal range. .
Story is that MIG's have everything switched off with only encrypted data link to SU 30 active, who were guiding the MIG's in the zone. Hence the reason for their sudden appearance and surprising F16.
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Old 2nd June 2019, 11:39   #603
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Story is that MIG's have everything switched off with only encrypted data link to SU 30 active, who were guiding the MIG's in the zone. Hence the reason for their sudden appearance and surprising F16.
You're right - that's quite possible. That's the same tag-team action that our Mig 21s and Su 30s used against USAF aircraft very successfully in joint exercises a decade or so ago.
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Old 8th June 2019, 09:18   #604
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Was the L29/ L39 ever considered by the IAF? How does the L39 compare with the Hawk?
Sutripta-da has raised a very relevant question for aviation enthusiasts. The note below is my best attempt at the answer. Sharing it here for all aircraft & IAF lovers.

--::--
Why did the IAF select the BAe Hawk

Sutripta, Thank you for your question it is a relevant one given the geo-politics of the 1970s and the 1980s. The IAF had evaluated the Aero Albatross L-39 in the 1970s (1976?) sometime to be its fast jet trainer but the aircraft fell short on three vital parameters – speed limited to just 405 knots (~750 kmph) instead of 500 to 550 knots (~925 to 1020 kmph), realistic training endurance of about 45 minutes only instead of 60 to 90 minutes *, and a very limited armament capacity of little over 250 kgs instead of a more useful 1000 kgs. There was also the issue that in the first test the L-39 refused to start. Later versions, named Za, ZO etc, increased maximum speed by ~15 to 20 knots and armament load to 1100 kgs. The L-59 came in the 1990s as an avionic and engine upgrade but the basic limitations imposed by a straight thick stubby wing remained.

The syllabus a fast jet pilot can learn from a trainer aircraft is limited by its speed at sea level and its maneuvering envelope. There is only so much more a pupil pilot can learn from a 405 knot trainer with unswept wings when he/she is graduating from an equally fast Kiran Mk II (maximum speed 420 knots). In order to learn more about flying fast and low and dog fighting the trainee pilot needs a faster aircraft and one with greater kinetic energy. The L-39’s engine developed 17 Kn versus 17.5 Kn for the Kiran Mk II. The unswept wing of the L-39 made it an unlikely candidate. Though in the 1970s its origin from a COMECOM country and Rupee trade made its license production very attractive. Having said all this the L-39 and its successor L-59 are very well designed machines for the role they were envisaged for – lying somewhere between basic and advanced fast jet training. I find it a very handsome aircraft.

For meaningful fast jet training the pupil needs 100 or more hours at 500 to 550 knots knots at 200 feet and lower where the flat terrain permits it**. There were only 3 dedicated trainers all through the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s which could do that – the British BAe Hawk, the French Dassault Alpha Jet and the Northrop Talon T-38. The last one was out of production and American so out it went. Between the first two the British aircraft was by far the better machine mainly due to superior ergonomics where the tandem cockpit is laid out as an instructional class room and not two cockpits placed one behind the other. Also the armament training syllabus that the BAe Hawk could deliver was superior in quality and variety. The BAe had also upgraded the Hawk’s avionics continuously over its life which was much less the case with the Alpha Jet though they did make a n attempt with the Alpha Jet NG. On the parameters laid out in para one above both aircraft met and exceeded all the flight, endurance and armament requirements.

In my opinion, which I had also put forth in an article in 1992 (don’t ask for it; I have no copy any longer)***, the BAe Hawk is the best fast jet trainer in the world which is why even the US of A undertook license production of a modified version (called Goshawk) for the US Navy. Americans are very sticky and proud (rightfully) of not building designs of another country. In 116 years of aviation they did this only thrice – the English Electric Canberra, the Hawker Harrier VTOL jet and the BAe Hawk trainer. An aircraft has to be far ahead of anything the Americans have for them to get around license a design.

Hope this helps.

*Don’t go by Wikipedia. Their figures are theoretically correct. Real world is different.
** training lo-lo at 550knots is not 40% more difficult than at 400 knots it is several times more difficult.
**I have no vested interest in BAe :-).

Last edited by V.Narayan : 8th June 2019 at 09:25.
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Old 9th June 2019, 10:40   #605
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

^^^
Thanks for the detailed answer. Now if you could do the same for every query of mine. For the time being let's stick to trainers.

Requirements of a trainer - Both the US (recently won by Boeing/ Saab) and the Indian documents should be part of public record. A commentary comparing the two.

How important is the need for a supersonic trainer?

Keeping in mind that trainers and light combat jets essentially the same, can the Tejas be adapted as a trainer? Will it be effective in that role?

What did the Soviets use to train their pilots who would graduate to the Mig21? (Know almost ancient history)

Regards
Sutripta
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Old 10th June 2019, 14:00   #606
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
^^^Thanks for the detailed answer. Now if you could do the same for every query of mine.
Always a pleasure. I can try within my limits.
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For the time being let's stick to trainers. Requirements of a trainer - Both the US (recently won by Boeing/ Saab) and the Indian documents should be part of public record. A commentary comparing the two.
I need to brush up on my old books on 'requirements of a trainer'. So maybe end of next week as I am travelling from tomorrow. I think you already know a lot about this - your questions indicate that :-) - but let me risk making a fool of myself nevertheless
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How important is the need for a supersonic trainer?
Not so important. For the first 60 years since 1945 only USA went for a supersonic trainer in the Northrop T-38 Talon which remains in service today half a century later. Its supersonic ability was based on the thinking in the 1950s that fighters will be dashing through the skies at Mach 2.0 or 3.0 . That scenario did not come to pass as almost all dog fights are at less than Mach 1.0 and the combat flight envelope is dominantly below 500 feet and below Mach 1.2 90% of the time. The supersonic piece can be learnt during the Operational Conversion phase which all newly minted pilots go through prior to joining their first squadrons. Here, as you know, they learn to fly the aircraft the squadron is equipped with.
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Keeping in mind that trainers and light combat jets essentially the same, can the Tejas be adapted as a trainer? Will it be effective in that role?
Theoretically yes but with a 9,000+ kgf engine is way too powerful for a fast jet trainer. However a version with only dry thrust in the 54kN class can be tuned for the job though even with that graduation from a Pilatus P-7 MkII with 700 shp to 54kN is bound to lead to more than a few crashes. But taking your thought further the Marut HF-24 could have been developed into a fast jet advanced trainer. We already had the 2-seat conversion trainer in service. I assume it was within reach to mature it further for young pupils with only 200 hours or so in their log books. Alas we did not go down that route. I do not know why not. If we had then the Marut had the size, internal volume and engine power to remain relevant to this day with appropriate avionic upgrades. Today the Americans are keeping their supersonic trainer capability through the new Saab-Boeing product and the only ones following suit are the South Koreans with their Golden Eagle jet.
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What did the Soviets use to train their pilots who would graduate to the Mig21? (Know almost ancient history)
My knowledge is rusty. After completing their basic training on the Aero L-29 Delfin the Soviets graduated through the MiG-15UTI conversion trainers as a run up to the MiG-21. As the former was a 575+ knot aircraft with high landing speeds and good (for the era) power to weight ratios it filled the purpose.
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Old 12th June 2019, 19:55   #607
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post
The MiG-21 along with the English Electric Lightning has the highest landing speed of any main line production fighter before or since - around 320 to 340 kmph.
The Lightning was apparently very intimidating to fly for the first time even for pilots converting from the bigger & heavier F4 Phantom. In the 80s it was still the only NATO jet capable of catching Concorde in a stern chase intercept & new pilots had to build up slowly to a fully "hot" take off & climb.

I saw one fly once as a kid, one of the last display flights in the UK. I couldn't believe how fast it turned & rolled - I always thought they were an ugly thing all about raw speed as a kid, but in the air, it was so graceful and manuverable.

At the end of the display the Lightning appeared to be lining up for a very low altitude low speed pass, but then the pilot opened the taps. It must have been doing over 600mph by the time it came past, then pulled straight into a vertical climb. The turn was so violent it almost vanished in vapour and appeared to pivot through 90 degrees before soaring straight up like a missile. A pilot once said the Lightning 'climbs like a homesick angel' and that was exactly what it looked like. It was jaw dropping to watch.

I've seen display flights by most of the significant fast jets. The Russians used to display a pair of MIG 29s in tandem in the early 90s, and those guys were nuts - I even saw one crash... but nothing left an impression on me quite like the Lightning. It was like a superbike for the skies.
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Old 12th June 2019, 20:35   #608
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force



While Sir has already answered your question, let me add a couple of nuggets.
1. HAL, during AI2019, came up with a concept called SPORT - (Supersonic Omni Role Trainer) which is basically an LCA trainer, with stripped down sensors and avionics suite and 'possibly' a derated engine.
2. The MOFTU units continue to be disbanded. This will in all probability be replaced by the LCA Mk1 Trainer/ SPORT versions
3. The Tejas makes sense for training as the GE404 (to be replaced by the 414 in Mk1A and Mk2) is an engine with a great fuel sipping ability esp in the sub/transonic regimes (almost equivalent to the Adour powering the Hawk). Also the LCA software, being developed in house, gives us the ability to tweak per needs. From what I have read and in my interactions with some who have experienced this bird, it is a forgiving aircraft. So very well suited for training.

Importantly, this also allows a single type to be in operation across squadrons - with the ability to use the airframes in battle if needed - after all, it is the software controlling the same hardware - with the same number of hard points available (possibly the 'wet' hard points might be lower to lower the plumbing needs). the IAF - hopefully - will move to a three / four type aircraft force (Heavy - Su30MKI, Medium - Rafale/ MCA, Light - LCA Mk1/2), with a training backbone of Pilatus/ HAL HTT40, and Hawks. Well, we can dream cant we.
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Old 15th June 2019, 17:40   #609
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Originally Posted by Rob UK View Post
The Lightning was apparently very intimidating to fly for the first time even for pilots converting from the bigger & heavier F4 Phantom. In the 80s it was still the only NATO jet capable of catching Concorde in a stern chase intercept
Indeed. Its sustained Mach 2.0 was not bested till 15 years later when the F-15 came around. Here I am ignoring the MiG-25 which was purpose designed for Mach 2.8 sustained.
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& new pilots had to build up slowly to a fully "hot" take off & climb.
In the early 1960s a German test pilot from the then newly formed post-war Luftwaffe was invited to the UK to fly the Lightning. On his first solo he was cautioned not to take off with the afterburners. But he did not heed the advice. And the aircraft took off with such force and velocity that by the time 40 seconds later the dazed German found his voice he was already crossing 26,000 feet. The RAF guys had more than a chuckle. . At this point Germany was evaluating the F-104, Mirage III and the Lightning as its primary frontline fighter. They picked the F-104 under pressure from the Americans.
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It must have been doing over 600mph by the time it came past, then pulled straight into a vertical climb. The turn was so violent it almost vanished in vapour and appeared to pivot through 90 degrees before soaring straight up like a missile.
Along with the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter it was the first to have an initial climb rate at sea level of 50,000 feet per minute (or 250 metres per second). Once again this was not improved upon till the introduction of the F-15 into service. In a zoom climb (ie a ballistic climb) the Lightning F.6 version was at times taken up to 85,000 feet while the more normal operating altitude was in the 65,000+ feet range. The main shortcomings of this otherwise very powerful aircraft were its short range, limited air to ground capability and very high maintenance effort. The thin wings and unusually high landing speeds led to a rather high accident rate - in fact the highest in RAF history of any modern aircraft after 1945. That is not to take away from the fact that in the 1960s and 1970s it gave Britain a fast maneuverable fighter that the nation was proud of. I think it is a time I found the funds for a Corgi scale model.

Last edited by V.Narayan : 15th June 2019 at 17:45.
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Old 17th June 2019, 22:20   #610
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Originally Posted by torquecurve View Post
..move to a three / four type aircraft force (Heavy - Su30MKI, Medium - Rafale/ MCA, Light - LCA Mk1/2), with a training backbone of Pilatus/ HAL HTT40, and Hawks. Well, we can dream cant we.
Haha, I can't help but agree. Your suggestion is too logical for it to ever work for India. Seriosuly though a trifecta of Su30, Rafale and LCA would be just the ticket but alas, too many competing interests and wonderfully curious decisions.

On the topic of trainer aircraft I have to say the big USAF tender that Boeing won last year was a Huge deal - considering you tend to pick one type and stick to it for many decades and order at volume to meet your needs.

Kinda Off Topic But:

Anyway, I couldn't help but come across a rising storm of fury on the defence focused interwebs at recent moves Twitter has made to suspend OSINT, open source intelligence, accounts on the basis of complaints from the Indian govt for example.

https://twitter.com/StratSentinel/st...-year-end.html

Ostensibly it seems some of the sentiments I have read here in parts of the thread, especially linked to the eventful February in the northern border, have been reflected by the Indian govt. Personally I think it doesn't come across as a good look for us - OSINT resources are basically openly available to everyone - if we bungled something and the data points out we bungled something eventually I think its a sign of a mature world power if we can hold our hand up and admit it instead of trying to hastily brush it under the carpet. Anyway, this Does open up so many questions about the nature of Twitter et al. and the relationship it might have with the nations it operates in especially since it's become akin to a utility I'd say, for many to communicate their news and views.
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Old 18th June 2019, 23:33   #611
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... OSINT .....
OSINT is just that - Open Source Intelligence. What is readily available. The problem with the ADS-B. Based tracking network is that in a high air traffic country like India, esp where a multitude of airports are ‘dual purpose’, it allows for tracking of Military aircraft, which due to civilian safety concerns have to keep their transponders on in this air space. Making it easy for a neighbour who doesn’t have that many aircraft flying in their airspace to use this as an effective resource to identify flight time, type of aircraft, schedules etc. In a short scenario where the Civillian air traffic is still there ( unlike war where it might be stopped) this allows the enemy to know key things like heading, altitude, speed - which can then be used for missile attacks with pre fed coordinates, or vectoring in offensive resources. A refueler or troop carrier is a slow lumbering target for a missile like the AMRAAM even at full range where it loses kinetic energy. If launched at a height with a good speed - at max range it still can damage such aircraft.

I think this is what is being targeted by twitter.
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Old 28th June 2019, 10:28   #612
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The cat, as they say, is among the Pakistani pigeons. This particular cat is retired Pakistani Air Commodore M. Kaiser Tufail. Earlier in June, he had let loose on his blog that it was indeed an F-16 which had shot down our Mig 21. Also, he seems wish-washy about the pilots who've been counted among the PAF's mission; could it be to hide their airman who may have very well been killed by their villagers after parachuting down?

https://theprint.in/world/pakistan-p...modore/255240/

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A former high-ranking Pakistan Air Force (PAF) officer has exposed the propaganda of his military, saying that it was indeed an F-16 that shot down Wing Commander Abhinandan Vathaman’s MiG-21 Bison on 27 February, a day after the Balakot air strikes by the IAF. This has also raised fresh speculation about the ‘missing’ PAF pilot.

The claim was made by Air Commodore M. Kaiser Tufail (retd) in his blog earlier this month.

Abhinandan’s MiG-21 was hit by an AIM-120C missile launched from an F-16 flown by Wg Cdr Nauman Ali Khan, the Officer Commanding of No 29 ‘Aggressor’ Squadron, and also the overall mission leader,” Tufail wrote.

The retired officer said two JF-17s involved in the attack were each armed with two Mk-83 Range Extension Kit (REK), an air-to-surface bomb. This implies that the JF-17s could not have used this weapon to shoot down an aircraft.

Tufail’s blog is contrary to what the Pakistani military had claimed — that it was an “indigenous” JF-17 that shot down the Indian jet. It had even put out a video of one of the pilots who shot down the IAF aircraft as standing next to the China-Pakistan developed jet.

The IAF had claimed that it had shot down an F-16 aircraft. The IAF officials have maintained that a JF-17 could not have brought down a MiG-21 Bison. Pakistan never admitted to this.

Immediately after the attack, it had claimed to have captured two Indian pilots. Varthaman was one of the two pilots. Later, Pakistan made a U-turn to say that only one pilot was in its custody, leading to speculation that the other pilot was actually a Pakistani shot down by Varthaman.

‘Missing pilot’
Tufail also put out a “Roll of Honour” — a list of officers who were involved in the operation — setting the cat among the pigeons.
<please check out the source URL for a picture showing the roll call of pilots involved>
The roll call identified only Squadron Leader Hasan Siddiqui as the pilot of F-16B, which is a twin-seater aircraft. This has led to a huge speculation within the online community in India about the fate of the second ‘missing’ pilot.

The retired Air Commodore, however, posted a few FAQs, including why names of all pilots have not been mentioned.

“The Roll of Honour only includes those who launched weapons, or controlled them post-launch. It does not include airborne reserves. Similarly, the numerous pilots performing fighter sweep or CAPs are not mentioned, as they did not get an opportunity to launch weapons. Finally, the aircrew of AEWCS and EW aircraft have not been included. The contribution of all participating aircrew has, however, been duly lauded by the PAF,” he wrote.

An IAF source, though, pointed out that that the second pilot of an F-16 has his own duties and is part of the same combat unit.

“Hence the Air Commodore not mentioning the second pilot’s name is surprising and very suspicious,” the source said.
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Old 28th June 2019, 16:16   #613
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Originally Posted by locusjag View Post
The cat, as they say, is among the Pakistani pigeons. This particular cat is retired Pakistani Air Commodore M. Kaiser Tufail. Earlier in June, he had let loose on his blog that it was indeed an F-16 which had shot down our Mig 21. Also, he seems wish-washy about the pilots who've been counted among the PAF's mission; could it be to hide their airman who may have very well been killed by their villagers after parachuting down?

https://theprint.in/world/pakistan-p...modore/255240/
Just because only one pilot name has been mentioned for the PAF F-16B, it doesn't necessarily or compulsorily mean that there had to be a second pilot in that jet. The F-16B, unlike the MiG-29UB, is a fully combat capable, radar equipped trainer that doesn't always need a second pilot in the cockpit, especially in combat.

In fact, the world's first AMRAAM kill was by a twin seat USAF F-16D on an Iraqi MiG-25 during the first Gulf War. The pilot flying the twin seat F-16D was the sole occupant of the aircraft.

I am not disputing the fact that a PAF F-16 was shot down that day, just saying that the article writer's logic to assume or suggest that a second pilot was surely there in the F-16B is wrong.

Last edited by skanchan95 : 28th June 2019 at 16:32.
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Old 28th June 2019, 19:00   #614
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Just because only one pilot name has been mentioned for the PAF F-16B, it doesn't necessarily or compulsorily mean that there had to be a second pilot in that jet. The F-16B, unlike the MiG-29UB, is a fully combat capable, radar equipped trainer that doesn't always need a second pilot in the cockpit, especially in combat.

I am not disputing the fact that a PAF F-16 was shot down that day, just saying that the article writer's logic to assume or suggest that a second pilot was surely there in the F-16B is wrong.
Pakistan has about 71 F-16s of which about 20 are the two seater versions. The two seater versions are more expensive and valuable as they can be used for training as well as combat. There is would have been a good reason to risk one of these more valuable assets in the conflict (i.e. need for a second pilot to act as a leader/co-ordinator of the Combat Air Patrol (CAP). Therefore I'm pretty sure there were two pilots in the plane.

Also from the very beginning it was thought a two seater F-16 was shot down and Pakistan claimed having 3 pilots in custody or on the ground (Abhinandan + 2 more from a two seater aircraft), a statement which was later retracted. Many witnesses on the ground also mentioned two pilots ejecting from a single aircraft. All these cannot be coincidences, I strongly believe a two seater F-16 was shot down.


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Originally Posted by skanchan95 View Post
The F-16B, unlike the MiG-29UB, is a fully combat capable, radar equipped trainer that doesn't always need a second pilot in the cockpit, especially in combat.
The Mig-29UB of the IAF might not be fully combat capable but the MIG-29KUB of the Indian Navy surely is

Last edited by Foxbat : 28th June 2019 at 19:08.
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Old 3rd July 2019, 20:53   #615
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Oh man, this is painful.

IAF lost 44 aircraft and choppers since 2014-15
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/...w/70060457.cms

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Forty-four aircraft and helicopters of the Indian Air Force were lost in crashes since 2014-15 in which 46 personnel were killed, according to government data. The break up of the aircraft lost is 26 fighter jets, six helicopters, nine trainer aircraft and three transport planes.
But before jumping to a conclusion that IAF is incompetent or IAF aircraft is badly maintained, we need to compare this data with military aircraft crashes all over the world. After all, India (Air Force + Army + Navy + coast guard put together) operates a large number of military aircraft - only USA, Russia and China has higher number of aircraft.

Here is the list of world's military aircraft lost to crashes since 2014
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...3present)#2014

So yes, USAF and other Air Force too lose a significant number of aircraft during peace time. China, as expected, hides their military aircraft losses.
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