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Old 11th March 2021, 23:28   #1336
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Originally Posted by SmartCat View Post
F-15 Eagle with 2 IAF Su-30MKI (pic from ongoing Desert Flag exercise in UAE):


Can't make out whose F-15 that is though - South Korea, Saudi Arabia and USA are all participating in this exercise, and all of them have F-15s in their inventory.
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Originally Posted by ads11 View Post

I doubt anyone would be able to tell whose F-15 it is from that photo. All I can make out are the tips of the tail fins are red but other than that it's a pretty normal loadout with what looks like twin drop tanks.
I'm going to guess its a F-15E "Strike Eagle" of the USAF, 391st Fighter Squadron.

Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force-1280pxf15e__controlling_the_sky.jpeg

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They participated in Desert Flag exercises previously also.
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Old 12th March 2021, 01:54   #1337
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Originally Posted by Foxbat View Post
I'm going to guess its a F-15E "Strike Eagle" of the USAF, 391st Fighter Squadron.

Attachment 2131639

Attachment 2131640

They participated in Desert Flag exercises previously also.
Based on that red fin flash I'm sold on that assertion.

On another note, I love the fact that Strike Eagles essentially came about due to Israeli ingenuity, cleverly using theirs in ground attack and stroke roles instead of the designed air superiority mission only. So successful did the F-15 prove to be in this role the USAF begrudgingly saw the light too and ordered F-15s configured specifically for the strike role now, giving rise to the Strike Eagle as we know. IIRC, the Israelis used their F-15s in the infamous strike against the Osirak nuclear facility of Saddam Hussein.
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Old 12th March 2021, 05:03   #1338
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Wasn't aware of this Desert Flag exercise series. All the more surprised to hear of South Korean participation. How long has this been ongoing? I would imagine Indian and South Korea were later additions to the exercise?
It’s been on the news for a while now! 6 Su-30 MKis flew to Al-Dhafra airbase in Abu Dhabi, UAE for what is a multi-lateral exercise between March 3 and 21. Other participating air forces include those of the US, France, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Bahrain along with the Emirati hosts offcourse. This exercise is hosted annually by the UAEAF but I believe this is the first time India is participating.

It’s interesting how the IAF is jumping at any opportunity to exercise bilaterally or multilaterally with the western allies (or are they just being reported more?), the last being pitch black in Australia (I think). Can’t even remember the last time the IAF exercised with the Russians or other SCO countries though the army regularly has exercises with them (navy every now and then but I believe less so than with western/quad allies). This is certainly a clear shift in who our allies are and where we stand!

This is another photo I got from Instagram apparently from the exercise. Is the pilot taking the photo flying a F22?

Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force-2d3ffd90c5aa4025a8803466653888f4.jpeg

Image courtesy: Instagram @indianairforce


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Originally Posted by ads11 View Post
IIRC, the Israelis used their F-15s in the infamous strike against the Osirak nuclear facility of Saddam Hussein.
The Israelis actually used F16s for the bombing. The F15s were escort. Here is the F16 with the Osirak bombing mark.

Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force-d9c9f6e9ef854cd38b1bea2b4c9e87b7.jpeg

Image courtesy: Wikipedia

Last edited by ampere : 12th March 2021 at 06:29. Reason: back to back posts merged
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Old 12th March 2021, 07:41   #1339
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

[quote] Is the pilot taking the photo flying a F22?

That's a Rafale - the photo is taken over the canards - not F22
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Old 12th March 2021, 18:34   #1340
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Itís interesting how the IAF is jumping at any opportunity to exercise bilaterally or multilaterally with the western allies (or are they just being reported more?), the last being pitch black in Australia (I think). Canít even remember the last time the IAF exercised with the Russians or other SCO countries though the army regularly has exercises with them (navy every now and then but I believe less so than with western/quad allies). This is certainly a clear shift in who our allies are and where we stand!
I was thinking the same thing - it really does appear as if the IAF is conducting far more joint drills than before. I'm not sure if it might just be the case that with Twitter and Instagram and a more savvy online presence, we're just seeing more of these joint drills than before, where they'd likely have been buried in the back pages of a newspaper.

The US pivot in what they call the Indo-Pacific makes clear what their priority now is in terms of their national defence posture reverting back to great power competition. So many recent policy documents coming out of the Pentagon or the SecDef or even the Armed Services Committee explicitly state the increased importance of India and good relations with India as part of US policy to combat the influence of China in the Indo-Pacific. India also seems to be, not so much pivoting, but perhaps being less scrupulously non-aligned shall we say when it comes to defence partnerships and foreign policy. I guess the result is what we're seeing, drills involving not just the US but Japan, South Korea & Australia amongst others - all countries with a bone to pick with China.

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This is another photo I got from Instagram apparently from the exercise. Is the pilot taking the photo flying a F22?
To me at least I don't see the signature leading edge root extensions (LERX) of the F-22, or the sort of skin treatment I expect from the Raptor. From the shape of the wing, to me it seems it's an F-15. Even on the Rafale, I'm used to seeing the distinctive LERX, which I'm finding hard to see here.

If you look closely you'll see the slat along the leading edge of the wing, and the sort of patchwork appearance the skin of US F-22s and F-35s have, a consequence of the various RAM treatments
Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force-f22_raptor.jpg

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Originally Posted by dragracer567 View Post
The Israelis actually used F16s for the bombing. The F15s were escort. Here is the F16 with the Osirak bombing mark.
Ah you're right. I can't remember where it was then that the Israelis used their F-15 in the ground attack role. Imagine it might've been on of their many regional skirmishes. I'll try and find the article where I read about it.
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Old 12th March 2021, 22:38   #1341
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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To me at least I don't see the signature leading edge root extensions (LERX) of the F-22, or the sort of skin treatment I expect from the Raptor. From the shape of the wing, to me it seems it's an F-15. Even on the Rafale, I'm used to seeing the distinctive LERX, which I'm finding hard to see here.
Its not a single wing you are seeing there. What you are seeing is the canard of the Rafale with its distinctive serrated edges and below that is the actual wing with the wingtip point carrying the ACMI pod. You cannot see the LERX here because the canard conceals it under it due to the angle of the photo taken.

There are no wingtip weapons stations on f 15. Its a Rafale taking the picture of the MKI.

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Old 13th March 2021, 00:44   #1342
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Ah you're right. I can't remember where it was then that the Israelis used their F-15 in the ground attack role. Imagine it might've been on of their many regional skirmishes. I'll try and find the article where I read about it.
I believe it was the bombing of the PLO headquarters in Tunis, Tunisia. It was a (mind-boggling) 4000 km round way trip operation, so the longer range of the F15 might’ve come in handy!

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Its not a single wing you are seeing there. What you are seeing is the canard of the Rafale with its distinctive serrated edges and below that is the actual wing with the wingtip point carrying the ACMI pod. You cannot see the LERX here because the canard conceals it under it due to the angle of the photo taken.

There are no wingtip weapons stations on f 15. Its a Rafale taking the picture of the MKI.
Even if it was the Rafale, the IAF Rafale wasn’t sent for the exercise, so it was probably taken from a French Rafale! Weird they used a foreign fighter (F15 or Rafale) jet to take a official photo for the IAF Instagram page.

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Old 13th March 2021, 07:49   #1343
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

Could be - the IAF official Instagram page also states so.

But the funny thing is that a much similar photo also appeared in BRF Forms a couple of months back too.

Last edited by nevinfrancis : 13th March 2021 at 07:57.
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Old 13th March 2021, 14:41   #1344
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Originally Posted by dragracer567 View Post
The Israelis actually used F16s for the bombing. The F15s were escort. Here is the F16 with the Osirak bombing mark.
Indeed, it was the F-16s armed with 2000-lb Mk.84 dumb bombs that bombed Osirak (in CCIP mode). There is a HUD video of the bombs being dropped by Israeli F-16s.



There is a wonderful book titled "Raid on the Sun", that describes the raid in detail, including the deception tactics the formation used to keep Iraq's Arab neighbours in the dark, while the formation was inbound to the target.

Col. Ilan Ramon, the Israeli astronaut who died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, was one the F-16 pilots who bombed the reactor and was the youngest pilot in the strike formation.
Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force-738109_4778514575112_2063273220_o.jpg
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Old 15th March 2021, 01:18   #1345
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Originally Posted by nevinfrancis View Post
Its not a single wing you are seeing there. What you are seeing is the canard of the Rafale with its distinctive serrated edges and below that is the actual wing with the wingtip point carrying the ACMI pod. You cannot see the LERX here because the canard conceals it under it due to the angle of the photo taken.

There are no wingtip weapons stations on f 15. Its a Rafale taking the picture of the MKI.
At first I couldn't follow, but now I get the perspective. Thanks! Makes sense, and duh, no wingtip station on the F-15. It's a funny old angle over that canard, plays tricks with your mind.

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Originally Posted by skanchan95 View Post
There is a wonderful book titled "Raid on the Sun", that describes the raid in detail, including the deception tactics the formation used to keep Iraq's Arab neighbours in the dark, while the formation was inbound to the target.

Col. Ilan Ramon, the Israeli astronaut who died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, was one the F-16 pilots who bombed the reactor and was the youngest pilot in the strike formation.
Attachment 2132144
Oh man, this book looks like a doozy. I might have to get me a copy. Thanks for sharing! I vaguely remember something about flying through Saudi air space at lawnmower altitude and then back again, though at that point I think the Saudi's might've kept their powder dry given they'd cottoned on to what just happened. Again, could be wrong, read about it ages ago.

I didn't know about Col. Ramon, that sounds super interesting! On the topic of former soldiers turned astronauts, definitely worth looking up the comic book character turned real Jonny Kim. Man was a decorated Navy SEAL, then went through Harvard med school to become a physician and now is one of the NASA astronauts selected to eventually be part of the Artemis program for the return to the moon. It's the epitome of the Asian American high achiever but at a ludicrous level.

Speaking of the Israeli's it's interesting that they haven't stumped for the Advanced Eagle yet, but given the USAF is going to decommission older airframes, you can bet good money the Israeli's will take those airframes and give them a new lease of life. Sometimes it makes me wonder if there's a possibility that Israeli after sales and maintenance might be a way around the arms control measures you run the risk of with American kit. Seems unlikely now given the pivot by the latter.
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Old 15th March 2021, 10:53   #1346
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Oh man, this book looks like a doozy. I might have to get me a copy. Thanks for sharing! I vaguely remember something about flying through Saudi air space at lawnmower altitude and then back again, though at that point I think the Saudi's might've kept their powder dry given they'd cottoned on to what just happened. Again, could be wrong, read about it ages ago.
It is a wonderfully detailed book on that air raid - the planning, execution, the coms between the pilots, international reactions - everything is there. However, there are no maps or photographs for reference , which was a big disappointment, considering how detailed the book is. But that does not take away the joy of reading that book, which definitely is a must read if one wishes to know more about that air raid

They Israeli jets overflew Saudi Arabia and Jordan. At some point, the formation overflew Jordanian King Hussein's yacht, who was vacationing in the Gulf of Aqaba. The King himself was able to identify the jets to be Israeli and guessing the direction they were flying to, he assumed they were heading towards Iraq. He asked his government to warn the Iraqis of an incoming Israeli air raid, but for some reason, the warning did not reach the Iraqis.

As per my copy of Tom Cooper's "Iran-Iraq War the Air 1980-88", at the time of the Israeli air raid, Iraq was fighting a bitter and what turned later to be a long war with Iran. The Iraqi Air Force's ability to detect and intercept incoming raids was severely degraded, especially as a couple of months earlier, Iraq's major H-3 airbase complex (near the border with Jordan & Israel) was attacked successfully and severely damaged by Iranian F-4s. The Israelis knew this well and that had launched a few probing flights into the area. On one occasion, an Israeli F-4E was detected inside Iraqi airspace and an Iraqi MiG-21 on CAP was diverted to intercept it. The F-4E turned back towards Israel and that Iraqi MiG-21 gave a futile chase on full AB. the Iraqi MiG-21 ran out of fuel and the Iraqi pilot had to eject.

That being said, also according to the same book, the first ever raid on the Osirak Nuclear plant was not by Israeli F-16s, but by Iranian F-4Es on September 30, 1980(the Israeli raid on the same plant was carried out on June 7, 1981). Different sources claim differing level of damages caused by the Iranian air raid, but most agree that the damage was superficial and that Iranian F-4 crews intentionally did not target the Reactor itself but the support facilities & buildings in the complex. Iran did not have sufficient intelligence on the reactor complex and there was a risk that the reactor was already being fueled, increasing the possibility of radioactive fallout. Just the the Israeli F-16s much later, the Iranian F-4Es were not detected or fired upon effectively by Iraqi Air defences.
Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force-page.jpg

Last edited by skanchan95 : 15th March 2021 at 10:55.
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Old 15th March 2021, 15:32   #1347
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They Israeli jets overflew Saudi Arabia and Jordan...
Absolutely loved reading this! Thank you for sharing! The anecdote about the Jordanian monarch is such a great one as well. What was especially new to me was the fact that the Iranians tried raiding the reactor complex too. The Iran-Iraq war for me is one of those long conflicts I know scarce little about, other than how long and bloody it was particularly for the Iranians.

It's funny how the Israeli's were egging on the Iranians to have a crack at the Iraqi nuclear facilities and fast forward to today, Israel doesn't miss an opportunity to decry the Iranian nuclear programme (especially under Bibi).
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Old 19th March 2021, 23:17   #1348
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Way off topic here. The US Defence Secretary Lloyd J Austin has just arrived in India. But what I am interested in is the plane he arrived in. Is that the Boeing E-4 doomsday plane? Certainly looks like a variant of the 747.

Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force-160195387_3689716037807799_4765997226192036397_o.png

Source: ANI
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Old 19th March 2021, 23:29   #1349
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Way off topic here. The US Defence Secretary Lloyd J Austin has just arrived in India. But what I am interested in is the plane he arrived in. Is that the Boeing E-4 doomsday plane? Certainly looks like a variant of the 747.

Attachment 2134834

Source: ANI
Yep, traditionally SecDef travels on the E-4 for overseas visits.

The same way the Boeing 757 based C-32's are the usual air transport for the VP, the E-4 what with it's functioning as the ultimate mobile defence node for US command authority in the most dire circumstances, happens to be the vehicle of choice for the head of the Pentagon. Compared to the VIP airlift aircraft, the interiors are far more spartan.

Here's an example article from General Mattis's tenure as SecDef.



On a 747 related note, that E-4B replacement is a big headache for the USAF. There's quite a bit of wrangling over ways to simplify a lot of older transport and electronic intelligence platforms like the E-3, E-4, E-8 and C-32 onto a common and current twin engine platform, likely a big twin 777 or 787 derivative. A lot of these are old (747-200) to ancient (707) derivatives that really are long in the tooth and it makes sense to move to something current across the board. With the E-4 Doomsday planes though, I can imagine the USAF brass digging their heels in wrt the redundancy offered by a quad jet.

Last edited by ads11 : 19th March 2021 at 23:32.
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Old 22nd March 2021, 11:24   #1350
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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The Iran-Iraq war for me is one of those long conflicts I know scarce little about, other than how long and bloody it was particularly for the Iranians.
The Air war part of it is covered in this wonderful but huge book by Tom Cooper & Farzad Bishop. IF you wish to know about the War, this would be the book to read.
Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force-iribbok.jpg
Though the book has a lot more information on the IRIAF than the Iraqi AF, it probably is the only book that has more or less detailed every day missions of the air war from both sides. Lots of details about IRIAF pilots, A2A kills and the tactics the IRI AF, AAC and Navy adopted. Sadly all photos are B/W.

What was interesting for me know was that Saddam's eldest son - Uday, when he was much younger( and probably less eccentric), was a qualified Mi-24 pilot and was posted to the frontlines during the Iran-Iraq war, but he flew the helicopter so recklessly most of the times that gunners and flight engineers refused to fly with him. So he was relegated to fly as the gunner on the Hind. There is even a picture of him in Iraqi AAC uniform greeting his father near the frontlines

Eventhough it is well known, there is even mention of Indian Air Force pilots posted in Iraq during the war, but they were there only there as instructors and were not permitted to fly combat missions.

The fact that the IRIAF managed to keep the Tomcats in the air and use it in their own mini-AWACS/communication relay role is a fascinating story in itself. Something similar was done by our own TACDE MiG-21s in the 1971 war, which made the Pakistanis & Americans believe that the IAF was flying a Tu-126 AWACS during the war!!!!

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It's funny how the Israeli's were egging on the Iranians to have a crack at the Iraqi nuclear facilities and fast forward to today, Israel doesn't miss an opportunity to decry the Iranian nuclear programme (especially under Bibi).
As the old cliche goes, Politics makes strange bedfellows!!!! As per the book, even as late as 1987, top Israeli ministers were publicly claiming that Iran was their best friend in the middle east. Apparently it was through Israel, that spare parts for IRIAF's Phantom fleet was sent to Iran.
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