From what I've been told, there were dispensers but no flares, because they were not procured/deployed until the Mi-17 was shot down. After Kargil, there was a mad rush in IN and IAF to equip all planes with CMDS and buy chaff/flares cartridges.
There were flares with the Mi-17's and they were actually used in the event itself. Its just that the particular Mi-17 in question had a problem with its CMDS system, but given the requirement of CAS, the crew went ahead anyway, taking the risk as it were, with their other helicopters in the formation supporting them. It was a risky workaround and worked for a while. But by making repeated passes, the crew exposed themselves to danger, which after all was bound to happen given the operational requirement. That is what actually brought home the issue to me, in terms of the term "calculated risk", that these men knew what they would face and went ahead anyway. Partly why I don't buy into the entire service versus service issue engaged in by people writing post the event, because at Kargil, the IAF personnel did do what they could for their IA brethren.
Overall, since the situation is far different now, it can be said that there were two tiers of aircraft in the IAF at that point of time, the western ones - the Mirages, Jaguars etc which came with a decent fit to begin with, and also had some good PGM capabilities. But these stocks were carefully husbanded (PGMs) but they had decent RWR, chaff, flares etc as well. The MiG-29s were also ok. In the MiGs, the MiG-23 BNs had seen some local upgrades, but the rest of the older MiG-21 fleet was languishing, and the MiG-27s also per memory got their Israeli CMDS fitted later. Helicopters, we had the systems etc. for the Mi-17s at least. Overall, the IAF had not fared as badly as had the IA in terms of force modernization. They did have limited amounts of niche equipment that had a disproportionate impact when used innovatively. Eg picking up Muntho Dhalo on Litening, using Mirages to mark the target, for MiGs to literally blow it to smithereens.
PS: This report mentions data broadly similar to what I remember.
While the MiG-27 was lost because of an engine flameout due to ingestion of smoke and debris, the MiG-21 was lost to a SAM while searching for the downed MiG-27. It is now appreciated that a lack comprehensive of countermeasures (chaff/flare dispensers) across the MiG-21 fleet contributed significantly to the tragedy. Until Kargil, only the MiG-23BN, few Jaguars, and a handful of MiG-27s were fitted with automated countermeasures (in addition to the air defence types). Upgrading the self-defense and jamming capabilities of the rest of the attack fleet has now assumed a sense of urgency and base repair depots have taken on the task of upgrading chaff/flare dispensers..http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/MONITOR/I ... hatto.html
This is the first time I am hearing this and the overlapping theory doesnt practically seem plausible. An IR seeker on a Stinger or Igla has a limited FoV. The Pakistani Stinger use proportional navigation and the FoV is limited.
Before launching, the operator uses the console to lock the target before firing. Only when the lock on music is heard is the missile fired. Hence the missile is LOBL.
Because the missile is already locked to the target before firing, the flares "have" to originate from the target to seduce the missile from the target. Otherwise the missile seeker has such limited FoV that any flare launched outside of the limited seeker FoV wont seduce the seeker. Hence overlapping flare umbrella cannot be created, because the overlapping flares will not be close to the target to seduce the missile away.
Another reason why overlapping theory is implausible is that flares are magnesium or thermite to generate high temperatures similar to engine exhaust. The flare incendiary melts airframe metal structures and control cables on contact and set hydraulics and fuel on fire. There are safety guidelines for flares deployment and it is suicidal for one aircraft to fly through another planes flares. A flare hitting a rotor is as bad as an incendiary AA round hitting the rotor blade. No plane will fly through another planes flares. If flying side by side, sufficient separation has to be maintained, that negates the primary concept of overlapping flare cover.
The operator as you mentioned, targets the Stinger visually, gets a launch tone and fires. AFter which the Stinger etc is autonomous, it cannot be guided to a specific target and nor does the operator have any control over that.The operator will also quickly move away from the firing spot, as the launch smoke gives away his location and exposes him to retaliation. Basically, MANPADS have severe limitations. They are best used against targets whose trajectories are somewhat known and the operator can track them accurately. Closely spaced targets and the missile will go after whichever is in its field of view. If the seeker is heavily jammed with clutter (ie flares) all bets are off. If memory serves, the ones used at Kargil by PA were units transferred during Afghan war and not the latest. Or Chinese ripoffs of the SA-7, Anza-1s. Eitherways, not the latest Igla-S or the like which will be far harder to counter.
In this case, the IAF did manage to create a formation wherein the flares managed to protect the formation from the peaks beside and below the target. How they did it is best left out of the discussion but that was what managed to protect the crew till that point, and which is why it took multiple Stinger/Anza's to bring down that one helicopter. The crew reportedly knew this, and this was part of the mission planning.
There were also other methods the IAF came up with to reduce the risk of MANPADS post Kargil.
But the immediate conclusion from this incident was, that it was practically impossible to sanitize the entire area of MANPADS. The fact that their methods worked in terms of requiring salvos was one thing but even so, the risk meant that operations moved to medium altitude. While the bulk of the publicity was garnered by the attacks from the LGB equipped Mirages, some good results were obtained by pilots flying aircraft with portable GPS systems and synchronizing their attacks manually.
I'm glad that the LCH which flows directly from the lessons of Kargil will have a very comprehensive SPS suite. Including MAWS, CMDS and RWR. The Russians have also demo'ed a DIRCM on their Mi-28s and we are working on one with Israel. I hope that get's included as well on all our planes.