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PostPosted: 05 Nov 2011 07:07 
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Ageing rotors
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Nearly 70 per cent of the IAF's 300 helicopters have already completed their prescribed life. There is a deficit of 26 per cent in the number of helicopters required for operational responsibilities. The shortfall in the case of attack helicopters is worse—the fleet is 46 per cent below its required number. Despite availability of funds, the IAF, as pointed out by a Comptroller and Auditor General report in 2010, was unable to induct even a single helicopter between 2002 and 2010.
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Despite the shortage of helicopters at home, the defence ministry has been deploying helicopters abroad for participation in UN missions. Earlier, India had 17 helicopters in Congo and Sudan. In July, India withdrew its four remaining Mi-35 attack helicopters from these missions. It has now deployed six light-utility Chetak and Cheetah helicopters in Congo. “The military leadership is aware of the effect the lack of helicopters could have on the current operations,” said Major. “That is perhaps why we have brought back most of our helicopters from the UN missions.”

The IAF helicopter fleet consists of Cheetah, Chetak, Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and the Russian-developed Mi series, which constitute 60 per cent of the IAF inventory and are used for airlift and attack operations. The attack helicopter fleet, currently made up of Mi-25s and Mi-35s, support Army operations. “Helicopters are one of the most important assets of any Air Force,” said Air Commodore (retd) Jasjit Singh, director of Centre for Air Power Studies. He said India needed helicopters in hand to deal with border surveillance and asymmetrical conflicts.

The anti-Maoist operations, for example, have already seen the deployment of two Mi-17 helicopters in Jharkhand to help airlift troops and in evacuation. The Union home ministry, which deployed a fleet of seven choppers for troop deployment, casualty evacuation and sending reinforcements in Maoist-affected areas last year, has hired six Mi-17 helicopters.

In Chhattisgarh, the IAF has deployed four helicopters to assist Central and state police forces. “There is a request for deploying two more helicopters at Ranchi. Thus we will have a total of six helicopters in these operations,” said Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne.

To bridge the shortfall, the IAF is planning to acquire 230 choppers. The list includes 12 AW101 VVIP helicopters, 80 Mi-17 helicopters and 12 heavy-lift choppers. The IAF will also procure 22 attack helicopters. Boeing is leading the race for the order with its AH-64D Apache Longbow choppers.

At IAF headquarters, however, the worry has not been limited to slow procurement. Shortage of spare parts, too, has been an issue. The IAF still sends engines abroad for overhaul, leaving choppers grounded. However, work to decrease India's dependence on the foreign arms companies has already started. The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited is building three helicopters—Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter, Light Combat Helicopter and Light Utility Helicopter—while at Bharat Electronics Ltd, scientists and engineers are working to provide sophisticated avionics products for the military choppers.


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PostPosted: 05 Nov 2011 08:04 
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Do we have a root cause for the Dhruv crash? I'm not suggesting that ageing rotors has anything to do with it but now would be time to order more Dhruvs into the mix.


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PostPosted: 08 Nov 2011 15:08 
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Is it feasible to deploy grad type rockets from helicopters? Maybe it can double in to be a solution to artillery problems in mountainous terrain.
Did such a prototype ever exist?


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PostPosted: 08 Nov 2011 16:02 
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The FSU developed some truly massive air launched rockets. But nothing in the class of the GRAD. The reason being that in order to use the grad. You probably will need the Mi 26 class helo to carry it.


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PostPosted: 08 Nov 2011 16:28 
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Alright,
What about the capability to use transport A/c to launch them then?
Something like an AC130 firing GRAD rockets?

I am looking at the merits of using air-launched artillery over conventional ones.


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PostPosted: 08 Nov 2011 16:32 
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even the 105mm is tough ask for the AC-130. not economical or practical for aircraft that would have to land for every reload. the use of arty is precisely the ability to land round after round on target at minimum cost. nothing can replace it.


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PostPosted: 08 Nov 2011 16:51 
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^^^

Please take a look at the Zunni and the Russian rockets as well There largest AL rocket was 220 MM IIRC,. After a point you need to have accuracy, as ferrying rockets of that size to be fired over a target zone is a waste of resources. A cluster bomb will do the job much more effectively, and cheaply. If you need range then you have number of stand off missiles to do the job.

In the end the question is what is your need, that required you to throw the Grad using an airborne delivery method.


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PostPosted: 08 Nov 2011 17:02 
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Rahul M wrote:
even the 105mm is tough ask for the AC-130. not economical or practical for aircraft that would have to land for every reload. the use of arty is precisely the ability to land round after round on target at minimum cost. nothing can replace it.


Rockets should have very less recoil compared to cannons if that was what you intended to say.
I agree with the rest of the post.

Pratyush wrote:
^^^
In the end the question is what is your need, that required you to throw the Grad using an airborne delivery method.

Can't think of anything substantial. Maybe quicker deployment and deployment from otherwise inaccessible areas(Lack of arty there or mountainous terrain).


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PostPosted: 08 Nov 2011 17:08 
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Location: Desh ke baarei mei sochna shuru karo. Soch badlo, desh badlega!
SPG


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PostPosted: 08 Nov 2011 17:12 
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koti, where would the exhaust go ? you know what gas ingestion does to aero engines don't you ?


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PostPosted: 08 Nov 2011 17:23 
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By definition any aircraft with bombs is air launched/airborne artillery. When the air launched munition is designed to go further than can be taken by gravity alone, it becomes an air launched missile. If unguided it is just like a Grad. If guided it becomes just like a Brahmos.

Unguided rockets in underwing pods or in internal racks such as the HF 24 had are exactly the same principle as a Grad. However the Grad has a warhead weight of about 20 kg as per Wiki while the 57 mm rocket pods used by the Mi 25 has a warhead weight of 1.5 kg or so. In fact Libyan rebel forces were shown using such aircraft rocket pods mounted on trucks and that was discussed here.

But that extends only to 20 km - or a bit longer for Pinaka/Smerch type MBRLs. If you need to hit an area target 500 km away you will need Jags with dumb bombs or PGMs carrying subminitions

Mi 25 in rocket attack
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bx8DpE9AiTI


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PostPosted: 08 Nov 2011 17:30 
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Mi 35 rockets vs Gatling A-10
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuLnnVDld-M


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PostPosted: 09 Nov 2011 11:25 
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Dont know if this link is kosher(based on the source)

LCH R&D on track to deliver high altitude attack capability to IAF


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PostPosted: 10 Nov 2011 05:31 
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First Mi-17V-5 helicopters delivered to India
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The first batch of Mi-17V-5 helicopters have been delivered to India under a contract signed by state arms exporter Rosoboronexport in December 2008 for 80 new helicopters.

The helicopters are manufactured by Kazan Helicopters, a subsidiary of the Russian Helicopters holding company as part of the US$1.35 billion contract. Deliveries will be completed by 2014.
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he Mi-17V-5 is the most up-to-date modification of the Mi-17. The helicopters being delivered are manufactured to the customer’s specification and are unique in their configuration. Each helicopter is equipped with a KNEI-8 avionics suite featuring four large multi-functional displays that are easy to read and help reduce pilot fatigue. This avionics suite also helps cut down pre-flight inspection time, displaying all systems data and alerting crew when necessary.

The Klimov VK2500-powered aircraft have strengthened gearboxes to enable high-altitude operations, addressing a key requirement that emerged following performance inadequacies with India's current Mi-17s.

The Indian military is being renewed and expanded and the service has several major helicopter procurement projects in the pipeline. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has developed the 12 000 lb (5.5 ton) Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), 54 of which will go to the Air Force and 105 to the Army under a US$3.56 billion order.

About half of all Dhruvs will be Weapon System Integrated (WSI) with Mistral 2 air-to-air missiles, Helina anti-tank missiles and a 20 mm cannon slaved to the gunner’s helmet-mounted site. Dhruvs will replace the Air Force’s approximately 65 HAL Chetak light utility helicopters. Deliveries are expected to be completed by 2013-2014.

Additionally, the Indian armed forces in 2007 launched a search for 197 light reconnaissance and surveillance helicopters (64 for the Air Force and 133 for the Army). The winner of the US$750 million competition should be announced soon. The Eurocopter AS 550 Fennec and Kamov Ka-226 are being considered after passing trials.

In the attack role the Indian Air Force has 20 Mi-25/35s in service and hopes to replace them with 22 new attack Helicopters. In May 2008 the Indian Ministry of Defence issued a request for proposals for twin-engined attack helicopters but the tender was cancelled in March 2009, only to be re-opened two months later. The AH-64D Apache and Mi-28 Night Hunter were the leading contenders until the Mi-28N was dropped from the competition, leaving the AH-64 as the leading contender.

HAL is also developing the ambitious Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), which first flew in March 2010 after years of delays. It has stealth features, a glass cockpit and armour protection. The LCH carries the same armament as the WSI Dhruv. The IAF has ordered 65 LCHs for about US$1.4 billion, while the Army is buying 114. HAL expects certification next year and production to begin in 2013.

The Air Force’s heavy lift helicopter fleet consists of four Mi-26 ‘Halos’, which may be replaced by 12-15 new heavy lift helicopters. Boeing’s CH-47F Chinook and Mil’s Mi-26T2 are competing for a contract.


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PostPosted: 11 Nov 2011 03:26 
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U.S. interested in Indian helicopter tender
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The United States has expressed strong interest in participating in India's tender for attack helicopter and heavy-lift helicopters despite the snub it received earlier this year in the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) competition, according to a top official.

In remarks to the Defense Trade Advisory Group, Assistant Secretary for Bureau of Political-Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro said, “I have also advocated for our tenders in the Attack Helicopter and Heavy Lift Helicopter competitions. We are hopeful that both will be selected.”

Earlier, the Indian Air Force was reported to have floated tenders for 22 combat and 15 heavy lift helicopters.

Among the U.S. contenders in the race would be Boeing's Apache, for combat, and the Chinook, for heavy-lift.


The reportedly $550 million-tender aims to replace India's ageing helicopter fleet and trials were said to be on in the hot, humid deserts of Rajasthan and the icy Himalayan heights of Ladakh and Leh.

Mr. Shapiro reflected upon his attendance on February last at the Aero India show, an event at which he said he advocated for U.S. defence sales.

“While India unfortunately did not down-select a U.S. aircraft for its MMRCA competition, I believe our relationship with India is much more than one sale,” he said.

Suggesting that Indian acquisition of the U.S. defence equipment was woven into the fabric of a stronger U.S.-India strategic partnership, Mr. Shaprio said that recent evidence of the U.S. efforts in this regard was India's acquisition of 10 C-17 aircraft and a request for six more C-130J aircraft.


I am confused! I thought India has already selected the 22 Apache attach helicopters???


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PostPosted: 11 Nov 2011 14:49 
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The Apache is supposed to have been selected,but there's "many a slip 'tween the cup and the lip".The F mag ,in the Apache "to win" featire,says that the MI-28 is also a very capable attack helo.It will probably be a bit cheaper than the US bird,normal for Russian wares (especially subs!),which is why soime bargaining is going on to bring down prices.

I came across in my files recently an excellent though ancient piece by some western mil experts about the coming age of the helo,this was written about 25 years ago (!) and how the Russians also felt that a certain number of attack helos was even more powerful than an armoured division,facts and figures given,including costs.Since this has not been digitised,I will post the article later.It is an intriguing one and especially in the current context of things,the way to go.We need n fact at least 200 dedicated attack helos,which hopefully the LCH (around 180+ for the IA and IAF) will provide along with the supposed Apaches,whose order also needs to be doubled.I suggest that the IA/IAF retain the MI-35s until the Apache number is doubled,and can use these for any UN peacekeeping roles for which they've been used before.Everey helo asset needs to be retained for as long as possible in view of the new Himalayan Sino-Pak JV threat .Extra fire support will come from the armed Dhruvs and MI-17V5s

However,it is frankly past time for the IAF not to act like a dog-in-the-manger and hand over the attack helo assets to the IA,who are better placed to hone their usage and tactics in concert with land forces.The IAF can retain most of the medium and all heavy-lift helos and also whatever light and medium helos ALH and LUHs that they need for their own operations.The time has arrived for the creation of the Army Air Corps,which should not only operate attack and transport helos,but also light aircraft for reconn. AO purposes and even turboprops for COIN ops.Many air forces are looking again towards turboprops for not just COIN but also battlefield support,in the same manner as attack helos instead of using expensive GA fighters.We could develop with the Swis ana rmed version of the Pilatus trainer,or even acquire one of the S.American turboprops used by the Argies and Brazilians.The Italians have recntly designed a very light and inexpensive COIN aircraft,AWST had details,will post later.


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PostPosted: 11 Nov 2011 15:00 
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What is the need for the Apache. If it is to replace the Mi 25/35. Then onlee 22 will not be enough. Besides the LCH will mature in the next 2 to 3 years it self. That being the case having a duplication in capability with dedicated logistics for both makes little sense to benign with.

I am of the opinion that the Ah 64 ought to be cancelled in favor of the LCH.


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PostPosted: 11 Nov 2011 15:14 
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Well, I believe that the Apache's are necessary right now to understand the complexities of using a sensor laden heavy attack helicopter guiding packs of packs of light/medium attack helicopters to target and controlling the engagement to ensure swift annihilation of the enemy forces be it Anti Armour or SEAD/DEAD operations.
The lessons learned can be incorporated into our next iteration of attack helicopters at a very early stage.
JMO.


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PostPosted: 11 Nov 2011 16:06 
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^^^

the same job can be done using a UAV fitted with a SAR, or a Jstar, or the HORIZON. No reason why the MWR, cannot be fitted to the LCH. If that is the sole purpose of purchasing the AH 64.

Also you cannot decide where you will use a heavy & where a medium helo. As the enemy will never oblige you. By allowing you a neat bifurcation of his assets telling you to please send your heavy helo after this group and light helo after that group. That never happens.


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PostPosted: 11 Nov 2011 17:07 
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Jingoes need not break their head so much. Apaches will be used as Corps assets (maintained by IAF but controlled by IA :mrgreen: ) while IA LCH will be used as Division/ Brigade level assets. Similar to Smerch MLRS (Corps level) and tube artillery (Div/ Bde level).

IMHO the LCH ordered by IAF will primarily be used for CSAR and SEAD/ DEAD activities. While that of IA will be used for CAS.

Regards,
Kiran


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PostPosted: 12 Nov 2011 00:10 
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KiranM wrote:
IMHO the LCH ordered by IAF will primarily be used for CSAR and SEAD/ DEAD activities.

CSAR? Do you mean as an escort for ALH/Chetak doing the actual CSAR duties? A WSI Dhruv would be better for that. Ans SEAD/DEAD would require anti-radiation missiles. Better done by fixed-wing jets with ECM pods which are more survivable against SAMs.
My take is, the LCH will be used for anti-armor and CAS much like the Apache. But it will carry less payload and we'll have a lot more of them than the gold-plated apaches. The Apaches are likely a one-to-one replacement for the Hinds.


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PostPosted: 12 Nov 2011 03:14 
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nachiket wrote:
KiranM wrote:
IMHO the LCH ordered by IAF will primarily be used for CSAR and SEAD/ DEAD activities.

CSAR? Do you mean as an escort for ALH/Chetak doing the actual CSAR duties? A WSI Dhruv would be better for that. Ans SEAD/DEAD would require anti-radiation missiles. Better done by fixed-wing jets with ECM pods which are more survivable against SAMs.
My take is, the LCH will be used for anti-armor and CAS much like the Apache. But it will carry less payload and we'll have a lot more of them than the gold-plated apaches. The Apaches are likely a one-to-one replacement for the Hinds.


The first shots in Gulf war were carried out by Apaches against radar sites. That opened a path for allied aircraft to go in.
So thats what he meant by SEAD/DEAD by LCH.

LCH can fly in low, hugging the terrain and get in some shots against major radar sites. Apparently its got around 1/2 the RCS of Dhruv; maybe that can reduce further with some RAM coating.


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PostPosted: 12 Nov 2011 05:57 
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Nick_S wrote:
The first shots in Gulf war were carried out by Apaches against radar sites.

That is what that Apache video claimed. I have heard other claims though including the claim that the "first shots" were also stealth aircraft doing SEAD. And of course cruise missiles. May be all are true?


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PostPosted: 12 Nov 2011 09:03 
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stealth a/c F117 were not under much threat by radar and went in at night to baghdad area.
in parallel the apaches' led by a solitary MH53 pave low (with better blind nav instruments) went low over the western desert and hit a radar site. its claimed that once they radio'ed the OK, around 15 F-15 bombers already orbiting near their tankers over saudi airspace were the first wave of conventional a/c to go in, followed in next few hrs by everyone else.
maybe other radar sites were hit by a mix of stealth a/c and navy tomahawk missiles too in the early hrs.

its kind of puzzling why they chose the apaches to do that thing.....


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PostPosted: 13 Nov 2011 05:15 
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Singha wrote:
its kind of puzzling why they chose the apaches to do that thing.....

Yes. Strike aircraft armed with HARMs, escorted by a few EA-6B Prowlers would have been the likelier choice perhaps. F-117s would be even better. Perhaps they were sure that the Iraqi radars would not be able to detect low flying helicopters and the Iraqis had no AWACS patrolling the airspace in any case. We won't have that luxury against the pakis or chipanda.


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PostPosted: 13 Nov 2011 07:04 
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nachiket wrote:
Singha wrote:
its kind of puzzling why they chose the apaches to do that thing.....

Yes. Strike aircraft armed with HARMs, escorted by a few EA-6B Prowlers would have been the likelier choice perhaps. F-117s would be even better. Perhaps they were sure that the Iraqi radars would not be able to detect low flying helicopters and the Iraqis had no AWACS patrolling the airspace in any case. We won't have that luxury against the pakis or chipanda.


Well Iraq is not a small country and to conduct a simultaneous strike on all of Iraq's defences they would have required huge numbers of assets - so the Apaches were probably gap fillers while the Stealth a/c and Prowlers and Cruise missiles were being employed elsewhere.


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PostPosted: 13 Nov 2011 08:54 
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TOI: India set to order 59 more Russian copters

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IAF, for instance, is moving towards finalizing a second contract with Russia for another 59 Mi-17-V5 helicopters after the phased delivery of the first 80 of these medium-lift "rotary birds" began in September.

"Of the 80 Mi-17s ordered under the $1.34-billion deal in 2008, the first squadron has come up in Bhatinda. IAF will get 26 of these choppers by end-December, with the second squadron coming up in Srinagar by March. All the 80 will be inducted by 2014," said a senior official.

"The 59 more Mi-17s, which will cost around $1 billion, will be ordered under the follow-on clause in the first contract. They will also be weaponized for combat operations like the first 80. The new Mi-17s will also make it possible for IAF to deploy additional choppers for logistical support in anti-Naxal operations," he added.


A cool $1 billion to Russia and presumably much relief to the IAF. Good news.


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PostPosted: 13 Nov 2011 11:41 
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Singha wrote:
its kind of puzzling why they chose the apaches to do that thing.....
The most important and sophisticated Iraqi AD center was assigned to the Apache.

And the reason being helicopters can fly lower than the lowest flying fighter and blend with ground clutter that even the most sophisticated radars cannot discern. With NVG and Thermal Sights, they can fly in between trees & hillocks that shield them from radar or any other sensors. If targeted by AAMs and they detect the missile on MAWS, they can manoeuver in any direction or simply land and the small missile radar will lose them in ground clutter. IR missiles can be lost in ground heat and only Imaging Infra Red missiles like Python/Spyder - or laser beam riders - like Pakistani RBS-70 is useful against them.

Even then, the window to target a helicopter is small vis-a-vis a fighter flying at altitude. A fast & low flying helicopter takes a few seconds to cross from horizon to horizon. A fighter even at its lowest altitude with take longer, giving sensors ample time to engage.

Even then a low flying helicopter gives very little reaction time to air defenses. Most air forces have started deploying helicopters for SEAD because of the vulnerability of fast jets even if accompanied by dedicated jammer aircraft.

Here is an ex-IAF helicopter pilot's views on how helicopters are used in SEAD (last few paragraphs) http://cyclicstories.blogspot.com/2011/ ... atrol.html

The Mi-17 in Kargil did not expect Stingers because they thought they were fighting irregulars instead of the Pakistani Army with its bell and whistles. The Mi-17 didnt have MAWS or flares to decoy the Stinger.


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PostPosted: 13 Nov 2011 17:02 
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questions to regulars :D
Has there been a weapon to weapon and overall performance comparisons between apache and Mi-28 on this thread?


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PostPosted: 14 Nov 2011 01:12 
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There have only been some comparisons on the sensors,weaponry and other eqpt. used by both.Open source reports say that both performed well,with the Apache superior in nightfighting and better in integration with other forces (NCW).


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PostPosted: 14 Nov 2011 01:53 
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Interesting, more the better!

The 139 Mi-17s should replace some of the older Mi-8s and will also be easier to operationalize quickly, given our substantial experience and logistics knowledge of the basic type.

Quote:
ndian armed forces were again pressing the throttle to achieve their aim of inducting around 900 helicopters in the coming decade, Indian media reported on Sunday.
The "rotary birds" in the pipeline include 384 light-utility and observation, 139 medium-lift, 90 naval multi-role, 65 light combat, 22 heavy-duty attack, 15 heavy-lift, 12 VVIP, five maritime early-warning and 86 Dhruv advanced light helicopters.


LCH orders should increase and probably will (above orders only seem for the IAF, not IA?) and the Apaches are also required more in number. Also got the chance to discuss with someone who follows these sort of things as to why the IAF is not interested in all 22 being radar equipped, simple answer - extra weight equals lower airframe performance. Hence the IAF is splitting the orders apparently between radar airframes and those without.

About Kargil, the Mi-17s did have flares; but the one used on this mission did not as its flare set malfunctioned hence, it was protected by other Mi-17s using their flares & which helped divert multiple Stinger/Anza attacks (so much for their effectiveness -unlike PR apparently they really have limited chances against fast moving unpredictable targets). However, one did get through and took down the Mi-17 because it continued with repeated salvos and gave ground troops the chance to predict its trajectory. Ultimately, the crew knew the risks and took them, out of sheer bravery and operational requirement, leading to their bravery awards from an understanding IAF.

Another interesting thing one learnt the other day is the RBS-70, regarded as the PA's pride and joy, is considered by several operators to be flawed in terms of operational performance and really cannot offer the same level of effectiveness as some of the more conventional autonomous infrared seeker equipped MANPADS. More details were however not available. Perhaps, goes some way in explaining what happened when a Mi-17 with Indian journalists and escorted by MiG-29s was fired on by PA troops (reportedly with RBS-70) and the missile was a miss-ile.


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PostPosted: 14 Nov 2011 02:03 
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Quote:
About Kargil, the Mi-17s did have flares; but the one used on this mission did not as its flare set malfunctioned hence,
Sir IIRC the particular MI-17 didnt have the system to dispense the counter measures yet they volunteered, this was from an itnerview of Shri VP Malik or Shri Naik


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PostPosted: 14 Nov 2011 05:55 
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PratikDas wrote:
TOI: India set to order 59 more Russian copters

Quote:
IAF, for instance, is moving towards finalizing a second contract with Russia for another 59 Mi-17-V5 helicopters after the phased delivery of the first 80 of these medium-lift "rotary birds" began in September.

"Of the 80 Mi-17s ordered under the $1.34-billion deal in 2008, the first squadron has come up in Bhatinda. IAF will get 26 of these choppers by end-December, with the second squadron coming up in Srinagar by March. All the 80 will be inducted by 2014," said a senior official.

"The 59 more Mi-17s, which will cost around $1 billion, will be ordered under the follow-on clause in the first contract. They will also be weaponized for combat operations like the first 80. The new Mi-17s will also make it possible for IAF to deploy additional choppers for logistical support in anti-Naxal operations," he added.

A cool $1 billion to Russia and presumably much relief to the IAF. Good news.
I thought the order for the extra Mi-17V5s were signed and sealed already? Are these a new order or a rehash of an order already made?


Last edited by Shrinivasan on 14 Nov 2011 21:25, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: 14 Nov 2011 07:04 
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Shrinivasan wrote:
Quote:
IAF, for instance, is moving towards finalizing a second contract with Russia for another 59 Mi-17-V5 helicopters after the phased delivery of the first 80 of these medium-lift "rotary birds" began in September.

"Of the 80 Mi-17s ordered under the $1.34-billion deal in 2008, the first squadron has come up in Bhatinda. IAF will get 26 of these choppers by end-December, with the second squadron coming up in Srinagar by March. All the 80 will be inducted by 2014," said a senior official.

"The 59 more Mi-17s, which will cost around $1 billion, will be ordered under the follow-on clause in the first contract. They will also be weaponized for combat operations like the first 80. The new Mi-17s will also make it possible for IAF to deploy additional choppers for logistical support in anti-Naxal operations," he added.

I thought the order for the extra mi-17 v5s were signed and sealed already? Are these a new order or a rehash of an order laready made?

AFAIK, this is a new order of 59 on top of the earlier order of 80. In addition, yet another order of 59 is being negotiated according to the RIA Novosti quote from Austin.
Looks like that second part is wrong. The article mentions an order of 59 in two places but the 2nd instance is probably just another source for the same contract.


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PostPosted: 14 Nov 2011 10:26 
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Karan M wrote:
The 139 Mi-17s should replace some of the older Mi-8s and will also be easier to operationalize quickly, given our substantial experience and logistics knowledge of the basic type.
<SNIP>


AFAIK, we have four squadrons with Mi-8 still in service.


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PostPosted: 14 Nov 2011 10:57 
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Karan M wrote:
About Kargil, the Mi-17s did have flares; but the one used on this mission did not as its flare set malfunctioned hence, it was protected by other Mi-17s using their flares & which helped divert multiple Stinger/Anza attacks
None of the Mi-17s flying that day had CMDS and neither did Ajai Ahuja's MiG21M. Mi-17 typically flew supply sorties along internal lines of communications, so no one thought of equipping them with flares, that have short shelf lives. Only the Mirage 2000 had flares those days, because they were supposed to take on Sidewinder armed F-16s. This is further corroborated in AVM Narayan Menon's account http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/Histo ... Menon.html
Quote:
On May 28, a Mi-17 mission of four helicopters attacked a target from where our Army units were being engaged. During the attack a large number of SAMs were fired at the mission as reported by the aircrew and confirmed later by the gun cameras. The No 3 in the mission was turning away after the attack when a missile hit its engine and the helicopter went down with the loss of all the four aircrew. It became clear that the Pakistani forces had a much larger number of these shoulder-fired heat seeking missiles than we had estimated.

It had also been thought by many including me that there would be a reduction in the performance of these missiles when fired from the heights of 3 km and above. This turned out to be wrong as the performance envelope of the missile expands because of the increased temperature differential between the missile seeker head and the jet exhaust of aircraft. The numbers of missiles available with the enemy and their improved performance posed greater threat to our aircraft than envisaged earlier and a change in strategy was obviously necessary. Another aspect was that the counter measure dispensing system (CMDS) fitted on the helicopters, that ejected flare cartridges to lure away heat seeking missiles had been rendered unreliable due to disuse and these slower gunships had become vulnerable.
Despite without CMDS, the large number of MANPADS hit only one helicopter because MANPADS dont have effective control surfaces to save weight and volume and can hit only in vulnerable situations like when a helicopter is turning away from a mountain side and airspeed is low because of the turn and there is no space to manoeuver.

At Kargil, PA used Afghanistan style traps where probable helicopter & fighter approaches were covered with SAMs.

A PA sangar will open fire. Typically an IA infantry frontal or flank attack would be launched at that sangar. When the attack was mounted, hitherto silent PA sangars covering IA frontal & flank attack approaches would open fire and murder our boys. The same tactic was used by Kasab & his partner to kill Mumbai ATS officers. This was countered by effective scouting. The same tactic was adopted for helicopter and fighter approach paths.

Karan M wrote:
Perhaps, goes some way in explaining what happened when a Mi-17 with Indian journalists and escorted by MiG-29s was fired on by PA troops (reportedly with RBS-70) and the missile was a miss-ile.
The helicopter dived deep and the missile operator lost laser lock.

Added later - AVM Narendra Gupta is more clear http://www.hindu.com/fline/fl1614/16141230.htm
Quote:
It is a pity that the infra-red flares, which the helicopter can carry and release to decoy heat-seeking missiles, were not imported.


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PostPosted: 14 Nov 2011 12:14 
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No, the Mi-17s flying that day did have CMDS & so did the one that was shot down. Ajay Ahuja's case is entirely different, because of the pathetic state (then) of our older MiG-21 fleet including the Ms, in terms of countermeasures.

Narayan Menon says "another aspect was that the counter measure dispensing system (CMDS) fitted on the helicopters, that ejected flare cartridges to lure away heat seeking missiles had been rendered unreliable due to disuse and these slower gunships had become vulnerable." He is referring in specific to the helicopter that was lost and other helicopters that suffered serviceability issues wrt their CMDS as well.

However, the ones that did have operational systems, covered the Mi-17 that was lost with their overlapping CMDS coverage. That was a big reason why the crew decided to take the calculated risk. And the method worked to a large extent allowing for multiple passes to be made. Ultimately though, one missile got through. I won't go into details as to how the formation was set up, even if discussed publicly, but the IAF's method worked brilliantly till then & still has operational relevance.

A lot of the published coverage on Kargil, including those by senior officers & otherwise excellent authors is misleading or sometimes plain wrong.

For instance, Phil Camp's statements about Atlis being used during Safed Sagar. No, it was Litening & many folks have seen the imagery from the FLIR at a public event to know the truth. I find it ironic that he went so far as to mention drop ranges & the like, but mixed up this part. The Litening imagery at both Tiger Hill and Muntho Dhalo can be seen here:

http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/Histo ... henag.html

This flares information is similarly from those who actually investigated the mission in order to ensure the relevant lessons were learnt. Its been many years now and since the information was shared publicly, I see no reason to be hiding it. Anyhow, the Pakistanis have access to various types of MANPADS and CMDS and will know the basic details.

Gupta's information is correct when looked at about the parlous state of the earlier MiG-21s. The import proposal had been set up with a clear operational requirement in the 1980's as these earlier aircraft (unlike the Mirages) did not come with OEM equipped sets (which in any case would have been obsolete) and needed upgrade. AHQ identified several manufacturers but the mandarins at the bureaucratic level sat on the files as these and other upgrades were deemed expensive.

The state in Kargil revealed that upgrades across the IAF were limited and even premier newer airframes had limitations, but which were worked around. Far better than the pathetic condition of the PAF though.

For instance, the Mirage 2000 fleet - commonly perceived to be across the board MR - was anything but, with only a few A2G ordinance qualified, and only limited pilots plus ground crew available for such taskings . And air to ground ordinance was hurriedly sought during Kargil for the Mirage 2000, dug up from IAF stocks, qualified in a hurry and then used to effect.

LGBS were quickly qualified on the Jaguar - combat use was a flop though, leaving the Mirages as the key carrier. Only after Kargil did the fleet become extensively LGB capable.

Incidentally, the perception about Ahuja has always been that he would not have been shot down if he had not made repeated passes to "fix" Nachiketa's position and support him, any which way. That made his flight paths predictable & allowed the Manpads operator to track him successfully and shoot him down.

Ultimately, Ahuja paid the price for his own bravery and esprit de corps. The lack of CMDS did not deter him (and the other escorts) from flying their missions. Usually, they were flying high and fast and MANPADS launched had a miserable success rate.

But as the Su-22 pilots discovered in 1971, repeated passes allow the surface to air weapons operators to target them. In 1971, it was the guns. At Kargil, it was the MANPADS operators.

The lessons have been learnt, and the IAF won't be an easy catch anytime. The PAF on the other hand, or even the PLAAF - they really haven't faced any tough campaign apart from (in the formers case) bombing some ill trained tribals. I doubt whether their pilots or their engineering crew will be able to improvise on the fly when faced with such challenges.

Quote:
The helicopter dived deep and the missile operator lost laser lock.


This could be one of the repetitive issues faced by the RBS-70. For obvious reasons, details are sanitized and I don't expect anyone to come clean about them anytime soon (too many operators). But it does seem this system is not as effective as originally thought, when the Pakistanis hyped it up and claimed it was a sure shot way to deny IAF strikers their airspace at low altitude. At least one of the operators is looking actively to replace their RBS-70 inventory


Last edited by Karan M on 14 Nov 2011 13:13, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: 14 Nov 2011 12:24 
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Karan M wrote:
But as the Su-22 pilots discovered in 1971, repeated passes allow the surface to air weapons operators to target them. In 1971, it was the guns. At Kargil, it was the MANPADS operators.



By any chance was it supposed to be Su-7B and not Su-22??


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PostPosted: 14 Nov 2011 12:32 
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Absolutely right. And it should be Su-7 not Su-22.

I am indeed referring to the Su-7 in IAF service.

http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/Histo ... /Su-7.html

Quote:
Being a relatively large aircraft and continuously exposed, the Su-7 was certainly vulnerable to such concentrated air defence, and many aircraft were recovered to base "peppered", some having sustained extensive damage to wings and fuselage. But for its ruggedness, far more Su-7s would have been written off. Losses were commensurate with the scale of effort, if not below it.


When speaking to ex-Su-7 pilot, what I learnt was since the aircraft could take so much punishment, and IAF pilots were extremely caught up in trying to inflict damage (their blood was up, exact words) - the planes used to take heavy damage as the Pak anti aircraft guns had time to position themselves as the Su-7s made repeated passes.

This is something IAF pilots are now aware of (especially considering Sq Ldr Ahuja's loss).

You make repeated attacks on a target, and the defenders will know. With some of the better sensors we have inducted, we can now attack from afar (range, altitude) and also make a single pass at the target. Even way back in WW2, repeated passes at low level were considered very dangerous, as versus a quick 1-2 strikes and then zoom off.

We also have weapons systems that allow for accurate, precision strikes. Incidentally, Russian A2G stuff is also often reliable and effective. In IAF firepower trials, Russian made ASMs struck the target, time and again!! And with huge effect.

Today, IAF fighters carry upto 500 kg Optical Guided bombs. Also LGBs. Next step is to operationalize INS+GPS/GLONASS guided bombs which the IAF would certainly be looking into.


Last edited by Karan M on 14 Nov 2011 13:02, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: 14 Nov 2011 12:38 
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How things changed after Kargil can also be seen from what happened when the Pakistanis again took over a position on our side of the LoC and attacked an IA patrol. After that initial success, the IAF sent across a couple of Mirage 2000's who LGB'ed the heck out of the Pakistanis and sent them scurrying across the border, post haste. Those who were left alive that is.

Today's IAF can even lase targets with UAVs. And a huge portion is PGM capable (70% of our active fighters). Not like Kargil.


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