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Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Rajiv Lather
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Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby Rajiv Lather » 24 Sep 1999 16:38

Rakesh Koshy<P>I am posting my article 'Mountain Flying' published in 'The Pioneer'.<P>* * *<BR> The Indian Air Force carried out air strikes against the Pakistani infiltrators from the start of the Kargil conflict. The IAF faced great difficulty in carrying out these strikes due to the high altitudes involved and the shape and direction of the mountain ridges near the Line of Control (LOC). The directive of the Indian government not to cross or violate the LOC had further hamstrung the IAF actions. The difficulty was further compounded by the fact that the infiltrators were armed with US made shoulder fired air defense Stinger missiles and Pakistani ANZA missiles. These missiles fitted with infra red seekers are very effective especially in the cold environment of the Kargil sector, as they home on to the hot infra red signature of the jet engine exhaust of the aircraft. The IAF lost three aircraft in this conflict - two were downed by surface-to-air missiles and one due to engine trouble. The intensity and scale of the missile threat can be judged from the fact that the infiltrators reportedly fired more than 100 surface-to-air missiles at our aircraft. The infiltrators were given early warning of the approach of our aircraft by the Pakistani radar across the LOC.<P> The main difficulty faced by the IAF was that the Mig-21, Mig-27, Jaguar and Mirage 2000 are too fast to be used effectively in the terrain of the Kargil sector. The Mi-17 helicopters, which have been improvised as gunships, are too slow and their operational ceiling is approximately 17000 feet thus hampering their effectiveness. Our dedicated helicopter gunships, the Mi-24 and Mi-35 are not able to operate at high altitudes, which makes them useless in the Kargil sector. The Mig-21 and Mig-27 are not fitted with flare dispensers thus making them vulnerable to heat-seeking or infrared missiles. These aircraft thus had to stay above the engagement envelope of the Stinger missiles, which made hitting small targets at high speeds, difficult. None of our above mentioned aircraft, with the exception of Mirage 2000, are fitted with Electronic Counter Measures or ECM to confuse and jam the enemy radar. <P> Our safe bet so far has been the Mirage 2000 multi role fighter, which is fitted with flare dispensers and ECM. This fighter has been able to operate and strike effectively in the hostile environment of the Kargil sector with its laser-guided bombs. But these laser-guided bombs are very expensive and it is not a cost-effective solution to use these bombs to strike at makeshift bunkers having a few infiltrators. The ideal solution is to use laser guided bombs to strike at important targets like command & control posts and supply dumps, and to use rockets, cannons and unguided bombs to strike at the infiltrators and their bunkers. There are also reports that the IAF used special imported kits fitted on the 1000 lb. 'dumb' bombs for accurately hitting difficult targets. While the Mirage 2000 is the ideal platform to launch the laser-guided bombs, it is not very effective in the high altitude terrain of Kargil sector when using its rockets and cannons due to its high speed. This means that while the Mirage 2000 were effective in interdiction missions, they were not as effective in close support missions. For close support missions, to use rockets and cannons effectively against small targets perched on the high and sharp ridges, a slower aircraft is needed, which can locate and strike at these targets without the possibility of straying across the LOC. This is where our Navy's Sea Harriers could have come in. <P> The Harrier is a Short Take Off & Vertical Landing (STOVL) aircraft and the Indian Navy had used it from its two aircraft carriers - INS Viraat and INS Vikrant. Vikrant has since been decommissioned and INS Viraat is in the dry dock at Cochin Shipyard undergoing repairs. Therefore the two squadrons of the Sea Harrier aircraft (more than 16 aircraft) are presently stationed on a naval airbase. The Indian Navy could have made available at least one squadron of Sea Harriers, which was based on the Vikrant, for the operations in the Kargil sector. The Sea Harrier is armed with two 30 mm cannons and can carry 3600 kg of ordnance on its five hardpoints. The weight of ordnance carried is almost comparable with that carried by the Mig-27. The flexibility and versatility of the Harrier aircraft is such that both United States and Britain are using it as a dedicated ground attack fighter - the British version being called the Harrier GR 7 and the US version being called the AV-8B Harrier II. In addition to its air defense role, the Sea Harrier proved its worth as a ground attack fighter, in the Falklands war between Britain and Argentina. The need for an STOVL aircraft is such that the United States and Britain are already developing a follow on STOVL attack aircraft called the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) which will replace the Sea Harriers, the Harrier GR 7 and the AV-8B Harrier II in their inventories. <P> The Sea Harrier can take off with its maximum warload from a 400 m runway. This capability is particularly useful in the mountains where full-length runways are not always available. Due to its thrust- vectoring Pegasus engine it can hover above ground and fly and attack at any required speed. If required, it can land vertically on a helipad and take off from it with a 2000 kg load. Because of the proximity of the war zone to the LOC, our faster aircraft like the Mirage 2000 and Mig-27 had to attack from a particular direction and altitude and were thus prevented from having full freedom of action. The Sea Harriers with their thrust-vectoring engine would have been able to overcome such difficulties. They would have been able to evade the Pakistani radar by using terrain masking and flying low. The Sea Harriers would have been able to attack from many different directions and altitudes thus giving the enemy no respite.<P> One lesson that we have learnt from the Kargil conflict is that the IAF lacks a slow, close support attack aircraft capable of operating effectively in the high altitude or mountainous terrain. To this writer it seems that the ideal way to proceed with the air strikes in the Kargil sector may have been to use the High-Low combination of the Mirage 2000 with the Navy's Sea Harrier. The Mirage 2000 flying at higher altitudes can give protection to the low-flying Sea Harriers while attacking any high value targets with its laser guided bombs. The Sea Harriers flying at lower altitudes could have engaged the smaller targets with cannons, rockets and 'dumb' bombs. The Mirage 2000 could have been used in the 'interdiction' missions while the Sea Harriers in the 'close support' missions. The early use of effective close support fighters in such a terrain could have saved many lives. The Navy had sent a batch of 100 naval commandos and some Dornier electronic surveillance aircraft to the Kargil battlefront. The Indian Navy should have send or offered to send their Sea Harriers. Maybe the inter-service rivalry between the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy regarding the Navy's air arm stopped the IAF from asking Navy's help. Recently the IAF had sent a note to the Defense Ministry suggesting the scraping of Navy's present and future aircraft carriers and utilizing the money so saved to buy additional Su-30 MKIs. The IAF had claimed that with their long range of 3000 km the Su-30s would be able to carry out all missions earmarked for carrier borne Sea Harriers. <P> If the use of Sea Harriers had proved effective in the mountainous terrain, then the IAF could seriously consider for the future, the acquisition of two or three squadrons of Harrier GR 7 or the still-under-development Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). These aircraft can replace the squadrons of aging ground attack Mig-21 fighters. The Harrier GR 7 fighters are capable of night fighting as they are fitted with FLIR. They have a warload of 4900 kg, which includes guided weapons and air-to-air missiles. These fighters, with necessary modifications to operate in high altitude terrain, will prove particularly effective in whole of the mountainous region bordering China and Pakistan, as they will be able to operate from forward airbases with short runways of 500 m length and in extreme situations even from helipads. These Harriers GR7s or the JSFs with their capacity to fly and attack at slow speeds will prove useful in close support role and Counter Insurgency (COIN) operations in Kashmir and the Northeast.<BR>

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby shiv » 24 Sep 1999 16:46

You're not Philip Fowler in disguise are you? If not, where the hell are you Philip?<P>Philip has been saying this ever since the Kargil crisis began.

Rajiv Lather
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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby Rajiv Lather » 24 Sep 1999 17:00

I am not Philip Fowler in disguise! I am a new member. That is why, unfortunately I did not have the good fortune of reading his views on this matter.<BR> <BR>Anyway this article was published on the 4th of Sept. I had written the article about a month earlier and sent it to some other newspaper. That paper did not have the good sense of either publishing it or returning it, So after waiting for a month I got fed up and then sent it to my faithful friend 'The Pioneer' where it was published on the Op-Ed page. <P>I would certainly like to hear from Philip Fowler now! I hope he reads what I have written and give his expert comments. <p>[This message has been edited by Rajiv Lather (edited 24-09-1999).]

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby Kuttan » 24 Sep 1999 18:36

Why is the Harrier any more likely to survive against missiles than any other slow aircraft flying low using high-temperature exhaust jets? <P>The reason why the MiGs and Mirages survived is that the missiles were short-range, shoulder-fired types: their range and altitude were limited, so high-altitude, high-speed attacks worked, to the extent that the weapons worked. <P>At 20,000 feet (actually the equivalent altitude in the Himalays would be about 23,000 feet because of higher temperature and humidity, leading to lower density), the Harrier's performance as a VTOL is not that great. It would be just as easy a target to lock on, well, much easier than a prop-driven plane because the Harrier's thermal signature would be much greater that that of either a helicopter or a prop-driven craft. <P>Not a sitting duck, maybe, but a duck nevertheless. To attribute the absence of Harriers from Kargil to "interservice jealosies" etc. is rather throughtless. <P>"IMHO". Image<BR>

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby Shirish » 24 Sep 1999 18:58

At the time, the harriers were sitting on SCI bulk carriers, in the Arabian Sea

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby shiv » 25 Sep 1999 06:44

Philip?<P>Wakey wakey! Where are you?

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby Philip » 25 Sep 1999 07:27

Awake,awake,Shiv!Yes,the first thought that struck me about the difficulties encountered at Kargil was that of hitting very small targets at that altitude,very close to the LOC,in bad weather,which with conventional aircraft would prove difficult,if not almost impossible.Secondly,the helicopters were being attacked with Stingers and other man portable missiles.<P>The harrier and sea Harrier aircraft would've been our best bet.The capability of the harrier in taking off from very small strips,as well as VTOL take-offs would have allowed it to be used in secure positions close to the battle zones.In Western Europe during the Cold War,British ground attack harriers used to operate out of copses in woods,small clearings etc.These were supported by a small number of vehicles carrying fuel,ammunition and basic maintenance eqpt.During exercises the camouflaged Harriers copuld not be detected by aircraft even after their locations were given.<P>I did speak to a group of service officers at a function,including a very senior naval officer about this idea.He said that the main reason that the Sea Harriers were not being used was that the IAF had not asked for them!He had some reservations about the payload that the aircraft could take after taking off vertically.He also said that the Sea Harrier could comfortably take on any air opposition in defending itself.The IAF oficers also felt that since the missions ppeared to be successful,the Harriers weren't needed.<P>Another reason as to why the Sea Harriers were not used is the fact that the IN was operating in the Arabian Sea in a very high profile manner.The Sea Harriers were being used there to provide a defence against enemy air attacks,based on variety of unconventional naval platforms,so we are told,as the Viraat was not available.The IN has only one squadron of Sea Harriers and they would've all been needed during the crisis.My gut feeling is that the IAF would not have wanted to avckonwledge that the Navy could do a better job!Supporting my hunch is the reports that the Indian Army finally succeeded in destroying the enemy's positions by using it's Bofors guns firing in a flat trajectory,instead of a parabolic trajectory.This reminds me of the use of anti-aircraft artillery being used as anti-tank weapons by the Germans(Rommel?)in WW2.<P>Anyway,both the IAF and the Army did the trick finally.However I still feel that we lost an opportunity to use the harriers.I have felt for at least two deacdes that the IAF have needed the harriers particularly in the mountains,Kashmir, etc,where there is a great difficulty in providing or establishing full fledged air bases in remote areas.The Harriers unique capabilities would've worked exceedingly well.take for instance the british experience.The RN is now consolidating all the Sea Harriers and ground attack versions into a joint embarked air asset aboard it's aircraft carriers.The future new carriers for the RN will in all probability use advanced vectored thrust aircraft such as the JSF.The virtues of vectored thrust are only now being taken advantage of ,including the IAF with it's Sukhoi-30MKI buy,by air forces world wide.In this,the Harrier has and still is the best example.No other aircraft can match it's unique capabilities.<P>Perhaps inter-service rivalry played it's part.For many,many years the IAF tried everything to prevent the navy from acquiring the Sea Harriers -that's a fact.To have now turned to the Navy for the help of it's Sea Harriers would've been the ultimate example of eating one's cap!

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby Ved » 25 Sep 1999 08:41

In addition to what Salman has said (and which I agree with), I feel Phillip has some facts wrong. The IAF did not ask for the Harrier because this fighter is OK at sea level, but would have been helpless at that kind of altitude. A harrier cannot hover, or "viff" (ie, use its thrust vectoring ) above about 10,000 ft, even clean. <P> I apparently didnt make myself clear in my article on air ops in Kargil, when I mentioned the difficulties of target acquisition. The combination of contrast and shading meant that even the photo-interpreters on the ground could (and did!) stare at a pic for almost an hour before making out that they were looking at a bunker! Speed is not the point here.<P> The article makes a few mistakes, like<P>1. The Pakis werent warned as much by their own radars, as by their chums sitting with Iridium phones outside Srinagar airbase, watching our fighters take off.<P>2. The MiG-27 carries 4 tons and has 7 stations. The Harrier can carry a fraction - in air defence configuration, they have a limited radius of 190 kms.<P>3. Its the gravest of mistakes to take the Falklands as an example - the Super Etendards came in already critically short of gas, so shooting them down was no big deal. As for ground attack, the Harriers were used only because the UK had nothing else. Their desperation can be measured by the fact that they even went to extraordinary lengths to bomb Stanley airstrip by a Victor/Vulcan combination, apart from the political message involved.<P> In short, the Harrier would have been a misfit, and sound judgement prevented it being used in Kargil.

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby Rajiv Lather » 25 Sep 1999 15:39

Ved,<P> Regarding your first point abour spies with Iridium phones ourside Srinagar airbase. This is one more reason to use Harriers because they wouldn't have needed Srinagar airbase!<P> Regarding your second point I think you are mistaken. While the warload of Mig-27 is 4 tons that of Harriers is 3.7 tons. Try Jane's Handbook on combat aircraft. Also they wouldn't have been in air defence configuration for the simple reason that PAF fighters were not taking us on. <P> Regarding the third point I had not mentioned the Harriers' success as a air defence fighter, but in the ground attack role. It was this success in the Falklands war in their ground attack role that prompted and encouraged the US Marines as well as the Britishers to develop the dedicated ground attack versions called the AV-8B and Harrier GR respectively.<P> Also please remember that the kind of close support demanded by the Army was refused by the IAF. Look at the casualties suffered by our Army. Where was the IAF when the intruders sitting on higher altitudes were taking heavy toll of our brave soldiers? There was no opposition to our fighters' operations from the PAF. What sort of close support the Army can expect from the IAF in the high altitudes, when in addition to the SAMs, there will be PAF fighters in the air? If the example of Kargil is anything to go by, then unfortunately the answer is 'none'.<P> I am not suggesting that Harriers would have solved all our problems. But only that we should have tried them out. And if the experiment was successful then maybe we could have gone in for the advanced ground attack version for the future.<P> Who are the best judge of he Harrier's suitability in the Kargil sector? They are the pilots and operators of the Indian Navy. <BR>The real issue is:<BR> <BR> Did the IAF seek Navy's help or advice about Harrier's suitability?<P> And according to Philip Fowler the answer is NO! <BR>

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby ramana » 25 Sep 1999 22:01

Guys, Keep up the quality of discussion. Iam proud of the forum that we can engage in the high quality of discussion. This definitely beats any place on Internet and the print meidum any day. Thanks for the info.

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby vram » 26 Sep 1999 02:42

Doesn't the Harriers come with flare & chaff dispensers? If yes, wouldn't that offset its higher IR signature, and with ECM support from Mirage 2000, would it be a feasible platform for kargil type air operations?<P>Salman & Co objections regarding few number of harriers and their "high" cost, doesn't cut. The Mirage 2000 are also expensive and were used. Can you put a price on the lives that could have been saved on the ground if Harriers could have been used successfully??<P> Moreover, losing a few Harriers is not a big deal; we are losing 2.5 aircrafts a month in peace time. We anyway need to buy the upgraded version of the Harriers to keep them viable against the match up TSP has for them.<p>[This message has been edited by vram (edited 25-09-1999).]

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby Ved » 26 Sep 1999 08:59

Rajiv,<P>"This is one more reason to use Harriers because they wouldn't have needed Srinagar airbase!" Do you suggest that they would have been safer operating from any of the forward camps? Dras? Kargil? Operating from flat open terrain, prepared with PSP, precisely located to a 6 figure lat-long to align the fighter's nav systems, all within artillery/visual range of the enemy? ANYWHERE except a protected IAF base, considering even the BSF/Army goes in pairs and armed in Srinagar city?!<P>"Also they wouldn't have been in air defence configuration for the simple reason that PAF fighters were not taking us on." I only mentioned AD config because it is the lightest; even so, the Harrier has a limited range/radius.<P> "It was this success in the Falklands war in their ground attack role that prompted and encouraged the US Marines as well as the Britishers to develop the dedicated ground attack versions called the AV-8B and Harrier GR respectively." The point is, what has the Harrier got that existing fighters in OP SAFEDSAGAR did not have? Incidentally, it was not the prowess of the Harrier in the Falklands that prompted the development of the AV-8 (I think the timing does not support this, either), but the fact that the AV-8 was developed for one contingency - the Air-Land Battle Concept, location - the PLAINS of western Europe.<P> "Also please remember that the kind of close support demanded by the Army was refused by the IAF." Try and understand - this is NOT an emotional issue. Initially, the Army wanted ONLY armed helicoptrs, which the IAF refused - given the environment, choppers would need to be integrated/preceded with fixed-wing attacks, to keep the heads of the enemy down. Using fixed-wing would risk an escalation, and all the IAF asked was that such use be cleared by the Govt after considering all the facts. It was THIS clearance that took time coming. The IAF never refused to help - but insisted that air power be used correctly, and thank heaven for that!<P> Incidentally, I have noticed a general tendency to assume that the IAF did not pitch in to their fullest extent - this assumption is usually based on quoted casualty figures of the Army vs the 5 aircrew that the IAF lost. Arent we being a little myopic? This is not the Charge of the Light Brigade! While not for a moment minimising the sacrifice made by the 500+ soldiers who died, it would be a little too much to expect a display of patriotism/solidarity by trying to match casualties! (In air force terms, remember, one life lost usually means an aircraft with it, as well as a depletion in the already meagre stock of skilled pilots)<BR><p>[This message has been edited by Ved (edited 25-09-1999).]

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby Philip » 27 Sep 1999 00:26

To recap on what I've said,it appears that no one asked for the Harriers to be tried in Kargil.The reasons given are relevant to the then situation.The IN had it's own agenda and ops taking place in the Arabian Sea and we don't have too many Harriers as well.However an opportunity was missed,perhaps due to the fact that the IAF probably has not realised the usefulness of the Harriers which are used by many nations,the USMC,RAF,RN,Thai,Spanish navies apart from the IN.<P>Secondly,I'm not suggesting that the Harriers should b placed where they can be easily found for terrorists to take them out!There is a lot of space in India where we could park Harriers in the same way that they were used in Europe.However I still stand by what I've said about the IAF attempting in the past to clip the wings of the IN's Fleet Air Arm.It's common knowledge.Inter service rivalry exists and let's accept the fact.It's for each service to lobby hard to get what it thinks it needs.A holistic approach to the country's defence is most important which would put much of the rivalry behind us.Not too long ago we had a debate on theatre commands etc.There was a report in the Hindu that Gen.Malik was expecting to be named the CDS after Kargil,but he is losing support from the media which is supposed to be close to the govt.Leaving aside the personalities involved,I feel that we do need a revolution in our defence thinking and planning in order that we can prepare for the coming new threats in the next few decades.Our strategic and tactical thinking on many issues seems to be dated and is not taking into account the coming revolution in military warfare in the 21st century.For example,there is very little debate or discussion within the ccuntry at all on Bio-Chem warfare.

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby Pennathur » 27 Sep 1999 15:46

*Iridium phones out of Srinagar!!! No way. IRIDIUM and IMARSAT satellites switched off their beams over Kashmir dui\ring the war. I dunno if it's back. More likely your friendly neighborhood STD/ISD operator or better still the link over to a (GSM) Cellphone.<P>*Phillip, talking of IN/IAF rivalry-Lal claimed that IAF kept out the senior/premier service tussle just after independence, while the IA and IN fought it out! But of course there's a lot of tussles all the time. But correspondents like this guy in the Pioneer have it wrong. Every force has some control of sorts over institutions and services. As you know Army controls, NDA, DSSC and NDC Delhi. Air Force controls AFA (which has an inter-service department) and FITS. Navy by and large appears to be into the tech business and people management, InfoWarfare secure communications (which institutions?) Inter-service cooperation is well set in our Forces. It starts right at the S/l//Maj.//Lt.Cdr. level at Staff College. A good number of officers having spent time together can't possibly be behaving crudely. But with so little money to go around, and no independent representation possible by any of the three forces, it's a classic blind-man's-buff. If indeed inter-service rivalry were so acute, how come the Navy has had some of the most capital-intensive projects going? SeaBird, NAval Academy, ADS etc.<P>*Phillip, the RAF had a tough childhood. After the 1st WW, the generals and the admirals tried their best to absorb the RAir Service into their respective forces. If not for ACM Hugh Trenchard it would have happened. Surely you must be knowing about the Bismarck incident. The RN Admirals tried their darndest to prevent the RN's Swordfish from dropping their torpedos and even fired at their own aircraft. You see they wanted to sink the Bismarck with their 19/21/31/41 inchers!!!

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby Pennathur » 27 Sep 1999 15:50

*Iridium phones out of Srinagar!!! No way. IRIDIUM and IMARSAT satellites switched off their beams over Kashmir dui\ring the war. I dunno if it's back. More likely your friendly neighborhood STD/ISD operator or better still the link over to a (GSM) Cellphone.<P>*Phillip, talking of IN/IAF rivalry-Lal claimed that IAF kept out the senior/premier service tussle just after independence, while the IA and IN fought it out! But of course there's a lot of tussles all the time. But correspondents like this guy in the Pioneer have it wrong. Every force has some control of sorts over institutions and services. As you know Army controls, NDA, DSSC and NDC Delhi. Air Force controls AFA (which has an inter-service department) and FITS. Navy by and large appears to be into the tech business and people management, InfoWarfare secure communications (which institutions?) Inter-service cooperation is well set in our Forces. It starts right at the S/l//Maj.//Lt.Cdr. level at Staff College. A good number of officers having spent time together can't possibly be behaving crudely. But with so little money to go around, and no independent representation possible by any of the three forces, it's a classic blind-man's-buff. If indeed inter-service rivalry were so acute, how come the Navy has had some of the most capital-intensive projects going? SeaBird, NAval Academy, ADS etc.<P>*Phillip, the RAF had a tough childhood. After the 1st WW, the generals and the admirals tried their best to absorb the RAir Service into their respective forces. If not for ACM Hugh Trenchard it would have happened. Surely you must be knowing about the Bismarck incident. The RN Admirals tried their darndest to prevent the RN's Swordfish from dropping their torpedos and even fired at their own aircraft. You see they wanted to sink the Bismarck with their 19/21/31/41 inchers!!!

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby Rajiv Lather » 27 Sep 1999 15:53

Chaithanya,<P> In the Navy the Harriers are regarded as multi role fighters. That is, they are supposed to do both jobs; that of fleet air defence and also in the ground attack role. Therefore the anwser to your question is - Yes. But I am doubtful that they have trained for ground attack missions in high altitude areas.<P> According to press reports the number of SAMs fired at our fighters exceeded 100. If somebody has more accurate figures please let us know. The number of stingers fired out of the total figure is also not clear.<P><BR>Ved,<P> Out of all those helipads, which our choppers are using in Kashmir, how many of them have been attacked and how many choppers have we lost in such attacks? According to my knowledge the answer is - NONE. Now the question to you and your friends is why will the Harriers be at any special risk flying from such places when our choppers have been doing so for such a long time? <P> Regarding your second point about having limited range/radius, I have not been advocating to use them from Chandigarh or Ambala! And they were not to be used in deep interdiction strikes. They only had to give close support to the Army in our own territory!! How does limited range have any bearing in this context?<P> Regarding your third point about 'what the Harriers have got which the other fighters did'nt have' - I think you already know the answer. The answer is very simple - The Harriers have STOVL and thrust vectoring. They have flexibility of speed - they can fly slow, they can fly fast, and they can hover. Here I stress again, this extra capability is so important that the US and UK are jointly developing a new aircraft, the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), which will have exactly this very extra capability for ground attack role. <P> As for your last point, the IAF did give whole hearted support but only in the INTERDICTION ROLE! What about close support for our soldiers? Are you suggesting that the IAF provided satisfactory close support to the Army? Ask any of the Army officers who were there. They may give some very enlightning clues to you. At this moment I am sitting in a place which is very near to Chandigarh. The news I hear is very different from what you are suggesting. <P><BR>Salman,<P>Point by point reply to your poser as desired by you<P> 1. The Harriers are not slow flying! They only fly slow when you want them to. Their IR signature is not greater than that of any other fighter with jet engines. Just becuse their engine nozzles can swivel, that does not make the IR signature brighter.<P> 2. True. We have only about 20 harriers available. But they were not purchased for display purposes. They were purchased to be used in the defence of our country. When the need arises, we just cannot afford to keep them away from where they are recquired by giving reasons like - they are so few or they are so expensive. Why did we buy them then? Moreover my main point was that we should have tried them out. Even four or five aircraft could have been sent. The adavantages and disadvantages of using a STOVL aircraft like Harrier in a terrain such as in Kargil, would have become clearer. I myself remember hearing in at least two press briefings - that were held daily in N Delhi - the IAF officer saying that the IAF was facing great difficulty due to the high speed of our fighters. Did they then ask for Navy's help? They didn't because the IAF is very unhappy about Navy's aircraft carriers and its air arm.<P> 3. True. The Sea Harriers are not dedicated ground attack aircraft. But I again repeat they are also not dedicated air defence or counter air fighters. In Indian Navy their role is twofold. Fleet air defence as well as ground attack. Remember how the air complement of INS Vikrant was used in East Pakistan in 1971 war.<P> 4. Your first point is true. As far as I know the IN has not trained for operations in such terrain. But I do not agrree to your point about them being venerable to terrorists. Please read my reply to Ved. <P> 5. Regarding Falklands War the Harriers had a lot of work to do. Because as you rightly say they were employed in both the roles - fleet defence as well as ground attack. But in the Kargil sector they were certainly not recquired for air defence role. They could have been armed totally in the ground attack configuration and their use would have been concentraded on such particular missions which our fast fighters as well as the choppers were finding difficult to handle. Then they would certainly have made a big difference.<P>Now to all of you - please don't take it personally - Take all our Harriers and dump them into the sea, but give us back the lives of all those 400+ soldiers. We can buy more Harriers but we cannot bring back those who are dead.

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby Peeyoosh » 27 Sep 1999 16:48

Rajiv<P>Actually the IAF made it clear that it was strongly opposed to using its aircraft as "flying guns" for extensive close in support. I assume that the same logic would hold true for the IN air fleet. Air power would be used against higher value targets as was done. For those, I wonder if a Harrier would have made too much difference.<P>Lives are precious, to those in uniform, if anything, more than us I guess, so if such a decision was taken, it was done with sufficient reason I presume.<P>A couple of other points, operating at altitudes of above 15,000 feet, the effectiveness of hovering, VTOL is much in doubt. At those altitudes, even heavy choppers don't quite cut it. what was felt by the planners was that aircraft with high levels of reserve power capable of quick acceleration were the most relevant.<P>On IR signatures, in a hover mode, the HArriers exhausts point down, making a it a nice lovely hi altitude/cold weather IR based MANPAD target. That is a problem. It is also a slow aircraft (max speed of around 1000 kmph at sea level, much reduced at higher altitudes), enhancing vulnerability.<P>Finally, the IAF using Mig 21s and Mi-17 did try rocketing of the Pukis in the intital phases of the campaign. It did not really work. The reasons range from snow absorbing the blast impact and the sharpnel to the accuracy problems in high declination locations.<P>Thanks<P>Peeyoosh

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby Philip » 28 Sep 1999 08:59

The Sea Harriers in IN service are designated as FRS-1.Fighter, Reconnaissance,Strike.In TRIAMPH-99,the amphibious exercises held earlier this year,the Sea harriers were used in attacking mock targets ashore in support of ground troops.The USMC uses thier Harriers exclusively for that role.FRS-2 Sea Harriers in UK service have improved radar abd BVR capabilities apart from other improvements with respect to weapon load,airframe,range etc.These were based upon the US manufactured version's improvements.The Harrier is a true multi-role aircraft with unique vectored thrust capabilities which gives it maouuverability unmatched by any aircraft in service worldwide and even those vectored thrust aircraft planned,which only have multi-axis thrust vectoring nozzles at the rear.Anyone who has seen a Harrier perform it's feat of even flying backwards will know what it can do.This give it incredible capabilities of dodging incoming missiles when compared with other aircraft.This does not make it invincible though!Harriers have been shot down by ground fire.

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby Johann » 28 Sep 1999 09:02

The F.R. 51's Blue Fox was acceptable back in the 70's when it was designed; it's air to ground modes were poor by the same token. They are multirole only in the crudest sense. Even in the Falkland war it was RAF G.R. 3s that were used for CAS, rather than the RN F.R. 1's. The RN Harriers flew CAP<P> You have strike pilots trained foor this sort of mission; you have strike aircraft designed for this kind of mission; why exactly do you need the Harrier? The IAF was not conducting strafing missions. Their needed something capable of route planning and precision delivery, with plenty of juice that could turn and burn in a hostile environment, not a gunship to hover are pour fire. There was no requirement for nap of the earth flying either. The IAF may have needed a couple of slaps before it remembered the need for countermeasures, but after that point there were no declared losses. What some of you seem to be asking for is an AC-130 spooky, not a Harrier.<P> Naraynan, you do this for a living, can you please work out for everyone's benefit what exactly the maximum warload on a Harrier flying from the Leh airfield (which I assume was the nearest logistical centre to the action) would have been, accounting for Pressure Altitude and relative humidity?<BR>

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby Johann » 28 Sep 1999 09:44

You're still asking for a gunship; the Sea Harrier just doesn't have the kind of endurance you're asking for, especially if it's carrying a decent load; even if it did, the issue has more to do with the kind of ordnance for the task at hand. I'm assuming you have supply interdiction in mind; targets will most likely be supply columns strung out from 1/8 to 1 mile at most through gullys between ridges; supplies are often going t be moved under cover of darkness, so you're platform must be capable of night attack. Aircraft are not going to be hanging around on station, looking for targets. Intelligence attempts to determine the supply routes, determine the timetable and then with either with UAV's or inserted FAC's to provide realtime updates you try and give them a pasting.<P>Cluster munitions, napalm perhaps even runway denial wepons to sow bomblets would all work fine irrespective of the agility of the aircraft. The other option is aerial and arty. sowed AP mines. You still don't <I>need</I> the Harrier.<BR><p>[This message has been edited by Johann (edited 27-09-1999).]

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby Peeyoosh » 28 Sep 1999 09:57

Johann<P>I suspect a lot of folks want the Harriers not just for eliminating supply columns, but for actual frontline support (strafing, rocketing etc.) against bunkers, stronpoints. Essentially replacing the role played by armoured support in a land campaign.<P>I do not see the above as a viable mission profile for any modern aircraft.<P>On using the Harrier for operations carried out by the Mirages/Migs (which is what I feel Phillip has in mind), I just feel that the Harrier is more vulnerable and does not offer that much more in terms of capability to make it worthwhile.<P>Peeyoosh<P>Am beginnig to get a good feel of what a trip on a mobius strip feels like Image<P>

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby Johann » 28 Sep 1999 10:13

<BR>Peyoosh, if that's what they expect from CAS, it's pretty silly. IA troops were at all times operating within arty. range, and I'm sure each company had it's own mortar platoon (they ought to). That's about all the firepower a grunt has immediate need for, unless of course you're facing enemy armour and/or massed attack. <P><p>[This message has been edited by Johann (edited 27-09-1999).]

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby Rajiv Lather » 28 Sep 1999 13:56

Hi I am back again! I feel sort of guilty having started this exercise again. But let me tell you guys, now it is getting really interesting.<P>I have heard a lot about Harriers performance being not opto the mark in the Gulf War. So I went back and did some reading. So Ved, Salman and Piyoosh, listen to this! <P>* * * * <BR>Here is what US Marine Core (USMC) Deputy Chief of Staff Lt Gen Carl Mundy Jr, had to say about the AV-8B. I quote him exactly<P>"The Harrier AV-8B is a Marine Commander's dream come true with regard to close air support...The way we have structured the AV-8B gives us an airplane that we can operate literally right behind a hill or in a parking lot. When you need him he can come in fast and can go back and load up some more without having to go 150 miles rear to a fixed air base...We have in the Harrier an airplane, able to operate immediately adjacent to the battle, that is the most responsive close air support aircraft in the world..." <P>Now it is me talking:<P>It looks to me that there is some confusion in understanding the difference between the close support mission and the interdiction mission. Basically air forces are supposed to carry out four main missions in addition to recon. They are Air Defence (AD), Deep Interdiction (DI), Battle Air interdiction (BAI) and Close Air Support (CSA). <P>What is close air support (CAS)?<P>According to the USAF it is <P>"Attack by aircraft on hostile ground targets which are so close to friendly forces that they recquire detailed integration of every mission into the fire and movement of those forces."<P>And other strike mission are of two types - 'Deep interdiction' against high value strategic targets deep inside enemy territory and 'battlefield air interdiction' (BAI). The USAF defines BAI as<P>"A mission closely related closely to the CAS but distinct from it. BAI consists of attacks on reinforcements and supplies joining the battle; it recquires deeper penentration than front-line CAS, and because the targets are further from the friendlies, the risk of fratricide is less."<P>And it is precisely this reason - the close proximity of the friendly forces to the enemy in the CAS mission that a slower aircraft is recquired as compared to the Deep interdiction and the Battlefield Air Interdiction missions. You should be able to diffrentiate between the friendly forces and the enemy targets. You need to exactly pinpoint and identify the target before engaging it. That is why the USAF and the USMC use slower aircraft for the CAS missions - A-10, AV-8B and the Apache choppers. Because the choppers are useless in combat at the altitudes of more than 15000 ft they have to be ruled out in the Kargil type terrain. <P>Here is what Lt Col Barry Ford, who commanded a squadron of USMC AH-1W SuperCobra choppers, in the Desert Storm had to say<P>"The key to CAS is the startling revelation that you cannot kill a target unless you can see it. The other key is that you cannot shoot the target just because you see it. You also have to be able to positively identify it, and 99 percent sure is not enough." <P>Now my friends answer this question - In the CAS role, could the fast flying Mirage 2000s, Mig-21s and Mig-27s see the targets, leave alone identify them?<BR> <BR>In the Kargil conflict only two types of missions were recquired of the IAF. The battlefield air interdiction (BAI) and the Close air support (CAS). Because of the directive of the Govt not to cross the LOC, the deep interdiction missions were completely ruled out. The very important point that I am making is that while the IAF was reasonably successful in the BAI missions, it completely failed to come upto the Army's expectations in the CAS mission. <P>The main reason being that the IAF did not have an aircraft suitable for the CAS role in the Kargil area. The choppers like Mi-24/35 that the IAF has earmarked for the close support role were not capable of operating in such high altitudes. In the few missions where the Mirage 2000s were able to engage targets close to the friendly forces, the targets were illuminated by the Army using the ground based laser designators. These type of operations take time to plan, while CAS means quick response something like 30 to 75 minutes. The Army soldiers while climbing towards their targets were being attacked by rockets and HMGs, they wanted quick response and not missions which will take one of two days to plan and execute. Moreover not all enemy targets can be illuminated by ground designators. <P>Does that mean that for the present and the future, the Army can forget about CAS from the IAF in the high altitude battlefields? <P>Now about the casualties suffered by the Harriers in the Gulf War. In operation Desert Storm, five AV-8Bs were lost to SAMs out of a total of 86 deployed. But this figure has to be taken and understood along with the fact that they were flying at lower altitudes than all the other fighters. They were flying low and using their cannons and rockets. <P>The allocation of CAS resources was also a problem in Desert Storm. While the Choppers and AV-8Bs were able to respond quickly, the response time of other fixed wing aircraft was two to three days. The Choppers were also able to counter the SAMs by using nap-of-the-earth (NOE) tactics. A chopper in NOE is a difficult target because it denies the missile's seeker the blue-sky backround. The importance of the slow speed aircraft is shown by the fact that there was only one chopper-to-ground fratricide; that too in blowing sand at night. In comparision there were at least five cases of fratricide in which faster fighters were involved. The experience of Desert Storm shows that not only the choppers and AV-8Bs were able to respond much faster to Army's requests for CAS; they were also better able to see and identfy the enemy targets. The need for slow moving CAS aircraft was such that the USAF used AC-130 gunships (they are modified Hercules four turboprop aircraft) in such roles. In the battle for Khafji on the night of 30-31 January, AC-130s were able to destroy close to 50 vehicles on the ground. <P>As far as IR seeking SAMs is concerned, if the Harrier is on the same or lower altitude than the target and facing toward it then the IR signature it shows to the target is very small and then it will be difficult for such missiles to acquire and then lock on to the plane. We should remember that in Kargil in most of the places the enemy was sitting right on top on the ridges and we were down below and climbing up. In such a terrain with sharp high ridges, the Harrier could have sneaked in close to the targets in between the hills and flying as low as possible. At all times when they were lower than the enemy on the ridges and facing them; they possibly could not have been engaged by their missiles.<P>The high IR signature in the hover mode which is being talked about - who asked the Harrier pilots to hover right on top of the enemy positions - and say come on take me out? I have been to a place in Himachal Pradesh twice which has a terrain somewhat similar to the one in Kargil. I think the Harriers can quite possibly fly between the hills keeping their altitude lower than that of the enemy positions. <P>It is not necessary for them to try and fry the eyeballs of Pakis with their exhausts!!

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby Rajiv Lather » 28 Sep 1999 14:40

Salman,<P>Sorry I didn't reply to your points earlier, I was in a hurry at that time. Anyway regarding what you have said:<P>"CAS in general is correctly tasked to the AF in terms of having to deal with high value targets"<P>Since when CAS has been associated with high value targets? CAS by its very name means support to the Army on the ground. All targets pointed out by the Army on the ground are important in the CAS role! Please read my reply posted just earlier in which I have tried to differentiate between the different types of air force missions.

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby Peeyoosh » 28 Sep 1999 20:41

Rajiv<P>Good stuff. My quick comments.<P>1. CAS against enemy armour is an accepted concept, but CAS against bunkers? Not sure if the Harrier folks are trained for it or if the IN/IAF will consider it a fair mission profile.<P>2. Still maintain the Harrier in a hover mode, with downdraft is a vulerable MANPAD target. To engage the Harrier would have to come above the target. Remember Ved maintains that the hover mode is not very effective at heights of 10,000 feet +.<P>3. The US Marines have integrated their Harriers so closely into the Air Support role because during quick overseas deployement arty and armour take time to transport and come with a huge logistics chain. The HArrier can operate from rough and ready airfields, and, in fact is used as a "flying gun" against enemy armour and strongpoints.<P>4. The IN was planning deployment of the Harriers vs. Karachi.<P>5. your quote on CAs engagements requiring Mk1 eyeball tracking seem to indicate you would want the Harriers to go in low and slow with thrust vectored downwards over targets that are largely troops with MANPADS. Not sure that sort of mission profile would win too many harrahs in the HArrier pilot mess!<P>These are the reasons we believe that the Harrier was not used by the IA.<P>Guess we can agree to disagree on this one.<P>By the way, as an aside, the IA's preferred route seems to be to acquire Copperhead type laser guided arty shells. That would be an effective way to eliminate a machine gun nest or a sanger, and in comparison to an air strike, cost effective. Its also quick resonse. <P>Maybe the IA should test it out in Siachen.<P>Peeyoosh<p>[This message has been edited by peeyoosh chadda (edited 28-09-1999).]

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby Johann » 28 Sep 1999 22:26

Chaitanya: As far as what's available to me the IAF performed sort-of-but-not-quite-CAS; I'd call it DI on a proportionately smaller scale. IAF targets were indeed bunkers, but they tended to be Command Posts, storage depots and small encampments that were not immediate IA objectives. I'd like to point out that these are fixed targets, that were picked out from aerial photographs, rather than targets of oppurtunity; the DI mission. I still don't see what uniquely qualifies the Harrier for the mission. Please don't compare AV-8b and the FRS 51; they have nothing in common beyond common lineage and the same basic design. the Av-8b through AV-8b II plus are all weather, night attack qualified, can carry a much a larger load and has longer legs than the FRS 51. The best way to decribe the USMC Harriers is a marriage of the FA2 and GR7 Harriers without any penalties. What you're doing is comparing apples and oranges.<P><BR> Artillery provided the indirect fire for assault teams. It's already been ackwnowledged that the IAF did attempt CAS for front line troops because of the inability of arty to destroy some targets. By the end of the campaign arty. officers realised that if they concentrated and sustained all available firepower on a given target they could effectively destroy even the most persistant of structures; at the very least they forced the mujaheddin to keep their heads down until the assault teams made the final dash. There was a piece to this effect in the archives, I'm sure you can find it.

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby Rajiv Lather » 29 Sep 1999 12:30

Peeyosh, Salman<P>Thanks<P>* * * *<P>For all of you<P>One last thing which I had overlooked earlier. Somewhere in this post I had been called a correspondent!! Let me clarify "I am not a correspondent". I have only written two articles which were published in 'The Pioneer.' I consider myself as a student of Defence Sciences and related material. I do this as a hobby and nothing else. (By the way I didn't get paid for those articles.)<P>Further I had written those two articles only because I feel strongly about these two subjects. The purpose was not to get them published just for the sake of it. But to try and get some anwers for myself. I certainly am no expert so please do not take seriously whatever I say in this forum. But I do like to ask questions which trouble me and I will continue to do so in the future. <p>[This message has been edited by Rajiv Lather (edited 29-09-1999).]

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby Peeyoosh » 29 Sep 1999 13:40

Confucius sez : Better to ask questions that trouble others. Image<P>Usually more fun.

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby VKumar » 29 Sep 1999 16:15

<BR>Why did we not use the Jaguar? It would be definitely better platform than the Harrier,<BR>it is two seater, especially designed for ground attack and so on.

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby Ved » 30 Sep 1999 08:01

Chaitanya,<BR>"They are all written by armchair strategists. "<BR>I wouldnt bet on that.

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby Ved » 30 Sep 1999 08:33

Chaithanya (sorry for mispelling your name last post),<P>lets take these questions.<P>"Why did IAF not provide traditional CAS ?" because traditional CAS was just not possible to fly in that terrain. Just one aspect is the effect on vertically undulating terrain on weapon accuracy. Take the MiG-27. Results achieved were as per the manufacturer's specs, which was about 20 meters for a stick of bombs, very accurate for runways, marshalling yards and other traditional targets of air power. Remember, a stick comprises bombs released 0.25 seconds apart - 8 bombs released at a speed of 900 kmph would cover 8x60=480meters on the ground. In vertically undulating terrain, a miss of 10 yards could result in the bomb going into the next valley and hitting the ground 2000 feet below - more importantly, about a km away, as linear distances go! Close air support in that situation would be dangerous for our own troops.<P>1. What is the role of the IAF ? The basic role of the IAF is to conduct the air campaign, which is independent of but in coordination with the ground/sea campaign. Kargil clearly brought out the supremacy of interdiction targets against CAS (what the IAF calls BAS, or battlefield Air Strike). CAS assumes a relatively minor role - NOT because CAS is unimportant, but because with the kind of force structure we can afford, the IAF has to prioritise air effort.<P>2. Was ever such a battle planned for ? I dont think so, not seriously.<P>3. Did India use the resources at it’s disposal optimally ? I think so - except soldiers, who were wasted in stupid, blundering decicision failures.<P>4. Would the Harriers have performed better than the MiGs ? At that altitude? No way.<P>5. Most people on this forum have been asking for a high altitude chopper for Kargil. In this case would one place the Harrier in<BR>between the choppers & the MiGs in terms of CAS caps ? To start with, there is no such beast as a "high altitude chopper", and advocating one is wishful thinking.<P>6. Would we have reduced the ammo wastage that has been reported because of the “high speed” misses ? The missies were not so much due to high s[eed as high altitude. See Q-1.<P> Lastly, each days operations and targeting was jointly decided by GOC/BGS 15 Corps and the IAF - all targets were on the request of the Army. Your friends at Chandigarh were understandably peeved that they didnt ee IAF aircraft, but that is a Command decision. You cant please everyone, and soldiers at the front dont have the big pic.<BR> <BR>

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby Rajiv Lather » 30 Sep 1999 13:18

Ved<P>"Why did IAF not provide traditional CAS?" because traditional CAS was just not possible to fly in that terrain.<P>Still doesn't answer my question. We have an extrwmely long mountainous border with both Pak and China.<P>What are we going to do about CAS in such areas for the future? IAF just cannot say since it is very difficult to provide CAS, try to do without it.

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby Ved » 30 Sep 1999 21:31

Rajiv,<P> Get real... if something is not possible, some way has to be found around it. The Army is affected, so also is the AF. Its not a question of ducking responsibility - every red blooded soldier/airman/sailor wants the best so he can do HIS best... is he given it? The point is, there is a way out of this mess, but it costs money.<P> Speaking of which, the MOD is back to business as usual. Today, they returned a file with a proposal for 3 pilots to attend a seminar in London, on night vision devices...reason? "Paucity of funds"

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby Ved » 30 Sep 1999 22:03

Chaithanya,<BR>"I don't expect "real" strategists to visit this forum & talk about the "truth" "<P>Again, you'll be surprised!!

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby Peeyoosh » 30 Sep 1999 22:13

Hans<P>SABCA vs. a lighly armoured chopper (Say the ALH) - any advantages?<P>PC

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby Johann » 30 Sep 1999 22:32

To echo Ved, some of us have real world knowlege and experience that we choose to share here. It's not lint from the navel.<P> Peyoosh it's the usual trade offs for the SABCA <P>longer legs+ greater useful payload+ greater survivability Vs. higher cost + lower flexibility + greater logistical complications<P>It comes down to what best suits the requirements of Army and AF doctrines really. <BR>There is of course the issue of politics. In most NATO countries for example, the only combat aircraft the army operates are rotary, while fixed wing combat a/c are reserved for the Air Force. Armies in general prefer to rely as little as possible on AF's, and since they're not going to get fixed-wings, they go in for choppers when they have the funds available. If the AF is eager to participate in the CAS role, and have the funds to spare they get what they can. <P> The ALH unless it is redesigned as a dedicated gunship probably isn't going to be more than a utility aircraft, at most armed for self defense or some sort of limited escort role for other ALH's. Certainly not to be used in the same role as say a Hawk LIFT.<BR><p>[This message has been edited by Johann (edited 30-09-1999).]

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby Ved » 01 Oct 1999 07:42

Johann,<P>"The ALH unless it is redesigned as a dedicated gunship...."<BR>That will be a major job. The ALH is grossly underpowered, which explains the lukewarm response from the AF. The Army wants to use it as an armed chopper, though.

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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby Rajiv Lather » 01 Oct 1999 13:35

Ved, Johann<P>Continuing where Chaithanya has left. The real world is a multi dimensional world. Judging from your exchange with Chaithanya, you seem to be somehow connected to the IAF and one has to appreciate you loyalty. But the problem is, as I said earlier, the real world has many dimensions. What you have been stressing is just one side of the story. There are at least two other sides. You seem to be ignoring those completely. Not even once have you answered my simple question. <BR>WILL THE ARMY HAVE TO DO WITHOUT CLOSE AIR SUPPORT FROM THE INDIAN AIR FORCE IN HIGH ALTITUDE AREAS IN THE FUTURE??<P>Has the IAF decided that its only role is Air defence and Interdiction?<P>If the answer to both the questions is yes then, fine. Let the IAF come out and say so openly. What are they doing with Mi-24/35s and Mi-17 gunships? If the IAF is not interested in CAS then they don't need them. What is behind IAFs reluctance to let the Army operate them? <P>Let us hand them over to the Army Aviation Corps. And let the Army make its own arrangement for CAS in the high altitude areas as well. Whatever the Army's experts decide regarding the right weapon system is fine with me. The IAF has got nothing to lose, just some money from its budget kitty will shifted to the Army. That is all!

Rajiv Lather
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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby Rajiv Lather » 01 Oct 1999 14:39

Here it is - for all those guys who are scared of bright IR signature of Harriers's exhaust - Su-80M.<P>A high wing design with a twin boom configuration, the Su-80M is powered by - guess what? - two TVD-1500 turboprops. Four underwing hardpoints can carry weapons and a chin-mounted radar aids fire control accuracy. How is that for a slow aircraft with low IR signature? <P>Does somebody have any more info on this aircraft? The Russians have been offering this as a tactical attack aircraft.

Johann
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Re: Why didn't we try Harriers in Kargil mountains?

Postby Johann » 01 Oct 1999 23:35

Chaithanya, 'strategy' is not made up on the spot; it derives from doctrine. No I haven't flown, fixed or designed a Harrier. I have however spent enough time in the field on all kinds of terrain(including mountains) to have a pretty good idea of the needs of the grunt, to know Infantry and Combined Arms doctrine & tactics within the British Army. Both my military experience and my later work, and personal interest have brought me in close enough proximity to the RAF and RN that I am familiar with much of their perspectives, doctrine, history and available resources. <P> It was reuired of me that I understand the way doctrine, force structure and available resources shape each other, which means that this knowlege isn't useless when looking at another entirely different country's armed forces. I may not be 'consulted' by Generals, or AVMs but I can tell you some of the fators any General to consider, and what makes some weightier than others based not merely on my opinion but on my training, experience and knowledge gained not just gained by myself but from my superiors, peers and senior NCO's. There are many here on these kinds of forums such as the good Major Weylan Yu whose perspectives whom I will often defer to because their experience, rank and depth of knowledge often far exceeds mine within many areas of military expertise. <P> I am glad that you are independant thinking enough that you refuse to accept someone elses's words at face value, that's entirely to your credit. If you have always been a civillian whose information derives mostly from other civillians and civillian publications then I can tell you that you are getting only 50% of the picture. I often don't have more than 50% either, but it's most likely a different 50% so it may be worth paying some attention to it. <P><BR>Rajiv: I am not connected to the IAF but I can see the logic behind their actions. I haven't been shown any really good reasons to doubt that logic.<BR><p>[This message has been edited by Johann (edited 01-10-1999).]


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