My F-16 and MiG 35 sorties at Yelahanka

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Postby Sree » 20 Feb 2007 11:56

Vishnu wrote:Yes, but Vishnu is too busy pulling gs ... and looking the jock when he is in the jet ... far, far less focussed asking about the resolution of the MFD ... but keep waiting ...

Vishnu <I need that emoticon of someone prostrating themselves in a 7-G suryanamaskar!!>, we can all live with that, if we get previews of the material you share on these experiences ... Looking forward, like the others, to your MiG-35 write-up!

But not meaning to sound frivolous, in the face of a real tragedy; hope your coverage of the Samjhauta Express tragedy pays off for India too, in a different kind of way ...



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Postby Aditya_M » 20 Feb 2007 12:49

Singha wrote:Does Col Ajai shukla get to ride anything these days ?

Who is he? Is that his real name?

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Postby Vishnu » 20 Feb 2007 16:29

OK guys ... here it is ... For all of you who have specific technical questions (the answers to which you may not get here) ... please email me ... and I will get them for you.

For starters ... I was not supposed to fly the MiG-35. About a week or so prior to that I had flown a sortie on the MiG 29UB trainer at the Gromov Flight Centre at Zhukovski near Moscow. On that occasion, I had asked for permission to be given a sortie on the UB since the pictures I would collect would make a huge difference to my story. Which it did.

The Russians were obviously impressed and they approached me about the possibility of a MiG sortie at Yelahanka and asked me to pen in a request. I DIDN'T do this since, frankly, I was not certain my editors would be too keen on yet another `Vishnu goes flying' story on air. Besides, I would already be flying the F-16.

Anyway, about a day or two prior to the show beginning .. MiG got in touch with me confirming the possibility of a sortie. I didn't want to look a gift-horse in the mouth ... and since Ratan Tata's sortie had generated enough attention ... I felt that it would be possible to do this story as well. Just about. As it turns out ... we aired the story on the day Tata flew the F-16. So at 8 pm, we had two back to back stories ... `Tata flies high' and `Vishnu flies high !!'

At the onset ... let me tell you ... and this is true ... that while the MiG 35 sortie was a high ... having the opportunity to sit down, eat lunch and have a couple of drinks with the great test pilot Pavel Vlasov (a Hero of the Russian Federation) ... and Mr. Byntin, the Chief Designer of the MiG 35 was wonderful. In fact ... I had had the opportunity to meet Pavel in Moscow as well, also at a lunch shortly after he flew the MiG-29KUB at its media debut (incidentally, the actual first flight of the KUB of which I have footage) took place two days prior to the media debut ... so the Russians, no fools, knew the thing flew before they brought in the international media.

Anyway ... lets fast forward to Yelahanka. My pilot would be Mikhail Belyaev who spoke reasonable English .. though with a heavy accent. We both realised the importance of keeping our conversation to a minimum ahead and during the flight so that we could get the pre-flight basics right. Later on, I would discover that Belyaev was an absolute clown ... supremely confident as a pilot with a sense of humour to match.

For starters the g suit. BRfites will be happy to know that after all these sorties ... I am confident about strapping onto a g suit all by myself !! But even before we got started with the g suit ... there was a problem ... flight overalls .. the Russian flight overalls were too small for me ( I am about 6'3) ... so ... we went to plan b ... I pulled out my own Boeing provided flight overalls ... and voila we were set to jet off. Alas, the MiG guys didn't provide me a pair of proper flight boots ... so my formal pair of black shoes remained. I am a bit of a sticker about uniforms ... and it just didn't feel right. Anyway.

As we approached the Fulcrum ... a senior Communications person at Boeing (who I have worked with extensively on my Hornet sortie last year) came up to be a touch irritated. "Vishnu, you'll fly just about anything won't you?" she asked. She had obviously noticed my Boeing flight overalls (which didn't of course say `Boeing' anywhere). I let go a sheepish grin ... she already knew the answer ... and for those of you out there who don't ... in one word, the answer is `Yes.'

We were now next to the Fulcrum ... and I was given my bone dome ... and a cloth head cover (typically Russian) just before I got into the jet. A couple of points here ...

The Russian pilots helmet is the real deal. This one was obviously compatible with the IRST system. It was considerable heavier that the American/French/British helmets I have worn in the past. It was also, much, much, much more comfortable. In the American helmets, the sun visor is attached to the outside portion of the helmet. On the Russian ones, it is located inside ... and you need to push a release on either side of your eyes with both your hands to bring it down. It fits perfectly with the oxygen mask ... and the clarity is perfect. Belyaev later told me ... "We take our helmet to American .. and tell them ... `this is helmet for fighter plane. Your helmet meant only for small scooter." I must also confess, the Russian flight gloves (black leather) are far trendier than the heat resistant and loosely fitting American flight gloves but I am being superficial.

Russian step ladders to their jets also have a small upward facing brush (just like a broom brush) attached to the lowest step. This is meant to dust off snow from ones boots prior to boarding the jet.

The MiG 35 cockpit is considerably larger than the F-16 cockpit. Getting into the rear of the F-16 is quite difficult ... and as my pilot Paul Randall had told me .. there is no graceful way of getting in. Not so in the Fulcrum, you step off the ladder to the LERX just away from the gun exhaust and step right in ... one leg at a time. Guys, I am not wasting words here ... the act of stepping in and out of a fighter, as I have come to realise ... is a major issue.

The first thing I noticed on sitting down ... and being strapped in ... was the quality of the cockpit. For those of you who ogle at the cockpit of the Rafalle (I actually sat in one on the Charles DeGaulle carrier) ... let me be quite clear: this cockpit is as good ... for the following reasons ...

(a) Space: Because there is no clutter in the cockpit .. there is a sense of space ... Also, the new, broader canopy on the MiG 35 gives you a roomier feel as compared to the MiG 29 UB I flew.

(b) Cockpit ergonomics and configuration: There are 3 huge MFDs in front of you and a small one that serves as the HUD repeater.

(c) There are minimal switches under the arms of the pilot ... this is an out and out HOTAS fighter.

(d) Forward vision (HUD repeater) ... and this is an important point ... if clarity and depth perception is the priority ... the HUD repeater on the MiG 35 is state of the art ... streets ahead of anything I have seen on the other fighters. (Note, however, the Sea Harrier trainer, which I flew, has perfect forward visibility and does need a repeat of what the pilot in front is seeing ... It does, however, have a repeat of the HUD symbology.) My only ... small complaint about the MiG 35 rear HUD repeater is that the screen ... mounted along the pilot's line of sight ... is slightly small but considerably larger than the weird mirror image the periscope provides in the MiG 29UB trainer.

Oh yes, prior to the flight ... Mikhael asked me what it is that I wanted to do ... I was consistent with what I had told the other pilots ... `Mikhael ... the F-16 pilot took me to 8 g. Can we do the same?' Prompt came the reply .. `No problem ... we do 8g, Cobra and tail slide. OK?' I could only mumble a muted `da' in reply.

Anyhow, engine startup was like the other jets. I had been briefed on the emergency O2 system ... and the position of the intercom switch (which was on the throttle ... like the 29UB ... just where I like it). I was also shown the position of the hot switch in case I wanted to permanently keep on the intercom ... which is irritating since you hear the other pilot breathing loudly in your ear. This is where the Mirage 2000 is streets ahead of the other jets I have flown. It has a wonderful voice activated intercom ... no buttons ... no heavy breathing sounds.

As we rolled down the taxiway ... my focus was on the MFDs in front of me ... the INS display on the extreme right, engine parameters in the centre and the artificial horizon, AOA, airspeed indicator and the g meter on the extreme Left. The multi colour MFDS are large and extremely clear. I wanted to us the metric system for my airspeed and altitude ... and this had been set for me with a button push prior to the flight.

The take off run on the MiG 35 ... feels like a 747 compared to the F-16 .. it is slower ... much more refined ... and the difference between a single engine and two engines is perceptible. Don't get me wrong ... a full burner take off on any jet is still loads of fun. Mikhael veered left at low altitude on take off and then went vertical ... did a half loop and rolled out into the direction of our heading. We had done about 4.5 g ... but I felt almost nothing. That may be because the speed of the jet was slower than the F-16 ... but also may be because I have come to anticipate when the gs kick in. Also, the oxygen flow in the MiG 35 was outstanding ... very easy to inhale ... and no pressure on the lungs.

Mikhael then went into a lengthy explanation of the INS system ... pointing out our heading ... and some of the symbology on the unit ... He then said `You pilot, Vishnu' and I took control ... did a sharp bank to the right ... which he corrected by telling me to to head in the direction of the indicator on the INS display.

We kept flying for a while ... when Mikhael let me take over the controls ... we did a few hard turns ... and rolls. He then asked me if I was interested in a Cobra. No guesses on what my answer was. Anyway, there is a button on the Master Caution panel on the front right on the pilot which says "Cobra." That button has to be pushed before the maneuver can be done since the flight control system has to be overridden. What made the Cobra maneuver all the more enjoyable was the knowledge that this was a non TVC aircraft. The Cobra maneuver itself is a lot of fun ... Mikhael goes `Cobra now' and yanks hard on the stick ... the nose pitches right back ... and then he pushes the nose hard forward ... as we get into the negative g scenario .. which makes it feel like going down a psycho roller coaster. Like in the case of the tail slide … the ground rushes at you awfully quick … but there is immense power in this jet and we soon level out.

At this stage Mikhael demonstrates to me the stability of the jet by violently moving the stick around its axis … with absolutely no impact on the forward motion of the jet. The F-18 F pilot I had flown with at Farnborough had demonstrated the same thing.

We soon returned to a `You pilot Vishnu’ scenario … the part of the sortie (like in previous cases) where I choose to censor what I write though I will mention that we did 8.2g for which the Russians later gave me a certificate.

It was time now time to head back … but there was still time for a touch and go … we lined up with a runway … but touched down a touch fast … and bounced right back into the air … and which stage Mikhael decided that he would show off … plain and simple … He said `Ok Vishnu, now we do military style landing’ so he yanked hard and left … gaining altitude as we flew parallel to the runway in the opposite direction. We pulled into a violent 6 g left bank … lowering undercarriage … and leveling out pretty much on top of the runway before making a perfect touchdown. It was brilliant.

And I must say, it was another brilliant sortie … a whole lot of fun.

I anticipate a couple of questions from you guys …

1. The Zhuk radar … well, we did have it on for a short while and the resolution of the radar in the air to ground mode was considerably better than the F-16 Block 50 jet I had flown on.
2. The new Electro-optronic system … There was a huge language issue with the Russians here … they kept referring to it as a passive attack system … so I am afraid I have no details here.

Ok then … that’s it for the moment. That’s all the time I am going to spend on this article on my precious day off … You will have to hear about my lunch with Vlasov, Belyaev and Byntin at a later stage.

Vishnu Som
Associate Editor (Defence)

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Postby shiv » 20 Feb 2007 16:42


What can I say....?

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Postby BhairavP » 20 Feb 2007 16:45

Excellent write-up Vishnu, thanks!

One thing I found funny - a button marked Kulbit! Was it in Cyrillic lettering or in English?

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Postby rakall » 20 Feb 2007 16:52

Great Vishnu !!!

Least of all you have laid to rest some of those old western propoganda reg how bad the cockpit ergo & inferiority of Ru avoinivs systems were..

I just hope we dont get sucked into buyinf the SHornet as part of underhand process for the Nuke deal..

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Postby Aditya_M » 20 Feb 2007 17:16

*sigh* :(

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Postby mandrake » 20 Feb 2007 17:24


Mig rules!

8) 8)

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Postby Nayak » 20 Feb 2007 17:59

Awesome rightup Vishnu-san.

The friendliness and ergonomics of MIG35 cockpit should lay to rest the propaganda of Western superiority.

MIG35 for MRCA contract. wheeee.

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Postby negi » 20 Feb 2007 18:02

There is a saying 'doosre ki thali mein ghee hamesha zyda lagta hai' in Vishnu's case he is sitting with the 'dabba' itslef.Anyways I am happy that Editor saheb is willing to share his valuable experience.Vishnuji honestly speaking which of the three sorties did you enjoy the most ,platform capabilities notwithstanding?

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Postby Vishnu » 20 Feb 2007 18:05

It said Cobra in english!!

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Postby chiragAS » 20 Feb 2007 18:09

wow, nice write up. you are one lucky guy vishnu.
btw forgive me for my knowledge but who else other than you flew(MiG 35) at yelahanka, i mean airforce guys. did you talk about that, i mean what did he(Pavel Vlasov) say about IAF fellows reaction was to MiG 35's capability, were they impressed?
i hope the russians have a given a ride to the Air Cheif Tyagi,
in my view Air Cheif Tyagi is great critic of MiG (thats my view point. i may be wrong, like always?)

Anyways waiting in anticipation for your next write up on your discussions with Mr. Byntin
btw i dont have your email id. if you dont mind can you give me your id.
or JCage please please you may be having his id; ask him and share the answers(here) if you can? i know you are one busy guy but still
if any one cares this is my id :- guy underscore fighter1 at yahoo dot com

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Postby Gerard » 20 Feb 2007 18:29

"We take our helmet to American .. and tell them ... `this is helmet for fighter plane. Your helmet meant only for small scooter."

And a button marked "cobra" .. hilarious...

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Postby merlin » 20 Feb 2007 18:44

Way to go Vishnu, very nice write up. Wish other defence writers knew the subject they write about.

So what does that make your tally?

1. Mirage 2000
2. Sea Harrier
3. F-16
4. F/A-18 F
5. Mig 29 KUB
6. Mig 35
7. Su 30 MKI

Anything else?

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Postby Singha » 20 Feb 2007 19:04

all the helicopters in IAF service probably,

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Postby Vivek K » 20 Feb 2007 20:46


Great going! Would you like to switch jobs with me???

Hey how about a flight in the LCA trainer when it is ready to compare it with the other aircraft you have flown??

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Postby SaiK » 20 Feb 2007 21:18

great... Vishnu..

let me get this right.. you did >8.2g, and you felt it like 4.5g!?
whats the deal with the mig-35?

i guess zhuk-a would be better in terms of resolution against an apg-69v. again, not sure about other functionalities and range etc, one can get from such ride.

as rightly pointed.. we are looking for you to ride LCA., but we need to wait for the two seater to turn up..

good job of writing there!.

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Postby bala » 20 Feb 2007 22:05

I got to hand it to you Vishnu, with your style of writing, I felt that I was right next to you experiencing the same thing. Great. You perhaps are one of the few who have real life experience with so many front line fighter aircrafts that I feel they should include you on the committee that decides the MRCA choice.

MiG 35 is a wonderful craft. India should negotiate with the Russians for customizing a la MKI. IMO, that would be a well synchronized fleet for the IAF.

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Postby Shankar » 20 Feb 2007 22:07

- good details and lively description - now we have many many almost all mig 35 fans here -hope IAF/GOI think the same too and quickly place order

THEN may be Igorr will take me to russia for looking at the typhhon and blackjack(ha ha)

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Postby Cybaru » 20 Feb 2007 22:33

cool so the A-G modes are functioning in the AESA radar.. Not bad..

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Postby pradeepe » 20 Feb 2007 22:47

Wonderful writeup!! Thanks for bringing it to us almost live.

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Postby bala » 20 Feb 2007 22:52

The Madam from Boeing has a misplaced sense of duty for her company. What is the big deal about someone wearing a suit and flying in the competition's craft. Boeing has one of the largest design centers in Moscow, Sergei Karolev heading the group, designing all kinds of sections for the next generation Boeing 7x7. There is the other famous Russian immigrant Igorr Sikorsky, designer of the Huey helos for the US Army/Airforce. Gosh, Blah, the marketing/sales type are the worst penis envy folks on earth.

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Postby Manohar » 20 Feb 2007 23:59

Hi Philip -

Good to hear your thoughts...I would respectfully disagree however that there is a 'concerted' hard-sell by the US on the F-18.

The USG doesn't get involved in a case at this level unless there is a 'single' US vendor...even the Office of Defense Co-operation at the Embassy is neutral at this stage to either. (This is true in any multiple US vendor program).

Besides, they would know that India would not buy the Block 50/52, but would probably insist on the capability approximated by the Block 60, which is substantively different than the 50/52 (Incidentally, royalty issues here as the UAE paid for part of the development cost).

If India picked the F-16, she could also opt for an F-16I-type configuration, which is far different than anything the USAF flies (the level of Israeli content can be up to 40%). Either the Block 60 (or even an Indian-spec'd Block 70) or the F-16I would be superior to Pak-operated Block 50/52s.

I have been to the L-M facility in Fort may argue that the USG would like India to pick the F-16 to keep the Lockheed line running. On the other hand, it would be better for the USN/Marine Corps to have India pick the F-18 to lower the unit cost per copy. So, there may be an institutional rivalry between the USAF and the USN. Navy IPO (International Programs) is a very effective SAF/IA carrying enough water on this?? Too many questions to simply say, IMO, that the USG would favor either right now.

Part of the problem here is the definition of SQRs - what EXACTLY does India want? No one seems to know..twin-engine/single-engine; 20-ton or higher? Seems to me that mission creep is affecting the RFP, but I would welcome any discussion.

I am also interested in exchanging educated thoughts about the industrial benefits that would accrue to Indian industry from any of the entrants..perhaps this is fodder for a separate thread.

But, in my estimation, a US program would allow Indian industry to become part of a larger global supply chain, which is the intent of the offset policy.

OTOH, would there be any multiples for Indian industry outside of the Indian MRCA program if the MiG-35 was picked....Malaysia maybe, Indonesia perhaps, but who else is buying anything Russian at the moment? wouldn't that be interesting..Indian companies supplying parts for Chinese aircraft! Venezuela/Iran...

I guess the point is, the Russian global supply chain is not exactly stable as a future market for Indian industry. But, again, I welcome any discussion on this aspect.

Warm regards,

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Postby Jagan » 21 Feb 2007 00:09

An SJSM for Vishnu? :wink:

(sarvottam jingo seva medal )

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Postby Philip » 21 Feb 2007 19:53

Ah Vishnu,I was waiting to see you reveal the secret compartment on the MIG-35,containing the supreme afterburner...Stolichnaya vodka! great stuff.It is fascinating to see the different "aero-cultures",US,European,Russian,etc. with regard to cockpit design.I wonder where the LCA cockpit rates.Perhaps Vishnu can give us an insight here too.I'm rading anarticle at the moment about the capabilities of the MIG-35s new AESA radar.Big claims.

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Have the MiG29 issues been rectified?

Postby Sukumar » 22 Feb 2007 00:23

Vishnu, lucky you :P great summaries.

A few questions. The MiG 29 had numerous issues including
1. smoky engines (reminds one of the F-4 Phantom in Vietnam)
2. short engine life
3. lack of parts reliability etc
4. short range

The IAF went thro a lot to rectify these problems. Has the 35 overcome these issues including smoky engines?

A few other questions:
1. How was the 360 degree view (especially rear view) crucial for a close in dogfight? I think the F-16 has the best all around view. It seems like the LCA might be hampered in this area with that fuel tank behind the cockpit
2. How was the turn radius on the 35 compared to the F-16?
3. Does the 35 have any claims on RCS reduction, IR reduction etc?
4. If the 35 had lower energy in a climb than the F-16, could be a sitting duck in a dogfight, thoughts?

I think you should also sign up to get rides on
1. The LCA 2 seater when it comes out
2. JSF
3. F-22, do they have a 2 seater?

Then you can tell us all about it and make us go green with envy :)

Best regards,

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Postby Mohan Raju » 22 Feb 2007 13:05

Great posts, Vishnu! You're not just a fighter jock, you're a damned fine writer too! 8)

BTW, I suspect the reason you didn't feel the Gs on the Mig-35 as much as on the F-16 is simply that your body acclimatized quickly from recent experience (i.e. the F-16 flight shortly before). Also, it makes a difference what particular physical posture you are in at the moment the pilot pulls those Gs.

It would be nice if you could tell us about your informal chats with these guys (aircraft designers, pilots etc.).

Great going, boss!

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Postby Philip » 22 Feb 2007 19:36

Manohar,thanks for the views.It's just my gut feeling about the F-18 and the circumstantial evidence.Regarding Russian arms sales abroad,several govts. have been contemplating or buying Russian aircraft and arms like Malaysia,Indonesia,Venezuela,Iran,to name just a few,Russian arms have been touted to some countries in the western camp,but for political reasons,they've not been successful.However,countries which have a more independent view of world affairs ,or which want to diversify their purchases,are looking hard at certain Russian products.In fact,joint collaboration with western manufacturers is beginning to pay dividends for Russia.

The Sukhoi Superjet 100 has a very bright future.It has western engines and avionics and is the most modern of all regional jets on the market right now.A full scale cabin mock-up was on display at AI-07.Collaboration with Israel ,as with the SU-30MKI project for India and others, is also paying rich dividends.The problem has been the after-sales service aspect,which for Indian requirements,JVs are being set up in India to manage the AMCs.

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Postby Khalsa » 25 Feb 2007 03:23


I think there is a very little, teeny tiny chance of getting the F-16, 52, 60 or the 'I' version.

Pakis already have the F-16 and whether those ones are a decade behind the latest F-16 or not, IAF is not gonna procure the same vehicle. While they(IAF) have the budget and decided to go shopping they are gonna make an effort (read decision) to buy something that is decidedly superior and different to what the neighbour already has.

F-18 can be MKIized much more than F-16 and since it sits in between a
F-16/ LCA/Mig-21 Group and Su-30 MKI Heavy Fighter Group it can punch both both ways helping out either group.

These are some of the thoughts on what the IAF is thinking about the F-16/ F-18 by some of the Air force Officers I met.

I quite agree with Philip that F-18 is the real contender and being pushed by the USG if it is true.

These were some of the thoughts that I exchanged with some IAF pilots when i was in India this time.

As they say.... Eff Solah... it ain't for the IAF but PAF.
The decision for which country wins is GoI influcenced as opposed to which aircraft which is IAF influenced.

but for me I still cannot trust the Umreekans and much rather go with the Mig-35 because of Naval Direction and the fact we can produce RD-33 engines in India as part of the package.

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Postby Sumeet » 25 Feb 2007 06:16

Jagan wrote:An SJSM for Vishnu? :wink:

(sarvottam jingo seva medal )

Oh noo noo wait jagan wait till he flies our LCA and writes a long report to satisfy jingoes here. then he gets that award. Hopefully that will AI-09.

Awesome job Vishnu, you are like a lotus in the pond of reporters most of who are nothing but garbage.

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Postby MuMoha » 25 Feb 2007 19:46

I am presently working with a girl from Israel who has worked on the F-16I and her husband flew the F-4. Now he works here in London as a Defence Contractor

I showed her this post and she politely commented that she was pretty sure even the Americans don't know whats entirely in the I.

So I don't think we would be getting it.

She gave some surprising information too. She said that Israeli fighters train less on BVR and more on dog-fight situations as its a small country and enemy forces can acheive access in a very limited time. The "I" has been made to suit these needs.

Hence, the BVR's missiles aren't that important as short and medium range AAMs. As far as she understood Indian fighters, that wasn't as important as getting the enemy from a distance.

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Postby Surya » 25 Feb 2007 20:26


I would not put too much trust on such stories.

Many Israelis are proud about their defence skills and like to think they make every American quipment better.

Partly true but not necessary

As we have seen in the past there are chains and these chains can be yanked

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Postby Kartik » 26 Feb 2007 04:22

would like to add here that the activity within Boeing itself related to India, related to defence, seems to be speeding up..

the latest Boeing Frontiers internal magazine has 2 articles that specifically are talking about opportunities in seems that Boeing also heavily lobbied (obviously for its own gains) in favour of the nuclear addition to this, Boeing CEO and Integrated Defense Systems President, Jim Albaugh has made 2 visits to India, one very recently last year..and the first county that Chairman, President and CEO, Jim McNerney visited,was India..same goes for Laurette Koellner when she became president of Boeing International. considering that they're bidding for nearly $15 billion worth of arms, they're taking it quite seriously..

Vishnu, where would you place the MiG-35 as compared to the F-18 E/F ? was there any mention of prices ? and another the MiG-35 a two-seater jet only ? or will the IAF also take single seater MiG-35s ?

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Postby Johann » 26 Feb 2007 04:47

What is really frustrating to the Israelis is that they know Elta has a better radar in the form of the EL/M 2052 than Northtrop Grumman's APG-68(V)9 on the F-16I. Given the F-16I's long-range strike role 2052's superior ground-mapping performance on SAR mode is really what the IDF/AF wants and needs.

The problem is that the Americans made the deep discounts, deferred payments, and application of Congressional credits dependant on buying the American radar. Without it the American content of the F-16I would have dipped to very little indeed.

There is real Israeli regret that given the US insistance on the radar issue they didnt go for a more capable American platform like the F-15I despite the much higher price tag.

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Postby MuMoha » 26 Feb 2007 05:46


I agree. I think they are very proud of their equipment and machinery. I take the point.

But honestly, do you think we should take the F-16 or the F-18? Whatever version. I am not convinced. But I know what such replies lead to.

There is another funny thing this girl told me. She said F-4's were sent into enemy territory not the F-16's. Even in the Lebanon war, for air superiority. These are supposed to be designate Air Attack Aircrafts

I found that incredible. Why would a country with F/16 and F/15's do that?

Didn't get that.

Any ideas??

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Postby Kartik » 26 Feb 2007 05:59

Johann wrote:What is really frustrating to the Israelis is that they know Elta has a better radar in the form of the EL/M 2052 than Northtrop Grumman's APG-68(V)9 on the F-16I. Given the F-16I's long-range strike role 2052's superior ground-mapping performance on SAR mode is really what the IDF/AF wants and needs.

The problem is that the Americans made the deep discounts, deferred payments, and application of Congressional credits dependant on buying the American radar. Without it the American content of the F-16I would have dipped to very little indeed.

There is real Israeli regret that given the US insistance on the radar issue they didnt go for a more capable American platform like the F-15I despite the much higher price tag.

If I'm not wrong it was the 2032 that the IDFAF wanted in place of the APG-68 V(9), and not the 2052, which was'nt anywhere near being mature at the time the Sufa was being developed.

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Postby Johann » 26 Feb 2007 08:32

Kartik thanks for spotting the typo. It should have been 2032.

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Postby Kartik » 26 Feb 2007 08:37

no problems Johann.

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Postby Philip » 26 Feb 2007 19:22

Interesting "titbit" about the Israeli's concentrating with dogfighting.This echoes the two designers (of the F-16) who in a recent article spoke about the virtues of dogfighting still,despite the advent of BVR AAMs and AESA radars.I must dig that article out quickly and post the relevant parts of it.In any case,an air force,such as India's will not have an unlimited supply of BVR AAMs,thanks to their huge cost.Neither do we have an all pervading,all seeing eye-in-the-sky in the form of enough AWACS,high alt. zeppelins,etc. to give us real time instantaneous warning of attack from either the east or west,leave alone the south! Many air battles will be fought at medium and close ranges.The stealthiness of the aircraft and its size will be prime factors that influence the air battle,in the sense that the first to spot the other and fire first has the better chance of winning.

Our choice will depend very much upon the progress that the LCA makes by decision time for this contract.If it progressing well,then we could see the MIG-35 face off against the other twin-engined fighters .Howver,if the LCA still cannot make the grade in time,there will be a strong lobby for buying both the Gripen in large numbers and the MIG-35 as well,to give the IAF a large-small mix.The success of the Gnat must not be forgotten,as this small fighter proved itself time and again,as would the Gripen.Since there is also going to be a 5th-gen future fighter project with Russia,this contract will be only an interim solution.

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Postby Shankar » 26 Feb 2007 20:41

Absolutely correct . Most of the air battles will be fought well within visual range for a number of reasons

1) close proximity of most indian airbases to international border. A flight of falcons inbound for delhi will be intercepted by mig 29s from ambala or mirage 2000s from gwalior not by su 30 s from pune or barely .The warning time will be small and consequently the interception window

2) r-73 /r-60 is likely to be the maximum usage weapons because of its inventory and capability

3)BVR battles will be rare in indian context like possibly neutralising a strike over bombay high or karwar by sukhois which can carry enough extra missiles for possible wastage.Other aircraft in iaf inventory cannt afford the waste in money terms and in payload terms

That is why sukhois have tv engine and mig 35s may have that too andf the agility of older mig 29s despite smokey engines is so important

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