The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Tom Cooper
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The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby Tom Cooper » 07 Oct 2002 22:55

No, no, don't worry, there are no such connections currently (at least none are known): what I would like to ask about is for help in research about such connections in the past.

As few here will know, usually much is said about the "Pakistani trained Iraqi pilots" (at least the Pakistanis will frequently boast around about the USAF Gen. Charles Horner explaining his concerns regarding the "Pakistani trained Iraqis"). Well, after extensive research about the Iraqis my conclusion is that most of such explanations are nothing more but BS.

Let me explain.

During the 1960s, there was some sort of cooperation between Iraq and Pakistan, but never to such a degree that one could say any part of the Iraqi military was "Pakistani trained". During the 1970s and 1980s, the cooperation even declined: even the Iranians cooperated with the Pakistanis far more (during the 1960s, and again in the early 1990s) than the Iraqs. For all of the 1980s, I identified only two (2) Pakistani pilots ever working for the Iraqi Air Force, and these two were mercs, not officers officially detached by the PAF to the IrAF; and, they haven't trained anyobdy: they were paid to fly IrAF fighters for some 12 months. After years-long research, it seems to me that "everybody" (French, Russians, East Germans, British, Yugs, Belgians, Brazilians etc.) was - to one degree or the other - working with the Iraqis, just no Pakistanis.

OK. On the contrary, however, I am - time and again - "stumbling" into sources which mention Indian-Iraqi connections, especially on the plan of the cooperation between the two air forces. It might sound suprising, but the Indians were working with the IrAF in the late 1960s, they worked with the IrAF through most of the 1970s (especially helping the transition to the MiG-21MF), and the IAF people worked with the IrAF during the 1980s. This cooperation diminished by 1986, and ended only with the usual military attaches.

Now, my problem is, all that I have about this cooperation are few sentences from very different sources. Therefore, I'm looking for some more precise data and details. Can anybody here say, for example, if the rumours about the French and the Indians being the ones who re-armed the IrAF MiG-21MFs with Matra R.550 Mk.1s, in early 1981, and IrAF Hunters with same weapons, in 1986?

Also, there are people who say the Indians helped Iraqis develop their Adnan-1 AEW aircraft (based on the Il-76MD transports): officially, something like that would be "impossible", as the IAF decreased the size of its contingent in Iraq to only two or four people, in 1986 (from over 100 in the late 1970s, most of which were training Iraqi pilots). Could it be it wasn't the IAF, but some Indian defense-related companies?

There are many more things, but I guess already what I said so far might sound pretty provocative, ;) so that's all for now. I would be very greatefull for any kind of help on this plan!

Regards,
Tom

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby subhendu » 07 Oct 2002 23:15

Should be an interesting, if not short discussion. ;) There isn't anything really provocative here at all, if we remember that prior to the Gulf War, Iraq was assisted by quite a few countries. They had money to burn and most countries took advantage of that.

Including the US... during the Iran/Iraq war the US made it no secret which side they was actively arming, training, and supporting. Wasn't it an Iraqi F-4 Phantom armed with an exocet that attacked the USS Stark? :roll:

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby Vick » 07 Oct 2002 23:43

It was an Iraqi Mirage that attack the Stark with an Exocet.

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby subhendu » 07 Oct 2002 23:52

The Mirage sounds right actually. Wasn't sure if the F-4 was wired for the Exocet.

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby Rudra » 07 Oct 2002 23:56

I would doubt any capacity to develop a AEW platform by india before late 90s. plus just because we had IL76 doesnt mean we had the drawings and industry to modify one. we werent as buddy-buddy with Ru brothers back then - we took what was given...gratefully I might add as payment was one easy rupee or barter trade terms and not many alternates were available.

Amrika was out to fix us for good with huge deliveries planned of F16s, M1s, new arty - the next Iran!

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby Vivek K » 08 Oct 2002 00:08

I wonder why the concern for Indian/French help to Iraq before the Gulf war?? Is it that you (US) want to single out other nations that helped Iraq to hide the recent revelations of massive US support to Iraq coordinated by - Donald Rumsfeld??

You're barking up the wrong tree Tom if you are playing the blame game.

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby Arun_S » 08 Oct 2002 00:26

Like other western nations who trained Iraqis, Iraqi aircrews were trained at IAF training establishment at least till early eighties. India has frinedly relationship with our neighbours since many centuries; during the cold war Iraq and Iran pilots and aircrew were regularly trained at IAF training facilities, inspite of differing national interest/allience of Iraq and Iran at that time.

Like all countries the political leadership has its own agenda and at times very different from the ordinary people of the country. IMHO Iraqi people aremost friendly and open as compared to the the people in that neighbourhood. Arabia is the opposite.

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby Harry » 08 Oct 2002 00:52

Tom,you should've posted this long ago.ACM Krishnaswamy was a former instructor to the IrAF and there was a breif question and answer session with him via indianexpress.

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby putnanja » 08 Oct 2002 01:25

You are right Harry. I remember him mentioning that Indian pilots flew the czeck L-29s there and were familiar with that aircraft.

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby Avid » 08 Oct 2002 02:30

Originally posted by Vivek.:
I wonder why the concern for Indian/French help to Iraq before the Gulf war?? Is it that you (US) want to single out other nations that helped Iraq to hide the recent revelations of massive US support to Iraq coordinated by - Donald Rumsfeld??

You're barking up the wrong tree Tom if you are playing the blame game.
be nice -- he is merely seeking information for discussion -- not alleging anything against IAF. I personally am interested in the India/Iraq connections.

There were numerous reasons for the connection - not the least involving oil but befriending a rabid secular (albeit authoritarian) in ME. Other pluses were while befriending Iran it still needed countering -- returning the ole shah's favor to TSP.

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby Tom Cooper » 08 Oct 2002 04:28

Gents,
thanks for your understanding: Vivek, there is really no wish to provoke or to "placate" Indians as "overly" friendly to the Iraqis; I'm not from the USA, and the only reason I'm asking this is my research (the results of the first round will in two weeks finally be available from Schiffer Military Publishing).

Anyway, one of the important moments, IMHO, is the one re. reports about the IAF having something like 120 instructors in Iraq in the late 1970s, mainly busy with training Iraqi MiG-21-pilots. IMHO - although I found no trace about this so far - the IAF pilots have trained the Iraqis already since around 1966 or 1967; remember at the time the IAF instructors and technicians were working with several Arab air forces. Some episodes from cooperation with Egypt should be well known, if for no other reason then from articles by retired Indian officers which experienced the Israeli strike on 6 June 1967...

Back to later times: to make it clear, the reports from Iranian pilots which fought the Iraqis during the IPGW indicate the Iraqi MiG-21s to have been flown very aggressively and being their most dangerous opponents, even if never especially effective, mainly due to the crapy weapons. This slightly changed in April 1981, when the first Iraqi MiG-21MFs armed with Matra R.550s apeared: i.e. the precision of attacks delivered by Iraqi MiG-21s increased.

AFAIK, the IAF wired its MiG-21Ms and MiG-21MFs for R.550s about the same time (1980/1981). Is that right?

Of course, the French were in Iraq and busy with such things at the time too, and it is certain that they have helped with mating R.550s with MiG-21MFs as well: after all, they were delivering Mirage F.1EQs and many other things to Iraq, and were also training the Iraqis in air-to-air combat. However, that is late winter/early spring 1981, and: I know about the French and this is not as interesting for me any more. Besides, the point is that IrAF MiG-21MF-pilots were extremely aggressive already since September 1980.... so, obviously somebody trained them before the date.

Re. eventual connections to the Adnan-projects: right, the IAF lacked any kind of AEW assets. But, hell, comme on gents, anybody with more interest will know that the IAF was trying to get something in this arena already since the early 1970s. It was only so that no money was ever authorised before few years back. The radars of Iraqi Adnans were produced in Iraq, under the licence from Thomson-CSF. The French were perhaps involved, but the traces are not very clear, as the Dassault, (former) Aersopatiale, and (former) Thomson-CSF are all as quiet as greaves (they are so "kind" every time they write back, I'm meanwhile only sending them requests for info in order to have some fun :D ). Well, certain is, at the time (Adnans were developed 1986-1989), the French cooperation with Iraq was decreased, as the Iraqi debts were increasing: in some cases Paris would stop deliveries until the Iraqis would pay some dues or have cash to pay what they needed immediately: the "good ol' times" of the 1983-1985 were long since past.

But, the French would actually not be needed, as the Iraqis had the technology and aircraft - and the Indians would have the people capable and companies of organizing and doing such things. And, such cooperation on such project would be highly interesting and usefull for the IAF - certainly not because the product was mounted on an Il-76MD chassis...

For each of their projects, the Iraqis cooperated with somebody else; for example: East Germans for helicopter-pilot training, Yugs for building of hardened (largerly underground) "super"-bases and aircraft maintenance; Brazilians for AAMs and tactical ballistic missiles; Germans and the USA for chemical weapons, Belgians for "super-guns", etc. So, who helped with the Adnans at the time the French would not do so?

These are just some thoughts; I have no confirmations, but, I hope you see the logic...

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby Victor » 08 Oct 2002 08:32

The only real 'connection' Iraqi and Indian pilots ever had was their mutual delight on getting the Hawker Hunter at about the same time. There were reports of mutual disdain for us-supplied paki 'show' aircraft and general paki stupidity, ie: not being 'secular' etc. These reports were bolstered when Indian Gnats and Hunters ripped the paki airfuss out of the sky and cut their so-called country in half. It was reported that the Iraqi pilots were extremely disappointed to have missed a turkey-n-bakri-shoot. No solid evidence or confirmation yet on all of this but they are working on it.

In the nearer term, reports say that the pakis, citing Brotherly Muslim compulsions, have secretly supplied the Iraqis with the Islamic Bum along with their Shebang/No-Dong/No-Dik missiles in the interests of the MMaaah. No evidence or confirmation yet but they are working on it.

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby advitya » 08 Oct 2002 08:37

Tom the size of the IAF contingent in Iraq peaked at around 70 personnel or so around 1976/77.

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby shiv » 08 Oct 2002 09:27

Originally posted by Tom Cooper:


Also, there are people who say the Indians helped Iraqis develop their Adnan-1 AEW aircraft (based on the Il-76MD transports): officially, something like that would be "impossible", as the IAF decreased the size of its contingent in Iraq to only two or four people, in 1986 (from over 100 in the late 1970s, most of which were training Iraqi pilots). Could it be it wasn't the IAF, but some Indian defense-related companies?
I guess India would have done well to have employed that other Adnan (Khashoggi) to sell the "Indian developed" AWACS to India with some kickbacks. That way I suppose we would not till be struggling trying to acquire an AWACS.

Other than government enterprises there are no real Indian "defence related companies"(yet). But plenty of Indian "experts" who will promise the earth and sky to any buyer ("private enterprise". Surely there must be some wealthy Iraq returned Indians who have built mansions for themselves on ADNAN-i money.

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby ehsmang » 08 Oct 2002 09:51

One of my fathers friend was in Iraq as an IAF instructor and returned to India as an Instructor at AFS ( Tambaram, Chennai) in 1979. He used to regale us with his numerous stories about Iraq.

HE used to say that it is very difficult to train Iraqi pilots. What an Indian pilot learns in a week takes a month in Iraq. He of course made lot of money.

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby Sree » 08 Oct 2002 11:29

Originally posted by Vivek.:
... Is it that you (US) want to single out other nations that helped Iraq to hide the recent revelations of massive US support to Iraq coordinated by - Donald Rumsfeld??

You're barking up the wrong tree Tom if you are playing the blame game.
Vivek, Tom isn't from the US, and has in the past mounted some very well-informed defences of the IAF's record, in neutral forums. I don't think he's seeking to "blame" India.

Tom, all I can offer, in response to your question, based on having met some people involved in the programmes, is:

- Yes, IAF instructors served in Iraqi training establishments for some years, certainly in the '70s and early '80s. I'm not sure if they were delivering basic, intermediate or advanced training, and would myself be interested in knowing.

- Yes, Iraqi personnel came to India for certain training programmes, up to and including fairly senior command and staff courses.

- At the time, as indeed until relatively recently, Iraq was considered very much a moderate Arab state. The governing Baath party was Marxist-influenced, and therefore by definition not religious. (It wasn't till quite recently that Iraq added the Arabic characters, saying if I'm not mistaken, "Allah-u-Akbar", to their national flag -- I think they did this only after they felt they were losing the support of the rest of the Islamic world in their conflict with Iran). For these reasons India, much like the US in those years, felt it was a useful country to cultivate -- it was regarded as a counterweight, to countries with more extreme Islamist policies. How things change.

- A stint in Iraq was regarded, during those years, as a "plum" posting by IAF personnel, because the savings opportunities were better than in many other postings. The lifestyle was certainly not arduous, and there were no restrictions remotely comparable to those in, for example, Saudi Arabia.

Hope this is useful, and all the best with your research.

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby Tom Cooper » 08 Oct 2002 17:11

Gents,
thank you very much for all the infos; I think every such tidbit is very important to better understand the situation.

Few more questions, if you don't mind:

- was there ever some kind of a "special" outfit or programme in the IAF for training of foreign officers/pilots, or were all such cooperations organized independently, as the situation needed?

- is it known in how far the cooperation with different Arab air forces influenced the developements (especially concerning the tactical doctrines) within the IAF?

I'm asking this foremost because it seems at different phases of the IPGW, the Iraqis seems to have experimented with different tactics against Iranian fighters (BTW, forget all about "nothing interesting happened during the Iraq-Iran War", or "there were no air combats": the air war was intensive and over 1.000 air combats happened). They were obviously working even on developing tactics for countering Iranian F-14s with MiG-21s... not that there was much success (actually, it seems no Iraqi MiG-21 ever shot down any Iranian F-14s), but it would certainly be interesting to get at least a clue about what exactly the Indians and Iraqis were trying to do.

Sree, just one remark to one of your statements:
- At the time, as indeed until relatively recently, Iraq was considered very much a moderate Arab state. The governing Baath party was Marxist-influenced, and therefore by definition not religious. (It wasn't till quite recently that Iraq added the Arabic characters, saying if I'm not mistaken, "Allah-u-Akbar", to their national flag -- I think they did this only after they felt they were losing the support of the rest of the Islamic world in their conflict with Iran). For these reasons India, much like the US in those years, felt it was a useful country to cultivate -- it was regarded as a counterweight, to countries with more extreme Islamist policies. How things change.
The Ba'ath Party was indeed a nationalist and socialist Arab Party. They were actually not Marxist, and - despite so many reports in the West - were not dependable on Moscow at all. Especially the Iraqis were always completely independent from the USSR, and the only reason they worked with the Soviets was the Soviet Union was the only country ready to sell them weapons.

Even the defense pact signed in 1973 between Moscow and Baghdad was not what counted for the Iraqis: but, the weapon-deliveries it assured were - especially in the light of the massive armament of Iran by the USA at the time.

Another similar pact was signed in 1979: in order to get MiG-25s and over 200 other aircraft from the USSR, the Iraqis were for the first time ready to permit the Soviets to station their troops in Iraq. As soon as the war with Iran started, however, the relations almost collapsed, and 95% of the Soviets were out of Iraq. In that light, the cooperation with India (and France) became far more important than ever before.

Regardless if there were "only" 70 or 120 Indian instructors in Iraq at the time, IMHO, their work was ultimately important for the IrAF to survive: by the late 1982, namely, the Iraqi Air Force was left with less than 100 operational aircraft after suffering a loss of over 200 planes in two years of war, so every single MiG-21 and MiG-23 counted. Not only this: I think that some of the subsequent Indian purchases of French and Soviet hardware were also influenced by the Iraqi experiences with the same hardware...

For example, any clues when exactly the IAF has got the ARMATs from France?

My info is, that - contrary to so many reports (including some very authoritative ones) - the French were not really selling the ARMATs to anybody during the 1980s, as the weapon haven't become fully operational with the AdA until 1990 or so. Previously, the French were selling some downgraded anti-radar versions of the AS.37. However, there are inklings that few trial rounds were delivered to India and Iraq from 1986.

So, can anybody help on this field too?

Many thanks for all your help,
Tom

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby Aditya G » 08 Oct 2002 19:23

Tom: Besides, the point is that IrAF MiG-21MF-pilots were extremely aggressive already since September 1980.... so, obviously somebody trained them before the date.
Hey give credit to the Iraqis for that! 100 instructors might have gone to Iraq, but surely they taught the Iraqis as required by the Iraqi High Command !?!

Also, could you please elaborate a bit more on the word 'aggresive' - in my dictionary it is same as 'Offensive' i.e. an AF that gives very high importance to strike missions. How do the R550s come into the picture?

Tom: But, the French would actually not be needed, as the Iraqis had the technology and aircraft - and the Indians would have the people capable and companies of organizing and doing such things. And, such cooperation on such project would be highly interesting and usefull for the IAF - certainly not because the product was mounted on an Il-76MD chassis...
I wonder if the Indian MoD would really ever allow such a thing.

Sree: I'm not sure if they were delivering basic, intermediate or advanced training
Again, the question that really comes to the mind is : what kind of training and at what kind of training establishment??

For all what we might know is that the IAF 'taught' the Iraqis say, bomb tossing and not really dogfight!....

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby advitya » 08 Oct 2002 19:45

Tom

Indian militray aid mission were alawys estabhlished as a result of bilateral agreements. So the estabhlishment and administration of such programmes were ad hoc - to name a few these included the creation of an Air Force in Ghana and the creation of a staff college in Nigeria. There are dozens of others which I will not discuss.

The IAF involvement in Iraq covered every aspect of training from basic to helicopters to staff college. There were IAF instructors posted to every major airbase. However, IAF contributions were made with the understanding that these pilots were employees of the IAF and instructors, and not mercenaries. Consequently, they would not fly combat missions nor draft operational doctrines. In short the IAF was there to impart instruction to the air force not run it.

As far as the flow of experience from Arab to the IAF. All I can say is that the IAF took detailed notes of the all wars from 1967. In 1973, an Indian Army team was invited to Egypt to provide an independent assesment of the Army's performance. There was also a study tour conducted for the IAF. The IAF also took detailed notes on the ebb and flow of the IPGW...although you would be hard-pressed to find out exactly what was involved.

The IAF recieved its first Martels in late 1986 or early 1987. The first trials of the ARMAT were around 1988.

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby Sunil » 08 Oct 2002 20:16

I think it is important to state that the IAF only helped train IrAF pilots.

At no time did any IAF pilot participate in any way, shape or form in any kind of IrAF (or any other ME Air Force's) offensive operations.

I stress that the IAF has very little to do with the IrAF's operational philosophy. That was evolved by them on their own. Any aggression they display operationally is more a result of their own initiative. It may be that the training imparted to them makes them feel confident enough to fly this way, but we have not specifically asked them to do.

The task of fighting alongside Arab Forces in their numerous internal clashes was specifically left to the more "brotherly muslims" of Pakistan.

I think the commonly used phrase for getting mercenary pilots to fight in internal arab conflicts was "Paltu kutte ko bhejo".. (Tr.- "send in the domesticated dog"- a reference to the Pakistan Air Force who flew against Iran etc...).

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby Arun_S » 08 Oct 2002 23:14

Tom:- was there ever some kind of a "special" outfit or programme in the IAF for training of foreign officers/pilots, or were all such cooperations organized independently, as the situation needed?
I can say that at least between 1975 to 79 IAF training facilities were used to train navigators and flight-signellers from Iraq and some other African countries. From what I could make out the trainign slots for foriegn aircrew was limited by the request/need we had adequate spare capacity .

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby Tim » 08 Oct 2002 23:48

Tom,

Re: the Adnan and Baghdad AEW aircraft, there were two Western reports from the early 1990s that I'm aware of that discussed joint development between India and Iraq. Drop me an e-mail and I'll fire you the citations.

Tim

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby Tom Cooper » 09 Oct 2002 02:38

Aditya,
I have no problems in giving credits to those which deserve them. Just, you know, when one hears and reads certain reports about the way some MiG-21MFs were flown, so, in 1980-1981, then one can't but recall certain descriptions from such gentlemen like Balderdash on the ACIG.org forum. Certain things just sound "different", especially when compared with reports from Syrian and Egyptian MiG-21-pilots.

What do I mean with "aggressive"? Well, first of all, they would stay and fight, regardless the circumstances. They would only run away when not armed with AAMs - for example when flying air-to-ground missions; if cornered they would not give up, but fight for survival. Also, in most cases they would come back again and again, which is VERY unusual for "Arab" MiG-21-pilots.

How do the R550s come into the picture? Well, more reliable than the K-13As, and slightly better than the K-13Ms, but not hitting, rather proxy-fuzing.

For all what we might know is that the IAF 'taught' the Iraqis say, bomb tossing and not really dogfight!
Perhaps not exactly bomb tossing, but low-level rocket-attacks (57mm).

Advitya,
many thanks; some very clear words!

Sunil,
I think it is important to state that the IAF only helped train IrAF pilots.
Never said (nor tought) anything else. If any foreign MiG-21-(and MiG-23)-pilots were captured by the Iranians, then Egyptians: I'm sure the Indians never flew combat sorties for the IrAF.

Anyway, also very clear and informative explanations; thanks a lot!

I stress that the IAF has very little to do with the IrAF's operational philosophy. That was evolved by them on their own. Any aggression they display operationally is more a result of their own initiative.
Hm, well; you know, Advitya, one can recognize the style of the training: pilots teached to fly a certain way will do so in combat. There is simply a difference in the execution of the combat turn by Soviet-trained Syrians, and the ...hm, Indian-trained Iraqis. The Syrians rather turned to position for missile attack: the Iraqis were turning to kill.

It may be that the training imparted to them makes them feel confident enough to fly this way....
<snip>
...If that is not a result of a specific kind of training by specific instructors...? ;) Seriously; better trained pilots, ones which know how to use their plane in dangerous situation, in combat, will always be far more aggressive than those, which are trained to fly them, but not to fight with the plane.

Many thanks also to Arun; gents, I really appreciate any help you can offer.


Tim,
sorry, but I can't send you even a "private message", not to talk about your private e-mail: the board software wouldn't let me. If you would be so kind, mine is tom@acig.org.

Thanks in advance!

Tom

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby ramana » 09 Oct 2002 03:23

Tim Why dont you post them here and let everyone also share the info?

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby Sree » 09 Oct 2002 12:18

Originally posted by Tom Cooper:


- was there ever some kind of a "special" outfit or programme in the IAF for training of foreign officers/pilots, or were all such cooperations organized independently, as the situation needed?

Tom, just to add a couple of words to what Arun_S and Sunil have posted, afaik all foreign personnel who underwent training with the IAF simply fitted into the IAF's own calendar of regular, scheduled training programmes. At regular passing-out parades and other graduation ceremonies at Indian training establishments, among 80 to 120-odd Indians graduating, or receiving wings, you might notice half a dozen or a dozen people from other countries. (Don't take those numbers as definitive.) All perfectly open and above-board; they wore their own uniforms and their ambassador was usually present. There was no separate, "special" establishment for them, again afaik.

What I did hear is that there were occasionally a few extra days or weeks remedial training for some of the students from other countries, but that may have been as innocuous as extra language or ATC procedure training. Otherwise, no difference, afaik. (Though as always, what I know is not authoritative!!)

And as you already know, there are fairly strict Indian Government rules which prohibit Indian armed forces personnel from serving operationally (ie other than as an instructor or an "advisor" -- though the Soviets have stretched the definition of that last label!!), or other than under a Government-to-Government agreement, in the service of any other country. There are one or two very marginal cases of Indian personnel who have left Indian service, waited out a defined period, and then joined the service of another country. But those afaik happened in a context when the individual concerned was emigrating and adopting a new nationality as well.

(And btw Tom, you're perfectly right, the Ba'ath party was socialist-influenced, not Marxist-influenced!! My bad.)

Tim, can I second the request of others here that if you have public domain information on possible co-operation on such a project, you post a link or citations here? There are plenty who'd be interested. Thanks in advance, if you can.

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby member_2596 » 09 Oct 2002 14:54

there are fairly strict Indian Government rules which prohibit Indian armed forces personnel from serving operationally
Just wanted to know, Though the above may be on paper correct, What makes us sure that there could not have been one or two unofficial sorties undertaken by Indian pilots in Iraq? (this is mere speculation)

What i meant was that if we had 60 people stationed in Iraq over a period of three to four years of hostilities, surely we guys sitting here at BR will have no clue if one of them had decided to do an op sortie or two over friendly territory. (this could be a CAP sortie, but still an 'operational' one)

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby advitya » 09 Oct 2002 15:08

Originally posted by J.B.Asher:
Just wanted to know, Though the above may be on paper correct, What makes us sure that there could not have been one or two unofficial sorties undertaken by Indian pilots in Iraq? (this is mere speculation)

What i meant was that if we had 60 people stationed in Iraq over a period of three to four years of hostilities, surely we guys sitting here at BR will have no clue if one of them had decided to do an op sortie or two over friendly territory. (this could be a CAP sortie, but still an 'operational' one)
1.We would have known if such sorties such as that had been flown. Please remember that there are several people posting on this thread who know what they are talking about.

2.By the time of the IPGW there were a handful of Indians left. The 60-70 people were history by 1980. If one of them had decided to fly an Op sortie they would have been courtmartialled.

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby Sunil » 09 Oct 2002 19:21

Asher,

The IAF chaps did not fly a single operational sortie with the IrAF or any other nation in the MER. There are internationally set limits on the kind of military cooperation that India and Iraq entered into, at all times we respected those limits.

The Iraqis may have hired Pakistani mercs to fly their airplanes in the Iran-Iraq War, the way that Jordan hired Pakistanis to fly against Israel but then that is a very different situation. The Pakistanis were trying to build some sort of common defence pact with those countries and every PAF pilots wanted to have a gold watch with the words `Hussein Bin Talal' written on it. We had no such grandiose geopolitical aims and our pilots were happy with the watches they had.

Tom,

What you say is true, but we did not specifically ask teach to turn to kill (as opposed to turn to position). We merely imparted them the training to make sharp turns, what they use that turn for is a choice made solely up to the IrAF.

Whatever the IrAF is, our contribution is very minor in operational terms. :)

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby member_2596 » 09 Oct 2002 19:33

advitya

"By the time of the IPGW there were a handful of Indians left. The 60-70 people were history by 1980. If one of them had decided to fly an Op sortie they would have been courtmartialled. "

I disagree - I know atleast one officer who was there in 1982-83 and not on consulate staff. I do recall he mentioned it was a training assignment on Migs - hence the earlier statement.

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby advitya » 09 Oct 2002 19:48

Originally posted by J.B.Asher:
I know atleast one officer who was there in 1982-83 and not on consulate staff.
I actually know more! But by then the IAF contingent (NOT attaches) was just a a handful.

Guest

Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby Guest » 10 Oct 2002 00:30

I know of a few people who served as instructors to the IrAF. I have also met Iraqi pilots training in India in the late 1970s.

FYI, the retired A/M Basra served as an instructor in Iraq. His son (currently flying Mirages) used to tell me this story in school. Apparently, the Iraqi squadrons had to fly for a certain number of hours each month. Many times, for reasons unknown they would have difficulty meeting those hours. The CO would call W/C (at that time) Basra to his office a few days before the end of the month and say "Basra, the boys don't want to fly this time, why don't you (i.e., the IAF instructors) take the planes up to make the hours."

There is also this joke about an Iraqi pilot attached to an IAF squadron during the Iran-Iraq war. On his first day in the squadron, one of the IAF pilots, whose name was Irani introduced himself by offering his hand and saying:

"Hi, I am Irani"

The Iraqi pilot shook his hand with some hesitation and said "And I am Iraqi" :)

Sanjeev

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby Rudra » 10 Oct 2002 21:36

so given the IrqAF had a whole range of instructors from all continents why do people like
chuck horner and tom clancy say in their books
that IrqAF was a 'worry' because they were Pak-trained and Fizaya was indias 'worst nightmare' in war planning ?

I distinctly remember reading that in a book by
one of the above two.

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby JCage » 10 Oct 2002 22:05

Rudra,
I cant vouch for the great Gen Horner but Clancy is a known India baiter.Read his Jack Ryan series and they have quite a few "gems" about India.The PM of India is a caricature of Indira G, and shown to be a devious,cold blooded, anti amrikee sort. :eek:
Lots of idle comments to boot.

Apologies for any digression.Superb thread.

AM Basra would be the M2K gent wouldnt he?

Regards,
Nitin

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby Calvin » 24 Oct 2002 08:22

Were there any interactions (training or otherwise) between the IrArmy and IA?

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby Shirish » 24 Oct 2002 08:50

Pre-Gulf War, Iraqi air defense artillery units were trained by Indian instructors.

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby Bir Bikram » 24 Oct 2002 09:08

Hi,
I was wondering that is it illegal for India to have ANY CONNECTION WITH IRAQ.

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby P Chupunkar » 24 Oct 2002 11:25

Originally posted by nitin:
Rudra,
I cant vouch for the great Gen Horner but Clancy is a known India baiter.Read his Jack Ryan series and they have quite a few "gems" about India.The PM of India is a caricature of Indira G, and shown to be a devious,cold blooded, anti amrikee sort.
Sorry for the digression but could not resist. Clancy was on CSPAN quite a while back and was asked the question regarding India i.e. whether India was going to be a threat in the future. He did not answer this question directly but said that after China he does not believe that there is any other power which is going to be a threat to the US.

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Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby Paul » 24 Oct 2002 12:05

There was a proposal in the 80s about sending Indian pilots on African Migs for combat against the Pretoria regime. Remember reading this in "The Hindu". Probably the Cubans there wanted air cover.

Guest

Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby Guest » 24 Oct 2002 20:54

AFAIK There was a request from the government of Zaimbabwe to station a sqaudron of IAF Mig21s to deter the regular incursions by the South African Air Force. Rajiv Gandhi wisely declined to be involved.

Guest

Re: The Indian Air Force's Iraqi connections

Postby Guest » 27 Oct 2002 23:10

Originally posted by J.B.Asher:
there are fairly strict Indian Government rules which prohibit Indian armed forces personnel from serving operationally
Just wanted to know, Though the above may be on paper correct, What makes us sure that there could not have been one or two unofficial sorties undertaken by Indian pilots in Iraq? (this is mere speculation)

What i meant was that if we had 60 people stationed in Iraq over a period of three to four years of hostilities, surely we guys sitting here at BR will have no clue if one of them had decided to do an op sortie or two over friendly territory. (this could be a CAP sortie, but still an 'operational' one)
Asher, InAF pilots are not in the habit of disobeying instructions. Nor are they cowboys, to go on operational sorties for 'fun'. The GoI employs them for a specific purpose, which does not involve figting for Iraq. Fighting for the UN, yes; but only with a mandate, and never for a foreign sovereign power. An a/c on CAP is loaded with bullets and missiles. It is inconceivable that some 'maverick' would have taken off with a fully loaded plane without his fellow pilots noticing. InAF pilots in Iraq only flew the 2-seater MiG-21 and Su-7, and normally with an Iraqi in the front (trainee) seat!

Please put an end to this silly speculation. Yes, the InAF trained the Iraqis. That was no crime at the time, and is simply an unremarkable historical fact.


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