What Shiv stated, makes absolute sense.. what possible scenario can emerge, short of a full scale conflict that will require IAF's premier airborne platform to strike 1000 km inside enemy's territory.. and if, a full scale war is ever declared, would not lobbing a couple of IRBMs at such "deep" targets make more sense than the risk involved in sending fighters.. in my humble opinion, a lot more stands to be jeopardized than the safety of the fighters on such a mission.. given the importance of the MKIs to not just the mission capabilities of IAF but also to the psyche of its Pilots and the Brass, once the force starts losing a couple over enemy territory, the morale does get a flogging and the Brass starts getting a panicky shit-fit.. has happened in the past wars, where the top commanders went on a defensive after taking some losses, even when the brave pilots were roaring to keep having a go at the enemy
However, such a scenario is still a possibility only if all the Agni BMs carry nuclear warheads and no conventional strike role has been assigned to them.. what makes more sense is all the Prithvis and 700 km variant of Agni having a conventional strike profile, while the bigger boys ( 1500+ variants) being assigned to carry the nukes..
and this is something which is purely a matter of speculation because no one outside the top echelons of the defense establishment will have a clue about it..
Also, despite the MKIs, arguably being the most capable platforms in Asia in terms of both survivability & capability, now with the enemy having force multipliers like the AEW&Cs and better air-defenses, only future platforms like FGFA will provide a truly credible strike capability for deep target interdiction.. no other platforms including the venerable Sukhois can guarantee to return unscathed from such high-risk missions..
that said, surely the induction of Nirbhay ALCM will be a game changer..!!!!
wondering what range extension will the hypersonic Brahmos-II have over the currently operational variant..