NRao wrote:Is there any chance, at all, that the IAF would get interested in a bomber? Real long range variety.
I doubt it. The way I see it is as follows:
The mandate of the IAF is dictated by the political set up and the democratically elected government of India. If that mandate requires a long range bomber the IAF would ask for one.
From my viewpoint - I ask myself, does the stated mandate of the IAF require a long range bomber? In terms of utility, a bomber with a round trip capability of 10,000 km may be useful for India only in terms of accessing the east coast of China. To my mind a round trip that lasts over 12 hours should not be needed for some piffling requirement like hitting a few buildings. Anything more than that would require a fleet of bombers - i.e a minimum of 2-3 squadrons. If we are looking at anything less it would have to be for nuclear attack alone - of a type where the bomber is airborne - ready to attack and can be called back if necessary.
The US of course maintained just such a fleet in the cold war where they were actually calculating on fighting a nuclear war with grades of escalation. I don;t think anything in the Indian doctrine calls for "fighting a deliberate nuclear war", and everything seems to hedge on firing off missiles once the decision is taken. Unless this is changed I cannot see the need for a long range bomber.
However a long range bomber is basically a transport aircraft designed to transport bombs rather than people. I would like to see the in house development of long range people transport - a design that could be used as a template for a bomber if need be.