Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

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Vivek K
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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby Vivek K » 17 Jul 2013 10:24

Austin will always protect Mother Russia! Do we know that the pilot in this case made a "rookie mistake"? If not then Austin's post amounts to slander and should be edited. It is time that the Mig-21s were put to bed and pilots lives not sacrificed. Remember it is not only the machine that is costly but also its pilot on whom crores are spent in training. The LCA is ready and should be mass produced.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby Austin » 17 Jul 2013 10:28

Jaybhatt wrote:However, I am clear on one point : blaming dead pilots by ascribing the fault to them, as the IAF has been doing for years, is disgraceful and dishonourable. Dead warriors cannot defend themselves.


If pilots die due to their own faults as per investigation from IAF or post-crash analysis , how is it disgraceful , would it be then more graceful to blame HAL or maintenance crew for no fault of theirs compared to pilots ?

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby Austin » 17 Jul 2013 10:30

Vivek K wrote:Austin will always protect Mother Russia! Do we know that the pilot in this case made a "rookie mistake"? If not then Austin's post amounts to slander and should be edited. It is time that the Mig-21s were put to bed and pilots lives not sacrificed. Remember it is not only the machine that is costly but also its pilot on whom crores are spent in training. The LCA is ready and should be mass produced.


Sorry resorting to personal attacks and tangent wont do much good

It is the IAF that blames pilot for most crashes as it is difficult to fly.

What should we do blame Russia for flying the Mig-21 will that be more honourable in your opinion ?

IAF chief blames rookie pilots for MiG crashes
Last edited by Austin on 17 Jul 2013 10:33, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby NRao » 17 Jul 2013 10:32

Jaybhatt wrote:
More advanced aircraft also need extensive training and skill development. There is a grave logical problem here : you want rookie pilots to fly "advanced" aircraft which, by definition, require extensive expertise. There is an entire phase of sophisticated training and skill acquisition that you are just wishing away.


On the contrary.

But, one thing needs clarification (which could be causing teh confusion). By advanced he meant a newer plane (MKI, rafale - perhaps any non MiG), which reduce the flying work load, due to automation.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby Austin » 17 Jul 2013 10:38

here is a more recent one on reason why Mig-21 is difficult to fly

'Mig-21 not widow-maker but trusted flying companion'

"The MiG-21 is a very demanding aircraft," says the 70-year-old who retired from the air force in 1996. "The Russians did not design it keeping the comfort of the pilot in view. This is a machine that can help a pilot exalt his capabilities to the end of the skies. However, even a transitory lapse can be disastrous particularly during hard maneuvering."

To fly an aircraft like this in an unfriendly aviation environment like that of India, which has mist, moisture and birds, requires a lot of effort. Also, a pilot has to be always alert not to be caught off-guard while descending since the speed while approaching land is higher in MiG-21s than other aircrafts. "There is not much visibility on offer and you have a plethora of problems to cope with, particularly bird hits that cause flame out. The maximum number of MiG-21s may have been lost due to these factors than pilot error," points out Tyagi.

So why have so many pilots died if the MiG-21 is as safe as Tyagi claims? "In the developed world, countries don't care if they have to lose an aircraft," he reasons. "If the aircraft develops a technical snag, the pilot simply ejects. However, an Indian pilot would try to save the aircraft till the last moment. In the process, he loses vital time and that often becomes a question of life and death for him," he says.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby Vivek K » 17 Jul 2013 10:40

Austin wrote:
Sorry resorting to personal attacks and tangent wont do much good

It is the IAF that blames pilot for most crashes as it is difficult to fly.

What should we do blame Russia for flying the Mig-21 will that be more honourable in your opinion ?

IAF chief blames rookie pilots for MiG crashes


Does the IAF chief blame this pilot directly? Your assumption that the pilot was a rookie is disgraceful. The Mic 21 has lived well past its life and should be replaced by either the 29 or the M2K or the LCA or the Rafael or the MKI. Its time we valued the lives of our pilots more.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby Austin » 17 Jul 2013 10:42

Can you point me where did I said this crash was due to pilot fault ?

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby Jaybhatt » 17 Jul 2013 10:44

Vivek K wrote:Austin will always protect Mother Russia! Do we know that the pilot in this case made a "rookie mistake"? If not then Austin's post amounts to slander and should be edited. It is time that the Mig-21s were put to bed and pilots lives not sacrificed. Remember it is not only the machine that is costly but also its pilot on whom crores are spent in training. The LCA is ready and should be mass produced.


Hear, hear. Well put.

However, Austin continues to plod on - in his ridiculous path. He is really being most obtuse when he persists in letting HAL and crooked suppliers of spare parts in Eastern Europe off the hook. This is not just slander but blasphemy. Of dead air warriors.

Not acceptable at all.


Mod note: Unnecessary Escalation
Last edited by Jagan on 17 Jul 2013 19:13, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Warning given - please stick to the topic and do not attack poster motives. if you feel austin is crticising the IAF pilots unecessary then write your defense. dont attack the poster..

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby pragnya » 17 Jul 2013 10:46

it perplexes me no end why IAF finds it difficult to accord IOC 2 to LCA while it has no qualms flying dangerous Mig 21s which are crashing regularly - sometimes even killing the pilots!!! LCA 1 'underpowered' bogey has no merit when compared to other aircrafts in IAF which are even more underpowered. is LCA dangerous to fly (test flying is blemishless/TPs love it) per IAF?? agreed LCA is still to pass wake penetraion, AOA, BVR firing etc going into FOC but considering instances when aircrafts have been inducted into airforces without IOC and was qualified only later, why is IAF so adamant that LCA has to qualify all parameters before induction? particularly when it is facing numbers/crashes problem?? doesn't peacetime allow it the luxury of time which IAF can use for fine tuning and qualifying LCA. it was designed to replace Mig 21s though it has outgrown that. a quick induction also will streamline production line, sorting out QC hiccups early on...

are there any other problems related to LCA that escapes my mind?? what are those?? are they "so important" to be validated that flying Mig 21s is a 'better option' than inducting LCA 1??

KaranM? Kartik? Indranil?...anyone??

...........................................

philip sir, you wrote in another thread -

"I have ad nauseum given details of how the IAF was deliberately kept out of the LCA project at the most crucial stage over a decade ago" -

can you please point me to the details or links?? i may have missed it.

thanks.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby Singha » 17 Jul 2013 10:51

well the Mig21 can clear wake penetration, power up its kopyo radar in A2A mode and fire R77 missiles something which the Tejas cannot do yet.

let us not get hung up on names, ultimately capabilities & availability-date are what counts not semantics. there is precious little info in public domain about the radar, what extent it is tested and what remains. its like the bow of a archer or eyes of a human. without a fully functional radar & AAM what use can the IAF put it to? it wont even be able to relieve the Mig21 Bison from its point defence role!

IAF can take its share of the blame in not being serious earlier and having an buyer rather than part-owner mentality.

its only now with the rupee devaluation shock and astronomical price of PAKFA and MCA they are seeing the reality which our wise Cheen biraders saw decades ago - when facing big enemies on wide fronts , atleast at low/medium level you better have a domestic cheaper product or you are not even a serious card player.
Last edited by Singha on 17 Jul 2013 10:57, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby Jaybhatt » 17 Jul 2013 10:53

NRao wrote:
Jaybhatt wrote:
More advanced aircraft also need extensive training and skill development. There is a grave logical problem here : you want rookie pilots to fly "advanced" aircraft which, by definition, require extensive expertise. There is an entire phase of sophisticated training and skill acquisition that you are just wishing away.


On the contrary.

But, one thing needs clarification (which could be causing teh confusion). By advanced he meant a newer plane (MKI, rafale - perhaps any non MiG), which reduce the flying work load, due to automation.


You are further muddying the waters. An automated (i.e. more modern) aircraft, with advanced avionics, would need extensive training. Why is this so difficult to understand and grasp ? You cannot have "rookie" pilots progress directly to flying these new planes without intensive skill development. The Hawk was procured precisely for this purpose - to serve as a suitable training platform for the new advanced aircraft. Let us see how it meets the IAF's requirements.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby Austin » 17 Jul 2013 10:56

Jaybhatt and Vivek K it is not possible to have a reasonable discussion with you on this issue since you resort to personal slandering and name calling , so let the mods handle it ....

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby Jaybhatt » 17 Jul 2013 11:20

Austin wrote:Most rookie pilot find Mig-21 difficult to handle under some phases of flight , needs lot of skills and equal amount of experience to fly it as an ex ACM has mentioned.

According to IAF more crashes have occured due to pilot errors an effect of letting rookies pilot fly an aircraft that needs skills , the concept of carefree handling is not part of Mig-21 design philosophy.

So the choice before IAF is perhaps let the new pilot fly more advanced aircraft and the oldies experienced one fly the Mig .... not sure if this can impact a large pilot for the simple fact that Mig-21 still amounts to the most aircraft IAF.


Vivek : Does the IAF chief blame this pilot directly? Your assumption that the pilot was a rookie is disgraceful. The Mic 21 has lived well past its life and should be replaced by either the 29 or the M2K or the LCA or the Rafael or the MKI. Its time we valued the lives of our pilots more.

Austin : If pilots die due to their own faults as per investigation from IAF or post-crash analysis , how is it disgraceful , would it be then more graceful to blame HAL or maintenance crew for no fault of theirs compared to pilots ?

Austin : "Can you point me where did I said this crash was due to pilot fault ? "

Clearly, Shri Austin does not remember what he has written a few minutes earlier. Let the readers judge. Whether it is a memory problem or a disingenuousness issue.

And I don't think it is wise of Shri Austin to threaten to unleash the Mods. on us. I have been scrupulously polite to him. In fact, started my post by saying :"with respect". So has Vivek.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby NRao » 17 Jul 2013 11:22

Jaybhatt wrote:An automated (i.e. more modern) aircraft, with advanced avionics, would need extensive training.


Yes and no.

Yes, for skills (combat training), and no for flying.

I do not think the pilots lost in MiG-21s were less skilled. (need to be careful here and internet is not the right medium for such discussions) I think it occurs when there is a small mental lapse. The MiG-21 (as I understood it from a MiG-21 squad commander) is very, very unforgivable - the time to react is very, very small and the plane really does not have too many automated systems to recover by itself. A similar lapse in a MKI (as an example) is far less destructive - plenty of automated system to "fly".

You cannot have "rookie" pilots progress directly to flying these new planes without intensive skill development. The Hawk was procured precisely for this purpose - to serve as a suitable training platform for the new advanced aircraft. Let us see how it meets the IAF's requirements.


You can send them to fly them either one, just that a mistake made in the MiG-21 is more dangerous.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby Singha » 17 Jul 2013 11:38

it seems to have highest landing speed of all fighters in active service...some 4+ gen planes have FCS limiters to prevent departure into situations that cannot be controlled. doubt thats the case with Mig21 / Mig27 / Jaguar generation.

for the flak Mig21 gets the 27, sea harriers and Jags have suffered a lot of accidents too. the M2k is similar delta wing but seems to maintain a much cleaner record.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby Austin » 17 Jul 2013 11:44

Jaybhatt wrote:Austin : If pilots die due to their own faults as per investigation from IAF or post-crash analysis , how is it disgraceful , would it be then more graceful to blame HAL or maintenance crew for no fault of theirs compared to pilots ?

Austin : "Can you point me where did I said this crash was due to pilot fault ? "

Clearly, Shri Austin does not remember what he has written a few minutes earlier. Let the readers judge. Whether it is a memory problem or a disingenuousness issue.

And I don't think it is wise of Shri Austin to threaten to unleash the Mods. on us. I have been scrupulously polite to him. In fact, started my post by saying :"with respect". So has Vivek.


Read my statement again , I said If pilots die due to their own faults as per investigation from IAF how is that disgraceful ?

I never stated that this was the accident caused by Pilots fault and it was a general statement not referring to this specific incident because past accidents have been blamed on rookie pilot by IAF.

It is not abnormal for pilot to commit error while flying and neither is it disgraceful if post investigation report finds it so.

But you two resorted to personal attacks and name calling , I did not resort to personal slandering or name calling on you guys.

Let the mods decide and my post is open for all to see. My last word on this.
Last edited by Austin on 17 Jul 2013 11:48, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby Lalmohan » 17 Jul 2013 11:46

m2k has fbw

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby Vivek K » 17 Jul 2013 18:38

Austin, my last word - your rush to judgement against a IAF pilot that has lost everything is unwarranted. And the IAF chief's statement cannot be taken out of context to blame all Mig-21 crashes on pilot error. How many years of training and experience does the IAF lose when a pilot is lost in a peacetime accident? We must also value our brave pilots along with their aircraft.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby Jagan » 17 Jul 2013 19:09

(Mod Hat On). Vivek - I read the entire exchange and I think you have been piling on Austin without reason - Take a chill pill . (and read your warning in the PM box)

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby Abhibhushan » 17 Jul 2013 19:19

I have not flown a MiG 21 for almost 30 years. I am joining this discussion only because I find it expounding misconceptions.

The MiG21 is a SIMPLE aircraft to fly and maintain. It is robust and accepts a lot pf rough treatnent. However, it's safety record in the Indian Airforce is not good. There are three main reasons for this situation. First: Bird strikes. Indian skies, specially near North Indian cities, are full of large birds at low levels where we operate. By design, the MiG21 has poor survivability against frontal bird strikes. Second: It allows rookie pilot to exit safe flying environment in terms of AOA without warning. It was not designed for high-alpha low level combat. We need to use the aircraft in that environment even though it was not designed for it. This weakness is well understood and is repeatedly stressed in training. The Airforce is not in a position to stop training because what it is equipped with has a weakness. Third: human failures in maintenance and manufacture by IAF or HAL. These accidents are inexcusable, but they do occur.

In addition to these three cause factors, accidents do occur through other human failures in operating the aircraft on the ground or in the air. However, the MiG21 is not prone to such accidents in any greater rate when compared to other aircraft. An aircraft in use in the Airforce is not unsafe.

The MiG21s in use are old. It has become difficult to maintain them in a safe condition. They will be retired out soon. But, where are the replacement aircraft?

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby NRao » 17 Jul 2013 20:13

A BR Monitor article.

2002 :: MiG-21: Much Maligned!

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby member_23455 » 17 Jul 2013 20:20

Abhibhushan wrote:
It was not designed for high-alpha low level combat. We need to use the aircraft in that environment even though it was not designed for it.


The USAF regularly places G-limits and other flight restrictions on aircraft types when safety issues become a concern. I have a query -does the IAF have a culture and practice of restricting demanding flight regimes, or is the Mig 21 too frontline even now to make the pilots step down a notch?

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby Abhibhushan » 17 Jul 2013 20:54

RajitO wrote:
Abhibhushan wrote:
It was not designed for high-alpha low level combat. We need to use the aircraft in that environment even though it was not designed for it.


The USAF regularly places G-limits and other flight restrictions on aircraft types when safety issues become a concern. I have a query -does the IAF have a culture and practice of restricting demanding flight regimes, or is the Mig 21 too frontline even now to make the pilots step down a notch?


^^^

Limiting G in the MiG21 can be obtained in low level without exceeding alpha limit. However, it is easy to step out of the envelope if one is careless.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby Vivek K » 17 Jul 2013 20:54

Rao sahab,

That is a great article by one of IAF's great fighter pilots. However, does that apply to the current discussion? The Mig-21 is not being questioned here. What I find distasteful is the rush to judgement at every instant using - a) the article you have pointed out and b) the Air Chiefs statement (posted earlier by Austin) to blame the pilot. The point is- was the failure in the current case caused because the pilot was a rookie or was it equipment failure caused by poor maintenance or failure of a part.

We all understand that the Mig-21 "still" forms the backbone of the IAF's fighter fleet therefore any comment against it must be countered and the aircraft defended. However, this is now 2013. The bison upgrades were supposed to keep the Migs (with their older generation engines that need more attention and maintenance) flying up to 2015(???).

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby nachiket » 17 Jul 2013 22:25

I hope Abhibhushan ji's wonderful post will inject some sanity back into the discussion here. The Mig-21 obviously has certain vulnerabilities that no upgrade is going to fix. These dangers are in addition to those posed by the increasing age of the aircraft. Yet the IAF has to continue to fly them with the attendant risks since their replacements are nowhere to be found.

And attributing a crash to pilot error, does not mean that the pilot is being badmouthed or that anybody is saying he is a bad pilot. You can compare it to crashing a Formula 1 racing car. Does it automatically mean the driver is bad? No. The margin of error is simply so low that crashes are inevitable.
Last edited by nachiket on 17 Jul 2013 22:28, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby Surya » 17 Jul 2013 22:27

here is where its gets annoying

I have seen pilot error being tagged on an accident where the pilot made a mistake (forget some step\check) as well as to a situation where a technical emergency occurs and the pilot had the wrong reaction to it.

so this allows IAF brass to say a lot of cases pilot error but in many it may be a wrong reaction to a technical emergency

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby nachiket » 17 Jul 2013 22:31

Surya wrote:so this allows IAF brass to say a lot of cases pilot error but in many it may be a wrong reaction to a technical emergency

An incorrect reaction to a technical emergency is classified as pilot error even in civilian accidents (if avoiding that error could have avoided the crash). Of course, in a Mig-21 the emergencies would be a lot more common and reaction time would be a fraction of that available in a civilian aircraft. That's why I said before that "pilot error" does not mean "bad pilot". It can be bad design as well, which induces the error. Like the MKI crash where the FBW switch was turned off. Unfortunately, we can't fix the Mig-21's design deficiencies.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby Karan M » 18 Jul 2013 02:22

The simple fact is that the MiG-21 is no longer sufficient to operate for a frontline AF, and this message is now getting through. It was easy to write off all the widows & other bereaved folks who raged against the MiG-21 as not being fully informed, but now even an ex AF pilot has himself sued the MOD for his injuries. As good as the aircraft was (is), its simply no longer suitable for today's times. And the Bison upgrade did little to the baseline aircraft mechanicals. We still dont make ALL the spares inhouse. Never did, as it was uneconomical and besides, we never got the full design information. Even aircraft acquired from East Europe used to be sent back there for overhauls several years back, if memory serves. Now with most spares stocks for the MiG-21, across the world, time expired, how long can we continue to use this plane? Its easy to blame the IAF or HAL maintenance in the guise of being "fair" to the Russians, but the fact of the life is, it is the former who have fixed several design issues with the fighter when MiG was pretending they didnt exist, and furthermore, the Indian side has had to compensate for the broken parts supply as well. There is no reason why we should impose a Darwinian (survival of the fittest) policy on young pilots by assigning them to an aircraft with such design limitations as the MiG-21 has. If anything, the aircombat environment has become more challenging. Just because our neighbours have these aircraft does not mean, we suffer the same choices as well. All said and done, the faster the Rafales, Sukhois and LCAs get in, the faster the MiGs- both the 21 and 27 series will exit, and thanks for the service etc to these two types, but its time to say good bye.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby nachiket » 18 Jul 2013 04:42

Karan M wrote:All said and done, the faster the Rafales, Sukhois and LCAs get in, the faster the MiGs- both the 21 and 27 series will exit, and thanks for the service etc to these two types, but its time to say good bye.

Everyone knows it's time to say goodbye, the IAF most of all. But what are they supposed to do in the absence of replacements? It'll still be three years at the least before we see a single Rafale in Indian colors and at least one or two I expect before we see the LCA in them. And that would just be the beginning. The IAF still has hundreds of 21's and 27's to replace...

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby Karan M » 18 Jul 2013 08:53

While many of the issues are out of the IAFs hands, there is the thing that even the IAF circled the wagons around the MiG-21.. it was understandable initially, when the media went overboard with the flying coffins stuff around the MiG-21. But later, it just sort of underplayed the scale of the issue and that gave the decision makers an easy way out and hence they could ignore the delays, in say, the MMRCA process where it was MOD inertia that led to a lot of delays..

In other words, the IAF really needed to have pushed the case for the MiG-21 being replaced, harder - with both the decision makers and also looked at ways to accelerate its replacement internally.

The reason I mention this, is because when the IAF does make a strong case, it does get the funding. For instance, the huge numbers of Su-30 MKIs it has are 40% over original estimates because they got follow on orders approved quickly. The Mirage upgrade, MiG-29 Upgrades should also have been processed earlier and the IAF should have worked out a way to procure (say) a squadron or two more of each type and upgraded it (the MiG-29 would have been easier) instead of waiting for the 1 big ticket deal like the MMRCA. There seems to have been literally no thought given to (for example) Mig-29 attrition replacements or even building up squadron numbers. Even as the upgrade goes on, Mirage and MiG-29 numbers are likely to decline based on attrition alone.

Basically, re: the MiG-21, IMO - based in part on interacting with IAF folks - the MiG-21 had a significant lobby, as ex-pilots/senior personnel who were MiG-21 trained/grew up with it, ended up defending it vociferously, both in public and internally. This resulted in almost a complete negation of the challenges involved in keeping it operational initially, and delayed the process of having it replaced. Well, ultimately, the process did start, (I think only the Bisons and a handful of MFs plus trainers are around?) but I wish it had been faster.
Last edited by Karan M on 18 Jul 2013 09:00, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby Singha » 18 Jul 2013 08:57

120 Bisons + unknown number of FLs still floating around (?) + 100 Mig27 + probably the oldest 50 jaguars. comes to around 270 airframes..most than size of most AFs around the world.

with only the Tejas mk2 slated for volume production starting around 2018 - and the MRCA first trickle of deliveries maybe starting around 2016 ... we are between rock and hard place.

everyone who has M2K are keeping them in service I believe. so no cheap but sturdy replacements. Mig29 does not enjoy such a airframe life.

we could *maybe* look to buying additional used airframe SU27 from Ukraine or Russia if they want to sell off some of the ample inventory, and upgrade it su30mki radar and avionics in a A2A and limited A2G role.

with 20/20 hindsight had the IAF proposal to single vendor source around 100 M2K-5 around 1999 timeframe been approved (instead of the MRCA saga), we would be much more comfortable now, with Tejas Mk1/Mk2 taking over only from Mig27/Jag. the RBE2-AA could have been backported in a MLU around 2020 - the rafale nose is smaller so it will surely fit in m2K nose.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby Karan M » 18 Jul 2013 09:12

There are both Mirage 2000 available - Brazil picked up a few from France. MiG-29s are available as well - including new builds, take the K for instance. Airframe life for the MiG-29s has been improving over the years and currently stands at a respectable 4K-5K hours level. The airframes we got were a mix of early builds and hence, their TTL even after refurbishment will be improved by around 1000 hours over their current 2500 hours/10 years extra (flight hours and also age related fatigue are usually both given as separate criteria when negotiating). So a total of 3.5 K hours for the early MiG-29s. Even at 300 hrs/year (assuming an unrealistic 300 hrs/airframe, with two sets of pilots per airframe, 4000 hrs would give us 13 years for each MiG-29, and thats assuming no rotations per airframe).

Unfortunately apart from a half hearted attempt to get a few Mirages from Qatar or the UAE (if memory serves), the IAF chose to simply put all their eggs in the MMRCA basket and wait the results of that procurement out. Any delays there have sought to be compensated for by ordering 80 more MKIs (over the original 190 planned) and then asking for upgrades. But even the Mirage upgrade - has issues. The limited number of Mirages means that to keep a few operational, the upgrade is proceeding extremely slowly, with only a few upgraded each year.

The bulk purchase of the Mirage 2000 would have boosted the IAF, but to be honest, that aircraft would be challenged to handle the J-XX platforms in the later decades. Which is why I propose only (say) 3-4 additional squadrons of both MiG-29/Mirage 2000s in total, would allow the IAF to build up numbers, replace the MiG-21s and allow them to wait out for the "perfect" MMRCA and till the LCA jumps through all the hoops they want

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby Yogi_G » 18 Jul 2013 09:16

Singha wrote:with 20/20 hindsight had the IAF proposal to single vendor source around 100 M2K-5 around 1999 timeframe been approved (instead of the MRCA saga), we would be much more comfortable now, with Tejas Mk1/Mk2 taking over only from Mig27/Jag. the RBE2-AA could have been backported in a MLU around 2020 - the rafale nose is smaller so it will surely fit in m2K nose.


+1, given at that point of time, that we were under Khan "sanctions" and the overall general dissatisfaction with Ruskie parts/service we wouldnt have faced much opposition over having multi bid tender process. France IIRC was the only neutral western country from security council after Pokhran blasts so that could have been used to the hilt to go in with the m2ks.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby Cybaru » 18 Jul 2013 09:26

Singha wrote:
we could *maybe* look to buying additional used airframe SU27 from Ukraine or Russia if they want to sell off some of the ample inventory, and upgrade it su30mki radar and avionics in a A2A and limited A2G role.


:) We dumped our used Su-30K's back on russia. I don't think it makes any sense to do any of these.

Just wait it out. We are adding a new squadron into service at the moment and with the signing of Rafale and LCA Mk-1 coming around. We will be adding between 2-3 new squadrons a year. That is ample new hardware to bring online and is going to keep IAF busy.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby Austin » 18 Jul 2013 09:32

From IAF chief statement we still have around 280 Mig-21 of all types in IAF squadron that still makes up for most type of aircraft flying atm.

Not sure how the number plating and eventual retirement of Mig-21 will occur but if all 280 needs to be phased out by 2018-19 then the aircraft coming in wont be making up for numbers.

But the new types will be qualitatively far superior to Migs so quality will make a lot for numbers.......also a lot depends on Rafale eventual signing up and how Tejas production take off , too many variable that can spoil the party.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby Singha » 18 Jul 2013 09:41

Cybaru wrote:
Singha wrote:
we could *maybe* look to buying additional used airframe SU27 from Ukraine or Russia if they want to sell off some of the ample inventory, and upgrade it su30mki radar and avionics in a A2A and limited A2G role.


:) We dumped our used Su-30K's back on russia. I don't think it makes any sense to do any of these.

Just wait it out. We are adding a new squadron into service at the moment and with the signing of Rafale and LCA Mk-1 coming around. We will be adding between 2-3 new squadrons a year. That is ample new hardware to bring online and is going to keep IAF busy.


we used our SU30Ks heavily. Ukr/Rus have a habit of maintaining a large stockpile of gear in heavy mothballs and being economical in flying hours. its a workhorse airframe and with a good cleanup could serve for 15 yrs easily. in some list I counted around 100 IL76 in various russian boneyards and similar nos of Bears , Mays are known to be salted away under cover in various corners of their vast country. they are never in any problem keeping older kit in service due to vast stockpile of semi-used gear lying around.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby Kartik » 18 Jul 2013 10:56

I agree with Karan M in part...I don’t agree with his view that the IAF should’ve tried harder to get a MiG-21 replacement. They tried their best without actually just grounding the type. And had they just grounded the type like they did with the HPT-32, claiming it was unsafe to fly, the only solution left would’ve been to import Gripen C/Ds en-masse, completely killing the Tejas program. They didn’t do that and that has given the Tejas program that much more time (which ADA/HAL/DRDO needs to make the most of). I have 2 theories for why they didn’t do that- one was that they did believe that the Tejas had potential and was worth waiting for. Second theory is that the IAF had been receiving upgraded MiG-21 Bisons as late as the mid-2000s, so how could they have justified the expenditure on that program if the type had to be grounded soon after it was upgraded and was still unsafe to fly?

Instead, the IAF paid much greater attention to preventing accidents than in the past and the results were there to see. The IAF’s attrition rates have dropped and last year’s was the lowest in history. But we all know it’s flaws- the type is old, its engine was not changed for the Bison upgrade and its lack of FBW means it may depart control when pushed to its limits. It has very poor tendency to glide and if you lose an engine due to a bird strike on finals, you’re pretty much done for. The Bison upgrade enhanced its avionics and combat capabilities but did little to improve its structure or mechanical design. Those flaws remain and there is no point harping on those because the airplane is used in profiles it was not designed for.

What I do agree with, is the point on getting more of the MiG-29 and/or Mirages. I’ve posted on many an occasion about Hungarian MiG-29s that were available for sale at throwaway prices. I believe these are still available. What stopped the IAF from purchasing the whole lot, putting the best 18-20 airframes through the UPG upgrade and getting another squadron of multi-role MiG-29 UPGs? It would’ve been the most cost-effective way to obtain a squadron of a multi-role type that is going to serve another 15-20 years.

No Mirage-2000s are available in the market for sale, unless Taiwan retires its fleet of M 2000-5s (something I’ve read is possible, since they’re not getting spares from France under Chinese pressure) or UAE and/or Qatar sign up for a new type soon. So beefing up the Mirage fleet seems very unlikely to me. Which means that attrition over 2 decades will ensure that the 2.5 squadrons of the Mirage in IAF service (the No.9 Wolfpack is actually at half strength, airframe wise) will eventually shrink to 2 squadrons.

Even our 18 Su-30K/MKs that were exchanged for new MKIs are going through an overhaul in Belarus and some African nation was offered those. I’ll bet they’re cheap and even without upgrades, they have some decent capability.

So the major question is why isn’t the IAF being pro-active like the PAF was when it swept up every remaining stored/active Mirage airframe and engine with spares? Its spending a fortune on those UPG and -5Mk2 upgrade programs, so why not make those upgrade programs more cost effective by spreading the costs over more airframes? buy cheaper used airframes and put them through those upgrades? Both of the upgrade programs add significant service life to the airframes, so if they did it and added a couple of squadrons of these types, they could retire the oldest MiG-21s (Ms? Bis?) till the Tejas Mk1 begins to take over from the MiG-21 Bison.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby Singha » 18 Jul 2013 11:01

they are likely pinning hopes on upping the mrca order to 200 quickly. with exchange rates and economic situation will be hard for any govt to approve.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby varunalh » 18 Jul 2013 11:31

Chaiwala news on IJT. Pardon me if this is already known

1. Designed Empty Weight ~ 3600kgs
2. Actual Empty Weight ~ 4500Kgs
3. ARDC working on weight shaving to bring the empty weight around 4000Kgs
4. Flight Trials with Stores (Equal on both wings)going on
5. Mixed Stores is next
6. Stall Flight trials have started
7. Spin Recovery - Yet to be done. This has not been done in CFD either yet.
8. AF 55 - Life(Not sure what he meant by life) yet to be ascertained (Parallel tests on going by parent company)
9. Approx 400Hrs of flight testing done. 1000hrs of flight time needed for IOC.
10. PT2, LSP1 and LSP2 are flying.
11. LSP3 undergoing taxi trials
12. Not all aircrafts instrumented (test/measurement) for all systems because of costs involved.
13. Weight of instrumentation on board ~ 100kgs
14. Aircraft cleared for full envelope(g, speed and altitude) in clean configuration

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Re: Indian Military Aviation- Jan 10 2012

Postby mody » 18 Jul 2013 11:56

It would be interesting to see the data on flight safety records of MiG-21s or its clones like F-7 being flown by other airforce's around the world.

The Chinese and Pukes themselves fly a lot of F-7s as yet. What is the flight safety record of these aircrafts? The pukes are also flying very old airframes on the Mirage IIIs which they have picked up from all over the world. The planes have been put through the Rose upgrade, but similar to the the Bison upgrade, it did not do anything to the basic mechanics of the plane or the engine.

Offcourse the flight safety records would have to be correlated to the no. of flying hours, which might be more difficult to come by.

But even if someone has any data or reports on the flight safety record or no. of crashed of these planes in service with other airforce's around the world, it would be interesting.


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