Kartik wrote: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.
During the 90's, the IAF purchased lots of MiG-21 trainers from Bulgaria, Hungary & Ukraine, et al. They stopped this after discovering a fundamental problem, that IN discovered separately with Gorshkov.
One really doesnt know the history & record of the airframes & engines, especially if logs are poorly maintained, or the seller not giving access to them. The last was the case with Gorshkov based on which IN rejected its purchase. It is not possible to do an ultrasound testing of structural parts for fatigue because the seller's airbase or shipyard may not have the facility or the seller may simply not allow it.
So upgrading these planes by installing a radar is meaningless, because the wings or engine would have reached the ends of their structural lives.
Pakistan tried to better the Indian example, buying Mirages 3/5 en-mass, but faces the same problem. Their Mirages and F-7 are plummeting out the skies worse than Indian MiG-21s. Their only fully operational aircraft are JF-17, F-16s and handful of F-7PG purchased in 2000s. The number of JF-17 planned because of affordability (even with generous aid) is lesser than F-7 & Mirages replaced.
Airforces worldwide are shrinking, because new aircraft are becoming increasingly esoteric, complex with associated costs and long development times. PLAAF is the fastest shrinking airforce, because of fatigued Q & J fighters.
Solution is to go for UAVs for recce & Kargil type CAS missions, but fighter pilot based Air Force leadership worldwide have cultural issues adopting them. Using a MiG-27 or Mi-17 against a sangar is inefficient deployment of assets.