Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

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shiv
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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby shiv » 26 Feb 2016 06:31

About Hawks in combat:

At any given time the IAF has among its ranks a number of pilots who have graduated on Pilatus and are moving on to Hawks. Another bunch may be qualified for weapon firing on Hawks but not night flying. Another bunch may be fully qualified and waiting to be posted for conversion to other a/c like Jaguar. Yet another bunch will have received their posting but will not yet be qualified to fly the Jag/Su-30 solo although they are fully qualified on the Hawk. This bunch of pilots may constitute (I am guessing here) about 5-10% of the strength of pilots qualified to fly and fire weapons in the IAF. In case of war, these pilots will not be asked to sit and twiddle their thumbs as all available instructors and aircraft are off fighting a war. These qualified Hawk pilots will be sent into action in Hawks. They will be led by a senior pilot on missions which will conform to the level of training they have acquired on the Hawk

In any given CAS/ground attack scenario the two extremes are
a. Intense ground fire, SAMs, Manpads,interceptors waiting to kill our a/c
b. Absolutely no opposition at all

Assuming that "a" is always the case is being over cautious and some missions that could have taken place will not take place because of that

Assuming the "b" is always the case is foolhardiness and there may be unnecessary losses unless pilots get lucky

Typically, in the absence of intelligence or prior knowledge of what sort of opposition to expect, probing missions will be led by senior pilots. Of course there is risk, but these people are soldiers.

We must not dismiss the force multiplier effect of a UAV/AWACS combination over a battle zone. Assuming top cover is provided (or is not required for other reasons -like local air dominance already achieved) then the UAV will monitor the SAM sites and the men armed with Manpads and feed to the AWACS which will feed coordinates to some aircraft that will be able to hit these targets at standoff ranges. A combat Hawk could well find application in this sort of scenario

Here's a suggestion from me: Do not mean to be patronizing but I am serious. Pay attention to the Iron Fist demos. They show what the IAF will do in war. Including Hawk and An 32 bombing missions.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby ramana » 26 Feb 2016 06:49

Also best is enemy of good.

No need to sneeze at available resource.
By equipping with laser and DARIN III type of aids, can use standoff to avoid the incoming.
Next Aden 30 mm is very useful gun for tanks.

And equip them with IAF standard weapons like Python, HSLD etc. for commonality.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby Karan M » 26 Feb 2016 07:06

Shiv wrote:About Hawks in combat:

At any given time the IAF has among its ranks a number of pilots who have graduated on Pilatus and are moving on to Hawks. Another bunch may be qualified for weapon firing on Hawks but not night flying. Another bunch may be fully qualified and waiting to be posted for conversion to other a/c like Jaguar. Yet another bunch will have received their posting but will not yet be qualified to fly the Jag/Su-30 solo although they are fully qualified on the Hawk. This bunch of pilots may constitute (I am guessing here) about 5-10% of the strength of pilots qualified to fly and fire weapons in the IAF. In case of war, these pilots will not be asked to sit and twiddle their thumbs as all available instructors and aircraft are off fighting a war. These qualified Hawk pilots will be sent into action in Hawks. They will be led by a senior pilot on missions which will conform to the level of training they have acquired on the Hawk


But typically those pilots will be seconded to the squadrons they are type qualified on already.

e two extremes are
a. Intense ground fire, SAMs, Manpads,interceptors waiting to kill our a/c
b. Absolutely no opposition at all

Assuming that "a" is always the case is being over cautious and some missions that could have taken place will not take place because of that

Assuming the "b" is always the case is foolhardiness and there may be unnecessary losses unless pilots get lucky


At Kargil, even without the PAF, a. was pretty much the case regarding MANPADs & ground fire.
PLAAF is a far more daunting proposition.

Typically, in the absence of intelligence or prior knowledge of what sort of opposition to expect, probing missions will be led by senior pilots. Of course there is risk, but these people are soldiers.


But if we lose these guys we lose the impetus and it has a huge morale effect as well.

We must not dismiss the force multiplier effect of a UAV/AWACS combination over a battle zone. Assuming top cover is provided (or is not required for other reasons -like local air dominance already achieved) then the UAV will monitor the SAM sites and the men armed with Manpads and feed to the AWACS which will feed coordinates to some aircraft that will be able to hit these targets at standoff ranges. A combat Hawk could well find application in this sort of scenario


India has very very limited numbers of AWACS and UAVS and IMHO we need to boost those versus spend our scarce resources on combat Hawks as an addition to the fleet (as versus upgraded of existing Hawks).

Plus, why not more LCAs.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby Karan M » 26 Feb 2016 07:08

ramana wrote:Also best is enemy of good.

No need to sneeze at available resource.
By equipping with laser and DARIN III type of aids, can use standoff to avoid the incoming.
Next Aden 30 mm is very useful gun for tanks.

And equip them with IAF standard weapons like Python, HSLD etc. for commonality.


Tank busting with Adens? Against ERA equipped Al Khalids etc? Putting them in MANPADS envelope?

Hawk is a light jet. We are all seeing the payload and other compromises for LCA, it will be equal for the Hawk, 7 pylons without even the LCA unique pylon. DARIN-3 level avionics on a very limited platform - we are better off buying more LCA Mk1s.

IMHO this is a classic case of HAL's typical sheikh chilli-giri. How much of the Hawk have they even indigenized? Instead of focusing on LCA they swooned off over the IJT (and mucked it up and the LCA). Now LCA is at cusp of service, they are busy touting Combat Hawk et al which will most likely be foisted off of HALs funds and with no clear roadmap for export or fixing current customer issues around existing platforms.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby Singha » 26 Feb 2016 07:18

a good crutch to explain further delays in Mk1 and Mk1A production by diverting resources and manpower also. who needs to do the hard work of writing own procedures when UK will provide all readymade.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby shiv » 26 Feb 2016 07:22

Karan M wrote:At Kargil, even without the PAF, a. was pretty much the case regarding MANPADs & ground fire.
PLAAF is a far more daunting proposition.


Kargil was a special case where the IAF was able to send in any aircraft because the whole IAF was available, In hot war Kargil will be assigned 4 Hawks and 2 MiG 21s. But the Kargil war is illustrative of real war. Planes went in, there was attrition. Lessons were learned and there was no attrition after that. Zero attrition is not going to happen in war. In fact 4 Vampires lost in 1965 is an exact analogous example. They were lost, lessons were learned and top cover provided


Karan M wrote:Plus, why not more LCAs.

An argument for combat Hawks is not an argument against more LCAs. The logic is very simple. We will always have Hawks (for the next 20-25 years at least)

Whatever the number of LCAs we have 40, 100, or 500 - that number will always be augmented by the Hawks we have and the pilots who are just qualified on Hawks and nothing else

The argument that combat Hawks are eating away at LCA numbers or that Hawks are being peddled unnecessarily by HAL are certainly valid as viewpoints, but we have no information that this will be the case. They are simply debating points like everything else. None of them in my view is a really good reason for not using a very capable light attack aircraft in war situations where they can be used.

Personally (and this is my view) I see all cost arguments on BRF as purely hypothetical arguments that are taken even further by rhetoric like "What is the cost of a pilot's life?" Should we not have 126 Rafales rather than 200 Hawks? I tend to shy away from such discussions and will continue to do so.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby shiv » 26 Feb 2016 07:25

Karan M wrote:But if we lose these guys we lose the impetus and it has a huge morale effect as well.

I believe that this is not a discussion we should get into. It has too much scope for rhetoric over fact. A good fighting force keeps its morale despite losses. Even this statement is a rhetorical one that can lead to 2 pages of argument. I will keep off this line

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby shiv » 26 Feb 2016 07:32

Karan M wrote:IMHO this is a classic case of HAL's typical sheikh chilli-giri. How much of the Hawk have they even indigenized? Instead of focusing on LCA they swooned off over the IJT (and mucked it up and the LCA). Now LCA is at cusp of service, they are busy touting Combat Hawk et al which will most likely be foisted off of HALs funds and with no clear roadmap for export or fixing current customer issues around existing platforms.

This is an interesting question and I don't know the answer. But the assembly line and tooling and skilled manpower are already there. Also some percentage is indigenized - especially with regard to the engine (as opposed to the F404 of LCA)

The exact cost-benefit analysis is not something I can provide, but I believe that the case against the Hawk is not that simple. Just my view

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby shiv » 26 Feb 2016 08:00

I am not posting this as something against LCA and for Hawk. In fact it could be mre "for LCA" but the point I want to make is that sometimes you don't know how good a platform is until you apply it. Simply imagining that something is good or bad remains an assumption until it is tried.

Sadly even after that only the pilots who fly it will know.

ImageImage

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby maitya » 26 Feb 2016 09:52

shiv wrote:
maitya wrote:However, I'm not clear, in the "modern" battlefield scenario, in the <100Km-radius CAS situations (let's call it short-range-CAS), what is it that combat-Hawk can do that a LCH couldn't? And more important, which one of it, would be have more survival chance/probability?

And to make it more "specific" in the day-3 or day-4 war scenario with no surviving SAM cover, how much bigger is the MANPAD threat to a LCH than a combat Hawk (in <10-12K ft altitude in such short-range-CAS type operating env)?


While I believe Hawk and LCH can both provide CAS nearly interchangeably in some situations - there are some differences - at least as far as my knowledge goes.

Helos are better capable of loitering about and giving close support in the battlefield. While manpads are a threat - helos can minimize their exposure by using nap of earth and terrain features and may be in a better position to identify problem spots like a machine-gun emplacement or mortar that are troubling troops. Jets pilots, flying much faster will be presented with only a blur as they fly low and if they overshoot and fail to identify a target they will be miles away in a few seconds, having to navigate back. But their speed also makes them somewhat less susceptible to ground fire. Manpad or AA gun teams need at least 3-4 seconds to get a bead on the aircraft, slew the weapon in the right direction and shoot. The time may vary depending on training and anxiety in a battle zone. Jets at low level will be far away in that time. Anyone who has spent time watching out for aircraft will know that low, fast flying aircraft will appear on the horizon and vanish in seconds and by the time he passes overhead he may already have dropped some munition that is on its way to the observer. Also when it comes to flying deeper into enemy territory to take out convoys of tanks and ammunition jets can get there and back quicker
<snip>
Shreeman wrote:mailtya,

everything has a role.

lch https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HAL_Light ... Helicopter 145knots, 1 ton, ceiling? radar?
hawk https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BAE_Systems_Hawk 400+knots 3 ton celining? radar?
A10 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A10_warthog 300knots, 7 ton ceiling? radar?

these are different roles. there will be different operators. the lchs will likely be with armor underneath. the cas fixed wing wander in/out. army aviation gets lch, doesnt get fixed wing. the whole philosophy of using one or the other is different. there is nothing really apples vs apples here. the lch will never do a dumb bomb release in anger in all likelihood. cas or not.


Agree ... but isn't that precisely the point - in the 3-4th day war onwards, where the SAM cover is more or less taken care of, what is the need of a 300-400+ knot capable machine, which provides max 2 passes while the primary role is to "close support" the advancing the Armored columns (or support "somewhat dug-in" Infantry units, say, in the mountains).

Also the current crop of Manpads would be most-probably the dual-color IR sensor ones with a decent acquiring range, which means
a faster platform is actually more vulnerable (heat of the skin - as opposed to ancient-concept of aiming at the engine outlet) than a slower (and more maneuverable) platform. Isn't the requirement has now changed to more-loiter time but with lesser heat-signature than one-or-two-pass faster platform?

Kargil is not a good example - Mi-8/17 are hardly suitable-platforms (compared to LCH type platforms wrt high-alt, defensive subsystems, EW etc capabilities) for those kind of operations, IAF fought with whatever they had.

And there's this "political" angle as well - what if IA demands a combat-Hawk while IAF rejects it (which is what most probably would happpen)? This will initiate another round of unnecessary internecine tu-tu-main-main upmanship etc amongst the services.

PS: Shreemanji, the MTOW figures are not comparable in this context. A better comparable figure would be what is the external weapon-weight carriage capability against the loiter time (as the ranges are both well within their respective radius-of-action).

JMT.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby Karan M » 26 Feb 2016 10:03

Shiv wrote:Kargil was a special case where the IAF was able to send in any aircraft because the whole IAF was available, In hot war Kargil will be assigned 4 Hawks and 2 MiG 21s. But the Kargil war is illustrative of real war. Planes went in, there was attrition. Lessons were learned and there was no attrition after that. Zero attrition is not going to happen in war. In fact 4 Vampires lost in 1965 is an exact analogous example. They were lost, lessons were learned and top cover provided


Shiv, in 1965 after the Vampire loss, IAF grounded 10 squadrons of Vampires and Toofanis. To this day, IAF folks bicker over whose idea it was to send obsolete Vampires into combat while others claim no other option. The loss of the Vampires forced IAF into a drastic reaction. The Hawk vs F7/Mirage or even F-16 is quite equivalent to a Vampire vs Sabre.

In 1999, after loss of Ahuja and Mi-17, IAF moved all its fighters to medium alt and forbade low level attacks.

So, in 202x where is the positivity of a Hawk being thrust into a combat situation which has become even more hostile?

An argument for combat Hawks is not an argument against more LCAs. The logic is very simple. We will always have Hawks (for the next 20-25 years at least)

Whatever the number of LCAs we have 40, 100, or 500 - that number will always be augmented by the Hawks we have and the pilots who are just qualified on Hawks and nothing else


The only pilots who are qualified on Hawks and nothing else will be rookies who still need to get upto speed on weapons procedures on squadron deputation and receive full combat training. We can't send them into combat, its a recipe for disaster. See Cookes account of his victory.
https://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/hist ... cooke.html

‘I was taught the right way by Piloo - learn by the book, and then when you are done, throw the book away’ – Cooke with his beloved Hunter (BA 339). His steed during his epic air battle would be BA-250.


His victory was all about experience over inexperience, and the Hunter being a platform closely matched in several respects to the Sabre. The F7 and Mirage 3 will have the speed advantage on the Hawk and can engage at will!

Or you need escorts! So how is it saving resources.

Coming to LCA vs Hawks, HALs has had stepmotherly attitude to the LCA. Recently, HAL made a power play. They wanted the LCA transferred to HAL from ADA.

So they can't even manage a IJT program, are dragged reluctantly to the LCA program (despite making its parts, having IRON bird and assembling it) and now want to take it over after ADA does the heavy lifting for donkeys years. Never mind they have not even demonstrated the design capability a plane like that demands.

Suddenly BAE comes up with combat Hawk and HAL is all over it, in a market which has F/A-50, JF-17, Gripen C/D and now the LCA...in which time all of 62 Hawk-200s were sold and even light fighters with far more sophistication are finding it tough. And instead of pushing LCA for export, HAL wants to talk about the Combat Hawk.

IMHO, as a MOD entity HAL has got far too used to making good hay out of importing CKD/SKD kits and calling it their own.

The argument that combat Hawks are eating away at LCA numbers or that Hawks are being peddled unnecessarily by HAL are certainly valid as viewpoints, but we have no information that this will be the case. They are simply debating points like everything else. None of them in my view is a really good reason for not using a very capable light attack aircraft in war situations where they can be used.


Where is the "very capable" coming from? The combat Hawk Indian variant is yet to fly, will be mostly full of imported avionics sourced from France, Israel etc judging by HALs record as versus the LCA, painstakingly locally supported and Hawks payload to performance capability will be far less than that of the LCA.

So which is more likely to survive in a dense AD scenario?

In 1999, Jaguars, Mirage 2000s, MiG-27s had to move to medium alt to cover from PA Anzas.

These are full fighters. How will a trainer with weaponry tagged be better?

Personally (and this is my view) I see all cost arguments on BRF as purely hypothetical arguments that are taken even further by rhetoric like "What is the cost of a pilot's life?" Should we not have 126 Rafales rather than 200 Hawks? I tend to shy away from such discussions and will continue to do so.


The references i cited show that IAF is struggling with a pilot and airframe shortage (though it has been stated that if it wants to, it can boost the number of pilots it recruits and trains).

IMHO a Combat Hawk is a band aid to disguise the sheer lack of available airframes, due to MOD stupidity, and IAFs own cussedness regarding the LCA.
Last edited by Karan M on 26 Feb 2016 10:32, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby maitya » 26 Feb 2016 10:08

shiv wrote:I am not posting this as something against LCA and for Hawk. In fact it could be mre "for LCA" but the point I want to make is that sometimes you don't know how good a platform is until you apply it. Simply imagining that something is good or bad remains an assumption until it is tried.

Sadly even after that only the pilots who fly it will know.
<snip>

Shivji, in those days the look-down capability of MiG-21s mentioned here (as well similar class of interceptor platforms worldwide) was more-or-less non-existent. So detect and engage a well-flown low-flying platform, would be very very difficult.

That is no longer the case for the sensors (Radars, IRST etc) available nowadays i.e. a Bison would have made a mince-meat of it, while a MiG-21Bis would have struggled, similarly.

But of course, then again why would a low-flying platform not use it own sensors (which also have similarly advanced) and allow a interceptor to be close enough anyway. In those days the Marut pilot, would be concentrating 110% to avoid the terrain and still keep executing the low-level maneuvers - where is the time for him to even know who has detected him, or is tracking him, where exactly in the spatial position of these threats etc.
Nowadays he will have a TFR-slaved autopilot, RWR and maybe integrated jammers and also some level of HMDS-integrated short-range self-defense capability.
(that doesn't mean ofcourse, low-level flying requires any less effort/concentration etc - far from it)

So technology changes, capability changes, so tactics also have evolved all around - but some technological changes could be so overwhelming compared to the competing technology, tactics-change etc would be on a diminishing-return spiral - so some of these platforms maynot (or may, don't know enough to comment) make any sense anymore.

Again JMT.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby Sid » 26 Feb 2016 10:09

air corridors during Iraq and Kosovo ops were opened by Apaches, not stealthy F-117 or B2s or F-18s.

It's in the same class as AMX, which was used from CAS/Recon/etc. But don't expect it in air superiority role.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby Karan M » 26 Feb 2016 10:23

shiv wrote:
Karan M wrote:But if we lose these guys we lose the impetus and it has a huge morale effect as well.

I believe that this is not a discussion we should get into. It has too much scope for rhetoric over fact. A good fighting force keeps its morale despite losses. Even this statement is a rhetorical one that can lead to 2 pages of argument. I will keep off this line


Valid arguments cant be dismissed as rhetoric merely because they are inconvenient. I don't engage in rhetorical arguments and always take care to present facts. BRs own records on the 1965 Vampire incident clearly show the effects of the incident, though it didn't prevent the IAF from recovering and hitting back & IAF AHQ made a drastic decision to stop all Toofani and Vampire ops. Similarly, PAF was badly hit by the loss of people like Middlecoat and Rafiqui though it didn't prevent them from fighting on either.
http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/histo ... ter03.html
However loss of key personnel is always a dicey thing for elite forces as they are not overmanned.

You made the point that senior pilots can be used to "lead" strikes in Hawks by scouting ahead. The fact is that IAF does not have senior pilots just available in plenty to be used in such a manner in an airframe suboptimal for advanced AD, their loss may similarly lead to loss of valuable skilled pilots who are needed elsewhere. Right now, the IAF has merely 32 squadrons yet it was concerned about pilot availability and exploring use of medicines etc to get optimal staffing. Instead of using senior people on Hawks, it would rather make more sense to boost available aircraft availability (more spares, more sets of ground crew) and have more available pilots for rotation.

The PLAAF SAM/AAA force that it fields today is very comprehensive, in fact doubts exist whether even the Rafale would be able to operate unimpeded. The Hawk would need dedicated ECM, and a range of other support since it can't even speed its way out of trouble like the other fighters.
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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby Karan M » 26 Feb 2016 10:25

Sid wrote:air corridors during Iraq and Kosovo ops were opened by Apaches, not stealthy F-117 or B2s or F-18s.


Apaches fly nap of earth and are slow enough to accurately target ground targets from optics. No such luck for a Hawk which is a fast jet but not fast enough to outrun interceptors.

It's in the same class as AMX, which was used from CAS/Recon/etc. But don't expect it in air superiority role.


When was the last time US etc planned to use AMX equivalents against threats like PLAAF, never mind Iraq et al which could get A-10'ed?

A-10/Su-25 both have heavy armor BTW.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby Karan M » 26 Feb 2016 10:28

maitya wrote:Agree ... but isn't that precisely the point - in the 3-4th day war onwards, where the SAM cover is more or less taken care of, what is the need of a 300-400+ knot capable machine, which provides max 2 passes while the primary role is to "close support" the advancing the Armored columns (or support "somewhat dug-in" Infantry units, say, in the mountains).


Also, who says in our conflicts in 3rd-4th day of war we will have taken care of SAM cover?
How can one take care of MANPADs for instance. Or manage the plethora of SAMS PLAAF fields? At best, we'll be lucky if we manage SEAD (if our local ARM comes online fast) in temporary windows for air assets to operate. Against S-4XX SAMS, I suspect they will use the 40 "special Su-30" with Brahmos but its a limited pool of expensive assets.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby Sid » 26 Feb 2016 10:50

Karan, it's not a cut and dry situation. I guess we all support home grown products to anything foreign. But usage of this platform depends entirely on operational requirements or "budget".

For example, during peace time do we actually need Su or Migs or LCAs or Mirages to perform CAP or basic interceptions? Most of these air intrusion alerts turns out to be false and fighters turn back home after guzzling lakhs of tax payer money.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby Kailash » 26 Feb 2016 11:02

Karan M wrote:Coming to LCA vs Hawks, HALs has had stepmotherly attitude to the LCA. Recently, HAL made a power play. They wanted the LCA transferred to HAL from ADA.

So they can't even manage a IJT program, are dragged reluctantly to the LCA program (despite making its parts, having IRON bird and assembling it) and now want to take it over after ADA does the heavy lifting for donkeys years. Never mind they have not even demonstrated the design capability a plane like that demands.


If true, this is undermines the LCA program significantly. Remember the 800-1000kg weight shaving for Mk1-A was from HAL and not from ADA. This would be difficult to believe even if it came from ADA's mouth. Fastest way to take control over this mismanagement is direct intervention from MoD, with sweeping changes to the management.

Long term solution is to divest HAL, even splitting into multiple units(Helicopter, fighters, trainers, engines etc) and selling portions of it to private players to streamline human resources and decrease conflict of interests.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby shiv » 26 Feb 2016 14:30

I am still of the opinion that the "Combat Hawk" will offer additional numbers capability to the IAF with very little change in infrastructure or training and while I can see there are other opinions - I do believe that a combat version of the Hawk will be adopted. But we have to wait and see.

In the meantime see this video from Iron Fist where some of the youngsters of the IAF attack targets in Hawks. Reading stories of earlier wars - there were many situations where young and inexperienced pilots went to war. IIRC Neb and his first Sabre is a case in point.

https://youtu.be/eAVkkZmhUc4
Last edited by shiv on 26 Feb 2016 14:35, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby shiv » 26 Feb 2016 14:34

maitya wrote:Shivji, in those days the look-down capability of MiG-21s mentioned here (as well similar class of interceptor platforms worldwide) was more-or-less non-existent. So detect and engage a well-flown low-flying platform, would be very very difficult.

That is no longer the case for the sensors (Radars, IRST etc) available nowadays i.e. a Bison would have made a mince-meat of it, while a MiG-21Bis would have struggled, similarly.

Whatever the assumed theroretical scenario my point is that unless the aircraft is tried in a role at least in war games/practice runs its real capability will not be known. Assumptions about what will happen in war are the first things to be demolished in hot war.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby shiv » 26 Feb 2016 14:41

I am unsure of the reason why the US did not use A-10s. It might have something to do with a big fight going on the the US to do away with A-10s altogether causing great consternation among A-10 fans. But I recall reading recently that the A-10 got a reprieve. Will need to Google for the latest.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby shiv » 26 Feb 2016 14:48

Karan M wrote: Instead of using senior people on Hawks, it would rather make more sense to boost available aircraft availability (more spares, more sets of ground crew) and have more available pilots for rotation.

There will always be seniors flying Hawks - to train juniors. The use of Hawks in controlled situations automatically increases both aircraft and pilot availability because, I repeat, the air force will utilize pilots who know how to fly the Hawk but are not yet qualified on other types.

Karan M wrote:Shiv, in 1965 after the Vampire loss, IAF grounded 10 squadrons of Vampires and Toofanis.

Not during the war. At least the Vampires flew limited daytime sorties till the end of the war.
Last edited by shiv on 26 Feb 2016 15:34, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby Viv S » 26 Feb 2016 15:03

Sid wrote:For example, during peace time do we actually need Su or Migs or LCAs or Mirages to perform CAP or basic interceptions?

Actually we do. Both the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 are designed to cruise at the Hawk's top speed - Mach 0.8. Most high-end business jets can outrun it. Which means for all practical purposes, its incapable of policing the bulk of civilian traffic in our airspace.

Most of these air intrusion alerts turns out to be false and fighters turn back home after guzzling lakhs of tax payer money.

Unless, god forbid, its not a false alarm..

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby shiv » 26 Feb 2016 15:14

Sid wrote:Karan, it's not a cut and dry situation. I guess we all support home grown products to anything foreign. But usage of this platform depends entirely on operational requirements or "budget".

For example, during peace time do we actually need Su or Migs or LCAs or Mirages to perform CAP or basic interceptions? Most of these air intrusion alerts turns out to be false and fighters turn back home after guzzling lakhs of tax payer money.

Sid, the Hawk cannot be used as an air combat fighter. Its role can only be limited to a ground attack role and maybe some self defence capability with SRAAMs. But then again the Jaguar is similarly hobbled.

As I see it - most conversations on BRF tend to move towards air combat without talking about attack roles which will form at least half the sorties in a war. Remember that even an LCA loaded with bombs and flying low will be a sitting duck for enemy aircraft without some help in the form of top cover/escort. If one must send out two LCAs loaded out for attack escorted by two LCAs kitted for interception, why not send 2 Hawks for attack with similar LCA escort (in needed) in areas where the ground fire is known not to be heavy from previous sorties flown by others.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby shiv » 26 Feb 2016 15:19

It think Jagan's 1965 book has the story of a junior PAF pilot in Bangladesh, frustrated at the fat that he could not take off in a Sabre on the damaged runway wanted to take off in a short stretch of runway in a light aircraft and ram it into an attacking Indian aircraft. The man was apparently in tears but prevented from doing so by his senior. I need to find the episode - but is an illustration of the fact that as attrition gets worse in a war the air force has to be ready to use any available aircraft and pilots and not be hoity toity about it. And that has exactly been their attitude in wars notwithstanding our hi funda theory about who will shoot down whom.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby Bhaskar_T » 26 Feb 2016 15:34

http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/indian-air-force-has-only-32-squadrons-lowest-in-a-decade-1281558

NEW DELHI: The Indian Air Force has just 32 squadrons of fighters - the lowest in a decade - to guard the Indian skies, top IAF commanders have confirmed to NDTV.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has flagged the worry with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and made a detailed presentation recently on the operational difficulties that the IAF faces because of the depletion in fighters.

After the air force de-commissioned three of the aging Russian-made MiG 21 squadrons, bringing down the total number from 34 to 31 fighter squadrons, an additional squadron of the Russian-made Su-30 MKI has been raised.

The Indian Air Force needs at least 42 squadrons of fighters to protect its western and northern borders with Pakistan and China. By 2019 -2020 it will lose another 14 squadrons of the vintage MiG 21s and MiG 27s. There are 16-18 planes in one squadron.

The force now depends on Su-30 MKI and MiG 29s, the British-made Jaguar and French-made Mirage 2000s. An upgrade of the Jaguar fighters being carried out by the public sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited or HAL has been delayed by two years.

The government's plan to plug operational gaps by inducting 36 French-made Rafale fighters and with indigenously made Tejas fighters too hasn't come through yet.

Commercial negotiations with France for the Rafale are far from over and although the IAF has agreed to induct Tejas fighters, it is yet to get the first aircraft.

The Tejas - which was showcased at the Baharin air show for the first time this year - has not yet got a Final Operational Clearance (FOC).

The aircraft - in the making for over 3 decades - had several deficiencies, which are now being addressed by HAL in consultation with the IAF.

"Its performance at Baharin was however encouraging and we hope the FOC comes through soon," a senior officer said, adding, the "IAF is ready to induct as many Tejas fighters as possible to plug the gaps."

"Till recently, we were more interested in defending the process of acquisition, then the outcome, and as a result no one really cared about requirements and operational preparedness," the officer said, referring to the decade-long talks to acquire medium multi-role fighters from France, which the Narendra Modi government had to cancel because of severe infirmities in the negotiations.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby Singha » 26 Feb 2016 16:44

even the old 747 at mach 0.94 can outrun a hawk if its top speed is only 0.8
the A380 is even faster

from opex cost/flying hour POV, Tejas with 2 drop tanks is good way to investigate border contacts, escort a/c etc.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby Karan M » 26 Feb 2016 17:41

Shiv, there is a book citing an IAF officer which states that post the Chamb incident the Vampire and Toofani ops were drastically scaled back to the extent that it was an overreaction.

https://books.google.co.in/books?id=eTd ... NI&f=false

Indian Air Force in Wars
By Air Vice Marshal Arun Kumar Tiwary

However, after suffering the loss of 4 Vampires on September 1st, the IAF decided not to use the Vampire and Toofani fleet, barring a few exceptions, thus grounding 9 squadrons

There will always be seniors flying Hawks - to train juniors. The use of Hawks in controlled situations automatically increases both aircraft and pilot availability because, I repeat, the air force will utilize pilots who know how to fly the Hawk but are not yet qualified on other types.


Those seniors who are trainers for Hawks will already be type qualified on other aircraft. When and if war breaks out they can be seconded to other squadrons which need their expertise.

That leaves the rookies. They will most probably sit out the war until and unless the situation demands far far more.

It think Jagan's 1965 book has the story of a junior PAF pilot in Bangladesh, frustrated at the fat that he could not take off in a Sabre on the damaged runway wanted to take off in a short stretch of runway in a light aircraft and ram it into an attacking Indian aircraft. The man was apparently in tears but prevented from doing so by his senior. I need to find the episode - but is an illustration of the fact that as attrition gets worse in a war the air force has to be ready to use any available aircraft and pilots and not be hoity toity about it. And that has exactly been their attitude in wars notwithstanding our hi funda theory about who will shoot down whom.


So why was he overruled by his senior? That's the thing, the "seniors" maintain objectivity and the kind of efforts you describe (ramming) are only if there is no other option.

In this case, why introduce a limited platform into service on the grounds of something is better than nothing, when you have the option to do much much better.

This does not support the case for the Hawk. Yes, as attrition gets worse all items will be used. But why induct limited stuff?

There is no hi funda theory about who will shoot down whom but cold hard objectivity that introducing a CAS limited Hawk in an era where IAF has access to a proper multirole fighter at the same acquisition price level, simply doesn't make sense.Only upgrades to existing Hawks may.

LCA, 1.6 M, -3G/+8G, 500km combat radius, IFR would extend it further, BVR/CCM, PGM capability, FBW safety, Litening & EW (planned). Any day better than an armed Hawk.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby Karan M » 26 Feb 2016 17:48

Shiv wrote:As I see it - most conversations on BRF tend to move towards air combat without talking about attack roles which will form at least half the sorties in a war. Remember that even an LCA loaded with bombs and flying low will be a sitting duck for enemy aircraft without some help in the form of top cover/escort. If one must send out two LCAs loaded out for attack escorted by two LCAs kitted for interception, why not send 2 Hawks for attack with similar LCA escort (in needed) in areas where the ground fire is known not to be heavy from previous sorties flown by others.


No, not necessarily. A LCA loaded with bombs can still employ a pylon for a BVR missile & use its AI radar for long range scanning and use it as a means to defend itself. A LCA can carry 2 AAMs, 2 fuel tanks, 2-3 bombs & a Litening + EW pod (if a combo missile/EW pod idea gets through). The Hawk? It can't.
Further, a LCA squadron can undertake bomb/escort missions all by itself, without relying on another squadron.

You are suggesting an inferior aircraft with more vulnerability be introduced which needs escort perforce and does not have the ability to detect and counter other aircraft at range to escape, and upgrades would be required, which would make it even more expensive. Why not just buy LCAs?

Also, how would the IAF know where ground fire is not heavy? By the time one sortie is finished, and PA/PRC rush AD assets into the area, the next sortie could well get hammered. Which is why every sortie would more or less proceed under the assumption heavy resistance is likely. Until and unless resistance totally collapses (unlikely).

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby JayS » 26 Feb 2016 17:58

Singha wrote:even the old 747 at mach 0.94 can outrun a hawk if its top speed is only 0.8
the A380 is even faster

from opex cost/flying hour POV, Tejas with 2 drop tanks is good way to investigate border contacts, escort a/c etc.


Nitpicking. M0.94 figure for B747 should be its ultimate speed after which structural integrity cannot be guaranteed. In fact it may not be able to reach that speed at all unless its in a dive. Its Cruise speed must be M0.85. Likewise for A380.

shiv wrote:Sid, the Hawk cannot be used as an air combat fighter. Its role can only be limited to a ground attack role and maybe some self defence capability with SRAAMs. But then again the Jaguar is similarly hobbled.

As I see it - most conversations on BRF tend to move towards air combat without talking about attack roles which will form at least half the sorties in a war. Remember that even an LCA loaded with bombs and flying low will be a sitting duck for enemy aircraft without some help in the form of top cover/escort. If one must send out two LCAs loaded out for attack escorted by two LCAs kitted for interception, why not send 2 Hawks for attack with similar LCA escort (in needed) in areas where the ground fire is known not to be heavy from previous sorties flown by others.


I have one noob pooch. Apart from having few more pilots available for combat duty and perhaps some cost benefit what advantage Combat hawk has over LCA??

From what I can see from this discussion so far:

Points for Combat Hawk:
- Existing production line/supply chain, numbers can be built quickly.
- dedicated platform, which can be optimized for given role without any compromise for accommodating other roles.
- More pilots available for combat duty.
- less operating cost.
- Possibility of export.

Points for having LCA instead of combat Hawks.
- Capability wise LCA is much superior. LCA can do all that combat hawk can and much more. LCA could definitely take more bomb load, even in "Hot and High" conditions of Himalayas, than Combat Hawk, right?
- Even if we consider that LCA with a truckload of bombs will need few more LCAs for A2A cover the situational awareness for those pilots on bombing mission would be better with LCA and higher chance of survivability due to existing self-protection systems.
- They would be seamlessly linked with other LCA/AWACS/other fighters of IAF (No additional work needed for integrating Hawk into the system).
- Also those LCAs which are used in A2G or CAP role for time being can be deployed for other duty at other time elsewhere. Whereas combat hawks will be not used elsewhere.
- Price wise there seems to be not much difference (if what Karan say is true), and manufacturing a whole lot more LCAs will bring down per unit cost for LCA reducing the cost gap further.
- Operational cost might be slightly higher with LCA but in my opinion its would not be a prohibiting point. Also some cost benefit will be off-set by having to support one more platform.
- We have much more control over LCA since its desi product.
- Situations change and so do the IAF role/requirements/goals. LCA would be more adaptable in changing geo-political scenarios that Hawk in future.


May be as IR said, LCA is little too much while combat HTT-40 is bit too little for the role that combat Hawk is meant for. But then can we not make a dumbed-down version of LCA, optimized for CAS or A2G role only, if we feel LCA in existing form is too much?? That is if a specialised jet is a must.
Last edited by JayS on 26 Feb 2016 18:18, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby Sid » 26 Feb 2016 18:06

Another 2 cents.

Why not use this opportunity to create Air National Guard, like coast guard or BSF. This will save IAF to focus entirely on streategic roles and let the policing be left to other sister arm. This will also save our capital platform for other duties.

IAF can move older platforms to National Guard before moving on to more specialized one.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby shiv » 26 Feb 2016 18:59

Whether we get 200 LCAs or 500, we will still have 100 plus Hawks. In hot war a 100 extra aircraft is not to be sniffed at. If push comes to shove and we have lost 30% of our Air Force - then those extra numbers will count for a lot. I still have not figured out why people are saying Hawk or LCA. I am saying Hawk and LCA. Hawks will be there for training anyway. Hawks are going to be around for 20 more years. An upgrade by closing off one seat and replacing with fuel and avionics will give a more combat capable Hawk with very little extra effort and let the LCA program continue.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby Viv S » 26 Feb 2016 19:04

Sid wrote:Another 2 cents.

Why not use this opportunity to create Air National Guard, like coast guard or BSF. This will save IAF to focus entirely on streategic roles and let the policing be left to other sister arm. This will also save our capital platform for other duties.

IAF can move older platforms to National Guard before moving on to more specialized one.

The Air National Guard is a concept specific to the US and exists because the US military has always been an expeditionary force (right from WWI). For them, there is a clear distinction between the war theatre(s) and the 'Homeland'. Had war broken out against Soviets, the entirety of the regular Army/Air Force would have shipped/flown out to Europe. The ANG meanwhile was supposed to protect the homeland, manned by part-time personnel (in peacetime) activated for duty.

The same doesn't apply to us - our homeland, and its contiguous region, is our potential war zone. Our gendarmerie (BSF, ITBP etc) consist of full-time volunteer soldiers. The IAF isn't really strained by the pressure of the air policing at all, the capital costs of such ops would be no different were it performed by a non-IAF entity, and it would unnecessarily complicate the command & control structure as well as the training pipeline for combat aviators.
Last edited by Viv S on 26 Feb 2016 19:06, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby shiv » 26 Feb 2016 19:06

Karan M wrote:
In this case, why introduce a limited platform into service on the grounds of something is better than nothing, when you have the option to do much much better.

No introduction needed. Hawk is already there. Maybe modification and upgrade.

But if we want something superior, two engines is better than one for survivability - especially if they are imported anyway. How about Rafale? After all pilots are few and precious and we cannot allow single engined attack aircraft to be lost when we can have the safety of two engines plus the latest in Western avionics.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby shiv » 26 Feb 2016 19:14

Karan M wrote:That leaves the rookies. They will most probably sit out the war until and unless the situation demands far far more.

No Karan. They will not "most probably" sit out the war if they are capable of flying some aircraft. That would kill their morale like nothing else for these highly motivated people.

In any case I have said what I think and have not seen anything to make me change my mind. I respect your right to hold your view. Clearly the information you have is different from mine so we are going to continue to have a difference of opinion on this.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby Viv S » 26 Feb 2016 19:16

shiv wrote:Whether we get 200 LCAs or 500, we will still have 100 plus Hawks. In hot war a 100 extra aircraft is not to be sniffed at. If push comes to shove and we have lost 30% of our Air Force - then those extra numbers will count for a lot. I still have not figured out why people are saying Hawk or LCA. I am saying Hawk and LCA. Hawks will be there for training anyway. Hawks are going to be around for 20 more years. An upgrade by closing off one seat and replacing with fuel and avionics will give a more combat capable Hawk with very little extra effort and let the LCA program continue.

I think we're all on the same page when it comes to an upgrade of the existing jets engaged in training in peacetime. The dispute lies with regard to fresh acquisitions; given its existing price the new Combat Hawk is a poor purchase vis a vis the Tejas Mk1.

It has the advantage of being in-production, but it'll soak up manpower & money required to fly and maintain new raisings (with severely sub-optimal combat potential), as well as lead to an unproductive use of the HAL's resources; the Hawk line at Bangalore should ideally be converted to form a second Tejas production line.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby Sid » 26 Feb 2016 19:21

Shiv, HAL has 2 proposals: -

1. Upgrade existing fleet with new avionics (and maybe weapons package)
2. Sell upgraded aircraft (maybe not to IAF)

Hence like you said we are not purchasing any new inventory but merely enhancing what we already have.

But what they haven't done is the finalization of upgrade package, which will define the roles it can play in any theater if possible.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby Sid » 26 Feb 2016 19:24

Viv S wrote:
Sid wrote:Another 2 cents.

Why not use this opportunity to create Air National Guard, like coast guard or BSF. This will save IAF to focus entirely on streategic roles and let the policing be left to other sister arm. This will also save our capital platform for other duties.

IAF can move older platforms to National Guard before moving on to more specialized one.

The Air National Guard is a concept specific to the US and exists because the US military has always been an expeditionary force (right from WWI). For them, there is a clear distinction between the war theatre(s) and the 'Homeland'. Had war broken out against Soviets, the entirety of the regular Army/Air Force would have shipped/flown out to Europe. The ANG meanwhile was supposed to protect the homeland, manned by part-time personnel (in peacetime) activated for duty.

The same doesn't apply to us - our homeland, and its contiguous region, is our potential war zone. Our gendarmerie (BSF, ITBP etc) consist of full-time volunteer soldiers. The IAF isn't really strained by the pressure of the air policing at all, the capital costs of such ops would be no different were it performed by a non-IAF entity, and it would unnecessarily complicate the command & control structure as well as the training pipeline for combat aviators.


Then maybe its about time we start thinking about an expeditionary force. We have been playing defense for a long time and that hasn't paid use at all.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby Karan M » 26 Feb 2016 19:51

shiv wrote:
Karan M wrote:That leaves the rookies. They will most probably sit out the war until and unless the situation demands far far more.

No Karan. They will not "most probably" sit out the war if they are capable of flying some aircraft. That would kill their morale like nothing else for these highly motivated people.

In any case I have said what I think and have not seen anything to make me change my mind. I respect your right to hold your view. Clearly the information you have is different from mine so we are going to continue to have a difference of opinion on this.


Shiv, the issue is its not their decision to make, given the gravity of the issue. A rookie pilot who is not fully combat ops is a sitting duck for a more experienced PAF veteran or PLAAF veteran.

The AHQ gets to decide who fights & so far I have not seen any thing that indicates rookies will be thrown into combat without extensive conversion training & weapons training. In 1999, to reiterate, did we see AFA academy cadets thrown into combat in their Kirans.

The IAF usually handles all this at the squadron level (advanced tactics and weapons training). What you are saying is at the Hawk level itself, advanced training must be done to build up a pool of trained pilots who are combat capable.

In 1999, even Su-30s were only used in a very limited fashion, IIRC in air to air. But just one report about the same.

This will require a significant change at the squadron and other levels and I don't understand why its not much simpler to just focus on the LCA.

If you are saying only Hawks at Stage 3 training pre MOFTU will be upg to be useful, then sure. It may be useful - some instructors can be retained on the 2 seaters with the rookie flying backseat or vice versa.

But acquiring more Hawks as dedicated CAS, to me, just doesn't seem realistic.

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Re: Indian Military Aviation - 21 Sept 2015

Postby Karan M » 26 Feb 2016 20:10

shiv wrote:No introduction needed. Hawk is already there. Maybe modification and upgrade.

But if we want something superior, two engines is better than one for survivability - especially if they are imported anyway. How about Rafale? After all pilots are few and precious and we cannot allow single engined attack aircraft to be lost when we can have the safety of two engines plus the latest in Western avionics.


Two engines not necessarily - what makes Rafale special is its ECM and low viz RCS. A

Plus if you are speaking of imports, the Hawk is all imported - where has it been significantly indigenized. For LCA we have 53% by larger LRU count. Aim is to get to 80%. Its any day a better bet!

For the future of Indian aerospace, its better to have a 100 more LCAs than a 100 more Hawks, or the funds that go into upgrading Hawks go into proper fighters..like the LCA. :mrgreen: Image


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