fanne wrote:IAF, by its own admission needs 55 Squadron. 42 Sq was a requirement when PLAAF was nothing. It hardly had any modern planes to fly off from high platue of Tibet with any reasonable load and fight of IAF. With bases increasing (long runways to enable planes to carry decent fuel and armament), modern plane, cold war requirement for 42 SQ is in adequate. 55 (was in 57) was the IAF study few years ago (white paper published, google it up). We are down to 36 Sq, with 2-3 sq retiring every year in the next few years. 36 Rafael (2 sq worth) with any math does not fulfill that number, neither will some additional Sq (even if we go for another 36 or 40, we don't have deep pockets for 126), it will bankrupt IAF for sure. IAF will be a 30 Sq force with some 80-90 Rafael, where PAF itself will field more planes/sq (quality not good as ours, unless PLAAF sells some of advance planes and they are any good), PLAAF will be many times bigger and better equipped.
Save that money and invest in LCA- have huge numbers (500-900). Later versions can support TVC (better fighter), stealth (better bomber/fighter) etc etc. We can choose subsystems from Israel, US, Russia, French to overcome deficiencies in design. While SU30MKI lacks a true fire and forget long range missile, LCA can field Israeli missiles (or French if they sell, that's the reason for negotiating the codes of the missile). A huge number of then, being constantly upgraded (as it is our design, not wait for 25 years for some MLU), as F-16 were with block development, it will be a potent force.
If su39 lacks fire & forget missiles it doesn't mean we can't get such from Russia they have those