Debrief on Ex Indradhanush

Vishnu
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Debrief on Ex Indradhanush

Postby Vishnu » 14 Oct 2006 15:43

Hi guys ... no images this time ... but a bit of a debrief on Ex Indradhanush between the Royal and Indian Air Force which ended yesterday in Gwalior (fighters) and Agra (tankers and AWACS).

A couple of points ...

As is now customary, the Indian Air Force was at great pains to explain that the exercises were about training, joint formations and lessons learned and not so much about who scored more hits. This has to do with the attitude of being gracious hosts and not wanting to stir up a controversy. The Royal Air Force, on the other hand, were perfectly candid on the outcome of the exercises. This was refreshing and a sign of their professionalism in handling media.

The fact of the matter was that the RAF's Tornados were overwhelmed in the exercises by the presence of the Su-30 MKI, the Bison and the tactics of the Indian Air Force. To quote Air Commodore Julian Stinton, "The Indian Air Force did very well, thank you very much."

Answering specific questions on the role and performace of the Su-30 MKI in these exercises, the Air Commodore added, "the RAF pilots who flew the Su-30 came back with a silly smile on their faces." When asked about whether the Su-30MKI vs Tornado match up was unfair, the Air Commodore who I interviewed extensively had this to say about the MKI: "This is a third straight or fourth generation fighter behind me ... absolutely wonderful piece of kit ... I would love to fly it ... that (pointing to Tornado) is a maginificent warplane ... its 1980s technology ... If you want to put this in Star Wars terms, that is a Battle Station and this is an X Wing fighter." "In the dog fight arena, there was no comparison."

This isn't to say that the British Tornados didn't have their share of kills. Referring to BVR engagements, the Air Commodore said "In the BVR arena, if there was a trap, then there was a trap."

Now some specifics:

* The two sides used notional missiles which had ranges of 20 miles and 18 miles.
* British Tornados flying mixed formations with Indian jets communicated information which they were picking up on their data links.
* Several systems on the Tornados and the Sukhoi remained classified.
* IAF Su-30 pilots did not reveal the ECM or ECCM characteristics of the radar.
* Air to air refuelling was used in the large force engagement exercises which were conducted in an airspace of 120 km by 60 km and involved 4 vs 4 engagements.
*The British referred to the exercises as an immense success.
* The Tornado pilots were by and large far more experienced than their IAF counterparts. Some of the pilots had flown 4000 hours plus.

Thats all I can remember right now.

Cheers
Vishnu Som
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krishnan
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Postby krishnan » 14 Oct 2006 15:50

Thanks a lot Vishnu

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Postby JCage » 14 Oct 2006 16:04

Hi Vishnu, two questions

- Did the Su-30 MKIs ever take on the Tornados without AWACs (ie both sides without AWACS) - I ask this as it would mean that both aircraft could be evaluated without that humongous radar on the E3 skewing the situation

- How was the BVR matchup of the MKI vs the Tornado?

More verbose the post, the better! :)

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Postby vsudhir » 14 Oct 2006 16:15

My 2 questions:

Any chance of seeing ANY pictures in future?

How realistic is npon-BVR combat? I understand the theoretical value of knowing which bird does well in which dimension, but how much of it is practical?

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Postby Vishnu » 14 Oct 2006 16:54

Hi JCage ... I honestly don't know if the Sukhois took on the Tornados in a non E3 environment ... Cheers

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Postby shyamd » 14 Oct 2006 17:02

Thx vishnu for the info.

Before Phalcons, a crash course

The IAF's combat pilots gained a firsthand understanding of operating in an AWACS environment as the Royal Air Force’s E3D Sentry AWACS came to India to exploit the full potential of its Tornado F3 intercepters that are taking part in the exercise.

Air Marshal K.D. Singh, senior air staff officer, Central Air Command, said on Friday, "Learning how to exploit the AWACS platform is crucial as Phalcon induction begins next year. The Sentry's support helped pilots to position themselves on advantageous coordinates." IAF's fighter controllers also flew on the Sentry to figure out how their counterparts facilitated airspace control.


The Tornado aces did have a slight edge over IAF top guns in the sense that Indian fighters were not compatible with the AWACS downlink transmissions. Air Commodore K.G. Bewoor, AOC, Gwalior airbase, told the Hindustan Times, "Their situational awareness was better. But our pilots were also in the loop since they were getting voice updates from AWACS over radio telephone."

Initially, pilots from both sides struggled with "communication barriers." But soon they were on the same wavelength, which helped in graduating from less complex missions to more demanding operational tasks in a "building block approach."

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Postby JE Menon » 14 Oct 2006 20:00

Thanx Vishnu... is there going to be anything on NDTV about Indra-Dhanush?

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Postby Vishnu » 14 Oct 2006 20:06

I did a small story which ran today ... Frankly, after all the exercises I have covered ... I am not sure that reporting another exercise is something that would be interesting to us editorially. Also, the detail in these exercises would not be interesting or attractive to a larger audience.

Cheers

NRao
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Postby NRao » 14 Oct 2006 21:32

Hi VS,

A few observations:

Thats all I can remember right now


I would have expected you (all media people) to have electronic recording devices - note taking. Just curious.

Also, the detail in these exercises would not be interesting or attractive to a larger audience.


There is a smaller audience (that would talk about for eons to come). So, IF you have details could we make that into a BR "paper" of sorts?

Much thanks tho' for the details provided so far. Interesting and informative.

Regards,

NR

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Postby Vishnu » 14 Oct 2006 22:07

It is true that in the era of soundbite warriors, I have come across fledgling journalists saying `who needs a pen, I am a TV reporter.' Fortunately I am not one of these individuals. The points made above are based on what I noted. The stuff I may have forgotten was because I got hungry and started eating lunch so writing, eating, talking, and listening were more than my systems could handle ... unlike the Tornado, I lack a data link.

Please feel free to use any of this information for any article you deem fit ... Cheers, Vishnu

George J

Postby George J » 14 Oct 2006 22:11

Your lunch is NOT important, the info you glean is.

BRF will sponsor a microwave and 100 tons of Hot Pockets to take care of your hunger. :D Your fugly NDTV broadcast Safari (or Sumo) will be able to accomodate it.

Now back to work.

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Postby NRao » 15 Oct 2006 01:45

VS,

Electronics recoders do not get hungry and are not tied to a pen/pad. :)

Well.

But, Image

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Postby abhischekcc » 15 Oct 2006 05:04

Vishnu wrote:I did a small story which ran today ... Frankly, after all the exercises I have covered ... I am not sure that reporting another exercise is something that would be interesting to us editorially. Also, the detail in these exercises would not be interesting or attractive to a larger audience.

Cheers


You could add a few words about the military/political implications of these exes to the pakis and Chinis. As to how we are training to fight the F16s, and US is training to fight the SU-30 of PLAAF.

Ears always get perked up when Pakisatan is mentioned. :P

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Postby JE Menon » 15 Oct 2006 12:37

>>Also, the detail in these exercises would not be interesting or attractive to a larger audience.

:evil: :( - But perfectly understandable boss... Keep fighting the good fight.

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Postby maitya » 16 Oct 2006 17:51

Vishnu, did they ever tried to match-up the Bisons (say providing top-cover to the 27s) against the Tornado? In a "non-MKI" env, I mean ...

Also the perennial question: do they (Bisons) have any internal SPJ? Anything of that sort got asked/discussed ... :oops:
- TIA

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Postby Vishnu » 16 Oct 2006 21:35

A few more points which come to mind ...

1. The E3 flown by the Brits was far more advanced that the E3 flown in by the Americans for Kalaikunda. That E3 went duff and had to be flown back for repairs.

2. Even this E3 had problems tracking the Bison ... and yes, the Bison did score hits against the Tornados ... I am not sure of the formations they were flying in.

3. Please remember, asking questions on self protection jammers ... radar frequencies ... missile ranges etc ... makes any Air Force guy clam up ... particularly when they see me. Also, I CANNOT reveal everything I know ... that would be a breach of trust. And honestly, when it comes to a lot of the very technical stuff ... many of you already know more than I do ...

4. These media trips are day long affairs ... we board a horrid An-32 in the morning ... and return in the evening ... after losing 75 per cent of our hearing. During the time we are in Gwalior or wherever... there is a media briefing and a meal where senior officers do come and talk freely. However, this is when DDM strikes ... so any question I ask about ECCM characteristics of the Kopyo are interrupted by `what is a datalink?' or `Sir, the Tandoori chicken at Kalaikunda last year was very good' or to the British officers `I like your uniform'

In scenarios like this ... I think it best to tag along ... meet my old Air Force contacts ... enjoy a good meal ... learn what I can ... and gaze at fast jets ... and also, while at Gwalior, look out for the Mirage 2000 twin which I flew on ...

Don't get me wrong ... I don't mean to be a snob ... I love my fellow defence beat reporters ... they are the nicest bunch of guys around ... and when it comes to corruption in defence deals ... they are streets ahead of me in discovering and reporting it.

After my F-18 and Harrier sortie this year ... I am the present joke on the beat ... "Have you heard ... Tyagi and Prakash are fighting over Som because they are desperately short of pilots." I sometimes wish they were.

Cheers
Vishnu


Cheers ...


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