The IAF History Thread

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Postby Jagan » 07 Dec 2006 07:09

Revisiting the earlier story of Thyagarajan

http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/Histo ... rajan.html

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Postby Harry » 12 Dec 2006 23:13

HAL HCP-25 light transport,

Image

HAL Agri plane prototype (Not Basant),

Image


Anyone have pics/info of the Revathi Mk.I and II ?

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Postby Harry » 22 Dec 2006 21:04

In the latest AFM, Phil Camp mentions 90 GsH-23 Gun pods before the start of the 1971 war. However, previous info indicates only about two dozen gun pods on MiG-21s. Were the number of pods delivered different from the no. in actual service?

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Postby Jagan » 22 Dec 2006 22:19

Harry wrote:In the latest AFM, Phil Camp mentions 90 GsH-23 Gun pods before the start of the 1971 war. However, previous info indicates only about two dozen gun pods on MiG-21s. Were the number of pods delivered different from the no. in actual service?


I have no idea about the exact number. But Phil probably got it from the Horse's mouth (i.e. HAL).

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Postby Aditya G » 26 Jan 2007 01:34

Useful data-point from article by Gen Ashok Mehta posted elsewhere on the forum:

...

Unfortunately, the Indian counter-terrorism strategy - if there is one - does not envision the proactive use of armed helicopters against terrorists in J&K. Since Independence, the Air Force has been employed in an offensive role twice in the North-East in 1955, in Arunachal Pradesh in 1956 and Mizoram in 1966. Helicopter gunships, but never fighters, were used all of five times in J&K.

...

In May 2002, during Operation Parakram, IAF employed surgical strikes to eliminate Pakistan Army incursions in Machchal sector at Lunda Post Point 3260.

...


Can anyone list all 9 incidents of armed heptrs in COIN?

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An Incredible War, The air war in J&K 1947-48

Postby Phil Camp » 28 Feb 2007 17:49

Has anybody finished reading this book yet?

Regards Phil Camp

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Postby vivek_ahuja » 28 Feb 2007 18:06

Image

hunters in formation. amred with rocket pods i think.

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Postby JaiS » 07 Mar 2007 03:41

Secret moves: India's military victory in 1971


Monday, March 5, 2007 (New Delhi):

The formal war over Bangladesh broke out in December 1971 but India's secret war had begun much before that.

Pakistan dictator Yahya Khan ignored Dhaka's popular leader Sheikh Mujibur Rehman's overwhelming victory in the Assembly elections.

The seeds of the 1971 Indo-Pak war had been laid and by October 1971 the first skirmishes began.

By 5:45 pm on December 3 1971 the neighbors were at war.

General Sam Manekshaw took India to war and became India's first Field Marshal.

Air superiority

By the second day of the war the IAF's Eastern Air Command had neutralised Pakistan Air Force.

On December 16, 1971 as Indian forces reached Dhaka, Pakistani Lietenant General AAK Niazi knew it was over.

It had been the Indian army's finest hour.

In just 12 days it had waged the most decisive liberation campaign in military history. Seventy-five million people won their independence.

Badly hit by the Indian Army the tattered Pakistan Army started retreating to Dhaka.

"I found the Governor in a bunker trembling like a leaf and asking, should I resign?," a British journalist said.

Bangladesh became a free country and India had won an overwhelming victory.


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Postby MuMoha » 13 Mar 2007 19:05

There is a new coffee table book to be released by Air Commodore(Retd) Jasjit Singh with some incredible photos with IAF..

The book commemorates the 75 years of IAF....

Just ordered my leatherbound, autographed version from the publisher....

Its being couriered and should be in end of this week!!!!

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Postby Jagan » 13 Mar 2007 19:40

MuMoha wrote:There is a new coffee table book to be released by Air Commodore(Retd) Jasjit Singh with some incredible photos with IAF..

The book commemorates the 75 years of IAF....

Just ordered my leatherbound, autographed version from the publisher....

Its being couriered and should be in end of this week!!!!



Whats the title - and who is the publisher?

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Postby MuMoha » 13 Mar 2007 20:21

"Defence of the Skies"

By Air Commodore Jasjit Singh....

It costs USD 75...

I will try to post the brochure.....

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Defence of the Skies

Postby Phil Camp » 13 Mar 2007 22:08

Crikey!!! Its raining books. 75 bucks though. Cheaper in India I bet. Publication date and cocktail party is this Friday 16th March. Soon we shall have Uncle Pushpinder's 3 piece set as well. Regards Phil

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Postby MuMoha » 13 Mar 2007 22:14

2300 in India....

I hear it has some photos which are never seen before. I wonder if it includes Air Commodore's Jasjit Singh's enlder son time with IAF.

He flew a MiG-29. As he once said " I decided to get out the wrong way."
He now flies for Jet Airways.

I also ordered the Air Power and Joint Operations by Jasjit Singh. ISBN:81-87966-17-3

I hear this one is excellent too....

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Postby MuMoha » 13 Mar 2007 22:44

Help needed!!!

I just got the brochure from "Defence from the Skies"

It has some awesome pics and a brief. Where and How can I upload them. Unfortunately they are in pdf....

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Postby Jagan » 14 Mar 2007 02:23

MuMoha

Use www.rapidshare.de to upload

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Postby MuMoha » 15 Mar 2007 01:28

http://rapidshare.com/files/21037419/De ... s.pdf.html

This is the new coffee table book. I know the people getting this out. They do it for airpower periodical too. I am getting the my first copy. I hope you can get yours.

Cheers,

Mukul.

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Postby Jagan » 15 Mar 2007 02:12

Mukul,

Thanks! Looks very interesting - (though a tad expensive.) even at Indian prices.

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Postby Harry » 15 Mar 2007 08:49

How does one order this book?

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Postby MuMoha » 15 Mar 2007 15:29

I think you can simply write to them. I think if requested, they can organise either a simple hard back, leather bound.

Its a pretty large on though to be honest...

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Postby rakall » 15 Mar 2007 16:22

Harry wrote:How does one order this book?


there is a phone number in the brochure (011-23263498) -- you can call and talk to them.. They will ask you to send a fax or something with your address etc.. unfortunately they are not accepting payment by card, so you will have to send a cheque or DD as directed by them..

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Postby MuMoha » 15 Mar 2007 16:40

Ok, let me try something...

Just running to work.... Will see whats the best way to do it...

Cheers,

Mukul.

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Postby shiv » 21 Mar 2007 20:06

MiG 23 moves into history

Picture scanned from The Hindu scanned @ 300 dpi - warts and all

www.bharat-rakshak.com/shiv/mig-23-retire-hindu07.jpg

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Postby ramana » 31 Mar 2007 03:29

Editorial page Deccan Chronicle, 31 March 2007

IAF's war hunt in Karachi

India’s armed forces’ saw their finest hour in the 1971 war against Pakistan. Yet history has been singularly unkind to the Indian Air Operational Conversion Unit’s (OCU) pilots who operated from Jamnagar. Four IAF Hunter aircraft carried out what was the war’s most daring mission early on December 4, 1971 by setting Karachi’s oil tanks ablaze, but the credit has been inadvertently claimed by the Indian Navy ever since. While many are familiar with Admiral S.M. Nanda’s brilliantly planned naval foray into Karachi the same night, the IAF’s contribution got side-stepped.

The late Air Chief Marshal P.C. Lal alluded to this strike in his memoirs, but only in passing. Yet the facts deserve recalling before amnesia sets in. Even in Indian Navy’s commissioned history, Transition to Triumph, this courageous IAF mission to Karachi is glossed over by a mere quote from Pakistan Navy’s history: "The oil installations had also been subjected to an aerial attack earlier in the day (December 4) at 0830, when two oil tanks at Kemari had caught fire." This writer’s revelation is not meant to ignite an inter-service fire, but history after 35 years, deserves to be recorded as it was, without rancour.

At dusk on December 3, the Pakistan Air Force struck all IAF airfields on India’s western border and caused widespread damage. The IAF could not respond as its fighters did not have night capabilities. Just after midnight Mrs Indira Gandhi broadcast, "The war on Bangladesh has become war on India. We have no option but to put our country on war footing." All commanders were ordered to execute their ops orders. During the pre-war planning, CNS (Chief of Naval Staff) Nanda had asked Air Chief Lal for a strike on Karachi, but Air HQ staff, unaware how crucial it was for the Navy, opined that only after the Badin and Drig Road radars were neutralised by the MiG-21s from Jamnagar, that a mission to Karachi could be undertaken from there. Yet in the wee hours of December 4 morning at Jamnagar, OCU head, Wing Commander Don Conquest and his highly qualified pilots who had recently inducted Hunters Type 56A and 235 gallon drop tanks, learnt they had no assigned role for that morning. Conquest approached his OC, the legendary Air Commodore Pete Wilson, and insisted that his boys were capable of a strike on Karachi. "What will our wives and children who have been shunted out from the base’s Bhangi Barracks to Jamnagar town say?" was his plea. "That we stayed on ground?"

Pete Wilson, who was busy planning and readying the MiG-21s to hit Badin and Drig Road with first light, let Conquest plan his mission. Early on December 4 morning, four OCU "Top Guns" took off for "target Karachi" with road maps. The Hunters could not carry rockets, as two 235 gallon drop tanks were slung on the pods, to ensure the reach at low level and just five minutes over target. Their sole weapon was their 20mm cannons. Wing Cdr Don Conquest, the strike leader, is now settled in Australia, Squadron Leader S.N. Medhekar his winger, lives in Pune, Flight Lieutenant P.K. Mukherjee resides at Salt Lake City in Kolkata and Flight Lieutenant S.K. Gupta in Delhi. All have recalled their mission many times over.

Don Conquest recalls. "As per SOP (standard operating procedure) off Karachi we dipped our noses and fired a few rounds into the sea to test our guns. Mukherjee’s guns had jammed, so three pressed on at 500 ft along the coast. As we neared Karachi, the large oil tanks loomed out of the sky, their silver paint shining in the sunlight. We made two runs without difficulty and after the first there were huge balls of fire and volumes of smoke coming out of the storage. As the smoke haze made flying dangerous we aborted the other runs and flew back."

On landing back at Jamnagar and before he could file reports and process the films, Conquest was ordered to fly his OCU to Jaisalmer. Indian Army tanks were under siege. Air HQ was not made unaware of the damage caused at Karachi till much later. This is termed the "fog of war."

The sight of the balls of fire from the Naval Academy close by is still etched in the memory of the Pakistani, UAE and Saudi officers who took part in a parade later on that fateful morning.

RADM Khalid Wasay recalls, "I was a lieutenant at the Naval Academy. On December 4 we were to hold a Passing out Parade and at about 0830 three aircraft appeared overhead and the next thing we heard was explosions. Later smoke billowed from the oil tanks. Four days later when we had doused the fires the tanks were hit again on 8th."

Engineer Cdr Iftikar Ahmed, educated at Harcourt Butler in Delhi, recalls how the IAF planes flew over the Naval Dockyard at Karachi, but thanks Almighty that they did not bomb the refitted submarine he was supervising to send to sea.

Rear Admiral K.M. Alam, captain of the Pakistan Naval Academy, has this to say in a book by Rear Admiral Zahir Shah: "When the war with India spread to West Pakistan on December 3, an air attack on Karachi was expected. But that was the very morning the Passing out Parade was scheduled in PNS Rahbar. Commander Riaz, my XO and I, both had our fingers crossed. The sirens started wailing and an air raid followed. The Ack Ack guns opened up, including those around the Academy. During the attack one of the oil tanks in nearby Kemari was hit and burst into flames with a big whoosh! The Academy shook, some of the windowpanes of the main building were smashed. Everyone wondered how there could be a parade. I received a call from Rear Admiral Rashid Ahmad, to say the chief guest could not make it, and so he would take the salute. I assembled the cadets and ordered that even if Manora came under attack, they were to stand perfectly still and rigidly carry out the drill. There were Saudi and Gulf naval cadets. Avoiding the conflagration at Kemari — and the ceremonial boat ride — Admiral Rashid took the circuitous road to Manora. The air raid warning was on when he arrived. With a look at the empty sky, and prayers in our hearts, the parade began. The country was in the midst of a war; oil tanks across the harbour were still burning fiercely, but the band played on. The whole show was conducted meticulously from start to finish."

The oft asked question is why the IAF has never made much of this amazing achievement. The simple answer is that by December 5 morning, Indian Navy’s C-in-C at Mumbai, Vice Admiral S.N. Kohli had received the code word "Angar," signifying success of the killer boats in OP Trident, just when BBC reported the oil tanks at Karachi were on fire. Kohli therefore announced to the media that the "Killers" had sunk three ships, later identified as the PNS Khyber, PNS Muhafiz and Venus Challenger and also claimed the fire on the oil tanks.

Naval circles have been led to believe through repetition that the Navy hit the Kemari oil tanks on December 4 night, since INS Nipat with K 25 Cdr Babru Yadav did launch a single Styx missile towards the Clifton beach while retreating. This, the commander of OP Trident, Captain Gopal Rao in INS Kiltan, saw ditching in to the beach. He has thus been quoted in Triumph to Transition, though many still contest his version. When this was brought to the notice of late Air Chief P.C. Lal by Flt Lt P.K. Mukherjee (later air vice marshal), Lal magnanimously said, "Let the Navy take the credit..."

Don Conquest says that he is content that he was awarded the Vir Chakra for his role in the Battle of Longewala, which has been dramatised in a film titled Border by J.P. Datta. Truth will come to light only when the official records are released, but Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is not willing to clear the records yet.

This revelation in no way detracts from the brilliant and bold planning by the then CNS, Admiral S.M. Nanda and his staff, and the superb execution by his commanders and captains at sea. It was happenstance at Jamnagar that the Navy’s request for a strike on Karachi on the very first morning of the war came about by the IAF’s newest Hunters. It contributed to the Killers’ successful missile attack later that night. Karachi’s defence got geared for air attacks, but the Killers surprised the Pakistan Navy with the world’s first ever ingenious missile attack. The lesson is that synergy of operations among the armed forces is their biggest force multiplier. The IAF must get its due.

Commodore (Retd) Ranjit B. Rai, former DNO and DNI at NHQ is an IAF trained Aircraft Controller and author of A Nation and its Navy at War (Lancers 1987). He is completing The Untold Stories of the Indo Pak Naval Wars


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Postby Manny » 31 Mar 2007 03:50

JaiS wrote:Secret moves: India's military victory in 1971


Monday, March 5, 2007 (New Delhi):

The formal war over Bangladesh broke out in December 1971 but India's secret war had begun much before that.

Pakistan dictator Yahya Khan ignored Dhaka's popular leader Sheikh Mujibur Rehman's overwhelming victory in the Assembly elections.

The seeds of the 1971 Indo-Pak war had been laid and by October 1971 the first skirmishes began.

By 5:45 pm on December 3 1971 the neighbors were at war.

General Sam Manekshaw took India to war and became India's first Field Marshal.

Air superiority

By the second day of the war the IAF's Eastern Air Command had neutralised Pakistan Air Force.

On December 16, 1971 as Indian forces reached Dhaka, Pakistani Lietenant General AAK Niazi knew it was over.

It had been the Indian army's finest hour.

In just 12 days it had waged the most decisive liberation campaign in military history. Seventy-five million people won their independence.

Badly hit by the Indian Army the tattered Pakistan Army started retreating to Dhaka.

"I found the Governor in a bunker trembling like a leaf and asking, should I resign?," a British journalist said.

Bangladesh became a free country and India had won an overwhelming victory.



Nice write up.. I loved reading it. .It was crisp.

:D

Manny

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Postby Harry » 07 Apr 2007 05:35

2 F-86 and 2 F-6 vs an Mi-4, from Vayu

This should be archived in the BR pages

Image

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Postby Jagan » 09 Apr 2007 00:11

http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/Histo ... akash.html
How I crossed Swords with Chuck Yeager by Adm Arun Prakash

The story of how Chuck Yeagers aircraft got destroyed...


From the same Vayu issue

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Postby Jagan » 09 Apr 2007 17:20

Harry wrote:2 F-86 and 2 F-6 vs an Mi-4, from Vayu

This should be archived in the BR pages

]http://img90.imageshack.us/img90/6719/1971airwarchsabnw4.jpg ]


Harry,

Can you send me the original scans - saves me a job of re-scanning them and OCR-ing it.

Jagan

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Postby chiragAS » 11 Apr 2007 19:37

Jagan wrote:http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/History/1971War/ArunPrakash.html
How I crossed Swords with Chuck Yeager by Adm Arun Prakash

The story of how Chuck Yeagers aircraft got destroyed...


From the same Vayu issue


Wow :shock: thats really interesting article.
read it yesterday. sometimes little actions can have big consequences.
In this they made nixon believe IG was the devil. God knows how many such small mistakes of civilians to military persons must have had an impact +ve and -ve impacts on our country. guess even we jingos should be careful what we write and discuss here. lot of people here know more than normal civilians and to some extent even more than service men know about weapons etc. of our country

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Post-World War II RIAF Air-Lift Capacity

Postby ParGha » 19 Apr 2007 03:05

Out of curiosity I would like to know if the RIAF had air-lift capacity to support an entire Division (the 44th Indian Airborne)? Or was it all RAF assets?

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Postby Jagan » 19 Apr 2007 07:55

Pargha, all airlift assets were RAF. The IAF's first transport squadron came only after the war.

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Postby Rahul M » 19 Apr 2007 09:05

Pargha, all airlift assets were RAF. The IAF's first transport squadron came only after the war.


in the form of dakotas ?

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Postby ramana » 02 May 2007 21:27

We had a recent discussion on why IAF was not used in 1962. IDR has an article on the same subject.

No Use Of Combat Air Power in 1962

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Postby shiv » 02 May 2007 22:00

Manny wrote:"I found the Governor in a bunker trembling like a leaf and asking, should I resign?," a British journalist said.

Bangladesh became a free country and India had won an overwhelming victory.

[/quote]

Nice write up.. I loved reading it. .It was crisp.

:D

Manny[/quote]

I think I have a video of this - will put on Youtube in due course. I have video fatigue now..

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Postby ParGha » 03 May 2007 20:13

ramana wrote:We had a recent discussion on why IAF was not used in 1962. IDR has an article on the same subject.

No Use Of Combat Air Power in 1962


An Army veteran from 1962 war was quoted as saying that the PLA was professional enough to face stiff forward resistance, but he wondered their ability to withstand a determined counter-offensive. Independently echoing similar observations by thousands of UN veterans from Korea. Unfortunately the army was too strung out to try anything of that sort... it will remain a big WHAT IF the airforce were able to launch a limited counteroffensive.

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Postby Jagan » 07 May 2007 06:50

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2007/200705 ... /main1.htm

The 1965 India-Pakistan War
IAF’s ground reality

In more ways than one, the 1965 India-Pakistan War was a watershed for the Indian Air Force. Air Commodore Jasjit Singh (retd) looks at the many dimensions of this conflict. Exclusive extracts from his new book

The Indo-Pakistan War of 1965 was the first time in the history of Independent India when our military power was confronted by a hostile air force at a time when Pakistan had launched a surprise invasion into India and, hence, also achieved substantive strategic and tactical surprise.

And, for the first time in its history, the Indian Air Force (IAF) had to contest command of the air against a highly trained Pakistan Air Force (PAF) equipped with aircraft and weapons systems technologically far superior to those of the IAF, courtesy the United States.

The war also created perceptions and misunderstandings about what was done, not done, and should have been done. In particular, it vitiated the relations between the army and the air force well beyond the traditional professional and not-so professional differences that have been experienced among armies and air forces across the world for a century.


Mi-17 utility helicopter

Four decades after the war, what we need to address is a couple of critical issues which provide us both an insight into the mythologies built up about the 1965 War as well as some of the major misreading and/or misunderstandings of the type that led a former air chief to come out with his memories of what he believed was the failure of the IAF.

First is the issue of the performance of the IAF in the air war with the PAF. Most of the generous interpretations have been to view the war as a draw – an absence of decisive outcome. For example, the official history of the war produced by the History Division of the Ministry of Defence, Government of India, also concluded, "Taking an overall view of the air war, it appears clear that neither side won any decisive victory. The IAF and PAF mauled each other, but could not kill."

There are three aspects of the performance of the IAF that we need to note. The first is that of air-to-air combat and warfare; the second relates to the air-to- ground mission and its effects; and the third is the issue of whether the IAF had a clear doctrine and strategy for the war, whether this was coherent, and whether it achieved the desired results.

Three important and often ignored contextual facts need to be noted in any analysis of the 1965 War. First, the Indian Air Force was restrained by the government from retaliating to the PAF attacks in the eastern sector while a substantive part of its combat force was deployed there and could not be transferred to the western sector. Second, international (UN) stipulations and norms did not permit military force to be introduced into the Indian state of J&K beyond what was agreed during the
1949 ceasefire. But was the greatest handicap that the IAF faced was the government’s decision to stop all operations against East Pakistan after Pakistan hit our airfields in the eastern sector and destroyed a significant number of aircraft after the war had broken out in the west.

Air warfare

One of the major reasons that have led to the belief that Pakistan "won" the air war is that people have focussed almost exclusively on the aircraft lost. And we lost an inordinately large number of aircraft on the ground to PAF Attrition is a good indicator of relative success; but the inexcusable error that almost everyone made, and has continued to make – including our official historians (in spite of having senior officers of the IAF available to advise them on technical/professional issues) – follows the Pakistani emphasis on number crunching which tended to show them in better light, especially in view of the significant number of aircraft we lost on the ground. In air warfare, attrition must be measured in relation to the air effort and not just to the number of aircraft held in the inventory.

Pakistan doing so is understandable since the larger number of Indian losses conveys an impression that the Indian Air Force lost out to their air force. Unfortunately, the official history produced by the Indian Ministry of Defence also does exactly that: relying heavily on Pakistani literature, especially John Fricker, and less on our own.

If we take the best data available from all possible known sources, we find that the PAF flew a total 2,364 sorties, according to its official history during the 1965 War.21 Indian official estimates place the total aircraft losses of the PAF at 43 aircraft. This would amount to the PAF having suffered an attrition rate of 1.8189 aircraft lost per hundred sorties flown during the war, that is, an attrition rate of 1.82 per cent.



The IAF, on the other hand, flew 3,937 sorties in the western sector alone and lost a total of 59 aircraft both in the air and on the ground during the war, in the western and eastern sectors combined.22 Its attrition rate works out to 1.4986 aircraft lost for 100 sorties flown. In other words, the Indian Air Force suffered an attrition rate of 1.50 per cent compared to Pakistan’s 1. 82 per cent.

One can hypothesise that the difference is not so marked that we can draw an unambiguous conclusion about the winner and the loser. But considering that the IAF was clearly the bigger air force, though not possessing a 4:1 ratio, as the Pakistanis make it out to be, the PAF experiencing a 21.3 per cent higher attrition rate than that of the IAF clearly makes a mockery of any claims of the PAF having achieved air superiority or of having defeated the IAF.

If we set aside aircraft lost on the ground due to enemy action, we find that India lost a total of 24 aircraft to air action and ground fire. Measured against the 3,937 sorties flown in the western sector, this amounts to a loss rate of 0.6096 aircraft per hundred sorties flown in the war.

Compared to this, the Pakistan Air Force lost 43 aircraft. It admitted to the loss of only one F-86 on the ground to IAF action (at Sargodha). Taking this at face value, against a total of 2,364 sorties flown in the war, the Pakistan Air Force loss rate in air warfare would amount to 1.7766 aircraft for every hundred sorties flown. In other words, the PAF was losing aircraft at nearly three times the rate of the IAF during the war. Other estimates conclude that Pakistan lost close to half a dozen aircraft on the ground on account of IAF air action. In this case, the loss of 37 aircraft in air warfare would amount to a loss rate of 1.5651 aircraft for every hundred sorties flown in the war.

In other words, taking the lower figure for PAF losses in the air, Pakistan was losing 1.57 aircraft for very hundred sorties flown, compared to the IAF losing 0.61 aircraft. Given its overall smaller size, the PAF would have ceased to act as an operational force if the war had gone on for another two weeks or so.

Support to the Army

No other single issue has vitiated the atmosphere of army-air force relations more than the perceived conduct of the 1965 War. It is curious indeed that there was virtually no criticism about the absence of combat air force in the 1962 Sino-Indian War which was not even permitted by the political leadership, especially by the defence minister.

Unfortunately, no data on the air effort devoted to the Chhamb-Jaurian sector in particular and J&K in general, was kept. In fact, the official history does not clearly tell us the quantum of close air support and interdiction carried out by the IAF. But more specifically, the Pakistan Army was virtually stopped in its tracks and "the IAF prevented a major Pakistani breakthrough."

The only explanation that fits the facts is that the IAF had imposed a heavy attrition on Pakistani armour even against the setting sun, and it would have been suicidal for it to proceed further. Akhnur was saved and so was a crucial military-logistics key point on the lines of communications into J&K. This is borne out by circumstantial evidence. But what became the real source of lament about air support was the Indian counter-offensive on September 6, 1965, into Pakistan.

The Indian Army’s 15 Division was launched on the offensive at daylight, along a major highway, without informing the air force! The army commander has been scathing in his criticism of the divisional commander on this count and for not providing the command leadership required. Our division exposed itself to enemy air strikes while the IAF practically knew nothing of the advance and continued carrying out extensive close air support and battlefield interdiction on the other axis of advance to the north and south of the 15 Division thrust.

Given the doctrinal tensions in the IAF from the time of its creation, it is interesting to look closely at how air operations were actually carried out during the 1965 War.

The first set of questions that arises is: did the air force play a strategic role? And what was the extent of its tactical role and its effects? To the extent that there is sufficient evidence that Pakistan virtually abandoned Grand Slam and its objective of capturing Akhnur due, in a large measure, to the late evening air strikes of September 1, 1965, or at least slowed it down sufficiently to allow adequate defences to be created by otherwise outnumbered forces who fought so gallantly, the Indian Air Force achieved a strategic impact on the course of the war.

The IAF concentrated substantively on interdiction during the war. This has been viewed by many as doctrinally incoherent. Historically, interdiction is of two types: supply interdiction and mobility interdiction. And interdiction provides the greatest payoffs when the two combine. The Indian Army’s strategy forced it to move troops to the Sialkot and Kasur sectors. The toll of its rolling stock taken by the IAF, especially the dramatic strike on the train carrying ammunition, added to the supply woes of Pakistan. In fact, shortage of ammunition was one of the over-riding factors that led to Ayub’s decision to accept a ceasefire. Our intelligence failed to make a correct assessment of Pakistan’s capability to continue the war and avoid a total collapse which actually was imminent.

If we set aside the fiction and myths that have grown, flowing from ill-informed self-criticism, on one side, and the high profile Pakistani self-promotion as the winner of 1965 (on the ground and in the air), on the other, the reality is that the IAF acquitted itself extremely well in spite of local mistakes. Where we failed the most, however, was in not having sorted out our doctrinal contradictions, our organisation for close air support (especially the communications) and infirmities of higher defence organisational deficiencies which had not been fully rectified even after 1962.

Excerpted with permission from
Defence From the Skies: Indian Air Force through 75 years
by Air Commodore Jasjit Singh (retd).
Published by Knowledge World in association with Centre for Air Power Studies.
Pages 280. Rs 2300

Jagan
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Postby Jagan » 07 May 2007 08:58

Image

An An-12 just after the 71 war - shows the camo scheme temporarily applied to it.

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Postby ParGha » 07 May 2007 09:22

If we set aside the fiction and myths that have grown, flowing from ill-informed self-criticism, on one side, and the high profile Pakistani self-promotion as the winner of 1965 (on the ground and in the air), on the other, the reality is that the IAF acquitted itself extremely well in spite of local mistakes. Where we failed the most, however, was in not having sorted out our doctrinal contradictions, our organisation for close air support (especially the communications) and infirmities of higher defence organisational deficiencies which had not been fully rectified even after 1962.

Excerpted with permission from
Defence From the Skies: Indian Air Force through 75 years
by Air Commodore Jasjit Singh (retd).


A very lucid and courageous assessment. Vocalizes what many have felt for years, but never seen it put in such a balanced manner.

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Postby Aditya G » 12 May 2007 10:19

http://journal.frontierindia.com/index. ... 6&Itemid=1

Aiming low PDF Print E-mail
Written by M Yusuf Khan
Friday, 11 May 2007

The incident that will be foremost in my mind when I attend the function at Air Force Station Agra when the Canberra aircraft will be ceremoniously phased out on Friday, May 11, relates to the 1971 war. On the second day of the war, I was rostered to fly a bombing mission to a heavily defended Pakistani airfield. We flew by night at very low heights. Soon after crossing the border, we picked up radar signals indicating that we were being pursued. Luckily, it turned out to be a false alarm.

We reached the target and disgorged eight 1,000-pound bombs through the barrage of anti-aircraft shells. All we could see was the runway in the flashes of explosions. Our prime concern now was to shake off the interceptor aircraft lurking in the vicinity. We used every ounce of the jet energy to make a quick exit. The airfield where we intended to land was under attack forcing us to divert to Hindon. We landed there with the fuel warning light blinking, not knowing when the engines would quit. We barely spotted the dimly-lit runway and touched down. It was exhilarating.

We filled our tanks and headed for Agra, our home base. Robin, returning from a mission, was low on fuel. I made an extra orbit so that he could land first, then I came in for landing. As we hurtled down the runway, I saw flashes ahead of us. It took me a while to realise that they were exploding bombs dropped by Pakistani aircraft. I felt so utterly hopeless. There was no evasive action we could take. Mohanty, my navigator, was yelling to stop the aircraft but I could not and went through the shrapnel, mud and debris kicked up by the Pakistani bombs.

In the forthcoming get-together I am hoping to meet both Mohanty and Robin at Agra. I have to make a mention of the Pakistani pilot whose inaccurate aim made it possible for this story to be told.

Copyright: Hindustan Times, May 2007

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Postby Jagan » 12 May 2007 17:16

Aditya G wrote:http://journal.frontierindia.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=116&Itemid=1

Aiming low PDF Print E-mail
Written by M Yusuf Khan
Friday, 11 May 2007

The incident that will be foremost in my mind when I attend the function at Air Force Station Agra when the Canberra aircraft will be ceremoniously phased out on Friday, May 11, relates to the 1971 war. On the second day of the war, I was rostered to fly a bombing mission to a heavily defended Pakistani airfield. We flew by night at very low heights. Soon after crossing the border, we picked up radar signals indicating that we were being pursued. Luckily, it turned out to be a false alarm.

We reached the target and disgorged eight 1,000-pound bombs through the barrage of anti-aircraft shells. All we could see was the runway in the flashes of explosions. Our prime concern now was to shake off the interceptor aircraft lurking in the vicinity. We used every ounce of the jet energy to make a quick exit. The airfield where we intended to land was under attack forcing us to divert to Hindon. We landed there with the fuel warning light blinking, not knowing when the engines would quit. We barely spotted the dimly-lit runway and touched down. It was exhilarating.

We filled our tanks and headed for Agra, our home base. Robin, returning from a mission, was low on fuel. I made an extra orbit so that he could land first, then I came in for landing. As we hurtled down the runway, I saw flashes ahead of us. It took me a while to realise that they were exploding bombs dropped by Pakistani aircraft. I felt so utterly hopeless. There was no evasive action we could take. Mohanty, my navigator, was yelling to stop the aircraft but I could not and went through the shrapnel, mud and debris kicked up by the Pakistani bombs.

In the forthcoming get-together I am hoping to meet both Mohanty and Robin at Agra. I have to make a mention of the Pakistani pilot whose inaccurate aim made it possible for this story to be told.

Copyright: Hindustan Times, May 2007


Thanks Aditya for that. Yusuf Khan wrote the same story for indian Express earlier - but didnt give as many details as in thsi short piece...

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Postby Harry » 13 May 2007 04:13

How does one order Air Commodore Jasjit Singh's new book?


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