Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in war

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Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in war

Postby shiv » 01 Apr 2016 08:10

I start this topic tentatively because I think the recent Syrian conflict has shown its relevance. Of course when such things have been used by IndiaPakistan no one notices. They have to appear in a western conflict to make news.

The point is that with the Marketing" rush of shiny new small and smart weapons a very large number of allegedly obsolete weapons still exist in the hands of militaries and militias and will be used in wars - especially in last ditch battles - causing deaths and reverses that are unexpected.

I want to try and document them and to an extent I am depending on the experts who have been following the war in Syria in detail to ad to the list.

Of course, on BRF we have frequently mentioned Indian (or other) weapons that we say are obsolete or useless and would only help lose wars. But some of these weapons are being used with surprising success. Before I post a link or two let me simply list, off the top of my head, "obsolete weapons systems" that are still in use

MiG 21
MiG 27
B-52
Tu-95 bomber
Mirage III
A-5 (Chinese)
L-70 anti-aircraft guns
F-5 aircraft
T-55 tanks

Recent posts show names like Konkurs etc in the Indian army


I am afraid the list is much longer and my knowledge is mainly about aircraft and many on the list will be disputed, but there are a lot of "old weapons" that will come up when wars occur. But I think we need to look at what people may be doing with 30-50 year old investments to make them relevant in this day and age. Please post things that come to mind - I will post a few links

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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby shiv » 01 Apr 2016 08:19

Ancient U.S. Weapon Makes a Surprise Reappearance in Syria
Until recently, the 106mm hadn’t seen much action in the irregular wars that have swept the globe. Then M40s somehow came into the hands of rebels in Libya and Syria. Suddenly, the 106mm — light, cheap, easily transportable, simple to operate, and packing a punch all out of proportion to its modest size — has emerged as a possible Great Asymmetric Weapon of the Day.
...
While the M40 makes a big comeback in the Middle East, dozens of other armies all over the world never stopped using it. The Danish and Australian armies have used the 106mm in Afghanistan with excellent results. It turns out that in many instances they have outperformed the expensive, high tech, anti-tank rockets like the TOW, the Javelin and others that were supposed to replace the M40 four decades ago.



We sometimes imagine that the latest is the best. But the latest comes with huge marketing and publicity depts which will always dismiss the old as useless. And we do that a lot.

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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby shiv » 01 Apr 2016 08:52

This looks like anti-materiel and anti-aircraft firepower and mobility
http://cdn.theatlantic.com/assets/media ... 1420510749

Also this (What weapon is that?)
http://cdn.theatlantic.com/assets/media ... 1420510753


Jugaad sniper detection
http://cdn.theatlantic.com/assets/media ... 1420510751

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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby ArmenT » 01 Apr 2016 09:21

Any weapon is better than no weapon at all, which is why some of the former Soviet Union countries still have old T-55s in storage.

I've always thought of the MiG-21 as the AK-47 of aircraft: cheap and commonly available in large numbers.

One more "obsolete" weapon is the old Ishapore 2A1 version of the Lee-Enfield No. 4 rifle, chambered in 7.62x51 mm. Lee-Enfield and its derivatives are still widely used by police and reserve forces in many countries around the world.

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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby Austin » 01 Apr 2016 10:22

ZU-23-2 , ZSU-23-4 "Shilka" AD Gun still used widely including IA , SA-3 , SA-2 ,SA-5 , SA-6 SAM still widely used

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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby Philip » 01 Apr 2016 12:47

Shiv,there was an excellent article on the Tu-95/142 Bear bomber in some Ru journo.The bomber will still be relevant 20 years from now.Incredible range,endurance and payload.When armed with supersonic/hyoersonic ASMs,LRCMs,simply devastating.

Likewise,the use of Soviet era SU-24s,SU-25s,etc.The durability of the venerable T-72,with ERA and other upgrades makes it very cost-effective,bringing it almost upto T-90 std for under a million$.No wonder why the IA intends to upgrade around 1000-1500 in service. Legacy ATGMs have their other uses too,esp in urban warfare,knocking out bunkers,strongpoints. RPGs even downing Apache attack helos is std. prarctice from the Afghan conflict.

One of the best examples is how the Israelis snapped up the Centurion tanks which we retired after conflicts with pak,as they valued these tanks (with some modernisation) v.highly. Every piece of old mil qpt. can be to an extent upgraded,given a new lease of life or task.During WW2,the Germans found that their anti-air 88mm guns against tanks in WW2.
The German 88 MM anti-aircraft gun was designed and constructed in secret in the ten year period prior to the advent of Hitler, when the German army was subject to rigid personnel and material limitations. It is known that it was the plan of its designers to construct a dual purpose anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapon. The anti-tank purpose of the weapon was, however, veiled in secrecy and the German intentions in this regard did not become known to the world until the Polish campaign of 1939.


Dual purpose weaponry,sensors were also used extensively by the Soviets during the CW. The same VDS sonar for the Pauk ASW corvettes is sued by the Kamov ASW helo as a dipping sonar. One wonders how much if dual use weaponry and sensors exists in the Indian armed forces' inventory.A case in point I think is the different radars being used for upgraded IAF MIG-29s and those on the MIG-29Ks of the IN.

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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby Yagnasri » 01 Apr 2016 13:04

A 10 comes to mind. Still being used. I heard Uncle wants to retire it and take F35s. I think that is a bad decision. I do not know why i feel like that as I am a mango man.

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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 01 Apr 2016 13:15

Shiv,

It depends on the kind of war you are fighting, who is fighting it and what casualties you are willing to take and inflcit. Tactics will matter a lot too and the political will. A military supported by strong political will, ability to have strategic surprise, and well trained troops (can achieve tactical surprise) who are well paid and looked after, and who have robust weapons, plentiful ammo and good logistics can take on a military with uber weapons.

During and after Gulf War 1 we have seen expensive new weaponry only used when there is significant tech gap with the adversary. I believe if you are similar it will quickly lead to very expensive attrition on both sides.

Much older aircraft will obviously not work when your adversary has better aircraft. I think decent arty with good range in good numbers can take on uber arty. So that's an area I think is relatively favourable for older systems - just increase calibre to get range, add some mobility and get good target acquisition. Our Dhanush is a good example.

Assault rifles - Kalashnikov is still the best design. Add good sights and NVG (not uber) and you are done. Carl Gustav...you don't really need laser sights or anything...a good reliable RL with lots of them is enough. Same with the GLs, same with mortars. Most important thing is reliability.

Small innovations have big effects in infantry fighting - Our BPJs and BPP (Patkas) helped a lot. Just need lots of them.

Tanks - robustness matters. If uberbness gives me robustness then great but if it leads to vulnerability like senor breakdowns or autoloader malfunctioning then its a problem.
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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 01 Apr 2016 13:18

Austin wrote:ZU-23-2 , ZSU-23-4 "Shilka" AD Gun still used widely including IA , SA-3 , SA-2 ,SA-5 , SA-6 SAM still widely used


yes widely used but how effective ? For AD I think technology matters - target acquisition and engaging needs good sensors and wepons. Good sensors + good missile is crucial for SAMs but good senors + ok gun might work for AA arty.

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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby shiv » 01 Apr 2016 13:29

Interesting inputs from you Akshay Kapoor. I am looking at this from yet another angle. Old and jugaad weapons are being used and will increasingly be used in asymmetric warfare by low tech adversaries.

For example the Schilka mounted on a truck may be no great shakes but we don't want to lose even one helo or CAS aircraft to that. So what do we do? We will have to invest in standoff PGMs and matching sensors/networking. That raises our costs. And that is what asymmetric war seeks to do - raise costs for adversary despite his technological superiority.

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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby Austin » 01 Apr 2016 13:35

Akshay Kapoor wrote:
Austin wrote:ZU-23-2 , ZSU-23-4 "Shilka" AD Gun still used widely including IA , SA-3 , SA-2 ,SA-5 , SA-6 SAM still widely used


yes widely used but how effective ? For AD I think technology matters - target acquisition and engaging needs good sensors and wepons. Good sensors + good missile is crucial for SAMs but good senors + ok gun might work for AA arty.


It depends who is using it and how well they are trained and how well these folks can adapt to dymanic of War. The same system using by Iraq and Gelf nation against Israel/NATO/US didnt do much well. Similar system used by Serbia during Kosovo crisis against NATO/US performed quite well.

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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 01 Apr 2016 13:41

Aboslutely Shiv, thats what asymmetrical warfare is. But two can play at the game.

That's why it matters what political will you have. You have to make the playing field work for you. If the enemy is using asymmetrical warfare then hit him hard in his supplies, flood his fields by destroying dams from air (read Op Karthikeya), destroy his power supplies, but don't send in your troops to pacify him. Don't use ground attack aircraft and helos till you have absolute air superiority. It is expensive but then war is not cheap. In money or lives. Your will matters.

It also matters whether you have achieved surprise or not. Say I am going to war with Pakis, much better to launch strikes first in such size and strength that their AD network, communications nodes, airfields, etc are taken out. Then attack their dams and flood the plains of Punjab, cut off Karachi etc. We should have used assymetric warfare against them by giving massive support to the Balochis. A good leader would do that for a few years before going to war. Subvert their military, be very aggressive in intelligence - both gathering and subversion.

Lots can be done. But they will also retaliate. Ultimate the victor is the one who has more will.
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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 01 Apr 2016 13:42

Austin wrote:
It depends who is using it and how well they are trained and how well these folks can adapt to dymanic of War. The same system using by Iraq and Gelf nation against Israel/NATO/US didnt do much well. Similar system used by Serbia during Kosovo crisis against NATO/US performed quite well.


We have only one example of the Austin out of hundreds of missiles fired.

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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby Austin » 01 Apr 2016 13:56

Akshay Kapoor wrote:
Austin wrote:
It depends who is using it and how well they are trained and how well these folks can adapt to dymanic of War. The same system using by Iraq and Gelf nation against Israel/NATO/US didnt do much well. Similar system used by Serbia during Kosovo crisis against NATO/US performed quite well.


We have only one example of the Austin out of hundreds of missiles fired.


That should be fine , We too have one good example of IAF with hw from Soviet getting better off against PAF with western system , most of the time the same HW in Gelf state took a beating , so in the end tactics and training is of great importance.

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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby hnair » 01 Apr 2016 14:09

About the Kosovo air campaign. Here is what Wiki says;

It was one of two Apache helicopters lost in the war.[90] A further three American soldiers were taken as prisoners of war.[91] A study of the campaign reports that Yugoslav air defenses may have fired up to 700 missiles at NATO aircraft, and that the B-1 bomber crews counted at least 20 surface-to-air missiles fired at them during their first 50 missions.[89] Despite this, only two NATO aircraft (one F-16C[92][93][94] and one F-117A Nighthawk[95][96]) were shot down.[97] A further F-117A Nighthawk was damaged[68][69] as were two A-10 Thunderbolt IIs.[98][99] One AV-8B Harrier crashed due to technical failure.[100] NATO also lost 25 UAVs, either due to enemy action or mechanical failure.[101]


They caused confirmed mission kill for
- 2 AH 64 Apaches (Apaches exploding and crashing in a war zone has to be enemy action. Like a self-goal in football or a hit-wicket, it merely adds to the enemy's score line)
- 3 fighter-bomber (F16 and 2 F117)
- 2 A10s
- 1 Harrier
- 25 UAVs

Out of these. the UAV numbers could be significantly higher, we will never know.

So a total of 33 crafts probably worth half a billion, got out of circulation using 700 obsolete SAMs. Again 700 is an "upto" number aka weasel count. We will never know how many NATO missions got aborted (including the ones by those B-1 pilots, who seems to be busy counting SAM trails behind their backs), because of the missile signatures arcing up, because such H&D loss can be easily hidden. And this is against a near omniscent opponent like NATO, who had full spectrum dominance across air, sea, land, space and ether

A weapon that has been proven to kill or maim a human, will never stop being a threat until the end of human race.

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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 01 Apr 2016 14:25

From : http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-2009-04.html

Serbia operated a mix of obsolescent and often time-expired Soviet era S-75 / SA-2 Guideline, S-125 / SA-3 Goa and 2K12 / SA-6B Gainful area defence SAMs for the protection of critical infrastructure and fielded military forces. While these SAM systems did not inflict high losses on NATO aircraft, with a reported 665 SAM rounds fired for two verified kills, the inability of NATO to inflict decisive attrition upon the IADS resulted in ongoing high operational costs due to the need to keep EA-6B Prowler, RC-135V/W Rivet Joint, Tornado ECR and F-16CJ Weasels airborne during any significant operations over the territory of the rump FRY.

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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 01 Apr 2016 14:30

So only two confirmed kills according to these guys. But your point is well taken H Nair.

Austin, I have never denied that tactics,training and morale matter. Infact if you see my posts I give very high weightage to these. But in a comparative anlsysis of where technology is more important I said that AD benefits from newer tech more than arty or infantry.

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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby brar_w » 01 Apr 2016 14:55

With Obsolesce, technology breakthroughs can play havoc with air-defenses. Highly digitized, EW, EA jammers and sophisticated ECM have enabled with similar solutions on strike platforms (especially since more and more of these systems can play with 'stealth' unlike the F117 days). This puts tremendous pressure legacy IADS since now, you can have 3-4 strike aircraft self-escort for SEAD since they all can have a Prowler level of threat location capability allowing them to avoid, target and or pass on the data for targeting by another asset. This is further exaggerated by the fact that modern aircraft can carry multiple fairly low cost SO munitions (Like the Spice 250, SDBI and II) that they can deploy since they can get that close to a legacy IAD greatly increasing the threats the IADS have to defend against (as compared to more expensive ARM's/HARM's/AARGM's).

While the missiles may be good, kinematically speaking you have to look at the entire kill chain to see what can be broken in order to severely degrade systems. Folks have realized that its much easier to break the C2-missile-radar (any link) kill chain then to carry a prowler / growler all the time to disrupt the radar or data links for example and this opens up sorties that would earlier have to wait for SEAD to have enabled them. Add cyber-hardening and this poses a tremendous cost and integration challenge since upgrading systems to protect against cyber threats isn't possible for all users particularly those that have a dated C2 architecture. In some cases there may simply be no way to cyber harden a system no longer in production, with minimal support from host-nation OEM supporting it.

Against legacy or some of the lesser capable IAD's of today's times, you can do this and really rack up sorties, while against modern IAD's you would be much more cautious. Much Like Kosovo, you will still need strong and well executed TTP's and you will still loose aircraft due to mistakes, enemy innovation, blue-on-blue, bad-luck, weather etc but there is a disproportional amount of technology driven disadvantage that goes against a legacy IADS than say a legacy helo, or a legacy tank which in urban environments, using innovative tactics can still cause a lot of havoc.

This is true for anything that sees rapid game changing innovation and the electronics industry and advances in semi-conductors have led us to this point, and that is why IAD modernization is a very high priority for a lot many nations looking to create a credible Anti Access strategy. The most important thing in an IAD vs SEAD is for the IAD to deny the opponent precise and accurate t RF threat location, and deter its ability to collaboratively locate the passive ground based EW systems feeding into the RF emitters. That side of the equation has heavily tilted towards the air-based assets now that much of the advantages that existed with legacy IADS have evaporated. Hence, the push for massive amount of digitization in the IADS, and the move towards integrated networks that are significantly more dispersed and decentralized.

There are however other advantages to maintaining and getting the full use of legacy systems in whichever way you can as long as they are tied to realistic political/military goals. The rule of Asymmetric warfare is to impose an unacceptable level of cost so these systems can still play. Regarding some of the other systems mentioned in the original post, like the Mig-21, B-52, they have been kept relevant by modernization. A B-52 of today is hardly comparable to a B-52 of the 70's, or even the 90's and same applies to an upgraded Mig-21. However these aircraft are being used differently now. In a near peer the B-52 will act as an arsenal plan, and carry stand off munitions. Here SO munitions have enabled the operator to keep the B-52 relevant. Take away the Billions of dollars that have been spent to develop, and procure these SO munitions and the utility of the B-52 in modern combat greatly diminishes.

As long as the legacy asset is there, and has legs there are lots of tricks you can teach it in order to make full use of its potential. However, the enablers often lie outside of the aircraft they are enabling : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2ODrXGkhnM

Modernization in general, but particularly at the expense of one older system isn't all that bad as long as there is a well informed, unbiased, comprehensive and well resourced analysis of alternatives that looks at ways to solve similar challenges, or obtain similar capabilities by investing in legacy systems, or in things that will improve their combat effectiveness. These things go hand in hand. This is one thing along with needs assessment that at times gets completely overlooked here when we talk about western vs eastern, or even western vs western systems in terms of how is X better than Y like say an F-15 vs Su-27, or Patriot Air Defense vs an S300. Each system's desgin trades are a response to its requirements and requirements tend to be different, guided by doctrine, and operational realities of the main operator dictating the requirements for a system.

Around the world there are plenty of very highly regarded militaries maintaining legacy systems decades out. The USAF plans on using the F-15's till the late 2030's. B-52's will hang around there as well. Russians would be using Mig-31's, for a long time and would also be keeping their legacy flanker fleet. This is just in the air..on the ground plenty of systems will exist that trace their heritage back to a legacy product..
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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby Gyan » 01 Apr 2016 15:35

I think we need to bring back 106mm RCL upgraded with advanced optics & laser range finders in a massive for way for use in anti terrorist & Naxalites operation.

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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby Singha » 01 Apr 2016 16:37

Iraqis pmf seem to have changed a buk Sam launcher into a ground to ground launch platform for some new rocket of probably Irani origin

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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby shiv » 01 Apr 2016 20:33

Here's a Schilka upgrade by BEL.
Image
From Wiki
ZSU-23-4 upgrade: This version was developed by Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) of India in cooperation with Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI). The upgraded systems will feature a solid-state radar and computers, electro-optical fire control systems, a new Caterpillar 359 BHP diesel engine and a new APU. The upgraded systems must be able to operate despite enemy jamming, must be able to pick up targets more than 15 km away, and must function in temperatures between 55° Celsius and minus 40° Celsius. The gun must be able to shoot down targets flying up to 450 miles per hour up to 1,500 meters and out to 2,500 meters. The purpose of the upgrade would be to extend the life of the air defence system by 15 years. In December 2004 it was reported that the Indian Army awarded a USD $104 million contract to upgrade 48 ZSU-23-4 air defence systems of the Indian Army

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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby shiv » 01 Apr 2016 20:39

The L70 anti aircraft gun is from 1934! :shock:

We now have an upgraded version. Wonder how effective it is?
http://www.bel-india.com/?q=L-70-Gun-Upgradation
Image

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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby ArmenT » 01 Apr 2016 21:28

If I recall correctly, in one of Suvorov's books, he outlines the strategy of why the (former) Soviet Union kept old hardware in storage. First, of course, was because any weapon is better than none, but then he goes into more detail into their thinking:

1. They understood that the old T-55 tanks cannot hold up against modern tanks by any means. However, at the start of the war, it will be modern tank vs. modern tank on the battle field in a war of attrition and there will be losses on both sides. Meanwhile, the older tanks were to be unpacked from storage and brought up to running condition. When the modern tanks of both sides have been destroyed, the old tanks can be brought to the front against the other side's infantry (who will have no tanks at this time to support them) and used to make a breakthrough. The old tanks can be very effective if the other side has no counter available to them. Same idea also applies to rifles, artillery etc.

2. In the (former) Soviet Union, everyone had to serve in the military compulsorily for a few years. Their high command's strategy was that at the outbreak of war, the currently serving personnel would be immediately sent to the front, while it would take a short while to mobilize the people who served years ago. Now, if they unpack the old weapons that the retired people had trained with when they served, they would only need to undergo a short re-familiarization course, rather than an extensive training program.

Of course, this line of thinking was envisioning massive conventional army vs. massive conventional army battles, not asymmetrical warfare.

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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby Karan M » 01 Apr 2016 21:33

Shiv, if you bring in upgrades obsolete weapons are no longer obsolete then...

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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby shiv » 02 Apr 2016 06:34

Karan M wrote:Shiv, if you bring in upgrades obsolete weapons are no longer obsolete then...

This is a moot point and one of the reasons why I started this thread.

Upgraded weapons have a variable life lengthening depending on unpredictable factors. The MiG 27 and 21 - especially the MiG 21 showed that upgrades could make it last for decades more than the design would predict - but they are both reaching the end of their lives. On the other hand a freako 1934 weapon like the L 70 is still getting upgrades and I don;t know how relevant it is. The B-52 has already been mentioned as something whose end of life is currently unknown.

In general I find that as a forum for discussion, I see the following attitudes, and that is why this topic merits looking at in some detail

1. When India is using old upgraded weapons and many other countries - especially our friendly neighbours acquire newer ones - I see an attitude of anger and a sense of betrayal that we are using "old weapons" with no discussion of how our upgrades may have kept them relevant. The assumption is that our old weapons will be useless against the new acquisitions. Clearly this cannot be a general rule - even you have said as much in you comment above

2. On the other hand when we have to fight adversaries in asymmetric war with those adversaries using obsolete weapons or "old but upgraded" weapons we cannot assume a walk over for several reasons. Victory against such adversaries may come at a cost that we should not be paying.

I think all major armed forces in the world tend to have a mix of
  • obsolete weapons that are on the verge of retirement
  • nearly obsolete/old weapons that still have some life because of upgrades
  • obsolete/old weapons that have life but are simply kept in boneyard reserves for a desperate rainy day situation
  • new and relatively new weapons

I guess that only the smallest armed forces of little, and perhaps rich states can afford to maintain small and "up to date" armed forces, but I urge caution in the use of the expression "up to date". The "arms market" is skewed heavily towards a very small bunch of nations who make and export most weapons. These are the countries whose economies get a boost from weapons sales, and for that reason these are the countries that have a huge propaganda apparatus, advertising depts and sales and bribery departments to "drive obsolescence". They decide that something is obsolete by developing something new and stopping the supply of spares or maintenance for their old stuff even if the old stuf is still effective and relevant.

So the situation actually gets very complex and pretty confusing. If we believe all that we read in the media and brochures then India is way way down near the bottom of the list of modern armed forces and should be losing most wars with anyone who has anything newer.. This is a slightly exaggerated statement but it is a viewpoint that arms suppliers would like Indians to believe.

Question is - Is it the truth or not?

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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 02 Apr 2016 12:40

Shiv,

There is a continuum between old and new. Say there is a scale of 0-5 where 0 is obsolete and 5 is the newest, most technologically advanced. It is obvious that if you are at 0 and your adversary is at 5 you will loose. But there will be many cases of a 2 step difference (say a 3 vs a 5 or a 2 vs a 4) where other factors will come into play. We have to look at weapon system family, tie into the task, local conditions like geographical advantages/disadvantages, aggressiveness and balls.

Numbers and reliability matter too.


I firmly believe that if you have real balls, political will and ability to take and inflict massive casualties then tech diff is less relevant. As an extreme case - if you have tactical nukes in number and have complete commitment (which is seen by the world) to use them in any circumstances then you can keep a stronger opponent at bay. Pak is a good example given the current (since independence) stupid Indian establishment. But then if the establishment changes the shoe can be on the other foot - we can do the same.

Now lets look at weapons system wise and see what matters and where on the continuum one can safely be. This is highly subjective and an oversimplification of course :

1. Infantry - assault rifles - 3.5/4 as - key things reliability, 30/32 round magazines minimum, good sights, weight. Calibre - jury is out.
2. Infantry - LMGs, support weapons, grenades - 2.5/4 (I would say 2.5/3 for GLs, RLs, mortars and 3/4 for LMGs) - key things reliability, range, LMG with belt, weight, grenades I would say 2.5.
3. Infantry - NVGs, communication, BPJs/BPPs - 3/3.5 . We are at close to 0 here because we don't have NVGs and BPJs need to be much better. I read on this forum sometime ago an Indian MSE offering to do BPJs and combat boots for IA at cheap costs but being rejected MOD and then supplying to western nations. These are not complex requirements and can easily be done (in fact has been done) in India but our system does not allow it.

Our current weapons are between 2 and 3 IMO and between 0 and 1 for NVGs and BPJs.

4. Arty - towed arty - 3/3.5 with APU and 52 cal and 155 mm is enough
5. Arty - wheeled and tracked - 3.5/4
6. Arty - rocket - 3.5 main issue is accuracy, reliability and range.
7 . Arty - acquisition and Command and Control - 4

We are between 2 and 3 with the exception of 7 where we are at 4. Our main issue here is numbers not uberness. We have the right solutions at home (Dhanush and Bharat 52) but we are not productionising them in size. Please see my comments in other threads on how and why MOD babus hare sabotaging this.

8. Armour - 3.5/4.5. The example given by Armen above about Soviet tactics illustrates this point.

I think in our scenario we need a good mix with emphasis to the lower end. We are at 3.5/4.5 except in ammo availability which should be addressed.

9. Engrs - bridging, trawling, minefield breaching - 2.5/3. We fought 71 war with WW2 Engr equipment and stunned the world by our Engr driven bliztkrieg in Bangladesh.

We are at 2/4 but numbers of 3 and above are low. I am trying to get some info on this

10. Air Defence - 4/5 - we had a long discussion on this earlier in the thread. I tend towards Brar's view on this.

I think we are at 3/4.5 with a smattering at 4.5 and bulk at 3. This is an area where good induction is happening in terms of both sensors and shooters. We will probably reach 4 average. Karan, Rohit Vats, Deejay have thrown a lot of light on this.

11. Fighters - 4/5 with a smatterring of 5 and rest at 4/4.5

Difficult to say where we are in the continuum probably at 3.5 largely because of huge gaps in terms of numbers.

12. AEW/AWACS - 4.5/5

We are there but shortage of numbers

13. EW - 4.5/5

Don't know. I would guess 1/2 ?

14. Refeullers - 3/3.5, reliability is probably the most crucial.

We are at 3 but we are hugely short of numbers. Singha had a proposal to convert commercial aircraft to refuellers for light tasks and use Airbus for heavy tasks. Intriguing idea.

15. Hepters (IA and IAF) - 4/4.5

Deejay defer to you on this but I think we are at 3 average and rapidly moving to 4. Light category is the only one which is a problem with no solution in sight. But hepters has been an area of progress. Adding Deejays point - huge shortage of numbers.

I will comment on naval systems in the next post. Hopefully Singha and Philip and Tsarkar sir will also share their inputs on naval systems.
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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby Karan M » 02 Apr 2016 13:02

shiv wrote:I guess that only the smallest armed forces of little, and perhaps rich states can afford to maintain small and "up to date" armed forces, but I urge caution in the use of the expression "up to date". The "arms market" is skewed heavily towards a very small bunch of nations who make and export most weapons. These are the countries whose economies get a boost from weapons sales, and for that reason these are the countries that have a huge propaganda apparatus, advertising depts and sales and bribery departments to "drive obsolescence". They decide that something is obsolete by developing something new and stopping the supply of spares or maintenance for their old stuff even if the old stuf is still effective and relevant.

So the situation actually gets very complex and pretty confusing. If we believe all that we read in the media and brochures then India is way way down near the bottom of the list of modern armed forces and should be losing most wars with anyone who has anything newer.. This is a slightly exaggerated statement but it is a viewpoint that arms suppliers would like Indians to believe.

Question is - Is it the truth or not?


You are right and stating the truth, but its also that by selling newer gen kit to India's opponents they force our hand.

IA/IAF etc have always maintained there needs to be a mix of "obsolete", "current" and "state of the art" kit. IMO, the current bit is the most important as it should have the highest serviceability.

But latest gen kit matters.

If your fighter has a radar that cna see 100km and a missile that fires 40km, the opponent has one that sees 140km and fires 70 km.. you are at a disadvantage and that can become a decisive edge in war.

I'd refer you to the Bekaa valley fight for impact of technology. But you might have seen it already..

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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby deejay » 02 Apr 2016 17:06

Kapoor Sir, nice summary. Thank You for the effort. Agree on Helicopters though we need to increase nos for

a)Heavies (more than the Chinooks coming in)
b) Lift / crane helicopters. (A proposal existed in early 2000's, nothing seems to have happened).
c) Navy medium role helicopters - This is an 'urgent' situation IMVHO.

In all three areas it is numbers and not obsolescence.

In both a) & b) category, a lot of work can be done by helicopters if they are available. Specially in the mountains.

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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby shiv » 02 Apr 2016 17:11

All too often, when I make posts, it comes out as if I am anti-technology - so as a disclaimer I was to state up front that this is rubbish. And I don't want this thread to degenerate into a "failure of technology" thread which can go into a separate thread if anyone wants, but I post a link about failure of tech because I want to make a point. Will post first and then try and make the point

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/4033 ... d-in-iraq/
Several communications links were designed to connect these vehicles with each other and with commanders. First, and most successfully, at least 2,500 vehicles were tracked via Blue Force Tracker: each vehicle broadcast its Global Positioning System coordinates and an ID code. This thin but critical stream of data was in essence a military version of OnStar. Commanders in Qatar saw its content displayed on a large plasma screen. Marcone, like some other commanders in the field, also had access to it, thanks to a last-minute installation in his tank before the invasion.

“A Critical Vulnerability”

Once the invasion began, breakdowns quickly became the norm. For the movement of lots of data – such as satellite or spy-plane images – between high-level commanders and units in the field, the military employed a microwave-based communications system originally envisioned for war in Europe. This system relied on antenna relays carried by certain units in the advancing convoy. Critically, these relays – sometimes called “Ma Bell for the army” – needed to be stationary to function. Units had to be within a line of sight to pass information to one another. But in practice, the convoys were moving too fast, and too far, for the system to work. Perversely, in three cases, U.S. vehicles were actually attacked while they stopped to receive intelligence data on enemy positions. “A lot of the guys said, ‘Enough of this shit,’ and turned it off,” says Perry, flicking his wrist as if clicking off a radio. “ ‘We can’t afford to wait for this.’”

One Third Infantry Division brigade intelligence officer reported to Rand that when his unit moved, its communications links would fail, except for the GPS tracking system. The unit would travel for a few hours, stop, hoist up the antenna, log back onto the intelligence network, and attempt to download whatever information it could. But bandwidth and software problems caused its computer system to lock up for ten to 12 hours at a time, rendering it useless.

Meanwhile, commanders in Qatar and Kuwait had their own problems. Their connectivity was good – too good. They received so much data from some of their airborne sensors that they couldn’t process it all; at some points, they had to stop accepting feeds. When they tried to send information to the front, of course, they found the line-of-sight microwave-relay system virtually disabled. At the command levels above Marcone’s – the brigade and even the division levels – such problems were ubiquitous. “The network we had built to pass imagery, et cetera, didn’t support us. It just didn’t work,” says Col. Peter Bayer, then the division’s operations officer, who was south of Marcone’s battalion on the night of April 2 and 3. “The link for V Corps [the army command] to the division, the majority of time, didn’t work, to pass a digital image of something.”

Sometimes, intelligence was passed along verbally, over FM radio. But at other times vehicles outran even their radio connections. This left just one means of communication: e-mail. (In addition to tracking vehicles, Blue Force Tracker, somewhat quaintly, enabled text-only e-mail.) At times, the e-mail system was used for issuing basic orders to units that were otherwise out of contact. “It was intended as a supplement, but it wound up as the primary method of control,” says Owen Cote, associate director of the Security Studies Program at MIT. “The units did outrun their main lines of communications and networking with each other and with higher command. But there was this very thin pipe of information via satellite communications that allowed the high command to see where units were.”


The point I want to make is that some old weapons survive only because the advent of technology has still not rendered them obsolete. A simple example is mortar and artillery. They are effective and deadly and are mainly countered by weapons locating radar (or other location means) and counter battery fire or CAS. Of course technology has made artillery more effective than in the past, but the basic principle has not changed for centuries Perhaps the worst enemy of artillery is interdiction of supply lines so that they get no ammunition? To stop that you need air dominance or great air defences.

We have discussed this before but what about tanks? Some people keep saying tanks are going to be obsolete. Other things that are constantly getting obsolete every few years are aircraft carriers and manned aircraft. Aircraft guns have become obsolete, have made a comeback and may be heading towards obsolescence again.

The other thing that is claimed to make the tank obsolete is the attack helo. But are Manpads and QRSAMs going to make attack helos obsolete. No because attack helos are going to attack from a great distance and behind terrain features where the pop up to shoot fire and forget mijjiles. And then there is the argument that attack helos can't cold a candle to dedicated close support aircraft because they are hi power armoured killers that fly faster and longer. But wait. Even those are now getting obsolete because in a networked environment with surveillance drones, AWACS and on ground sensors, aircraft can fly at standoff ranges of 50 plus kilometers and use smart guided munitions to accurately take out moving vehicles. Every one of these weapons systems is interlinked. Which is obsolete?

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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 02 Apr 2016 18:38

deejay wrote:Kapoor Sir, nice summary. Thank You for the effort. Agree on Helicopters though we need to increase nos for

a)Heavies (more than the Chinooks coming in)
b) Lift / crane helicopters. (A proposal existed in early 2000's, nothing seems to have happened).
c) Navy medium role helicopters - This is an 'urgent' situation IMVHO.

In all three areas it is numbers and not obsolescence.

In both a) & b) category, a lot of work can be done by helicopters if they are available. Specially in the mountains.


Absolutely its a case of numbers not obsolescence on hepters (Cheetahs aside). I struggled with incorporating numbers in my rating scheme so I decided to mention it in the introduction and in the summary. Completely agree on Naval Helicopters - you will notice I was referring to only IA and IAF in this case. Will cover naval helicopters in naval systems.

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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 02 Apr 2016 18:45

shiv wrote:All too often, when I make posts, it comes out as if I am anti-technology - so as a disclaimer I was to state up front that this is rubbish. And I don't want this thread to degenerate into a "failure of technology" thread which can go into a separate thread if anyone wants, but I post a link about failure of tech because I want to make a point. Will post first and then try and make the point

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/4033 ... d-in-iraq/
Several communications links were designed to connect these vehicles with each other and with commanders. First, and most successfully, at least 2,500 vehicles were tracked via Blue Force Tracker: each vehicle broadcast its Global Positioning System coordinates and an ID code. This thin but critical stream of data was in essence a military version of OnStar. Commanders in Qatar saw its content displayed on a large plasma screen. Marcone, like some other commanders in the field, also had access to it, thanks to a last-minute installation in his tank before the invasion.

“A Critical Vulnerability”

Once the invasion began, breakdowns quickly became the norm. For the movement of lots of data – such as satellite or spy-plane images – between high-level commanders and units in the field, the military employed a microwave-based communications system originally envisioned for war in Europe. This system relied on antenna relays carried by certain units in the advancing convoy. Critically, these relays – sometimes called “Ma Bell for the army” – needed to be stationary to function. Units had to be within a line of sight to pass information to one another. But in practice, the convoys were moving too fast, and too far, for the system to work. Perversely, in three cases, U.S. vehicles were actually attacked while they stopped to receive intelligence data on enemy positions. “A lot of the guys said, ‘Enough of this shit,’ and turned it off,” says Perry, flicking his wrist as if clicking off a radio. “ ‘We can’t afford to wait for this.’”

One Third Infantry Division brigade intelligence officer reported to Rand that when his unit moved, its communications links would fail, except for the GPS tracking system. The unit would travel for a few hours, stop, hoist up the antenna, log back onto the intelligence network, and attempt to download whatever information it could. But bandwidth and software problems caused its computer system to lock up for ten to 12 hours at a time, rendering it useless.

Meanwhile, commanders in Qatar and Kuwait had their own problems. Their connectivity was good – too good. They received so much data from some of their airborne sensors that they couldn’t process it all; at some points, they had to stop accepting feeds. When they tried to send information to the front, of course, they found the line-of-sight microwave-relay system virtually disabled. At the command levels above Marcone’s – the brigade and even the division levels – such problems were ubiquitous. “The network we had built to pass imagery, et cetera, didn’t support us. It just didn’t work,” says Col. Peter Bayer, then the division’s operations officer, who was south of Marcone’s battalion on the night of April 2 and 3. “The link for V Corps [the army command] to the division, the majority of time, didn’t work, to pass a digital image of something.”

Sometimes, intelligence was passed along verbally, over FM radio. But at other times vehicles outran even their radio connections. This left just one means of communication: e-mail. (In addition to tracking vehicles, Blue Force Tracker, somewhat quaintly, enabled text-only e-mail.) At times, the e-mail system was used for issuing basic orders to units that were otherwise out of contact. “It was intended as a supplement, but it wound up as the primary method of control,” says Owen Cote, associate director of the Security Studies Program at MIT. “The units did outrun their main lines of communications and networking with each other and with higher command. But there was this very thin pipe of information via satellite communications that allowed the high command to see where units were.”


The point I want to make is that some old weapons survive only because the advent of technology has still not rendered them obsolete. A simple example is mortar and artillery. They are effective and deadly and are mainly countered by weapons locating radar (or other location means) and counter battery fire or CAS. Of course technology has made artillery more effective than in the past, but the basic principle has not changed for centuries Perhaps the worst enemy of artillery is interdiction of supply lines so that they get no ammunition? To stop that you need air dominance or great air defences.

We have discussed this before but what about tanks? Some people keep saying tanks are going to be obsolete. Other things that are constantly getting obsolete every few years are aircraft carriers and manned aircraft. Aircraft guns have become obsolete, have made a comeback and may be heading towards obsolescence again.

The other thing that is claimed to make the tank obsolete is the attack helo. But are Manpads and QRSAMs going to make attack helos obsolete. No because attack helos are going to attack from a great distance and behind terrain features where the pop up to shoot fire and forget mijjiles. And then there is the argument that attack helos can't cold a candle to dedicated close support aircraft because they are hi power armoured killers that fly faster and longer. But wait. Even those are now getting obsolete because in a networked environment with surveillance drones, AWACS and on ground sensors, aircraft can fly at standoff ranges of 50 plus kilometers and use smart guided munitions to accurately take out moving vehicles. Every one of these weapons systems is interlinked. Which is obsolete?



Shiv, you have started a thought proving thread and you are definitely not anti tech, nor is any one saying that. In my view obsolescence will all depend upon the situation and the adversary. What is obsolete in one case may not be obsolete in another. In the Indian armed forces obsolescence broadly means it cannot get the job done on average - actually even in close to best case.

You post some interesting examples - one of a case of info overload at command and another a case of systems breaking down during movement and combat. I have said many many times that robustness is crucial. I would rather have simpler weaponry that is reliable and my troops know like muscle memory than very complex systems that are difficult to use and susceptible to break down. But even these will stabilize with experience. So it all depends. That's why its very interesting to look at specific situations like you have pointed out - best way to render arty useless is stop ammunition to it !


There is case of a seminal war game/ exercise in the US where a US marine General commanding adversary forces with no tech completely defeated the high tech fully networked, information rich opposing force. He started by surprise and launching the first attacks , by assassination of some adversary leaders, by decentralising completely (exactly opposite to the info based centralizing control of the US forces) etc. I will dig up the link.
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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby shiv » 02 Apr 2016 18:57

Akshay Kapoor wrote: In the Indian armed forces obsolescence broadly means it cannot get the job done on average - actually even in close to best case.

Aha!! This is the best definition I have seen yet because, as you say it is relative to the force that that is arrayed against us. This is a working definition that can be used.

Would definitely like to see that US wargame scenario.

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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 02 Apr 2016 19:05

Yes its relative to the force , to the rules of engagement, objectives ie it is situational.

If you give us political will we can do the job with less because we will use less dharmic methods, strike first, screw collateral damage, use all our forces etc. If you don't have that then you need more numbers and more tech because you have to allow for many more constraint

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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 02 Apr 2016 19:25

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Challenge_2002

Millennium Challenge

Red Forces were at a severe disadvantage reflecting US vs a middles east adversary. It was supposed to be a free play game. Red hammered blue (US forces) so they stopped the exercise, brought back all dead to life and then changed the rules of the game and started again. Not only that in the second life they actively started countermanding the orders Red Force commander gave. Hahahaha.
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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby shiv » 02 Apr 2016 21:09

Akshay Kapoor wrote:Yes its relative to the force , to the rules of engagement, objectives ie it is situational.

If you give us political will we can do the job with less because we will use less dharmic methods, strike first, screw collateral damage, use all our forces etc. If you don't have that then you need more numbers and more tech because you have to allow for many more constraint


Ok you are bringing up philosophical differences in the conduct of war which makes me want to digress just that little bit. The west has always shown, in my view, utter bhenchodgiri in the conduct of war. I am not saying that they are wrong - just saying it like it is. They profess to have great compassion to avoid collateral damage etc but actually don't give a rats ass about that as long as no one finds out. So the idea that collateral damage being caused by any armed force is "bad" or "inhuman" is utter pretence. We (the general public) must not fall for it. But we do.

But the Indian army has been the best there is in this regard. They take casualties to avoid collateral damage and "do the job". The west has tried (after Kosovo) to conduct wars in which they claim that they are only hitting armed people in pinpoint attacks and that they will not take casualties themselves by using super-smart super long distance standoff weapons. That said the west actually won only two wars after Vietnam - that is Kosovo and the second Gulf war. I am not counting Grenada.

To me this information can be summed up in about 3 bullet points
  • The West claims compassion and no collateral but cannot seriously deliver that - it is war after all
  • They are hell bent on avoiding their own casualties and so tend to rely on long distance delivery of "smart weapons' using gee whiz tech and very high expense.
  • They start wars easily because of various reasons, not least because it looks so good (to home public) if you can claim that you are losing no friendly/own combatants and causing no collateral damage. But they have never completed those wars

The lessons for India in my view is not something that I need to teach our armed forces. They know perfectly well. But it is the Indian public that has to learn that India has its own way of fighting wars and should not be held to western techniques or claimed standards. We need to equip our forces with what they want, and not what we think they should use. (with indigenous production as far as possible). But with info-space overloaded with western war information - all educated Indians believe that the way the west fights wars is the way to fight. To me that conclusion does not come that easily looking at the real record in terms of outcomes.

An American example or an American battle or an American technique almost always comes up as "The state of the art" or "the way to conduct war", "That's the way you do it" in any conversation. With that being the bottom line, for our media and educated public - anything that the Indian armed forces use is outdated, obsolete or faulty and casualties are shown as failures, extra time taken to avoid casualties is shown as incompetence, and any collateral damage is met with howls from libtards etc. Heroism and a job well done is ignored, even derided, and that quote from Gen Patton overused. One may not be able to name a single Indian general, but we know Patton.

We need to think in an Indian way and think the way Indians who do a job think before reaching judgement. Sorry to digress.

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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby deejay » 02 Apr 2016 21:53

shiv wrote:...

The west has always shown, in my view, utter bhenchodgiri in the conduct of war.


AoA! I just loved the phrase. Too good Doc. :)

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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby Viv S » 03 Apr 2016 00:06

shiv wrote:For example the Schilka mounted on a truck may be no great shakes but we don't want to lose even one helo or CAS aircraft to that. So what do we do? We will have to invest in standoff PGMs and matching sensors/networking. That raises our costs.

A Schilka on a truck is still probably worth the PGM that it takes to destroy it.

And that is what asymmetric war seeks to do - raise costs for adversary despite his technological superiority.

True. Of course, if we stick with.. lets call them older solutions, those costs would be paid in terms of lives. Case-in-point: Operation Pawan. Op Vijay too, for that matter. No easy answers here.

That said, one approach is to invest in the right technological tools rather than place place fighting men in harm's way equipped with gear that is unlikely bring back home safely. An example of the kind of tech that can be implemented to reduce the cost of killing the aforementioned Schilka -





Its been integrated on the Fire Scout RUCAV and will be integrated on the Super Tucano. Now if you only they could mate it with the MQ-9 Reaper UCAV, you'd have a platform with huge endurance (upto 42 hours), low operating cost (~ $3,500-4,000) and a low engagement cost (1/3rd the price of a Hellfire).
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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 03 Apr 2016 00:06

Dr Babu... that was brilliant... :rotfl: :rotfl: . I am going to use this when I can. Royalty Versova beach par pahunch jayegi.
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Re: Obsolete/Old & jugaad weapons that are still relevant in

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 03 Apr 2016 00:09

Viv,

Op Pawan had little to do with equipment. It was a failure of clear objective, lack of political will, intelligence and planning at govt level. Better weapons would not have helped.


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