UlanBatori wrote:Israel has fought its wars with a mix of Skyhawks, F-4 Phantoms, Kfirs, Mirages, F-15s and F-16s and maybe now F-22/F-35s.
In 1999 the PAF sat with thumbs up their musharrafs and watched IAF make mincemeat of their Northern Flight Infantry on the peaks.
So! What is a future war going to be like? With cheen or Pak - or, houristan forbid, KSA/Eyeran or even NATO?
IOW, is there any point in investing in tiny numbers of prima donna Air Superiority Fighters (of yesterday, obsolete b4 the first one is inducted) instead of building massive numbers of not-so-superior but deadly indi-jeenius fighter-bombers, with the ECM, radar and other features varied from one set to the other by also indi-jeenius innovation to make them unpredictable unlike the Bekaa valley situation?
Back in the 1980s I read somewhere that the Indian approach was to buy 17 fighters from the SU for the cost of one US-supplied Paki fighter. But Indian fighters were all ground-controlled unlike the TFTA independent warriors of the PAF. The Bekaa Valley experience was scary. How has this strategy worked out?
Bottom line: In future wars, does it make a lot of sense to have a mix of small numbers of fighters from different countries (except 1 or 2 stolen for Foreign Technology Assessment/ Reverse Engg, figuring out tactics & frequencies)? Or just go with a very few types, in large numbers, but with a wide variety of tweaks done by indigenous innovation that are not advertised at all? I am leaning towards the latter, obviously.
The one thing that is not discussed much in the public domain is what is the basis for the quantities and asset type mix being articulated by the IAF. e.g: It seems this magic number of 42 squadrons is a post-1965 assessment. I am not saying we do not need these numbers but that number was arrived at by looking at the then available asset types, threat assessments, and objectives. Recognize that enemy assets have also evolved.
In today's heavily dependent C4ISR, capable SAM systems, fundamentally altered capabilities of the assets, where a Su-30MKI provides for a CAP mission by taking off from Lohegaon and landing in Guwahati with a route that covers the western, northern and eastern border in a single sortie. Do we need a re-assessment of the squadrons and capabilities needed? All I know so far is the IAF has articulated a need in terms of light, medium and heavy categories, that do not directly speak to the threats and opportunities they are looking to meet, with this mix.
The increasing reliance on multi-role aircraft seems to be at the cost of dedicated fighters, where BVR missiles are not exactly proven war commodity with a low pK rate against highly maneuvering targets with defensive capabilities. Is this also due to a confusion over what constitutes our threats and objectives?
Any decision we make, we will be locking ourselves down for 50+ years and into the MIC of that host nation forming a symbiotic relationship of sorts. IF we have to go non-Indian, are we ready for this 50-year marriage?