idan wrote:First of all Rafales could be an overkill vis-a-vis bulk of Pak/Chinese re-engineered clones and some very old first generation F16s. If our Mig21 can shoot down those first gen F16s then definitely Rafale is an overkill. Platform is one factor but a pilot’s skill and readiness equally matters. Now in any aerial combat no fighter jet is invincible. Any tragic loss of Rafale due to multiple reasons including malfunction pitted against Soviet tin cans is expensive loss. Finally, Rafale follow-on order would take another 5 years to get inducted and at say $100-120 mil a piece against a vastly inferior skill wise and numerically superior headcount wise sounds expensive. Finally, for peace to prevail there is a cost to it. With dwindling squadron strength it creates more pressure on combat ready aircraft in the inventory and we fly more ad-hoc missions To fill in gaps draining our exchequer. In case of Israeli F16 Baraks they have been upgraded recently to Barak2020 standards, available as of yesterday (only needs a nod from Trump), fully loaded with familiar weapon and ECM, most Israeli vendors are anyway working with us. Logistics, training and operating protocols can be fast-tracked if there is a will. We can be rest assured for at least 10 years and by such time our Tejas, AMCA line will be producing in bulk.
There are some glaring misconceptions in your post above;Misconception # 1 ---> Rafale is an overkill against Pak and Chinese planes.
The Rafale was the choice of aircraft in MMRCA 1.0 and that is what is coming, albeit in a smaller quantity (36 vs 126). It is not India's issue that the Rafale is technologically ahead of what China and Pakistan currently operates. And the IAF did not buy the Rafale to only engage Pak F-16s and Chinese clones in the air, but rather to provide a capability to strike HVTs inside enemy territory from a stand off distance. Then there is the nuclear role. Another key factor is to get away from one supplier (i.e. Russia).Misconception # 2 ---> Pak operates first generation F-16s.
The first 40 batch of PAF F-16s have all been upgraded to a MLU standard. Same with the ex-Jordanian Air Force F-16s they operate. They also have 18 F-16 Block 50/52s, deliveries which started in 2010 I believe. This fleet provide the PAF with a good strike and air defence capability. The PAF F-16 fleet is anything but first generation (the Block 15 variant, which the PAF got in the early 80s).
The shooting down of the F-16 by the MiG-21 was a great achievement by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, but that is not going to happen each & every time a Bison engages a F-16 in the sky. Going by that logic, retire all the Su-30MKIs, Mirage 2000s and MiG-29s and just re-open the MiG-21 line. Will that work? MiG-21 Bisons will be even cheaper than ex-Israeli Air Force F-16s upgraded to the Barak2020 standard.Misconception # 3 ---> Loss of Rafale is Expensive.
The IAF could potentially lose a Rafale(s) or even far worse, lose the pilot(s) as well. But this is air combat, not pizza delivery. Losses of aircraft and aircrew are part and parcel in this line of work - in peacetime and in wartime. All air forces factor and estimate losses into their calculations. Look up the IAF post-analysis of Ex Gagan Shakti. That is not an argument to not buy the Rafale. Unfortunately there is no facepalm icon on this forum, because that is what I feel like right now.Misconception # 4 ---> Follow on Rafale will take 5 years.
If additional Rafales are ordered today, the first batch will arrive in 2023. And if the MoD is willing to pay Dassault to increase the production capacity, then they will come even sooner. The Dassault line at Mérignac can churn out 33 birds a year, provided the customer is willing to pay for that increased delivery schedule. Right now, it is producing one third of that i.e. 11 aircraft a year.Misconception # 45 ---> Ad-hoc missions.
Every time, an IAF plane goes into the air...it is for a certain task or mission. The IAF does not operate with ad-hoc goals, but with purposeful missions to accomplish. Fighter, Transport or Helicopter...pilots operate in mission mode. What you are suggesting does not happen, unless you can provide some concrete examples to suggest otherwise.
idan wrote:DACT mission is not just about proximity flying of dissimilar airframes but also operational aspects, strengths, limitations, weaponry etc all combined.
Thank you for that, but how does this help the IAF if and when the balloon goes up tomorrow?
Rather than waste money on used F-16s, it would be better to process the order for the 83 Tejas Mk1As.