Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

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srai
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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby srai » 07 Jul 2020 10:00

Ok. Somehow I knew this was coming. If you look at all the DDMs like Ayer Mitra, that’s what they are doing to put forward their contender like the F-21.

Anyways, will take a break for a while :)

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby Rs_singh » 07 Jul 2020 10:11

KaranM,

On MANPADS,

This whole post of yours indicate an acute shortage of both technical and op experience on your end. You’re not denying that shortage noted by the KRC, you are saying why this was so. The answer you give is MANPADS. They have been around since the 80s with VVS flying effective counters to them Well into the mid 80s. That the IAF did not feel the need to or did not operate doctrinally to counter them reflects poorly on the service. PA regs were equipped with stingers from the afghan overflow. Several known counters existed in the VVS from whom we bought most of our kit and still do.

On FAC,

Again, lack of op exp. FACs do not need to be pilots. Knowing pilots are in short demand, IA troops who go through arty cntrl training can go through FAC trg as well. For that matter so can airmen. You do not need pilots, this fact is lost to the IAF then and remains lost. Ultimately, it was IA that did control tactical strikes in combat conditions, learning on the job. Why have we made no progress on formalizing this since is another question,

On CAS,

I said need for a dedicated CAS platform is there, IAF does not need to operate it. There are several unmanned, rotary options available and being exploited. Any platform needs to operate in a contested env, not just CAS. This only highlights the need for EW, does not detract from it. Further our threat env dictates ground ops in every conflict, air power may or may not come into play in a kinetic role. CAS shortages were felt in 99 due to poor accuracy, low time on target, low loitering ability. Several papers written since indicate preference for arty not CAS precisely because of these reasons.

On sortie/syllabus/flight hrs

Again, semantics. Yes, flight hrs do not reflect the whole picture but the law of averages provides a good holistic picture. All AFs in the world operate on principle of law of averages. And no, you can not seriously tell me, every one of our boys on Type 77s were flying more than 100hr per year in 99. This is simply incorrect and misleading. flight hours provides a good number for average familiarity per pilot per platform. Syllabus or school does not. For instance, you cannot claim a landlubber who went through HAWS 5yrs ago and got an alpha is now also alpha proficient despite no op exp in HA.

KRC had multiple flag offrs from all 3 services and I can assure you none of them need to get their head examined.

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby LakshmanPST » 07 Jul 2020 10:32

Manish_Sharma wrote:
LakshmanPST wrote:
I infer that IAF definitely don't want more nos. of either Light Category Tejas Mk1/1A or Heavy category Su30 MKI...



Then why is iaf allowing grippen to take part in mrca?

Why heavy f15XE, Su 35, f-18 are allowed to compete in mrca?

It seems "get us anything foreign grippen/f15/f18 but not Khadi Gramodyog Tejas"


I only wrote what I inferred from news articles and statements of IAF Chiefs...
IAF definitely don't want more Tejas Mk1/1As and Su30MKIs for reasons best known to them...
I remember Dhanoa Ji once saying something like "The range and maneuverability limitations of Tejas Mk1/1A will be taken care in Mk2"... Tejas Mk2 is what the IAF wants...
Also, more Su30 MKIs would not only make the force heavier, it would also require more pilots to operate...
Also, looking at the retirements in 2030 and overall force structure, I'm only assuming that they needed jets which are atleast equally capable as, if not better than MIG29/M2k/Jaguars...
-
I don't know the actual logic of allowing Gripen/F15/Su30 in MRCA, but my guess is this--->
1) The Gripen model offered is Gripen-E, which is same class as Mirage 2000 (and Tejas Mk2)... Not really a light fighter as per IAF... Infact, it is the exact class of jet that IAF wants...
2) Coming to Su35 and F15... Though they're allowed to bid, I really doubt IAF would want these jets... (They are single pilot jets though...)
-
To be clear, I personally do not support MRCA... I want G2G of 44 Rafales and be done with it... Want Tejas Mk1A/Mk2 to fill the remaining numbers... They should speed up Mk2...
But we do not really know what is going on within IAF... I'm only trying to understand the IAF's point of view and constraints from publicly available info...
-
Anyways, I'll stop this MRCA discussion here...

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby deejay » 07 Jul 2020 11:28

Rs_singh wrote:One word on pilot training in the IAF. KRC showed following flaws:

1. IAF fighters were unwilling to engage targets at close range despite being cleared to do so, as attrition was acceptable in war. Not being able to close in the target meant impact error was large and particularly ineffective at higher gradients.
2. Lack of forward air controllers embedded in IA assault units for C&C. Result, you had infantry boys who had little knowledge on how to effectively deploy air power And airmen who being trained to interdict SOCs could not identify targets of opportunity to effect the outcome of a tactical battle.
3. 20 yrs under the bridge and we still neither have dedicated CAS platform, school nor FAC.

We were barely putting in 100hrs per platform per pilot per year. Those were the bad flying coffin days. I hope this has changed since and would expect this number to go up to 180-220 based on platform.

I’ll also state here that, we were in a very bad shape in 99. Our platforms and training were found wanting, both in IA and IAF, not to mention a total lack of synergy. Things have changed and heads have rolled since.


Okay, it took me sometime to figure out what was KRC. Ha.

Now, what kind of targets where avoided at close range?

FACs - Hmmm, FAC duties are interesting. Any particular country whose force model on FAC you like?

CAS platform - What would be a good CAS platform as an example in your opinion?

Flying Hours - Any idea relative to global measures, how does the 100 hrs per platform per pilot per year compare?

Lack of Synergy - Good Synergy is definitely needed but what exactly is good synergy?

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby Karan M » 07 Jul 2020 14:22

Rs_singh wrote:KaranM,

On MANPADS,

This whole post of yours indicate an acute shortage of both technical and op experience on your end. You’re not denying that shortage noted by the KRC, you are saying why this was so. The answer you give is MANPADS. They have been around since the 80s with VVS flying effective counters to them Well into the mid 80s. That the IAF did not feel the need to or did not operate doctrinally to counter them reflects poorly on the service. PA regs were equipped with stingers from the afghan overflow. Several known counters existed in the VVS from whom we bought most of our kit and still do.


I suggest you relook at the topic rather than have such a poor view of the IAF which had severe budgetary challenges in countering the MANPADS threat in the mountains and still did so. They had more than enough technical and ops experience to disagree with your statements above. I had the opportunity to discuss the topic threadbare with people who actually fought the conflict and knew what they were up against. The slant ranges of MANPADS from the peaks the IAF was being engaged with clearly put their aircraft at high risk from the same. The IAF was well aware of the risk, devised enough counters, one of which was GPS assisted medium alt bombing, other was to rush PGMs into theater. The much acclaimed VVS you tout were savaged in Afghanistan by the same MANPADS and unlike the IAF did not react as fast either. Hundreds of aircraft were lost to primitive AD, MANPADs and other factors. Stating that they had proven counters would be folly.

On FAC,

Again, lack of op exp. FACs do not need to be pilots. Knowing pilots are in short demand, IA troops who go through arty cntrl training can go through FAC trg as well. For that matter so can airmen. You do not need pilots, this fact is lost to the IAF then and remains lost. Ultimately, it was IA that did control tactical strikes in combat conditions, learning on the job. Why have we made no progress on formalizing this since is another question,


Please re-read what I wrote. I never said FACs need to be pilots. I said the FACs sent by IAF happen to be mostly pilots and the IAF can scarcely spare them for the task. And right now, it would be mistaken to think the IAF does not depute folks for the task and the IAF does not have far greater resources to take on the KRC era task. As things stand, we now have the Garuds, and they are likely to take up the task judging by procurement (I would rather not dig into the exact specifics) and we have a host of extra equipment for the long range observation and designation task which we did not have during Kargil.

n CAS,

I said need for a dedicated CAS platform is there, IAF does not need to operate it. There are several unmanned, rotary options available and being exploited. Any platform needs to operate in a contested env, not just CAS. This only highlights the need for EW, does not detract from it. Further our threat env dictates ground ops in every conflict, air power may or may not come into play in a kinetic role. CAS shortages were felt in 99 due to poor accuracy, low time on target, low loitering ability. Several papers written since indicate preference for arty not CAS precisely because of these reasons.


Unmanned rotary platforms! In a contested environment? Which unmanned rotary platforms are these which perform CAS? They would not last a moment in an IADS dense environment, which is why the IAF remains wary of them, and the IA is also not overly keen of relying on rotary platforms for the role. The role will be increasingly taken over by UAVs with long range sensors which too will be vulnerable. Ergo, bizjets with LR EO/SAR as IAF is interested in, or retasking IN P-8Is for the high-risk role. No easy answers.

On sortie/syllabus/flight hrs
Again, semantics. Yes, flight hrs do not reflect the whole picture but the law of averages provides a good holistic picture. All AFs in the world operate on principle of law of averages. And no, you can not seriously tell me, every one of our boys on Type 77s were flying more than 100hr per year in 99. This is simply incorrect and misleading. flight hours provides a good number for average familiarity per pilot per platform. Syllabus or school does not. For instance, you cannot claim a landlubber who went through HAWS 5yrs ago and got an alpha is now also alpha proficient despite no op exp in HA.


Disagree, you claimed that we were only flying 100 hours on Type 77s and this meant flying coffins. Now you are claiming *each one of our boys* was not flying more than 100 hours. If this is not semantics, what is? The fact is the IAF never went by flight hours *alone* especially on its MiGs. By virtue of their low endurance, sorties were paramount. With pilots mandated to ensure that their syllabus was achieved, and sorties were run per that syllabus, around the clock through the week. I will provide sources below. Do look.

KRC had multiple flag offrs from all 3 services and I can assure you none of them need to get their head examined.


Please provide the source. It would be more accurate to actually see what they said, as versus an interpretation of their commentary.

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby Rahul M » 07 Jul 2020 14:23

MiG-21 were a special case because of their short legs. I have read ex IAF fighter pilots opine that because of their shorter time in the air number of sorties undertaken by a mig21 pilot was more relevant than flying hours to judge experience.

Conversely, an air force pilot in a densely populated country might spend a significant chunk of his/her flying hours simply flying to and fro between the airbase and exercise area, how exactly would those hours contribute to the proficiency of the pilot??

Pilots might rack up crazy flying hours without a commensurate uptick in proficiency. Flight hours is a useful metric but not everything.

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby Karan M » 07 Jul 2020 14:37

2003, the flight hours being put up by the IAF. CAS Krishnaswami.

https://frontline.thehindu.com/the-nati ... 218154.ece

I gave an absolute number term. A pilot taking off in a MiG-21 has a 99.983 per cent chance of landing back safely. In the numbers game a person flying in a Boeing aircraft is just as safe as a MiG-21 pilot. But the MiG-21 pilot flies twice a day, 20 times a month, so obviously he is at greater risk. In 2001-02 the USAF had 35 crashes and lost 22 pilots and crew, during the same period we had 21 crashes with eight fatalities. Their number of accidents are far higher and they lose more pilots in accidents than us.


Each MiG-21 sortie was around 30-45 mins. That's around 240 hours per year at the bare 30 mins.

Its cheaper to rack up high hours on the MiG-21s.

As of 2005, KKD - USAF pilot who flew against the MKIs in his F-16.

As for flying hours, one of the Flanker pilots told me openly that he gets about 200 hours a year in the front seat...Their higher ranking dudes fly in the back seat and act as Mission Commanders.

viewtopic.php?f=17&t=1735&start=160

As to how it compares with the USAF, F-16 pilot on F-16.net - they follow the sorties and hours aspect as well.

250/year, that'd be nice. That's probably around the higher end. Minimum if you're inexperienced is 10 sorties a month, or about 13 Hours (or 156 Hours per year). If you average about a 1.3 each sortie, you'd have to fly four times a week, every week to get close to 250. Sounds a little high, but maybe I'm just not flying enough! I'd say closer to 200 on average. Anyone else, feel free to pipe up and correct me.

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby Karan M » 07 Jul 2020 15:03

Here is some more from the IAFs side - anyone remotely familiar with the ops should know who he is.
https://m.rediff.com/news/1999/jul/31ved.htm

"Dedicated CAS aircraft" etc etc.

2. The severe degradation of aircraft and weapon performance is still not completely appreciated by the layman. No aircraft has yet been designed to operate in a Kargil-like environment. At high altitudes, a crucial factor in aircraft performance is the reserve of power available, which, for the MiG and Mirage fleets, was a strong point in their favour. In comparison, the Fairchild A-10, which was widely quoted as being the ideal platform, would have been a misfit. It is widely (and incorrectly) stated that using Mach 2 aircraft would not produce results; the layman needs to understand that all air-to-ground attack speeds are approximately the same (750-950 kilometre per hour) for all fixed-wing aircraft.


This, the real issue for the IAF, the lack of mountain ranges and the weapons ballistics going haywire.

3. Due to the very different attributes of the atmosphere, even weapons do not perform as per sea-level specifications. Variations in air temperature and density, altering drag indices and a host of other factors (which have never been calculated by any manufacturer for this type of altitude) cause weapons to go off their mark; for the same reasons, normally reliable computerised weapon aiming devices give inaccurate results.

4. In the plains, a 1000-pounder bomb landing 25 yards away from the target would still severely disable, if not flatten, it. In the mountains, however, a miss of a few yards would be as good as the proverbial mile, due to the undulating terrain and masking effects.There is, thus, a need for pinpoint accuracy in conditions where that very attribute is severely degraded by the factors mentioned above.


From the horse's mouth about MANPADs on peaks.

Notwithstanding this, the loss of one fighter and one Mi-17 chopper to enemy action indicated the need for a change of tactics, resulting in withdrawal of armed helicopters and employment of fighters in modified profiles out of the Stinger surface-to-air missile envelope.


Much vaunted NATO learnt lessons the hard way as well.

By itself, the change of tactics is nothing unusual, and is an inherent part of the qualities of flexibility and adaptability; in fact, a far more serious lapse would be a dogged tendency to persist in sacrificing assets when, clearly, there was a need for a re-assessment. It is for this reason that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, after deploying 100 Apache attack helicopters in Greece, reconsidered bringing them into Kosovo till the shooting was over, as they felt the environment didn't justify it. Unfortunately, IAF Mi-25/35 attack helicopters were not able to operate in this terrain.


Results thereafter.

However, once revised and modified profiles, tactics and manner of system usage had been perfected, the accuracy of the airstrikes improved dramatically. Any time the target was spotted, a success rate of close to 100 percent invariably resulted.


Strategic vs Tactical, and why IA has invested so much in its arty - Excalibur, new guns etc.

8. IAF airstrikes against enemy supply camps and other targets yielded rich dividends. A noteworthy fact is that there was not a single operation on ground that was not preceded by airstrikes. Inevitably, some army personnel at some locations who did not actually see these missions harbored, understandably, the feeling that the IAF was not as effective as they had hoped. While that would happen in any operation, it is a fact that each and every airstrike was the result of co-ordinated planning between 15 Corps and the Air Officer Commanding, Jammu and Kashmir.

9. Firstly, in the area of interdiction of enemy supplies, the successful and incessant attacks on the enemy's logistic machine had, over the last few weeks, culminated in a serious degradation of the enemy's ability to sustain himself in an increasing number of areas. The series of attacks against Point 4388 in the Dras sector was an excellent example of how lethal airstrikes combined with timely reconnaissance detected the enemy plans to shift to alternate supply routes which were once again effectively attacked. In this the IAF succeeded in strangling the enemy supply arteries, amply testified to by enemy radio intercepts.

The primacy of interdiction targets as opposed to Battlefield Air Strikes targets was clearly brought out, as also the fact that air power is not to be frittered away on insignificant targets like machine gun posts and trenches, but on large targets of consequence (like the supply camp at Muntho Dhalo, enemy Battalion HQ on top of Tiger Hill, etc). Gone are the days of fighters screaming in at deck level, acting as a piece of extended artillery. The air defence environment of today's battlefield just does not permit such employment of air power anymore, a significant fact that needs to be understood by soldier and civilian alike.


Today, the IAF has Garuds with Laser Target Designators, UAVs with LTDs, the bulk of its fleet with high resolution recce and laser designation pods. All thanks to the lessons of Kargil and decades of assiduous effort.

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby ks_sachin » 07 Jul 2020 15:04

Karan M wrote:
Rs_singh wrote:.....

In the Red corner the Indian Army...In the Blue corner the Indian Air Force!!!

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby Karan M » 07 Jul 2020 15:28

Not in either corner, but merely stating we need to understand the context. The IAF and IA were both operating under severe constraints at Kargil.

Many of these review committees pass the blame to the intel folks and the warfighters whilst avoiding the politico-bureaucracy/mil-brass combine which underfunds the forces or ensures they don't have the right tools for the task.

Also, pls don't quote the whole post.

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby pankajs » 07 Jul 2020 16:19

https://twitter.com/Nambitiger1/status/ ... 7896148992
Raghu Nambiar @Nambitiger1

Tha Rafale EH of the IAF.... The Max Payload Fraction of this beauty is an amazing 2.49!

It’s capable of super cruise with four missiles and one fuel tank!

One more batch of 36 makes sense.

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby Aditya_V » 07 Jul 2020 16:28

pankajs wrote:https://twitter.com/Nambitiger1/status/1279976257896148992
Raghu Nambiar @Nambitiger1

Tha Rafale EH of the IAF.... The Max Payload Fraction of this beauty is an amazing 2.49!

It’s capable of super cruise with four missiles and one fuel tank!

One more batch of 36 makes sense.


Only if Firm orders of atleast LCA Tejas- various variants of 150. IAF should be told unless this is done 2nd batch of Rafale cannot be ordered.

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby ks_sachin » 07 Jul 2020 16:36

Karan M wrote:Not in either corner, but merely stating we need to understand the context. The IAF and IA were both operating under severe constraints at Kargil.

Many of these review committees pass the blame to the intel folks and the warfighters whilst avoiding the politico-bureaucracy/mil-brass combine which underfunds the forces or ensures they don't have the right tools for the task.

Also, pls don't quote the whole post.

Karan I was just saying that you are fighting the good fight for the IAF while Rs_singh seems to have served as a land lubber..

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby Karan M » 07 Jul 2020 16:58

Fair enough, thank you for the kind words.

All I will say is that today, the IAF is much better placed in terms of A2G capability. Kargil served as the impetus for that.

There are still challenges in terms of declining squadron numbers, standing up to the inevitable 2nd Arty barrage etc. But we have far better airfcraft and capabilities today then we had during Kargil when the Mirage 2000s were literally the only true modern A2G fighters, with MiG-27s etc all having significant compromises.

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby Rs_singh » 07 Jul 2020 21:34

KaranM,

Few things here you seem to have clearly missed. I keep telling you what the KRC highlighted as shortcomings and you keep telling me why. Where is the dispute in this? All my comments are in respect to the last conventional war we fought, not the situation as it may or may not stand today. Just because we put on a uniform does not make us 10ft tall and bulletproof. We must have the patience to bear criticism and correct where required. Jingoism doesn't help when shit hits the fan. IA had its own faults but this is not the thread to discuss those.

0. I am not talking about IAF technical and op exp, I was suggesting your post exhibits that you seem to have a lack of both. Don't take this as a personal attack. There is a huge difference between reading about something online, talking to people and fighting with it.

1. Again, MANPAS: IAF did not see fit, nor seemed to have counters for stingers (1 MANPAD type ) employed by PA in 99. Firing rockets exceeding munition alt env against SOPs showed poor pilot performance. These are facts. CAS was extremely ineffective and did not effect the outcome of any tactical battle which had to be fought by inf using arty support. Flying out of engagement env was learned after a couple platforms were lost. This highlights what I am saying in terms of doctrinal challenges that the IAF seems to not have taken into account.

2. on FAC, if Garuds are tasked with FAC, I would be surprised. I do not think this is official or operationalized. all SF units have and are trained to laze tgts. lazing tgt and FAC ops are two different and distinct things. Again, this highlights what I was saying. We have an acute lack of FAC and IA/IAF synergy . this reflects in both ground and air ops. we seem to be fighting two different wars and preparing for two different wars. I have not seen this change nor do I know of anything which shows this has changed. The current puny allotment of 6 64s to IAF and 20 odd to IA further reflects this inter service disagreement. for the purpose of this post, I will restrict my jabs to 99.

3. on CAS, I said, unmanned, rotary platforms. not unmanned rotary platforms. Implying use of unmanned and rotary platforms in order to effect outcome of tactical battles. IADS comes into play for deep strikes and not front line combat. in any case, air power can come into play once temp air superiority is achieved over battle space. At that point, threat env is med to low with primary threat being manpads. So again, this highlights the issue. IA is thinking of fighting tactical battles where threat is emanating from local sources at mid to low level assuming air superiority has been established. IAF is thinking in terms of IADS and degrading EN SOCs, changing the strategic picture. Herein lies our problem.

4. On flight hours per pilots. read what I wrote again. I said we were in a bad shape in 99 and these were the days of the flying coffins with a high attrition rate. I did suggest 100hr per pilot per year regardless of platform type. Su did not come into play in 99 did it? what was inventory? all Migs, a few jags and a few mirages. Your lack of op exp again comes into play here. You are claiming 240hr per pilot on the mig 21 based on one statement given. Did you take into account serviceability of miss in 99? our fleet availability is not public so won't comment. suffice to say it was less than 50%. far worse on 21s. in fact Su availability was 50% a few years back. Also, not fair to compare f16s to su30s. two very different aircraft.Even USAF was complaining of 150hrs per pilot per aircraft a couple years back and you want me to believe the IAF was flying 240 on the worst platform in its inventory in 99 with our budgets. ok. lets close the discussion on this point. I stand by what I said.

5. Both the IA and IAF have learnt some lessons from 99. yes, A2G role in the IAF has improved, but for Strat tgt interdiction and not for fighting tactical battles that IA will likely fight before we get into any major conflict.

I am happy to discuss any of these points further, particularly AA/AD in the current scenario. It should also be telling to you that we did have dedicated CAS aircraft in 99. We had both Jags and Mig27 (even 23s, but lets ignore them for now). Neither of these fighters were deemed useable in a contested air env. WHY? What were we missing? These are rhetorical questions. We used an aircraft we bough to counter f16s in the AIR- the M2000s in the A2G role, a role it was not fully capable of performing then and had to be modified last minute. WHY?

internalizing criticism and learning lessons are the key to becoming a more potent force. That the IAF has not seen operational service in many years is also a factor in this. That we do not give the services budget is also a factor in this. that we seep buying armd columns for the IA and investing in mechanized warfare is also a factor in this. I am not saying the IAF is a bad service or ever was. but we need to be realistic in employing the assets we have given our resources and threat environment.

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby Rs_singh » 07 Jul 2020 21:41

ks_sachin and KaranM,

Well fought blue, but red wins ;)

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby nachiket » 07 Jul 2020 22:02

Rs_singh, one thing to bear in mind is that the IAF procurement plans (as with the other services) had been hit badly in the 90's due to various factors, not the least of which was our near bankruptcy in 1991 and the funds crunch thereafter. A lot of money had been spent buying new platforms in the 80's but the fleet of Russian aircraft (the Mig-29's in particular) suffered badly due to a shortage of spares and support from the OEM after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The abysmal availability numbers you mention were a result of that. And as if that wasn't enough its acquisition of PGM's (American Paveway LGB's) was hit by post nuclear test sanctions as well. There is an article about this written by Vishnu Som somewhere. He describes the circumstances which resulted in the IAF quickly modifying the Mirage-2000's for delivering LGB's on an emergency basis. This process had been stuck and delayed by the lack of support for integration after the sanctions if I remember correctly.

But beyond all this, bombing tiny bunkers on steep mountains at 15k+ feet with dumb bombs in a MANPADS heavy environment is a very very difficult proposition. The only real solution to this is to use PGM's. But we had nowhere near enough numbers of PGM's in the inventory to drop one on every bunker that the pakis had occupied. Nor could we afford so many. Using them for the more strategic targets like supply camps and Bn HQ's made perfect sense. If we had a USAF like inventory of the PGM's then sure, we could have bombed all the occupied peaks with 100% accuracy but that is fantasy.

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby deejay » 07 Jul 2020 22:45

Rs_singh wrote:KaranM,

...

1. Again, MANPAS: IAF did not see fit, nor seemed to have counters for stingers (1 MANPAD type ) employed by PA in 99. Firing rockets exceeding munition alt env against SOPs showed poor pilot performance. These are facts. CAS was extremely ineffective and did not effect the outcome of any tactical battle which had to be fought by inf using arty support. Flying out of engagement env was learned after a couple platforms were lost. This highlights what I am saying in terms of doctrinal challenges that the IAF seems to not have taken into account.

...


You say Karan lacks ops exposure and tech exposure. Your own exposure stands out as inadequate. IAF had vehemently objected to use of helicopters in this terrain and was "forced/ persuaded" by IA to undertake this. The fact that Mi 17s were unsuitable against point targets on hill tops was brought out time and again, specially when it was clear that Mi25.35 would not be available.

Such was the pressure that Pundhir and Muhillan had to fly a Mi 17 without CMDS despite the threat MANPADS were posing since only 02 Mi 17s could be equipped with CMDS at that point of time.

You talk of attrition as an Army man. IAF is a "platformed" force. There is no force, sans platforms. On this forum, I have said in the past that there are missions for which 99% attrition is acceptable, but as powers saw at that time this was not an attrition which would bring any benefit. CAS at that altitude in that terrain will not be possible with any existing platform. I hope LCH can change that but not as of now.

Precision munitions for pin point strikes had been sought by IAF for long but it took the war to procure and "jugaad" engineer options for that.

Making claims like "poor pilot performance" shows both your bias and poor knowledge of the field. I think it speaks poorly of your own ability to understand Air Power.

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby deejay » 07 Jul 2020 22:47

Rs_singh wrote:ks_sachin and KaranM,

Well fought blue, but red wins ;)


Self declaring victory! :shock:

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby Rs_singh » 07 Jul 2020 23:27

deejay wrote:...IAF had vehemently objected to use of helicopters in this terrain and was "forced/ persuaded" by IA to undertake this. The fact that Mi 17s were unsuitable against point targets on hill tops was brought out time and again, specially when it was clear that Mi25.35 would not be available.

Such was the pressure that Pundhir and Muhillan had to fly a Mi 17 without CMDS despite the threat MANPADS were posing since only 02 Mi 17s could be equipped with CMDS at that point of time.

You talk of attrition as an Army man. IAF is a "platformed" force. There is no force, sans platforms. On this forum, I have said in the past that there are missions for which 99% attrition is acceptable, but as powers saw at that time this was not an attrition which would bring any benefit. CAS at that altitude in that terrain will not be possible with any existing platform. I hope LCH can change that but not as of now.

Precision munitions for pin point strikes had been sought by IAF for long but it took the war to procure and "jugaad" engineer options for that.

Making claims like "poor pilot performance" shows both your bias and poor knowledge of the field. I think it speaks poorly of your own ability to understand Air Power.


1. Forces are trained to operate under pressure exclusively. The fact that the IAF chose to operate hepters without CMs to MANPADS is a glaring operational error. Despite the fact that we had these available.
2. Attrition applies equally to all services and perhaps the most to the Army. We lose men.
3. Poor pilot performance is in reference to munition launch in disregard to SOPs. If that does not qualify as poor performance, nothing in the mil does.
4. I am biased, no doubt, but that does not take away from facts. with respect to me not knowing or understanding air power, quite possibly true. I am still learning and I have a long way to go. I am never one to shy away from accepting criticism. take it in the right spirit.
5. and this is a larger point, if the MI 17s and Mi35s, the IAF operates are no use in the possibly the only battle space we will fight in - high alti - then that brings into serious question the war fighting abilities of the IAF in this terrain, does it not? this is why we have the LCH and the ALH. yet, 20 yrs down, neither the LCH is operational nor the ALH is able to substitute the mi17/alloutte fleet entirely. WHY? what lesson did we internalize here. and don't give me budget constraints, point to one plan on paper that exists and one that IAF is pursuing to meet this op need. zilch is the answer.

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby Rs_singh » 07 Jul 2020 23:28

deejay wrote:
Rs_singh wrote:ks_sachin and KaranM,

Well fought blue, but red wins ;)


Self declaring victory! :shock:

I recently learnt this lesson from our vaunted PLAGF :mrgreen:

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby deejay » 08 Jul 2020 00:05

Rs_singh wrote:[

....

1. Forces are trained to operate under pressure exclusively. The fact that the IAF chose to operate hepters without CMs to MANPADS is a glaring operational error. Despite the fact that we had these available.
2. Attrition applies equally to all services and perhaps the most to the Army. We lose men.
3. Poor pilot performance is in reference to munition launch in disregard to SOPs. If that does not qualify as poor performance, nothing in the mil does.
4. I am biased, no doubt, but that does not take away from facts. with respect to me not knowing or understanding air power, quite possibly true. I am still learning and I have a long way to go. I am never one to shy away from accepting criticism. take it in the right spirit.
5. and this is a larger point, if the MI 17s and Mi35s, the IAF operates are no use in the possibly the only battle space we will fight in - high alti - then that brings into serious question the war fighting abilities of the IAF in this terrain, does it not? this is why we have the LCH and the ALH. yet, 20 yrs down, neither the LCH is operational nor the ALH is able to substitute the mi17/alloutte fleet entirely. WHY? what lesson did we internalize here. and don't give me budget constraints, point to one plan on paper that exists and one that IAF is pursuing to meet this op need. zilch is the answer.


- Well IAF can only equip what is has. CMDS was available with only 02 Mi 17s and they led the attack. IAF did not have a choice in backing out of this ops despite lacking equipment. It was done. Thank God, Indian Army saw reason after the Mi 17 was shot down. Speaks volumes on how much Army appreciates air power and air assets.

- Attrition is a reality. When a plane goes down, we have either lost the pilot for good or for the duration of war. The human cost for IAF is no different than Army. But the machine is a huge component of IAF force structure. Unlike Army infantry units with multiple hundreds of men, Air Force helicopter units have just 10 helicopters. You lose one, you have lost 10% of the unit strength. When IAF speaks of attrition, they primarily mean machine attrition. All other attrition will have specific labels like "Pilot Attrition" and you will not find IAF complaint of pilot attrition in war. As Indians, our overall view of taking casualties in battle is same, be it any Service, IMHO. In terms of human costs, all 03 services respect human life in the same spirit. But because of the need of machines/ platforms / planes, to have a fighting force, helicopters, fighter planes and transport planes (now even UAVs) are given different importance. Hence, the way IAF calculates Acceptable attrition is very different from how you would do it in Army.

- Poor Pilot Performance viz Munition launch outside of SOP - Since I am not an authority on tech details here and the more I read your posts, I do understand your POV from ground perspective with limited air power understanding, let me suggest that you may see munition drops by pilot as an attempt to drop bombs on target when results from SOP were not the best. Remember, that while valley and hill flying and attack are practised, these were the absolute first exposure to live bombing such targets. No range exists anywhere in the world to practice and formulate SOPs for such situations.

- Mi 35s were not usable above 3 kms was always known. Mi 17 is an inadequate platform for point targets or precision attack was also known. Even IA new it. That Mi 17 can carry an awesome load to those altitudes is also undeniable. The fact that ALH and LCH are still not ready is more due to the sheer challenge those conditions of mighty Himalayan Mountains pose to engineers and developers worldwide. You have to appreciate that only India, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, China and a few countries in Latin America have regular need for military helicopter ops at those altitudes. Since we do not collaborate with China, all development is our own in case of both ALH and LCH. Orders for both have been placed by both IAF and IA in fair nos. Those orders need to be processed by MoD, when and how, they may best answer.

BTW - Chinese high altitude helicopters are not doing well. Pakistan has actually dumped the Chinese attack helicopter for the Turkish machine which is a copy of the European Tigre which again is optimised at best for the Alps. Point being, development of new machines is not just about throwing money, of which China had adequate.

And Sir, not to ruffle feathers, when I have to learn something, I ask questions politely. As a veteran (I assume), I feel you should have shown more nuanced opinion on matters military. Apologise if I have offended. Drinks on me if and when we meet. :)

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 08 Jul 2020 01:17

R_Singh, I am retired from BRF but in April-May 2020 I discovered that my login still worked so I checked this forum about once a week since things were hotting up and hostilities are/were/maybe imminent. I think I posted only once and that too when one of my fallen brothers was referred to in the wrong way.

Today I happened to come across your posts on IAF heptr ops in Op Safed Sagar. DJ says you are a veteran but I can't make out which army , perhaps the US Army. Pardon me if I am wrong.

I will not get into tac aspects of heptr ops in OP Safed Sagar. There were disagreements between IAF and IA the two main protaganists being AM Patney and Gen Malik. Both had different appreciation of the OP. That happens. We in the army have always felt that IAF should have given more CAS but IAF felt that this was not optimal given terrain, threat, equipment. DJ is a Heptr pilot, EX NDA dyed in wool fauji who has during his service worked extensively with the army in air maintainence and also SHBO. He is a professional I thoroughly respect and hold his views in far higher regard than someone who has no expertise in these ops. I also have enormous respect for Karan M who knows his facts in and out.

So I won't talk heptr tactics, tech and ops. DJ and Karan have handled those well.

I will talk about something as , if not more important. Ethos. Naam, namak, nishan. These are very dear to the Indian Army and I am sure the IAF as well. In OP Safed Sagar IAF displayed this by launching a heptr sortie with 4 heptr flight (DJ please correct me on exact composition) where one of them did not have CMDS. The pilot who commanded that heptr was from a diff squadron but still volunteered for this mission knowing the danger.

Why ? Ethos. Naam. Namak. Nishan

To see that being so glibly called pilot error etc is galling, hurting. No IA veteran would/should do this. But then these days we have all kinds of veterans on TV as well I guess

Any how I just wanted to say this. As far as tac, operational and strategic aspects of current stand off is concerned many of you have been kind enough to watch my various exchanges with my good friend Hu whatever of Global Times on twitter. Yahoo has also picked that up.

Thanks very much for your support. DJ we must continue to debrief our wargame.

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby Rs_singh » 08 Jul 2020 01:38

Akshay kapoor and DJ,

I prefaced my post multiple times, specifically talking in context of 99 and KRC. As for my comment about munition launch and poor pilot performance, I was specifically referring to the MiG 27 we lost during rocket firing above launch envelope. This was a broader point to show case that we were in a bad spot in 99. I also said, that its been twenty years since and things have changed and heads have rolled. I stand by what I said. I extended the same criticism to the IA - based on KRC.

Naam, namak, nishan and paltan ki izzat is not lost on any one. But we must learn from our errors. I don't understand why my comments are being taken out context and applied to hepter ops without CMDS and pilots volunteering to do so? If there were multiple troops from the several units of the IA that ran away and were caught hiding by MPs in their villages, it does not in any way, shape or form take away from the valor exhibited by the Army time and time again.

On that same token, if we continue along and act as if we made no errors and committed no faults, we are only letting history repeat itself.

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby nachiket » 08 Jul 2020 04:02

Rs_singh wrote:Akshay kapoor and DJ,

I prefaced my post multiple times, specifically talking in context of 99 and KRC. As for my comment about munition launch and poor pilot performance, I was specifically referring to the MiG 27 we lost during rocket firing above launch envelope. This was a broader point to show case that we were in a bad spot in 99. I also said, that its been twenty years since and things have changed and heads have rolled. I stand by what I said. I extended the same criticism to the IA - based on KRC.

I don't understand how the engine flameout can be blamed on pilot error. The fact that the rockets would have to be launched above the max recommended altitude must have been known during the mission briefing and a calculated risk taken by the planners since there were few other options available for accurately attacking the targets at that altitude and in that terrain. This could not have been a decision that Flt. Lt. Nachiketa took himself during the sortie. We can't say on the one hand that the IAF was conservative and averse to the risk of attrition and on the other hand talk about pilot performance when they did take the risk but it didn't pay off.

There is plenty of blame to go around for the poor readiness and equipment shortfalls during Kargil. But looking at what we did have, I believe the IAF did the best that was possible and actually showed remarkable alacrity in getting the Mirages and Jaguars ready for deploying PGM's in the middle of the conflict.

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby nachiket » 08 Jul 2020 04:09

I've always considered Kargil as a huge opportunity lost for the IAF. All our other shortcomings aside, we did have nearly six squadrons of BVR capable fighters vs zero for the PAF. If the IAF had been allowed to cross the LoC, they could have delivered a body blow to the PAF or forced them to curtail flights entirely giving us a free hand to bomb PA bases and supply depots in their side under full air-superiority. The war could have been over earlier and with less IA casualties.

We will never again have that much of an advantage over the PAF in the future.

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby idan » 08 Jul 2020 04:16

nachiket wrote:I've always considered Kargil as a huge opportunity lost for the IAF. All our other shortcomings aside, we did have nearly six squadrons of BVR capable fighters vs zero for the PAF. If the IAF had been allowed to cross the LoC, they could have delivered a body blow to the PAF or forced them to curtail flights entirely giving us a free hand to bomb PA bases and supply depots in their side under full air-superiority. The war could have been over earlier and with less IA casualties.

We will never again have that much of an advantage over the PAF in the future.


Musharraf had kept PAF in dark and led the Kargil misadventure as an Army thing. There was severe backlash and resentment within PAF as to how PAF was sidelined during Kargil.

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby nachiket » 08 Jul 2020 04:46

This link has a decent amount of info on the gravity of challenges faced by IAF pilots during Kargil: https://carnegieendowment.org/2012/09/2 ... -pub-49421

Some excerpts

There are two compelling reasons why the attempted delivery of effective close air support was so problematic for the IAF throughout most of the Kargil fighting. First, the enemy targets that presented themselves in the Kargil heights were nothing like the more conventional target array that fighter aircraft typically engage when providing support to ground combat operations. As one IAF airman later pointed out, the target complex did not consist of troop concentrations, command posts, and logistical supply lines, but rather “near-invisible humans well dug into hideouts … on various hilltops and slopes,” where “only their tents and earthwork structures were identifiable” from the air when not masked by the natural camouflage that was provided by “the ubiquitous black and white color combination of the terrain.” By this account, the largest target struck by the IAF during Operation Safed Sagar, the enemy’s supply camp at Muntho Dhalo, “would normally have been the smallest target considered for the use of airpower during a normal allout war.”83


Here is the part about lack of FAC's which RS_singh talked about

To make matters worse, the IAF, which was well familiar with the use of forward air controllers in support of friendly troops in close contact with enemy forces, was unable to employ ground-based terminal attack controllers for its close air support missions during the Kargil counteroffensive. Such use was precluded because the enemy’s shooter positions were generally remote, most close air support–related targets were small and either naturally or artificially camouflaged, and the required minimum safe distance from the target ruled out a clear view of the target from the ground and any practical way of designating it accurately.


The order against crossing the LoC was also a huge impediment
In addition, prohibited from crossing the LoC, fast-moving fighters were driven to employ target attack tactics using ingress and egress headings that were not optimal or, in many instances, even safe.

By way of example, in the case of a fighter aircraft flying inside a mountain valley with high ridgelines on either side, a turn into a wrong valley that ends up being a box canyon can result in disaster for the pilot if he has insufficient lateral maneuvering room or available power to clear vertical obstructions. Likewise, successfully servicing targets situated on steep mountain slopes requires cross-valley attacks in which the establishment of a direct line of sight between the attacking aircraft and the target occurs late in the pilot’s setup for weapon release because of intervening ridgelines. When one adds to such complicating factors an unusually small target size, the result all too often is a delayed or failed visual target acquisition or, depending on the terrain layout, an abnormally steep dive angle for weapon delivery. Since altitude loss during dive recoveries is substantially greater at high mountain elevations than during strike operations conducted closer to sea level, such abnormal dive angles allow little target tracking time before a recovery from the dive must be initiated. All of these complicating factors invariably make errors more likely in weapon release and placement.


This is with reference to my earlier point about letting the IAF at least cross the LoC and how much difference that would have made.

Relatedly, because the decree prevented the IAF from operating on the Pakistani side of the LoC, the conduct of Operation Vijay remained limited to the immediate terrain from which the Indian Army sought to evict the intruders, while the most lucrative targets associated with providing logistical sustenance to the intruders enjoyed an inviolate sanctuary in Pakistani-occupied Kashmir. In particular, the town of Skardu on the Pakistani side of the LoC was only 108 miles from Kargil and had all the needed facilities for providing logistical and artillery support to the Pakistani intruders. Had the IAF been permitted to cross the LoC, it could have spared the Indian Army the need for its costly frontal assault against the Pakistanis by leveraging its asymmetric advantage to attack their source of resupply in Pakistani-occupied Kashmir, in effect imposing an aerial blockade. That, however, would have risked escalation to a wider war, perhaps one involving the PAF, which the Vajpayee government was determined to prevent at every cost.

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby Anujan » 08 Jul 2020 05:30

nachiket wrote:I've always considered Kargil as a huge opportunity lost for the IAF. All our other shortcomings aside, we did have nearly six squadrons of BVR capable fighters vs zero for the PAF. If the IAF had been allowed to cross the LoC, they could have delivered a body blow to the PAF or forced them to curtail flights entirely giving us a free hand to bomb PA bases and supply depots in their side under full air-superiority. The war could have been over earlier and with less IA casualties.

We will never again have that much of an advantage over the PAF in the future.


OT

But the strategy we tried was worth pursuing. ABV tried to drive a wedge between Badmash and the army hoping that the army would get reined in also felt he could work with civilian leadership and Kargil was the reaction from the Khakis. Jaswanth Singh mentioned that in an interview much later.

That meant that we cutoff their testimonials at Kargil but do not go for a full on body blow.

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby Karan M » 08 Jul 2020 09:51

Rs_singh wrote:KaranM,

Few things here you seem to have clearly missed. I keep telling you what the KRC highlighted as shortcomings and you keep telling me why. Where is the dispute in this? All my comments are in respect to the last conventional war we fought, not the situation as it may or may not stand today. Just because we put on a uniform does not make us 10ft tall and bulletproof. We must have the patience to bear criticism and correct where required. Jingoism doesn't help when shit hits the fan. IA had its own faults but this is not the thread to discuss those.


Please provide me the actual report because some of the details seem to be lost in translation.

0. I am not talking about IAF technical and op exp, I was suggesting your post exhibits that you seem to have a lack of both. Don't take this as a personal attack. There is a huge difference between reading about something online, talking to people and fighting with it.


Vice versa as well. I have enough awareness of what people who actually fought the conflict first hand said, and hence I tend to take their experience, POV over yours. You have two vets here who disagreed with your claims. I would also state that your post comes across as misinformed on several points, and hence I disagreed with the same. It lacks context, and perpetuates inaccurate myths IMO. I am by now too old to be swayed by personal attacks or otherwise and go more by data than opinions. If you wish to make your point, by all means make the case politely and I am willing to reconsider.

Also by all means do share your ops and actual tech experience since in the post below, you even disagree with the CAS. Are you an IA veteran? Did you fight or fly at Kargil? As you feel free in deciding whose opinions you disagree with - but don't provide enough data to back it up, but state that you have inside information, please declare your cards. Otherwise, kindly stick to debating based on data, and not try to pass off your opinion as fact.

1. Again, MANPAS: IAF did not see fit, nor seemed to have counters for stingers (1 MANPAD type ) employed by PA in 99. Firing rockets exceeding munition alt env against SOPs showed poor pilot performance. These are facts. CAS was extremely ineffective and did not effect the outcome of any tactical battle which had to be fought by inf using arty support. Flying out of engagement env was learned after a couple platforms were lost. This highlights what I am saying in terms of doctrinal challenges that the IAF seems to not have taken into account.


The IAF was well aware of the MANPADS risk and went ahead nonetheless to fight with what it had. In fact they were under pressure to deploy assets which they did not wish to, because of the MANPADS risk. So to claim they did not see fit, etc is inaccurate. They had guts and did what they were asked to do with the tools that they had.

Firing rockets again, was because they were what the IAF had and with LOS were considered to offer a better option than what else they fielded. You claim that "flying out of engagement env was learned after a couple of platforms were lost" - this should have been shared by you with the Russians who persisted with mistakes despite your claims they had a counter for all this sort of stuff, but lost aircraft aplenty. Fact is all AF's go into war with what they have, and take risks they would not wish to, and attrition forces them to re-evaluate!

2. on FAC, if Garuds are tasked with FAC, I would be surprised. I do not think this is official or operationalized. all SF units have and are trained to laze tgts. lazing tgt and FAC ops are two different and distinct things. Again, this highlights what I was saying. We have an acute lack of FAC and IA/IAF synergy . this reflects in both ground and air ops. we seem to be fighting two different wars and preparing for two different wars. I have not seen this change nor do I know of anything which shows this has changed. The current puny allotment of 6 64s to IAF and 20 odd to IA further reflects this inter service disagreement. for the purpose of this post, I will restrict my jabs to 99.


The link i provided in my posts would tell you as to what is available to the IAF irrespective of whom it tasks with the duty and the kind of platforms it has. Where is the evidence to suggest that there is an acute lack of FAC and IA/IAF synergy? Where is this information coming from? Please provide an authoritative source.

3. on CAS, I said, unmanned, rotary platforms. not unmanned rotary platforms. Implying use of unmanned and rotary platforms in order to effect outcome of tactical battles. IADS comes into play for deep strikes and not front line combat. in any case, air power can come into play once temp air superiority is achieved over battle space. At that point, threat env is med to low with primary threat being manpads. So again, this highlights the issue. IA is thinking of fighting tactical battles where threat is emanating from local sources at mid to low level assuming air superiority has been established. IAF is thinking in terms of IADS and degrading EN SOCs, changing the strategic picture. Herein lies our problem.


Where are unmanned, rotary platforms being used as FACs in contested environment, without significant stealth capability? The fact is that UAVs are highly vulnerable to any airpower and half-decent SAM networks of any sort. India as depicted in my prior posts has a wide range of unmanned platforms. Even so the IAF widely acknowledges their vulnerability and has other plans in place. An open forum is not the place to speculate, but again, on what basis are you stating that the IAF is thinking only in terms of IADS and changing the strategic picture alone? Where have they stated that this is their stated doctrine?

Who BTW stated that IADS only exists for deep strikes? Would the plethora of Buk/Tor/Pantsir/type equivalents the PLA today fields be not part of an IADS? The I stands for Integrated. The I can refer to a PLA/PA level integration or an AF level integration, and each service's IADS would be networked with the other services. Even the IAF has multiple overlapping nets of C3I to link its AD formations in plan.

And based on prior conflicts neither side may have the luxury to *achieve* temp air superiority and then use airpower. In fact it would be used in an integrated fashion to attack even where eminent threats exist, and with the understanding that pop-up threats can appear anytime.

Why would we assume that the IAF does not know about this and is only thinking strategic? The excerpt I posted about "relative effects" from the Kargil era only mentions strategic actions have more effect, however the fact is that that they do train for tactical actions, despite their lower quantum of effects and are equipped for it. On what basis are you asserting that the IAF has no plans for CAS or only trains for the strategic role?

4. On flight hours per pilots. read what I wrote again. I said we were in a bad shape in 99 and these were the days of the flying coffins with a high attrition rate. I did suggest 100hr per pilot per year regardless of platform type.


You may claim the same, but extraordinary claims require primary evidence of the kind I provided. The CAS no less, who in 2003, a mere four years post 1999 pointed out his fully ops MiG-21 pilots were were pulling up to 240 hours a year, and in 2005, per a USAF flight pilot IAF Flankers were pulling 200 hours a year. Did India suddenly magically start making MiG-21 spares post Kargil? Anyone remotely familiar with the IAF would know about the MiG-21s and their intense flying schedule. Next, flying coffins? Suggest you look at the IAF perspective on the matter which is way beyond a mere look at flight hours and had multi-factorial causes. In fact, for someone who keeps harping on op-exp and tech whatever, how can you not know that the MiG-21s high attrition rate had many factors one of the primary ones of which was its usage in roles it was never meant for? Which the IAF did because it did not have the replacements it asked for, in terms of multirole fighters.

Su did not come into play in 99 did it? what was inventory? all Migs, a few jags and a few mirages. Your lack of op exp again comes into play here. You are claiming 240hr per pilot on the mig 21 based on one statement given.


Please, I didn't claim anything. The CAS did, and his ops experience *dwarfs* yours unless you wish to contest that as well. The MiG-21s had fairly decent serviceability because they were made in India In fact, the fleet which had real challenges were the MiG-29/23 fleet given the post USSR break-up, and MiG-21s were for a brief period of time assigned to MiG-29 squadrons till the situation stabilized.

Did you take into account serviceability of miss in 99? our fleet availability is not public so won't comment. suffice to say it was less than 50%. far worse on 21s. in fact Su availability was 50% a few years back.


What is this new serviceability of "miss" stuff ? If fleet serviceability is "not public" then why rake it up nonetheless? Are you aware that during peacetime, many AF deliberately stockpile spares so as to keep them available for a wartime surge, and hence mission availability is brought up rapidly as conflict approaches? As regards Su-30 availability, let me share something very interesting. At different times, fleet availability of multiple types has dipped, including the famed Mirages, Jaguars. They then rise post corrective measures, funding, additional spares orders. Availability of our Su-30s now is well north of 60%.

Also, not fair to compare f16s to su30s. two very different aircraft.Even USAF was complaining of 150hrs per pilot per aircraft a couple years back and you want me to believe the IAF was flying 240 on the worst platform in its inventory in 99 with our budgets. ok. lets close the discussion on this point. I stand by what I said.


There is a huge difference between a F-16, F-15, etc and the kind of aircraft the USAF mostly flies and a MiG-21 and the difference in the systems involved, and hence the costs and the difference in flight hours for a more complex system. Irrespective of whether you think the data is not fair, it comes from the head of the IAF itself and speaks for itself.

Also read in context - kindly ask some IAF chap about their syllabus and the difference between a fully ops pilot and one new to the squadron, one midway through his different syllabus. Each will fly different number of hours based on what he is fully ops for. Given that, what the CAS said, made absolute sense about a fully ops pilot. The instructors and senior pilots may end up flying far more than even a fully ops pilot. Anyone remotely familiar with the IAF should be able to discern this.

. Both the IA and IAF have learnt some lessons from 99. yes, A2G role in the IAF has improved, but for Strat tgt interdiction and not for fighting tactical battles that IA will likely fight before we get into any major conflict.


I disagree. The IAF has invested heavily in equipment and kit for multiple profiles. Given the fact we are in a hot situation, I have no interest in detailing this further, but anyone truly interested can pull up the details from multiple sources. Even the most basic information though shows you to be completely mistaken about what the IAF can do. Tell me, what is the difference in weapons sets and sensors that is required for a tactical battle as versus strategic targets? Please be specific. Please inform us how a MiG-27 and Jaguar circa 1999 was in anyway superior to a multi-role MiG-29 or DARIN-2/3 Jaguar today, when operating in the medium-alt role for taking out targets heavily defended by MANPADS/AAA and then advanced IADS.

I am happy to discuss any of these points further, particularly AA/AD in the current scenario. It should also be telling to you that we did have dedicated CAS aircraft in 99. We had both Jags and Mig27 (even 23s, but lets ignore them for now). Neither of these fighters were deemed useable in a contested air env. WHY? What were we missing? These are rhetorical questions. We used an aircraft we bough to counter f16s in the AIR- the M2000s in the A2G role, a role it was not fully capable of performing then and had to be modified last minute. WHY?


I suggest you re-read what the gent from the IAF wrote about a certain point "specific excess of power" which is why the MiG-27 and Jaguar were both unsuitable for a fight in the mountains. The use-case for dedicated CAS aircraft has shrunk. Most attacks against well-defended targets will take place from far more sophisticated multirole aircraft that can self-defend, self-escort from higher altitudes.

In 1999, we used Mirage 2000s because they were the best suited for the role. Who told you BTW that the Mirage 2000s were not fully capable of performing the role? Are you aware that the IAF chose to add US made Paveways merely because they were far more inexpensive than the standard BGL which was purchased for heavy targets, and was part of the Mirages standard fit anyhow? That the Mirages added Litening, but so did the Jaguar, and the only reason the Mirage was better off, was again because of the SEP? Are you going to tell us that hitherto during wartime, no other AF or force has rushed capabilities into service as the situation developed? Every AF has done so. At best, the IAF was unprepared for a mountain conflict, but then the Israelis were unprepared for the entire YK conflict and the US's phenomenal "performance" in both Afghanistan and Iraq could get a book by itself.

internalizing criticism and learning lessons are the key to becoming a more potent force. That the IAF has not seen operational service in many years is also a factor in this. That we do not give the services budget is also a factor in this. that we seep buying armd columns for the IA and investing in mechanized warfare is also a factor in this. I am not saying the IAF is a bad service or ever was. but we need to be realistic in employing the assets we have given our resources and threat environment.


By these standards re: operational service no service has seen operational service bar the IA's COIN forces. That's a weird metric to use. The IAF/IA exercise heavily including with peer forces, especially the IAF and during the Balakot strike it did what it had to, with precision. The IA has good reason to invest in mechanized warfare. Under the nuclear overhang, they are the force of primary resort and can move rapidly, seize territory. This is evident.

Criticism is all well and good, but it has to be based on facts, and an attention to detail. So far, your post has lacked critical details, and in fact as shown by primary sources, many of the points you raised either lack context or have rebuttals available from primary sources.

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby Karan M » 08 Jul 2020 10:48

Rs_singh wrote:As for my comment about munition launch and poor pilot performance, I was specifically referring to the MiG 27 we lost during rocket firing above launch envelope.


Do we know this was due to "poor pilot performance" or a deliberate risk undertaken because the IAF had no other option? As I recall, the last minute tests were run on a firing range near Leh as the IAF had no other range at the altitude prior. I would welcome actual data on this from the IAFs evaluation rather than sign off on Flt Lt Nachiketa as a "poor pilot". Literally every other aircraft or system the IAF was throwing into the conflict had not been tested for A2G work at that altitude.

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby Rs_singh » 08 Jul 2020 21:09

KaranM,

All of the points I raised are available publicly. As for KRC, I happen to have a print copy. If you can find an unredacted version online, please post it here or feel free to walk in to your nearest mess library. Regardless, here is my final statement on this whole episode:

1. on poor pilot performance, from AM Tipnis - he once shook my hand and gave me a gift that still sits on this very desk till today:

Air Chief Marshal Tipnis later reported that the pilot had fired his rockets well outside the operating envelope stipulated for the weapon, causing the engine to flame out. The sudden loss of power in the thin Himalayan air could have resulted from rocket exhaust gas having been ingested through the engine’s air inlets on either side of the aircraft. (The MiG-27 was flying at an altitude well above that at which the rockets had been cleared to be fired.)

If you are firing your weapons outside launch envelope, there is something basic that is missing. What you might ask? Practice and training. You can choose to call it what you will, poor pilot performance or otherwise.

2. On doctrine, equipment (or lack of) :

an IAF Mi-17 helicopter was downed, again by an enemy shoulder-fired Stinger surface-to-air missile while conducting a low-level attack. The ill-fated helicopter had been the last in a four-ship flight of armed Mi-17s flying in and was the only aircraft in the flight that had not been configured with a self-protection flare dispenser to draw away any incoming heat-seeking missiles. Why? What lesson did we learn here? It was CMDS then, SPJ last year. anyway, lets restrict this conversation to 99 and lessons learnt beyond.

3. again, on doctrine and planning:

As a former IAF air marshal frankly conceded on this score, the service “took some time before honing the [needed] skills and becoming effective” From AVM Patney:

We had not planned for this kind of war. We had planned that we would use airpower in this particular area, but certainly not in the way we were required to do so.... If we were to apply airpower in its classical sense, in which we had done all our training, we would have crossed the LoC well before and crossed the [international border] as well.

This is what I have been trying to say repeatedly, the IA is fighting a different war from the one IAF is expecting to fight. or at least was in 99.

4. On CAS:

Indian Army field com- manders later complained that for the campaign’s first three weeks, the effectiveness of the IAF’s effort to provide close air support for their troops was “near negligible.”

5. on IAF tgt interdiction :

If the IAF was unable to provide consistently effective on-call close air support for all the prevailing multitude of extenuating factors, it certainly was effective in other air applica- tions no less pertinent to the ongoing fighting.

6. commander of the Indian Army’s Fifty-Sixth Mountain Brigade, Brigadier Amar Aul, later blamed the ineffectiveness of many IAF attempts at close air support delivery on the unwillingness of IAF pilots to “take reasonable risks” by descending into the enemy’s lethal antiaircraft threat envelope.

What I am providing here is the ground view. Several Air warriors have come on record and stated various rebuttals to this. Point I am trying to make/ was always trying to make is that our services are training for and fighting for two different wars. the intention is never to beat down on any sister service. IA is training for a certain war with a certain target set, the IAF comes around and says air power can not be utilized on that very same target set or that it lacks means suitable to do so. There are several records available online of what I've just said, I won't qualify it further.

I repeatedly pointed out the inability of the IAF to provide CAS during 99 ops. Don't tell me why, prove me wrong. You don't accept facts for facts but get into the reasoning why. there are multiple reasons why something does not work. you can limit a AAR at the why, the what and the how must also be understood.

7. on IA/IAF joint ops:

Without question, the onset of the Kargil confrontation revealed a lack of effective air-ground integration in India’s joint arena at the most senior leadership level.IAF airman later lamented the “complete loss of synergy between air and land forces” at the start of the operation that had been occasioned by “the late induction into the fray of airpower and, hence, the denial of the optimum employment of its attributes of offensive action,” notwithstanding the fact that “we were fighting a clearly defined enemy within our own territory.

A decade later, the former AOC for Jammu and Kashmir who had overseen IAF opera- tions at the tactical level during the campaign wrote that one of the most important les- sons spotlighted by the experience was the crucial need for “integration of higher military management and mission-based capability creation. That has not yet happened.” He added that the IAF and Indian Army today are definitely creating communication net- works with cross-service interfaces to plug into one another’s network but noted further that “whether these will work in a network-centric environment remains unknown.”143 He also observed that the Kargil Review Committee’s recommendations had still not yet been fully implemented due to [persistent] differences between the army, navy and air force and the unwillingness of the political class to enact the binding legislation.”

8. This was the situation at least 10 yrs ago. What is the situation today, remains to be seen. and we won't know until the next crisis erupts and a similar AAR is held, scrutinized and made public.

All quotes and comments above are taken from a variety of sources including the KRC, AirPower at 18,000ft, KARGIL, and a Soldier's diary. Until we commit to our services, fund them adequately and invest in our own MIC, we will keep repeating the mistakes of the past.

Couple of points you made as a response to my own comments:

1. on FAC - we do not have any designated FAC spl in either the IA or the IAF as of now, say nothing of the IN. I would encourage everyone to read about ANGLICO and TACP. both models employed very effectively in air-ground battle in contested air environments. I will restate, to designate Garuds as FAC would be a wastage of both their training as SF and their limited numbers. you are effectively asking them to, conduct SAR, protect AFS and now act as FAC with a couple thousand numbers. I do not see this working any which way I look at it. Neither is it advised.

2. on CAS - IA, correctly so, recognized the lack of CAS. that the IAF does not have platforms or ranges to support/ practice tactical interdiction to this day speaks volumes about how far we have come and what lessons we have internalized. That we allocate 6 platforms to one service and 20 odd of the same to another reinforces this. How many AA warriors do we have in the sole HA sqd of the IAF today? 1 was the last I knew. There is a blog piece written by someone out there attesting to this.


As for my own service. I am a nobody ground stomper and happy to remain so. Might have fired a few shots here and there about a decade ago.

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby Prem Kumar » 08 Jul 2020 23:10

nachiket wrote:I've always considered Kargil as a huge opportunity lost for the IAF. All our other shortcomings aside, we did have nearly six squadrons of BVR capable fighters vs zero for the PAF. If the IAF had been allowed to cross the LoC, they could have delivered a body blow to the PAF or forced them to curtail flights entirely giving us a free hand to bomb PA bases and supply depots in their side under full air-superiority. The war could have been over earlier and with less IA casualties.

We will never again have that much of an advantage over the PAF in the future.


Kargil was also when Pakis had not mated their single digit nukes to any delivery platform. Our last chance of de-nuclearizing them was then.

But not to worry: we will look back at Galwan a decade from now and rue the lost chance to bloody the Chinese because we were too keen on a de-escalation

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby nachiket » 09 Jul 2020 00:15

Anujan wrote:OT

But the strategy we tried was worth pursuing. ABV tried to drive a wedge between Badmash and the army hoping that the army would get reined in also felt he could work with civilian leadership and Kargil was the reaction from the Khakis. Jaswanth Singh mentioned that in an interview much later.

That meant that we cutoff their testimonials at Kargil but do not go for a full on body blow.

I believed it was the concern with nukes that made ABV issue the order to not cross the border. If that wasn't the case then sorry to say but it was a stupid decision. Jaswant Singh's statement appears to be trying to give an excuse while skirting the main issue (nukes). If that was truly their line of thinking then I'm flabbergasted. There was already a wedge between Badmash and the army but there was zero that Badmash could do to actually stop them from doing what they wanted. That should have been obvious to anyone. The only way out of the situation was to defeat the PA and send them scurrying to Badmash and the US for help. Only question was how many casualties do we suffer doing that and how much damage can we do in return.

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby nachiket » 09 Jul 2020 00:16

Prem Kumar wrote:But not to worry: we will look back at Galwan a decade from now and rue the lost chance to bloody the Chinese because we were too keen on a de-escalation

China and Pakistan are two very different kettles of fish.

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby Philip » 09 Jul 2020 12:57

Going through recent issues of VAYU with a v.good retrospective by AM Masand on the "IAF ar '87",some v.interesting info is given.
He was instrumental in the Bison upgrade and was CO of the first MIG-29 sqd. On an official visit along with AM Philip Rajkumar around the time of the Sov.'s demise , they saw over 100 MIG-29s carefully mothballed.These were all offered to us for just $ 1B,less than $10 M a pop! We missed the opportunity, if taken wouldn't have reqd. the MMRCA 1.0 and 2.0 sagas. What was also lost were two more opportunities.Building in India another 100 M2Ks ( which he says was mystifying as the IAF were fond of the aircraft) after 3 years of delivery of the lot,and another one for building in India 150 MIG-29s.Had either of these two options in the original contracts been taken up we would by now have at least 5 to 6 extra sqds. and the IAF in a much healthier state.

Back to the Bison upgrade.He said we lost an opportunity to similarly upgrade the 29s having commonality of eqpt.,etc. with the Bisons. We know how well they performed at Cope India against the USAF and the downing of an F-16 by a Bison. They were also shown a design,diagrams given in the article,for a neat looking Sukhoi LCA ,a twin-fin aircraft using a MIG engine already
being used/ built by us. The cost offered was less than $5 M each ! The LCA at that time was nowhere on the horizon and could've benefitted from a parallel program just as SAAB have offered with the Gripen,probably shortening its lengthy gestation period. With a need to replace 400 to 500 MIG-21s,23s and 27s, we could've acquired around 200 of the same for just $1B, the rest being LCAs.

AM Masand advocates now in the era of budget cuts and huge cost of aircraft like Rafales, around $8+B for just 36,a cost-effective policy of acquisitions,plus raising the % of operational aircraft available by altering/ tweaking maintenance protocols some of which " burn out" aircraft on the ground by excessive testing. These are given in detail ,too lengthy for this post. He also asks why agreements like HAL production of SU-30s was agreed to be "$1M less" than an Ru built fighter not enforced? It costs us around at current rates about $25M more to build an MKI at HAL! Agreements/ contracts drawn up by the MOD babus ( where the services have little say) have neglected the spares,support aspect and only in recent times are these being addressed in new contracts.

The clubbing together of SE fighters with larger TE fighters of a different class of bird ,resulting in diff. performance parameters
plus costs will prove v.difficult in choosing a winner in the new MMRCA 2.0 stakes. Given the current stand-off with China and simultaneous stirrings from Pak, the GOI and the IAF are in a tough spot to square the circle with financial constraints.
AM Masand here offers some ideas of acquiring more force multipliers like AWACS,AEW,ISR ,tanker aircraft, which will reduce the need for large numbers. In the current era, sending up aircraft
without AWACS and an EW system is akin to sending up a blind lamb to the slaughterhouse." There are other details about the LCA program," benign neglect" for some time by the IAFafter US sanctions,but that's better left for that td.

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby Prem Kumar » 09 Jul 2020 19:59

nachiket wrote:I believed it was the concern with nukes that made ABV issue the order to not cross the border. If that wasn't the case then sorry to say but it was a stupid decision. Jaswant Singh's statement appears to be trying to give an excuse while skirting the main issue (nukes). If that was truly their line of thinking then I'm flabbergasted


As bad as that is, even with nukes, 2 things emerge:

1) The fact that we didn't know they had the mechanism to deliver nukes was a massive intel failure. Well, Kargil itself was one, so not surprised

2) Even the nuke threat was way less than what Modi faced after Uri & Balakot. We took them to the cleaners and dared them to go up the escalation ladder. Vajpayee was too timid, considering that Kargil & Parliament attacks were far worse provocations than Uri/Balakot

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby Aditya_V » 09 Jul 2020 20:36

You have to remember ability and capability of our forces, our Nuke and missile deterrence programs were taking off only in the 98-03 period

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby Raveen » 09 Jul 2020 20:43

Prem Kumar wrote:
nachiket wrote:I believed it was the concern with nukes that made ABV issue the order to not cross the border. If that wasn't the case then sorry to say but it was a stupid decision. Jaswant Singh's statement appears to be trying to give an excuse while skirting the main issue (nukes). If that was truly their line of thinking then I'm flabbergasted


As bad as that is, even with nukes, 2 things emerge:

1) The fact that we didn't know they had the mechanism to deliver nukes was a massive intel failure. Well, Kargil itself was one, so not surprised

2) Even the nuke threat was way less than what Modi faced after Uri & Balakot. We took them to the cleaners and dared them to go up the escalation ladder. Vajpayee was too timid, considering that Kargil & Parliament attacks were far worse provocations than Uri/Balakot


Was ABV timid or was the preceding IK Gujral and Deve Ghada regimes responsible for an absolute intelligence blindness in which there was an aversion to taking risks whereas we know what the swines are cooking under the Modi Doval regime.

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Re: Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

Postby Prem Kumar » 09 Jul 2020 20:48

Our Air Force was fully equipped to cross the LOC, keep PAF away and bomb their supply lines. Scores of Indian jawans' lives would've been saved. We had a better over-match vis-a-vis PAF back then in BVR (a capability that we have let erode, shame on us).

So, on the contrary, we were better positioned than now in taking them on back then, at lease from an Air Force POV. The leader didn't have the courage, as much as I respect ABV.

P.S. To Raveen's point: absolutely! The intel mess was not ABV's making. He just inherited it. I don't blame him for it. I blame him for not allowing IAF to go across the LOC in Kargil (or to let IA cross the LOC post-Parliament attack). Pakis deserved to be punished in their backyard in both those instances


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