Cain Marko wrote:Yes but so far they have demonstrated their capabilities only against Ragtag ADS and we have very little idea as to how well such Uber stealth platforms will perform in better defended airspace as can be expected from China. We know that hyper expensive assets do not guarantee safety as shown by the f117 incident vs Serbia.
The "not combat proven
" epithet applies to every major weapon system in production. Has the S-400 been proven in warfare against a near-peer military foe? How do we know that it isn't utterly useless in a real war?
Your logic can be extended to two French platforms, as well. The Mirage 2000 was never flown in combat, save against ragtag ADS. The Rafale was never flown in combat, save against ragtag ADS. Can we therefore say that we have little idea of the Rafale's performance as compared to that of the Mirage 2000?
Truth is, we do have more than a little idea of how they compare. Similarly, we do have a good idea of about the effectiveness of VLO platforms. They have been tested against representative high-end surface threats, have participated in DACT, and the outcomes, by most accounts, have more than justified their "next-generation" tag.
With respect to the last point, the F-117 shooting makes for a great rhetorical point but the actual lessons learnt had nothing to do with the limitations of technology. The key takeaway was that LO needs to be combined with capable mission systems (the F-117 didn't even have a RWR, let alone ESM) and effective tactics (the F-117s flew the same flight-path day after day enabling the Serbs to set up an ambush). The aircraft's stealth aspect functioned as it was meant to (the SAM's FCR locked on at a range of just 13 km).
Point is it might not have to if it has supersonic long ranged missiles like the brahmos, a distinct possibility with mkis and Rafale unlike a jsf.
I'm not saying that the f35 is not more stealthy than the Rafale, it obviously is and stands a better chance at not being detected. What I'm questioning is that whether that level of stealth will make the jsf any less susceptible to a gbad centered around the rather powerful s400. Esp. Vs. a platform that carries supersonic stand off missiles like the brahmos.
Well two things. First
, the Brahmos isn't a variable, its a constant. Its already delivered and operational. Its not an alternative to anything because its already available regardless of where the data for cueing it comes from. Second
, you need to make a clear distinction between the shooter and the sensor. Launching a Brahmos is the final
stage of the kill chain. (For time-sensitive targets though, the sensor & shooter might have to be the same platform.)
If one visualized the Brahmos as a bullet, the OODA element that precedes it would be the gun. And as capable as a bullet might be, its useless until its loaded into a gun that works.
What we're discussing here is the sensor-element of the cycle, which is what makes your argument is inherently contradictory. On one hand, you're saying that the Chinese AD is so formidable that it puts into question the F-35's survivability in a deep ingress ISTAR role, while at the same time maintaining that the Rafale could do the same job unimpeded.
Keep in mind also that India will probly be able to only mount rather slim, stand alone type missions without the the kind of the rather excessive backup of US/nato surveillance assets.
IOWs is the US model that is based on insanely heavy investments not only in stealth but support assets really practical for India?
Like I said in my previous post, this is an complete myth/canard. A VLO platform requires far less
surveillance & EW support than a conventional platform equipped with a similar level of organic ESM/EO capability. Its just as useful in the Israeli or Indian model as it is in the US or NATO model.
As far as recon assets go, I don't see why elint assets couldn't get a picture of the s400 based on it's emissions from a safe distance and then transfer these to say mkis with brahmos. Even if they can only created the picture for a very short while, it might be enough for a fast missile like the brahmos to cause damage. This would not be possible with a subdonic. I think Vivek Ahuja had gamed a pretty decent scenario for precisely such an eventuality.
That's because, as I said previously, the S-400 (like the HQ-9s) will not operate in isolation. The area forward of it will be covered with low level radar, AAA & QR-SAMs, the airspace over it will be covered by AEW&C units, and the area in general will be covered by roving fighter CAPs. The ELINT asset (Rafale?) may be operating at a range where its safe from the S-400 (though in case it will create a lower quality picture of the battle-space), but its still susceptible to interception by other PLAAF units.
I think it'll be easier to appreciate the situation if we flip it around.
Lets say the IAF places an S-400 squadron at Chandigarh. The PAF responds by purchasing a few batteries of the road-mobile CX-1B (aka Chinese Brahmos/Onyx) and basing an ELINT unit at say Peshawar. What stops the Pakistanis from taking down the Indian S-400 unit, given that they have all the components of the S-400 killing module? The answer is obvious.. the rest of the IAF. The S-400 is just once among the many elements of a net centric air defence environment, all which support each other in battle.