Rohitvats wrote:>>(1) Of 4 x F-16 at 40,000 feet had fired 4-5 AMRAAM at our own Su-30 MKI, why didn't they fire on Mig-21 Bison? They had the height advantage.
This is explained by radar mechanics. The AN/APG-68 V(9) is a mechanically scanned array radar. It needs to constantly track a target to guide AMRAAMs on to it. If the Bisons are out of the Su-30 MKIs area and located even towards the outward edge of the AN/APG-68 V(9s) antenna scan angle, it will find it very hard to track the targets and also guide missiles to them. The radar antenna rotates towards the target, then back to where the other target is, then to the next target and so forth. This gives targets the opportunity to maneuver out of the radars scan angles and in turn the missiles being guided by the radar go haywire. AESAs/PESAs are much better in terms of instantaneous track and guidance of missiles, but they lose the scan angle advantage of MSAs (i.e. surveillance offered by MSAs is usually better, larger volume to scan). Bars is a hybrid, so is Irbis (mech gimbal + ESA to retain some scan angle advantage of MSA) and some newer AESAs combine gimbals with AESA antenna as well.
>>>(2) If the 4 x F-16 at lower level were there to fix Su-30 MKI being shepherded at them by another set of 4 x F-16 flying at 40,000 feet, how come these were jumped by own Mig-21 Bison? Sure, Mig-21 Bison appeared out-of-blue due to geography, but once they were visible, F-16s should've been able to fire AMRAAM at them from stand-off range. After all, they were waiting for Su-30 MKIs when Mig-21 Bisons appeared. Could've shot-off a volley of AMRAAM like they did on Su-30 MKI or got into a merge.
I don't think the first set of F-16s were there to "shepherd" the 2nd set of F-16s. They were air superiority fighters intended to clear the way for the strike F-16s, which too likely had air defence fighters embedded in the package or given the F-16s swing role capability, 2 were acting as force protection and 2 as strike and would reverse the roles if more targets of opportunity presented themselves. The F-16s can carry AMRAAMS, Sidewinders, Fuel tanks, a LANTIRN and a couple of LGBs as well. So the first set of F-16s went in and went for the Su-30s because the Erieye guy immediately looked and saw the opportunity (of having only 2x Su-30 MKIs) of getting a Su-30 down. He then cleared the 2nd strike package to attack.
I think Sameer Joshi's account tends to overplay the role of the 2nd set of F-16s as being pre-planned etc.
My take is that the 2nd package of F-16s finished their LGB run and then were being positioned for a strike onto the Su-30s by the Erieye but the Bisons bounced them. This is one of the reasons IMHO, the GCI lady officer is getting an award. She literally ambushed the wannabe "ambushers" by positioning the Bisons right where they needed to be.
This was an opportunistic move by the Erieye controller, not a pre-planned ambush. Again, he would have done this seeing the first set of F-16s launched a bunch of AMRAAMs from range and they missed. So try again, but this time with the Su-30s at a height hopefully taken by surprise. Of course, moment Su-30s detected this 2nd strike, they would have engaged countermeasures and taken advantage of their speed, height to evade the AMRAAMs. So it was not a sure shot by any chance.
For instance, why this was opportunistic, was because there was no way for the Erieye guy to know or predict that the 2x Su-30s would remain on station after the BVR battle and not pursue the F-16s or even exit the engagement area.. it was just a tactical call by the Erieye guy.
IAF would have guessed this repositioning of the F-16s by the vectors of the F-16s. If the F-16 vectors on radar show they are heading towards the Su-30s *post* the LGB strike, then it indicates that they were planning to ambush the Su-30s. Again, this was a "possibility" but we wouldn't know for sure till they too launched on the Su-30s. But the possibility would have been enough to vector Bisons into the immediate area.
In the meantime, its entirely possible the strike F-16s get bounced by the Bisons who appear over the Pir Panjal range and race into the conflict. The force protection, F-16s in the 2nd F-16 strike package, would then have launched on the Bisons, with the AMRAAM only once the Bison was in a clear target and not too closely located with the F-16 it was chasing. Also explains why they didn't launch first, the Bison was just too close in all likelihood having taken the entire formation by surprise.
My guess is this - once Wing Co fired his R-73 at F-16, all hell broke loose. F-16 on AD cover for the attack formation maneuvered to launch AMRAAM at our Mig-21 Bison while second batch of F-16 at 40,000 feet let go of few more AMRAAMS to ensure clear exist into depth of Pakistan Air Space of entire PAF package w/o them being chased like how Wing Co Abhi did.
I dont think the PAF did this because of a simple point the IAF keeps making of the PAF actively seeking a Su-30 kill. Also, if you wish to clear a threat, you do so before you launch the strike. They would have done it to prevent the Su-30s from getting to the strike F-16s, before the strike F-16s launched their attack run.
IAF fighters are not going to get deterred merely by being painted by a F-16 radar (even if it can launch AMRAAMs at them from track while scan mode) if they see a high value threat to our formations etc. They would have raced to engaged the strike F-16s with afterburners on.
Hence it was essential to fix the Su-30s in place with the Air Superiority F-16s and launch on them, so they would disengage and clear the path for a F-16 strike.
Problem is our guys didn't disengage, they remained a threat by turning back into the fight because they were well trained, didn't panic and knew exactly how to defeat the AMRAAM threat by changes in position/countermeasures and didn't exit the battle zone completely.
This would have done 2 things. One, it complicates the 2nd strike by compressing the timeline for a successful LGB launch. Second, the Su-30s remain a threat, both for the exiting F-16s but also the 2nd set of F-16s just completing their strike.