Indian Air Force News & Discussion - 15 Dec 2016

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

Postby Aditya_V » 22 Oct 2019 17:18

fanne wrote:Yup because of Mig 29 and r-77 combo, TSPAF decided to skip Kargil (winning without firing a single shot, intimidation was this high)


In Kargil it was Mig-29 and r-27 combo , they got surprised the Mig 29 locked onto 2 F-16's at the same, it was probably some of the Mig 29C variant we acquired in late 80's early 90's.

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

Postby nachiket » 23 Oct 2019 00:57

It was probably 2 Mig-29's. IAF wouldn't send a single aircraft as an escort to the ground attackers. It will always be 2.

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

Postby Aditya_V » 23 Oct 2019 11:49

We dont know the size of the PAF package trying to do a intercept, it probably included many Vipers and these 2 were taken on by 1 of the Escort Mig 29's while the wing man was taking on a position to intercept others. At that time PAF was sold on concepts Russian aircraft cannot take on Aircraft flying perpendicular to the radar, Russian radars fail etc, ideas sold to them by their western instructors which were rudely shattered. As usual since those F-16's did not cross the LOC and the then Fresh Pakistani Nuclear Threats, a very delicate Indian Economy post Pokran II sanctions- the Political establishment had given strict rules against escalation. Those F-16's were let go. People like Kaiser Tufail admitted these truths only post 2010. Till then the PAF had done its own myth making.

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

Postby naird » 23 Oct 2019 23:54

Another excellent interview of Air Marshal Masand from fighter pilot podcast. You all should listen to other stuff as well - it has interviews from all sorts of fighter pilots;
Big takeway from this interview - how IAF adopted its techniques for Mig 29 smoky engines.


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

Postby venkat_r » 24 Oct 2019 01:26

fanne wrote:Yup because of Mig 29 and r-77 combo, TSPAF decided to skip Kargil (winning without firing a single shot, intimidation was this high)


Not a rhetorical question, but that question is in my mind - why did this not work this time in Feb? Is it because PAF got the AIM120 later or

Their tactics were to bomb and run away before IAF shows up, or is it because there is a gap in BVR missiles

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

Postby Karan M » 24 Oct 2019 01:27

They felt they had parity/some degree of superiority in BVR armament, and they were correct.

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

Postby nachiket » 24 Oct 2019 01:30

venkat_r wrote:
fanne wrote:Yup because of Mig 29 and r-77 combo, TSPAF decided to skip Kargil (winning without firing a single shot, intimidation was this high)


Not a rhetorical question, but that question is in my mind - why did this not work this time in Feb? Is it because PAF got the AIM120 later or

Their tactics were to bomb and run away before IAF shows up, or is it because there is a gap in BVR missiles

In 1999, the PAF had no BVR capability whatsoever. Even their F-16's were restricted to WVR since they hadn't bought the AIM-7 or AIM-120 till then. All our Mig-29's and M2k's were BVR capable although restricted to SARH missiles only (R-27 for the Migs and Super-530D for the M2ks). This was a huge advantage. If there had been an air war, the PAF would have been in a soup.

The pakis thanked their lucky stars that did not happen and learnt their lesson well. Now they have the AIM-120C5 on their F-16's with upgraded radars as well (APG-68). So things are a lot more evenly balanced.

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

Postby nachiket » 24 Oct 2019 02:45

naird wrote:Another excellent interview of Air Marshal Masand from fighter pilot podcast. You all should listen to other stuff as well - it has interviews from all sorts of fighter pilots;
Big takeway from this interview - how IAF adopted its techniques for Mig 29 smoky engines.

AM Masand's articles and interviews are always a joy to read, and now to listen to. In addition to the technique employed to get around the smoky engines problem, there are other interesting bits.

1. The part about not wanting to carry too many missiles in actual air combat since you will require only some of them and the others are just added load. Says something similar about gun ammo. The Mig-29 caries only 150 rounds but he says even that is more than enough since you don't normally pull the trigger unless you are close enough and have a high chance of hitting the target and the 30mm bullets pack quite a punch. He mentions using only 18 rounds of ammo to shoot down the paki Sabre in 1971 and returning to base with ~400 rounds :mrgreen: .
2. His skepticism of TVC. He says that first you have to carry extra weight of the TVC mechanism itself which is not insignificant, and then even if you can use it to get an advantage over one opponent, the loss of energy means someone else in a multi-aircraft engagement will get you.

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

Postby fanne » 24 Oct 2019 03:01

venkat_r wrote:
fanne wrote:Yup because of Mig 29 and r-77 combo, TSPAF decided to skip Kargil (winning without firing a single shot, intimidation was this high)


Not a rhetorical question, but that question is in my mind - why did this not work this time in Feb? Is it because PAF got the AIM120 later or

Their tactics were to bomb and run away before IAF shows up, or is it because there is a gap in BVR missiles


I don't think Mig 29 were deliberately kept away. I guess we were expecting retaliation, had continuous cap and ORP (that's why 2 SU30MKI, 2 M2K, 1/2 awacs in air and 2 mig 21 on orp were present). Mig 29 may had a earlier or a later shift.

Since PAF initiated, and initiated big, they had local number superiority. If the AIR war had escalated, we could have seen many Mig 29 in the air. If what Indranil is saying is correct (and it has to be), if range is not an issue in UPG, they will be pulling major CAPS. It is still the best dog fighter and very good at BVR. The best proof is of course war, and way things are going, we would know soon

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

Postby Karan M » 24 Oct 2019 03:59

nachiket wrote:
naird wrote:Another excellent interview of Air Marshal Masand from fighter pilot podcast. You all should listen to other stuff as well - it has interviews from all sorts of fighter pilots;
Big takeway from this interview - how IAF adopted its techniques for Mig 29 smoky engines.

AM Masand's articles and interviews are always a joy to read, and now to listen to. In addition to the technique employed to get around the smoky engines problem, there are other interesting bits.

1. The part about not wanting to carry too many missiles in actual air combat since you will require only some of them and the others are just added load. Says something similar about gun ammo. The Mig-29 caries only 150 rounds but he says even that is more than enough since you don't normally pull the trigger unless you are close enough and have a high chance of hitting the target and the 30mm bullets pack quite a punch. He mentions using only 18 rounds of ammo to shoot down the paki Sabre in 1971 and returning to base with ~400 rounds :mrgreen: .
2. His skepticism of TVC. He says that first you have to carry extra weight of the TVC mechanism itself which is not insignificant, and then even if you can use it to get an advantage over one opponent, the loss of energy means someone else in a multi-aircraft engagement will get you.


As interesting as they are, he seems to be in a time warp re: some points.

1. More AAMs you have, higher the Pk. In a time of surge attacks, heavy ECM, not a single AF is reducing the AAM loadout. In fact, they are seeking more and more ways to maximize the loadout per sortie. The F-15 and Flanker continue to lead there. For the MiG29 of his era, AAMs vs tanks were a tradeoff, not so for the Flanker which has all pylons available and with multiple AAMs can still manage a very respectable ROA. As the events of Feb 27th showed, multiple missile launches per targets can be expected of both sides are forewarned and maneuvering. In that milieu, the side with the larger loadout has the advantage.

2. TVC is not necessarily contrary to "speed is life" as he assumes. The MKI TVC for instance is available in a wide range of subsonic speeds, point being that tomorrow, if the MKI gets a real long stick, it need not remain supersonic to protect itself, it can continue to maintain max distance to protect itself from an opponent shot, and use TVC for radical maneuvers if the opponent too carries a long range stick. At supersonic even an Eagle or Flanker has a few minutes before it has to RTB and supersonic maneuvering will necessarily use up far more fuel. In the case of the Su30, that is likely going to be the case with the RVV-BD, which will still outrange the PL-15. So, the Su30 can launch the RVV-BD at supersonic, throttle down (maintain max distance between itself and the target), maintain lock on the opponent, when the missile goes pitbull, use TVC to effect a near complete change in direction, altitude for max protection, and withdraw. Then re-engage based on datalinked info from other MKIs and AWACs.

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

Postby Rakesh » 24 Oct 2019 23:34

https://twitter.com/mrjitjr/status/1185065425966518275 ---> With all the "MiG-29UPG" thing going on all around. Picked this off MiG website!

Image

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

Postby srai » 25 Oct 2019 11:59

KaranM wrote:1. More AAMs you have, higher the Pk. In a time of surge attacks, heavy ECM, not a single AF is reducing the AAM loadout. In fact, they are seeking more and more ways to maximize the loadout per sortie. The F-15 and Flanker continue to lead there. For the MiG29 of his era, AAMs vs tanks were a tradeoff, not so for the Flanker which has all pylons available and with multiple AAMs can still manage a very respectable ROA. As the events of Feb 27th showed, multiple missile launches per targets can be expected of both sides are forewarned and maneuvering. In that milieu, the side with the larger loadout has the advantage.

F-15 concept w/16-20 AMRAAM loadout

Image
Image
Image

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

Postby YashG » 25 Oct 2019 19:21

srai wrote:F-15 concept w/16-20 AMRAAM loadout

..

Image


WoW! A missile store on the fly.

<fantasy wish>I wish something like this cud refuel and rearm fighters mid air! </fantasy wish>
Last edited by YashG on 25 Oct 2019 19:25, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby YashG » 25 Oct 2019 19:24

Rakesh wrote:https://twitter.com/mrjitjr/status/1185065425966518275 ---> With all the "MiG-29UPG" thing going on all around. Picked this off MiG website!

Sorry couldnt resist saying this but IAF now owns a humpback whale in the skies :mrgreen:

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

Postby fanne » 25 Oct 2019 20:04

https://twitter.com/hashtag/EasternBridge19?src=hash

Trust the Russians to come with low cost, duh solution for many issues (IRST, Helmet mounted cueing...). In the video in the link, at 1:40, you see the Mig 29 cockpit. The interface of the canopy with the aircraft frame is lined with rear view mirror to cover all rear angles (perhaps from 4 to 8 o'clock). The pilot does not have to constantly crank his neck backwards to see who is on the tail. The mirror are so placed to make the canopy look frameless.

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

Postby Indranil » 25 Oct 2019 21:12

That's true of most aircraft which have a frame.

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

Postby Philip » 25 Oct 2019 21:31

Latest news of Indo- US JVs for drone tech, both defensive systems plus developing the ability to send " swarms of drones using C-17 and C-130J transports, only echoes my quotes for the last few years of former USN CNO, Adm.Greenhert's famous speech in the context of the USN acquiring ultra- expensive fighters,. He reportedly said that "what was the point in buying a sports car, when a bomb truck could do the same?"
Here the requirement for a supersonic maritime strike bomber which could carry dozens of super/ hyper missiles and dozens of drones in its bomb bay as well as underwing only becomes more relevant.Amazing that we were actually offered dozens of Backfires shortly after the '71 war which myopically was turned down by the then chief.We did use our AN-12s as " bomb trucks" in '71 remember?

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

Postby Aditya_V » 25 Oct 2019 22:56

fanne wrote:
venkat_r wrote:
Not a rhetorical question, but that question is in my mind - why did this not work this time in Feb? Is it because PAF got the AIM120 later or

Their tactics were to bomb and run away before IAF shows up, or is it because there is a gap in BVR missiles


I don't think Mig 29 were deliberately kept away. I guess we were expecting retaliation, had continuous cap and ORP (that's why 2 SU30MKI, 2 M2K, 1/2 awacs in air and 2 mig 21 on orp were present). Mig 29 may had a earlier or a later shift.

Since PAF initiated, and initiated big, they had local number superiority. If the AIR war had escalated, we could have seen many Mig 29 in the air. If what Indranil is saying is correct (and it has to be), if range is not an issue in UPG, they will be pulling major CAPS. It is still the best dog fighter and very good at BVR. The best proof is of course war, and way things are going, we would know soon


To add to what you said PAF had that local superiority for a few minutes once the IAF aircraft were coming in numbers they all retreated . In a real war things will be different, borders will ignored, based will get bombed etc. It worked temporarily in this hand tied no war no peace scenario

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

Postby Picklu » 25 Oct 2019 23:27

nachiket wrote:It was probably 2 Mig-29's. IAF wouldn't send a single aircraft as an escort to the ground attackers. It will always be 2.


Seriously??!!!

Please report to the nearest uighur le-education camp pronto.

Can't believe people's memory is so fickle to forget the cool swag of Flt Lt Gaurav Chibber and the delicious admittance of pant browning of PAF F16 jocks by Kaiser Tufail.

At least check the BR site itself here

For some reason, the only other link active right now is this; hopefully some other history buff like Jagan etc can shade more light. Must be the crash of ACIG.
I distinctly remember reading confirmation from Kaiser Tufail that at least one of the 2 PAF F16 pilot DID brown his pant on being locked by the single IAF Mig 29 dominating the area like a boss!!!!

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

Postby Indranil » 26 Oct 2019 02:07

Actually, I have to agree with AM Masand sirjee here. Can somebody here draw me a use case where a fighter needs more than say 4-6 A2A missiles?

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

Postby nachiket » 26 Oct 2019 02:11

Picklu saar I was unaware of Fl Lt Chibber. Will report to re-education camp asap. :oops:

BTW, Kaiser Tufail tried to downplay the incident in his blog post by saying that this: "There were a few cases of F-16s and Mirage-2000s locking their adversaries with the on-board radars, but caution usually prevailed and no close encounters took place."

He does not mention the Mig-29 incident and fails to say what exactly the F-16's were supposed to do with a radar lock since they carried no radar guided missiles unlike their IAF counterparts which did. :P

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

Postby srai » 26 Oct 2019 03:39

Indranil wrote:Actually, I have to agree with AM Masand sirjee here. Can somebody here draw me a use case where a fighter needs more than say 4-6 A2A missiles?

Post-Balakot air combat showed that it’s going to be very hard to shoot down a modern 4th-Gen fighter with long-ranged BVR AAM shots. Combination of aircraft performance, EW/ECCM/SPJ, situational awareness, and pilot and support training makes it very difficult to shoot down from a distance. 4/5 AMRAAMs couldn’t bring down a Su-30MKI.

The value of BVR AAMs in the context of the above incident was that the PAF managed to keep the IAF Su-30MKI CAP at bay long enough for their F-16 strike package to ingress, deploy weapons and egress. Low PK and expendable but still served a purpose.

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

Postby Indranil » 26 Oct 2019 03:57

^^^ Did not get you properly srai sahab. Are you suggesting that BVR missiles be fired to keep the adversaries at bay? That's unsustainable.

Strategies are classified. But, in general, amongst near equals, BVR missiles are fired to be at an advantageous position at the merge. At this point, both aircrafts are detectable to each other and closing in at 1000 knots/hour or more. 50-60 knots of separation disappears in no time. If both aircrafts get into WVR, it is not going to last more than 10-15 minutes (fuel doesn't allow much more). How many missiles is one going to fire in that time?

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

Postby Karan M » 26 Oct 2019 04:07

Indranil wrote:Actually, I have to agree with AM Masand sirjee here. Can somebody here draw me a use case where a fighter needs more than say 4-6 A2A missiles?


Check what happened on Feb 27th. Forewarned opponents dodged the BVR AAMs fired at RMax, whereas a surprise WVR AAM got lucky.

Its incorrect to state that BVR missiles are fired only to get into the merge, there is no set precedent why BVR missiles can and should be fired. They can be fired in a variety of modes - offensive, defensive, with full guidance, or in LOAL mode, to merely force an enemy into making a tactical mistake, to buy time for the aircraft to escape.. in all cases though, they are limited by their onboard fuel.

And when the opponent maneuvers and then responds with multiple rounds, your ECM and maneuverability both have to be high to escape the volley. This is against one target. So you too have to have multiple rounds in the air or you will stay defensive.

And now add LO targets, factor in reliability metrics (not all missiles fired will work), and you have an inescapable case for more and more missiles.

In fact the use of BVR missiles is to *avoid* the merge and here, the fighter with more AAMs, which are longer ranged, is at a significant advantage. It can maintain distance while sniping away. In the merge, with advanced 4th/5th gen AAMs, attrition will be high. The aim of every AF is to avoid/delay it as much as possible, they train for the eventuality of getting there and dominating, but its not something to seek by itself.

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

Postby srai » 26 Oct 2019 04:18

Yes, what the PAF F-16s did with their AMRAAMs was unsustainable but yet that’s what they did to keep the Su-30MKIs on the defensive.

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

Postby Indranil » 26 Oct 2019 04:20

I am still not sure Karan, why I could need more than say 6 missiles. By the way that interview was top class the interviewer was a Top Gun instructor and the interviewee was a TACDE commander. So both were men who played a role in strategy formation for their respective institutions, US Navy and Indian Airforce. So, you and me are far less informed. I love that podcast. Very informed and non political.

Also , bear in mind that most airforces will have (at best) 2:1 ratio between BVR missiles and aircrafts and (4:1) ratio of WVR missiles and aircrafts. So, I don't see a sustainable fight strategy which banks on firing a lot of missiles per sortie.

Srai sahab, how many AMRAAMs does PAF have? If this is their strategy three cheers to them!!!

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

Postby Karan M » 26 Oct 2019 04:26

Unsustainable over a longer period - they had some 6-8 F-16s against 2 Su-30s.. say each with 4 AMRAAMs and 2 AIM-9s, rest FTs, would translate to around 24 - 32 AMRAAMs available. They launched 5 to keep our Su-30s tied up, and ultimately cut and ran when Avenger1 maneuvered aggressively, and it became clear to them that the risk was increasing disproportionately and it wasn't an easy shoot-out as they had planned. And part of that risk/reward decision making was the fact the Su-30 itself carries some 10 AAMs.

https://qphs.fs.quoracdn.net/main-qimg- ... 687a34f7-c

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

Postby nachiket » 26 Oct 2019 04:27

Indranil wrote:Also , bear in mind that most airforces will have (at best) 2:1 ratio between BVR missiles and aircrafts and (4:1) ratio of WVR missiles and aircrafts. So, I don't see a sustainable fight strategy which banks on firing a lot of missiles per sortie.

Srai sahab, how many AMRAAMs does PAF have? If this is their strategy three cheers to them!!!

Pakis bought 500 AMRAAMs in one deal around 2007 or thereabouts. That is for less than 100 F-16s. Not sure if they bought any more after that. They have plenty to spare for sure looking at how many they fired in one engagement.

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

Postby Indranil » 26 Oct 2019 04:33

Thank you. I am obviously wrong on that front then.

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

Postby Karan M » 26 Oct 2019 04:41

Indranil wrote:I am still not sure Karan, why I could need more than say 6 missiles. By the way that interview was top class the interviewer was a Top Gun instructor and the interviewee was a TACDE commander. So both were men who played a role in strategy formation for their respective institutions, US Navy and Indian Airforce. So, you and me are far less informed. I love that podcast. Very informed and non political.


C'mon Indranil, this is "argument by authority" as you surely know. Its a fallacy or has limitations, when used as the primary support, when evidence exists to the contrary, and there is ample evidence to state that the actual institutions in question including the USN, USAF, IAF are all working to increase payloads and missiles.
https://www.popularmechanics.com/milita ... new-f-15x/
This is merely one proposal to add more AAMs to the F-15 to support AAM limited F-22s.

Furthermore, by the same standards, the IAF has doubled down on the TVC Flanker with a far greater AAM load and routinely displays its A2A superiority loadout with multiple AAMs. So, in short, AM Masand has his view as a skilled MiG-29 expert, but it is not the official standardized view of the IAF or the Flanker folks who swear by its large payload and also, its TVC.

https://qphs.fs.quoracdn.net/main-qimg- ... 687a34f7-c
https://hushkit.net/2019/07/20/flying-f ... interview/

Is TVC useful in air combat? If so, how should it be used?
“Most people think that it’s not! My suspicion is that’s because it requires skill to put it to good use. Once two beasts of this kind engage in combat, it goes down to the wire and in the low speed regime the TVC allows you just the edge you’ve been looking for. Just 300m is enough to get to the right angle and Boom!”


Mind you, its not just this regime the TVC will be useful in as I mentioned above. Steps are being put in place to enable it, budget permitting.

Second, the interviewer does not agree/disagree with AM Masand anywhere in detail, if we are precise. He is *very canny* and is maintaining his force's OPSEC. He says nothing about the baseline MiG-29s well known limitations regarding avionics and weaponry, given the fact the US had a bunch of Moldovan MiG-29s in the US, and exercised extensively with the Germans. The Luftwaffe opened up the MiG-29s entire bag of tricks to the USAF, RAF and all NATO AF. Space prohibits me from even mentioning some of the stunts they pulled, but many in NATO went into war against the Serbs knowing the ins and outs of the MiG-29 and its WCS.

AM Masand claiming limited AAMs are more than sufficient also has one more dimension. It needs to be kept in mind that the MiG-29 originally fielded the R-27R, a missile with significant limitations given its a SARH round and widely compromised in many ways.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Tolkachev

Of course, he may be now referring to the MiG-29 Upgrade, but again, the kinematics of its primary AAM, the RVV-AE are limited and the Russians themselves are now seriously developing the old R-27AE into an alternative.

Why would one need more "more than 6 missiles" well, the actual operational usage of these missiles as on Feb 27th and many other incidents in conflicts between well-trained and capable foes, have shown these AAMs are not single shot wunder weapons. They have hang-fires, get seduced by chaff (as did the AMRAAM on Feb 27th by the PAFs own admission), classic evasion tactics against FCRs, the list is long and ever increasing. Also, you have to understand surely, that given how flexible they are, their usage increases too.

The only real "win" in which these AAMs invariably win is where situational awareness is seriously compromised, exactly what the PAF tried to achieve vs the IAF by swarming the Su-30s with AAMs in the hope they'd lose track. However, their risk aversion was also obvious. They refused to get into the merge, again, they didn't use BVR missiles to set up the merge. The PAF knew the capabilities of a TVC Flanker and avoided the merge, going so far as to fire from RMax to try and stay out of the Su-30s BVR armament envelope.

Lastly, AM Masand notes, the MiG-29s had significant issues maintaining their mission requirements against Flankers. He mentions fuel as a key constraint. Yes, the MiG-29s with multiple FT, and limited AAM loadout vs a Flanker with a heavy fuel loadout and full pylon availability. Tell me, who wins? The Flanker which is able to launch multiple AAMs of different seeker diversity to increase Pk, and disengage, engage at will without worrying overmuch about fuel, or the AAM limited, fuel limited MiG-29?

As Kopp noted in his bit about the advantages of multiple rounds:
The mathematics of multiple round missile engagements are unambiguous - the size of a missile salvo launched is a stronger driver of success than the actual kill probability of the individual missiles.
...
In this fashion the aircraft being targeted has a difficult problem as it must jam, decoy and/or outmanoeuvre three or four tightly spaced inbound missiles.


Also , bear in mind that most airforces will have (at best) 2:1 ratio between BVR missiles and aircrafts and (4:1) ratio of WVR missiles and aircrafts. So, I don't see a sustainable fight strategy which banks on firing a lot of missiles per sortie.


I don't know where you are getting these numbers from, but they are mistaken. The actual ratio of BVR missiles to aircraft or WVR missiles to aircraft depends on the budget, basically affordability.

A fighting strategy which "wins" is completely dependent on the force with the better weapons, tactics, and deeper inventory, as the actual expenditure of all munitions will be heavy. Unlike most A2G ordinance, these missiles are being used against evasive targets.

Srai sahab, how many AMRAAMs does PAF have? If this is their strategy three cheers to them!!!


500 AMRAAMs purchased for a fighter fleet which is around 80 airframes strong. They made a good decision and quite frankly, $2.5 Million or thereabouts spent to knock down a $70Mn asset, invaluable aircrew and land a propaganda victory, is peanuts to be honest.

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

Postby nachiket » 26 Oct 2019 04:52

I haven't been able to figure out what our own inventory of R-77's is, primarily because there was no one large deal. Thanks to our usual piecemeal procurement we got a few during the Mig-21 Bison upgrade, a few during the MKI induction, then a few more with the Mig-29 UPG. Meanwhile, the IAF found issues with missiles in their inventory and bought some more R-27s instead for the MKI. Latest was the recent deal after the Feb-27 engagement (which was for both R-27s and R-77s IIRC). Clearly the IAF did not think their inventory of RH missiles was adequate.

I won't be surprised if we have a similar number of R-77's with us as the pakis have AMRAAMs inspite of a much larger fleet capable of employing them.

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

Postby brar_w » 26 Oct 2019 05:00

Missiles are constantly being upgraded, and need to be periodically checked and inspected. At any given time, roughly 10% of the USAF and USN's roughly 14,000 AIM-120's, for example, are receiving an upgrade or are otherwise not available. When you have reserves and need to move inventory back and forth you can a significant down time. So, even if PAF has 500 missiles, not all will be available for wartime needs. That is assuming that they don't train with live rounds. How often do they allow their pilots to launch live missiles at targets? One would imagine that a portion of the inventory will be utilized for training.

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

Postby Karan M » 26 Oct 2019 05:02

Nachiket, there are bits and pieces of information scattered all over but we do have a substantial number of rounds. The key issue as Mihir pointed out is that Russian rounds have a far lower carriage time limit than their USAF equivalents. This is the reason we "hoard" them, and don't fly around with them as much as we would otherwise. The recent R-27 and R-77 deal was for replacing some of the existing rounds which we "expired" by flying heavily, post Balakote. These rounds will be re-lifed at BDL. Recently with this GOIs support, BDL has worked with KRTV to set up a missile refurbishment capability.

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

Postby nachiket » 26 Oct 2019 05:03

Brar, how many aircraft does the USAF have which can fire AMRAAMs?

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

Postby Karan M » 26 Oct 2019 05:06

Around 1500 fighters and 14,000 rounds translates to around 9 AMRAAM rounds per fighter. For the USAF alone.
791 F-16s, 120 JSFs, 430 F-15s, 178 Raptors. Actual combat capable fighters would be lesser etc, boosting up the number of rounds/fighter.

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

Postby brar_w » 26 Oct 2019 05:14

nachiket wrote:Brar, how many aircraft does the USAF have which can fire AMRAAMs?



The USAF has roughly 1000 combat coded fighters in its active air force (guard and reserves not included). I see what you are trying to get at with the ratios but I do not think that it is the best approach. Munition, and missile inventory size is based on the type of war scenarios you are mandated to prepare for. In the US system this is determined by how much the Combatant commands demand in terms of air power resources and it is based on that that inventory levels are fixed. Combat Fighters, or combat aircraft in general have to build in slack, training resources, test resources, attrition reserves, and the fact that you have to cycle units at a fairly consistent cadence to balance forward deployment needs, training and to keep morale high. Munition inventory levels don't need to match that. Also, it may take multiple decades to substantially add fighter squadrons, but it will take only a couple of years to start ramping up missile inventory. At the moment, even though US BVRAAM buy is on a sustainment speed (AMRAAM is on its tail end and AIM-260 not yet in LRIP) they are still buying 6 or so times the number of BVR missiles than number of fighters. Another important consideration for inventory levels is how much test and practice you want to do on your missile. The USAF likes to cycle squadrons through Combat Archer and give pilots the experience of shooting at live targets. CA alone chews up some 300-400 A2A (BVR and WVR) missiles a year and over time, more than 3000 AIM-120's have been live fired for this purpose (on top of about 1000 other test shots for capability and tactics development and testing). So inventory levels reflect all this need. Just taking your total combat coded fleet and coming up with a multiple of BVRAAM inventory is too simplistic an approach to deciding how much one should buy and at what rate.

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

Postby nachiket » 26 Oct 2019 05:36

Karan M wrote:Around 1500 fighters and 14,000 rounds translates to around 9 AMRAAM rounds per fighter. For the USAF alone.
791 F-16s, 120 JSFs, 430 F-15s, 178 Raptors. Actual combat capable fighters would be lesser etc, boosting up the number of rounds/fighter.


brar_w wrote:The USAF has roughly 1000 combat coded fighters in its active air force (guard and reserves not included). I see what you are trying to get at with the ratios but I do not think that it is the best approach. Munition, and missile inventory size is based on the type of war scenarios you are mandated to prepare for. In the US system this is determined by how much the Combatant commands demand in terms of air power resources and it is based on that that inventory levels are fixed. Combat Fighters, or combat aircraft in general have to build in slack, training resources, test resources, attrition reserves, and the fact that you have to cycle units at a fairly consistent cadence to balance forward deployment needs, training and to keep morale high. Munition inventory levels don't need to match that. Also, it may take multiple decades to substantially add fighter squadrons, but it will take only a couple of years to start ramping up missile inventory. At the moment, even though US BVRAAM buy is on a sustainment speed (AMRAAM is on its tail end and AIM-260 not yet in LRIP) they are still buying 6 or so times the number of BVR missiles than number of fighters.


So not counting the reserves the ratio of BVRAAMs to fighters is almost 15:1. And even counting reserves as Karan may have done it is close to 10:1. I understand what you are saying about war scenarios and requirements which will be different in different AF's but the ratio will give us an approximate idea of the importance placed on BVRAAM inventory in modern AFs.

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

Postby Karan M » 26 Oct 2019 05:36

In fact, after the recent interview of the IAF CAS, the Astra orders being 200 plus 50 LSP etc indicates to me, the key limitation is budget, not IAF skepticism, wait till unobtainium etc. At around $1Mn per low rate production round (7-8 Crores mentioned per one report), thats a $300Mn production order, not a small amount for the IAF. The key advantage of the Astra over the R-77 is its better kinematics and hence, potentially higher Pk.

The true surprise element will come when we have SFDR, Astra Mk2 and say RVV-BD. Launching at real extreme ranges can be detected only via contrails, MAWS and even AWACS pick-up ranges will depend on aspect, RCS etc. In short, complete surprise is possible and that is the real advantage. The Iranians downed a huge number of Iraqi birds by launching Phoenixes at ranges beyond any verbal, radar pick up of the Iraqis and later on, the Iraqis would just scram if they got a F-14 indication on their RWR. Net, surprise attacks are key. If we manage to datalink all our fighters together and the real shooters are somewhere else as versus the "detectable" emitters that's when your expensive BVR rounds will have a much higher Pk and will be truly lethal.

Even so, these weapons are game changing. They can be fired in a variety of conditions, are literally all-weather, offer relatively stand off-low risk engagement capabilities (as versus close-in dogfighting). No wonder AFs want more and more of them.

The Astra in particular judging by reports offers greater range than the RVV-AE and also close in combat modes and buddy designation. The latter is what is sneaky.

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

Postby brar_w » 26 Oct 2019 06:10

nachiket wrote:So not counting the reserves the ratio of BVRAAMs to fighters is almost 15:1. And even counting reserves as Karan may have done it is close to 10:1. I understand what you are saying about war scenarios and requirements which will be different in different AF's but the ratio will give us an approximate idea of the importance placed on BVRAAM inventory in modern AFs.


I think the ratios are meaningless. The inventory reflects the need for a particular munition type relative to how much a particular mission of Air Power is required by all the COCOM's that set the need. The USAF is the force provider but the needs generate elsewhere. In actual conflict, only a fraction of the fleet will be tasked with OCA/DCA type of missions. Majority of the CAF will be supporting some sort of SEAD/DEAD, Air to Ground, or other operational needs. I see very little utility in taking the total inventory and dividing it by the absolute number of combat coded fighters because the result is quite meaningless and doesn’t help provide insight into the things that one might need to do this sort of analysis for. In reality, a majority of the sorties flown during most of those combat operations (by the US) will be mixed load sorties with A2A, A2G, weapons. Only a subset of the deployed forces focusing on OCA/DCA will be carrying pure A2A loads.

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

Postby srai » 26 Oct 2019 06:58

One of the keys of munitions inventory is active domestic production lines. A continued rate production plus a reserve capacity to scale up when necessary.

Bean-counting is more appropriate for purely imported munitions and platforms :twisted:


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