Indian Military Aviation; News, Updates & Discussions

I have always thought instead of looking at Western aircraft to fulfill its shortage they perhaps should take a look at the su-34 fullback . This could be used to replace jaguars and mig-27's plus relieve the su-30 of some missions reverting the super flanker back to more air defence missions.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
1. There are news reports that India has restarted a 2 year old plan to buy 21 second hand Russian MIG-29s, with the Indian Air Force (IAF) apparently looking to "plug gaps" in their fighter fleet during the latest border crisis with China. The IAF currently operates 35 squadrons even though the sanctioned strength is 42 (a shortfall of 7 fighter squadrons). The sanctioned strength for a possible two way fight - Pakistan and China combined - is 45 squadrons.

2. On 11 Nov 1949, Mao proclaimed the People’s Liberation Army (Air Force) as a separate service. The PLA(AF) is now a 400,000-person force that flies some 2,000 combat aircraft – more than thrice the size of the IAF. The 1962 Sino-Indian war was fought entirely between land troops, with neither side using its air force or navy against each other. But in a military face-off today, the PLA(AF), will be operating in numbers from the ten-odd air bases in Tibet.

3. To degrade the IAF, the PLA would very likely begin the war with cruise and ballistic missile strikes on Indian air bases in Tezpur, Bagdogra and Hashimara, using missiles from the PLA’s Second Artillery. This might be preceded, or accompanied, by a carefully directed cyber attack to disable the IAF’s surveillance network, satellite communications and command and control systems.

4. When you see news of a regional power like India is buying 2nd hand fighters, to plug gaps, things are dire. The plan to acquire a few more SU-30MKIs was always in the cards. It has just been pushed forward.
I have always thought instead of looking at Western aircraft to fulfill its shortage they perhaps should take a look at the su-34 fullback . This could be used to replace jaguars and mig-27's plus relieve the su-30 of some missions reverting the super flanker back to more air defence missions.
5. IIRC, the IAF has a unmet requirement for 110 multirole fighters (as a reboot of the failed MMRCA program).

6. Excluding their legacy fighter fleet, the Indians already operate the following modern aircraft types that include SU-30MKI, the Dassault Rafale, the MiG-29UGP, MiG-29K and are in the process of developing multiple variants of the Tejas.

7. If anything, the Indians have too many aircraft types. So I ask, how does your fantasy aircraft acquisition post, on the SU-34 contribute to the discussion on Indian military aviation?

8. Does the IAF even have a requirement for the SU-34? I don’t see this in the latest IAF shortlist. Isn’t the Russian contender, for the latest IAF unmet requirement, the MiG-35?

9. I am very confused with your post. Please explain.
 
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My reasoning behind the su34 as explained is because of the mig27 being retired and surely jaguar not having that many years left they are going to be in need of a platform for interdiction. So with it being a flanker variant it would be a useful asset plus like I said it would enable su30's to be concentrated on air defence. What was interesting was that Boeing was also seeking approval to offer the advanced f-15 to India back in February.
 
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ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
The big problems the IAF have are:
  • the Indian defence procurement system,
  • the Indian Ministry of Defence,
  • Indian government bureaucracy, and
  • HAL, which is a SOE (State Owned Enterprise).
In recent times Indian policy has been to spread its defence suppliers more widely so that it isn't beholden to one country or bloc. It also has embarked upon a "Make in India " program with priority given to capabilities that can be manufactured in India. Hence foreign manufacturers offering to set up build lines there. In the aviation side the biggest problem is HAL, who have considerable political clout but manufacture inferior products which are expensive and usually very late. To put that into the context, they make the Airbus A400M program look like a superbly well run program delivering full capability aircraft with ontime deliveries, instead of the mess it is at the moment; over promised under delivered, and very late. If the new 110 aircraft capability was contracted to a private company, such as Tata for example, the Indian government would get far better Value for Money (VfM), with capability being delivered much sooner and in higher quality. Unfortunately I would expect significant resistance from HAL and within the government bureaucracy because there will be many vested interests.
 

Sandhi Yudha

Well-Known Member
My reasoning behind the su34 as explained is because of the mig27 being retired and surely jaguar not having that many years left they are going to be in need of a platform for interdiction. So with it being a flanker variant it would be a useful asset plus like I said it would enable su30's to be concentrated on air defence. What was interesting was that Boeing was also seeking approval to offer the advanced f-15 to India back in February.
The Su-34 is a great strike fighter and indeed the perfect replacement for the MiG-27 and later also the Jaguars. But the Su-30MKI is really multirole, so that will be more than enough as MiG-27 replacement.

If HAL's production is too slowly, maybe its better for India to order the Su-30SME instead of the Su-34.

I just wonder if those 21 second hand MiG-29 will be upgraded in Russia (to something like -29SMT level) or later after delivery in India to -29UPG level.
 

swerve

Super Moderator
To answer your questions do you have a couple of centuries to set aside so that can have Indian defence procurement explained to you? After that could you please explain it to the rest of us? It's an exquisite example of how not to do it. Their system is overly bureaucratic and extremely political within the bureaucracy. Decisions take an inordinate amount of time and what the IAF actually requires and what they end up receiving more often than not can be two totally different things....
I recall the defence ministry sitting on an air force request for extra C-17s until there were none left to buy - then submitting it. The process had to be continued, even if it had become pointless.

And a dispute over parts deliveries for Indian-assembled kit where it came out that the factory had been breaking into packages of spares to complete assembly, because it wasn't getting deliveries of parts for assembling - & that was down to the MoD not submitting the paperwork for deliveries, including authorisation for payment. The supplier wouldn't ship parts without the full paperwork, because it believed (with reason) that it wouldn't get paid for them. AFAIK the factory was up to date with the paperwork it was passing to the MoD, but once it got there, it disappeared into in trays for long periods.

The bureaucrats can't even keep to schedule for absolutely routine stuff.

Indian Jaguars were scheduled for an engine upgrade long ago. RR offered a relatively cheap, simple, quick to implement & proven upgrade of existing engines, saying that the expected lifetime of the aircraft made it the most appropriate & cost-effective solution. Most other manufacturers declined to bid. India changed the terms to require new-build engines, & RR withdrew. That left one contender, Honeywell, offering a newer, lighter, higher thrust engine - but the rules required a competition. Eventually a single vendor bid was deemed acceptable & Honeywell got the deal, but ten years in (last year - 2019), the upgrade was cancelled over cost. Not just the engines, but the extensive work needed to fit them, weight & dimensions being different, unlike the drop-in RR offer. RR had pointed that out when it all began, & other potential suppliers seem to have agreed, hence their lack of interest in bidding engines which were theoretically superior to the Jag's old Adours.

Doh! That leaves India with Jags with shiny new avionics but clapped-out engines with no upgrade plan, a shortage of engine spares, & no obvious source of future supplies. Apparently RR no longer makes some of the parts needed: the last customer (guess who?) stopped buying them because the engines were going to be replaced. So the Jaguars will start withdrawing in 2023, & in the meantime they're scouring the world for any old stocks of spares. Oh, & they need a replacement aircraft several years earlier than planned.

Whenever the UK's ghastly procurement cock-ups make me depressed, I think of India, to reassure myself that it could be worse.
 

Feanor

Super Moderator
Staff member
The Su-34 is a great strike fighter and indeed the perfect replacement for the MiG-27 and later also the Jaguars. But the Su-30MKI is really multirole, so that will be more than enough as MiG-27 replacement.

If HAL's production is too slowly, maybe its better for India to order the Su-30SME instead of the Su-34.

I just wonder if those 21 second hand MiG-29 will be upgraded in Russia (to something like -29SMT level) or later after delivery in India to -29UPG level.
My reasoning behind the su34 as explained is because of the mig27 being retired and surely jaguar not having that many years left they are going to be in need of a platform for interdiction. So with it being a flanker variant it would be a useful asset plus like I said it would enable su30's to be concentrated on air defence. What was interesting was that Boeing was also seeking approval to offer the advanced f-15 to India back in February.
This makes very little sense. Why not just go for more MKIs? If they're so set on a Flanker-based replacement... They could even ask (and get) and MKI variant more geared towards ground-attack. Do they plan to use it as a dive-bomber, Su-25 style? What other reason is there to invest into the titanium-tubbed Su-34?
 

Metekhan

New Member
I like the Indian army's weapons.But I wtil think they cant handle China.But they can resist to Chinese army for a few days untill the other countries intervenes and stop the war. here is the Indian army's weapons.

 

Toptob

Active Member
I like the Indian army's weapons.But I wtil think they cant handle China.But they can resist to Chinese army for a few days untill the other countries intervenes and stop the war. here is the Indian army's weapons.
Nice try, but no cigar. The Sino-Indian is almost entirely made up of remote and difficult terrain. It's all high alpine, and half of India's forces are mountain troops. War is not 1+1=2 and fighting in the mountains is hell, just remember that dudes in pajamas broke the will of two world powers in Afghanistan.

But this is not an army thread, so we should discuss that somewhere else. In the air, even if the IAF is a mess, procurement is hell and what are to be the solutions to this are proceeding at a snails pace. The places from where the Chinese could touch India are still very remote and the amount of aircraft they can position on that border remains limited despite the Chinese building airbases like mad.

Please read up on defense related matters (this forum is a good place for this) and stop watching youtube for information because that's the realm of fanboys, this forum is not.
 
I wonder does the Indian airforce have anything similar to the brimstone family of missiles in its inventory and if not would acquiring them and integrating them onto various platforms be a useful asset.
 

SABRE

Super Moderator
Verified Defense Pro
I wonder does the Indian airforce have anything similar to the brimstone family of missiles in its inventory and if not would acquiring them and integrating them onto various platforms be a useful asset.
I believe they are working on A2G version of indigenous Nag anti-tank missile. They could also possibly go for Israeli Nimrod.
 
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OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Nice try, but no cigar. The Sino-Indian is almost entirely made up of remote and difficult terrain. It's all high alpine, and half of India's forces are mountain troops.
Clear now is the fact that the Line of Actual Control (LAC) has been redrawn to India's disadvantage. Instead of PP-14, the LAC will effectively run through Y-Junction.
War is not 1+1=2 and fighting in the mountains is hell, just remember that dudes in pajamas broke the will of two world powers in Afghanistan.
Agreed.
But this is not an army thread, so we should discuss that somewhere else. In the air, even if the IAF is a mess, procurement is hell and what are to be the solutions to this are proceeding at a snails pace. The places from where the Chinese could touch India are still very remote and the amount of aircraft they can position on that border remains limited despite the Chinese building airbases like mad.
I share the opinion that the IAF needs to expedite the on-going global tender for 114 fighters and place an order for 83 Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LAC) Tejas MK IA. After the order, deliveries will only commence in three years.
Please read up on defense related matters (this forum is a good place for this) and stop watching youtube for information because that's the realm of fanboys, this forum is not.
Thank you for guiding Metekhan.
 
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JohnJT

Member
The first five Rafale of the Indian Air Force will land on Indian soil today (July 27). This Euro 7.8 billion contract with French aerospace firm Dassault for 36 Rafales is commencing nine months late. Both Rafale squadrons could be delivered and operational by late 2022 or early 2023. Those could potentially be followed by more Rafales.

Apparently they are arriving on the 29th now? Anyway, this is a big boost for the Indian Air Force. Advanced weapons like Meteor could be a game changer in the region.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member

Apparently they are arriving on the 29th now? Anyway, this is a big boost for the Indian Air Force. Advanced weapons like Meteor could be a game changer in the region.
Thanks for the update and let me share 6 other debatable points for your consideration:

1. Before we over-rate western EW pods, take a look at China's pods and their new electronic warfare (EW) aircraft with additional antenna to gather intelligence.
(a) India's lack of dominance of the electromagnetic spectrum over Line of Actual Control (LAC) airspace can result in the shoot down of 25% of all Indian Su-30MKIs (at BVR ranges).​
(b) India’s HAL produces about 12 Su-30MKI multirole fighters each year. The company completed the delivery of 272 Su-30MKI fighters in March 2020. IAF chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, in a media interaction in Oct 2019, confirmed that the additional Sukhoi-30MKI fighters would be built by HAL in Nasik. “We are moving towards ordering 12 more Sukhoi-30s. Whether we need some more in lieu of aircraft that are going to get phased out from 2025 onwards… we will have to take a look later. But at the moment, 12 is what is being followed up straightaway”, Bhadauria said. Each Su-30MKI is built by HAL for US$70.3 million under license by Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation.​
(c) Every IAF fighter aircraft goes to HAL for major overhauling and servicing. In case of Sukhois, they are due for overhauling after completing 1,200 hours of flying time. The minor overhauling of the IAF aircraft and helicopters is done at the unit level. The schedule to complete the overhauling was 22 months. However, HAL has not been able to meet even this target as it takes around 27 months to overhaul/service one SU 30 MKI. This delay has caused a number of Sukhois to be non-operational.​
(d) Air forces in Asia that can dominate the electromagnetic spectrum against capable opposition are few and far between. Thankfully the Australians, the Japanese and the Koreans have been keeping up with significant investments in this area.​
(e) The IAF already operates five EMB-135BJ Legacy business jets. For the SIGINT mission the IAF operates two Learjet 29A and three Gulfstream III SRA platforms. Not sure of the status of IAF's RFI issued back in 2012 specifies that 2 of the 9 aircraft should be certified to perform the signals intelligence (SIGINT) role, given that the mission package for SIGINT commonly requires permanent modifications to the airframe. The remaining 7 according to the RFI are to be configured by the prime contractor for the multi-mission role, 'supporting aerial survey, target towing, communications jamming (COMJAM) and flaring'. If the Indians were serious, they could definitely make much more of the same investments. But thus far, I am not certain of IAF capability in making these billion dollar investments.​

2. For the IAF with the Russian pods, the Sukhoi is basically a transport aircraft, one of Indian scientists said. The second issue is even worse. The IAF realised the SAP-518 pod hadn’t been properly interfacing with the indigenous on-board RWR, therefore killing pilots’ chances to exploit both systems fully. India the largest Flanker operator in the world with the Su-30MKI will get spanked by China in the sky over the LAC, if war breaks out — because the same electromagnetic spectrum technology is sold by the Russians to India’s enemy, for China to reverse engineer and improve.

3. The Meteor compared to China's super long ranged PL-15 and fighters supported by AWACs only levels the playing field. IMO, it is not a game changer, rather the Meteor gives the IAF a fighting chance to get to the merge (when combined with EW pods on the fighter), when these are supported by their PHALCON AWACS. Once at the merge, the new MICA NG missile will be deadly against PLA(AF) fighters. I suspect that:
(a) Indian Su-30MKIs, with their huge RCS and dated EW pods, will not get to the merge, as PL-15 air-to-air missile of the PLA(AF) comes with an AESA radar that can home on jam and is thought to have a range of about 200 km, even if the Indian fighters have Russian or locally made jamming pods installed.​
(b) The PLA(AF) are well briefed on the limits of Russian aircraft and missiles — that they also own and have developed tactics against. In air to air combat, or even against the PLA(AF)’s fighters, the IAF lacks control of the electromagnetic spectrum. More importantly, China has modified its Su-30MKK's fire control system to give it the capability to use China’s homegrown weapons.​
(c) The USAF and the USN, are taking this new PLA(AF) missile threat seriously. Even with their VLO fleet of B-2s, F-22As, F-35As and F-35Cs, the US military is so concerned about the PL-15 that they are working together to develop a new air-to-air missile called the AIM-260A JATM that will replace the AIM-120. The effort has been fast-tracked for 2022 delivery in order to counter rapid developments in long-range air-to-air missile capabilities among America's peer state competitors.​
(d) The AIM-260A JATM program is the number one air-delivered weapon priority for both the USAF and the USN; and out prioritizes other weapon system improvements and modernization efforts on any fielded aircraft. Because of the classified nature of this program, AIM 260A JATM assets cannot be housed in shared facilities with legacy munitions; and must be supported by a facility designed to meet specific operational requirements, and the stricter Special Access Program Facility security requirements.​

4. "The [People’s Liberation Army] sees EW as an important force multiplier, and would likely employ it in support of all combat arms and services during a conflict," a US DOD report asserts. "The PLA’s EW units have conducted jamming and anti-jamming operations, testing the military’s understanding of EW weapons, equipment, and performance. This helped improve the military’s confidence in conducting force-on-force, real-equipment confrontation operations in simulated EW environments." According to US reports, China’s EW weapons include "jamming equipment against multiple communication and radar systems and GPS satellite systems. EW systems are also being deployed with other sea- and air-based platforms intended for both offensive and defensive operations." According to some outside experts, the Chinese merge cyber and electronic warfare into a singular discipline.

5. "Electronic warfare, which in the US military has tended to be hived off into thinking about jamming and various other aspects," Dean Cheng, a senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation, said during a event at the think tank. "But for the Chinese has long been characterized as integrated network and electronic warfare. That the two are two sides of the same coin; one focusing on the data, the other on the electronic equipment."

6. The 2 Rafale squadrons will not even hit IOC in 2021, so delivery of this limited capability is about 1.5 to 3 years away. Indian pilots must be able to integrate the fighter type into their tactics — which includes tactics for the use Dassault's dual aperture Front Sector Optics system. If anything, the Indians have too many aircraft types.
 
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40 deg south

Well-Known Member

Air Recognition has picked up a Times of India report that India has ordered a third batch of P-8s. Per the story, they have received the original batch of eight, and have a further four being delivered from the end of this year. Another six are supposedly being ordered via FMS. If correct, this will make India the second-largest used after the USN, comfortably edging past Australia.

Amidst the chaos of Indian defence procurement, the P-8 purchase stands out as a programme where they appear to have bought a capable (if pricy) platform with a minimum of delay.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group

Air Recognition has picked up a Times of India report that India has ordered a third batch of P-8s. Per the story, they have received the original batch of eight, and have a further four being delivered from the end of this year. Another six are supposedly being ordered via FMS. If correct, this will make India the second-largest used after the USN, comfortably edging past Australia.

Amidst the chaos of Indian defence procurement, the P-8 purchase stands out as a programme where they appear to have bought a capable (if pricy) platform with a minimum of delay.
The increased PLAN and Pakistani sub presence in the Indian Ocean is a great motivator for P-8 procurement. India really needs to get the ball rolling on new fighters.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
The increased PLAN and Pakistani sub presence in the Indian Ocean is a great motivator for P-8 procurement. India really needs to get the ball rolling on new fighters.
Yep, but their procurement system. Unless there is a mass extinction level event from the top down inflicted upon their Defence bureaucracy and defence procurement system, nothing's going to change. Much like what should happen to Canada's.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
Yep, but their procurement system. Unless there is a mass extinction level event from the top down inflicted upon their Defence bureaucracy and defence procurement system, nothing's going to change. Much like what should happen to Canada's.
Sadly I think India is more likely to address procurement sooner than Canada. India’s geography is a much more threatening environment than Canada’s.
 

Feanor

Super Moderator
Staff member
Sadly I think India is more likely to address procurement sooner than Canada. India’s geography is a much more threatening environment than Canada’s.
Except India's reaction to failures of their own procurement process is typically to initiate a small-medium sized purchase of something they already operate, as a stop-gap measure, without proceeding to the deep systematic reforms that they need.
 
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