Welcome to DefenceTalk.com Forum!

By registering with us, you'll be able to discuss, share and private message with other members of our community.

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The widening gap between Indian and Chinese air power

Discussion in 'Air Force & Aviation' started by Shamal Roy, Jul 4, 2018.

Share This Page

  1. Shamal Roy

    Shamal Roy New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2018
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Delhi
    As the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) continues to undertake significant organizational and modernization reforms to build a military that is “built to fight,” in line with President Xi Jinping’s recent rhetoric at the 19th Party Congress, asymmetric inequalities between the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the PLA Air Force (PLAAF) are set to widen. In the backdrop of contentious Sino-Indian relations, especially after the Doklam standoff, the advancing capabilities of the PLAAF pose a range of threats to India in a conflict scenario, particularly given China’s newly-acquired readiness for combat operations and improved combined arms capability. If the IAF is to attain the capability to counter and fight any future informatized war or conflagration vis-à-vis the PLAAF, New Delhi must re-evaluate its existing and future air combat capability.

    Mod edit: External link deleted.

    DT expects members to provide their own thoughts and commentary on defense subjects, with links for background or supporting information, if needed. Just posting the first portion of an outside article, then linking to the site hosting the rest of the article can be taken as a violation of copyright, and/or attempting to use DT to funnel readers to the website and therefore spam. At present the links have been deleted. Members are welcome to participate on DefenceTalk, but they are not welcome to use it to drive traffic to their own external material without permission from the DT Webmaster. If this behavior continues, Moderators will take further action to address the issue.
    -Preceptor
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 4, 2018
  2. StobieWan

    StobieWan Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2010
    Messages:
    3,042
    Likes Received:
    68

    IAF need to improve their spares and readiness above all else - I'd advise they round up everything they've got, crunch them up and build a shed load of F16's.

    I'm being slightly whimsical here but they have a large collection of different aircraft, all with different spares chains and supplier agreements and they'd be much better off with massively reducing their types in favour of a smaller inventory. They'd get more hours in the air, have more aircraft ready to fly and be way better off.
     
  3. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2008
    Messages:
    15,201
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    Under your bed. No seriously, take a look.
    Their issues are compounded by the fact that they want to preserve strategic independence. Relying on the US as a single supplier would be anathema because it would give the US the ability to pull the plug on their entire air force, should India go to war with someone the US supports. Aside from that they would need to not only buy the aircraft but replace their entire inventory of munitions, retrain not only pilots but mechanics, and on top of that they'd be tossing a huge inventory of expensive fighter jets. Nor does this mesh will with their Made in India policy requiring local production offsets and ToT. The US is rather reluctant to share sensitive technology with outsiders, especially ones with strong ties to Russia.

    If India was to reduce types and rely heavily on a single country, Russia would in fact be the likeliest candidate. The Indians fly a huge Su-30MKI fleet, and a decent-size MiG-29 fleet (UPG and K variants). Further buys of Su-30s and Mig-35s to replace the aging MiG-21 and Jaguar fleet would be the way to go as far as standardization goes. The MiG-35 may have been an incomplete project back when it was first offered to India, but it's getting close to acceptance into service in Russia itself. And with a fleet this size, and continuing contracts, India could push for greater localization of maintenance and overhauls to reduce problems with the unreliable Russian supply chain. But of course even this option isn't very realistic, since India has already bought brand new Rafales, and is producing a domestic fighter.
     
  4. ngatimozart

    ngatimozart Super Moderator Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2010
    Messages:
    5,046
    Likes Received:
    350
    Location:
    In the rum store
    I think that the Indian's biggest problem is their procurement practices and system. It seems to be a bureaucratic nightmare.
     
  5. John Fedup

    John Fedup Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    3,139
    Likes Received:
    108
    Location:
    Vancouver and Toronto

    The combination of procurement bureaucracy and "made in India" is indeed the source of most of their troubles. I can relate to the former.:D

    The alleged corruption in procurement results in investigations which further hampers the timely delivery of new military kit.
     
  6. StobieWan

    StobieWan Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2010
    Messages:
    3,042
    Likes Received:
    68

    Well, they've been offered the entire F16 production line - and they're tendering for bids for about 120 aircraft so they could be making the entire aircraft in India (tick in box) It's also already nuclear certified, so that's the Jaguar strike role covered (tick in box) And with that, they could start marketing F16 overhauls and so forth, particularly if they were willing to pick up the phone to Israel and start offering system integration efforts.

    I'm being whimsical about scrapping their entire fleet but Tejas looks like a dead end, the Mig21's are dangerous to taxi at this time, let alone fly and their Jaguar fleet is probably past sell by date.

    They could go Russian and try to sort out their supply chain issues of course - just please, at some point carry out a procurement plan which works and replace as many of their diverse and ageing aircraft with a single multi-role jet which works.
     
    Cadredave likes this.
  7. SABRE

    SABRE Super Moderator Verified Defense Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2004
    Messages:
    2,687
    Likes Received:
    0
    Doklam was extremely limited engagement and both India and China would prefer to keep it that way. China doesn't seem too interested in having any significant armed conflict with India, & its air force continues concentrate on the East & South East of the country. They are more interested in maintaining their power in South East Asia & Asia-Pacific. There is hardly any significant PLAAF deployment near Indian borders. While India understandably needs to modernize its air force any attempts at engaging with China in an air-power arms race could be detrimental. A threat that is latent may become more active and unmanageable.
     
  8. swerve

    swerve Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2006
    Messages:
    6,840
    Likes Received:
    34
    Location:
    Reading, Berkshire
    India was offered the entire Mirage 2000 production line to satisfy its 126 aircraft MRCA requirement, about 2005 IIRC, & didn't even reply. That requirement's still not been filled . . . .

    India had a relatively cheap quick fix on offer 10 years ago for their Jaguars becoming underpowered from weight increases: rebuild the old Adours to the latest spec. Low-risk, good enough (& much better than keeping them in service as is) & could be done very soon using infrastructure & skills already in place in India. So the Indians re-wrote the tender requirements to exclude that offer, thus leaving themselves with a single bidder offering a bigger, much more expensive, higher-risk change needing more foreign support, & which still hasn't begun being implemented because it stalled on all the obvious factors (single bidder, price, risk), while the Jaguars soldier on, still underpowered & using up airframe hours so the number worth upgrading has shrunk considerably. If it now goes ahead, the first re-engined aircraft could be in service about 11 or 12 years later than if the rebuild offer had been accepted. I think the price has come down because it's now for fewer aircraft.

    Oh, if only! Whenever I get pissed off at UK defence procurement cock-ups I think of India & tell myself "See - it could be worse".
     
  9. swerve

    swerve Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2006
    Messages:
    6,840
    Likes Received:
    34
    Location:
    Reading, Berkshire
    Absolutely!

    Consider, for example, the non-purchase of ex-RN Sea Harriers because they were offered without AIM-120 (which could not be offered, & that was made clear with the offer) or the Blue Vixen radar, when the IN had just decided to upgrade its Sea Harrier fleet with the Elta EL/M-2032 radar & Derby missiles, & could have just slotted the extra airframes into that programme, giving 'em a fleet with common radars & missiles.

    Or the request to purchase a few C-17s when the sale of the last white tail to someone else was already being negotiated. Apparently, the paperwork for that request had been sitting on a desk in the Indian MoD for many months, & the aircraft could have been bought if not for that bureaucratic delay.

    Oh, & the request for information on more Mirage 2000s after the production line had been dismantled, & quite a long time after the entire line had been offered to India - an offer which was not replied to.
     
  10. ngatimozart

    ngatimozart Super Moderator Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2010
    Messages:
    5,046
    Likes Received:
    350
    Location:
    In the rum store
    Sometimes when I look at Indian and Canadian defence procurement, I wonder whether or not it is a Monty Python script. Reminds me a bit of the Ministry of Silly Walks.
     
  11. ASSAIL

    ASSAIL Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2011
    Messages:
    2,427
    Likes Received:
    385
    Location:
    Darwin NT Australia
    Well the Canadian Defmin does wear a turban:)
     
    ngatimozart likes this.
  12. John Fedup

    John Fedup Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    3,139
    Likes Received:
    108
    Location:
    Vancouver and Toronto
    True, but the procurement system has been a fluster cuck at least 20 years before he arrived.