Skip to comments.IAF losing edge over PAF
Posted on 04/20/2011 10:10:47 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
IAF losing edge over PAF
Shiv Aroor & Durga Nandini
New Delhi, April 20, 2011
The Pakistan Air Force is stronger than ever. Since the last Indo-Pak air war of 1971, the Pakistan Air Force has with steely determination built up numbers, lethal capabilities and a combat force now counted as one of the most disciplined and well-trained air forces in the world.
Headlines Today has a disturbing proof that all this has made India worried. A recent presentation by the defence intelligence establishment paints a morbid picture of how the numbers and capability advantage that the Indian Air Force has always found comfort in is rapidly slipping away.
Headlines Today has accessed the recent presentation made to the Ministry of Defence. The document makes singularly ominous projections. The most glaring warning is about combat force ratio.
The presentation says that the ratio of 1:1.7 is likely to progressively dip to 1:1.2 by the end of 2012. It describes this as a "historic low". It also says that the traditional hi-tech advantage is almost equal now with 9.5:11 squadron ratio.
With Pakistan rapidly acquiring early warning aircraft, mid-air refuellers and long-range missiles, the technology gap is at a historic low.
It is a wake-up call to India's military planners. The decisions taken now could forever doom the crucial advantage that the Indian Air Force has always enjoyed against an adversary that can never be underestimated.
A formidable adversary
The last time the air forces of India and Pakistan fought a full-blown war was forty years ago.
But if the Pakistan Air Force of 1971 was an enemy to be reckoned with, circumstances have made it an even more formidable adversary today.
The internal assessment by the Indian defence establishment makes some grimly practical projections in the light of an adversary emboldened by an unfettered modernisation spree.
The government has been warned that with the Indian Air Force's edge slipping fast, the Pakistan Air Force's assertiveness is likely to increase.
Once seen as a primarily defensive force, the Pakistan Air Force will use its new strength to employ offensive and defensive operations in equal measure.
With new precision weapons, the Pakistan Air Force will conduct limited strikes to achieve strategic effects.
The one thing that won't change -- high-value targets in J&K will be high-priority targets for the PAF.
There's a deeper threat at play than just fighter numbers. Consider these newly inducted force multiplers that all but kill the Indian air advantage. Pakistan is inducting four Swedish Saab Erieye and four Chinese Y-8 airborne early warning aircraft, while India, currently, has three.
India no longer has the mid-air refueller advantage. Pakistan is inducting four identical IL-78M aircraft.
The Indian Air Force's UAV advantage is also disappearing. Pakistan is acquiring 25 European UAVs, with more in the pipeline.
Despite the ominous projections of the presentation, there are those who believe the Indian Air Force will always remain on top. Among them, Air Marshal Denzil Keelor, one half of the legendary Keelor brothers, who scored independent India's first air-to-air kill against Pakistan in 1965.
But for the IAF to remain ahead, and stem the swiftly dwindling capability advantage over Pakistan, it needs to make some hard decisions across the board.
Rapid inductions of new generation fighters give the Pakistan Air Force significantly enhanced fighting potential.
The air superiority fighter advantage that the IAF once enjoyed is progressively disappearing.
A determined plugging of air defence gaps with radars and missiles has starkly reduced the Indian Air Force's freedom of action in the event of war.
There are several reasons why the situation has been allowed to get so grim for the Indian Air Force.
Delays in the Tejas have forced the Air Force to grapple with stop-gap arrangements that don't quite cut it.
The Indian mother of all deals for 126 new fighters is still incomplete more than ten years after the IAF said it needed the aircraft urgently.
Finally, with an ageing Soviet fleet of aircraft (MIGs) that are troublesome and facing retirement, the Air Force looks at an even greater dip in the numbers advantage.
The message to the Defence Ministry and the government is simple. Cut your losses and plan hard for the future. If you don't, the Indian Air Force will lose the one thing you've always counted on: its combat edge.
Fan art of various Pakistani toys (Chinese, American, French etc)
Here’s a stupid question. Where did they get the money for all these toys?
Their own economy, which is still functioning, Saudi largesse and dumb US aid.
My advice to India, don’t rely on Russia for aircraft.
And the alternative to that is???
Rely on the US which supplies weaponry to the Pakis ..often free of cost.
Rely on the Europeans, who don’t mind selling to the Pakis or even the Chicoms.
Not many options available if you ask me.
Well, I said I could be wrong about us supplying them with planes. Irrespective of that, India would be far better off with our F-16s and F-18s than with some of the crap exported from Russia. Who sold planes to Pakistan at one time? I believe the Russians! I don’t think that stopped India back then from buying Russian planes.
IL 78 production is now in Ukraine,Russia hasn’t sold anything to Pakistan , it’s getting clear that India is no more interested in US planes because of strings attached to it.More like Rafale is gonna win this huge competition .
India should be able to outspend them on defense spending. India's GDP is $1.43trillion, while Pakistan is $175billion. But the US is giving Pak $2 billion in military aid, which Pak is using to beef up their capabilities against India rather than for counter-Taliban operations.
Nope, the Russians haven’t sold warplanes to Pakistan other than engines. China has. And the Pakis have loaned their F-16s to China in the 90s. Has that stopped the US from still selling F-16s and other systems??
About buying crap from Russia. The SU-30 series isn’t that bad. Would the US sell/share thrust vectoring technology to India (or any other country)? Would it co-develop a stealth fighter? The F-22 still remains on the no-export list. So it’s much a matter of getting the best possible technology as of cultivating interests.
GDP is not necessarily a very clear indicator. India is a democracy so a lot of conflicting priorities exist while the military has always ran defense and nuclear affairs in Pakistan. So strategic decision-making in Pakistan is usually more resolute. And India has to worry about China too and that means dividing your assets (and spending).
Some folks don’t realize it, but it ain’t about the hardware.
Here is the real answer: How many hours of flight and combat training does the average pilot on each side have?
If one side has significantly more training hours for each pilot, THAT side will be the winner, assuming they’re not flying Gloster Gladiators or something similar.
You are of course very wrong. Russia never sold Pakistan any planes. Beside you dont seem to get the issue here. Its not whether F-16s and F-18s are better then Su-30MKIs and Mirage 2000s. Its the billions of dollars of military aid and hi-tech weaponry that Pakistan is getting from US for free is what has tipped the balance against India. If anything the F-16s and F-18s are just as old and crappy as the Russian Su-30s.
So whats your point?
Thanks to US military aid, Pakistan should roughly have equal hours of combat training now.
IAFâs overall numbers maybe dropping on paper but the Su-30MKIs roughly equals 3 Mig21s/23s/27s thats being replaced both in range and weapon load. I think IAF should still have an edge against Pakistan. I seriously doubt the JF-17s has a better range or weapon capacity then a Mirage 2000 or a Mig 29. Having said that India needs to quickly get the Eurofighters in her kitty.
Not really. IT depends on the nation’s doctrines. The US and Israel pretty much lead the world in hours of air combat training per pilot. The Indians have trained with and against us. Nork pilots are lucky to an hour a month. Dunno what the Pakis do, but if they don’t spend the fuel to train, they might be at serious disadvantage no matter how shiny their hardware is...
Indians have trained with the US and so have the Paks. And thanks to US and Saudi they are not short on funding or fuel.
The problem with US aircraft is they come with a sicrit switch that can remotely turn off the systems (some people on a message board have told me this is the case)
According to open-source information, India and Pakistani pilots train for roughly the same amount of time (roughly 200-250 hours/annually). And unless one wants to believe in some sort of civilisational superiority for either, there’s little to choose between either in terms of ability if you ask me.
There is no point in the SU-30 being 10 times better than a Mig, if half the SU-30 fleet is meant to be deployed to the Chicom border. In short, the PAF can focus wholly on India, while the IAF has to watch out on two fronts against very formidable rivals.
Yep. If they have the same number of hours of training, then the pilots will be about equal.
Might make for a heck of a show...
And, from what I can tell, pilots are their own civilization and superior to just about everybody - ask ‘em!
“If one side has significantly more training hours....”
Exactly. Even if PAK surpassed India’s numbers (which they don’t) their training and C&C is still 1950s. In a war with India they’ll be (once again) “huh, wuht?”