IAF’s Swing Fleet aims to counter twin attack

Discussion in 'Indian Air Force' started by sorcerer, May 16, 2013.

  1. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

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    The Indian Air Force [IAF] is creating a “swing fleet” in preparation for a potential simultaneous two-front war scenario with China and Pakistan.New Delhi’s strategic two-front doctrine is best described as separate-yet-coordinated attacks on India’s western front by Pakistan and on its northern front by China.

    IAF made a formal announcement April 14 in New Delhi, saying it had validated its doctrine of responding to a two-front war scenario and the key will be the “swing fleet.”

    “All possible air battle scenarios in the event of a two-front war were simulated and acted upon. These capabilities were validated successfully,” the IAF stated.

    The announcement came after the three-week pan-India war game code-named “Livewire.” It involved more than 600 platforms including combat planes, tactical lift air craft, transporters, helicopters and airborne early warning radars. The two-phase exercise commenced on March 18 and ended on April 4.

    The scenario represented IAF’s biggest ever exercise, involving all five commands.

    The exercises featured more than 8,000 hours of flying to maintain the “high-tempo surge operations.”

    “The spectrum of exercises covered offensive and defensive operations, which included a mimicked attack on strategic and tactical assets of the “enemy” and defense of India’s own assets,” Vice Chief of the IAF Air Marshal DC Kumaria said.

    Hydro power-producing dams in the Himalayas, civilian nuclear reactors, crude oil refineries, seaports and military bases are on India’s protected list, meaning high surveillance priority. The IAF’s new fiber optic network provided real-time imagery, voice and data from airborne early warning radars, UAVs and ground radars.


    India has edgy relations with its neighbor Pakistan as well as a century-old border dispute with China. Almost two-thirds of the border between India and China is unmarked along the Himalayas. The countries fought a full-scale war in 1962 and had a skirmish in 1967.

    “China can ‘throw’ at least 21 fighter squadrons against India, from its eight airbases in Tibet and other airfields to their north. Even more Chinese fighters can join forces if they are allowed by Myanmar [Burma] [to overfly and reach northeastern India]. Similarly, Pakistan can deploy 21 to 25 fighter squadrons against India,” The Times of India reported.



    The IAF has 34 squadrons. This fleet may be inadequate to counter the collective and simultaneous threat that New Delhi perceives from Pakistan and China.

    The swing fleet will include fighter aircraft and special operations aircraft aided by a mid-air refueler, in this case the Russian-built Ilyushin IL-78.

    “The fleet will comprise earmarked fighters that can swiftly fly non-stop from the western border to the eastern front, some 2,000 kilometers [1,242 miles] away, to tackle a threat,” IAF officials said at a media briefing.

    IAF’s prime combat assets – including the Russian-origin twin-engine Sukhoi-30 MKI, a fourth-generation warplane, and the tactical lift aircraft, such as the U.S.-produced C-130J – are based on the western flank of India facing Pakistan.

    In the past three years, Sukhoi-30MKI planes have been positioned in the northeast in view of a Chinese threat in the state of Arunachal Pradesh. During World War II, the Allied forces flew in reinforcements over this route.

    The IAF tested its capabilities to mobilize its frontline fighter and transport aircraft from the western border to the eastern front. It used the recently developed Advanced Landing Grounds [ALG] in the northeast. The ALG is an Indian explanation for mud-paved landing grounds the British created in during World War II as part of the operations to counter Japan’s advance in Burma.

    Air Marshal Kumaria said “all planes that can be refueled mid-air are part of it.” The Sukhoi-30MKI, French-origin Mirage 2000 and British-origin Jaguars in the IAF fighter-jet fleet can be refueled mid-air.

    The C-130J also can be refueled mid-air. This fleet will be needed until the IAF increases its strength from the existing 34 squadrons to the mandated 42 squadrons. This process may take a decade.

    Older fighter planes in the IAF inventory, such as the MiG 29, MiG 27 and the MiG 21, are not part of the fleet as they cannot fly non-stop from one end of India to the other.

    A Standing Committee of Indian Parliament in an April 2012 report said: “There is an urgent need to build defense capabilities to face any challenge including the worst scenario of a two-front war. … The committee may like to emphasize that India is surrounded by difficult neighbors and as such there is an urgent need to allocate adequate outlay to the Services [armed forces].”

    In a debate in Parliament last May, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Indian Parliament, Arun Jaitley, said, “India had to be prepared for a 90-day full spectrum war. … How do we defeat Pakistan and how do we hold China? All this has to be factored in.”

    Defense Minister AK Antony has asked for an additional $12 billion [USD], saying: “In the 12th Plan period [2012-17], we will build a new offensive corps, with two specialized divisions for high-altitude areas [the Himalayas].”

    Instead, New Delhi cut $2.4 billion [USD] from the fiscal 2012-13 defense budget of $38.6 billion [USD].

    Chinese arms sales to Pakistan may present another challenge for New Delhi. China sends 55 percent of its arms exports to Pakistan, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute [SIPRI] March 2013 report.

    The China-Pakistan cooperation involving the transfer of missile, nuclear and space technology to Pakistan has been a matter of concern for Indian policy makers. China previously sold, tanks, warships and fighters jets to Islamabad.
     
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  3. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    India's fleet strength has to simply double, if it has to actually win on at least one front.

    I dread to think what would happen if PRC and Pakistan attack simultaneously. If it were to me, I'd simply eliminate Pakistan from the picture with a couple of dozens of nuke strikes on all their military facilities, and stave them off, so that India can focus on PRC.
     
  4. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    No nuking, IAF have to focus to remain in fight not just to participate in a fight..

    It lacked Pilots so does Fighters ( Home made fast replacements ) and there are no reserves ( Nothing like TA ) to fill in..
     
  5. DivineHeretic

    DivineHeretic Senior Member Senior Member

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    The IAF will have to go offensive on one sector and defensive on the other in case of a two front war. There is no way the current IAF strength will allow offensives to be carried out on both fronts.

    In this context the Napoleon doctrine of warfare is probably the best IMHO,(of course it was devised for land armies, but the idea is valid for AF or Navy too). You use your stronger formations to attack and decimate the weaker opponents, while the weaker formations stall or hold out against the stronger ones. Once victory has been achieved against the weaker one, marshall the victorious formation to attack the stronger foe, preferably at the back or flank.

    As far as Pak is concerned, the LRTR, the Aerostats and even the THD-1955 3-D long-range surveillance radar allows us to pretty much monitor the whole of Pakistani airspace, including any AC and even a missile taking off. Add to that the medium range radars in SAM systems, and even the Powerful AESA radars onboard the Navy Capital Ships and we have a decisive advantage over them even after excluding AWACS. Of course, AWE&Cs will be needed to detect low flying threats.

    In the backdrop of such superiority, and the advantage of Pak only having 9 dedicated Air bases, the IAF can conduct dense attacks on the air bases, taking out as many AC on the ground as possible. As such, the IAF will be protected from being sucked into a large and long air mission. The Americans have already demonstrated the vulnerability of pakistani radars to jamming.

    Does anyone have a idea of how to run a defensive air campaign against PLAAF?
     
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  6. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    There cannot be any defensive campaign against PLAAF..

    Both have to be offensive so does defensive..
     
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  7. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    I meant nuking the military targets. With a two pronged war, nukes will become inevitable.

    Don't see the point is fighting a protracted war and increasing our casualties. The moment Pakistan enters the fray, nuke them into submission, so that sends a strong message to PRC. Then focus purely on PRC, and take back Aksai Chin. If they dare, they will resort to the nuke option, so will India.
     
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  8. ladder

    ladder Senior Member Senior Member

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    We just need to amend our nuclear doctrine to include a point which says we can use preemptive nuclear strike in case case of multi-nation aggression on India.
    Or simply put NFU doesn't hold true for multi-nation aggression.

    The red lines should included what we perceive as aggression, when we are engaged in military conflict with any other nation.

    This should be clearly mentioned and not in a ambiguous statement in our NFU policy.
     
  9. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    India needs to, in heart and soul, increase the army size. We need at least 3 million standing army, apart from the paramilitaries, and they should be well trained and equipped. India should be able to achieve a victory on one front and lose nothing on the other, even after it takes a few nuke strikes from Pakistan.
     
  10. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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  11. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    Nukes are not going to happen, they are weapon of peace ( I know sounds odd ) and only used when its inevitable..

    The more you think conventional the more you are thinking real, Tactics & Employment are the key solution..

     
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  12. arnabmit

    arnabmit Homo Communis Indus Senior Member

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    et tu "nukemongering"?

    NoKo, Pak and maybe later Iran are the only people who can or will press the button. Just think of the repercussions of Nuclear FU... India would have lost and estranged by every country on the planet.

     
  13. DivineHeretic

    DivineHeretic Senior Member Senior Member

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    Please read the Nuclear doctrine of India. What you are suggesting as an ammendment is actually present in a much more stronger form in the original document itself. Our NFU is really a paper tiger. In reality its probably the same as the Nuclear doctrines of Pakistan or Russia, of course without the spotlight or drama.
     
  14. ladder

    ladder Senior Member Senior Member

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    Once we make clear our intention to use nukes in case of multi-nation aggression, the whole world would jump in to find a way, so that the red lines are not breached.
    Or, to put it the other way would put pressure on Pakistan not to be opportunist and jump in when China-India is engaged in conflict.

    We just must be clear that we would not tolerate any two countries ganging up to attack us.

    Initially, yes many countries may condemn us, but they will be clear about our red lines.

    No ambiguity over our nuke policy will be a very potent deterrence in itself.
     
  15. DivineHeretic

    DivineHeretic Senior Member Senior Member

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    In a 2 front war, the last thing on our Generals' mind would be limiting casualties. This line of thought works when you are facing inferior opponents and you are expected to trash them in a week or two.

    In a war between giants, Both IA and PLA generals will be focused on territorial gains and achieving tactical and strategic advantages. High casualty figures will be inevitable and indeed acceptable to the top brass. Especially now when a single CBU-105 can exterminate an entire regiment of 3000 or the 2000lb JDAM can wipe out an entire batallion in a flash, a general cannot be chained by the need to limit casualties. In 1999, a single LBG strike mission killed upto 300 pakistanis.

    We saw this in WW2, where both allies and Germans and the Japanese threw their men into battles that ended up costing 100,000+ lives. Victory was the biggest consideration, casualty count was important, but often not important enough to influence change in warfighting doctrines. The Iran-Iraq war is another example.
     
  16. DivineHeretic

    DivineHeretic Senior Member Senior Member

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    Pakistan really knows it cannot go on the offensive against India, even if India was being attacked by China simultaneously. The 3 strike corps and as many as 5 pivot corps with integrated armor are exclusive to Pak, and cannot be deployed to the heights of LAC. Then we are to have as many as 64+114+22=200 attack helis for operations and over 200 armed helis, not to mention over 50,000 AT missiles. Any Pak armored thrust will be ground to a halt, if for nothing then due to lack of fuel.

    Pakistan is desperately low on fuel reserves for warfighting. They hold about 6 days of fuel. Precise targetting of fuel dumps, and the effective Naval blocade of pakistan ports will drain the fighting capability in a day or two. After that...
     
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  17. ladder

    ladder Senior Member Senior Member

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    Good, that it present in the original draft and in a much stronger form.
    yes, I will be studying our nuclear doctrine in detail to find out the same.

    But, don't you think we must reiterate from time to time in many platforms, so that it does not loose credibility and will be taken as veiled threat to Pakistan.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2013
  18. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Interesting but of information.

    Could you please give me the break up of those 64+114+22=200 helos? I know we have Mil-24/35, and we are going to get the AH-64D. I would not count the Mil-17 with rocket pods as an attack helo, but anyway, please give me the break up.
     
  19. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    If PRC and Pakistan attack India, and if India uses nukes on Pakistani military targets, India will be estranged? I don't think so, and I am willing to support anyone who decides to take that step.

    I don't really see the point in increasing the body count, when at least on one side, the enemy can be swiftly, quickly, and overwhelmingly silenced, and perhaps for good as far as the foreseeable future is concerned.
     
  20. DivineHeretic

    DivineHeretic Senior Member Senior Member

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    The 200 attack helis are as follows...
    LCH-64 for IAF, 114 for Army Aviation
    APACHE-22 IAF.
    Note that these are not the final requirements of the IA/IAF. The Apache count will rise beyond 40 by many learned estimates, and probably so will the LCH. Note that each corps will get their own attack heli squadron(12 helis), i.e. 12x(14+1)=180. That is by army's current requirements, 180 LCH will be needed for the 15 corps.

    Then again,
    Rudra-76 Army Aviation+IAF
    Mi-35 -24, Army aviation (transfer yet to be done)

    So actually, my count was a bit off.
    296 Anti armor gunships are to added to the fighting formations.

    The 200 armed heli meant the Mi-17/Mi-8 fleet. The IAF has been known to use them against infantry and light armor, especially in Sri Lanka. The Chetak/Cheetah too are capable of being fitted with rocket pods, but will unlikely ever be used in such a role.
     
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  21. arya

    arya Senior Member Senior Member

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    pic will clear the reality

    [​IMG]

    dont talk too much just do some work .
     

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