MiGs over Kargil: How the Fulcrum buzzed the Falcons

Discussion in 'Indian Air Force' started by Defcon 1, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. Defcon 1

    Defcon 1 Senior Member Senior Member

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    The Indian Air Force’s employment of airpower against Pakistan Army positions during the 1999 Kargil War at Himalayan heights of 18,000 ft – unprecedented in the history of aerial warfare – achieved three key objectives: it ensured an early Indian victory, demoralised the Pakistani military and showed the limitations of nuclear deterrence.
    Because of the aerial superiority achieved by the IAF in the war – and again during the 2002 border standoff – the Pakistan Air Force’s “psyche took a big beating”, says a Strategy Page report.
    While a number of IAF aircraft took part in the Kargil campaign, it was the cover provided by the MiG-29 Fulcrum armed with beyond visual range (BVR) missiles that exposed the PAF’s plight. “Analyses by Pakistani experts revealed that when the rubber met the road, PAF simply refused to play any part in support of the Pakistan Army, angering the latter,” says the report.
    “While PAF fighters did fly Combat Air Patrols (CAP) during the conflict, they stayed well within Pakistani air space. On occasions, IAF MiG-29s armed with the deadly R-77 BVR air-to-air missiles were able to lock on to PAF F-16s, forcing the latter to disengage. In the absence of a PAF threat, the IAF was able to deliver numerous devastating strikes on intruder positions and supply dumps.”
    The situation changed little during the 2002 border crisis between India and Pakistan. Strategy Page adds: “One Pakistani military expert observed that the PAF’s perceived inability to defend Pakistan’s airspace and even put up a token fight against the IAF was the biggest driver for Pakistani leaders’ warnings that any Indian attack would lead to an immediate nuclear strike by Pakistan. It would be no exaggeration to say that after the Kargil and 2002 experiences, PAF’s psyche took a big beating.”


    In the report “Airpower at 18,000 feet: IAF in the Kargil War” published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in 2012, Benjamin Lambeth explains in detail how the IAF ground down both the Pakistan Army and the PAF: “Throughout the campaign, whenever IAF reconnaissance or ground attack operations were under way in the immediate combat zone, Western Air Command ensured that MiG-29s or other air-to-air fighters were also airborne on combat air patrol stations over the ground fighting on India’s side of the LoC to provide top cover against any attempt by the PAF to enter the fray in a ground attack role. PAF F-16s to the west typically maintained a safe distance of 10 to 20 miles on the Pakistani side of the LoC, although they occasionally approached as close as 8 miles away from the ongoing ground engagements.”
    Lambeth quotes Air Marshal (retired) Vinod Patney, the then head of Western Air Command: “I think my insistence to mount CAPs across the (command’s entire area of responsibility) at different heights and times to give the message that I was ready and angling for an enlarged conflict helped. It was akin to throwing a glove, but it was not picked up.”
    Although IAF fighters never joined in aerial combat with the PAF F-16s due to the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government’s strict injunction that Indian forces not cross the LoC, years later IAF chief Anil Tipnis recalled he had “personally authorised his escorting fighter pilots to chase any Pakistani aircraft back across the LoC in hot pursuit were those pilots to be engaged by enemy fighters in aerial combat”.
    Operation Vijay
    It was when an IAF reconnaissance aircraft sustained a direct hit from a Chinese made Anza shoulder-fired surface to air missile launched by Pakistani intruder, that the IAF launched Operation Vijay to clear the Himalayan peaks. In the early hours of May 26, 1999 six attacks in succession by MiG-21, MiG-23 and MiG-27 fighters were launched against intruder camps, materiel dumps, and supply routes in the areas overlooking Dras, Kargil and Batalik.
    The MiG-21bis squadron at Srinagar was joined by additional MiG-21M, MiG-23BN and MiG-27ML squadrons, while additional squadrons of MiG-21Ms and MiG-29s deployed northward to Avantipur.
    While the MiG-29s kept the F-16s bay, the other IAF aircraft carried out ground sorties.
    An example of Indian jugaad – or improvisation – was the use of stopwatches and handheld GPS receivers in their cockpits by MiG-21 pilots lacking sophisticated onboard navigation suites. According to Prasun K. Sengupta in “Mountain Warfare and Tri-Service Operations”, another novel technique developed by the IAF for use in the campaign entailed selecting weapon impact points so as to create landslides and avalanches that covered intruder supply lines.
    Air Marshal Patney said one of his younger pilots decided to carry a small video camera with him in a fighter and to film the area of interest so that an immediate reconnaissance report was available and at an expanded scale. On another instance, the IAF used the MiG-25R – which normally flies at 80,000 ft – in a medium altitude role to improve the resolution of its pictures, something that the aircraft’s Russian designers may not have thought possible.
    Laser strikes
    However, the MiG-21s, MiG-23s and MiG-27s – lacking modern weapons – were not making a significant impact on hard to locate enemy positions. MiG-23 and MiG-27 pilots were used to manual dive bombing runs, and this tactic wasn’t suited in the rarefied atmosphere of the Himalayas. At this point, the IAF introduced the Mirage 2000H equipped with day and night laser-guided bomb delivery pods.
    On June 24, two Mirage 2000Hs, in the first-ever combat use of laser-guided bombs by the IAF, struck and destroyed the Northern Light Infantry’s command and control bunkers. According to Lambeth, “For this pivotal attack, the IAF waited until the encampment had grown to a size that rendered it strategically ripe for such targeting.”
    The IAF reported at the end of 1999 that it resulted in as many as 300 enemy casualties within just minutes. Radio intercepts by Indian intelligence revealed severe shortages of rations, water, medical supplies and ammunition, as well as an inability of the occupying enemy units to evacuate their wounded, writes D.N. Ganesh in “Indian Air Force in Action”.
    Check or checkmate?
    The effectiveness of the IAF’s operations can be measured by the fact that Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz, rushed to New Delhi on June 12, and implored the IAF to “stop its air strikes.” You don’t get more desperate than that.
    However, the most telling statement on the war was made by India’s then defence minister, George Fernandes. In January 2000, he observed that in precipitating the Kargil War, Pakistan “had not absorbed the real meaning of nuclearisation – that it can deter only the use of nuclear weapons, but not all and any war.”
    In this backdrop, when the current air chief says India might have to look at “some other options” to make Pakistan behave, it is no empty boast.
    And you can take that to the bank.

    MiGs over Kargil: How the Fulcrum buzzed the Falcons | Russia & India Report
     
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  3. Sam2012

    Sam2012 Tihar Jail Banned

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    Truly IAF is the first airforce to opearate at such altitute & were sucessful in chasing pakistan to ground zero again

    But if PAF F-16 had come to Pak army Aid crossing LOC then it is act of full war right?, pakistan never admitted that it was its regulars fighting in kargil

    If at all F-16 had crossed over the LOC , real F-16 VS Mig-29 would have become inevitable result would have been very interesting & we might have put plaster to our dear PAK member mouth once for all .

    Indian Navy did move whole of its fleet to western shores during kargil forcing PN to escort all its supplies

    Kargil would have blown into very ugly & more bloody full scale war if PAF had participated , may be another 1965 or 1971 type one . Lucky that PAK escaped:thumb::wave::laugh::shocked:
     
  4. agentperry

    agentperry Senior Member Senior Member

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    once again it reminds us that our forces are not modernized apace to keep away the enemy. our latecoming attitude costs us war and other suffering.

    it should be our utmost priority to upgrade our forces pre-preemptively so that the war can be avoided at the earliest and that too not because of our enemy's apathy but because of our superior defense and preparedness
     
  5. ashicjose

    ashicjose Regular Member

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    They already learn from the KARGIL, now may be they having enough beyond visual range missiles to defend their fighters :scared1:
     
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  6. arkem8

    arkem8 Regular Member

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    They don't have enough fighters, all their main airbases are withing striking distance of our long range arty and cruise missiles.
     
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  7. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    only new F 16 has long range BVR. Other has short range BVR, dont get confused with this.

    i dont need to tell you what this means

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Decklander

    Decklander New Member

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    Just 500 AMRAAM AIM 120-C5 ordered for BLK-52 F-16s only. JF-17s also have BVRAAM but radar is limited in range. We have over 130 SU-30MKI, over 76 MIG-29M/K and 64 M2K+SH with BVRAAMs with capatible radars and range of over 160KMs.
     
  9. Defcon 1

    Defcon 1 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Sir can you please tell me the name of Indian BVRAAM with range over 160km?
     
  10. farhan_9909

    farhan_9909 Tihar Jail Banned

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    500 for f-16

    175 more recieved for JFT and rose upgraded mirages in 2011

    the order of sd-10a was limited and only 175 were ordered because paf is waiting for sd-10b which only equivalent is aim 120 d.
     
  11. Bheeshma

    Bheeshma Regular Member

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    Old news. The Paki Aim-120 is export degraded version. The SD-10 not even as good as early version of R-77.
     
  12. Decklander

    Decklander New Member

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    R-77M is the BVRAAM for Mig-29M/K and Su-30MKI.
     
  13. Defcon 1

    Defcon 1 Senior Member Senior Member

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    AFAIK R77M is still under development. The older version of R77 don't have as much range.
     
  14. Decklander

    Decklander New Member

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    These AAMs are operational for quite sometime now. You are confusing them with folding fin version being developed for internal carriage.
     
  15. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Izdeliye 180 is the K-77M. I think the Russians are using the K designation for missiles now. There could be a corresponding export version for the same, RVV-SD, I suppose.

    We crossed that number two years ago. We should have around 200 today. HAL reported delivering 99 MKIs to the IAF in Nov 2011. That apart from 50 MKIs that came from Russia directly.

    Out of 190 MKIs that HAL is supposed to deliver we can assume around 30-40 are pending as of today. Assuming production for the same is to end in 2015. We are in 2013 and two more years left for full delivery of 230 MKIs. That's 2 batches of 16 aircraft left, 32, for those two years.

    IAF is raising multiple squadrons at the same time, so we can say the squadrons we do not yet know of (open source) are being raised now. That's 1 in Punjab and 2 in NE. 1 for South India as well, Thanjavur. So, 4 squadrons being raised with Punjab being the first out of the 4, March this year.

    That was as of a decade ago. It could very well be in service by now.
     
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  16. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    An aerial version of Longewala.
     
  17. Defcon 1

    Defcon 1 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Even then there are no sources indicating that it has been transferred to IAF.
     
  18. Sam2012

    Sam2012 Tihar Jail Banned

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    We don't need Flankers to take on PAF . Mig-29 , Mirage-2000 , Mig-21 Bison & Mig-27 / Jaguar is more than enough

    why use full force to kill a mosquito
     
  19. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    It is not necessary that we should know about it.

    Overkill is good.
     

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