Rafale – The obvious choice for India’s Strategic Forces Command

Discussion in 'Indian Air Force' started by neo29, Oct 31, 2010.

  1. neo29

    neo29 Senior Member Senior Member

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    What is strategic forces command: In January 2003 the cabinet committee on security formed the Executive Council & Political Council of the Nuclear Command Authority to be chaired by the National Security Advisor and the Prime Minister respectively, who would thereon decide and authorize to push the nuclear button. The directives of the NCA are operationalized by the Strategic forces command (SFC) which formulates the nuclear war plan, handles the storage of India’s some 100 odd nuclear warheads and their delivery systems.

    The need for a strategic bomber: For many reasons and circumstances the country has gone through in the last seven years, for many strategic war plans that were put on the table for discussion at Sena Bhawan, for the failed missile tests marking them unreliable for nuclear delivery, the SFC has finally decided to order its own fleet of strategic bombers which are reliable enough to ensure a nuclear bomb delivery.

    India’s nuclear triad is hardly operational. The K-15 is not yet operational; neither does it have the range to hit Lahore, while safely sailing in the Arabian Sea. The Prithvis and the Agnis do not have the reliability that is required when you are shooting something like a N-bomb across the border. The Brahmos does not have enough range to hit Beijing, or hit Karachi without mobilizing the warheads far away from their trenches making them vulnerable to detection thereby losing the surprise and probably face neutralization. The IAF however does have the SU 30 MKI, MIG-29 and Mirage 2000 which can deliver the bomb embedded in Moskits or as gravity bombs, but in a war, each IAF plane will be committed to a mission thus not leaving the SFC with anything at hand to plan, rehearse and prepare for a second strike. So the SFC now needs its own aircraft to ensure that there are no hiccups at the time of war.

    The Mission: So what does it take to air drop a nuclear weapon? Well the B-29 super fortress could do it. But times have changed. Today the bomber has to be stealthy, laden with the most latest of ECCM and jammers to be able to cross the border without activating the SAMs, It needs to be a robust platform and a heavy lifter to carry a 1000 pounder along with fuel pods enough to make the round trip from central India, say Pune. And at the same time it has to be a great dog fighter to be able to make its journey back evading the F-16s that would have scrambled by then. So one thing is clear, it needs to be a multi role fighter- stealthy, maneuverable and with substantial external load capacity.

    Nothing but the Rafale: The SU-30 MKI is mainly an air superiority fighter, it is meant for defending, or to provide cover. While it does have the capability to strike deep inside Pakistan, it is much more vulnerable to detection, being a heavier, bigger aircraft. With a high RCS it doesn’t really fall into the stealth category. The Eurofighter while being extremely stealthy and a great dogfighter, is not a great air to surface weapons delivery platform. The F-16 & The FA-18 super hornet have to be kept out of the SFC hangars I’m sure, considering that Pentagon is never, in all practical sensibilities, going to allow us to use them for Nuclear weapons delivery. MIG 29 is an old platform, already running out of steam and probably spares too. I don’t think anyone is interested in buying a MIG nowadays. Infect after the merger, Sukhoi is not even interested in selling them. The Rafale is the Knight in shining armor. It is a proven ground attack platform, it has the best avionics, ECM and ECCMs, It’s soon to get a top rated AESA. The cockpit is a pilot’s dream. It’s proven its mettle in Afghanistan, and guess what, has a carrier version too, just in case we start drooling…

    Tools and reuse: However what really goes in the favor of the Rafale is that the Indian Air Force is more than happy with its older sibling – the Mirage 2000. In fact the Rafale had almost been finalized as the MMRCA, before the Americans got interested in the deal and the French quoted too high a price as a spoiler. The Mirage 2000 was used extensively to drop 1000 pounders with pin point accuracy at Kargil heights. India already has the capability to refurbish Dassault aircrafts. Rafale is going to be absorbed into the force mush easily. And it is also going to help us save a fortune on pilot training, tools and many reusable components.

    Geopolitics: What is strikingly co-incidental is that the number of aircraft that have been put out on paper (40) as a requirement by the SFC exactly matches with what was offered by the French last year as a fast track deal. Sarkozy will be here in December; right after Obama would have made the MMRCA pitch for Boeing in return for ‘something’ at the Security Council. However the French have the guts and I’m sure the ‘frank’ will to veto it out. And that is why the Rafale will be chosen as the stallion of the Strategic Forces Command.


    idrw.org security october issue
     
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  3. ashdoc

    ashdoc Senior Member Senior Member

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    india hasn't got money to spend on 40 costly planes just to carry nukes .
     
  4. maomao

    maomao Veteran Hunter of Maleecha Senior Member

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    Please read your statement again and then update yourself about recent arms deals such as USD 30 Billion FGFA, USD 12-18 Billion MMRCA, something as meager as USD 2.2 Billion Mirage up-gradation et al. Then let me know if India does not have money to have a strategic fleet of 40-50 odd Aircrafts for Nuclear Delivery Role? And, BTW what strategic role our Mirage-2000s are playing currently for India?
     
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  5. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    This report seems to have some inherent flaws and appears to favour the French. The Su-30MKI is very much a multi-role fighter and quite capable of carrying nukes. The Su-30MKI as well as the MiG-29, F-16 & The FA-18 are air-superiority fighters. The FA-18 was also designed for and has the the brief of ground-attack, which, I presume, is suited for carrying nukes. If the Sukhois' job is mainly to defend, then why is it not categorised as an interceptor? MiG-29 is indeed an old platform, but has potential for improvement to be called 4.5 generation. They can be modernised enough to have the strike capability into Pakistan, given that it can break the sound barrier while even climbing. MiG-29s were designed to deliver nukes, were downgraded when exporting to non-Warsaw Pact countries, and can be upgraded back to be capable of delivering nukes as well. I haven't seen too many reports stating lack of spares for the MiG-29. These are some of the loopholes I found in this report.
     
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  6. Vladimir79

    Vladimir79 Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    An MKI carrying a nuklear tipped Brahmos can do the job just as well. Launch the missile outside of the air defense and kaboom. Its range is just as good.
     
  7. shaka

    shaka Regular Member

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    SFC fighter should be one that IAF already operates or will operate in future. It has to be either MKI or MRCA. Reason being nuclear role fighters should not be easily recognizable, since these will be a strategic asset. If during wartime such fighters are seen flying these could be interpreted by enemy as if these are going for nuke strike even if they were not. There should be some anonymity. Just my thoughts.

    Vladimir79, only 40 MKIs are going to be carrying Brahmos. I dont think these fighters are for SFC, since SFC request for 2 dedicated squadrons has not been approved yet and 40 Brahmos MKI deal has been signed already I think. I could be wrong though.
     
  8. sandeepdg

    sandeepdg Senior Member Senior Member

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    I think 300 kms is hardly a good enough range for a nuke-tipped missile ! You can hardly make a deep strike inside hostile territory with this range, it needs to be atleast 800-1000 kms.
     
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  9. sandeepdg

    sandeepdg Senior Member Senior Member

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    Meanwhile, I don't think the SFC will get the Rafale for its needs, considering it is so expensive. Its more likely that some numbers of an aircraft already in service or to be inducted will be branched off serving the SFC requirements. It may have been the Rafale, if we had had been acquiring it in large nos, and that can only happen if it wins the MMRCA.
     
  10. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    That is very true. Especially since most of Pakistan's nuclear facilities are to the east of Pakistan except one at Balochistan, it will require the Sukhois to penerate into Pakistani airspace and then strike without significant difficulty, although it will have to deal with Pakistani air defenses. It will be a significant problem in case of China.

    Below is a map of Pakistan's nuclear facilities:
    [​IMG]
     
  11. sesha_maruthi27

    sesha_maruthi27 Senior Member Senior Member

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    What do you mean by this "The Prithvis and the Agnis do not have the reliability that is required when you are shooting something like a N-bomb across the border". Do you say that the prithvi's and agni's are just junk missiles and are useless. Neo 29 must be out of his mind by making or giving this line in the post. If he is correct then our missile program is a failure. He says that the agni is not reliable to hit karachi.
    :emot154:

    Now what does neo 29 mean by this.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2010
  12. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    The Prithvis and Agnis are quite reliable. The Prithvis have accuracy but do not have the range. The Agnis, on the other hand, cannot be moved easily and are vulnerable to disabling due to initial strikes, although with a CEP of 40 metres, the Agni II is arguably the best of it's class in the world. We do not have a Transporter-Erector-Launcer like the MAZ-7912/MAZ-7917. Our sea-based nuclear missile launch system is not yet ready. That is the reason why need an alternative to the missile based launching platform, regardless of what neo29 says correctly or incorrectly about our missile systems.
     
  13. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    My understanding is that Rafales will be considered only if MMRCA is won by them. Considering that this can be included in their overall contract to supply these additional 40 fighters, I think that MOD will not specifically ask for "40 nuclear capable fighters for SFC" since that will raise a lot of eyebrows in the international community and we'd be expecting a load of vocal garbage from neighbourhood about "destabilizing south asia". The 40 jets are mainly going to be something that IAF already or is planning to operate. Creating additional infrastructure for just 40 fighters will be crazy and needlessly costly which we want to avoid.

    And if at all it is going to be something "slightly" different from the regular IAF fighters, I would seriously consider Su-35BMs. Those things are lethal, very similar to MKI therefore requiring less training, maintenance infrastructure needs slight changes only and BMs can carry more payload and more fuel compared to Rafale. Not to mention, they've AESA (from Russia's MiG-35 plan), state of the art weapons, 3D TVC and extended range. Mixing 40 single seater Su-35BMs with the 2 seater MKIs would be a great idea and since SFC and not IAF is managing this, it won't create much hassles.
     
  14. ahmedsid

    ahmedsid Top Gun Senior Member

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    If you are hinting at Su35 being used for nuke carrying/bombing role, then AFAIK, its an Air Superiority Fighter. You might need a souped up Su34 for that role.
     
  15. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    ^^ Ahmed, the RAC promotes Su-35BMs as "swing role" fighter jets, meaning that they're fully multirole for both air and land operations. Their prime role is air superiority but due to modern battlefield requirements, they can carry both air and ground based ordinance. Su-34 is a plain ground attack fighter which means that it will need a fighter escort of some sort to keep the enemy air threats at bay. Su-35s on the other hand can carry nuclear weapons at the same time carry standoff AAMs to make sure that nothing obstructs their objective.
     
  16. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    I dont have any trouble with rafale, but we need to think practically it has advantages and dis advantages, any other fighter means it needs to be hidden from other fighter, needs extra support and training among other things, advantage is can super cruise, plus low radar signature compare to MKI.

    range is 3700km and cost Rafale M: €70 million, US$90.5 million (flyaway cost, 2008) plus add some more millions if you want to custom made to suit the requirement of SFC
     
  17. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    Dude, Pakistan isn't exactly China for us to take that sort of distance into consideration. The Jamnagar base in Gujarat for example can wield these fighters and launch hell via Karachi and Gwadar which would mean a death blow to their supply line and also crumbling their financial capital with nuclear strikes. anything to do with 800-1,000 KM distance with Pakistan means that there's no need to use fighters at all and simply resort to missiles.
     
  18. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    Agreed but 44 is just too less and makes our aerial component a zoo of different fighters. Therefore it has to be something similar to MMRCA or the MKIs that we have and the closest we can get for that is the SU-35s being similar to MKI.

    One thing about the bold part you said wrong was that Rafale cannot supercruise; its engines are not powerful enough to even generate a Mach 2 speed-- forget supercruise. Only Typhoon, Gripen and Raptor can SC at the moment if we don't count PAKFA/FGFA and AMCA in it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2010
  19. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    I dont know much about fighters but here is where i read it can super cruise

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_generation_jet_fighter

     
  20. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    another site claim

    http://www.electronicaviation.com/aircraft/Dassault_Rafale/807
     

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