The Indian Air Force and 24 x 7 Capabilities

Discussion in 'Indian Air Force' started by Neil, Jul 12, 2012.

  1. Neil

    Neil Senior Member Senior Member

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    A nation of the size, power, responsibilities and stature of India cannot ignore global happenings. Indeed we must anticipate and if possible shape them or risk being overtaken by events. It is a decided advantage to be proactive but we have been far from it. This requires the backing of analysis, determination of national interests and long-term policies. A smaller nation could get away without it but not India in the contemporary world.

    Apart from having a volatile neighbourhood and the associated threats and influences, India is faced with the full spectrum of threats. The spectrum itself is increasing in complexity and technological sophistication. With the changing spectrum, its unpredictability, and India being looked upon to play a bigger role in global affairs, we have no choice but to ensure that we have full-spectrum dominance. The Armed Forces are an important component of national power and can help generate options for the Govt. The application of Air Power is intrinsic to the gamut of National Power and we will have to focus in the same direction.

    If we have to tread the path of full spectrum dominance, it is prudent that we move away from a threatbased assessment to a capabilitybased approach. A capability can always be tailored or applied to meet the emerging challenge. Capability will also allow us to apply the right force in any form of conflict. Transformation for us will be a continued series of fundamental changes each leading to a better capability. Keeping all this in mind, we need to understand what we need for our capability build-up.

    PILLARS OF CAPABILITY
    Our National zone of interest and influence stretches from the Gulf of Hormuz in the West, to the Malacca Straits in the East and beyond. Just like other capabilities, strong and comprehensive aerospace capability is required in today’s scenario to meet our country’s aspirations. I envisage that the capability build up of our aerospace power will be based on four pillars. Very simply put, these are SEE, REACH, HIT and PROTECT. We need to SEE farthest and first. This involves utilisation of space based assets, long range radars, aerostats, AWACS and other ISR sensors. We need to collect and process relevant information in real time. Having SEEN, we need to REACH our area of interest. Trans-oceanic reach by long range combat and transport aircraft, along with air to air refuellers, is the next pillar of our capability. Once we reach, we need to HIT the target. Hit the target with precision; hit it hard. And so, modern weapons are required. While doing all this, we need to PROTECT our assets both in war and peace. This involves all aspects of Air Defence, EW (Electronic Warfare), Cyberspace and Information Warfare.

    EFFECT ON IAF AND ITS PREPAREDNESS
    Aerospace power is going to play a major role in all operations in the future. Technologically, aerospace power will definitely seek to enhance its fundamentals. Reach, Accuracy, Lethality, Situational awareness as well as command and control are going to improve manifold. Aerospace power will find increasing application in homeland security as well as in tackling asymmetric forces with faint footprints. The path that we have to tread is influenced by emerging technologies and I can state with confidence that aerospace power’s applicability will only increase in times ahead. Aerospace power will proliferate and find utility with many agencies. In addition to the Armed Forces, the Paramilitary and now the Home Ministry want their integral aircraft and Air Wings. This will raise a host of fundamental questions on organisational structures, management and ownership issues. Undoubtedly, aerospace power will be the ‘preferred tool’ for all conveniences and contingencies, but we need to manage it properly.
    In the future, there are many challenges but also opportunities. Some are evolutionary and some are truly revolutionary. On one end, we have 5th generation fighters like F-35 and F-22, PAK-FA or T-50, while on the other end, increasingly capable RPAs (Remotely Piloted Aircraft) are also stealing limelight. Since these RPAs are offering new horizons for air and space operations, they have started playing critical roles in war and conflict zones. From surveillance to delivering ordnance with precision, RPAs will undoubtedly continue to make revolutionary advances. Similarly, precision munitions are getting smaller, more precise and more autonomous while on the other side, weapons using directed energy are beginning to emerge.
    There will be a need for specialisation, greater networking and assimilation of space, for any air force that has a reckonable area of interest. Transportability of national power by airlift will be more essential than ever before.

    IAF’S FUTURE ROADMAP
    If this be the future of air power then, then the vision and long term perspective of IAF is clear. The underlying objective of the Air Force during the coming 10 to 15 years is to build itself into a credible aerospace power. Always keeping in mind that there is a compelling need to keep the technological level of our equipment at such a pitch, that it is viable for precise and effective force application in all possible types of threat scenarios.
    IAF envisions itself to be a networkcentric force. The Aim being to have a common operating picture, reduce the sensor to shooter time and enable successful time critical operations. In fact all this will shortly become “bread and butter” stuff. Capabilities like the Integrated Air Command and Control System (IACCS), AWACS and Operational Data Link (ODL) are different aspects of an emerging network-centric environment. Space would be very vital, though largely an invisible component in this mosaic of Network-Centric operations.

    Contemporary capabilities like AWACS and some others in the pipeline are already changing and transforming the way we are likely to fly and fight. The demands on the aerospace leadership of the future are also going to change. Leaders will also have to transform themselves. A change of mindset is mandatory to meet the challenges of the future.

    Technological advances will continue to revolutionise military affairs in future too. Despite the unpredictabilities, it is certain that the need for application and transportability of national power – hard and soft – and thus for aerospace power, with enhanced fundamentals, would remain. We expect aerospace power to permeate the fabric of national security more completely, including homeland security. IAF foresees greater specialisation; tailored capabilities for each occasion; an increased dependence on Remotely Piloted Vehicles and a greater accent on force enhancers; particularly the intangible ones, such as quality of people and their skills. Hardware is important but it is converted into capabilities by people. Aerospace power requires highly-skilled and trained personnel. Attracting quality youth, training and retaining them is another of IAF’s challenges. Inculcating qualities of leadership and innovativeness will be vital on IAF’s agenda.
    Networking and assimilation of space, both interdependent, are already the way forward and can tilt the balance considerably. Perhaps more than others, it is air power that is most significantly enhanced by the integration of space-enabled capabilities. Evolving into a potent aerospace force is thus a logical progression in the scheme of things. But then, the vulnerability of satellites to anti-satellite weapons becomes an issue, due to risk of attack from adversaries. Development of ASAT technologies is taking place in our neighbourhood. In order to ensure that our increased dependence on space does not become our vulnerability, defending space based assets would assume vital importance within the 21st Century.

    MODERNISATION OF IAF
    With all this in mind the Indian Air Force also has a major transformation plan in place. This is three-pronged. The first is to preserve and maintain what they have. This is achieved with a well-conceived product and maintenance support plan.
    Secondly, they plan to selectively upgrade and improve the lethality of their assets that have adequate residual life left. Some of the fl eets and assets that are being upgraded are:
    Upgrade of the MiG-29 series by 2014. Upgraded aircraft will be available by 2017.
    Technical upgrades of Mi-17 upgrade.
    In fact, upgrades of Su-30 are already in the pipeline and in various phases.
    In parallel, MAFI (Modernisation of Air Fields Infrastructure) programme for upgradation of airfield and maintenance infrastructure is also being progressed.
    The third prong of the transformation is to progress the acquisitions and replacements where no residual life is left:
    The final round of the procurement of 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat aircraft is on with Rafale.
    Procurement of additional Su-30 is under progress. Our total numbers are going to be in excess of 270 Su-30s.
    The LCA (Light Combat Aircraft) IOC certification was done in Jan 2011.There are delays. Induction is expected in this year, by which time all teething issues should hopefully be sorted out.
    RFP for six additional Flight Refuelling aircraft was re-issued in Sep 10. FETs (Field Evaluation Trials) have been completed.
    10 C-17 Globemaster III Heavy Lift Aircraft.
    Induction of new Medium Lift Helicopters (Mi-17 V5) has already commenced.
    Induction of Combat helicopters and Heavy Lift Helicopters is being progressed.
    Contract for Spyder LLQRMs has been signed and the first squadron is expected soon.
    All the three AWACS aircraft have been delivered. Contract for Medium Power Radars, Low Level Transportable Radars and Low Level Light Weight Radars has been signed and delivery has commenced.
    MTA (Multirole Transport Aircraft) and FGFA (Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft) programmes are being progressed with Russia. FGFAs will be available around or just after 2017. The requirement is for about 200 to 250 aircraft.
    CONCLUSION
    In the end, there is no escaping the fact that the IAF must be equipped to be a long-reach, all-weather, precise, networked and space-enabled force. Only then can we have the requisite capabilities. Capabilities which will Deter, Punish and Project wherever, whenever and to the extent required.

    Editorfs Note: The author is a former Chief of the Air Staff of the Indian Air Force. Notably, most of the IAFfs transformation programmes have evolved and progressed under Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi, Air Chief Marshal FH Major, Air Chief Marshal PV Naik, and the current Chief, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne who played a key role as the Deputy Chief and Vice Chief in drawing and enforcing the Air Staff Qualitative Requirements.


    ..:: India Strategic ::.. Air Force: The Indian Air Force and 24 x 7 Capabilities
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012
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  3. satish007

    satish007 Senior Member Senior Member

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    acha kaam, bahuth acha, india bhai.
     
  4. Zebra

    Zebra Senior Member Senior Member

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    Procurement of additional Su-30 is under progress. Our total numbers are going to be in excess of 270 Su-30s. :mad: :tsk:

    Increase the numbers of MRCA. :rolleyes:
     
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  5. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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    Something must be done to Mig-21 and brought at par with LCA.
     
  6. Zebra

    Zebra Senior Member Senior Member

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    You mean to say, MiG-21 upgrade?
     
  7. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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    I mean to say super upgrade till the dust settles..... There is no use trusting these DODO guys....
     
  8. Zebra

    Zebra Senior Member Senior Member

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    It is viable to upgrade MiG-21?
    Better get new a/cs.
     
  9. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Mig-21 is at it's max potential. It has no life left, in 3-6 years the type will be withdrawn from the force.

    @Casper

    270MKIs is the limit. The COAS is talking about the 42 Super 30s ordered.
     
  10. Neil

    Neil Senior Member Senior Member

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    p2p sire...how...?? chief clearly says its above 270..... !!
     
  11. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    I am not a King mate, so I am no sire. Don't need to call me sir either. Nobody has to be very formal on defence boards.

    I don't think the COAS was using correct English when he wrote "in excess of" as it would obviously mean more than 270. We haven't see any orders beyond the 42 ordered, so we can safely say it will be 270. We have plans of 214 PAKFA/FGFA from then on, so it makes no sense for us to purchase more MKIs beyond 2018.
     
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  12. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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    What if one relises that there could be delays in PAK FA? What will fill the gap?
     
  13. Godless-Kafir

    Godless-Kafir DFI Buddha Senior Member

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    nothing...we may ramp up raff production.
     
  14. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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    We may or the French may ?? and at what cost and capabilities?
     
  15. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    It is a risk we will have to live with. Rafale orders may be increased like it happened for MKI(40 in 2007) once we realized LCA would not make it in time.

    We may end up ordering 2 squadrons directly from France.

    More MKIs could be ordered, but it all depends on the changing strategic situation of the time.

    Maybe nothing will be done.
     
  16. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    always good to have plan B in place
     
  17. trackwhack

    trackwhack Tihar Jail Banned

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    In excess of means that there will be 270 with IAF and 30 - 50 with SFC. But IAF will be responsible for maintenance and service of all planes.

    The 270 number does not include the numbers in SFC.
     
  18. Zebra

    Zebra Senior Member Senior Member

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    @ saya,
    We may end up ordering 2 squadrons directly from France. = plan B?

    If yes then---> :thumb:
     
  19. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    A retired COAS will not know of events that are yet to take place. SFC's request for aircraft has not even been cleared by the MoD. They have only placed a request. This may take an entire decade to happen.
     
  20. trackwhack

    trackwhack Tihar Jail Banned

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    I wont speculate on timelines but the 270 MKI's that people often talk about is the IAF number. Actual number of MKI's with the SFC is unclear/unknown. But I am not under the impression that there are no MKI's already with the SFC. Including SFC numbers India will have 300+ MKI's.
     
  21. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Yeah. If SFC goes for MKI's then as a country we will have 300+. But IAF will not and the COAS does not speak for IAF. I am just saying because people like to hype up a non issue. We don't have to jump up and down over what could be wrong usage of English. Anyway our total order for MKI as of today is 272, so that is in excess of 270.

    I would actually prefer SFC goes for Rafale instead. It will have a higher service rate and lesser maintenance.

    IAF and IN won't allow SFC to get their clearance at least until the IN deal is done. IAF already allows the use of IAF squadrons for SFC's task. You see, both IAF and IN don't consider going Nuclear as a priority. IN wasn't happy that they were inducting only SSBNs, they wanted SSNs first.
     

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