Does Indian Air Force need heavy bomber squadrons?

Does Indian Air Force need heavy bomber squadrons?


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pmaitra

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Agree with @pmaitra, we need swing-wing bombers like the White Swan (Tupolev 160).
Why don't we buy some off Russia? They have started production of the Blackjacks again.
Of course, the IAF with its corrupt officials would like to have some old decrepit and lightweight B1.

Furthermore, only buying would not do. We also would have to have nukes in the air at all times to deter China. Strategic bombers are the need of the hour.
I was talking about swing-wing aircraft, not the Tupolev-160 specifically. I am not sure we need something like the Tupolev-160. Something like the Tupolev-22M3 would be useful.
 

sabari

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Tajes mark 1 with certain modification to carry extra fuel in fusal arch for range is the right way then license build or buying of other air craft. Heavy bombers are only use full against under developed air force not against enemy with good Sam system.
 

Scarface

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B52 SAM fodder? I don't think many countries have SAM which would reach such high altitudes. These strategic bombers fly at very high altitudes, and very fast. So interception with jets is also challenging.
Well maybe some puny country in the Balkans or some dismantled country in the opposition don't have SAMs that shoot at high altitutudes but the threats we're going be facing certainly do (Pakistan and China)

And most fighters can intercept at high altitudes these days. Western jets intercept Blackjacks all the time, sent by the Russians who are probably measuring the response time.
 

sabari

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Does Indian air force has any decoy in there inventory​
 

garg_bharat

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Heavy bombers are synonymous with expeditionary warfare. India does not need it.

India does need large number of UAVs and fighter aircraft.
 

spikey360

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Heavy bombers are synonymous with expeditionary warfare. India does not need it.

India does need large number of UAVs and fighter aircraft.
Why do you think that India will not have to go for expeditionary bombers? Just because there is no threat perception?
Well, if that is your answer, as well as of the armed forces, then being short sighted is the least we can accuse you of.

If India wants to get ahead of China (ever), it should harness destructive rather than the creative power. China has lurched too far ahead. No practical chance that we can catch up to them now. Better be prepared for destroying them, arming ourselves to the teeth.
 

garg_bharat

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@spikey360, India's military production is weak. A country can be strong with a strong foreign policy only with strong financial and military position.

India has a policy of protecting its borders partly due to philosophy and partly due to weakness. An expeditionary war requires a total mindset change, which is unlikely even in two generations.

Russia and China are the countries (in addition to USA) who are capable of expeditionary warfare in this age.
 

garg_bharat

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Who will India attack and occupy? We need to ask this question. It makes sense to merge two populations in one country when these populations have similar political and religious compositions. I guess it will be difficult for India to merge even Nepal and Sri Lanka who are very similar to India.
 

spikey360

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Who will India attack and occupy? We need to ask this question. It makes sense to merge two populations in one country when these populations have similar political and religious compositions. I guess it will be difficult for India to merge even Nepal and Sri Lanka who are very similar to India.
Occupying is a fruitless activity. However, incapability/incapacity to attack due to short sightedness and lethargic assessment of potential threats is unacceptable as well. Bharatvarsh should acquire the ability to attack the US if need be.
 

spikey360

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@spikey360, India's military production is weak. A country can be strong with a strong foreign policy only with strong financial and military position.

India has a policy of protecting its borders partly due to philosophy and partly due to weakness. An expeditionary war requires a total mindset change, which is unlikely even in two generations.

Russia and China are the countries (in addition to USA) who are capable of expeditionary warfare in this age.
Neither is Russia a strong economic power, nor are the Chinese strong military-wise. Much of it is optics.
Most of it, however, is the mindset which we lack.
 

manutdfan

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Heavy bombers as in the B-52s ?
They're interceptor/SAM fodder
They only work when you are flying over uncontested airspace which is hard to come by these days.

Maybe Stealth Bombers but no one is selling those and ours isn't ready yet
I have to agree that for a developing country like India heavy bombers would be a burden right now rather than an asset.

Before acquiring any new weapons system the first question that should be asked is that if we need it at all in the very first place; and if we do need it then do we have the budget and third are there cheaper alternatives? Just because China has them doesn't mean that we should go for it too regardless of whether we can afford them or not. China has bigger problems than India. She's facing off against the world's only superpower USA which is aligned with Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia and a 1/2 dozen other countries in it's vicinity. China's bombers armed with Anti-Ship Cruise missiles are primarily meant as long range platforms for launching area-denial/ anti-access weapons against American carrier battle groups. As far as I can see India has got no such requirement till date.

In India's case where we face two formidable enemies on both fronts any future war would feature heavily contested airspace densely packed with SAM and electronic warfare networks. In such a scenario heavy bombers like the Tu-160 or Tu-22M or Tu-95 Bear would just be restricted to launching long range cruise missiles/ Air-to-Surface missiles from afar for which there are much cheaper alternatives such as road/rail mobile missile launchers which are dirt cheap, can be easily camouflaged and are much harder to detect or heavy fighters such as the Su-30MKI. Although the Su-30MKI's payload is nowhere near these bombers a swarm of fighters could do much more damage than a handful of bombers.

The original mission of heavy bombers is strategic bombing. However much of that role has been taken over by aircrafts such as the Su-30MKI and SEPECAT Jaguar in the IAF. Today if these bombers were asked to undertake this role they would be huge lumbering SAM/AAM magnets. Not to mention the additional fighters that would have to be assigned to them as bomber escorts. And what a waste of limited resources would that be! That too in an air force which has been engaged in an eternal struggle since the last two decades to maintain a barely sufficient combat squadron strength.

The biggest concern of all would be the cost. In today's price a single B-1B bomber would have a minimum flyaway unit cost of 3/4th of a billion dollars (inflation adjusted for 1998 figures). Let that sink in- US$ 750 million for a single bomber. If you take into account the total lifecycle costs and the fact that defense projects rarely remain within budget such as the USAF F-35 program or the IAF MRCA Rafale deal then it would easily cross $1 billion per bomber. Comparable Russian systems such as Tu-22M and Tu-160 are expected to be marginally cheaper only by a few million dollars.

So my dear sir when you consider the fact that we have struggled to replace the MiG-21 since the 90s and that the not too recent IAF MRCA contract was canceled just because the price of all the contesting fighters doubled in a short span of 5 years, what makes you think that we can afford a bomber in the very first place?

The recently tested Agni-V ICBM carries a price tag of US$ 7 million per unit while the Brahmos cruise missile costs US$ 2.5 million apiece. That means for a single heavy bomber I could buy ~ 150 Agni-V ICBMs or 400 Brahmos cruise missiles. And I'm pretty darn sure that 400 Brahmos missiles is a better bet than a single Tu-160 any given day.

Future battlefields would involve saturating the airspace with a massive barrage of cruise missiles and UAVs while simultaneously launching fighters to overwhelm and confuse enemy defenses. In order to achieve this we need affordable weapons that can be mass produced not some Cold-War era elephant which can barely defend itself let alone the thought of defending India's territory.

Come to think of it when India's home-grown Arihant class ballistic missile submarines do enter series production then it is estimated to cost US$ 2 billion only. Considering that nuclear ballistic missile subs are the most important component of the nuclear triad where would you rather spend that money?
 

Indibomber

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I would rather have us a modern fighter craft which can play CAS role! I know we are getting those 22 american birds but we need a proper plane like Su-24. We don't need bombers for sure.
 

Scarface

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I would rather have us a modern fighter craft which can play CAS role! I know we are getting those 22 american birds but we need a proper plane like Su-24. We don't need bombers for sure.
Helis are better for Close Air Support because they can fly closer and can loiter for long times before having to refuel/re-arm and probably cheaper to fly than planes for CAS as well,that's why we're IAF and Army are focusing on Attack Helis.
 

Alien

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I don't think many countries have SAM which would reach such high altitudes. These strategic bombers fly at very high altitudes, and very fast.
I believe, S-400 can target and take out Strategic bombers (as they claim)

China already has S-300 systems and they have order S-400 as well?

Correct me if I am mistaken.
 

bennedose

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I voted No because "heavy bombers" were thought to have a role in WW2 and cold war, but eventually did not live up to their expected potential. besides - both US and Russia have long stretches of water to overfly before they hit their favourite enemy.

If you read teh history of the bomber offensive in WW2 - Germany made thousands of aircraft and its industry was going full gar in 1944 at the height of the allied bombing with 1000 heavy bomber raids. And despite carpet bombing the US lost in Vietnam

For India:
1. 250 km will cover all the important targets of Pakistan
2. For China - even if we have a 5000 km range bomber are we going to fly over 2500 km of Chinese mainland and expect the bomber to be left alone by the Chinese
3. If we have plans to attack Australia or South Africa I think a heavy bomber may make sense. Or else we could have 4 more aircraft carriers for that purpose
 

Indibomber

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Helis are better for Close Air Support because they can fly closer and can loiter for long times before having to refuel/re-arm and probably cheaper to fly than planes for CAS as well,that's why we're IAF and Army are focusing on Attack Helis.

It depends on the enemy i believe, Helli against non organised army like Taliban and ISIS would work but against Porkies hellies would be in trouble. Helli's would have issues carrying heavier bombs and missiles only hellfire.
 

Harinath

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I think we need to work on type of Brahmos weapon on delivering the payload(bomb) on target and get back, like reusable capsule.... I think, Abdul Kalam suggested this idea.
 

Batfan

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I think we need to work on type of Brahmos weapon on delivering the payload(bomb) on target and get back, like reusable capsule.... I think, Abdul Kalam suggested this idea.
U mean a UAV?

Sent from my XT1068 using Tapatalk
 

Mikesingh

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Bombers are passe as the AA environment isn't conducive for penetrating deep into enemy airspace.

The alternative is missiles. Our missiles now have an accuracy of + - 5m CEP. We need to augment our missile force considerably. This is a good cost effective option.
 

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