How US denial of F-104 made the MiG-21 IAF's mainstay

lcafanboy

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2013
Messages
3,938
Likes
15,721
Country flag
When India wanted Lockheed F-104 Starfighter but was embarrassed instead and how India hit back later
Published October 3, 2017 SOURCE: THOMAS D’SOUZA / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG


Post-1962 war with China, Indian Air Force felt a need for modern supersonic interceptor aircraft and quickly English Electric Lightning, Lockheed F-104 Starfighter and Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 were shortlisted. F-104 Starfighter came with superior avionics and construction was top notch in comparison to Soviet-developed MiG-21.

Electric Lightning lost favor pretty soon with IAF and Lockheed F-104 Starfighter was selected by India. Since F-104 were supplied to Pakistan Air Force a year earlier in 1961, Indian government felt that Americans will oblige to Indian request just after 1962 war with China and will agree to the sale of F-104 Starfighter to India but then came a shocker.

American administration thought that supply of F-104 Starfighter to India will be seen as a great betrayal to Pakistani government and India was offered Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter instead which was seen by Indian side has a deliberate action taken, to embarrass India, since it took months for the American administration to even reply back to earlier Indian request.

An offer of Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter jet in response to a request for F-104 Starfighter was seen in India as an American way of telling Indians which fighter it’s good and economical for poor third world country like India.

Left with no Choice India placed orders for 12 Mig-21s by end of 1962 and Soviets delivered them by mid of 1963, while India still kept door open for Americans, hoping that F-104 Starfighter export will be cleared to India but this also meant Soviets were kept waiting for more order of Mig-21s and when 1965 war with Pakistan happened, IAF didn’t have enough Mig-21 in its fleet to use them effectively in the war .

American delay tactics and waiting Soviets meant that after the war was over, India rushed to the Soviet Union to buy more Mig-21s and no longer Mig-21s were seen in Indian Air Force as stop-gap Interceptors and instead more squadrons were activated with fast-tracked delivery schedules from the Soviet Union meant that the fleet grew in a short period of time .

When 1971 war with Pakistan came knocking, IAF had several squadrons of Mig-21s in place which also had highly trained and motivated fighter pilots thus came much-anticipated air combat between two Mach 2 capable fighters which world was waiting to see.

By end of 1971 war with Pakistan, Mig-21 had shot down 4 F-104 Starfighter and remained undefeated against same fighter aircraft which American thought was too high tech for Indians to afford and fly. Military analysts around the world soon declared that Mig-21 was the winner and soon Indian air force’s heroics with Mig-21 against superior American fighter aircraft was immediately acknowledged by other air forces, which lead to a boom in Mig-21 sale around the world.

Indian Mig-21 Instructors were much-sort after crew requested by many countries who operated Mig-21 and wanted their pilots to be trained. F-104 which was dubbed as superior aircraft with superior build quality started suffering high crashes leading to its premature withdrawal from many airforces where they were inducted and operated including in Pakistan, while Mig-21 continues to fly even today.

http://idrw.org/when-india-wanted-lockheed-f-104-starfighter-but-was-embarrassed-instead-and-how-india-hit-back-later/#more-149692 .


@IndianHawk @Willy2 @roma @Krusty @Defcon 1 @Ghanteshwar @raheel besharam @raja696 @Amr @AnkitPurohit @Akshay_Fenix @aditya10r @airtel @aditya10r @ancientIndian @Bahamut @Berkut @Bornubus @Bengal_Tiger @ersakthivel @FRYCRY @Gessler @HariSud @hit&run @hardip @indiandefencefan @IndianHawk @JayPatel @Kshatriya87 @LETHALFORCE @Mikesingh @NavneetKundu @OneGrimPilgrim @pmaitra @PaliwalWarrior @Pulkit @smestarz @SakalGhareluUstad @Srinivas_K @ShashankSharma @Superdefender @Screambowl @TacticalFrog @Abhijat @A chauhan @Alien @alphacentury @Ancient Indian @Ankit Purohit @anupamsurey @armyofhind @Bharat Ek Khoj @Bhumihar @blueblood @brational @Bangalorean @Blackwater @Bornubus @bose @Bullet @cobra commando @DingDong @DFI_COAS @dhananjay1 @ersakthivel @F-14B @fooLIam @gpawar @guru-dutt @here2where @hit&run @HariPrasad-1 @Indx TechStyle @Kshatriya87 @jackprince @Kharavela @Illusive @I_PLAY_BAD @LETHALFORCE @Lions Of Punjab @maomao @Mad Indian @OneGrimPilgrim @Peter @piKacHHu @Pinky Chaudhary @porky_kicker @Razor @raja696 @Rowdy @Sakal Gharelu Ustad @SanjeevM @saty @sydsnyper @Srinivas_K @Screambowl @sorcerer @Simple_Guy @Sylex21 @wickedone @tarunraju @TrueSpirit2 @thethinker @Tshering22 @vayuu1 @VIP @Vishwarupa @VIP @Varahamihira @Navnit Kundu @WARREN SS @Willy2 @3deffect
 

pmaitra

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
33,263
Likes
19,536
Good article. I want to change the thread title to a shorter "How US denial of F-104 made the MiG-21 IAF's mainstay."
 

prohumanity

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2013
Messages
1,290
Likes
1,357
Country flag
USA suffers from this dependabality and trust issue because of America's historically siding with Pakistan against India.
Paki kept causing terrorism in India and US turned a blind eye as long as Paki Generals were subservient to US rulers and did their dirty deeds.
Now, the atmosphere is changing as Paki is fast becoming useless to US and India is fast emerging as a big market with potentially huge profits.
The wounds of betrayal of India by US by empowering Pakistan for decades against a democratic India are still fresh in Indian minds as the generation who experienced that betrayal are still ruling India and remember the past.
Broken trust and lack of dependability are things that take long time to overcome.
On the other hand, Soviets were steadfast in support of India and were trustworthy and dependable until the Admiral Gorshkov fiasco .
India is at a crossroads...how much to trust Americans who have a history of acting against India and being shamelessly on side of Pakistani dictators ....is a big question? A blunder in this area can cost India huge...
The best way probably is to keep a diversified weapons procurement policy and move faster on producing its own high tech weaponry.
A strong and credible nuclear force is an insurance against being attacked...whether West agrees or not.
 

HeinzGud

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2011
Messages
2,446
Likes
661
Country flag
f 104 was shit a fighter adapted for strategic bombing, Mig 21s were far more agile and effective, even against the crappy f4 phantoms.
It is an understatement to label F4 as a crappy fighter. Even though the Mig was nimble in close hand dogfights, The "Flying Brick" had a better radar which gave it an edge over long range standoffs.
 

F-14B

#iamPUROHIT
Senior Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2016
Messages
2,075
Likes
3,993
It is an understatement to label F4 as a crappy fighter. Even though the Mig was nimble in close hand dogfights, The "Flying Brick" had a better radar which gave it an edge over long range standoffs.
@HeinzGud is right the USAF the USMC and the USN F-4's or F-110 specters as it was known in the Pre 1962 designation system was in no way a crappy fighter but in the intial deployment period suffred from misplaced tatctics and the over dependence on missiles over the traditional " dog fight" which in the 1960's eayrl 70's was increasing seen as archaic thanks to advances in missile technologies witnessed in that era
as the USA military commanders placed their bets on missiles overruling ACM tatctics there were a few rebles like Col Robin olds who excuted the brilliant Operation Bolo

the reson de ete why the Fishbed was so successful in the Vietnam war was not only limited to its physical attributes vis a vie the Phantom II but also the Vietnamese fighting to the Phantoms weakness and the fishbed's strengths as I always say its all about tactics

The Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force Phantoms saw heavy action in the Iran–Iraq War in the 1980s and are kept operational by overhaul and servicing from Iran's aerospace industry.Notable operations of Iranian F-4s during the war included Operation Scorch Sword, an attack by two F-4s against the Iraqi Osirak nuclear reactor site near Baghdad on 30 September 1980, and the attack on H3, a 4 April 1981 strike by eight Iranian F-4s against the H-3 complex of air bases in the far west of Iraq, which resulted in many Iraqi aircraft being destroyed or damaged for no Iranian losses Iranian F-4s were in use as of late 2014;the aircraft reportedly conducted air strikes on ISIS targets in the eastern Iraqi province of Diyala

the Phantom continues to serve in the air forces of many countries still use the phantoms such as Egypt turkey and Iran
 

HeinzGud

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2011
Messages
2,446
Likes
661
Country flag
@HeinzGud is right the USAF the USMC and the USN F-4's or F-110 specters as it was known in the Pre 1962 designation system was in no way a crappy fighter but in the intial deployment period suffred from misplaced tatctics and the over dependence on missiles over the traditional " dog fight" which in the 1960's eayrl 70's was increasing seen as archaic thanks to advances in missile technologies witnessed in that era
as the USA military commanders placed their bets on missiles overruling ACM tatctics there were a few rebles like Col Robin olds who excuted the brilliant Operation Bolo

the reson de ete why the Fishbed was so successful in the Vietnam war was not only limited to its physical attributes vis a vie the Phantom II but also the Vietnamese fighting to the Phantoms weakness and the fishbed's strengths as I always say its all about tactics

The Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force Phantoms saw heavy action in the Iran–Iraq War in the 1980s and are kept operational by overhaul and servicing from Iran's aerospace industry.Notable operations of Iranian F-4s during the war included Operation Scorch Sword, an attack by two F-4s against the Iraqi Osirak nuclear reactor site near Baghdad on 30 September 1980, and the attack on H3, a 4 April 1981 strike by eight Iranian F-4s against the H-3 complex of air bases in the far west of Iraq, which resulted in many Iraqi aircraft being destroyed or damaged for no Iranian losses Iranian F-4s were in use as of late 2014;the aircraft reportedly conducted air strikes on ISIS targets in the eastern Iraqi province of Diyala

the Phantom continues to serve in the air forces of many countries still use the phantoms such as Egypt turkey and Iran
It is said that the reported crappiness of the F4 came out of the desire to build the "jack of all trade" type fighter.
 

nongaddarliberal

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2016
Messages
1,873
Likes
5,672
Country flag
I'm kind of glad we got the Mig 21 instead. The crash rate of the starfighter was abysmal, and piloting the aircraft was said to be much harder than with an Mig 21. There would have been no chance of it serving till the present because the plane didn't age very well, unlike the Mig 21 which is still used worldwide, although reluctantly.
 

mikael

Regular Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2020
Messages
61
Likes
33
Country flag
F4 is the best 3rd gen fighter of its time bar none, unless we consider mig29 a 3plus gen fighter
 

mikael

Regular Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2020
Messages
61
Likes
33
Country flag
funny how F4 was not even offered to the PAF fizaya despite being such loyal US allies
 

Wisemarko

Regular Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2016
Messages
716
Likes
1,159
Country flag
US offered F-5 instead of F-104 and India declined! F-104 was a generation older than F-5, carried less payload and had much shorter career than storied F-5. I see T-38 (a trainer version of F-5) flying everyday from my airbase.

I suspect that mutual distrust (more on Indian side than US) was the reason for poor relations during those troubled times.
 

Latest Replies

Global Defence

New threads

Articles

Top