Biggest Threat From Pakistan Air Force

Pakistan’s air force (PAF) which maintained a ratio of 3:1 aircraft kills against India in the 1965 war (Thomas M. Leonard (2006). Encyclopedia of the developing world. Taylor & Francis. pp. 806), is now much inferior to the world’s fourth-largest Air Force after the induction of Russian SU-30 MKI- the backbone of IAF and lacks the race even more after addition of Dassault Rafale in the Golden Arrows Squadron based in Ambala.

Illustration depicting dog fight between IAF MiG21 and PAF Sabre

PAF tried to attack military installation in the broad light just the day after the Balakot strike i.e 27 Feb 2019 ( operation swift retort) which failed in it’s mission, but such a quick response was not expected by anyone. The attacking team of PAF had

  • 8 x F-16 9 sqn
  • 4 x F-16 29 sqn
  • 8 x JF-17 CCS
  • 4 x JF-17 16 sqn
  • 4x Mirage 15 sqn
  • 1 x Saab ERIEYE 3 sqn
  • 1 x DA-20 24 Sqn

The offensive team includes 12 x F-16 A, 12 x JF-17 Block I/II, and 4 x Mirage III/ V plus the reserve.

Striking Team of Operation Swift Retort
Credit – @alpha_defense

The F-16s were not able to shoot SU30 MKI with American AIM-120 but the communication between the Indian fighter jets was lost with AEW&C, here comes the role of PAF DA-20 Falcon which jammed the Mig 21 communication. The SAAB ERIEYE (AEW&C) also played a major role in giving locations coordinates to the striking team of PAF.

The conclusion of the above paragraph is that the biggest threat to IAF is not the F-16s or JF-17s, its the AEW&C and the EW (electronic warfare ) based aircraft.

Su30 MKI- The backbone of Indian Air Force

Electronic Warfare Aircraft

Pakistan Airforce uses Falcon DA-20 aircraft which is a French business jet, developed by Dassault Aviation in the mid-60s. In 1987 PAF equipped two DA-20 aircraft with an electronic warfare suite, tasked with providing ESM (electronic warfare support measures) and ECM (electronic counter measures) and to support other PAF squadrons. Electronic warfare missions provide data that is analyzed by EW (electronic warfare) officers to compile an enemy’s electronic order of battle and evaluate their tactics. India doesn’t posses any dedicated EW aircraft, IAF aircraft depend on jammers for protection which are usually heavy and reduces the range and weapon capacity of an aircraft but the induction of Rafale with its powerful SPECTRA EW suite will fulfill this need to some extent, the integration of SDR ( software define radio) will also help in safe and secure communication. Pakistan currently operates 3 such aircraft.

DA-20 Falcon

AEW&C : Eye in the Sky

Another field in which PAF is not ahead but is at the same of mighty IAF is the AEW&C (Airborne early warning and control system) .

The basic role of an airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system is to detect aircraft, ships, and vehicles at long ranges and perform command and control of the battlespace in an air engagement by directing fighter and attack aircraft strikes. AEW&C units are also used to carry out surveillance.

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SAAB 2000 Erieye

India posses the NETRA aircraft built by the DRDO on the airframe of Embraer ERJ-145 which provides the 240-degree coverage currently only 3 units of NETRA are operated by IAF. This platform is very similar to the PAF Erieye SAAB 2000 developed by Swedish company SAAB. This system has a range of around 425-450 Km. Pakistan received its 4th system in May 2020, one unit of these platforms was used in Operation Swift retort. Pakistan also uses Chinese SHANXI ZDK-03 another AEW&C based on the model of Y-8 transport aircraft. To counter the increasing number of such systems that can act as a force multiplier and can play a crucial role in the battlespace, India will also add two more PHALCON AWACS which is based on Russian Il-76 transport aircraft with Israeli EL/W-2090 radar in the future. Currently, 3 such aircraft are in use.

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Further Developments Needed

  • The need for SDR and datalinks for safe and universal communication is urgent as the assets of the different countries can’t communicate with equipment of other different nations e.g Russian aircraft can’t communicate/talk to American Aircrafts.
  • Induction of more AEW&C, as India has to prepare itself for a two-front war, and currently PAF has twice the number of such platforms than IAF.
  • Acquiring a dedicated system for SEAD (suppression of enemy air defence) and DEAD (destruction of enemy air defence) missions will boost the power of the air force and will increase the probability of mission success.

SEAD and DEAD are usually the military operations performed to suppress the enemy based air defense including surface to air missiles, early warning radar, and the command control center by destroying them physically or electronically. India also tested its NGARM (New Generation Anti-Radar Missile) which was tested from SU30 MKI in Jan 2019. China also uses J-16 D aircraft for this purpose.


Karan Bisht

A defense aspirant trying to share and gain knowledge with you. Suggestions and corrections are welcomed in comment section.



    1. IAF is of course more powerful than PAF , induction of Rafale will make IAF even more powerful . Whereas the Chinese J-16 D specifications are mostly classified ( like most Chinese equipment ) . IAF is lacking only in AEW&Cs field which will soon be fulfilled by 2 PHALCON aircrafts.

      1. First, you need either R-37M or KS-172 with a home-on jamming ADDED function (not just either seeker OR H.O.J.

        You ordered 36 Rafales instead of 126, PLAAF already has 150 J-20. Pak already has 138 JF-17 block1+2 with 50 block.3 on order, added with 36 upcoming J-10C, and deliveries won’t take ages… IAF needs a minimum of 42-45 squadrons, actually, there is close to 15 Su-30 squadrons of 18… but 15 squadrons of Rafales and 15 squadrons of [21] Tejas would be needed, and, actually, squadrons of 24 divided as two “flotillas” or “wings” of 12 located in different places would be the best arrangement, and I’d recommand to not proceed further than 11 sqr of Su-30 [264 units, and add 11 units for attrition], then put up 17 sqrs of Rafale and 17 of Tejas [408+17 of each], this would mean a 1080 fighters air-force with 45 spare aircraft, then add 3 “flotillas” of 12+1 Rafale-M per aircraft carrier [let me provide the specs for India’s aicraft carriers and you’ll consider building 6 of these and sell yours! There would even be room for 54 if not 72 units onboard] so there’d be 72+6 and this is not exaggerated : PLAAF+PLANAF = 2350 jet fighters + 150 strategic bombers; PAF = 525 jet fighters : confronting an alliance you can be sure will soon reach 3000 jet fighters with only 1152 fighters? Even if CCP only sends PLANAF and half of PLAAF, IAF+INAA would already been if for a hard ride even if everything had already been replaced by Flanker, Rafale and Tejas TODAY!!!

        Meanwhile, HAL CEO opted to make a Tejas Mk1A prototype and test it for 20-24 months, err nobody makes a prototype when just upgrading avionics!!! Pakistan builds 25 JF-17 a year, HAL is only supposed to deliver 8 Tejas a year and in fact, they never exceeded 5!

        Moreover, in Aug. 2017, the Team-Rafale proposed all the necessary mods to make Tejas Mk1 nothing else than a single engine version of Rafale (Remember : the ADA bought the project from Dassault! There were two projects led in // to Rafale in case of French govt. reject on costs grounds : the Tejas and the SOKO Novi Avion… The SOKO prototype was 1 year from getting airborne when Yugoslavia collapsed. DRDO has EVERYTHING TO MAKE TEJAS Mk1 better than HAL wants to do with the Mk2 money scheme they’re leading! Same thing was done by Saab with Gripen-E, so now they want $95M per unit while “rafalizing” the Gripen-C/D (preferably the D version so you added the 2nd seat’s room for combat systems+fuel) wouldn’t had cost a lot more, could had been made within 3 years instead of 12 and such a Super-Gripen-D would had been far better than Gripen-E or Mirage-2000, note that Gripen-E performances are inferior to Mirage-2000-9 while Gripen-E is 200kg heavier.
        Everything but the BRS parachute and the structural mods (reinforced airframe = 11G, more payload per weapon station, +1000L internal fuel, half a ton less empty weight) has been tested and validated by DRDO : RBE-2/AESA [as powerful as F-35’s radar, allows Meteor BVRAAM too], SPECTRA’s active stealth as a standalone feature (IMHO, the full SPECTRA system can fit into the twin-seat version by discarding the rear seat and its pannel/stick, rudder etc), M88 engine in 73kN(DT)/98kN(Afterburner) version [M88 frees 1.09m³ on GE F404/414; Safran issued a 100kN dry thrust version since! This would be even better: dry thrust uses 2.5x less fuel than afterburner]; OSF-IT [2nd gen quantum IRST: passive stealth is useless] : Imagine what it means : a 6100kg Tejas with the thrust of the Emirati Mirage-2000-9 (7.8t empty; 6.8t payload) BUT… HAL doesn’t wants this! They want a Tejas Mk2 similar to Gripen-E ’cause it’ll be more expensive to produce!

        IAF has 5 AWACS but they also bought EL/M-2083 aerostat AWACS,
        Actually, if you want serious AEW&C, just plant a Nostradamus OTHR radar somewhere in the Jodpur, Bhopal, Agra triangle…
        Well, the Nostradamus has a 800km radius detection gap, but, when it still was at prototype status, it was already locating the B-2 Spirit from 3000km with 5km accuracy, and B-2 could have flown at 30ft altitude, it would had been detected anyway. We’re following Ariane space rockets launches in Kourou, Guyana, using the Nostradamus => ballistic launches from just 7000km, it also monitors ice-pack moves in the Arctic ocean. It’s the only 360° OTHR and likely the most powerful too… Now the only issue : €2 billions… Thus, it includes decades of R&D by the ONERA. A replica might be more cost-friendly.

        Some may ask me : “but how to get the money?”
        Well, there’s a clever thing to do, and it would allow IAF to fly about 3.5x more missions and rechannel half of the fighters budgets to buying new ones and you won’t need to buy these with their engines!!!
        Well, Rafale is half as cheap to operate as a Super-Hornet or a Viper and does the job of three of these since it can flyway much more!
        It took only 6 months to Dassault to replace the Rafale-A demonstrator GE F404 engines (same ones as Tejas) with the Safran M88, flight test it and fully validate the flyability!
        The M88 can be delivered in many versions and will cut fighters hourly costs by 50% for near all of them while cutting heavy aircraft cost of use by at least 30%
        – 50kN dry thrust (DT) for Jaguar
        – 100kN DT for Tejas, Mirage-2000, MiG-29, MiG-29K, Rafale-C/B
        – 100kN DT/115kN afterburner(AB) for Rafale-M
        – 100kN DT/115kN AB w. thrust vectorng for Su-30
        – M88 Propfan for P-8, B707, B737, Il-76, Il-78, Beriev A-50.
        (this version has already been demonstrated as a CFM56 replacement with a 30% fuel economy. Many Boeing heavies receive a CFM56. The first aircraft having flown w. the CFM56 was the KC-135, the tanker version of B707. Il-76 has already been succesfully tested with CFM56)

    2. IAF is more powerful than PAF, but the power gap is not huge. In a full scale war, PAF would inflict significant damage to IAF. Don’t listen to a few over optimistic hyper nationalist defense commentators who says in youtube that PAF can be dealt ‘easily” within 2 days. IAF lacks critical assets, has empty postions to fill, lacks in squadron strenght, has gaps in air defense. PAF has bigger issues, but until GOI and IAF sort iut issues, IAF would not have “overwhelming” advantage over PAF.

      1. Sub : I absolutely share your analysis, and I see this from Europe so I’m not blinded by nationalism since I’m not Indian at all…
        Actually, the issues are not only at IAF level : the military procurement process is absolutely insane, no matter if we speak about the AF, the navy or the land army.
        And it’s terrible since considering the strategic situation, GOI needs to be very reactive by being able to take the right decisions, and take them FAST, and no matter which party rules the country, as an Indian friend told me, it’s a cultural thing : they act like women standing at a garter shop’s counter for 8 hours to get a 1 Rupee discount but… just consider it’s a foggy day and Jack the Ripper is lurking in the street in front of the garter shop,now you have the right picture!

        First, when it comes to jet fighters, it seems that nobody gets it takes two years to build a jet-fighter, then, usually, you need 3 years to build an assembly line, this my be fast tracked into 2 years if workers are doing 3 shifts, 24/7/365…
        Some seem to believe that IAF can do with 72 Rafales and Tejas Mk2 would be the best way to go, but, Mk2 is a totally new aircraft, meaning that at best, it’ll take 10 years to have a prototype you can start to produce with deliveries starting 4 years later, moreover, look at how HAL manages it! While the JF-17 assembly line can deliver 25 aircraft a year, the Tejas assembly line is designed for 8, and can’t even deliver… At best, Tejas Mk.2 performances will be on par with Gripen-E => Inferior to what an upgraded Mirage-2000 would be, using Rafale’s baked-in radar absorbent materials and combat systems…
        People are speeaking about a 2 fronts war, well, first, PRC now has the biggest navy on the planet, before the end of the decade, they will be able to field 5-6 aircraft carriers w. much higher availability than the 50% of the Nimitz-class, 8 LHDs (3 have already been built, add 8x LPDs; 58x landing ships and even some improvised LHD made from commercial ships), while J-31 is close to be introduced as a carrier-borne aircraft and pictures of their V/STOL jet fighter have already “leaked”… So we’re speaking about a 3 fronts war while PLAN is creating a port in Sri-Lanka, and… using the small island in the strait, you can build a bridge using 15x 500m-4.7km sub sections, there is only 23.8km to cross, I don’t think it would take more than 5 container ships to bring a 3 or 4 ways modular floating bridge there, all that is needed is securing a beach head in Irumeni so Sri-Lanka would even be easier than the UK as a rear-base in June 1944… There had already been a beach-landing in Italy in 1943 adding to the Russian front => a 3 fronts war would be the way.

        When it comes to the IAF 42-45 squadrons estimation, it was OK under Den Xiao Ping… Jinping is making PRC a super-power, PLAAF+PLANAF already own 2350 jet fighters added with 150 strategic bombers and it’s fast growing :
        Recent sat imagery show that there now are about 150 J-20 stealth fighters while 2-3 years ago, these were estimated not being more than 50-60…

        On 704 first line jet-fighters in IAF inventories (the 30x Jaguar and 38x MiG-21U twin-seaters are not fully combat-capable), which means that IAF is down to about 34 fighter squadrons, 384 were built between 1978 and 1990… And so are the 30x Jaguar-B and 38x MiG-21U trainers which at best can be cantoned in the sky police job.
        In the end, there are only about 300 relevant aircraft with only 36 fit for countering stealth aircraft, and PRC already has 150 of these and, with upcoming J-31 an J-??, and better be aware that PRC managed to hack into Lockheed-Martin computers, syphoning 40 terabytes of data, and they’re obviously not doing the same mistakes as Lockheed.
        Do not underestimate ’em, just look at how they improved the MiG-21 with the J-8, J-7E, then JL-9 or JF-17. With the J-31, they’re doing what Lockheed should have done: they’re starting with a carrier-borne aircraft for PLANAF; PLAAF will surely end getting the J-31 in a lighter version w.o. folding wings, reinforced landing gear, sturdy arresting hook, while the V/STOL for LHDs is another aircraft.
        If a F-22 pilot said that Rafale is on par with F-22, better NOT consider J-20 and J-31 as pieces of cake…
        Some IAF brass said that J-20 ain’t stealth as Su-30 can see them on their radars BUT remember that J-20 has been pictured with Luneberg lenses, so they can be seen by radars when ferrying : where there ain’t a conflict no fly zone, even the US forces use these lenses so ATC can see them : you definitively don’t want collisions, neither with an airliner, nor with a Cessna!
        The only good news is that Shenyang returned to stealth coating : apparently, the Chinese baked-in radar absorbent material is not efficient, so, both J-20 and J-31 need re-coating=> They’re hangar queens, at least for now.

        End 2017/early-2018, I used to think that IAF needed A MINIMUM of 15 squadrons of 18 Su-30MKI, 15 Sqr of 18 Rafales and 15 Sqr of 21 improved Tejas Mk.1 using the M88/98kN(afterburner), the RBE-2/AESA, Meteor, OSF-IT, 1000L more internal fuel and SPECTRA’s standalone active stealth feature, and I saw it as the minimum to confront ChinPak on the condition that custom racks were being made to carry up to five Meteor BVRAAM or MICA-NG per weapon-stations. Since DRDO was validating all the Team Rafale proposal I lised her, I believed that Tejas Mk1A would implement these mods while using the GE F414 and conformal tanks as a stop-gap since HAL had already bought 99x F414, so, Mk1 would be upgraded as Mk1A w. F414, ending with 48 aircraft with 51 spare engines so, by the time the Mk2 came with the aforementioned features and an improved structure (you don’t need a prototype as long the flight profile ain’t modified! You just need to validate the mods, in this case : larger internal fuel tanks and reinforced airframe), so, if the building of the assembly lines for 2 squadrons of 21 was fas-tracked, deliveries culd start end-2021/early 2022.
        Same thing had a mass-order of 13 addtional Rafale-C/B squadrons been done…
        I hoped way too much from Nirmala…
        But I later learnt that Tejas Mk1A would just get some stupid avionics upgrade while HAL was promoting a Mk.2 using the same stupid recipe as Gripen-E and was willing to make a kinda Rafale-A using the outdated F414 engine!!!!
        C’mon, the Gripen-Demo = demonstrator for Gripen-E had its maiden-flight in 2008… We’re in 2022, the Gripen-E still hasn’t started deliveries, even if the tests are nearing their end! Brazil ordered an only existing on paper Gripen-E in 2011, they’ve just been given one of the prototypes in order to not start to think about cancelling!
        At best, since HAL has started to cut metal for Tejas Mk.2, they will come with a demonstrator by 2024-2025 if you’re optimistic, and 2038-2039 for deliveries, and knowing HAL, the assembly line will be for 8 units a year! HAL says the first flight of Tejas Mark 2 is expected to be in 2023 with series production to begin by 2026, they are f*cking kidding!!! The only way to achieve this is to “rafalize” the Mk1 and the use of the M88 instead of the GE F404/414 will make the Mk.1 better than what the Mk.2 can bring!
        HAL is in fact playing the clock and is lobbying against Dassault settling, but they’re just screwing their own aircraft while IAF is falling apart and HAL is UNABLE to deliver anything on schedule.

        If we consider actual conditions, to keep up with the Jonesses, IAF now needs
        – 11 squadrons of 24 Su-30MKI w. the Super-Sukhoi upgrades and to fit a RBE-2/AESA in the tail, OSF-IT, DDM-NG and SPECTRA
        – 17 squadrons of 24 “rafalized” Tejas based on the twin-seater airframe so the rear pilot can be replaced by the full SPECTRA system, engine being the 100kN dry-thrust-only (DT) M88 version
        – 17 squadrons of 24 Rafale-F4 (actual F3R can be upgraded)
        => each squadron should divide into two flotillas of 12, each flotilla in a wing of 4 aircraft. Several road bases should be created for each wing and with maximum secrecy, avoiding to take-off/land when there’s a spy sat over… each road base should have access to several road from an underground hangar with several entries.
        Think about the Sweddish cold-war secret bases…

        But there are so many issues that a more detailed report than this should be done for each issue, and coming with proposals to solve theses issues, and all these should be part of a big picture to orchestrate a comprehensive defence strategy.

    1. Stalin once declared about the military stuff that “numbers have a quality of their own”…
      IAF has about 760 jet-fighters in you include the 30 Jaguar-B and 38 MiG-21U supersonic trainers which are not fully combat-capable. Only 320 of these are not antiquities.
      PLAAF+PLANAF own about 2350 jet fighters (and 150 strategic bombers), not even a quarter of these are antiquities and there are already 150 J-20…
      In IAF today, how many pilots ever saw combat at least once? The few M2000 pilots who bombed Balakot. Abhi who shot down a F-16, then the Su-30 pilot who dodged the F-16s’ AMRAAMs on Feb.27th 2019.
      Kargil war pilots? It was 23 years ago! This means that a then rookie pilot is now 45 years old. Mark my words, if you’re still flying a jet fighter at 45y old, either you’re very lucky since you still have the same capailities you had in your twenties, which is extremely rare, or… you’re in a posture where you can coerce the medics into letting you fly combat jets while you’re no more fit for combat. Mark my words, if those who fought in Kargil are still in IAF, they’re now in offices or at best, they’re into heavy aircraft, but the most likely is that they left for some civilian airline since you have very few pilots willing to stay in an air-force if they don’t pilot and end into an office. The former RAF Team-Red Arrow leader who fought the Malvinas war, was RAF chief test pilot, then a test pilot for Flight International magazine ended barred from flying anything at the age of 62… He soon entered depression then committed suicide…

      Moreover, we’re speaking 5th gen aircraft when considering J-20 or Rafale, the best example in movies about how you fight 5th gen are… The Klingons’ vessels in Star Trek…
      I think the very las dogfights happened over Lebanon in 1982 or 1983.
      Do you know what is the result of hubris in a war?
      July 27th 1914:
      Germany: “Next week in Paris!”
      France : “Next week in Berlin!”
      November 11th 1918, after 23 millions were killed and 25 millions wounded badly, both : “It was hell on Earth, we shall act in a way it was the last war ever! Let’s create the SDN [ancestor of the UN] to prevent anything like this to ever happen again!”
      It didn’t took 20 years until several critters willing to rule the world made their way to power in nations with huge military potential… By May 8th 1945, around 80-100 millions more had been killed.

  2. ‘but such a quick response was not expected by anyone’………even a lay man could have told IAF that PAF would retaliate at the earliest……… could they not be ready??

    Feb 27th air battle was lost by IAF……………..PERIOD !!!

    1. Quick response Here Refers to Heavy Retaliation was never expected by country like PAK…..
      And Regarding Lost battle by IAF Everyone knows very well who holds record of LOST BATTLES.

      1. All ground targets missed, one F-16 lost for an antique MiG-21, while an Italian journo did an over 150 body count including 130+ DOA at the closest hospital to Balakot/Muzzafarabad/Chakoti where the IAF Feb.26th 2019 three strikes occured, and you can expect that those in ambulances were still alive when loaded to be moved to the hospital, so you can expect about no less than 75 immediate KIAs…
        Oh, BTW, on Twitter, there’s a nice video footage from Feb.27th 2019, geolocated into Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, in the Mirpur area, and you clearly saw 3 parachutes, two being green/white/orange/brown = Martin-Baker (F-16 ejector seat); one being white (MiG-21 parachute).
        BTW, Pak pretended that the US DoD counted their F-16s, this was denied by the Pentagon… One of the two F-16B/D’s pilots ended lynched by a mob, believing that the MB parachute was showing the Indian flag colours. It was obvious that Abhi had been beaten by the pictures shown by Pak.
        BTW, it’s a war crime to show a POW’s pictures to the press.
        Note that PAF had NO reaction when IAF “retributed” ISI-backed LeT/JeM terrorists in Balakot/Muzzafarabad/Chakoti. PAF also didn’t dared to go after the Navy-Seals when they “caught” Ossama in an Abbottabad compound on a land belonging to… ISI
        – “And Regarding Lost battle by IAF Everyone knows very well who holds record of LOST BATTLES.”-
        >>> North Vietnam lost all its battles against the Yankees but won the war in the end… According to Pak-Army [and Pak-Army only], Pak won all the battles they fought on India. This is surely by doing so that Pak-Army lost East-Pakistan which now is a democratic country. You know, some countries have an army, in Pakistan, the army has a country… IMHO, the next great victories for Pak-Army will be losing Baloshistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa while peacefully returning POK (Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir) to India.
        If you want to have a better understanding of Pak-Army, I recommand you the book “Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army’s Way of War” by Dr. C. Christine Fair of Georgetown University… Well, if you can’ read, you can watch one of the conferences she gave about her book, moreover, she has great sense of humour, so it’s really fun!
        She told so much the truth in her book that she’s now PNG in Pakistan and got a phonecall from a Pak-Army brass that if she ever lays a foot in Pak again, she’ll end r*ped by a cavalry regiment, to which she replied she felt good about it as long as she hadn’t to do it with the horses… She’s known for having coined the term of “terrorism under a nuclear umbrella” about Pak. Note that I don’t condone anything she may say or write but “Fighting to the End” is a wonderful Academic work that includes an exhaustive analysis about anything published by Pak-Army since 1948…

    2. No bro. They came with full prep. but still IAF managed to shoot one of PAF’s most advance fighter , F 16. This is not a lose.

  3. IAF needs urgently the MK2 Tejas / Naval variants and of course the AMCA on the table on War footing.

    1. Nope Chandrasekar Raghupathy! You won’t like what I will write at the start but you’ll LOVE what I’ll write in the end!
      Indian Navy doesn’t wants a single-engine jet fighter.
      Tejas Mk2 is a STUPID IDEA and has ZERO chances to show up before 2036:
      Look, Mk2 applies the same stupid recipe Saab applied on the Gripen as Gripen-C came with the same weak points as Tejas and using the same engine, the GE F404 :
      Both Tejas Mk1 and Gripen-C/D lack internal fuel and thrust, so, Saab opted to do like Boeing wth the Hornet=> Super-Hornet thing :
      Put a more mowerful version of the F404 in, the F414 then stretch the airframe to put more fuel in… But what happens in the end? A totally new aircraft, and a much heavier one which end with lesser qualities than one intended for this category of weight : Look : a an aircraft (combat systems are smth else), the Super-Hornet is inferior on ANY POINT to Rafale!
      The Gripen-E ends weighting, sizing, thrusting pretty similar to the “on steroid” Emirati-only Mirage-2000-9 but… Gripen-E payload : 5300kg… M2000-9 : 6800kg, and the M2000-9 is faster too…
      Moreover… The Gripen-Demo, the demonstrator for Gripen-E/F had its maiden flight in 2008. We’re in 2022 and the Gripen-E/F are still waiting to be introduced at IOC (initial operational capability) with its only clients that are Sweden and Brazil, both having ordered a paper plane long before it even went airborne….
      So, when HAL says that Tejas Mk.2 will have a maiden flight in 2024 and they will start to deliver squadrons in 2026, look at the Tejas Mk1 timeline : ADA+HAL took much longer at making the Tejas Mk.1 than Saab with the Gripen-A/B, now look at Mk1A : there are only avionics upgrade using off the shelves components. It was announced in 2015-2016, no deliveries to expect before 2024 (if you’re optimistic). Well, the Rafale F4 standard was decided end 2019 with ground breaking new technologies like a totally new form of plasma discovered by ONERA’s DEMR lab not very long ago. Rafale testbed tested the F4.1 upgrade in 2021, before the end of the year, French Rafale fleet had started to be upgraded, the upgrade campaign will be over in 2022 and brand you Rafale F4 will start to be delivered in 2023, all previously built Rafales can receive the F4.1up, the F4.2up being already scheduled by 2025-2027!

      Mk.2 being a totally new aircraft, if the demonstrator maiden flight happens in 2022-2023 as promised, stop dreaming, it won’t be operational at a faster pace than the Gripen-E, in other terms, not before 2036-2037 and with HAL not even building the 8 Tejas they’re supposed to deliver each year (they’re delivering less than 4!), even if a 2nd assembly line is being built, thanks to the order of 73 Mk1A, which means 3 years to build the assembly line and 2 more years to start deliveries…

      As for AMCA… Don’t you understand that the passive stealth used by F-117, B-2, F-22, F-35, J-20 and J-31 has been made obsolete by Rafale’s active cancellation of radar waves, and now, being reinforced by a new form of plasma that comes without the issues of all other plasmas that have been tested and are totally unpractical, making such an aircraft is throwing money by the windows??? Do you know what the Dassault NGF is about? The skin will be made of graphene, a supra-conductor 100x harder than the best steel that melts at 3652°C, 1000°C more than the Space Shuttle’s heat shield and the “aircraft” will be fit with a Reaction Control System (RCS) just like space-ships… French DM Florence Parly told the AF cadets to stop thnkng about air-combat and start thinking about space combat, while Dassault CEO was spotted saying things like “you know, space combat won’t look like Star Wars’ dogfights at all!”.
      Considering the R&D costs, the only countries that are still able to dev a new gen aircraft on their own are USA and China, and even the Yankees are looking for partnerships in order to drive the costs down (can’t happen with Lockheed leading the project, same with BAe in the UK. Lockheed former CEO once said that by 2054, a single combat aircraft would syphon one full year of US military budget!!!).

      MOREOVER, a greatly working stop-gap can be made even from already existing Tejas but…
      HAL rejects this stuff because they won’t be able to syphon as much money out of it, and they play on a NIH-syndrome to torpedo this while IAF BADLY NEEDS TO REPLACE THE FIGHTER FLEET THAT IS FALLING APART WHILE PRC NOW OPERATES 150 5th gen J-20!!!!
      Moreover, this came as a part of the Rafale contract offsets so nonetheless you already paid for this, but every knowledge necessary has been delivered as soon as Aug.2017 and the tools to make it in 2018/2019 !!!!

      1.) Safran M88 engine in 73kN dry thrust/98kN afterburner was delivered to DRDO in 2018. Flight tests on Tejas were scheduled for spring 2020 but were postponed due to pandemic… Not easy to get infos on such a subject but I suppose these have already been done by now.
      a.) M88 has 20cm less diameter than F404/414 and has a 1.34m³ overall volume compared to F404/414’s 2.43m³… Tejas lacks internal fuel? Now you can stuff as much internal fuel as in a Mirage-2000 or in a F-16 which are both much bigger than a Tejas Mk1. Moreover, dry thrust (DT) goes as far as 73kN vs. 57.8kN for F414
      Even better : since 2018, Safran has worked a lot : they’ve shown a 100kN dry-thrust only version… So, what happens there? As there’s no more afterburner (AB) stage, the engine ends being even shorter, lighter and with less airflow requirements, but the best feature is that you burn 2.5x less fuel as with afterburner for the same thrust
      b.) M88 has also other interesting features : when GE F404/414 only allow 4 missions per 24h in intensive use, M88 allows 6 missions in normal use and up to 11 in intensive use, this is why a single Rafale does the job of 3 F-16 or Super-Hornets : it can fly way much more : Rafales have been delivered to India in a single non-stop flight. You can fly for more than 10 hours a day even in a single flight. Only airliners and Rafale can do this, BTW, most of airliners use the CFM56 (M56 project!) or CFM LEAP that were also designed by Safran, and use a modular design which already allowed the M53 mounted on Mirage-2000 to perform 6 missions/24h.
      c.) HAL+Safran joint venture has been given the green light to produce the M88 in India! Actualy, the JV is running for a long time as Turbomeca is part of the Safran group and the HAL+Turbomeca JV produces helicopter engines as well as the Adour jet engine for decades !!!!
      d.) The Yankees will never accept their engines to be licence-built in India, so you will have to bow to Uncle Sam for both Tejas Mk1 and Mk2 if you go on using the F404/414
      e.) The Super-Hornet real hourly cost is US$24k per hour according to Australian MinDef. The Rafale’s hourly cost felt from $16.5k/h to $10-12k/h with the introduction of the M88-4e. Using M88 rather than F414 will slash the cost of use by about 50% and, just like for cars, except it’s worse with aircraft, the biggest spending is NOT the purchase! Why d’you think Airbus and Boeing are ruling the civilian market while being way more expensive than Tupolev, Ilyushin or AVIC? The costs of use are much lower!
      f.) Remember that M88 uses a classified system that makes the engine come with the lowest IR signature on market and that the exhausts are made of radar absorbent materials… When it comes to Rafale, you don’t speak only about active stealth for radars, there’s also IR low-observability : you don’t want any 1st gen QWIP to spot you from 270km+ as soon as you use the afterburner…

      2.) RBE-2/AESA has been modified to fit in the Tejas small nose. The Thales T/R modules do the job of two T/R modules on other AESA radars. So Tejas can have a radar as powerful as what the big-nosed F-22 and F-35 have! Moreover, RBE-2/AESA is one of the 4 radars that qualify to use the Meteor BVRAAM, you can’t do this by using the Elta EL/M-2052 or the ULAM.
      RBE-2/AESA is also know for being able to work as a passive radar, using the phones, Land-TV, satellites, even Wi-Fi or baby-phones as emitters… Passive stealth doesn’t works arund 2.3-2.4GHz where these EM emissions operate!!!! BTW, RBE-2/AESA has been improved for the Rafale F4 standard.

      3.) OSF-IT is a 2nd gen QWIP, if you prefer, a 2nd gen quantum-well IRST. When China spoke about their 1st gen prototype, it was mistranslated as “quantum radar”. They said their prototype can see F-22 from 100km, well, guess what? OSF “1” was already doing this in the early 00’s, the 2nd gen performances are classified but rumours say it exceeds the Meteor’s maximum range, and a 3rd gen is scheduled for Rafale F4.2 upgrade. DDM-NG (Rafale’s DAS), TALIOS and AREOS pods use this technology too. Maybe the extended range comes from the teaming/datafusion of OSF-IT with DDM-NG and maybe added with one of the pods through a multi-mirrors telescope effect? I can’t tell!!! BTW, it’s in colour (!) TALIOS has been shown able to identify the low-visibility roundels on aircraft at +55km. You’re not stealth for OSF-IT

      4.) Tejas being too small to fit the full SPECTRA system, Thales designed a standalone version of SPECTRA’s active cancellation stealth feature : Tejas enters the 5th generation.
      NOTE : The Tejas twin-seater and the naval version have an airframe that is a little extended in height. You simply can stuff more systems into the rear seat area, so, IMHO, the full SPECTRA system (and some others) can be stuffed if the land-based single-seat airframe is discarded for the Tejas-B/M one

      1.) BRS parachute : saves the aircraft in case of engine/critical failure

      2.) Reinforced airframe : cuts half a ton in weight if combined with M88/98kN : ADA/HAL did some errors in the structure design ending with a heavier while less tough airframe that could have been made. This structure will directly fit the M88 with extended internal fuel tanks while allowing higher payload per weapons stations and the airframe to do 11G manoeuvres just like the Rafale

      HAL has already bought 99 GE F414 engines in order to arm-bing GOI into making the Mk.2.
      The F414 being a drop-in replacement for the F404, let’s use the same solution used for F-16s since they have been fit with way more powerful engines than the early F100-PW-220 with 105.7kN afterburner : today’s F-16 are usually fit either with the F100-PW-229 (129.7kN) or the F110-GE-129 (130kN) but EAU’s F-16 are fit with the F110-GE-132 of 145kN thrust.
      What was the solution allowing more fuel onboard?
      Conformal Fuel Tanks (CFTs). This is also available for F-15, Super-Hornet, MiG-29 SMT, Rafale, Typhoon, Korean F-5s fly with CFTs, Kh-55SM cruise missile, NASA’s X-15, etc…
      note that F-15E CFTs also add extra avionics systems
      => SO you can bring more thrust to even the existing Tejas, fit the RBE-2/AESA and so Tejas can use the Meteor, have more onboard fuel, add the SPECTRA system and eventually OSF-IT inside the CFTs. You may even consider a BRS parachute!
      Now it’s clear you’d better have the definitive “Super-Tejas” version w. improved airframe so you have much more payload, a sturdier airframe able to dodge the nastiest AAMs and you still can use CFTs but there, they’ll add to the extra internal fuel,
      BUT with 99 F414 engines in storage, you can go on building classic Mk1/1A until an assembly line able to produce at least two squadrons of “Super-Tejas” a year once deliveries start…
      Considering HAL’s low delivery rate, ending with 48 “classic” Mk1 added with some spares, and having a spare engine for each aircraft would sound OK to me…
      Oh, BTW, considering that the Mirage-2000-9 empty weight is 7800kg and carries up to 6.8t payload with 3200L internal fuel, what could be the payload of a 6t Super-Tejas with the same internal fuel and even a little more powerful engine? Surely more than a 8t Tejas Mk.2 with the same thrust!
      How to pack the money to pay for IAF modernisation and fast-track this w.o. tax-payers willing to hang the GOI?

      As I pointed, the M88 can slash about 50% in a jet-fighter cost of use while tripling-quadrupling its availability
      Now, M88 can come in several version with DT (dry thrust) only, with AB (afterburner) and now even as a Propfan which can replace the… CFM56 and the CFM LEAP. It slashes 30% of fuel consumption (and of pollution too) on the CFM56 (the leap only slashes 15%). Propfans are way more fuel efficient than Turbofans up to Mach 0.8-0.85
      To replace the Rafale-A two GE F404 with two M88 when M88 hit the market, it took 6 months of work to Dassault to adapt the Rafale-A, then fly test it with a F404 and a M88, then replace the remaining F404 and validate the aircraft to use M88 alone…
      So… Let’s slash IAF’s annual costs, thanks to M88 !!!!
      Here are some versions that are already available or with deliveries that can start under 18 months, then the aircraft this version can fit advantageously and even allow to stuff more internal fuel for the most of them :

      50kN DT : Jaguar
      100kN DT : Tejas, Mirage-2000, Rafale-C/B, MiG-29, MiG-21
      115kN AB : Rafale-M (better have an over-power option for STOBAR use!)
      M88 Propfan: P-8 Poseidon, B707, B737, Il-76, Il-78, A-50 Mainstay (Il-76 has been successfully tested with CFM56)
      115kN AB/TV (thrust Vectoring) : Su-30MKI
      Su-30MKI may seem odd but its two Saturn engines are 623kg heavier than M88 and are more fuel thirsty so, in the end, with fuel allowing the same range, there will be no losses of Thrust/Weight ratio !!! Considering the huge size of the Su-30’s engine, you’re likely to be able to add 5000-6000L of internal fuel

      By proceeding this way, it would free enough money to pay for two full Super-Tejas and Rafale squadron a year.
      BTW, with a Super-Tejas listing $45-46M flyaway cost (the half of Gripen-E or F-16V) and with a hourly cost of about $5-6k, the aircraft can even sell in countries which renounced using jet fighters as they couldn’t afford the 4th gen, mostly due to costs of use! Done the way I explained, it can replace MiG-21/23/27/29, Su-17/22, Mirage-III/5/F1/2000, F-16, F-5, F-18, F-4, Su-25, Jaguar, J-7, A-4, A-7, A-6, Kfir, etc… Actually, there are several thousands of aircraft that could be sold to nations that can’t afford to replace their antiquities or, just consider Ireland or Cyprus getting daily airspace violations and unable to do sky-police

      So, the Tejas Mk2 is a dumb idea and when it comes to AMCA, you’d better consider joining the France/Germany/Spain Team-NGF and directly go 6th generation… PRC already has a QWIP prototype, by the time you get your highly F-35-inspired AMCA, even the JF-17 will have a QWIP and the ability to club all these so-called 5th gen aircraft just like one clubs baby seals.
      It’s the NIH syndrome that is now screwing the USA with the flying turd named F-35 : Boeing could come with the F-15SE silent Eagle and the Advanced Super-Hornet but they’d need to either use French systems or get some licence to use the patents protecting these devices… As Linus Thorvald said, “The NIH syndrome is a disease”.

      At the present day it’s neither a Tejas Mk2 nor an AMCA that is needed, it’s to mass build the Tejas Mk.1 with the mods that will make it truly great, it’s also to mass build the Rafale, improve the Su-30 MKI, this can be done and fast tracked by replacing the engines with one that will dramatically reduce the costs of use of the fleet and so slash billions of $ in costs of use per year while multiplying the availability of the aircraft used, giving them the ability to do the job by having the right weapons onboard, and in enough numbers, e.g. by having the Su-30MKI added with a RBE-2/AESA in the tail, by having double, triple, quadruple, quintuple ejector racks for the Meteor/MICA-NG BVRAAMs and having these in serious numbers, not just 2 or 4 per Rafale : there might be close to 3000 first line jet fighters to shoot down, not counting 2nd line aircraft UCAVs, choppers, etc, getting some R-37M or KS-172 fielded to take care of AEW&C/EW assets from long range, actually, I’d even consider using the big missile or some BrahMos-NG as a carrier for a smaller missile like MICA-IR/EM which weights 114kg or, in case of smaller warhead weight on the non modified missile, consider re-using the Vympel R-60 retired at the same time as MiG-23/27 and customise these with a MICA-IR seeker : the problem with big missiles like the R-37M or KS-172 is that they’re too heavy to go after jet-fighters, moreover, using them as a carrier for smaller missiles can hoghly extend the range, in a similar way to some bullets of small caliber shot with a discarded “sabot” then, the smaller missiles flies with a ballistic trajectory and fires its engine just for the interception and to allow a 2nd or 3rd attack if dodged.

      Now, what would you chose?
      A Tejas Mk2 in 2035 or to make Tejas Mk1 better than Mk.2 will ever be and mass build it NOW?
      An hypothetic AMCA using stealth technologies that are already obsolete for about 15 years since everybody knows how to bust these while more efficient active stealth devices are fit on Rafale and can be fit on Tejas Mk.1?
      Maybe should you consider to directly imply in a 6th gen project capable of prompt global strikes built in partnership since none of the partners would be able to fund the R&D on his own, then get it before the AMCA would become operational???

  4. Lzzy Good advice, make sense MoD/ADA/HAL/DRDO/PSU of India will never learn or listen or taking accountability to this, they are not organized how to spend wisely and get the work done in time. I like your idea on Super Tejas. It’s big down when it comes to combat Radius of Tejas its awful need to improve a lot and get rid of external drop tanks instead use those hard points for armaments. BTW Tejas is a tiny fighter aircraft jet with less no hard points, needs tiny mods to add two more hard points in each wings tip like mk2.

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