My Take


Sameer Joshi who is a former Mirage 2000 pilot, Kargil war veteran and a satellite imagery expert has put together multiple freely available video from the Pakistani side of Kashmir where four Pakistani F-16 positioned close to in Naoshera sector seems to have fired at least 4 to 5 AIM-120C5 at lone Sukhoi Su-30MKI which Pakistan had initially denied but later retracted and confirmed that it only fired two AMRAAMs and killed two fighter jets of IAF.

Video grab compiled by Joshi clearly shows at least 4 AMRAAMs fired by four F-16s while performing a Classic Beyond visual range HOT/COLD grind against a lone IAF Su-30MKI. The picture shown above shows the positioning of all the F-16s and position of the Su-30MKI which successfully dodged 4-5 AMRAAMs using a combination of flares and onboard anti-jamming equipment. Continue reading


India has started the process of acquiring the National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System-II (NASAMS-II) from the US in what it claims will secure Aerial threats from drones to ballistic missiles for the National capital area. India will be spending nearly 6,000 crores for a missile system which it can develop locally and in fact, already has in its current inventory… so why does India even need this missile system?

Fact is that SPYDER-MR short and medium-range mobile air defense system is quite similar to the NASAMS-II Air Missile System and is a combination of short-to-medium range air-to-air missile, each missile system comprises of a Radar unit, EO Units, and Missile Launchers. SPYDER-MR is made of Python-5 and Derby Air-to-Air missiles and NASAMS-II are made of AIM-120 and Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile Air-to-Air missiles and both missile system are designed to take down aerial threats ranging from Drones to sub-sonic cruise missiles and have a similar range of 50-70km depending on the AIM-120 variant which India will be purchasing. Continue reading


As time passing , tussle between US and Iran getting advance. After ending many waivers to buyers of Iranian oil now Donald Trump posted a threatening tweet against Iran which is really a matter of serious concern. On the other side Iran government has vowed to protect its territory at any cost. Tensions between Washington DC and Tehran gets heat when a unknown rocket was fired into the Iraqi capital Baghdad’s highly protected green zone on 19th June at night, falling near the American Embassy but causing no casualties. Although there are tensions in the gulf but it seems US is not in the mood of war and Trump publicly appealed to Iran to call him, the white house contacted the Swiss on 9th may to share a phone number the Iranians could call the white house.

But Swiss likely won’t hand over the number unless the Tehran asked for it. Well US asked Swiss for this help because since 1980 after Islamic Revolution in Iran there are no diplomatic relation between US and Iran. But on 10th may Iranian Islamic revolutionary guards head said Iran would not talk to US. Continue reading


The United States is going all out to prevent the purchase of S-400 missile defense system by India after it rejected a more expensive offer of THAAD and MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile system (SAM) and as per latest speculation in the media is open to offering India it’s F-35 Stealth fighter jet and place in the supply ecosystem of the F-35 program, which will enable Lockheed Martin to set up local production line in India and help in India’s own development of AMCA 5th Generation fighter jet Program.

For starters, there is no clarity if F-35 will be offered in place of F-21 and F-18 to India with the option of local assembly but Washington is likely to pull the plug on Turkey from the F-35 program and canceling orders for confirmed orders of 100 F-35s, speculation is ripe that India will be offered to fill the shoes left vacant by Turkey which was also part of the supply ecosystem of the F-35 program. Continue reading


Dassault RAFALE is an omni role fighter and is best suited for India after the non-recurring €1.3 billion paid on design and development of India Specific Enhancements. France is pitching this fighter in the upcoming MMRCA 2.0 tender for 114 fighter jets. But, if the cost per plane of the latest F4 version when it is manufactured in India exceeds beyond the budget limit set for the tender, the IAF will be forced to look at other options. And, the most suitable contender after RAFALE is the MIG 35 with India specific enhancements aka MIG 35 MKI.

MIG 35 is a Russian 4++ generation fighter which incorporates a new PHAZOTRON ZHUK AE AESA Radar, Newly designed Optical locator system, Fifth generation information sighting system and stealth coating. Also, post MMRCA, MIG 35 is incorporated with a modified state of the art onboard defence complex and opto-electronic reconnaissance stations, used only in top notch fourth generation and fifth generation fighters. Continue reading


TAIS, which is a Turkish consortium founded by the owners of the top five leading shipyards of Turkey recently grabbed a tender worth $2.3-billion to build five fleet support tankers of 45,000-tonne ships for the Indian Navy with local shipyards in India. TAIS by de facto will be in charge of the program an even chip in with its design expertise and engineering services to support the development of these ships which will be built in India in state-owned shipyards.

According to previous tender documents which had gone through in the past, 45,000-tonne fleet support tankers will need to house 190 sailors and 24 officers along with one multi-role helicopter and has capable of speeds “not less than 20 knots of maximum continuous speed. fleet support tankers usually move with other warships when in sea patrolling missions or part of Carrier strike group, this should have raised some eyebrows back home which clearly is missing in local media. Continue reading


In 2019, IAF has deficient of nearly 240 jets but the purchase of an additional 18 Sukhoi-Su-30MKI, 21 Mig-29, 36 Dassault Rafale and induction of LCA-Tejas will act as stop act measure but by 2025 the gap will only widen to the shortage of fighter jets to 300.

By 2025, IAF fighter Squadron fleet will be hovering around 27 Squadrons after a host of retirements of Mig-21 and Mig-27 fleet post-2020. Shortage of nearly 300 fighter aircraft will have crippling effects on the operational readiness of the Indian air force. Even with emergency procurement of 36 Dassault Rafale and an additional squadron of Sukhoi-Su-30MKI will have little effect on operational availability of the air force. Continue reading


Trump administration is upping its pressure on India by sending high-level officials from Pentagon and security affairs within weeks of Modi 2.0 government taking over charge of the country and main focus seems to prevent the procurement of Russian S-400 Air defense system by Indian air force which is recently thwarted multiple air intrusion attempts in its western sector with Pakistan where AWACS aircraft flying deeper inside Pakistani air space was coordinating failed strikes inside Indian side of Kashmir.

IAF will be procuring only Two long-range missile system which is part of four missile family of the S-400 Air defense system. IAF will be only getting Very Long range 40N6 (400 km) and the medium range 48N6 (250km) which could come handy on taking down high-value targets flying well within Pakistani air space. On the Eastern sector, 40N6 (400 km) will come handy as deterrence against Chinese air force operating from their Tibetan air space. Continue reading


The raging debate in India off late has been if PAF’s use of F-16 equipped with AIM-120-C5 AMRAAM beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) was a turning point at why IAF was not capable of engaging its framed Russian supplied R-77 BVRAAMs against the intruding jets and had to rely on its R-73 Close Combat Missile fired from an old Mig-21Bis at a close distance of less than 10km. PAF F-16s fired their AIM-120-C5 missiles at long range, probably at distance in excess of 60km which was easily dodged by India’s Ace Sukhoi-Su-30MKI fighter jet, which never got the firing clearance from the missile system, not due to any glitch but due to facts that Su-30MKI was operating at much lower altitude then the F-16s and all missile don’t work as per their advertised range .

Vympel R-77 has a stated range of 100 km against a head-on target at high altitude but at low altitude, it can fire at head-on targets at 20 km, numbers change again when the target engagement is tail-chase and the range falls drastically and at high altitude, it’s just 25km and drops to 5km when the aircraft is flying at low altitude. Continue reading


DRDO recently carried out back to back trials of Akash-1S with the new Ku-band Seeker which vastly improves Kill-probability of the indigenous air defense system which was first conceived in the ’80s. Akash Air Defence system after years of delays has finally been accepted by the Indian Army and Indian Air force as a reliable weapons system to engage aerial intrusions and recently units of the Akash Air Defence system have been moved closer to the Pakistani border in Punjab sector due to the limited range of the missile system.

Indo-Israeli MRSAM Air Defence system which has a range of 70km is facing slow order rates due to the high production cost of the unit, due to which DRDO was commissioned to work on the successor of the Akash Air Defence with better range and which can act as a cheaper supplement to the MRSAM System. Akash-Mk2 has been under development for some few years now and the new missile system will be a modern unit which a range of 40km and will act as a bridge between Akash-1s and MRSAM Air Defence system. Continue reading


In Heat of the moment, Indian Air Force Air Defence unit which was equipped with SPYDER (Surface-to-air PYthon and DERby) which is a short and medium-range mobile air defense system developed by Israel, shot down a Mi-17-V Helicopter belonging to the IAF itself in the first case of friendly fire which killed six crew of the ill-fated Helicopter that day but due to secrecy which has been maintained about the investigation which was launched soon after incident, two version or two theories have been floated by the Indian media through their sources, both equally disturbing , yet IAF is yet to clarify and disclose what really happened that day.

Lack of official clarity regarding what happened to the Mi-17 and its Pilots and passengers that day also allowed Pakistani military-backed defense analysts to float their own theory which they are spreading for their own local consumption and are using it has propaganda against India at the International level. Continue reading


The raging debate in the Indian media off late has been, Should India overlook American offer of American Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) so that it can give up the purchase of S-400 Long range Aerial defense system from Russia in lieu of THAAD American anti-ballistic missile defense system designed to shoot down short, medium and intermediate-range ballistic missiles in their terminal phase by intercepting with a hit-to-kill approach.

While both systems are totally different and it is likely comparing Apples to Oranges but the debate is going around why S-400 might be a game changer weapons system for the Indian air defense units against strategic targets like AWACS, Mid-air refueling aircraft but THAAD actually is the weapon system which has the ability to knockout Nuclear capable Ballistic missiles and holds much better value in a full-scale war then S-400 which will have limited utility . Continue reading


Exactly today, 42 years ago, the first prototype of Sukhoi-Su-27 took off from a remote Soviet air base piloted by Major General Vladimir Sergeyevich Ilyushin who was Chief test pilot working for Sukhoi OKB, which went on to change the course of History in Soviet Aerospace engineering and became the definitive Soviet fighter design coming from a era where it’s derivatives still dominate the skies and still is most feared Soviet-Russian fighter jet in the sky.

Sukhoi-Su-27 was conceived as Soviet union’s answer to American development of F-15 Eagle Air superiority fighter and once in production export variants were quickly offered to India and China in the early ’90s but India was rather later to react and China which had last imported Mig-21 fighter jet and copied it into J-7 variant, leading to a self imposed arms embargo on China But after the fall of Soviet Union which was cash trapped, China was quick to place orders. Continue reading


India’s premier aerospace and defence company, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is working on LCA Mk1A is an improved version of LCA with enhanced capabilities of Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar, Advanced Missiles, Advanced Electronic Warfare suite, New Mission & Avionics System and more maintenance friendly features, for which development activities are under progress but what Indian Air force wants might not be required by potential customers and to address this issue, HAL is planning to offer two or three customization package.

After interacting with many potential buyers, HAL has learned that many want lesser types of equipment then asked by IAF but it will be difficult to develop customized variants if the order is of small quantity but HAL will be offering plug and play systems which can be added or removed to lower costs so that tender is not lost due to price factor alone. Continue reading


US aerospace giant Lockheed Martin India head Vivek Lall recently said in a interview that if his company wins orders for its F-21 from India then F-21 fighter jet will not be sold to any other country if India places an order for 114 planes. lall also added that if Lockheed wins the contract, it will not only set up a state-of-the-art F-21 manufacturing facility along with the Tata Group but will also help India create an ecosystem for overall growth of the country’s defense manufacturing.

While Lall was asked how F-21 is similar to Lockheed’s F 16 Block 70 combat jet, he said such a view is unfair as there have been significant differences between the two platforms. An example given by Lall was that F-21 will have 12,000 hours of service life airframe compared to 8000 hours previously seen in F-16 Block 70 which is an absolute gimmick because U.S. Air Force had commissioned structural work studies known as service life extension program (SLEP) which will encompass lengthening the lifespan of up to 300 F-16C/D Block 40-52 aircraft from 8,000 to 12,000 flight hours and is not F-21 Exclusive at all, in fact, will be carried out even on older F-16s so has to keep the fighter jets flying past 2048. Continue reading

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