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BRASSTACKS: PAF vs IAF in 1987

dexter

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BRASSTACKS: PAF vs IAF in 1987

Analysis done by Sarmad Hassan Sharif

In the winters of 1986 the Indian army geared up for large military exercise in Rajasthan state near the Indo-Pak border under the code “Operation Brasstacks”. It was the brain child of General Sundarji of Indian army and was to monitored and executed by his instructions. It was very unique in nature and was mainly planned to be conducted near the India-Pakistan border in Rajasthan. It composed of at least two lacs and fifty thousand troops as well as armoured vehicles and air force.

Objectives of the Brasstacks were very vague. It was a military exercise in order to check and test the capabilities of Indian forces. But it has a political significance also. It was planned so to put pressure on Pakistan to stop supporting insurgency in Indian Punjab where Sikhs has started 'Free Khalistan Movement'.
It was peacetime and January 1987 when the Indian Army began moving from the East to West, from South to West from the North to the West. They moved in trains, civilian aircraft and convoys. No Indian saw a military movement on such a large-scale and of this nature. It could only be a preparation for war. Pakistan was caught at a very critical stage, as it was already engaged on its western borders. The threat perception at that time was:

1. Defence of nuclear facilities from a joint Indo-Israel air raid;
2. Attack by Joint Soviet-Afghan Forces on the Durand Line in order to capture key areas;
3. Infiltration of mercenaries from the Western Border;
4. Countering the numerically superior Indian Armed Forces.

Nonetheless Pakistan Armed Forces took to their battle stations and a large scale counter mobilization started. AAA and SAM units were moved in to cover the Vital Points and Vital Areas. Armored columns assumed their offensive and defensive formations. Artillery was placed accordingly alongside well dug-in tanks. Hatf-1 missile were also deployed alongside MBRL Rocket Launchers. Pakistan Army was not only limited to the Southern Sector, it stretched its resources from Kashmir to Kutch. The ammunition, fuel and other military stockpiles were to last for at least one month in case of a conflict.

Pakistan Navy deployed its submarines against the possible threat of an Indian blockade and tasked them to monitor the movement of the Indian Surface Fleet as well as engage any intruding Indian Submarine. PN Surface Fleet was tasked to escort any merchant ship entering or leaving Pakistani territorial waters. Additional surveillance from Atlantic Maritime Aircraft and Mirage VPA3 of No. 8 Squadron were to carry out additional aerial sorties. Missile boats were armed and deployed to ward off any attack mounted by the Indian Navy as they did in 1971. Pakistan Navy was equipped with Harpoon and Exocet missiles, as well as Chinese Silkworm Missiles and the Chinese variant of Styx Missiles. With the advent of these missiles the navy was confident that it won't let the Indian Navy 'A Walk in the Park' as it did in 1971. Earlier a demonstration had been given in which a ship was dispatched by an Exocet missile. Also the Exocet had performed exceptionally well in the Falklands Conflict. Harpoon missile had its own reputation as a deadly AShM.

PAF OF THE MID 80s
The main responsibility however fell on the shoulders of the PAF. On paper PAF had ~ 400 combat capable mission, but owing to aircraft attrition, serviceability, overhauling and maintenance, only 300 aircraft could be fielded at a specific time. PAF also had 50-60 F-6 aircraft which were in HOT storage, and could be made operational in a short time if needed.



GENERAL DYNAMICS F-16A/B FIGHTING FALCON: An outcome of PAF's requirement in countering modern Soviet/Afghan aircraft, PAF had 28 F-16A and 11 F-16B, Block-15 variants (one B model was lost in an operational accident in December 1986). The F-16 was armed with all aspect AIM-9L Sidewinders, and rear aspect AIM-9P Sidewinders. They were also equipped with the French Thomson CSF ATLIS-II Laser Designator Pod to deliver the latest French and American Laser Guided Bombs. The AN/ALQ-131 ECM pod and the ALR-69 RWR provided the basis for self defence against the enemy fighters. The Air to Ground modes of the F-16 also enabled the pilots to deliver MK-82, MK-83 and MK-84 Iron Bombs with pinpoint accuracy. PAF also received the latest AGM-65B Maverick Missiles which could take out high priority ground targets with the attacking aircraft at a relatively safe distance. Although there were rumors that PAF had obtained AGM-88 HARM missile for SEAD missions, it is most likely that they operated AGM-45 SHRIKE missiles. The CBU-87 Cluster Bomb was also a game changer.

However the limited number of F-16s meant that they had to be used sparingly. The force of 39 F-16s was thus split in three parts:

1. Air Defence Fighters
2. SEAD and Fighter escort
3. Deep Strike / Nuclear Strike

DASSAULT MIRAGE V PA/PA2/DPA2: The Mirage-V had an extended range than the Mirage-III and was an excellent surface attack aircraft. It was fast, and had a large arsenal of air to ground weapons. The Mirage V had the capability to attack using the following weapons:

1. MK-84/MK-83/M-82 General Purpose Iron Bombs
2. Durrandel Runway Denial Munitions
3. BLU-27 Napalm Bomb
4. AS.30/AS.30L Missiles
5. Matra Type 155 rocket launcher — 18 SNEB 68 mm Rockets (HE/HEAT)
6. BL.755 Cluster Bombs

For self defence the Mirage was equipped with a French ECM pod and twin 30mm DEFA cannons as well as two AIM-9P Sidewinder missiles.

While the F-16s were to clear a path for the Mirages and protect them from enemy CAP, the Mirages were tasked to take out the Runway Intersections, Main Runways and Taxiways, ATC Towers and any fuel or ammo dump if identified.

NANCHANG A-5C: These were specialist air to ground attack aircraft and had the capability to deliver, almost the same weapons as used by the Mirage-V but were shorter legged and had no radar or ranging equipment, due to which they were restricted to visual roles. However they were fast enough to ingress, deliver a crippling attack and egress within 18 seconds, the minimum reaction time for the enemy to set up and fire a SAM.

The aircraft also had a secondary nuclear strike capability, although it had a top speed of Mach 1.12 and a combat radius of 600 km on a hi-lo-hi mission, making it vulnerable to any Indian defender. This was the main reason that F-16 was preferred over the A-5C as it could perform the mission and fight its way out unescorted. However they remained an ideal platform for battlefield support.

SHENYANG F-6C: Supplementing the A-5C, the F-6C had better speed, better agility and better firepower when it comes to a high speed ground attack targeting enemy amour. The F-6 could pulverize an Indian T-72 MBT in a single pass and had the capability to take on against slower enemy aircraft such as Jaguars and second tier aircraft such as Hunters, Gnats, Ajeet and even MiG-21 if it opted to dogfight the F-6. Large number of F-6s meant that they can supplement both the air defence fighters (under GCI Control) and perform battlefield support. The F-6s in 1986 had better range, better weapons suite and better ECM equipment as compared to the F-6s of 1971.

The F-6s had the additional task of low level air defence over VP/VAs if any Indian fighter intrudes up till that point.

DASSAULT MIRAGE IIIEP/DP: The Mirage-IIIEPs were recently upgraded and overhauled and were given the primary role of air defence and secondary role of surface attack. Owing to the experience of No. 5 Squadron pilots and their unconfirmed kills against DRAAF/Soviet MiG-21MFs in the Afghan War, PAF was confident that they can take on against the Indian MiGs and Jaguars.

DASSAULT MIRAGE IIIRP: The Mirage-IIIRPs were also upgraded and overhauled and provided PAF with a high speed reconnaissance capability. They were equipped with inbuilt cameras as well as a centerline LORAP pod. For self defence they retained their cannon armament and Sidewinder/Magic-II missiles. They were also equipped with Durrandel if required.

DASSAULT MIRAGE V PA3: Also known as the Sea Mirage, this version had an extended range than the standard Mirage-IIIE. These were new build radar-equipped anti-shipping aircraft fitted with an Agave radar for compatibility with Exocet AShM. For self defence they retained their cannon armament and Sidewinder/Magic-II missiles. They were to face IN Sea Harriers and IAF Jaguar IM aircraft in case of an aerial battle over the sea. While the Mirage was faster than both the aircraft, it was armed with an all aspect WVR missile to attack the enemy at will.

SHENYANG FT-5: During Red Alert PAF decided to arm these aircraft and fly them as third tier air defence configuration. These means that if IAF attack formations break through the first (F-16/Mirage-III) and second lines of defence (F-6) then FT-5s were to provide the final resistance before SAM kill zone starts. Owing to their limited numbers they were to be stationed at Mianwali and Sargodha.

STRIKE PACKAGES: With PAF and USAF again in joint cooperation, PAF was fast in learning new tactics from them. In terms of any war PAF had revised its attack plan as follows:

AIRFIELD ATTACK:
2 * F-16 to fly as SEAD and set up CAP pattern over the target to defend the attacking formations
2 * Mirage-V to bomb the MAIN RUNWAY INTERSECTION or the ENDS OF THE RUNWAY and exit
2 * Mirage-V to destroy the ATC and the suspected Fuel/Ammo Dumps and exit
2 * Mirage-V to take out any aircraft visible on the runway using Cluster Bombs and exit
Dassault Falcon-20G would perform additional jamming if airfield lies close to the border.

HIGH VALUE TARGET ATTACK:
2 * F-16 to perform SEAD and set up CAP pattern over the target to defend the attacking formations
2 * F-16 to hit the remaining ground threats using AGM-65 Maverick missiles and relieve the earlier CAP pair
2 * F-16 to hit the Primary Target using Laser Guided Weapons and exit
Dassault Falcon-20G would perform additional jamming if target lies close to the border.

BATTLEFIELD SUPPORT (WITH SMART WEAPONS):
2* F-16 to target AAA and SA-8 with 6 AGM-65Bs each and set up CAP pattern
2 * F-16 to attack Tank Convoys with 6 AGM-65Bs each and relieve the earlier CAP pair
2 * Mirage V to attack remaining targets with BL.755 Cluster Bombs and exit
Dassault Falcon-20G would perform additional jamming if target lies close to the border.

BATTLEFIELD SUPPORT (CONVENTIONAL):
2 * Mirage-IIIEP to set up a CAP Pattern and search for aerial threats. For any RWR Signature of enemy SAM they can use their AS.30/AS.30L missile on centerline pod.
2 * A-5C to attack AAA and SA-8 targets with BL.755 Cluster Bombs and exit
2 * A-5C to attack Troop Concentration or Armored Column using SNEB Rockets and exit
2 * F-6C to attack Armored Column using guns and exit

BARCAP:

To greet any enemy aircraft the primary PAF air defence aircraft would be F-16. Two F-16s would be the first aircraft to engage any enemy formation. In case of an air combat firming up, two more F-16s (or Mirage-IIIEPs) would be scrambled to join the fight. Dassault Falcon-20G would perform additional jamming while staying at a safe distance. The less amount of these aircraft permits them only at high value VP/VAs.

Second tier of air defence would be formed up by F-6C which would locate the enemy formations and attack them head-on. It might be possible that Mirage-Vs or A-5Cs also act as ADA aircraft but that depends on their availability.

Third tier of air defence would come from Sidewinder equipped F-6s and FT-5s after which the SAM kill radius will start.

IAF OF THE MID 80s
IAF had ordered a lot of military hardware and in terms of combat aircraft they had 1060 aircraft on paper but owing to aircraft attrition, serviceability, overhauling and maintenance, only 600 aircraft could be fielded at a specific time. IAF also had 200 MiG-21, 100 Hunter and 50 Gnat aircraft which were in HOT storage, and could be made operational in a short time if needed. As compared to PAF, IAF was more of an offensive force with too many attack aircraft (~500) but very few air superiority fighters (~250).



DASSAULT MIRAGE-2000H/TH: As a result of PAF's F-16 acquisition, it triggered an arms race in the sub continent. IAF ordered fifty Mirage-2000s while they were still in their final development stages. The Indians in anticipation of getting these aircraft operational, accepted them with SNECMA M53-5 engines, later they were re-engined to the more powerful SNECMA M53-P2 version. The nuclear strike role was assigned to the Mirage-2000H and it was armed with Magic-II WVR missiles and Matra Super R.530 medium-range semi-active radar-guided missiles. India also purchased appropriate stores along with the fighters, including ATLIS II pods and laser-guided weapons.

However the first batch of pilots had recently been qualified on the type and the engines at that time were the SNECMA M53-5 engines. The role of Mirage-2000 was more of an aggressor rather than a defender so they were expected to clash with the F-16s over the skies of Pakistan.

SEPECAT JAGUAR IS: Jaguar was the replacement of the Hawker Hunter. IAF needed a rugged aircraft of Western Origin rather than the Russian, along with complete transfer of technology. This resulted in IAF's procurement of the SEPECAT Jaguar IS. Jaguar was a modern aircraft featuring a HUD and a Modern NAV/ATTACK System. The aircraft could carry a huge load of bombs at very low altitudes and had a secondary air to air combat capability.

SEPECAT JAGUAR IM: IAF also purchased a single squadron of Jaguar IM aircraft for Maritime Surveillance and Anti Shipping role. It was married with the Sea Eagle missile, and posed a threat to the Pakistani ships.

MIKOYAN MIG-21 FL/U: These were older variants of the MiG-21 and were shorter legged as compared to other fighters. They were mostly used as a second line air defence aircraft.

MIKOYAN MIG-21 MF: Sharing the same power plant as of the FL version these were to be utilized for ground attacks and fighter escort for lesser capable aircraft.

MIKOYAN MIG-21 BIS: These were relatively more powerful aircraft with better avionics, more thrust, faster acceleration and modern weapons such as AA-8 Aphid missiles. They were optimized for fighter escort and air defence.

MIKOYAN MIG-23 MF: A high speed fighter armed with AA-7 Apex BVR missiles and AA-8 Aphid missiles, the aircraft was a downgraded version of the Soviet MiG-23 MLD fighter. The aircraft was less maneuverable than the MiG-21 and was easy to beat in a dogfight. It was more optimized for a hit and run tactic rather than getting in a dogfight. IAF only procured 40 of these aircraft.

MIKOYAN MIG-23 BN: Ground attack variant of the MiG-23, the BN version was more welcomed in the IAF rather than the MF. The aircraft was rugged, easy to maintain, extremely powerful, and could deliver heavy loads. IAF then went on to purchase 100 MiG-23BNs before signing a deal to produce the MiG-27 (an improved ground attack variant of the MiG-23BN). The aircraft was a pure ground attack aircraft and was vulnerable to enemy fighters.

MIKOYAN MIG-25R: A high speed, high altitude reconnaissance aircraft, this Foxbat was an unarmed variant. They provided IAF with the advantage of probing into Pakistan Airspace at heights more than 70,000 ft and at a speed of Mach 2.5 which was unmatched by anything PAF had at that time. PAF did try to procure 500 AIM-7F Sparrow missiles along with modifications in the F-16 to fire these missiles, but it never materialized. IAF had total of 8 Foxbats during January 1987.

MIKOYAN MIG-27 ML: Impressed by the performance of MiG-23BN, HAL signed a deal with Mikoyan Gurevich to produce 100-150 MiG-27ML. These MiGs were a highly improved version of the MiG-23BN and enhanced IAF's offensive capabilities. However, IAF had only managed to assemble almost 50 aircraft during January 1987.

HAL AJEET/GNAT: Although obsolete by 1987, these aircraft did had fighting capability and formed the second line of defence.

HAWKER HUNTER: Although obsolete by 1987, these aircraft did had fighting capability and formed the second line of defence. They could also be used as a Ground Attack aircraft in areas where IAF had complete aerial superiority.

CANBERRA: Although obsolete by 1987, these aircraft could be utilized in areas where IAF had complete aerial superiority.

PAF VS IAF
Showdown between PAF and IAF could be quite interesting. PAF still had the qualitative edge over IAF in the form of three squadrons of F-16 aircraft whereas IAF was numerically superior. However the bulk of IAF were the variants of the MiG-21 and MiG-23, while the Jaguars represented moderate threat. With F-6 and Mirage sub variants being the most numerous types in PAF, the MiGs were not considered as a major problem.

The timely acquisition of Mirage-2000H/TH saved IAF from certain humiliation (similar to the one when Israeli F-16s downed the Syrian MiGs without a single loss). Although PAF could not afford to fight another war with India, it was ready to greet the enemy if they dared to cross the border.

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Stephen Cohen

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BRASSTACKS: PAF vs IAF in 1987

Analysis done by Sarmad Hassan Sharif

In the winters of 1986 the Indian army geared up for large military exercise in Rajasthan state near the Indo-Pak border under the code “Operation Brasstacks”. It was the brain child of General Sundarji of Indian army and was to monitored and executed by his instructions. It was very unique in nature and was mainly planned to be conducted near the India-Pakistan border in Rajasthan. It composed of at least two lacs and fifty thousand troops as well as armoured vehicles and air force.

Objectives of the Brasstacks were very vague. It was a military exercise in order to check and test the capabilities of Indian forces. But it has a political significance also. It was planned so to put pressure on Pakistan to stop supporting insurgency in Indian Punjab where Sikhs has started 'Free Khalistan Movement'.
It was peacetime and January 1987 when the Indian Army began moving from the East to West, from South to West from the North to the West. They moved in trains, civilian aircraft and convoys. No Indian saw a military movement on such a large-scale and of this nature. It could only be a preparation for war. Pakistan was caught at a very critical stage, as it was already engaged on its western borders. The threat perception at that time was:

1. Defence of nuclear facilities from a joint Indo-Israel air raid;
2. Attack by Joint Soviet-Afghan Forces on the Durand Line in order to capture key areas;
3. Infiltration of mercenaries from the Western Border;
4. Countering the numerically superior Indian Armed Forces.

Nonetheless Pakistan Armed Forces took to their battle stations and a large scale counter mobilization started. AAA and SAM units were moved in to cover the Vital Points and Vital Areas. Armored columns assumed their offensive and defensive formations. Artillery was placed accordingly alongside well dug-in tanks. Hatf-1 missile were also deployed alongside MBRL Rocket Launchers. Pakistan Army was not only limited to the Southern Sector, it stretched its resources from Kashmir to Kutch. The ammunition, fuel and other military stockpiles were to last for at least one month in case of a conflict.

Pakistan Navy deployed its submarines against the possible threat of an Indian blockade and tasked them to monitor the movement of the Indian Surface Fleet as well as engage any intruding Indian Submarine. PN Surface Fleet was tasked to escort any merchant ship entering or leaving Pakistani territorial waters. Additional surveillance from Atlantic Maritime Aircraft and Mirage VPA3 of No. 8 Squadron were to carry out additional aerial sorties. Missile boats were armed and deployed to ward off any attack mounted by the Indian Navy as they did in 1971. Pakistan Navy was equipped with Harpoon and Exocet missiles, as well as Chinese Silkworm Missiles and the Chinese variant of Styx Missiles. With the advent of these missiles the navy was confident that it won't let the Indian Navy 'A Walk in the Park' as it did in 1971. Earlier a demonstration had been given in which a ship was dispatched by an Exocet missile. Also the Exocet had performed exceptionally well in the Falklands Conflict. Harpoon missile had its own reputation as a deadly AShM.

PAF OF THE MID 80s
The main responsibility however fell on the shoulders of the PAF. On paper PAF had ~ 400 combat capable mission, but owing to aircraft attrition, serviceability, overhauling and maintenance, only 300 aircraft could be fielded at a specific time. PAF also had 50-60 F-6 aircraft which were in HOT storage, and could be made operational in a short time if needed.



GENERAL DYNAMICS F-16A/B FIGHTING FALCON: An outcome of PAF's requirement in countering modern Soviet/Afghan aircraft, PAF had 28 F-16A and 11 F-16B, Block-15 variants (one B model was lost in an operational accident in December 1986). The F-16 was armed with all aspect AIM-9L Sidewinders, and rear aspect AIM-9P Sidewinders. They were also equipped with the French Thomson CSF ATLIS-II Laser Designator Pod to deliver the latest French and American Laser Guided Bombs. The AN/ALQ-131 ECM pod and the ALR-69 RWR provided the basis for self defence against the enemy fighters. The Air to Ground modes of the F-16 also enabled the pilots to deliver MK-82, MK-83 and MK-84 Iron Bombs with pinpoint accuracy. PAF also received the latest AGM-65B Maverick Missiles which could take out high priority ground targets with the attacking aircraft at a relatively safe distance. Although there were rumors that PAF had obtained AGM-88 HARM missile for SEAD missions, it is most likely that they operated AGM-45 SHRIKE missiles. The CBU-87 Cluster Bomb was also a game changer.

However the limited number of F-16s meant that they had to be used sparingly. The force of 39 F-16s was thus split in three parts:

1. Air Defence Fighters
2. SEAD and Fighter escort
3. Deep Strike / Nuclear Strike

DASSAULT MIRAGE V PA/PA2/DPA2: The Mirage-V had an extended range than the Mirage-III and was an excellent surface attack aircraft. It was fast, and had a large arsenal of air to ground weapons. The Mirage V had the capability to attack using the following weapons:

1. MK-84/MK-83/M-82 General Purpose Iron Bombs
2. Durrandel Runway Denial Munitions
3. BLU-27 Napalm Bomb
4. AS.30/AS.30L Missiles
5. Matra Type 155 rocket launcher — 18 SNEB 68 mm Rockets (HE/HEAT)
6. BL.755 Cluster Bombs

For self defence the Mirage was equipped with a French ECM pod and twin 30mm DEFA cannons as well as two AIM-9P Sidewinder missiles.

While the F-16s were to clear a path for the Mirages and protect them from enemy CAP, the Mirages were tasked to take out the Runway Intersections, Main Runways and Taxiways, ATC Towers and any fuel or ammo dump if identified.

NANCHANG A-5C: These were specialist air to ground attack aircraft and had the capability to deliver, almost the same weapons as used by the Mirage-V but were shorter legged and had no radar or ranging equipment, due to which they were restricted to visual roles. However they were fast enough to ingress, deliver a crippling attack and egress within 18 seconds, the minimum reaction time for the enemy to set up and fire a SAM.

The aircraft also had a secondary nuclear strike capability, although it had a top speed of Mach 1.12 and a combat radius of 600 km on a hi-lo-hi mission, making it vulnerable to any Indian defender. This was the main reason that F-16 was preferred over the A-5C as it could perform the mission and fight its way out unescorted. However they remained an ideal platform for battlefield support.

SHENYANG F-6C: Supplementing the A-5C, the F-6C had better speed, better agility and better firepower when it comes to a high speed ground attack targeting enemy amour. The F-6 could pulverize an Indian T-72 MBT in a single pass and had the capability to take on against slower enemy aircraft such as Jaguars and second tier aircraft such as Hunters, Gnats, Ajeet and even MiG-21 if it opted to dogfight the F-6. Large number of F-6s meant that they can supplement both the air defence fighters (under GCI Control) and perform battlefield support. The F-6s in 1986 had better range, better weapons suite and better ECM equipment as compared to the F-6s of 1971.

The F-6s had the additional task of low level air defence over VP/VAs if any Indian fighter intrudes up till that point.

DASSAULT MIRAGE IIIEP/DP: The Mirage-IIIEPs were recently upgraded and overhauled and were given the primary role of air defence and secondary role of surface attack. Owing to the experience of No. 5 Squadron pilots and their unconfirmed kills against DRAAF/Soviet MiG-21MFs in the Afghan War, PAF was confident that they can take on against the Indian MiGs and Jaguars.

DASSAULT MIRAGE IIIRP: The Mirage-IIIRPs were also upgraded and overhauled and provided PAF with a high speed reconnaissance capability. They were equipped with inbuilt cameras as well as a centerline LORAP pod. For self defence they retained their cannon armament and Sidewinder/Magic-II missiles. They were also equipped with Durrandel if required.

DASSAULT MIRAGE V PA3: Also known as the Sea Mirage, this version had an extended range than the standard Mirage-IIIE. These were new build radar-equipped anti-shipping aircraft fitted with an Agave radar for compatibility with Exocet AShM. For self defence they retained their cannon armament and Sidewinder/Magic-II missiles. They were to face IN Sea Harriers and IAF Jaguar IM aircraft in case of an aerial battle over the sea. While the Mirage was faster than both the aircraft, it was armed with an all aspect WVR missile to attack the enemy at will.

SHENYANG FT-5: During Red Alert PAF decided to arm these aircraft and fly them as third tier air defence configuration. These means that if IAF attack formations break through the first (F-16/Mirage-III) and second lines of defence (F-6) then FT-5s were to provide the final resistance before SAM kill zone starts. Owing to their limited numbers they were to be stationed at Mianwali and Sargodha.

STRIKE PACKAGES: With PAF and USAF again in joint cooperation, PAF was fast in learning new tactics from them. In terms of any war PAF had revised its attack plan as follows:

AIRFIELD ATTACK:
2 * F-16 to fly as SEAD and set up CAP pattern over the target to defend the attacking formations
2 * Mirage-V to bomb the MAIN RUNWAY INTERSECTION or the ENDS OF THE RUNWAY and exit
2 * Mirage-V to destroy the ATC and the suspected Fuel/Ammo Dumps and exit
2 * Mirage-V to take out any aircraft visible on the runway using Cluster Bombs and exit
Dassault Falcon-20G would perform additional jamming if airfield lies close to the border.

HIGH VALUE TARGET ATTACK:
2 * F-16 to perform SEAD and set up CAP pattern over the target to defend the attacking formations
2 * F-16 to hit the remaining ground threats using AGM-65 Maverick missiles and relieve the earlier CAP pair
2 * F-16 to hit the Primary Target using Laser Guided Weapons and exit
Dassault Falcon-20G would perform additional jamming if target lies close to the border.

BATTLEFIELD SUPPORT (WITH SMART WEAPONS):
2* F-16 to target AAA and SA-8 with 6 AGM-65Bs each and set up CAP pattern
2 * F-16 to attack Tank Convoys with 6 AGM-65Bs each and relieve the earlier CAP pair
2 * Mirage V to attack remaining targets with BL.755 Cluster Bombs and exit
Dassault Falcon-20G would perform additional jamming if target lies close to the border.

BATTLEFIELD SUPPORT (CONVENTIONAL):
2 * Mirage-IIIEP to set up a CAP Pattern and search for aerial threats. For any RWR Signature of enemy SAM they can use their AS.30/AS.30L missile on centerline pod.
2 * A-5C to attack AAA and SA-8 targets with BL.755 Cluster Bombs and exit
2 * A-5C to attack Troop Concentration or Armored Column using SNEB Rockets and exit
2 * F-6C to attack Armored Column using guns and exit

BARCAP:

To greet any enemy aircraft the primary PAF air defence aircraft would be F-16. Two F-16s would be the first aircraft to engage any enemy formation. In case of an air combat firming up, two more F-16s (or Mirage-IIIEPs) would be scrambled to join the fight. Dassault Falcon-20G would perform additional jamming while staying at a safe distance. The less amount of these aircraft permits them only at high value VP/VAs.

Second tier of air defence would be formed up by F-6C which would locate the enemy formations and attack them head-on. It might be possible that Mirage-Vs or A-5Cs also act as ADA aircraft but that depends on their availability.

Third tier of air defence would come from Sidewinder equipped F-6s and FT-5s after which the SAM kill radius will start.

IAF OF THE MID 80s
IAF had ordered a lot of military hardware and in terms of combat aircraft they had 1060 aircraft on paper but owing to aircraft attrition, serviceability, overhauling and maintenance, only 600 aircraft could be fielded at a specific time. IAF also had 200 MiG-21, 100 Hunter and 50 Gnat aircraft which were in HOT storage, and could be made operational in a short time if needed. As compared to PAF, IAF was more of an offensive force with too many attack aircraft (~500) but very few air superiority fighters (~250).



DASSAULT MIRAGE-2000H/TH: As a result of PAF's F-16 acquisition, it triggered an arms race in the sub continent. IAF ordered fifty Mirage-2000s while they were still in their final development stages. The Indians in anticipation of getting these aircraft operational, accepted them with SNECMA M53-5 engines, later they were re-engined to the more powerful SNECMA M53-P2 version. The nuclear strike role was assigned to the Mirage-2000H and it was armed with Magic-II WVR missiles and Matra Super R.530 medium-range semi-active radar-guided missiles. India also purchased appropriate stores along with the fighters, including ATLIS II pods and laser-guided weapons.

However the first batch of pilots had recently been qualified on the type and the engines at that time were the SNECMA M53-5 engines. The role of Mirage-2000 was more of an aggressor rather than a defender so they were expected to clash with the F-16s over the skies of Pakistan.

SEPECAT JAGUAR IS: Jaguar was the replacement of the Hawker Hunter. IAF needed a rugged aircraft of Western Origin rather than the Russian, along with complete transfer of technology. This resulted in IAF's procurement of the SEPECAT Jaguar IS. Jaguar was a modern aircraft featuring a HUD and a Modern NAV/ATTACK System. The aircraft could carry a huge load of bombs at very low altitudes and had a secondary air to air combat capability.

SEPECAT JAGUAR IM: IAF also purchased a single squadron of Jaguar IM aircraft for Maritime Surveillance and Anti Shipping role. It was married with the Sea Eagle missile, and posed a threat to the Pakistani ships.

MIKOYAN MIG-21 FL/U: These were older variants of the MiG-21 and were shorter legged as compared to other fighters. They were mostly used as a second line air defence aircraft.

MIKOYAN MIG-21 MF: Sharing the same power plant as of the FL version these were to be utilized for ground attacks and fighter escort for lesser capable aircraft.

MIKOYAN MIG-21 BIS: These were relatively more powerful aircraft with better avionics, more thrust, faster acceleration and modern weapons such as AA-8 Aphid missiles. They were optimized for fighter escort and air defence.

MIKOYAN MIG-23 MF: A high speed fighter armed with AA-7 Apex BVR missiles and AA-8 Aphid missiles, the aircraft was a downgraded version of the Soviet MiG-23 MLD fighter. The aircraft was less maneuverable than the MiG-21 and was easy to beat in a dogfight. It was more optimized for a hit and run tactic rather than getting in a dogfight. IAF only procured 40 of these aircraft.

MIKOYAN MIG-23 BN: Ground attack variant of the MiG-23, the BN version was more welcomed in the IAF rather than the MF. The aircraft was rugged, easy to maintain, extremely powerful, and could deliver heavy loads. IAF then went on to purchase 100 MiG-23BNs before signing a deal to produce the MiG-27 (an improved ground attack variant of the MiG-23BN). The aircraft was a pure ground attack aircraft and was vulnerable to enemy fighters.

MIKOYAN MIG-25R: A high speed, high altitude reconnaissance aircraft, this Foxbat was an unarmed variant. They provided IAF with the advantage of probing into Pakistan Airspace at heights more than 70,000 ft and at a speed of Mach 2.5 which was unmatched by anything PAF had at that time. PAF did try to procure 500 AIM-7F Sparrow missiles along with modifications in the F-16 to fire these missiles, but it never materialized. IAF had total of 8 Foxbats during January 1987.

MIKOYAN MIG-27 ML: Impressed by the performance of MiG-23BN, HAL signed a deal with Mikoyan Gurevich to produce 100-150 MiG-27ML. These MiGs were a highly improved version of the MiG-23BN and enhanced IAF's offensive capabilities. However, IAF had only managed to assemble almost 50 aircraft during January 1987.

HAL AJEET/GNAT: Although obsolete by 1987, these aircraft did had fighting capability and formed the second line of defence.

HAWKER HUNTER: Although obsolete by 1987, these aircraft did had fighting capability and formed the second line of defence. They could also be used as a Ground Attack aircraft in areas where IAF had complete aerial superiority.

CANBERRA: Although obsolete by 1987, these aircraft could be utilized in areas where IAF had complete aerial superiority.

PAF VS IAF
Showdown between PAF and IAF could be quite interesting. PAF still had the qualitative edge over IAF in the form of three squadrons of F-16 aircraft whereas IAF was numerically superior. However the bulk of IAF were the variants of the MiG-21 and MiG-23, while the Jaguars represented moderate threat. With F-6 and Mirage sub variants being the most numerous types in PAF, the MiGs were not considered as a major problem.

The timely acquisition of Mirage-2000H/TH saved IAF from certain humiliation (similar to the one when Israeli F-16s downed the Syrian MiGs without a single loss). Although PAF could not afford to fight another war with India, it was ready to greet the enemy if they dared to cross the border.

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In 1987 IAF did not have MIg 29 but STILL it would have been able to prevail over PAF

Though with losses

You have simply forgotten about MIG 23 MF ; At that time it was the best fighter in IAF inventory

It was the FIRST purchase made by India after you got F 16

ONLY the F 16 was a threat to IAF ; but they could not have been present everywhere

IAF had Mirage 2000 ; Jaguar ; Mig 27 ; Mig 25 Reconaissance ;Mig 23 And Mig 21

All together we would have still won

@dexter

Suppose war had broken out PAF would have been busy with Close Air Support to
Pak Army in order to prevent the Huge Indian Army from slicing through upto Rahim Yar Khan

Thus making IAF's task easier to achieve air superiority
 

Rajput_Pakistani

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In 1987 IAF did not have MIg 29 but STILL it would have been able to prevail over PAF

Though with losses

You have simply forgotten about MIG 23 MF ; At that time it was the best fighter in IAF inventory

It was the FIRST purchase made by India after you got F 16

ONLY the F 16 was a threat to IAF ; but they could not have been present everywhere

IAF had Mirage 2000 ; Jaguar ; Mig 27 ; Mig 25 Reconaissance ;Mig 23 And Mig 21

All together we would have still won

@dexter

Suppose war had broken out PAF would have been busy with Close Air Support to
Pak Army in order to prevent the Huge Indian Army from slicing through upto Rahim Yar Khan

Thus making IAF's task easier to achieve air superiority
You should have read the above article carefully and then also read
Soviet Air confrontations with Pakistan Air Force, during Soviet-Afghan War.

Then comment.
 

Stephen Cohen

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You should have read the above article carefully and then also read
Soviet Air confrontations with Pakistan Air Force, during Soviet-Afghan War.

Then comment.
You are forgetting one very basic and important point

That It was INDIA that took the INITIATIVE in 1987 and simply shocked Pakistan
with Brasstacks

SO far in 1965 and 1971 Pakistan started the war
But this time we said we can break through your defences

So do you think that HAD IAF not been able to handle PAF and F 16
would we have thrown this challenge

Answer is NO ; we would NOT have mobilised as we did in 1987

As I said before ; PAF would have been busy SAVING Pak Army with CAS

And IAF would have got the better of PAF

We were CERTAIN of our game plan

And also please remember that GEN ZIA came to INDIA with
the Nuclear threat

Why talk of nukes if PAF could have won the day for Pakistan


Have you ever wondered about the purpose of Brasstacks

Pakistan had received plenty of US weapons from 1981 onwards
So you thought that you could take on India

SO we decided to convey a message to Pakistan that The Conventional disparity had grown so much
that Pakistan could not prevail over India ; Indian Army could smash through your defences

Therefore after Brasstacks ; Pakistan resorted to assymetric warfare in Kashmir from 1989
 

fatman17

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From what l remember Brass tacks was mainly about manovering or out manovering each others strike corps as quickly as possible. Both the airforces must have had their plans but remained in the background. The late ravi rikhe wrote a good analysis on brass tacks which basically stated that Pakistan’s strike corps movements put paid to general sunderjis plans. Sunderji was a maverick general with innovative ideas which were ahead of their time esp 1987 and the Indian establishment was quite uneasy of his ideas.
 

Rajput_Pakistani

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You are forgetting one very basic and important point

That It was INDIA that took the INITIATIVE in 1987 and simply shocked Pakistan
with Brasstacks

SO far in 1965 and 1971 Pakistan started the war
But this time we said we can break through your defences

So do you think that HAD IAF not been able to handle PAF and F 16
would we have thrown this challenge

Answer is NO ; we would NOT have mobilised as we did in 1987

As I said before ; PAF would have been busy SAVING Pak Army with CAS

And IAF would have got the better of PAF

We were CERTAIN of our game plan

And also please remember that GEN ZIA came to INDIA with
the Nuclear threat

Why talk of nukes if PAF could have won the day for Pakistan
As i said before, read and then comment. I don't have time to answer your childish posts. For all of your "whys?" let me put a counter question. If India was so confident of breaking Pakistan into two, then why did they make a retreat?
If you have read the article carefully, then in the very start it has mentioned that in 1987, Soviets were about to withdraw from Afghanistan, Pakistan hands were already full. Back then we were dealing with daily bombings in cities, 4 million refugees. So we tried every possible diplomatic (mango, cricket) as well as "threat" (nuclear) to deter Indians.
That didn't mean we remained idle. We make preparations, counter deployments and also conducted Zarb-e-Momin exercise in 1989 to validate our strategy. I have so much more in mind to write about all this but i am feeling lazy. :)
Better read yourself.

PS: 1965 was partially started by Pakistan as a local encounter across "Cease Fire Line", it was India who started all out war by attack on "International Border"
1971 was from scratch started by Indians, armed mukti bahini, send its own under cover forces in East Pakistan. Start of cross border operations from 21 November, 1971 in E.P. Still Pakistan started the War?

In which schools, you Indians get education from?
 

Stephen Cohen

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From what l remember Brass tacks was mainly about manovering or out manovering each others strike corps as quickly as possible. Both the airforces must have had their plans but remained in the background. The late ravi rikhe wrote a good analysis on brass tacks which basically stated that Pakistan’s strike corps movements put paid to general sunderjis plans. Sunderji was a maverick general with innovative ideas which were ahead of their time esp 1987 and the Indian establishment was quite uneasy of his ideas.
Ravi Rikhye HAS NOT died

Sundarji was a genius

He was instrumental in turning around Indian Army from being a defensive force
and started an OFFENSIVE doctrine

Sundarji transformed Indian Army from an Infantry driven force to an ARMOUR Intensive
machine
 

fatman17

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Ravi Rikhye HAS NOT died

Sundarji was a genius

He was instrumental in turning around Indian Army from being a defensive force
and started an OFFENSIVE doctrine

Sundarji transformed Indian Army from an Infantry driven force to an ARMOUR Intensive
machine
you are entitled to your POV.
 

Abu Zolfiqar

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In 1987 IAF did not have MIg 29 but STILL it would have been able to prevail over PAF

Though with losses

You have simply forgotten about MIG 23 MF ; At that time it was the best fighter in IAF inventory

It was the FIRST purchase made by India after you got F 16

ONLY the F 16 was a threat to IAF ; but they could not have been present everywhere

IAF had Mirage 2000 ; Jaguar ; Mig 27 ; Mig 25 Reconaissance ;Mig 23 And Mig 21

All together we would have still won

@dexter

Suppose war had broken out PAF would have been busy with Close Air Support to
Pak Army in order to prevent the Huge Indian Army from slicing through upto Rahim Yar Khan

Thus making IAF's task easier to achieve air superiority
never in india's history has it achieved air superiority over Pakistan.....our skies have never been friendly to indians

unless you could prove me otherwise, good luck

regarding Op BRasstacks - Pakistan's response in terms of mobilizations/deployments and on diplomatic level was sufficient and got the point across well
 
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Ammyy

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never in india's history has it achieved air superiority over Pakistan.....our skies have never been friendly to indians

unless you could prove me otherwise, good luck
Well may be IAF not got that much success that IN and IA got against Pakistan but still one fighter that make Pakistan helpless against IAF is Mig 25 foxbat. You can read the history of Mig 25.
 

Capt.Popeye

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The war that never was. India's strategic failures 1988 by ravi Rikhye
make your own conclusions.
Remember Rikhye is a Hawk when it comes to Pakistan



Pardon my English but NYT can KMA.

Arey yaar; since when have you started mistaking French for English? :)
 

Windjammer

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Well may be IAF not got that much success that IN and IA got against Pakistan but still one fighter that make Pakistan helpless against IAF is Mig 25 foxbat. You can read the history of Mig 25.
You giving it more credence than the Foxbat deserves. In IAF service, it merely served as a Reconnaissance aircraft without any offensive or defensive capability. If it wasn't for the publicity flight over Islamabad, the MiG-25 would be as famous as the SU-7 in Indian service.
 

Talwar e Pakistan

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In 1987 IAF did not have MIg 29 but STILL it would have been able to prevail over PAF

Though with losses

You have simply forgotten about MIG 23 MF ; At that time it was the best fighter in IAF inventory

It was the FIRST purchase made by India after you got F 16

ONLY the F 16 was a threat to IAF ; but they could not have been present everywhere

IAF had Mirage 2000 ; Jaguar ; Mig 27 ; Mig 25 Reconaissance ;Mig 23 And Mig 21

All together we would have still won

@dexter

Suppose war had broken out PAF would have been busy with Close Air Support to
Pak Army in order to prevent the Huge Indian Army from slicing through upto Rahim Yar Khan

Thus making IAF's task easier to achieve air superiority
A fighter jet from World war 2 could take down a F-16 depending on the pilot. India has always had numerically superior and sometimes superior technologically jets. But that didnt stop Pakistan from destroying 119 Indian Jets with the lost of 11. We taught your Israeli pals a lesson too, they learnt from their mistakes but it seems you still havent.
 

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