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BVR IR missiles; should the PAF pursue them?

FuturePAF

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The PL-15E (RF BVR) and PL-10E (IR WVR) are expected to equip the JF-17 Block III. The JF-17 may also feature a very capable IRST in pod form or nose mounted. Should the PAF consider developing or acquiring a BVR IR missile or looking into modifying its SD-10 with an IR seeker to maximize its options in A2A combat? Something similar to the RF and IR options on the Mica missile. Considering the increasing use of RF stealth aircraft, Long range IR weapons (perhaps fired in a volley in conjunction with a RF missile utilizing AI and two way datalinks) may increase the probability of overcoming enemy defenses.

 

Ali_Baba

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The PL-15E (RF BVR) and PL-10E (IR WVR) are expected to equip the JF-17 Block III. The JF-17 may also feature a very capable IRST in pod form or nose mounted. Should the PAF consider developing or acquiring a BVR IR missile or looking into modifying its SD-10 with an IR seeker to maximize its options in A2A combat? Something similar to the RF and IR options on the Mica missile. Considering the increasing use of RF stealth aircraft, Long range IR weapons (perhaps fired in a volley in conjunction with a RF missile utilizing AI and two way datalinks) may increase the probability of overcoming enemy defenses.

Adding a IR seeker onto SD10 would be very powerful combination especially when a missile needs to go pit-bull. Having that done via a IR seeker means you can have a stealth attack mechanism. The 2-way datalink for the SD10 is already in place and it can be guided by PAF's AEW&C platforms. For PAF to get this combination, either China changes her doctrine to include this concept, or PAF develops its own BVR AAM. That topic has been going on for 20 years now, with no indication of any progress or not.

The Mica IR sensor is quite impressive but the missile is range limited compared to modern BVR AAMs. PAF has attempted to procure this missile a number of times in the past, it is a capability that PAF wants for sure. The last time being the attempt to procure the Horus upgraded Mirages with their equipment(which includes the Mica IR ), which has failed to materalise.

You are right, in that the next generation of weapons will be based around IR because IR is difficult to JAM or diguise with modern sensors, compared with RF given it's "self emitting nature". The F35 utilises IR a great deal.
 
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FuturePAF

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Adding a IR seeker onto SD10 would be very powerful combination especially when a missile needs to go pit-bull. Having that done via a IR seeker means you can have a stealth attack mechanism. The 2-way datalink for the SD10 is already in place and it can be guided by PAF's AEW&C platforms. For PAF to get this combination, either China changes her doctrine to include this concept, or PAF develops its own BVR AAM. That topic has been going on for 20 years now, with no indication of any progress or not.

The Mica IR sensor is quite impressive but the missile is range limited compared to modern BVR AAMs. PAF has attempted to procure this missile a number of times in the past, it is a capability that PAF wants for sure. The last time being the attempt to procure the Horus upgraded Mirages with their equipment(which includes the Mica IR ), which has failed to materalise.

You are right, in that the next generation of weapons will be based around IR because IR is difficult to JAM or diguise with modern sensors, compared with RF given it's "self emitting nature". The F35 utilises IR a great deal.
Besides the Chinese, the Turks are also facing the Rafale and potentially other advanced hostile aircraft; they too will need a similar capability. They have developed a RF BVR missile and an IR WVR missile. The PAF could open a contest among its suppliers; China, Turkey, and South Africa, because we don’t know until we see how the combination of the IR seeker and BVR missile would perform.

Also considering the seeker is not RF based, the source code will not have to be shared by the OEM, I presume, which should make integration easier, if Pakistani components can be swapped in for the datalink.

Although retrofitting an IR seeker to the SD-10 would probably be the most cost effective solution, while the PAF can move on to making the PL-15E its primary BVR RF missile on the JF-17.

consider the SD-10/PL-12 is older technology, Pakistan maybe able to convince the Chinese to sell the missile production capabilities to Pakistan. At which point Pakistan could find the best seekers available and look to integrate them into this missile body. Perhaps even integrating a mid-body thruster section for terminal agility (high divert DACs), as on the PL-15E or future USAF AIM-260. Something like what is used on the PAC-3 missiles.




 
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MastanKhan

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The PL-15E (RF BVR) and PL-10E (IR WVR) are expected to equip the JF-17 Block III. The JF-17 may also feature a very capable IRST in pod form or nose mounted. Should the PAF consider developing or acquiring a BVR IR missile or looking into modifying its SD-10 with an IR seeker to maximize its options in A2A combat? Something similar to the RF and IR options on the Mica missile. Considering the increasing use of RF stealth aircraft, Long range IR weapons (perhaps fired in a volley in conjunction with a RF missile utilizing AI and two way datalinks) may increase the probability of overcoming enemy defenses.

Hi,

Current day IRST is of a limited used---. The ranges are for WVR combat and not for the BVR combat. In an air to air missile---there is either a heat seeker in the nose or a radar.

For newer BVR missiles---there has been development coming along for an AESA radar in the nose of the BVR missile---. I think the Japanese F2 does use a BVR missile like that.
 

FuturePAF

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Hi,

Current day IRST is of a limited used---. The ranges are for WVR combat and not for the BVR combat. In an air to air missile---there is either a heat seeker in the nose or a radar.

For newer BVR missiles---there has been development coming along for an AESA radar in the nose of the BVR missile---. I think the Japanese F2 does use a BVR missile like that.
As enemy aircraft RCS decrease, RF missiles will have to engage the target closer in. IRST may not have the range comparable to the primary radar against current threat aircraft, but maybe better suited against low-observable aircraft


Besides, the range of the MICA IR is 80 km, the Aim-9X (and probably the PL-10E) is approx. half that. Upgrading the JF-17 Block III to using the PL-15E as its primary BVR missile (still using the SD-10 as secondary) and replacing the radar seeker on some of the SD-10 with IR Seekers could up the JF-17 to operate at the edge of the technological capabilities.

As you always said, these planes are just platforms, it’s the pilots and the weapons we need to focus on.
 

MastanKhan

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As enemy aircraft RCS decrease, RF missiles will have to engage the target closer in. IRST may not have the range comparable to the primary radar against current threat aircraft, but maybe better suited against low-observable aircraft


Besides, the range of the MICA IR is 80 km, the Aim-9X (and probably the PL-10E) is approx. half that. Upgrading the JF-17 Block III to using the PL-15E as its primary BVR missile (still using the SD-10 as secondary) and replacing the radar seeker on some of the SD-10 with IR Seekers could up the JF-17 to operate at the edge of the technological capabilities.

As you always said, these planes are just platforms, it’s the pilots and the weapons we need to focus on.
Hi,

The machines are getting intelligent---.

It is going to be all about the decisions made on the ground---the pre-flight decisions that would make the difference. Not like the ones made on Feb 27th---.

There is hardly any development for the short range missile in relation to LONG RANGE missiles. Every manufacturer is going for a better BVR---. The short range missile game is more into off bore sight missiles.
 

FuturePAF

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Hi,

The machines are getting intelligent---.

It is going to be all about the decisions made on the ground---the pre-flight decisions that would make the difference. Not like the ones made on Feb 27th---.

There is hardly any development for the short range missile in relation to LONG RANGE missiles. Every manufacturer is going for a better BVR---. The short range missile game is more into off bore sight missiles.
True, we are seeing more development in longer and longer range BVR missiles. although expand the spectrum in which the BVR missiles can seeker their targets; especially if they can be linked to one another (missile to missile datalinks) could open interesting tactics. Retrofitting the SD-10 with an IR seeker would give new life to that system when it is superseded by the PL-15E.

In the short range arena MBDA is working on short range missiles to function as active defenses; hitting incoming missiles with short range highly maneuverable missiles; called the “Hard Kill Defensive Aid System”


You are also correct that event on the ground, in advance of engagements in the air will shape the battlefield more so then what will be possible to achieve during the mission in the air. This is not to minimize what pilots and maintainers will be asked to do in the event of a conflict, but we should plan across all the domains of war fighting and plan for combined operations. The center of gravity is not always AirPower and we have to achieve a revolution in our military affairs. The new focus on AI and EW are positive efforts in this regard, especially if we leverage autonomous systems and shrink our OODA loop and achieve our objectives quickly and decisively.
 
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