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IAF Chief: Balakot strike redefined use of Air power, IAF inducted new BVR missiles

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Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria: ‘Balakot strike redefined use of air power towards meeting national objective’
  • Written By Sushant Singh | New Delhi |
  • Updated: February 26, 2020 11:48:04 am
Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria became the Indian Air Force chief on September 30, 2019, months after the IAF launched airstrikes at Balakot, Pakistan. On the occasion of the first anniversary of the Balakot airstrikes, ACM Bhadauria speaks with the Indian Express. Excerpts:

One year after the Balakot strike and subsequent air operations, how do you look back at the events from February 2019 till now?

The Balakot airstrike redefined the use of air power towards meeting the national objective and has changed the paradigm of sub-conventional action and response in the subcontinent. The event itself, and the subsequent air operations on February 27, 2019, have remained in public attention with the battle of narratives spreading out to the masses over all forms of media. But the fact remains that the Balakot airstrikes were the most significant air action by the IAF in over four decades, when our fighters penetrated deep into Pakistan airspace, executed a precise attack on the terror camp and returned home unchallenged.

Over the last year, we have continued to focus on our operational training and readiness and by induction of enhanced BVR (Beyond Visual Range) missiles, stand off weapon capability and upgradation of secure communications. We have looked closely at our modernisation and acquisition plans for prioritisation in line with the changing threat scenario.

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Read | A year after Balakot: Pakistan’s options have reduced, India has more room for manoeuvre
What were the big lessons from Balakot? How will it impact planning for future missions?

The Balakot strikes clearly demonstrated the IAF’s level of operational preparedness and capability. The package was precisely coordinated and comprised combat aircraft and enablers from many bases across the country. The men and women concerned performed their tasks admirably under challenging conditions which is a testimony to their planning and training. This complex plan was conceived and executed in full secrecy and the mission went unchallenged even when PAF was on full alert.

As in any military action, there were several lessons learnt which have been implemented in terms of capability enhancement and future plans. We have instituted measures covering the entire spectrum of induction of new capability, operational training and tactics, which will further enhance the IAF’s operational capability to undertake any such mission at short notice.

How do you plan to realistically overcome the challenge of shortage of fighter aircraft, considering the state of funds allocated for capital acquisition and IAF’s committed liabilities?

We are aware of the reducing strength of combat platforms for some time now. We have already put into place measures to overcome the shortfalls by a combination of capacity and capability enhancements. We have instituted a series of midlife upgrades and weapons integrations on legacy platforms. The LCA Mk1A and MRFA should serve to halt the reducing trend, and LCA Mk2 will thereafter boost the numbers once the upgraded platforms come to the end of their life cycles.

Also read | Balakot lessons
These inductions will be spread over a number of years which will help spread out the funding, as has been alluded to by the CDS.

Are there plans for buying more AWACS and mid-air refuellers, better weaponry for Su-30 and better air defence capability, with reports of S400 delivery being delayed?

We have plans in place for additional AWACS, both through the acquisition and development routes. We are also looking at various possibilities to enhance our refuelling capability, and these should be formalised soon. The Su-30 upgrade is on our priority list. The S400 is not delayed as has been reported, but the programme delivery schedule is being optimised in coordination with the Russian side to enable us to operationalise the weapon system quicker.

How prepared is IAF for the challenges on the northern borders? Any special plans in the offing?

The IAF, as does any armed force, continues to monitor threats and challenges across the geographical and strategic space that we operate in. With specific reference to our northern borders we are aware that matching numbers is a difficult proposition but we are adequately prepared. We are focussing on hi-tech weapons, force enablers along with emphasis on operational training.

Integrated theatre commands are in news, with CDS having it in charter, while IAF has long held that the whole of India is one theatre. How will this be resolved?

There is no doubt that our current setup, while time-tested, is old, and there is room for improvement. However, as the CDS has brought out, we need to guard against blindly following models adopted by different countries in a ‘change for change’s sake approach’. We need to clearly understand our unique situation, our resources, and develop solutions which fit our needs and requirements.

There is a clear case to enhance jointness at the operational level. Several studies are underway to resolve the practical issues of how this is to translate into deliverable and achievable actions on the ground. Our air power resources are highly inadequate to permit fragmentation into smaller theatres. We are studying methods to create joint structures and yet retain the ability to bring to bear the maximum possible firepower from air at the desired point of delivery across our entire national AOR (Area of Responsibility) in the shortest possible time.

https://indianexpress.com/article/i...ctive-6286787/lite/?__twitter_impression=true
 

Pakistani Fighter

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Induction of new RVV-SD BVR missiles confirmed by IAF CAS.
RVV-SD has a range of 110 km and thus has superior range and better No escape zone than AIM-120C5.
Ita not confirmed that AIM 120C5 has less than 110km. There are Parameters which define the range. @airomerix @Dazzler
Secondly, we are getting PL 15s which are long Range AAM( as stated by Chinese and Western sources). Their range as stated is greater than Meteor. So in Future since our BVR would be having greater range, u guys will be left with the same situation as 27 Feb i.e Outgunned by PAF
 

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Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria: ‘Balakot strike redefined use of air power towards meeting national objective’
  • Written By Sushant Singh | New Delhi |
  • Updated: February 26, 2020 11:48:04 am
Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria became the Indian Air Force chief on September 30, 2019, months after the IAF launched airstrikes at Balakot, Pakistan. On the occasion of the first anniversary of the Balakot airstrikes, ACM Bhadauria speaks with the Indian Express. Excerpts:

One year after the Balakot strike and subsequent air operations, how do you look back at the events from February 2019 till now?

The Balakot airstrike redefined the use of air power towards meeting the national objective and has changed the paradigm of sub-conventional action and response in the subcontinent. The event itself, and the subsequent air operations on February 27, 2019, have remained in public attention with the battle of narratives spreading out to the masses over all forms of media. But the fact remains that the Balakot airstrikes were the most significant air action by the IAF in over four decades, when our fighters penetrated deep into Pakistan airspace, executed a precise attack on the terror camp and returned home unchallenged.

Over the last year, we have continued to focus on our operational training and readiness and by induction of enhanced BVR (Beyond Visual Range) missiles, stand off weapon capability and upgradation of secure communications. We have looked closely at our modernisation and acquisition plans for prioritisation in line with the changing threat scenario.

ADVERTISEMENT
Read | A year after Balakot: Pakistan’s options have reduced, India has more room for manoeuvre
What were the big lessons from Balakot? How will it impact planning for future missions?

The Balakot strikes clearly demonstrated the IAF’s level of operational preparedness and capability. The package was precisely coordinated and comprised combat aircraft and enablers from many bases across the country. The men and women concerned performed their tasks admirably under challenging conditions which is a testimony to their planning and training. This complex plan was conceived and executed in full secrecy and the mission went unchallenged even when PAF was on full alert.

As in any military action, there were several lessons learnt which have been implemented in terms of capability enhancement and future plans. We have instituted measures covering the entire spectrum of induction of new capability, operational training and tactics, which will further enhance the IAF’s operational capability to undertake any such mission at short notice.

How do you plan to realistically overcome the challenge of shortage of fighter aircraft, considering the state of funds allocated for capital acquisition and IAF’s committed liabilities?

We are aware of the reducing strength of combat platforms for some time now. We have already put into place measures to overcome the shortfalls by a combination of capacity and capability enhancements. We have instituted a series of midlife upgrades and weapons integrations on legacy platforms. The LCA Mk1A and MRFA should serve to halt the reducing trend, and LCA Mk2 will thereafter boost the numbers once the upgraded platforms come to the end of their life cycles.

Also read | Balakot lessons
These inductions will be spread over a number of years which will help spread out the funding, as has been alluded to by the CDS.

Are there plans for buying more AWACS and mid-air refuellers, better weaponry for Su-30 and better air defence capability, with reports of S400 delivery being delayed?

We have plans in place for additional AWACS, both through the acquisition and development routes. We are also looking at various possibilities to enhance our refuelling capability, and these should be formalised soon. The Su-30 upgrade is on our priority list. The S400 is not delayed as has been reported, but the programme delivery schedule is being optimised in coordination with the Russian side to enable us to operationalise the weapon system quicker.

How prepared is IAF for the challenges on the northern borders? Any special plans in the offing?

The IAF, as does any armed force, continues to monitor threats and challenges across the geographical and strategic space that we operate in. With specific reference to our northern borders we are aware that matching numbers is a difficult proposition but we are adequately prepared. We are focussing on hi-tech weapons, force enablers along with emphasis on operational training.

Integrated theatre commands are in news, with CDS having it in charter, while IAF has long held that the whole of India is one theatre. How will this be resolved?

There is no doubt that our current setup, while time-tested, is old, and there is room for improvement. However, as the CDS has brought out, we need to guard against blindly following models adopted by different countries in a ‘change for change’s sake approach’. We need to clearly understand our unique situation, our resources, and develop solutions which fit our needs and requirements.

There is a clear case to enhance jointness at the operational level. Several studies are underway to resolve the practical issues of how this is to translate into deliverable and achievable actions on the ground. Our air power resources are highly inadequate to permit fragmentation into smaller theatres. We are studying methods to create joint structures and yet retain the ability to bring to bear the maximum possible firepower from air at the desired point of delivery across our entire national AOR (Area of Responsibility) in the shortest possible time.

https://indianexpress.com/article/i...ctive-6286787/lite/?__twitter_impression=true

He should use terms like "operation swift retort" or "nowshera strikes", as that is where the real action happened.
 

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Good to read confirmation of BVR upgrade from the chief. But why was this not paid attention to from 2010 or so when Pakistan had acquired the C5s from US?
 

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Induction of new RVV-SD BVR missiles confirmed by IAF CAS.
RVV-SD has a range of 110 km and thus has superior range and better No escape zone than AIM-120C5.
There are airforces which induct weapons like Missiles and use whatever is available when the opportunity arrives and then there is IAF which like BSF complains and protests when it gets it up it's backside.



 

Wood

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Ita not confirmed that AIM 120C5 has less than 110km. There are Parameters which define the range. @airomerix @Dazzler
Secondly, we are getting PL 15s which are long Range AAM( as stated by Chinese and Western sources). Their range as stated is greater than Meteor. So in Future since our BVR would be having greater range, u guys will be left with the same situation as 27 Feb i.e Outgunned by PAF
Real range of BVR systems are not exactly as advertised. Meteor is said to be well over 100 km; you can only optimistically assume that it is lesser that the Chinese weapon.
 

dbc

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Induction of new RVV-SD BVR missiles confirmed by IAF CAS.
RVV-SD has a range of 110 km and thus has superior range and better No escape zone than AIM-120C5.
RVV-SD sounds lethal, I tried researching its combat record online but could not find any.
I expanded my search to all Russian BVR missile - still nothing.

Surely, this and other lethal Russian BVR missile has many....many combat kills under its belt. Please can you provide us the details.
 

ziaulislam

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Induction of new RVV-SD BVR missiles confirmed by IAF CAS.
RVV-SD has a range of 110 km and thus has superior range and better No escape zone than AIM-120C5.
well honestly most of us are disappointed..
we thought there was an aircraft called raptor of the east and all of sudden it was nothing

even if IAF says 200km range BVR was inducted i will take with pinch of salt, since they are seamlessly denying something that is starring at their noses.."missing the spot"

instead of apologizing to Indian nation about incompetence and not hitting their target and firing those who are responsible for this incompetence we are seeing denial..
 

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RVV-SD sounds lethal, I tried researching its combat record online but could not find any.
I expanded my search to all Russian BVR missile - still nothing.

Surely, this and other lethal Russian BVR missile has many....many combat kills under its belt. Please can you provide us the details.
In India you would be labelled as DESH DROHI and LYNCHED for such intriguing details and Questions.
 

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