• Thursday, June 27, 2019

Featured PAF ‘OPS SWIFT RETORT’ and the effectiveness of air power

Discussion in 'Pakistan Air Force' started by ghazi52, May 26, 2019.

  1. ghazi52

    ghazi52 ELITE MEMBER

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    PAF ‘OPS SWIFT RETORT’ and the effectiveness of air power

    AVM Sohail Malik (Retd)

    May 26, 2019

    “The world stands on the threshold of the “aeronautical era”. During this epoch the destinies of all people will be controlled through the air”
    –Brig Gen William Billy Mitchell's

    16 Indian Air Force (IAF) Mirage 2000s and Su-30s, supported by airborne early warning (AEW) planes, stole their way into Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on the night of 26th Feb, 2019 (on the pretext of attacking some non-existent terrorist camps) hastily dropped 1000 kg bombs on a few trees and fled back into India in quick time to avoid facing the approaching JF-17 challengers. The very next day the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) paid back the Indian Air Force in full and with some to spare. In broad daylight it launched stand-off weapons targeting 4 vulnerable points (VPs), and then staying put in the air for several minutes, openly daring the Indian fighters to test their fighting prowess against our air warriors. None accepted the challenge, only Wg Cdr Abhinandan crossed the LoC and PAF was glad to shoot him down, rest of his section fled back in disarray.

    Whatever may be the statement of the Indian Air Chief and however concocted the narrative of Indian Foreign office and media, Operation Swift Retort by Pakistan Air Force on 27th February, 2019 has left the Indian political leadership, military hierarchy and its Air Force severely bruised, scared and bleeding.

    The whole story and Bollywood theme made up of lies fabricated by fascist Modi mafia has kept a nation of 1.2 billion people hostage and intellectually paralyzed. On the contrary Pakistani media, government and military has shown relatively mature and composed reaction, by offering peace against war-mongering Indian narrative.

    The victory PAF achieved against IAF in the air battle on 27th Feb was neither a surprise nor a coincidence. While always thanking the Divine Being for His kind support, undoubtedly PAF over the year has maintained its optimum operational readiness, remained abreast of air power’s ever-evolving technology, techniques and tactics. The legacy of leadership bequeathed by Air Marshal Asghar Khan and Air Marshal Nur Khan and the examples of bravery and professionalism set by Sarfraz Rafiqui, MM Alam and many other aerial warriors in 1965 and 1971 wars and elsewhere have always made us proud. The high standards set by them have become benchmark for men in blue. Well before 26th Feb, PAF leadership had exactly foreseen the intentions of their enemy and prepared their response against IAF adventurism. That one mission on 27th Feb was true reflection of PAF preparedness, confidence and of its resolve to defend our aerial frontiers. That single mission of ‘Swift Retort’ was shining example of PAF training standards and display of how PAF maintains ascendency against a numerically superior adversary.

    The IAF Chief had to humbly accept his force’s deficiencies when he publicly admitted that “Rafale presence could have turned the balance in our favour” - after all his air force had just lost to a much smaller one in an air battle where the elements of surprise and concentration of force had been with him to begin with. His 200+ Su-30s and 60+ Mirage 2000s, admittedly had proved toothless against PAF’s few fighter jets. So this brings us to the basic questions of “why did they venture on 26th? Did they hypothesize that PAF would never respond? Were they over-powered by Modi’s political madness and forced to undertake the so- called surgical strikes or else both their political and military objectives were not aligned?” Were they not well equipped to take on PAF? Were they not well trained? Had the IAF leadership failed to read the will of PAF leadership?”

    During this short battle, IAF lost one Mig-21 in AJK, one Su-30 inside Indian Occupied Kashmir and one Mi-17 helicopter most likely to friendly air-to-air missile, and the jewel in the crown was when poor ‘Abhinandan” was made to shoot an F-16 by Indian media, a story that credible foreign media denied, by verifying the existence of complete inventory of PAF F-16s after action. The claim of “First Mig-21 pilot in the world to shoot down an F-16 jet” has not been owned even by their ‘hero’ Wing Commander Abhinandan. Neither has he been produced in front of media to narrate the details of his heroic deed and bold encounter. India, in general, has lost face in the world and the Indian Air Chief’s loss of face has been total.

    Operation Swift Retort has clearly demonstrated Pakistan’s ability to retaliate proportionately against Indian provocation while denying IAF impunity and freedom of action over Pakistani air space. For those familiar with characteristics and tenets of air power, can appreciate that it was nothing extra-ordinary that IAF was able to make a quick incursion into Pakistan on 26th Feb and withdraw but PAF response in broad daylight was far more bold, daring and conceptually imaginative. The Indian airstrike lost its value in one day-no more. Indian leadership was running from pillar to post. The Indian conventional deterrence was so badly compromised by the end of air action.

    In the final analysis, Air forces of the world are measured by air power effectiveness, which in my reckoning is not only a matter of numbers and technology but of many other factors that are of varying importance at varying times. They mainly include morale, which reflects motivation and willingness to stick together and act as a team in the heat of combat. In this operation the PAF came out strongly as a well-gelled team. The way the entire operation was planned and executed and was fully supported by its smaller teams of logisticians, engineers, ATC and air defence controllers and executed by the pilots is absolutely commendable. PAF had fully transformed itself to fight in this futuristic battle under the dynamic leadership of successive Air Chiefs. Another factor is leadership, which includes the vision and performance of senior leaders at the strategic level, and their ability to design, plan and conduct campaigns at the operational level. Equally important is tactical leadership for application of force in an integrated fashion. Lastly training featuring realistic training scenarios, large scale exercises and each individual pilot’s confidence in his machine. Air war is a competition and thus its effectiveness will always be measured against an opponent, who is also changing and adapting to newer technological / operational advancements. If we analyze the complete scenario of attack by IAF and counterattack by PAF, the interplay of above factors reveals that PAF displayed superior effectiveness of air power and ultimately achieved its objectives.

    Exchange of air firepower between IAF and PAF on 26th and 27th does suggest that there will always be space for conventional exchange between two neighbouring nuclear-armed states. It would seem that early employment of air power may become a new normal in any future battle scenarios between India and Pakistan. It would thus be extremely vital for Pakistan military and civilian leadership to understand the importance of the air force and ensuring its future transformation to dominate the operational environment that is rapidly and continuously evolving in spheres of technology / capability.

    Air mindedness of the top leadership of a nation determines how best to apply air power to meet its national security objectives. Indian night air strike of 26th Feb and PAF’s ‘Swift Retort’ have demonstrated that air power offers itself as alternative of choice to our political and military leadership to effectively demonstrate its political will. Properly trained, futuristically equipped and gallantly led, a smaller Pakistan air force can hold a larger Indian air force at bay. A strong conventional air action could still avert a resort to the employment of strategic weapons.

    “A country without a strong air force is at the mercy of any aggressor. Pakistan must build up her air force as quickly as possible. It must be an efficient air force, second to none”.
    –Quaid-e-Azam

    https://nation.com.pk/26-May-2019/paf-ops-swift-retort-and-the-effectiveness-of-air-power
     
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  2. Hodor

    Hodor FULL MEMBER

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    Finally confirmed by a senior person "Mi-17 was an A-A kill".Shot down by Abhinundun's wingman.
     
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  3. Armchair

    Armchair FULL MEMBER

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    Is Quaid's instruction of an air force second to none being fulfilled by pitching JFT block 3s against Rafales and F-21s?
     
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  4. CriticalThought

    CriticalThought SENIOR MEMBER

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    I disagree with the assertion that limited air battle is possible between nuclear adversaries. This mindset seeks to deny or underestimate the existential threat posed by India with full support of a West that is uncomfortable with our nuclear arsenal. It ignores the geo-political realities of the threat of FATF black listing, financial terrorism, and fomenting unrest in the country through proxies.

    The next battle may very well be a naval battle. An enemy bent on overpowering us will seek the weakest point. The enemy already understands the efficacy of our air power. It may test the naval power next. Which doesn't mean air power should be ignored, but it cannot be given a single minded focus either.
     
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  5. SecularNationalist

    SecularNationalist SENIOR MEMBER

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    Wasnt the Mi17 was shot down by a indian air defence battery on the ground?
    On a side note indians are generally brainwashed by their current political party BJP,government and the media.They failed to realize that despite they have a bigger air force with big budget and more expensive advance jets that alone won,t give them an egde against PAF.The sad thing is that intellectual depths of indian masses will erode further in the next five years because they again elected the same lunatic party.Overall ten years in modi influence india will change and suffer in the long term like pakistan suffered after zia ul haq period.
     
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  6. blain2

    blain2 ADVISORS

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    Yes it is. Have some faith.
     
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  7. Armchair

    Armchair FULL MEMBER

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    We must be people of intellect and not of blind faith. How exactly is pitching Block 3s against Rafales going to do that? Would prefer a reasoned argument over a one liner.
     
  8. HawkEye27

    HawkEye27 FULL MEMBER

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    Both have BVRs with long ranges (PL-15 vs Meteor)

    Both have AESA

    Both have SPJ capabilities

    Rafale is Omni Role & Thunder is multirole - But this all comes to employment as we dont have requirement for any kind of force projection or long range deep strike missions.

    India can hardly afford an other 36 Rafales. Where as with 200+ JFs we will have force concentration in AOR.

    Once PAF jumps to 5th Gen then Rafale with be kids in front of them. So for the time being lets deal with Blk-3 while 5th Gen comes into play
     
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  9. iLION12345_1

    iLION12345_1 FULL MEMBER

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    Better training. Better tactics. Better planning. Something we’ve shown to have all the way back in 65 and now again in 2019. War isn’t won by statistics on paper and size alone. Everything is combined. Also. Thunders against Rafaels is bad comparison. Say 100+ and in some years to be 300+ self made and continuously improving thunders against 36 imported Rafaels and everything changes.

    While you’re mostly right, it’s kinda dumb not to admit that on paper the Rafael is way superior than the Thunder. The thunder is a light, low cost aircraft, the Rafael is not. However the amount comparison plus indigenousness is the equalizer, you’re right there. That’s excluding pilot training and planning.
    As for the 5th gen stuff for us. While again. True and inevitable. I’d rather it not be mentioned alongside this stuff as it makes it look like make belief and fan-boyish. Let’s wait until it’s more ready to show it off. :)
     
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  10. Hakikat ve Hikmet

    Hakikat ve Hikmet SENIOR MEMBER

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    The words of the Salihin, whose Vekil and Kefil are none other than Allah-u Azimushshan, don't fall down on the ground....
     
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  11. CriticalThought

    CriticalThought SENIOR MEMBER

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    You are trivializing the Rafale's true capabilities. The comparison you have given above is amateurish. Read here to understand what's needed to bring Thunder at par in the WVR regime

    https://defence.pk/pdf/threads/first-glimpse-into-jf-17-block-3.613436/page-16#post-11495544

    In the BVR arena, it is not enough to tick off boxes on AESA, SPJ, and missiles. The quality matters as well. The effective range, frequency bandwidth, number of T/R modules, and more importantly the software used for detection, its ability to track and attack multiple bogies, the rate of false positives and false negatives, they all matter. In the SPJ area, SPECTRA and it's active cancellation is a huge unknown. Even if Thunder has a SPJ pod, the question arises: can it generate enough noise to confuse the Rafale's sensors? Does it support wideband jamming? What is the width of its beams? Then there is the question of integration. Once the RWR detects a threat, how well can it interact with the SPJ to jam the threat without being detected? What are the ELINT capabilities available to decipher signals on the go? What kind of threat library is available?

    When people say Rafale is at par with F-22/F-35 these are the areas they are referring to. Rafale enjoys French expertise in electronics gained over decades. Consider this: the French upgrades for Mirage are making a 60 year old relevant in today's age. Imagine what the latest French electronics are capable of.

    People tend to misunderstand the extant of French expertise. Here is an eye opener: the French had the equivalent of the internet during the 70s much earlier than the Americans. The reason why they were not recognized as world leaders is because they chose to keep their system closed off.

    The Rafale is the epitome of European engineering expertise in EW and a very potent adversary. Do not trivialize the problem at hand.
     
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  12. NA71

    NA71 FULL MEMBER

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    Just Fantastic Analysis.
     
  13. HawkEye27

    HawkEye27 FULL MEMBER

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    I never doubt the strength of Spectra Suite. Rather its always an advantage having RWR,Radar and Jammer from the same source/country to that they are well integrated.

    My point is that while Rafale’s Spectra will deny thunder/F-16 a solid lock but then you can not straight away underestimate the capability of F-16 EW suite and the one on the JF-17.

    PAF has vast experiance of EW employment from foreign exercises and then this ACE concept. You all saw that on 27th Feb. While the mini-AWAC (Su-30) was busy dodging and getting kicked we have local air superiority.

    Rafale as an individual is a tough nut to crack but then with limited help from ground and no data link with other platforms it going to get a tough time against a more number of JF/F-16 combo supported by better integrated EW

    And lastly, lets don’t estimate the Chinese tech. They may be behind aerospace and engines due to metallurgy but Electronics, man they are good at it. Recent experiance of PAF against PLAAF during exercises showed a lot about Chinese Tech.
     
  14. MastanKhan

    MastanKhan PDF VETERAN

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    AVM Malick,

    Tactically the Paf failed to take advantage of the situation. The enemy had already announced what it was going to do prior to the night of the 26th---it had hinted strike at known locations---and yet the Paf failed to take action.
    Paf was basically not prepared to challenge the enemy the first night. When the enemy came---the Paf shooed it off and was happy at it---. If it was not for the public outrage and outrage from junior officers---the Paf was well set and satisfied with the action.
    The action taken on the 27th was incomplete---. It reminded of the 65 war when Akhnoor was not attacked and taken for the fear the indians would start an all out war and yet they did---.
    The Paf let the IAF escape one more time. This drama of originally targeting certain areas then moving the target away---that was so childish an immature that one can only laugh at it---.
    Then to top it all off---the pak military allowed the most modern indian sub to escape intact---even though that would have evened the score for the Atlantique---sheer incompetence and cowardice---.
    If it was israel attacked in that manner by its enemies---they would have smashed the enemy assets for at least 24 hours---.
    Pakistan's reaction also showed that the Paf has truly become a defensive air force---it was caught short of frontline aircraft at a very critical time and it failed to take advantage of the situation presented to it on a platter by an incompetent enemy---.
    The sad part over here is that my brethren over here are pretty much illiterate & worship the Paf second only to Allah and cannot see any faults in their incompetence---.
    For this little incidence of success---Paf has given away its tactical secrets for such a small success---. What a shame.
    MastanKhan @ Defence.pk forums
     
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  15. HawkEye27

    HawkEye27 FULL MEMBER

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    Showing restraint was a political decision & I agree with em. Just imagine if we had actually engaged the Brigade HQ and roasted Bipin Uncle.
     
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