Indian Air Force Thread

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Given that the moderators on this forum have shown no interest in reopening the locked IAF thread, I'm creating a new one to post IAF related news.

Starting with news related to the IAF resurrecting No.17 "Golden Arrows" squadron, which will be the first squadron to fly the Rafale in the IAF.

IAF resurrects No.17 Golden Arrows for Rafale

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/si5wz0/article29384466.ece/ALTERNATES/FREE_960/vbk-17-squadron


The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Tuesday resurrected the Air Force Station (AFS) Ambala-based 17 Squadron ‘Golden Arrows’, which will operate the first squadron of Rafale fighter jetsin the near future.

The first batch of Rafale jets are scheduled to be formally handed over to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on October 8 in France, officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The jets are set to arrive in India in May 2020.

The resurrection ceremony was presided over by IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal (ACM) B.S. Dhanoa. Incidentally, he had commanded the 17 Squadron during the Kargil conflict in 1999. On December 31, 2011 the squadron was ‘number plated’ after the Russian Mig-21 jets that it flew were decommissioned as part of the IAF’s long-term plan to phase the decades-old aircraft out of service and was since awaiting newer inductions.

The 17 Squadron was raised at Ambala on October 01, 1951, under the command of Flight Lieutenant D.L. Springett and initially equipped with the Harvard-II B aircraft. “By November 1955, Squadron converted fully to De Havilland Vampire and by 1957, Hawker Hunter aircraft were flown by the ‘Golden Arrows’. The Squadron converted to the Mig-21 M in 1975,” the IAF said in a statement.

Between October 2019 and May 2020, three batches — each comprising eight IAF pilots along with engineers and technicians — would undergo advanced training on the Indian jets in France, a defence official said. So far, three IAF pilots and two technical officers have trained on the French Air Force’s Rafales as per the terms of the contract. The Indian standard Rafale incorporating all the India Specific Enhancements (ISEs) would be operationally ready, latest by September 2021.

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First IAF Rafale RB001 in IAF colors. Handover to the IAF and India's Defence Minister will happen on October 8, 2019

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HAL HTT-40 (Hindustan Turbo Trainer-40) clears the 6 turn spin trials and is now on its way to achieving certification. With Pilatus blacklisted for 1 year thanks to corruption allegations on the PC-7 Mk2 deal, there is a very strong likelihood that the HTT-40 will enter service as the second basic trainer for the IAF.

The final HTT-40 configuration is seen in the image. single ventral fin and no dorsal fin extending to the vertical fin. Spin chute attachment will come off once the trials are over.

HAL built trainer HTT-40 clears crucial flight test successfully


..

In flight-testing on Saturday in Bengaluru, HAL’s test pilots threw the HTT-40 into multiple spins and, each time, the trainer returned to level flight smoothly. In so doing, the HTT-40 cleared the so-called “six-turn spin test”, regarded as the ultimate and most difficult test for a trainer aircraft.

The HTT-40 has already met and, in many aspects of flight performance, surpassed the so-called “Air Staff Qualitative Requirements” (ASQRs), which lists out the flight performance — speed, turn, ceiling, etc. — that the IAF demands from an aircraft.

...

For the Pilatus PC-7 Mark II trainer, the procurement of which is already under the scanner of the Central Bureau of Investigation, this most likely spells the end of further imports. The HTT-40 falls under the category of “Indian designed, developed and manufactured” (IDDM) equipment, and the MoD cannot import more Pilatus without a detailed explanation of why the HTT-40 is being ignored.

“For HAL, clearing the HTT-40’s six-turn spin tests removes a monkey from our backs. Our intermediate jet trainer (IJT) aircraft had failed its spin tests and we were determined this would not be the fate of the HTT-40. In fact, not just has the HTT-40 cleared its spin and stall tests, we have revived the IJT project as well,” said HAL’s design chief, Arup Chatterjee.

HAL has manufactured the IAF’s fleet of Hawk advanced jet trainers (AJT), with technology from BAE Systems. With the HTT-40 poised for final clearance, a breakthrough on the IJT could mean that the IAF’s entire training aircraft fleet comprises of HAL-built aircraft.

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How's the plan to integrate Russian weapons on Rafale ?.

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It's not a ventral fin, it's the great wall of China!

This thing is huge and tall (and apparently, fixed).

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How's the plan to integrate Russian weapons on Rafale ?.

None so far. What plan are you referring to and which Russian weapons? the IAF wants to integrate Astra Mk1 on the Rafale and going forward the Astra Mk2 as well. Possibly other indigenous weapons as well.

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No.17 "Golden Arrows" patch after being resurrected with Rafale

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this one

https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/defense/2013-09-13/russian-missiles-indias-rafales

That article dates back to 2013. A lot has changed since then. The IAF now thinks the world of the Meteor and has the Astra Mk1 as the next BVRAAM entering service, possibly by the end of this year itself. R-77 stocks are sufficient for the Su-30 and MiG-29 fleet, but with MICA in service with Mirage-2000I, there is commonality with that type for the Rafale.

I don't believe any such plan exists as of now. the MICA-IR will be the CCM, possibly ASRAAM once it is adopted across other fleet types as well. R-73E stocks are adequate for the Su-30, MiG-29 and Tejas fleet.

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IAF takes possession of its second indigenous Netra AEW&C mounted on an Embraer ERJ145 jet. The Netra AEW&C was used in combat ops for the first time in Op Balakot in February 2019.


Punjab: Defence Research & Development Organisation today handed over the second indigenous ‘Netra’ Airborne Early Warning & Control aircraft to the Indian Air Force. The Western Air Command Chief, Air Marshal R Nambiar accepted the planes at the acceptance ceremony at Bathinda air base.
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IAF places another huge order for Akash SAM systems with Bharat Electricals Limited (BEL). Total of 7 Squadrons worth. Deliveries to be completed in 3 years time.

MR-SAM (Barak-8), S-400 and Akash deliveries will mean the IAF's SAM systems will see a quantum jump in capabilities in the coming 3-4 years. All tied into the IACCS network so that all radars and SAM systems are able to see the same picture.

BEL bags Rs 5357 crore defence ministry contract for Akash missile system


BENGALURU: Navratna Defence PSU Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) Friday said it has won order worth Rs 5,357 crores for seven squadrons of Akash Missile System for the Indian Air Force.

BEL has signed a contract with the Ministry of Defence on Friday for procurement of seven squadrons of Akash Missile System for the Indian Air Force, the company said in a statement.

This was a turnkey contract with specialist infrastructure, it said.

According to BEL, the total value of the contract is Rs.5,357 crores and the delivery will be completed in three years. http://wtf2.forkcdn.com/www/delivery/lg.php?bannerid=0&campaignid=0&zoneid=5832&loc=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.newindianexpress.com%2Fbusiness%2F2019%2Fsep%2F13%2Fbel-bags-rs-5357-crore-defence-ministry-contract-for-akash-missile-system-2033182.html&cb=a466809294

These systems will be commissioned at seven Air Force locations spread across the country, it added.

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Astra BVRAAM fired from a Su-30MKI successfully engages live aerial target over Odisha coast as part of user trials.

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[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=16px][COLOR=#222222]Air-to-Air missile, ASTRA, has been successfully flight tested on 16 September 2019 off the coast of Odisha. The missile was launched from Su-30 MKI as a part of User trials. The live aerial target was engaged accurately demonstrating the capability of first indigenous air-to-air missile.

The mission profile was executed in a text book manner. Various Radars, Electro-Optical Tracking System (EOTS) and Sensors tracked the missile and confirmed its engagement with target.

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Nice. clearly the Su-30MKI Will still have a long life forward.

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Nice. clearly the Su-30MKI Will still have a long life forward.

Oh no doubt about it. The Su-30MKI MLU is also planned for sometime in the 2020s. Will keep the oldest MKIs flying for another 15 years at least, and with new ones still being delivered, the IAF will still be operating Su-30s into the early 2060s (given a 40 year/6000 hours service life).

New weapons will keep getting integrated. Next BVRAAM will likely be the i-Derby-ER if Russia doesn't put a spanner into the plans. Then there'll be the next Astra variant, the dual pulse Astra Mk2 followed by the SFDR ducted ramjet BVRAAM that is in development. Plus more indigenous air to ground weapons as well. IAF's hopes of getting Meteor on the Su-30 won't work out though.

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Interesting pic from Air Marshal Anil Chopra, former Mirage-2000 pilot.

This was in the year 1999, after he had flown aboard a MiG-31 in Russia. I recall persistent reports back then about the MiG-31 being offered and possible IAF interest in the platform. The interest didn't translate into anything concrete anyway. The MRCA competition started a few years later.

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A few days back, someone wanted me to put a picture of the day I flew the MiG 31 in 1999 in Russia. In this picture @NMenonRao our then DCM is Moscow and later Foreign Secy and US Ambassador, and Mr Pankov, Director General of the MiG plant in Nizhnie Novgorad.
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Third successful test firing of Astra BVRAAM from a Su-30MKI off the coast of Odisha. This time the missile was tested against a live aerial threat at a range of 90 kms.

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DRDO Sources: Third firing of Astra Beyond Visual Range Air to Air Missile was successfully carried out by Air Force and Defence Research and Development Organisation today. The missile hit the live aerial target near Odisha at maximum range of approximately 90 km.
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More details on the Astra BVR AAM that is slated to enter into IAF service by end of 2019. Will be integrated with the Mirage-2000, MiG-29 and Tejas fighters apart from Su-30MKI. Uses the same Vympel launcher that is already used on these types, allowing for quicker integration. And being a completely made in India missile, will be significantly cheaper than the MICA and Meteor which is emerging as a silver bullet AAM for the IAF. IAF could order significantly larger stocks of Astra for all its fighter types at a much more affordable cost.

Prior to this series of user trials from a batch of 50 LSP Astra missiles by BDL, 27 successful tests had been carried out. The 3 successful ones in this series makes it 30 test shots.

India successfully develops its first BVRAAM


India has successfully developed the ‘Astra’, its first all-weather Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Air-to-Air Missile (AAM) and leaped into a group of few nations that have a weapon system of this capability and performance. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) initiated concept studies for developing an indigenous AAM in the 1990s.

The Government of India sanctioned the Astra project in March 2004 with a budget of 995 crore. The Hyderabad-based Defence Research & Development Laboratory, a Missile System laboratory under the DRDO was designated as the design and development (D&D) agency for the Astra missile. During its development, the design of Astra missile went through several iterative changes for improving its control, guidance and propulsion systems as also reduction in weight. Ground testing of the Astra began in December 2012 and the missile was cleared for captive flight trials on the Su-30MKI combat platform in April 2013. The first Astra missile was launched from the Su-30MKI in May 2014 and so far, 27 missiles have been test fired to ascertain and validate its performance.

The Astra is designed to carry 15 kg high explosive pre-fragmented warhead, which is activated by a Radio Proximity Fuse. The missile has good Electronic Counter-Countermeasure (ECCM) to enable unconstrained operation in an Electronic Countermeasure (ECM) environment. The Astra Mark 1, which successfully completed the trials recently, has a maximum head-on launch range of 100 km, a speed of 4.5 Mach and is cleared for launch up to an altitude of 20 km (66,000 ft). The Astra could be launched either by the mother aircraft or fired in buddy mode. The extensive and rigorous trials have successfully validated the Astra missile’s warhead capability, its maximum launch ranges against both head-on and maneuvering targets, its long-range target engagement capability, clear missile-separation at supersonic speeds, launch under high ‘g’ forces and multiple missile launches at multiple targets.

During the trials, the Astra missiles were launched across the entire flight envelope of the Su-30MKI and all of these successfully engaged, hit and destroyed all assigned manoeuvring and non-manoeuvring aerial targets besides meeting with all mission objectives.

After launch, the Astra initially uses ‘Inertial Mid-Course Guidance’ through a secure data-link from the mother aircraft followed by ‘Active Radar Homing’ from its seeker head for terminal guidance.

To absorb delays in the development process of the indigenous active radar seeker, it was decided to develop the Astra missile with Russian ‘Agat 9B1103M’ active radar seeker for terminal guidance. The entire D&D of Astra including the firing trials up to the year 2017, were conducted with the Russian active radar seeker. The decision to use the Russian seeker for D&D and trials phases was a very prudent one as it enabled concurrent engineering and development of both, the missile and its active radar seeker independently.

The Indian Ku-band active radar seeker was developed by DRDO and is now fully functional. This form-fit indigenous seeker has now been installed on all Astra missiles. Thus, today India has its first indigenously developed BVR AAM with indigenous active radar seeker. The Indian Air Force (IAF) being satisfied with Astra’s development and performance, is in the process of placing initial order for 100 missiles in the prototype version on the manufacturer Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL). Induction of this weapons system into the IAF will commence later this year.

Performance and kill ranges of the Astra Mark 1 is slightly better than the BVR AAM currently employed by our adversaries.

The Astra is already integrated on the Su-30MKI and the IAF will certainly integrate this weapons system with the upgraded Mirage 2000, the MiG-29, light combat aircraft Tejas and may be with the Rafale jets that are expected to start arriving in September this year. The Astra is the first Beyond Visual Range, Air-to-Air Missile that is designed, developed and manufactured by the Indian aerospace industry. Its successful induction will greatly boost the BVR combat capability of the IAF.

After the successful development of the Astra Mark 1, the first BVR AAM, the IAF and DRDO have already started the process to develop Astra Mark 2, an improved version of Astra Mark 1. The Astra Mark 2 will have a head-on launch range of over 100 km along with the capability for ejector launch. It is certain that the Astra Mark 2 will be one of the best BVR AAM capable of outperforming all current BVR AAM except the European Meteor that is coming with the 36 Rafale fighters.

Astra Mk2 will be a dual pulse motor missile. There is another Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet technology demonstrator that was recently tested out. Will probably mature into an operational AAM in the next 5-6 years.

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IAF plans on initiating the process for ordering 70 HAL HTT-40 basic trainers. These will be in addition to the existing fleet of Pilatus PC-7 Mk2. IAF wanted 38 more follow-on orders but with the corruption scandal that has led to Pilatus being black-listed for 1 year, that is out of the question. And with the HTT-40 sailing through the spin trials, it is pretty much shaping up better than the IAF expected.

So if that too comes through, the total numbers of HTT-40 in IAF service may be 108 units. Should allow HAL to put this basic trainer up for sale in the export market as well. HAL plans on developing an armed variant as well.

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The Indian Air Force (IAF) plans to start the official process within three months for the possible purchase of 70 locally produced basic trainers from state-owned aircraft maker Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), three senior IAF officers said on condition of anonymity.

IAF is set to send a request for proposal (RFP) to HAL for the indigenous Hindustan Turbo Trainer-40 (HTT-40) before the end of the year, they added.

“The HTT-40 has entered the final stages of rigourous testing. The air force is optimistic that the trainer will meet its requirements. If all goes well, the RFP will be out by the year-end,” said one of the officials cited above who asked not to be named.

The HTT-40 is currently undergoing a string of elaborate tests at HAL to demonstrate that it is safe for rookie pilots and meets IAF’s exacting standards for trainer planes. Test pilots have wrapped up intensive flight tests but some brutal trials are yet to be conducted, said a second official.

A few days ago, the aircraft successfully completed the six-turn spin (towards the right), recovering from an uncontrolled flight using conventional methods. “The next stage of trials will be critical as it involves testing the HTT-40’s spin behaviour in the left direction, which is far more complicated,” the second official said.

If the remaining tests go smoothly, HAL could begin production by early 2021, said a third official tracking the air force’s modernisation drive. IAF, however, is clear that it does not want a piecemeal delivery of the basic trainers. “We don’t want HAL to deliver the aircraft in ones and twos as that will not meet our training requirements. We would need at least 20 planes to begin training. According to our estimates, it will take HAL around four years to deliver that number,” the third official added.

To facilitate the release of the RFP this year, IAF plans to seek a fresh Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) from the defence acquisition council to pursue the HTT-40 purchase under the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2016 instead of DPP-2008, which currently covers it. “That’s important because under DPP-2008, user trials have to be conducted before the RFP is issued. However, the provisions of DPP-2016 allow the RFP to come before the user trials,” said the second official cited above.

The upcoming RFP may also allow HAL to release around $25 million to upgrade the Honeywell TPE331-12B turboprop engine that powers the basic trainer to extract maximum performance from the aircraft, said the first official. HAL was reluctant to spend on the upgrade unless the order came through.

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The defence ministry in July suspended business dealings with Pilatus Aircraft Limited for one year for violation of a pre-contract integrity pact in a ~2,900-crore contract for 75 basic trainers, and also factoring in ongoing Indian investigations against the Swiss plane maker for alleged corruption and irregularities.

The contract included a follow-on purchase of 38 more planes, but the ban means IAF can’t invoke the clause. The order for additional planes could be sourced from HAL, said a fourth IAF official.
Experts welcomed IAF’s decision to take the HTT-40 purchase forward. “It’s a big thumps up to indigenisation and the RFP is an indicator that the locally made trainer will meet IAF’s requirements. It is now up to HAL to meet the timelines and provide adequate technical support. It has been found wanting in some of those aspects in the past,” said Air Vice Marshal Manmohan Bahadur (retd), additional director general, Centre for Air Power Studies.

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https://www.janes.com/article/90656/court-of-inquiry-finds-iaf-mi-17v-5…

"An Indian Air Force (IAF) court of inquiry (CoI) has determined that five IAF officers are to be held responsible for shooting down one of the service’s Mil Mi-17V-5 ‘Hip’ medium-lift helicopters in Indian-administered Kashmir on 27 February, official sources said.

All six IAF personnel aboard the helicopter along with a civilian on the ground were killed in the incident, which occurred outside Kashmir’s summer capital of Srinagar around the time that IAF fighters were engaged in aerial combat with Pakistan Air Force (PAF) aircraft near the location.

Official sources told Jane’s on 24 August that the CoI found a group captain, two wing commanders, and two flight lieutenants “blameworthy” for shooting down the Mi-17V-5 with an Israeli-made Spyder surface-to-air missile about 10 minutes after the platform had taken off from Srinagar airport."

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Dassault delivers first Rafale to IAF


New Delhi has taken delivery of its first four Dassault Rafales, completing a decades-long odyssey to obtain a new fighter for the Indian air force

The jets were handed over to Indian defence minister Raksha Mantri at a ceremony held at Dassault's Merignac production line near Bordeaux in southwest France.

Part of a 36-unit order placed by the government of Narendra Modi in 2016, the off-the-shelf acquisition of the Rafales was not without controversy, coming shortly after the cancellation of the long-running Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) contest.

In 2018, then Air Chief Marshall BS Dhanoa described the 2016 decision to obtain the 36 aircraft as an “emergency buy” to shore up India’s falling number of fighter units: the nation has 33 combat squadrons against an authorised strength of 42.5.

Though the Rafale was also the winner of the 126-aircraft MMRCA competition, this deal collapsed despite three years of negotiations, with stumbling blocks including disagreements over production, intellectual property, and whether Dassault or Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL), which was to build 108 examples locally, would be responsible for the quality of India-assembled jets.

Under offset commitments related to the latest deal, the French manufacturer has established a joint venture in India - Dassault Reliance Aerospace - which will manufacture several components for the Falcon 2000 business jet.

“I am particularly honored to host this ceremony today as India is part of Dassault Aviation’s DNA. The long and trustful relationship we share is an undeniable success and underpins my determination of establishing for the long-term Dassault Aviation in India.

"We stand alongside the Indian air force since 1953, we are totally committed to fulfill its requirements for the decades to come and to be part of India’s ambitious vision for the future," says Eric Trappier, Dassault chief executive.

Though the 36 Rafales give a boost to the Indian air force, the need for modernisation is as urgent as ever: in early 2018, the defence ministry issued a request for information (RFI) for 110 new fighters, essentially a reboot of MMRCA, with local production again a major element.

Interested parties are Lockheed Martin with the F-16V (rebadged as the F-21 for the competition), the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Saab Gripen E/F, and Eurofighter Typhoon. There is also separate 57-aircraft requirement for a carrier-borne fighter.

In addition, New Delhi continues work on indigenous programmes such as the HAL Tejas and the low-observable Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft.