Skip to comments.Pakistan bridges technology gap with India
Posted on 01/30/2011 5:10:11 AM PST by sukhoi-30mki
Pakistan bridges technology gap with India
Express News Service
First Published : 30 Jan 2011
NEWDELHI: In 2009 when the first of the three Russian-Israeli spy planes arrived in New Delhi, it was viewed as the Indian Air Forces big technological leap leaving adeversaries like Pakistan behind. Two years down the line, Pakistan has knocked much of this technology gap off with help from China by adding planes that can peep inside Indian border and thwart aerial strikes.
IAF bosses now admit that it was time to redraw its plans regarding acquistion of more Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems, popularly known as eye in the sky because of its capacity to scan wide areas to dissolve any aerial threats from missiles and combat jets.
The IAF has in its fleet three Israeli Phalcon systems, arguably one of the best of the AEW&C available anywhere in the world bought for a whopping $1.1 billion. Mounted on a modified Russian transporter IL-76, Phalcon is central to IAFs plans to maintain air superiority by quickly and simultanesously searching, tracking and locking targets spread over a big area.
Pakistan has bridged this technological divide to a greater extent, said a senior officer about Pakistan Air Force inductions like Swedish Erieye System and much bigger Chinas ZDK-03 which, like the Indian Phalcon, is mounted on Russian Il-76. The official said that Pakistan is looking to have atleast 10 of these aircraft which is too big a number for a small country.
It has led to an AEW&C race in the sub-continent with India getting ready for a repeat order of Phalcons. All eyes were also on Defence Research and Development Organisations (DRDO) own plans to develop an AEW&C at home which is going to be ready for trials soon. The Indian system would be mounted on Brazilian Embraer EMB-145 aircraft and the IAF hopes the DRDO will be able to deliver a good platform without much delays.
Ahead of the DRDO trials, Pakistan would induct first of four ZDK-03 AEW&C developed by China in a move that has generated some interest. Little is known about ZDK-03 which is said to be another product of Chinese reverse engineering, according to experts.
Pakistan already has three Erieye systems bought from the Swedish company SAAB as part of its Project Horizon. These are being operated by Chaklala-based 13th squadron.
Experts said the PAFs sector operations centers were connected by Erieye Ground Interface Segment, as has been the case with other operators like Brazil, Greece and Mexcio that use Erieyes. Brazilian AEW expert Sergio Ricardo told the Express that India still has an edge because the Israeli system is much more advanced but others were catching up fast. The Phalcons were not sold to China by Israel under the US pressure.
“The Phalcons were not sold to China by Israel under the US pressure”
And idiots like Rand Paul ask why we have a foreign aid program.
Unless Pakistan has some good fighters to protect all those flying eyes, they’re going to be just so many targets for the new Sukhois India is ordering.
If it was up to me (and obviously it is not) for the MMRCA selection I would cancel the Tejas for the LCA and instead induct the Gripen NG (for domestic development purposes I would instead direct the resources for the LCA modernisation from MiG-21 ++ to Gripen NG-lite to joining up with, say SAAB and the South Koreans - and Israel -, towards developing a more advanced variant of the stealth AMCA concept), and for the MMRCA opt for either the SuperBug/Typhoon/Rafale. With the (new) LCA and the MMRCA, and the current SU-30MKI (with AESA upgrades), the Indian airforce would be easily more than enough for India's needs, with that capability only getting better as the FGFA (T-50) and the AMCA eventually come on line. The technology transfer (from the 'new' LCA and the MMRCA selectee), as well as experience from the stealth AMCA co-development with SAAB/South Korea/ Israel, would prove to be quite the boon for the national defense industry as well as private industry.
That is not how it will be done (and I am sure for good reasons), but that is how I would do it.
For that very reason, I highly doubt that the Gripen NG will be chosen for the MRCA. Too small. My money is on the Super Hornet, if only for engine commonality with the Tejas.
I simply wish they would add some haste to the process, particularly when it comes to issues like the MMRCA as well as their submarine acquisitions. Waiting too long (either via timelag in selection or hindrances in acquisition) would lead to the twin perils of gap-closure between (say) India and Pakistan, as well as gap-closure between prime efficacy and the inception of obsolesence.
India’s strategic culture has been inherently lacking in innovation and determination (barring for probably the Indira Gandhi era). So even if individual systems such as the MRCA are expedited, they may not be done at optimum benefit-flawed contract clauses, problems in delivery. These have been witnessed in pretty much every major contract signed in recent years for the Indian military. The same problem affects indigenous research. Indian research establishments have essentially become bureaucratic machines looking to procure funds and work to a project rather than get workable results. So you see the problems with projects such as the LCA and its indigenous engine. Both are fundamentally sound concepts but have been implemented terribly. The government has indicated it could relax norms for allowing greater foreign investment and private participation in the defense sector. But that’s likely to incur significant opposition from the usual suspects on the left and right.
The Pakistanis and Chinese don’t have this problem as the military pretty much runs strategic discourse over there.
About the MRCA, here’s an interesting article on the possibility of the US offering greater technology.
To be fair, the same could be said about the F-22 and F-35 programs, and the Japanese F-2 program.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.