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Pakistan bridges technology gap with India
Express Buzz, India ^ | 30 Jan 2011 | Gautam Datt

Posted on 01/30/2011 5:10:11 AM PST by sukhoi-30mki

Pakistan bridges technology gap with India

Gautam Datt

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 Force’s 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 IAF’s 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 China’s 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 Organisation’s (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 PAF’s 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.

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: aerospace; aew; india; paf; pakistan

1 posted on 01/30/2011 5:10:15 AM PST by sukhoi-30mki
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To: sukhoi-30mki

“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.

2 posted on 01/30/2011 5:38:03 AM PST by Christian Engineer Mass (25ish Cambridge, MA grad student. Any potential conservative Christian FReepmail-FRiends out there?)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

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.

3 posted on 01/30/2011 8:04:21 AM PST by Little Pig (Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici.)
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To: sukhoi-30mki
It is a mite concerning that Pakistan seems to be able to (to some level) mitigate Indian developments without too much of a timelag. For instance, India brings in the Phalcon, and Pakistan gets the Erieye not too long after. This is of particular concern when it comes to the MMRCA program, particularly if India takes too long to select/induct the winner(s). Already Pakistan has AMRAAMs, it is advancing its air defence network, and will obviously get all the assistance it can from China. This can be seen in other areas as well, for instance in submarines where Pakistan seems to be taking full advantage of time-lags in Indian procurement/development to always stay within range (even though not matching Indian capabilities). It may be high time for the Indians to see what they can do to enhance both efficacy and efficiency, because the modern (and future) environment will have its neighbors (a rich China and a poor but apparently dedicated Pakistan) only getting more sophisticated and capable. There was a time when Indian planes were the ones with actual BVR capability, while the Pakistanis had to do with the help of Allah. Now the Pakistanis have AMRAAMs (I guess the US never will learn), and now have a very capable AEW&C capability. To this add China, which is many magnitudes more capable than Pakistan will ever be, and the position for India is one that absolutely demands an end to anything that would put the country's safety at any level of risk.

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.

4 posted on 01/30/2011 11:44:20 PM PST by spetznaz (Nuclear-tipped Ballistic Missiles: The Ultimate Phallic Symbol)
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To: spetznaz
The Gripen NG would have made an excellent LCA, but I believe one of the requirements of the LCA was affordability, so that it could be fielded in greater numbers. The Tejas certainly should fit that bill, and will be an excellent replacement for the MiG-21bis that the IAF is flying.

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.

5 posted on 01/31/2011 9:17:01 AM PST by Yo-Yo (Is the /sarc tag really necessary?)
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To: Yo-Yo
I totally agree with you. Even though the Gripen would make a superlative LCA, there is no way that cost would be acceptable for what is a Bison replacement (and furthermore too much in terms of resources, both financial and other, has been sunk into it; and just as importantly, for the Bison/Fishbed replacement the Tejas will do the job, and do it very well). Thus I totally agree with what you said, and remain cognizant of what India is doing and why.

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.

6 posted on 01/31/2011 10:57:10 AM PST by spetznaz (Nuclear-tipped Ballistic Missiles: The Ultimate Phallic Symbol)
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To: spetznaz; Yo-Yo

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.

7 posted on 01/31/2011 8:42:10 PM PST by sukhoi-30mki
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To: sukhoi-30mki
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.

To be fair, the same could be said about the F-22 and F-35 programs, and the Japanese F-2 program.

8 posted on 01/31/2011 10:19:27 PM PST by Yo-Yo (Is the /sarc tag really necessary?)
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