Columnist Syed Imran Shah
gives an analysis of future air operations in light of past experience
and modernisation of equipment.
Counter-air is an air operation of a tactical air command conducted
to attain and maintain a desired degree of air superiority by the destruction
and neutralization of enemy forces. Both air-offensive and air-defensive
actions are involved. But we shall focus on air-offensive actions and
Interdiction is an air-to-ground operation behind the enemy lines to divert,
disrupt, delay or destroy the enemy’s surface military potential
before it can be used effectively against friendly forces. In modern warfare,
it typically refers to the use of air power to destroy bridges, major
railway junctions, or other choke points inside enemy territory, thus
preventing not only supplies, but also reinforcements from reaching the
battle area. Today, interdiction is carried out mostly by Fighter-Bombers
of an air force.
Here, we discuss the risks and obstacles involved in interdiction missions,
and accordingly the qualities required in the strike aircraft, with special
focus on India and Pakistan.
In 1971 war, Mirages of PAF carried out impressive interdiction
missions against various targets in India and in 1965, the F-86 Sabres
carried out many successful attacks against airfields and other targets.
Although some airfield strike missions in 1965 like against Halwara airfield,
led by Sqn Ldr S.A. Rafiqui and against Adampur, led by Sqn Ldr M.M. Alam
were intercepted, in the ensuing air combat PAF was triumphant.
In 1965 war, the No.14 F-86 Squadron in Dhaka, East Pakistan did successful
airfield attack missions against Kalaikunda airbase of IAF, but in 1971
war, this squadron was not in a position to carry out any airfield interdiction
mission because this time ten IAF squadrons surrounded it.
Airfield attacks were not as successful in 1971 as compared to 1965 because
all enemy planes were hidden in concrete shelters and not under open sky.
Perhaps no bunker-buster or special anti-runway weapons were used, whereas
IAF used ‘Dibber’ type anti-runway bombs against Tejgaon airbase
in Dacca, East Pakistan. Thus the operations of No.14 F-86 squadron came
to an end on 6th Dec, 1971.
It was after this event that IAF achieved complete control of skies and
started full-fledged ground attacks, leading to the surrender of our troops.
If air cover is not provided to army or navy, they will certainly suffer
heavy losses in that particular theatre of war, but if the enemy gains
air superiority, then it will lead to national disgrace or even surrender.
Present Strike Force
Mirage seems to be the main interdiction fighter of Pakistan,
especially the 40 ROSE (Retrofit of Strike Element) modified Mirages bought
from France. Pakistan has the largest fleet of Mirage-3/5 fighters (about
180), forming a large strike force.
These ROSE Mirages will have the great responsibility to carry out night
strike missions with their Atlis 2 pods for targeting. The 32 F-16s can
now be almost relieved for escort and air defence duties, but still can
be used on special interdiction missions.
A-5 is more suitable for CAS (Close Air Support) role and also for low-level
interdictions after its avionics upgrade and installation of self-defence
suite. In the close support missions, the attack aircraft may face mostly
the short-range SAMs (like SA-19 and SA-15) and shoulder-fired SAMs that
can move with the moving army columns but in the airfield attacks and
interdiction against other strategic assets the attack aircraft will face
a variety of air defence systems.
For Mirages and F-7s, to carry a good weapons load to a target inside
India, only the centreline pylon can be reserved for fuel, as the inboard
wing pylons will be used for strike payload and outboard wing pylons for
air-to-air missiles. Pylon is an under-wing weapon station on a fighter
aircraft. If the F-16 carries twelve 500lb bombs on triple ejector racks
on four under wing pylons, then only centreline fuel tank option remains.
If payload is reduced to six bombs, then two external fuel tanks of 370-gallon
capacity can be carried. Hence, the range decreases for carrying any meaningful
This problem can be overcome by inducting at least buddy refuelling system
in the Air Force, which can possibly be fitted on existing Mirages. In
Buddy refuelling system, one fighter can refuel another fighter with no
need for tankers. Squadrons of Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) may not
require refuelling but others can boost their endurance by recovering
the large amount of fuel consumed in taking off with a full weapons load.
In Mirages, the fuel tank-cum-bombs/rockets option for inboard wing pylon
is also a good solution. For F-16s, PAF can try to somehow acquire the
new 600 gallon external fuel tanks, developed by Israeli Military Industries
(IMI) and used by Israeli Air Force.
Presently, the range of PAF fighter is limited to almost 1200 km (depends
upon payload and fuel tanks), hence the strike radius becomes about 600
km, and so for deep interdiction missions (like Agra) aerial refuelling
is needed. Here allowance should be kept for any air combat that occurs
en route to the target or in retreat. Despite Pakistan’s less depth,
IAF has acquired IL-78 tankers and buddy refuelling system.
Yet another solution, which is more advanced and the best, is the use
of conformal fuel tanks but this option can be used only with latest fighters.
Conformal fuel tanks are mounted over the fuselage and thus the wing pylons
are free for carrying strike payload. The latest models of F-16s and F-15s
use conformal fuel tanks but it will be very difficult to obtain this
technology from USA.
All the interdiction planes must be equipped with intelligent RWR (Radar
Warning Receiver) for situational awareness, advanced chaff and flare
dispenser (automatic like ALE-47), towed decoys (like ALE-50 and ALE-55),
MAW (Missile Approach Warner), Self-Protection Jammer etc for survival
in a SAM-rich environment on the pattern of SAGEM-modified Mirages. Towed
decoys can be used both for noise and deception jamming and powered air
launched decoys can be used to saturate enemy air defences because they
represent an RCS (Radar Cross Section) equal to that of a tactical fighter.
RCS is directly proportional to the amount of radar returns from a target
illuminated by radar. RCS of a bomber will be more than a fighter and
of a fighter will be more than a missile.
Regarding attack on airfields, bunker-buster and penetration weapons should
be used to target the hardened aircraft shelters. Special anti-runway
weapons like Durandals will be effective in disabling an airfield for
a long duration.
To target the mobile SAM units or mobile ballistic missile launchers,
the Ground Moving Target (GMT) mode of air-to-ground master mode can be
very helpful. Any modern airborne radar has three master modes, namely
air-to-air, air-to-ground and navigation with each master mode having
many sub-modes. GMT and Map modes are two sub-modes of air-to-ground master
mode. But the GMT mode will not show any ground object that has stopped
due to some reason. Airborne radar whose air-to-ground master mode can
be switched rapidly between Map mode and GMT mode will be able to detect
any mobile launcher which has suddenly stopped for a missile launch or
some other reason. During night interdictions, if a formation attacks
a moving army convoy, they will use GMT mode but when the convoy comes
to halt during air raid, they shall have to switch to Map mode. For this
reason, installation of multi-mode radars in all aircraft is necessary.
There is no such mission as purely ground attack unless there
is no hostile air force (as in Afghanistan) or it has been crippled (as
in Iraq). Air-to-ground and air-to-air go side by side. In the presence
of a large number of IAF interceptors, escorts become an indispensable
part of strike formation. If F-16s are going on an interdiction mission,
then there is no need of providing separate escorts, but if A-5s are going
behind enemy lines, then they should be provided with escorts. For example,
if four A-5s are on a Durandal delivery mission against an enemy airfield
or a close support mission, then at least two F-16s or F-7s (depending
on availability of F-16s and level of threat) should be provided as escorts.
PAF has a large number of F-7s (more than 160), so the pilots of F-7s
should be skilled enough to engage any enemy fighter. Dissimilar Air Combat
Training (DACT) can be helpful in this regard.
Pilots and gunners both should understand the differences between Mirage
2000 and Mirage-3/5 and also between Mig-21 and F-7. F-7 is very much
similar to Indian Mig-21 and this may cause some confusion or even blunders
during the war, especially when F-7s are engaged with Mig-21s. It is also
the problem with Mirage-2000H and Mirage-3/5. Electronic IFF should be
made the criteria in this case rather than visual identification.
For the visual identification, a good clue for the PAF pilots is that
any twin-tail fighter is of enemy. If a pilot sees a twin-tail fighter
(will be a Mig-29 or Su-30), he should get into firing position and shoot
it down without further investigation, because no PAF aircraft has twin
tails (unless Saudi Air Force sends its F-15 Eagles to Pakistan).
PAF pilots must know the performance limits of all enemy fighters. Our
pilots must know the strengths and weaknesses of their own planes and
those of the enemy planes.
In the Battle of Britain, the British Spitfires were good at turning and
the Luftwaffe’s Bf-109s were superior in climbing and diving, so
the RAF pilots got the rule, “Do not climb or dive, just turn”.
Similarly, RAF Spitfires were superior in agility to the Hurricane, so
the Hurricanes were used to attack the German Bombers and Spitfires were
to engage the German fighters.
The Ju-87 Stuka was a successful dive bomber, used in the Blitzkrieg of
Europe, but when used in Battle of Britain, it suffered heavy losses due
to lack of manoeuvrability and speed as compared to Hurricanes and Spitfires.
Then the missions of Stuka were cancelled. Also, the German Me110 had
superior firepower but could not become a good escort because of lack
The same situation applies in our case, because all air combats will not
be at BVR (Beyond Visual Range) range, there will certainly be many dogfights
with Niner Limas and the limited head on capability of AIM-9L missile
(for F-16s) means that manoeuvring will be required to bring the fighter
in a firing position.
In the Afghan war, PAF F-16s scored a number of kills (actually eight
confirmed kills) and most of these kills were made with AIM-9L fired in
the head on position.
The no-escape zone of AIM-9L is less than Vympel R-73 Archer, so the Indian
fighters may not require much manoeuvring as compared to ours. Furthermore,
IAF is trying to equip all Western and Russian fighters with R-73 air-to-air
missiles. All other fighters of PAF are equipped with AIM-9Ps, which lack
head-on attack capability. Other fighters should also carry a combination
of AIM-9L and AIM-9P or Magic-2s. Our Mirages are equipped with Magic-2s,
which also have head-on capability. For this reason more AIM-9Ls or preferably
AIM-9Ms should be acquired because of its smokeless motor and improved
ECCMs (Electronic Counter Counter Measures). The AIM-9Ps can be upgraded
to AIM-9P-4 standard having head-on capability and reduced-smoke motor.
For F-16s and possibly Super-7s, a more advanced short-range missile
in the category of AIM-9X, MICA IR, ASRAAM, A-DARTER, ARCHER, IRIS-T and
PYTHON 4 should be sought.
The combination of a highly manoeuvrable fighter with highly manoeuvrable
missiles cued by HMS (Helmet Mounted Sight) is hard to beat in a dogfight,
especially when the opponent lacks both the fighter and missile maneuverability.
With HMS and 4th generation AAM, the enemy pilot can kill you if he can
see you and through highly agile fighter, he can keep you in his sight.
In the presence of latest BVR R-77 and WVR R-73 missiles, PAF fighters
will be at a disadvantage in head-on engagements, so other interception
geometries and fighting tactics should be used.
In a broad view, all PAF planes are less manoeuvrable as compared to Mig-29
and Su-30, which are Indian air superiority fighters (Although Su-30 is
multi-role), but F-16 can hold its own when used to its limits by a skilful
Formerly classified US simulations show that firing a radar-guided missile,
followed by a rapid deceleration (like Cobra manoeuvre) and turn, followed
by a R-73 shot allows a thrust-vectored Su-30MK to win every time against
The suitable role of F-7s can be home air defence against the attack force
of IAF. F-7s can be used against Mig-23s, Mig-27s and Jaguars and in extreme
case the Mirage-2000 if it can be caught in 6’O clock but the high
climb rate of Mirage-2000 (56,000 ft/min at sea level for M53-P2 power
plant) must be kept in mind. The Indian Mirage-2000s are now fitted with
M53-P2 powerplants. Mirage-2000Hs of India are optimized for attack role
with Antilope-5 radar. The Terrain-Following Radar permits Mirage-2000H
automatic flight at 600kts and 200 feet altitude.
The Mig-29 has Helmet-Mounted Sight (HMS), which can designate air-to-air
missile at 45-degree Off-Boresight angle and this was proved in air combat
exercise between USAF F-16s and German AF Mig-29s.
The A-5s and Mirage-3/5 are less manoeuvrable as compared to Mig-29 and
Su-30; therefore pilots should be very careful while engaging these fighters.
Su-30 also features rearward-facing radar, which can be effective up to
2-3kms, making rear hemisphere attack difficult. Such an agile and sensor-equipped
fighter should be attacked in surprise using passive methods like an advanced
IRST (InfraRed Search and Track) system. If in any future war, Israel
also sends its fighters against Pakistan operating from Indian bases,
then we shall also have to face Python-4 missiles having extended head-on
and Off-Boresight capability.
Indian Air Defence
Indian air defence has become very strong as compared to that
of 1965 or 1971 war. In 1971, India had deployed SA-2 Guideline SAMs on
some airbases and caused trouble for our bomber force of B-57s. Also in
1965, an SA-2 SAM damaged the RB-57F Droopy over Delhi.
Today, India has a variety of air defence systems ranging from ZSU-23-4
Shilka SPAAG (self-propelled anti-aircraft gun) system to latest S-300
India has SA-2 Guideline, SA-3 Goa, SA-5 Gammon, SA-6 Gainful, SA-7 Grail,
SA-8 Gecko, SA-11 Gadfly, SA-13 Gopher, SA-15 Gauntlet, SA-16 & SA-18
Igla, SA-19 Grison and S-300 SAM systems.
SA-3 can also engage targets at low-level and there are 60 SA-3 sites
in India. Reportedly, India has upgraded its SA-3s. SA-6 is the SAM that
threw the Israeli Air Force out of the sky in 1973 war. SA-8 is a short-range
(up to 10km) air defence system. SA-7 Strela-1, SA-16 and SA-18 Igla are
shoulder-fired SAMs like Stinger, which can be effective against low-flying
planes and UAVs.
The SA-19 Tunguska-M short-range (up to 10km) AD system is a combined
gun/missile system with India, especially for low-level. Electo-Optical
sensors supplement its engagement radar for operation in heavy ECM conditions.
India has purchased 60 units of SA-19 Tunguska-M.
SA-15 (Tor-M1) is a modern self-propelled short-to-medium range SAM system.
China has also acquired the SA-15 (Tor-M1) system and tested them in Gobi
desert. SA-15 shot down all the 12 targets. Greece also ordered SA-15
systems after testing them at a missile range in Crete. Reportedly SA-15
can cope with the targets flying at altitudes ranging from 10m to 6km
and from 1km minimum range to 12km maximum range. SA-15 has an SSKP (Single
Shot Kill Probability) of 0.93-0.97 against UAVs and 0.45-0.8 against
jet fighters with quick slavo fire capability.
SA-13 Gopher provides short-range air defence for Indian Army and can
move with the moving army columns. Due to these SA-13, SA-15 and SA-19
SAMs, we will have to reconsider our low-level mission profile.
While SA-2, SA-3, SA-5, SA-6, SA-7 and SA-8 are Battle-tested but older
systems and can be countered with SEAD missions, because their minimum
engagement ranges were more than 5kms. A fighter jet used to approach
them at very low-level. Once out of the minimum engagement range, it pulled
up and destroyed the SAM site with simple bombs.
The remaining systems like SA-11, SA-15, SA-19 and S-300 are modern and
accurate systems, therefore difficult to counter. Special counter tactics
should be devised for each SAM system.
Before launching an interdiction mission against a target, its all defences
must be thoroughly studied. If a target is defended by SA-3 battery, then
its version and any modifications or upgrades must be known. Any upgrade
will improve its engagement capabilities, requiring new ECM tactics, e.g.
the upgraded SA-3 (Pechora-2) can engage targets at more low-level than
earlier SA-3 and its minimum engagement range has also been decreased.
The distance between its launcher and engagement radar has been increased
from 70m to 250m, with the option of placing one launcher at 10km distance.
So, if the launch is detected then it will be difficult to detect the
guidance radar and if the guidance radar is detected, then it will be
difficult to spot all the launchers. It is recommended that, in presence
of heavy SAM umbrella, PAF should rely on standoff weapons as much as
SEAD/DEAD (Suppression/Destruction of Enemy Air Defences) missions can
be carried out against fixed and mobile SAM batteries but almost impossible
against MANPADS (Man Portable Air Defence System) or shoulder-fired systems
because they can be fired from concealed locations. Therefore, countermeasures
and tactics should be sought against it, like the Soviet Air Force had
adopted during Afghan war to avoid the Stinger shoulder-fired missiles.
But there was no other medium-to-long range SAM threat to them.
If a PAF attack/fighter formation goes at low-level, then they are exposed
to radar-directed AAA and modern short-range SAMs like SA-13, SA-15, SA-19,
upgraded SA-3 and SA-8 systems and SA-7, SA-16, SA-18 MANPADS; if the
formation climbs to medium altitude (about 10,000 feet), then they are
in the range of almost all SAMs except AAA and MANPADS; if they go to
high altitude then they are in the range of SA-2, SA-3, SA-5, SA-6, SA-11
and S-300 systems. This emphasizes the great and urgent need to provide
advanced integrated EW (Electronic Warfare) systems on our fighters in
which the RWR detects, identifies and locates the threat and decides to
use chaff/flares or jammer or towed decoys against that threat.
Countering or dodging all these above SAMs is not easy if even
possible. Pilots will always be busy in saving their aircraft and will
not be able to concentrate on the target. The solution lies in suppressing
or destroying these SAMs, like the US offensive in Operation Desert Storm.
Iraq had an array of various Soviet SAMs (like the India), but after US
SEAD missions, it seemed that nothing sort of Iraqi air defence ever existed.
In these SEAD missions more than one thousand AGM-88 HARMs (High Speed
Anti-Radiation Missiles) were fired on Iraqi radars.
In 1965, PAF launched a series of attacks on the well concealed and heavily
defended Amritsar radar station (called Target Alpha) assisted by RB-57F
ELINT (Electronic Intelligence) planes, including the famous attack led
by Wg Cdr Anwar Shamim in which we lost Sqn Ldr Munir Ahmad, but the radar
kept emitting till the end of war. Such kind of anti-radar attacks with
strafing, rockets and bombings were probably not repeated in 1971 war.
Today, the surveillance radar sites are defended by a variety of SAM systems
in addition to AAA; so anti-radar strikes without ARMs or standoff weaponry
are unlikely to give any good results.
Best results can be achieved if the lead aircraft in a strike formation
fires ARMs against the engagement radars of SAMs defending a large surveillance
radar, and then destroy the main radar with any weapon they have on their
Other sensors for engaging targets in jamming conditions like TV trackers,
FLIR etc are usually installed adjacent to the engagement radar, and so
they are also destroyed in an anti-radar missile attack. Hence anti-radiation
missile attack is a better option than jamming.
It is now very urgent to form a dedicated SEAD squadron. Pakistan has
just HQ-2Bs (Chinese copy of SA-2) SAMs and short-range Crotale batteries
(up to 12km range), but even then IAF has modified some of Mig-23s for
special SEAD role.
All the strike formations must include SEAD/DEAD aircraft as the spearhead
to first tackle the air defence threat and then the rest of the mission.
To further complicate the job of a strike formation, Indian AF fighters
will try to intercept the attack formations. Hence it also becomes necessary
to provide escort cover to attack formation.
It will be difficult to provide separate SEAD and escort fighters to the
strike formation at least for Pakistan, therefore, the SEAD planes must
participate in strike also, i.e. they should be the part of strike formation,
not in a close formation but in a tactical formation. This is possible
with a true multi-role fighter.
This SEAD capability can also be used in anti-shipping missions with great
effect. The ARM (Anti-Radar Missile) will destroy the radar system of
the ship and thus will disable its all anti-ship missile defences. One
missile will destroy the surveillance radar and other two missiles shall
destroy the fire control radars (and thus other engagement sensors) of
air defence missiles and CIWS (Close-In Weapon System). The anti-ship
missiles can be launched quickly after anti-radar missiles. But in this
case, the anti-radiation missiles should be of long-range (not less than
50 km) otherwise the long-range advantage of anti-ship missiles (mostly
more than 50 km) would be lost.
PAF must know the location of all SAM batteries with their engagement
radars. In a SEAD/DEAD mission, the primary target should be the engagement
radar of the SAM system. PAF must know all the operating frequencies of
Fan Song (SA-2), Low-Bow (SA-3), Square Pair (SA-5), Straight Flush (SA-6),
Land Roll (SA-8), and Hot Shot (SA-19), Gundish (ZSU-23-4) etc engagement
radars that will help in jamming or destruction of these radars as part
of SEAD operations.
PAF should also consider the feasibility of integrating TIALD or Damocles
pods with F-16s to replace or complement the day only Thomson-CSF (Now
Thales) Atlis Laser Designator pod. Also, the feasibility of integrating
British ALARMs (Air Launched Anti-Radiation Missiles) with the F-16s or
Mirage-3/5 to form a Pakistani Wild Weasel squadron must be considered.
A Single Solution
Both the ARMs and BVR missiles need dedicated avionics to be
fitted in the fighter aircraft. ARMs need some type of Emitter Location
System (like HARM Targeting System of F-16C Block 50D/52) and BVR AAMs
need long-range airborne multi-mode radars to operate effectively. Both
of these needs can be met by acquiring a 4th generation fighter aircraft,
which can carry all the latest weapons.
In this regard, the stealthy and multi-role French Dassault Rafale fighter
will be the best choice that combines the highest acceleration power plant
(M88-2), excellent multi-mode radar (RBE-2), In-flight refuelling capability
and a deadly punch of weapons. With this fighter, we can have the latest
BVR AAMs (Matra Mica, IR & EM), ARMs (ALARM, ARMAT), latest anti-ship
missiles, AS-30L (which can penetrate up to 2m of concrete), APACHE anti-runway
and STORM SHADOW standoff air-to-surface cruise missiles. Also we can
have Damocles targeting pod (for carrying out night strikes), recce and
ECM pods. Rafale is probably the only fighter that has consistently outperformed
the F-16 Viper. During Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, the
Rafale was put into combat exercises against top US fighters. Rafale was
able to defeat the F-14 Tomcat of US Navy and also other fighters.
Most of the latest weapons can also be obtained with Mirage 2000-5 Mk2
fighter, but Rafale is more agile and manoeuvrable and thus in a good
position to fight the agile Mig-29, Su-30MK and Su-30MKI (featuring TVC)
fighters of IAF, especially when the pilot is using Helmet-Mounted Display
(HMD). In addition, Rafale features a large HUD (Head-Up Display) with
HMD. The importance of HMD can be judged from the fact that F-35 JSF (Joint
Strike Fighter) has no HUD.
The Rafale features a new 120 kg single barrel 30mm M791 gun with a fire
rate of 2,500 rounds per min, the highest rate for a single barrel gun.
The muzzle velocity of this gun is 1,025m/s as compared to 840m/s for
DEFA 30mm equipping Mirage-2000. The high muzzle velocity results in a
very flat projectile trajectory.
The Rafale is a true multi-role (called Omni-role) fighter. It can do
the job of at least five specialized aircraft. It can perform air superiority,
deep interdiction, SEAD, close support, reconnaissance and anti-ship missions
without being reconfigured for each mission.
Rafale needs about 2000 feet runway for taking off with a full external
load as compared to 4000 feet for F-16.
The use of canards for imparting high agility to Rafale does not restrict
the all-round cockpit view as in the case of Eurofighter Typhoon and JAS-39
Gripen. As is stated, Rafale is hard to detect, hard to target and hard
to hit. The M88-2 power plant takes just three seconds to reach from idle
to maximum thrust of 75kN. The M88-2 can be replaced by M88-3 for more
The SPECTRA (Self-Protection Equipment Countering Threats for Rafale Aircraft)
system on Rafale is the most advanced electronic warfare system in the
class of DASS (Defensive Aids Sub- System) and INEWS (INtegrated Electronic
Warfare System). DASS is used on Eurofighter and INEWS on F-22 Raptor.
The IAF Mig-29s and Su-30s are equipped with IRST systems and we also
need a more advanced long range IRST system, which is fitted on the Rafale
fighter, called OSF system. In the air defence scenario, the OSF shall
provide passive target detection for achieving surprise.
The future belongs to ESA (Electronic Scanning Antenna) radars and Rafale
has passive ESA radar (RBE-2). Electronic scanning permits the use of
a larger antenna (and thus more powerful radar) in the nose of a fighter
as compared to mechanical scanning because there it is no longer required
to leave space for the movements of antenna.
The problem of deep strike can be solved by the use of conformal fuel
tanks with Rafale. Conformal fuel tanks give a fighter sufficient range
without adding too much drag and without losing the weapons carrying capacity
because under-wing pylons will remain free for weapons carriage. With
the Rafale having conformal fuel tanks, there will be almost no need for
AAR (Air-to-Air Refuelling), because all deep strike missions with a strike
radius of almost 1000 km can be accomplished with the Rafale while carrying
a good weapons load.
France will be the independent supplier of spare parts, but the high cost
(less than Eurofighter) may put some constraints regarding the number
of fighters that can be purchased.
In 1965 war, even a single squadron (No. 9) of F-104 Starfighters had
terrified the Indian pilots. On the same pattern even if three squadrons
of at least 45 planes are formed, it will be like a force multiplier.
They can be used for all special (aggressive) missions and the initial
challenging SEAD missions with their standoff air-to-ground armament.
Rafale will also not require any escort cover.
1Asian Military Review, July 2000.
2Flight simulation, “Their finest hour” in the Battle of the
3History of Pakistan Air Force, by S Shabir Hussain.
4Jane’s All The World’s Aircraft, 2001-2002.
5Jane’s Missiles and Rockets, April 2001.
6The Air War of 1965, by John Fricker.
8Air Power International, volume 3.
10Military Technology, Issue 3, 2002.
11Military Technology, Issue 7, 2002.
12The Story of Pakistan Air Force, 1988-98.
13Dictionary of Military Science, 1989 published by Facts On File, Inc.