IAF's Urgent Need: Closing the Air-to-Air Missile Gap with Pakistan

IAF's Urgent Need: Closing the Air-to-Air Missile Gap with Pakistan


The 2019 aerial engagement between the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) highlighted a critical vulnerability in India's Beyond-Visual-Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) capabilities. This article analyzes the situation, its implications, and potential solutions.

The Range Disparity​

  • Meteor's Limited Reach: While the IAF's Rafale aircraft possess the advanced Meteor missile (200 km range), their small numbers (36) significantly reduce its overall strategic impact.
  • Pakistan's PL-15E Advantage: Pakistan has acquired the Chinese PL-15E BVRAAM, which out-ranges India's Astra Mk1 (110 km) on the Su-30MKI. While the PL-15E's exact capabilities are uncertain, it presents a tactical challenge.
  • Astra MkI Shortages: The IAF's order of 250 Astra MkI missiles is insufficient for its 260+ Su-30MKI fleet and growing LCA-Tejas Mk1A force. A larger order (500-1000 missiles) is crucial.

The Widening Gap​

  • Older Fighters at Risk: India's Mirage 2000 and MiG-29UPG fleets are equipped with the MICA and R-77, which are vastly outranged by both the PL-15E and AIM-120C. Modernization is urgently needed.
  • Astra MkI Integration Uncertain: The planned integration of the Astra MkI with the MiG-29K fleet may not automatically translate to an upgrade for MiG-29UPGs due to inventory limitations.
  • Astra MkII Delays: The Astra MkII, designed to exceed the PL-15E's range, is under development. However, its deployment is uncertain, leaving the IAF vulnerable.

Strategic Consequences​

  • PAF's Tactical Advantage: Pakistan's large-scale adoption of the PL-15E on its JF-17 and J-10CE fleets grants them the ability to potentially engage the IAF at greater distances, forcing India into a defensive position.
  • Looming Threat of PL-17: The potential availability of the export variant of the PL-17 – with an even longer range (250 km+) – could further worsen the situation.

Recommendations​

  • Prioritize Astra MkI Production: Increase the Astra MkI order substantially to equip all frontline fighters.
  • Address Legacy Fleets: Explore immediate upgrades for the Mirage 2000 and MiG-29UPG, either by integrating Astra MkI or procuring a modern Western BVRAAM.
  • Fast-Track Astra MkII & MkIII: Accelerate the Astra MkII development program and lay the groundwork for the next-generation Astra MkIII to ensure a long-term technological edge.

Conclusion​

The growing disparity in BVRAAM capabilities between India and Pakistan is a critical concern for the IAF. Urgent action is needed in missile procurement and indigenous development to ensure the IAF retains air superiority and maintains its strategic strength in the region.
 
What a irony , world 5th largest economy is fighting hard to bridge the gap with IMF bailout bankrupt Pakistan .
 
Neither the GOI nor the IAF are serious about the current situation and purely banking on DRDO and not encouraging Pvt players. GOI should collaborate with Israel to develop BVRAAM missiles with 200+ km range if DRDO is incapable.
 
i was ialways saying Astra MK2 Trials / Test News secondly Mirage-2000 Fleet tooo with 60 kM BVr in 2024 how it will face with even Junk-17 it need to b integrated with Astra MK1 french havent upgraded it with Meteor Missile so atleast it should b upgraded with Astra MK1 sECONDLY aSTRA mk2 & Astra mk3 Trails should b Fast Tracked . Not to over depend on small fleet of 36 Rafale Fleet.
 
First Mirage Fleet should b upgraded with Uttam AESA Radar, then followed with Astra series BVR.mig-29 is going throug integration of Astra MK1 bUT Another 1000 Astra MK1 should b ordered follow order of Tejas MK1A and Tejas MK2 is planned. there should proper planning. production rate should b increase of Astra MK2 .before Astra MK2 enters in Production Follwed by Astra MK3 production
 
Neither the GOI nor the IAF are serious about the current situation and purely banking on DRDO and not encouraging Pvt players. GOI should collaborate with Israel to develop BVRAAM missiles with 200+ km range if DRDO is incapable.
They are serious man, Astra mk1 is already inducted and mk2 is in advanced stage of testing. It takes time to develop these things.
Though I do agree that more orders for astra mk1 need to be placed.
 
Neither the GOI nor the IAF are serious about the current situation and purely banking on DRDO and not encouraging Pvt players. GOI should collaborate with Israel to develop BVRAAM missiles with 200+ km range if DRDO is incapable.
what is Range of I Derby ER .......??? Range Fall short even of Astra MK1 , No need of Help of Israel in BVR Missile Astra MK3 is under development which will have Range over 250 kM.
 
What a irony , world 5th largest economy is fighting hard to bridge the gap with IMF bailout bankrupt Pakistan .
That's what happens when u elect corrupt and inefficient people to power.
And don't do anything about it. Remain as a subservient subject.
 
What a irony , world 5th largest economy is fighting hard to bridge the gap with IMF bailout bankrupt Pakistan .
Better way to put it:

A dillusioned bureaucratic democracy vs a military dictatorship

Both are🤡

Chinese have the best Gov.
 
Another Hitjob article as elections are approaching. PL15's capabilities are itself never proven, leave about PL15E. Another piece of Coronastan's overhyped junk just like the Junk-17. BTW Astra Mk2 is already is ready for induction in limited numbers & it will take "quite" some time before Bhikharistaan operationalizes the PL15Es. Bunch of CCP paid idiots raising their heads before the elections
 
Mirage 2000 over 40 + years . Mig 29 over 40 + years , jaguars over 40 yrs . Over 12 squns outdated . Off the 30 + squns 12 are outdated and the balance 18 squns 14 SU-30 need urgent modernisation and change of engines . Only 2squns of Rafales and 2 Lcas squns are new .To fly over 30000 sorties per day together with aircraft diverted for war effort from training and other sources the IAF will be hard pressed after first 72 hrs when after flying 3 to 5 sorties a day many older aircraft will be on ground for maintenance. with a two front war the IAF air and ground crews will be overwhelmed and sorty raties will fall drastically .The IAF after one week will be raestically fielding no more than 15 to 18 squns for two fronts which are grossly less for both the the Chinese and Pak combined airforces .Coupled with outdated outranged missiles the Air Dominance and Aircontrol for decisive land and sea battles will be heruclean task . The babus of mod , mod finance , finance and PMO together with political netas must be held accountable for the sorry state as besides lack of money , poor decision making unwanted laborius , rent seeking procedures and files are the root cause of deterioation of combat capabilities .HAL , ADA , GTRE and other public agencies have failed to deliver and need urgent overhaul with disinvestment to change recruiting , retention rewards promotions and hiring of foreign talent by professional boards .Time to act is now .
 
dont worry.. iaf and sm commentetors primary objective standard is how well fighters behaves in peace time.. like copa american etc...
war time performance is secondary objective...
thays why paf had upper hand in swift retort
 
Bharat has Astra mark-1 and Meteor in its arsenal. Astra Mark-2 is soon coming with 160+ kms range .Astra mark-3 with SFDR technology and 340 kms range is under development . PLA claims 145 kms range of PL-15 E .As for all chinese claimed capabilities, you can safely reduce 25% and it works out to be 109 kms . So ,the threat of chinese AtoA missiles is highly exaggerated.
 
Another Hitjob article as elections are approaching. PL15's capabilities are itself never proven, leave about PL15E. Another piece of Coronastan's overhyped junk just like the Junk-17. BTW Astra Mk2 is already is ready for induction in limited numbers & it will take "quite" some time before Bhikharistaan operationalizes the PL15Es. Bunch of CCP paid idiots raising their heads before the elections
Those who underestimate the enemy are bound to be under foreign powers for another 1000 years. Our ancestors were brave but tactless and arrogant. We all knew the result.
 
That's what happens when u elect corrupt and inefficient people to power.
And don't do anything about it. Remain as a subservient subject.
Corruption is universal beyond the party lines, but being so dumb and Naive is the biggest problem and biggest cause of concern, when our both enemies are amassing all the defense tools and equipments at their disposal as if there is no tomorrow, guys here in our three Military arms are drooling for tips and running behind expensive foreign technologies, 99% of IAF is Ancient, if there is a war tomorrow, we will be broken within a day or two and will be loosing lot of lives and a large swath of land and our respect and reputation will go into dust bin, even tiny nations won’t respect us after that, the guys at IAF spent $10Bln to purchase only 36 4th gen jets and watches and are extremely satisfied and happy while our two enemies combined have 1000’s of 4th and 5th gen aircraft at their disposal.
 
Mirage 2000 over 40 + years . Mig 29 over 40 + years , jaguars over 40 yrs . Over 12 squns outdated . Off the 30 + squns 12 are outdated and the balance 18 squns 14 SU-30 need urgent modernisation and change of engines . Only 2squns of Rafales and 2 Lcas squns are new .To fly over 30000 sorties per day together with aircraft diverted for war effort from training and other sources the IAF will be hard pressed after first 72 hrs when after flying 3 to 5 sorties a day many older aircraft will be on ground for maintenance. with a two front war the IAF air and ground crews will be overwhelmed and sorty raties will fall drastically .The IAF after one week will be raestically fielding no more than 15 to 18 squns for two fronts which are grossly less for both the the Chinese and Pak combined airforces .Coupled with outdated outranged missiles the Air Dominance and Aircontrol for decisive land and sea battles will be heruclean task . The babus of mod , mod finance , finance and PMO together with political netas must be held accountable for the sorry state as besides lack of money , poor decision making unwanted laborius , rent seeking procedures and files are the root cause of deterioation of combat capabilities .HAL , ADA , GTRE and other public agencies have failed to deliver and need urgent overhaul with disinvestment to change recruiting , retention rewards promotions and hiring of foreign talent by professional boards .Time to act is now .
IAF also can't plan and expedite their needs. RFPs will be unrealistic and tailor made for a foreign product. After all we all come from the same society who prefers chaos over anything else
 
Corruption is universal beyond the party lines, but being so dumb and Naive is the biggest problem and biggest cause of concern, when our both enemies are amassing all the defense tools and equipments at their disposal as if there is no tomorrow, guys here in our three Military arms are drooling for tips and running behind expensive foreign technologies, 99% of IAF is Ancient, if there is a war tomorrow, we will be broken within a day or two and will be loosing lot of lives and a large swath of land and our respect and reputation will go into dust bin, even tiny nations won’t respect us after that, the guys at IAF spent $10Bln to purchase only 36 4th gen jets and watches and are extremely satisfied and happy while our two enemies combined have 1000’s of 4th and 5th gen aircraft at their disposal.
Tiny nations are bullying us already. But these people are trying to appease them. Giving financial assistance to Maldives, rescuing Pakistani fishermen, ....
 
Bharat has Astra mark-1 and Meteor in its arsenal. Astra Mark-2 is soon coming with 160+ kms range .Astra mark-3 with SFDR technology and 340 kms range is under development . PLA claims 145 kms range of PL-15 E .As for all chinese claimed capabilities, you can safely reduce 25% and it works out to be 109 kms . So ,the threat of chinese AtoA missiles is highly exaggerated.
When? by the time you stop gap with PAF they will have 5th gen aircraft. You are always chasing behind
 
Those who underestimate the enemy are bound to be under foreign powers for another 1000 years. Our ancestors were brave but tactless and arrogant. We all knew the result.
It's truly commendable of you to express such sentiments, and I applaud you for it. As Indians, we have often held onto the notion that bravery and courage alone can solve our challenges. However, history repeatedly demonstrates that superior tactics have consistently triumphed over mere bravery. Throughout the ages, we've found ourselves reacting defensively to offensive moves from our adversaries, leading to eventual collapse.
Whether it was facing Abdali, Ghauri, Alexander, or the British, or even during the Mughal era, we've taken the defensive stance, eventually succumbing when our defenses falter.

Regrettably, this defensive doctrine still governs our approach today. Our strategies remain heavily defensive, limiting our ability to retaliate effectively on enemy soil.
Furthermore, there persists a sense of arrogance among some, boasting of our superiority even when our advancements are still in progress, while undermining the capabilities of others. Such attitudes only serve to amuse our rivals like Pakistan and China, who observe our ego-driven behavior of Indians.
 

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