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USAF explains losing performance of F-15Cs to Indian AF

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posted on Feb, 2 2005 @ 10:53 PM
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This is the exact article published in AWST, an american mag

3rd Wing explains what happened when U.S. pilots faced innovative Indian Air Force tactics

The losing performance of F-15Cs in simulated air-to-air combat against the Indian air force this year is being perceived by some, both in the U.S. and overseas, as a weakening of American capabilities, and it is generating taunts from within the competitive U.S. fighter community.

The Cope India exercise also seemingly shocked some in Congress and the Pentagon who used the event to renew the call for modernizing the U.S. fighter force with stealthy F/A-22s and F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.

The reasons for the drubbing have gone largely unexplained and been misunderstood, according to those based here with the 3rd Wing who participated. Two major factors stand out: None of the six 3rd Wing F-15Cs was equipped with the newest long-range, active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars. These Raytheon APG-63(V)2 radars were designed to find small and stealthy targets. At India's request, the U.S. agreed to mock combat at 3-to-1 odds and without the use of simulated long-range, radar-guided AIM-120 Amraams that even the odds with beyond-visual-range kills.

These same U.S. participants say the Indian pilots showed innovation and flexibility in their tactics. They also admit that they came into the exercise underrating the training and tactics of the pilots they faced. Instead of typical Cold War-style, ground-controlled interceptions, the Indians varied aircraft mixes, altitudes and formations. Indian air force planners never reinforced failure or repeated tactics that the U.S. easily repelled. Moreover, the IAF's airborne commanders changed tactics as opportunities arose. Nor did U.S. pilots believe they faced only India's top guns. Instead, they said that at least in some units they faced a mix of experienced and relatively new Indian fighter and strike pilots.

USAF F-15 formates with an IAF Mirage-2000H [KF107]. The Mirages were then freshly upgraded with IFR probes. On the Mirage's port wing one can see a French Remora ECM pod.


Maj. Mark A. Snowden, the 3rd Wing's chief of air-to-air tactics and a participant in Cope India, spoke for the 13 U.S. pilots who attended the exercise. They flew six F-15Cs, each equipped with a fighter data link for rapid exchange of target information, AIM-9Xs and a Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System, he says. The aircraft had been to Singapore for another exercise and for the long, six-week jaunt it was decided not to bring along the additional maintenance package needed to support AESA-equipped F-15Cs.

Cope India was held Feb. 15-28 at Gwalior, about 150 mi. south of Delhi, where the Indian air force has its Tactics Air Combat Development Establishment, which operates late-model MiG-21 Fishbeds as fighter escorts and MiG-27 Floggers as strike aircraft. Aerospace officials who have heard the classified brief on the exercise say the MiG-21s were equipped with a "gray-market" Bison radar and avionics upgrade.

Mica-armed Dassault Mirages 2000s are also stationed there. Brought in for the exercise were Sukhoi Su-30s (but not the newest Su-30 MKIs) carrying simulated AA-11s and AA-12 Adders. There also were five MiG-29 Flankers involved in a peripheral role and an Antonov An-32 Cline as a simulated AWACS.

Indian MiG-27ML Flogger fighter performed the strike duty throughout the exercises. Closer to the camera is TS631, loaded out with the a powerful EW pod supplied by Elta of Israel.


"The outcome of the exercise boils down to [the fact that] they ran tactics that were more advanced than we expected," Snowden says. "India had developed its own air tactics somewhat in a vacuum. They had done some training with the French that we knew about, but we did not expect them to be a very well-trained air force. That was silly.

"They could come up with a game plan, but if it wasn't working they would call an audible and change [tactics in flight]," he says. "They made good decisions about when to bring their strikers in. The MiG-21s would be embedded with a Flogger for integral protection. There was a data link between the Flankers that was used to pass information. [Using all their assets,] they built a very good [radar] picture of what we were doing and were able to make good decisions about when to roll [their aircraft] in and out."

Aerospace industry officials say there's some indication that the MiG-21s also may have been getting a data feed from other airborne radars that gave them improved situational awareness of the airborne picture.

Cold war foes turned friends; with IAF MiG-29S [KB3117] and MiG-29B [KB712]


Generally the combat scenario was to have four F-15s flying at any time against about 12 Indian aircraft. While the U.S. pilots normally train to four versus 12, that takes into account at least two of the U.S. aircraft having AESA radar and being able to make the first, beyond-visual-range shots. For the exercise, both sides restricted long-range shots.

"That's what the Indians wanted to do," Snowden says. "That [handicap] really benefits a numerically superior force because you can't whittle away some of their force at long range. They were simulating active missiles [including] AA-12s." This means the missile has its own radar transmitter and doesn't depend on the launch aircraft's radar after launch. With the older AA-10 Alamo, the launching fighter has to keep its target illuminated with radar so the U.S. pilots would know when they were being targeted. But with the AA-12, they didn't know if they had been targeted. The Mirage 2000s carried the active Mica missile. Aerospace industry officials said that some of the radars the U.S. pilots encountered, including that of the Mirage 2000s, exhibited different characteristics than those on standard versions of the aircraft.

The U.S. pilots used no active missiles, and the AIM-120 Amraam capability was limited to a 20-naut.-mi. range while keeping the target illuminated when attacking and 18 naut. mi. when defending, as were all the missiles in the exercise.

"When we saw that they were a more professional air force, we realized that within the constraints of the exercise we were going to have a very difficult time," Snowden says. "In general, it looked like they ran a broad spectrum of tactics and they were adaptive. They would analyze what we were doing and then try something else. They weren't afraid to bring the strikers in high or low. They would move them around so that we could never anticipate from day to day what we were going to see."

The IAF did not fly its top-end Su-30MKI aircrafts, instead the older un-upgraded Su-30MKs and Su-30Ks of the 24 Sqn, such as these. Compare the relative size of the aircraft!


By comparison, the U.S. pilots don't think they offered the Indians any surprises. The initial tactic is to run a wall with all four F-15s up front. That plays well when the long-range missiles and AESA radar are in play.

"You know we're there and we're not hiding," Snowden says. "But we didn't have the beyond-visual-range shot or the numerical advantage. Eventually we were just worn down by the numbers. They were very smart about it. Their goal was to get to a target area, engage the target and then withdraw without prolonging the fight. If there were a couple of Eagles still alive away from the target area, they would keep them pinned in, get done with the target and then egress with all their forces.

"All their aircraft seemed to be capable of breaking out [targets] and shooting at the ranges the exercise allowed," he says. "We generally don't train to an active missile threat [like the Mirage's Mica or the AA-12 for the Russian-built aircraft], and that was one of the things that caused us some problems."

USAF planners here see Cope India as the first step in an annual series of exchange exercises.

source site




posted on Feb, 2 2005 @ 11:00 PM
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posted on Feb, 2 2005 @ 11:02 PM
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I think the real reason is because they wanted to make sure the F-22 deal went through.

Look how bad our planes are preforming, Now sign on the dotted line to buy us some new F-22s because we need them so bad.

I wonder how we will do if we bring some Raptors to play next time.



posted on Feb, 2 2005 @ 11:03 PM
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Another excerept :

When questioned on the capabilities of IAF pilots, Col Greg Newbech, USAF Team Leader made the following remarks: -

- What we’ve seen in the last two weeks is, the IAF can stand toe-to-toe with best AF in the world.

- I pity the pilot who has to face the IAF and chances the day to underestimate him; because he won’t be going home.

- Indian hospitality from everyone has been truly overwhelming.

- The greatest compliment we heard from an IAF pilot – You American pilots are just like us, simply down to earth people.

- We depart India with great respect for the Indian Air Force. Your pilots, maint and support crew are exceptional professionals.

“The (Indian) pilots are as aggressive as our pilots. They are excellent aviators; they work very hard at mission planning; they try to get as much out of a mission or sortie as possible, just like us,” he said. “From one fighter pilot to another, there’s really not that much difference in how we prepare for a mission and what we want to get out of it.” While the U.S. airmen are very curious about the Indian aircraft, the same goes for the local interest in the F-15. Between sorties, U.S. airmen give operations and maintenance tours of the aircraft and answer questions from their Indian counterparts.



posted on Feb, 2 2005 @ 11:04 PM
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Great post! It's great to see those people who can put aside nationilistic pride and give a "fair and balanced" report on what happened.

You get my "way above top secret" nod this month...



posted on Feb, 2 2005 @ 11:07 PM
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Originally posted by ShadowXIX
Look how bad our planes are preforming, Now sign on the dotted line to buy us some new F-22s because we need them so bad.

I wonder how we will do if we bring some Raptors to play next time.


If you get the raptor's we'll get our Su-30MKI, wchich has a better radar, better TVC, better menuverability than the raptor.It is perhaps the best flanker around.
Su-30 MKI



posted on Feb, 2 2005 @ 11:11 PM
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I've put some great pics here. Please check em out. It also has the official reports of the USAF and the IAF. check it out.

OFFICIAL reports, pics

although these took place in 2004, the results and related info are only coming out now.



posted on Feb, 2 2005 @ 11:12 PM
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We will have to see but I put my money on 3 gen stealth in modern air combat.

Beware Raptors with open doors



posted on Feb, 2 2005 @ 11:21 PM
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Originally posted by Stealth Spy

Originally posted by ShadowXIX
Look how bad our planes are preforming, Now sign on the dotted line to buy us some new F-22s because we need them so bad.

I wonder how we will do if we bring some Raptors to play next time.


If you get the raptor's we'll get our Su-30MKI, wchich has a better radar, better TVC, better menuverability than the raptor.It is perhaps the best flanker around.
Su-30 MKI



An interesting capability of the Raptor is that an aircraft in the rear can be using it's radar (very good radar at that) and transmit the data collected to another aircraft, which may be well ahead and very hard to detect without it's radar activated. The plane being targeted thinks it's still well outside of weapons range when it gets a very nasty surprise....

www.globalsecurity.org...

There is little info on the exact capabilites of this (probably classified), but this is one the capabilities of the "intra-flight datalinK" mentioned.



posted on Feb, 2 2005 @ 11:37 PM
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Originally posted by ShadowXIX
I think the real reason is because they wanted to make sure the F-22 deal went through.

Look how bad our planes are preforming, Now sign on the dotted line to buy us some new F-22s because we need them so bad.

I wonder how we will do if we bring some Raptors to play next time.


I think Raptors should wait. They need to speed up the JSF as it is less costly and still has many capabilities.



posted on Feb, 2 2005 @ 11:50 PM
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right when I saw the title of this thread I figured it was started by stealth spy, and low n behold it was.

Dont know think that you have talked this topic to death yet?



posted on Feb, 3 2005 @ 01:26 AM
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Originally posted by Stealth Spy
If you get the raptor's we'll get our Su-30MKI, wchich has a better radar, better TVC, better menuverability than the raptor.It is perhaps the best flanker around.
Su-30 MKI


Wrong Raptor is definitely MORE maneuvrable than the whole SU family (maybe except Berkut). I am already tired of reapeating that F-22 is not only stealth, but mix of stealth, speed and manevrability. And SU-30 HAS NOT better radar. The only one plane with better radar is Mig-31 (and maybe F-14).



posted on Feb, 3 2005 @ 09:33 AM
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is that a affirmed statement??..F-22 raptor has more manuverability in a dogfight than a Su30 MKI...or are we again speculating..?
]
just asking...
Yes this topic has been discussed in depth but this thread is refreshing from the aspect of unbiased views..



posted on Feb, 3 2005 @ 12:31 PM
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Great post, very objective. I am a little suprised however that you would follow it up with this speculation:


Originally posted by Stealth Spy

Originally posted by ShadowXIX
Look how bad our planes are preforming, Now sign on the dotted line to buy us some new F-22s because we need them so bad.

I wonder how we will do if we bring some Raptors to play next time.


If you get the raptor's we'll get our Su-30MKI, wchich has a better radar, better TVC, better menuverability than the raptor.It is perhaps the best flanker around.
Su-30 MKI




Clearly you actually dont know this to be true. Its 100% your opinion and speculation. So, I will reply with speculation of my own: NO WAY!! The Raptor will out fly anything in the sky. Your Indian pilots will be long dead before they even know they are in a fight. The first indication that they have been engaged will be an incoming missle. And if they lived long enough to close the distance, wich they wont, they would need to rely on visual targeting only, as thier radar would have a very hard time of spotting the Raptor.

I would say, as long as we are speculating, your assessment is way off.



posted on Feb, 3 2005 @ 07:16 PM
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Originally posted by Murcielago
right when I saw the title of this thread I figured it was started by stealth spy, and low n behold it was.

Dont know think that you have talked this topic to death yet?


Haha, I made the same prediction as well
.



posted on Feb, 3 2005 @ 10:14 PM
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Maybe you're right about that.

But, then again a raptor without AWACS is like a half blind man. That sreiously compromises its first see, first kill capability.

Raptor alone v/s Su-30 MKI + AWACS would be a nice fight.

But, since the raptor's RCS on radar is a closely guarded secret, bringing the raptor to air exercises is almost out of question, but it makes for some fun speculation.

But, if the MKI escapes the raptor's BVR might and is able to get into visual range, it will down the raptor for sure.



posted on Feb, 3 2005 @ 10:32 PM
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INDIAN AIR FORCE PROCURES RUSSIAN STEALTH TECHNOLOGY FOR MIG-21's
The Indian Air Force (IAF) is now adding stealth modifications to an existing $340m programme to upgrade 125 of its MiG-21bis fighters to MiG-21-93 standard. Sources for Jane's Defence Weekly have revealed these secret events in a report published in an edition of the magazine.

Extensive tests to demonstrate Russia's ability to upgrade Indian fighter aircraft with stealth capabilities took place in front of Indian defence ministry officials at the Sokol aircraft plant in Nizhniy Novgorod on 29th May 2000. The demonstration was highly successful and is understood to have resulted in the Russian government and RSK MIG urging the IAF to adopt the stealth modifications across its MiG-21-93 fleet.

The core of the demonstration saw two MiG-21bis--one upgraded with stealth technology and one without--being tracked by what is believed to be a Mig-31 in a controlled test of radar-absorbent materials (RAM) and coatings developed at the Moscow Institute of Applied and Theoretical

Electrodynamics. During its flight the radar signature of the upgraded Mig-21bis was shown to be between 10 and 15 times weaker than the regular MiG-21bis.

Another related article in this week's Jane's Defence Weekly reports on the talk given by India's Army Chief General S. Pamanabhan on 11 January 2002, in which he warned Pakistan of India's defence capabilities and stated "I have mobilised to be ready for war."

BTW : some crazy mod had to warn me and fine me for starting this thread



posted on Feb, 3 2005 @ 10:33 PM
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MKI vs Raptor? Not! Raptor virtually each and every time.

Question Stealth Spy:
If there is such a huge superiority in Russian made aircraft, then at least once, in actual combat, not simulated air-to-air combat, one of these fighters (F-16, F-15) should have been downed by those vaunted and superior made Russian aircraft?
F-16: 71:0
F-15: 101:0

Correct?




seekerof



posted on Feb, 3 2005 @ 10:37 PM
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as posted by Stealth Spy
BTW : some crazy mod had to warn me and fine me for starting this thread.



No, you were warned for copy-n-pasting, big quoting an entire article!
Please note at the top of each reply and create topic screen, it says"


MEMBERS: Do not simply post news articles in the forums without comment. If you feel inclined to make the board aware of current events,
please post the first paragraph, a link to the entire story, AND your opinion, twist or take on the news item.


Thank you for your future compliance.




seekerof

[edit on 3-2-2005 by Seekerof]



posted on Feb, 3 2005 @ 10:46 PM
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Originally posted by Seekerof
MKI vs Raptor? Not! Raptor virtually each and every time.

Question Stealth Spy:
If there is such a huge superiority in Russian made aircraft, then at least once, in actual combat, not simulated air-to-air combat, one of these fighters (F-16, F-15) should have been downed by those vaunted and superior made Russian aircraft?
seekerof

Chew upon this :

Lt. Col. David "Logger" Rose, a Persian Gulf War F-15 pilot, 41, recalled the time "12 years ago to the day in Desert Storm" when an Iraqi MiG-29 chased away his F-15 on the first day of the war.

Source : www.reviewjournal.com...

Besides, when have those russian aircraft's been given a fair shot.

Either they were outnumbered, or they had rookie pilots.

Some Dutch F-16's downed a Mig-29 with pilots who colud barely fly.

When did well trained Mig or Sukhoi pilots ever take on F-16's or F-15's.
I guess you'll have to wait till the next India-Pakistan war to find out about some F-16's getting swatted out.

Besides, what happened to your F-15's in the air exercises(not simulations) . True they were outnumbered, and were not the best F-15's around, but they went down to Mig-21's and Jaguar's in Alaska.

It also kinda shown that the USAF cannot win in disadvantaged situations.

Similarly F-16's of the Singapore AF, got swatted by Mig-29's in air exercises, with no handicap to either side.



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