Opinion INDIAN ARMY AVIATION: A CASE FOR FIXED WING CLOSE AIR SUPPORT

Hellfire

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It were these things which again refined the role of FW fighters for CAS role and a need was felt to give a standoff kind of ability to aircraft to stay away from harms way and yet deliver. The result was Attack Helicopters.
contd.....................

Helicopters & stand off capability? :unsure:
 

vstol Jockey

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Helicopters & stand off capability? :unsure:
NO. It is w.r.t FW aircraft. hepters do not need to fly over the target for CAS, they can stay away from the enemy and do a KIND OF STAND OFF attacks. The very basic meaning of stand off is not to have the need to overfly the target and therefore avoid entering the kill zone of defenders. The distance for stand off attacks varies, it can be as low as 4-5 kms for Hepters to over 400-500 kms for FW aircraft.
 

Hellfire

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I understand that the arms procurement process and bureaucracy is terrible for the IAF, but will inducting these platforms into the IA (which has never operated FW aircraft?) really be faster than enhancing IAF capabilities? It feels counter-intuitive, and would take eons for any actual induction. Additionally, weren't there efforts to form an integrated defense staff that would help coordination between the branches?

I do hope that you are aware that pilots are cross attached to sister services? IAF used to regularly attach pilots for Aviation till Indian Army Aviation took off on its own. Even now, IN Pilot was flying the Army Commander Northern Command when the ALH accident took place. The pilot from IN was flying to get greater operational experience and had a Master Green Indian Army Aviation Pilot along.

Coordination at Staff level is quite different from coordination in a battle field. Hence I had mentioned that there has to be a partnership established with integration of IAF-IA at theater level. With battle moving into multiple domains ... air, land, sea, sub-surface, information, internet, assymetric assets, space ... a new concept has come to fore - of multi domain operations, as suggested by various academia in US. While the 'multi domain' aspect of any conflict has always been a reality, the fact that the US again was the first one to concretely write something on it, must be considered while crediting them for this too.

It is this space that shall see an increased need for integration of IAF-IA at theater level, something that IBG is sorely dependent on, and IN where applicable. IAF has started moving into Space, hence, there needs to be an effort to redefine its role.



The main issue with FW versus UCAV in western doctrines is high operating costs of FW over UCAVs. This is especially relevant given that most CAS operations are against insurgencies in prolonged conflict. The A-10 is the prime target which the USAF really wanted to replace but was stopped mainly by Congress. The cost of maintaining the A-10 itself is more expensive than acquiring and operating something like the Super Tucano with all its munitions, or even just more MQ9s. While I'm sure officers in the USAF love the jet, it is just too expensive to justify keeping around.

While a pilot can't be jammed as easily, their losses are felt more acutely. It is much more difficult to replace pilots than it is to replace drones.

The main challenges India faces is not of insurgency, as we have to fight the same on our own territory and there an indiscriminate fire will result in catastrophic results for us. The main challenge is planning for and executing an action against a potential collusive threat, howsoever, remote it may be.



This is true, but even then look at the performance of CAS aircraft like the A-10 against Iraqi forces in the Gulf War. The A-10 was the most heavily damaged aircraft of the campaign and suffered the most losses. In spite of the immense superiority of Coalition forces, they still lost over 75 aircraft (total between aircraft and coalition countries) to Saddam's forces.

You are right. India faces a much more uphill battle against much better equipped and trained foes when compared to the Coalition forces in the Gulf War. Losses of slow, low flying CAS jets will probably be monumentally higher.

Losses will be there, irrespective of what you use. The probability of your UCAVs being jammed is also there. Whereas a FW can be used to specifically target opposing enemy forces in near proximity to own forces at frontline from a greater standoff range and height, thereby severely reducing the risk of own losses. I am not talking of FW based CAS exclusively, but a mixed formation strike force.
 
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Hellfire

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I am still failing to understand why pinaka cant be used in these scenarios and have backup from NAMICA ? it is cheaper approach and recent pinaka trials proved it to be more accurate like 50 CEP.


Range ..... !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

Hellfire

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@vstol Jockey

How Much Time will Army Require to Become Fully Operational on New FW assets

Who will train them , Who will maintain the planes , What about Armaments , Airbases

Will we make New Airbases for Army FW planes

Who will be the Ground Controller

There are so many practical issues to be sorted

There is NO virtue in RE INVENTING the Wheel


If someone wants, I can write a service paper once am free. This is some field I have started developing an interest in, integration of forces across a spectrum.

But then, I shall need to earn in the duration as logistics and planning for such a project needs months of dedicated and exclusive time, with actual analysis of own and enemy forces/platforms/capabilities - present and future. :D
 

Hellfire

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I' am of an opinion that IA should invest in drones so that they could be deployed for scanning the ground and searching the locations of their SAM batteries through EW and other sort of measures and relaying live imagery to the airborne fighters so that without wasting a single minute they can release their payload from standoff range.


If a UAV can see SAM, then SAM can see a UAV much earlier. You have your toast ready!
 
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Hellfire

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NO. It is w.r.t FW aircraft. hepters do not need to fly over the target for CAS, they can stay away from the enemy and do a KIND OF STAND OFF attacks. The very basic meaning of stand off is not to have the need to overfly the target and therefore avoid entering the kill zone of defenders. The distance for stand off attacks varies, it can be as low as 4-5 kms for Hepters to over 400-500 kms for FW aircraft.


I read your later posts .... point understood.
 
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vstol Jockey

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I read your later posts .... point understood.
We have moved to what you mentioned. Multi layered CAS. FW CAS is now done from above 15k feet with PGMs. They are to take out large formations and deliver devastating blows to enemy. But below 15K is exclusive domain of Hepters.
FW CAS is also done in support of SFs operating deep inside enemy territory because they can reduce the reaction time to reach the target but we have seen that in few cases, even Americans ended up killing their own SF operatives. Reassigning a target to PGM in flight over the target or close to the target can force a pilot to punch wrong coordinates and the result can be very very bad. The slow speed of Hepters and generally a two man crew, allows for eliminating such inadvertant errors.
 
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We have moved to what you mentioned. Multi layered CAS. FW CAS is now done from above 15k feet with PGMs. They are to take out large formations and deliver devastating blows to enemy. But below 15K is exclusive domain of Hepters.
FW CAS is also done in support of SFs operating deep inside enemy territory because they can reduce the reaction time to reach the target but we have seen that in few cases, even Americans ended up killing their own SF operatives. Reassigning a target to PGM in flight over the target or close to the target can force a pilot to punch wrong coordinates and the result can be very very bad. The slow speed of Hepters and generally a two man crew, allows for eliminating such inadvertant errors.

Curious to know what kind of weapons can be used by Hepters for CAS? In Kargil, an IAF Mi-17 was firing rocket at enemy positions. And soon, shot down by a Stinger MANPAD. So can't a MANPAD be threat for helicopters as they fly close to a target area. I know Standoff weaponary is also an option, but we can't use it in every action, can we? To use Rockets and cannon/guns, pilot need to make visual contact with the enemy to take an aim and fire. Apache has BVR capability with TADS, but Rudra, LCH and Mi-35 don't feature such system and need to fight WVR.
 

vstol Jockey

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Curious to know what kind of weapons can be used by Hepters for CAS? In Kargil, an IAF Mi-17 was firing rocket at enemy positions. And soon, shot down by a Stinger MANPAD. So can't a MANPAD be threat for helicopters as they fly close to a target area. I know Standoff weaponary is also an option, but we can't use it in every action, can we? To use Rockets and cannon/guns, pilot need to make visual contact with the enemy to take an aim and fire. Apache has BVR capability with TADS, but Rudra, LCH and Mi-35 don't feature such system and need to fight WVR.
Mi-17 for CAS was unfit and more of a JUGAAD. It had nothing to defend itself. But LCH and Apaches have have the stuff do so. Plus Mi-17s did not have missiles and only rockets which suffered from same problem as FW CAS. You need to get in the contact zone to fire them.
The newer generations of CAS hepters come with missiles with a very long range and also equipped with DIRCM. They can safely do the job of not just bursting fortified positions but also take out tanks from a much larger range. They can even do the job by staying outside the QR missile batteries which accompany Tank regiments in battle.
 

screambowl

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If a UAV can see SAM, then SAM can see a UAV much earlier. You have your toast ready!

That can happen to aircrafts too who many times conduct intrusion for imagery purpose. Don't tell me they don't even choppers are used. My point is save pilot for strike operations and imagery etc can be done via UAVs
 

vstol Jockey

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That can happen to aircrafts too who many times conduct intrusion for imagery purpose. Don't tell me they don't even choppers are used. My point is save pilot for strike operations and imagery etc can be done via UAVs
But a FW aircraft piloted by a man can see the incoming missile and also initiate missile counter measures which a UCAV/UAV can't.
 
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screambowl

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But a FW aircraft piloted by a man can see the incoming missile and also initiate missile counter measures which a UCAV/UAV can't.

Then how Is India suppose to take imagery over Balochistan? IAF can't fly their piloted aircrafts over there, only drone remains the valid option.
 

vstol Jockey

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But the satellite doesn't give real-time image all day long right? it passes over once a day for a few minutes. So if you want to attack a target you will have to wait till it passes by?
Why do you ask such questions which force me to give out a lot which I do not want to share? Have you heard of Humint? You detect something thru satellites, then you move your humint to get better sitrep, and then you get full picture.
 
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screambowl

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Why do you ask such questions which force me to give out a lot which I do not want to share? Have you heard of Humint? You detect something thru satellites, then you move your humint to get better sitrep, and then you get full picture.

This is the reason I did not ask you further. But now my question is what options Pakistan have to do the same on India's eastern front. Yes, they can use Bangladesh but the can't do imagery , they can deploy submarines or use China's assets?
Or should India ignore the fact that Pakistan will not be able to inflict direct damage on eastern states?
 

vstol Jockey

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This is the reason I did not ask you further. But now my question is what options Pakistan have to do the same on India's eastern front. Yes, they can use Bangladesh but the can't do imagery , they can deploy submarines or use China's assets?
Or should India ignore the fact that Pakistan will not be able to inflict direct damage on eastern states?
Some very interesting things have happened under MSD. We might force Pak to do Harakiri very soon. May be CAB is the ploy.
 
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