India & USA military relationship - Page 4

November 11th, 2004  
Originally Posted by Secrecy

The outcome of the Cope India Excerise '04 was victory for the IAF....Amazingly. The USAF Pilots pointed out the the F-15s they were flying were ill equipped in Long Range Radar Capabilities. They also pointed out the IAF is also well trained in French Air-Air combat tactics. Well done IAF.

November 12th, 2004  
Originally Posted by Secrecy

The outcome of the Cope India Excerise '04 was victory for the IAF....Amazingly. The USAF Pilots pointed out the the F-15s they were flying were ill equipped in Long Range Radar Capabilities. They also pointed out the IAF is also well trained in French Air-Air combat tactics. Well done IAF.

Well in all fairness to the USAF, the construction of the exercise was such that the IAF would win. America offered the same rules that it offered to other airforces in similar training exercises; these rules assuming that the other airforce is relatively incompetant or stuck in rigid, predictable tactics, be they Western or Soviet. However, as they themselves admitted after the exercises, they completely underestimated the IAF's skill and tactics. I believe a quote from the USAF flight leader was something like 'once we saw what they were, we knew we'd get killed in this exercise.' If you like, I'll dig up the actual quote and article.

The IAF exhibited incredible flexability and skill in the mission planning and flying. The tactics they used, in a small correction to your post, weren't French*, but uniquely Indian, as, to quote a USAF pilot, Indian tactics "were developed in a vaccum"; i.e. Indian tactics were neither Soviet or Western style. Beacuse they expected the IAF to be strictly conformal to Soviet doctrine and not at all innovative, the excercise came as a very rude shock to the Americans.

That plus the fact that the Indians flew as many, and in the case of the Jags, M2Ks and Sukhois, more hours than their American counterparts. The capabilities of the plain vanilla Su-30 (IAF didn't field their Su-30MKI 'supercars'; the IAF Su-30s will in the next couple years will be upgraded to MKI standard) also came as a shock to the Americans.

[*The IAF's first ever tangle with the Armee de l'Air a couple years ago pitted IAF M2Ks versus French, which were BVR armed. The exercises showed the Indians that, though they beat the French in WVR dogfighting, the French could pick IAF a/c off at BVR. The IAF then went all out in developing BVR-heavy a/c (Su-30MKI, LCA), upgrading its current fighter fleet to BVR capabilities (including down to the BVR MiG-21 Bison upgrade of its MiG-21 fleet, which proved itself more than worthy in COPE India), porcuring and developing BVR weapons, and developing tactics in BVR combat from the French and internal DACT exercises.]

The biggest lesson that America took away from these exercises was that a well-trained airforce can best an American force of equal footing without American force-multipliers the dissipation of the groupthink belief that inherantly assumes American combat superiority in the post-cold war world. Hence, this was a major reason the USAF gave in pushing for the F-22, which in terms of capabilities, is far ahead of any current aircraft. The USAF also learned about the capabilities firsthand of the vanilla IAF Su-30 which are comparable to PLAAF Su-27s and Su-30s.

The IAF's lesson was one of the need for force multipliers (like the AWACS, which prompted India to restart its indegenous AWACS program, which is designed to complement the Phalcon, and increased the order of Su-30MKI a/c; and the exercises refined IAF's combat tactics versus Western fighters.

The latter they did as well in the recent exercises with South African Mirages and, even more significantly, with RSAF F-16 blk 50s, which are a generation and a half superior to the Pakistani F-16s. Unlike COPE India, these exercises were very hush-hush and, according to IAF pilots in news reports, the exerciseses gave them significant information on how to develop F-16-specific combat tactics. Singapore was so impressed with India that the majority of their training will now be done in and with India, so this will obviously give the IAF much more familiarity with the capabilities of the F-16, and similarly the RSAF will get familiarity with the Sukhois, which Malaysia and potentially Indonesia operates.

November 12th, 2004  
Thanks for that info , really amazing.
November 19th, 2004  
Hi guys

I found the article I previously referenced. My paraphrazing wasn't exact, but I was close enough to the quote I think

This article is the authoritaive one from the US side on COPE India, based on interviews and quotes from the pilots and sqn leader themselves.


3rd Wing Explains 'Cope India' Exercise

Aviation Week & Space Technology 10/04/2004, page 50
David A. Fulghum Elmendorf AFB, Alaska

3rd Wing explains what happened when U.S. pilots faced innovative Indian air force tactics
Indian 'Scare'

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.

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.

"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.

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.

Indian planners combined the use of top-line fighters like this Su-30 with older types and impressive, innovative tactics.

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."

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.
November 19th, 2004  
Oops, I didn't see the previous posts in the thread addressed to me

Originally Posted by Redleg
But it would have been nice if you only post links to the images next time, so visitors using dial-up can have a chance to open and view the thread as well..
(I've changed them for you now)
Cool, thanks Redleg I'll post links to pictures from here on out

Originally Posted by Lupos
Nice job Raj,
Maybe you and Xion can answer my question for me. If the US asked India, would they help out with Iraq and the rest of the War on Terror?

Sorry in advance to my long answer to your question, but I think the Indian position needs to be put clearly out in the open.

Well, your question really assumes that India isn't contributing to the wider war on terror already. Since 1980, over 60,000 Indian civilians in Kashmir state alone were killed by Pakistan-based (and -backed) terrorist groups affiliated with al-Queda.

Not to go into that topic, but as Xion suggested, the general sentiment, not at all unfounded, is that the US is unsympathetic to Indian security and terrorism concerns. For example, even after 9/11, America still wouldn't even declare known Pakistani-backed and al-Qaeda terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, etc. until those same groups 'magically' manifested themselves in Afghanistan and started attacking coalition forces there.

Despite having Musharraf in a vice grip to the balls, Pakistan still has not clamped down whatsoever on the anti-Indian (and anti-Afghan) terrorist infrastructure, camps, and groups which still operate freely and openly in Pakistan (and their statements, operations and goings-on are still widely reported and lauded by even the government-controlled Pakistani press.)

Though terrorism in Kashmir is down (hence the withdrawal of some COIN units), its not because of any Pakistani 'effort', but instead is because of the huge leaps in the capabilities of the Indian military and state police forces in the last year and a half, in terms of both perimeter surveillance and tactical reconnaissance (from the fencing of the entire Line of Control, to the deployment of advanced sensors and UAVs), to the sizable modernization and equipment of the troops themselves.

The terrorists are still operating at wanton in Pakistan occupied Kashmir and they are still attempting to cross the border -- and in fact in greater numbers than before 9/11 -- however, the only difference is they are now being exterminated by the Indian Jawan at the border itself instead of after they have grenaded a school bus in downtown Srinagar.

What Pakistan is doing, in the name of the ‘War on Terror’ is simply attacking a domestic control problem, i.e. attempting to extend their writ into the Tribal areas which has only nominally been controlled by the Pakistani government. In the name of the ‘War on Terror’, they are persecuting an operation that was inevitable and long due. Bombing random tribal guerillas in Wana and once in a while giving up a long-detached al-Qaeda middleman is doing jack squat to combat the source of terrorism.

Both India and Afghanistan are yelling hoarse that Pakistan continues to promote terrorism in their respective border regions, and all the bombed out mud huts in Waziristan account for diddly squat when the likes of the Sipah-e-Sahaba deobandis recruit openly for Kashmiri jehad on Pakistan military bases!

America can and does have the ability to force Pakistan to really halt all linkages to significant terror groups but it does not. What is worse is that America is using every leverage against India it has to prevent India from rightfully steamrolling over these wackjobs. America is narrowly focused on its own direct interests and not the wider, the global, war on terror.

That itself is bad enough, but when America publicly, even if its not materially, entertains the idea of rewarding Pakistan with conventional strategic weapons that will only be used against India (F-16s, TOW missiles, etc.) for its b******t 'War on Terror', well, then, what is India to take of this? Is this really the act of a friend who has a friend’s interest at heart?

India is fully committed to its own war on al-Qaeda, which involves far more troops and far more lives at stake than in Iraq and Israel combined. IIRC India politely declined an American request to Iraq (America wanted India to commit an entire armored division to Iraq), citing 'operational constraints' due to India’s own ongoing war.
Friendship is a two way street, and America cannot expect India to materially, massively commit itself to what is essentially an American manufactured (however rightfully) conflict when America will continue to hold in contempt India’s terrorism concerns and by that the lives of Indian citizens.

What needs to be done is that India and America must coordinate their policy so that they are in harmony. However, for propping up Pakistan, and for ridiculing the now proven fact yelled by India for over 30 years, that Pakistan is the epicenter of global Islamist jihad, it is America that owes India to make the first move.

India and America are ideological, social, economic and culturally the best combination of allies of any trans-cultural American relationship with of any nation in the world... but for America's own myopic geostrategic policy.

Is it really fair that India commit needed manpower to fight American-specific terrorists if America will not do the same for India?

Of course not.

Now added to the above, is it more fair that America expects India to do so, even as America is granting largess of offensive weaponry to the scum India is fighting?

Hell no.

Let me ask the Americans:

How would you feel if India gifted INSAS rifles, Akash SAMs, and Arjun MBTs to the "indigenous" Sunni Wahabi al-Zarqawi "militants" of Fallujah, during the ongoing Operation Iraqi Freedom? Why, because al-Zarqawi's group heroically attacked Shi'ite "terrorists", killing 50 in Karbala, thus decreasing the terrorist count by 50 in the world. And are thus now India's frontline ally in the Global War on Terror, felicied daily by PM Manmohan Singh and the entire Indian press?

Of course, those Akash SAMS and Arjun MBTs are going to only be used, Zarqawi states empatically, for the Global War on Terror, and not at all, ever whatsoever, never one bit on the American and British troops. You have his word that Zarqawi's going to use it shoot down that massive Karbala Shi'ite airforce and armored columns. Right?

What would you say if the above happens.... and then.... India asked America to commit the 3rd Infantry Division to COIN operations under Indian command in Baramula district.

And then India pouts and questions America's sincerity to the Grand Great Global War on Terror and threatens economic curbs when America says no dice.

You tell me.
How would you feel about that request.

All the best,
November 19th, 2004  
Wonderful posts Raj.

I am glad to have you Raj and Xion here, a lot of good info given by from you pals.

I have a question:
Is India actively participating in the PAK/FA project now?
Why we hear so little about the ongoing of PAK/FA?

November 21st, 2004  

Thanks flyingfrog

I'm not sure what the status of the Pak-FA is. I do know it is an active project because recently some Indian tech companies deputed some delegation to Russia for this project. The stated timeline is that by 2009 such an a/c should be ready. I don't think yet officially India agreed to go ahead with the project, but are in negotiation talks.

I don't think there's any doubt that India wont eventually join in. Apart from the F-22, and maybe upgraded versions of Rafele or Eurofighter, there is no other viable 5th generation a/c that can debut around the time the Raptors come

Do you know what the status of Chinas J-XX fighter is?
November 21st, 2004  
A Can of Man
So basically it was... India vs Outnumbered, handicapped, USA not even using the best aircraft with the updated software upgrades, of an average squadron.
Well it's better than most others can claim so good job!
November 21st, 2004  
There is no need for that, the_13th_redneck.

You seem to be suggesting that the Americans were 'outnumbered' in the entire exercise. In a way, you are correct, as there were more IAF planes involved in COPE India.

But your implication that the USAF were outnumbered by the Indians throughout the exercise is incorrect. The exercise consisted of offensive and defensive counter-air exercises, with 12 attacking aircraft (8 ground attack and 4 escorts) conducting a simulated raid on Gwalior AFB, versus 4 defending aircraft scrambling to intercept.

Both the Indian and the American fighters took turns being attacking and defending a/c, mixing the formations between MiG-21 Bis, Su-30K, M2K, and F-15. The numbers of a/c used in the missions was applied the same to aircraft both sides! It wasn't a case where Indians mugged the Americans due to numbers! And even then, it wasn't always 12v.4, as 10v.4 and 6v.4 missions were documented. Even so, the declassified version of the report that was sent to Congress noted that the USAF defenders lost 90% of the time, which was apparently was a worse record than the IAF when they played the defenders.

Secondly, the same weapons range handicaps applied to both sides! It was not as if the Americans were the only ones that these ROEs applied to, as you are implying, but the Indians, too, limited the same range on their BVR missiles.

Thirdly, so what if America didn't field their best aircraft (AESA-equipped F-15s)?. Neither did India (Su-30MKI with BARS ). However, the even the aircraft America fielded (i.e. AESA-less F-15s (without the hardware, software updates, etc.)) with their slotted-array radars still outclassed the N-001 radars of the Su-30Ks by a generation! Only the MiG-21 Bis with their Kopyo-M radar was the technological equivilant of the F-15s, but even this doesn't have the same range. However, it should be noted that in some of the missions involved the IAF using their datalinking capabilities, with appaerent tremendous success, but it wasn't used in every mission, though.

Forthly, though America fielded an average squadron, so did India! The article specifically states that the Indian pilots were a mix from novice to expert, as is the norm in IAF squardrons, where there are no 'elite' squadrons. It is not as if the IAF aces all flew against rookie USAF pilot.

The exercise (like all exercises are) was a very specific one, aimed to test the skills and abilities of the pilots applied to very exacting scenarios. The Americans did not have their technical advantages, and neither did the Indians; as the exercises were designed to test mission planning, aerial tactics and pilots. The ROEs did not handicap one country versus the other; there wouldn't be any value to an exercise if that were the case. The reason that this exercise generated so much interest, was that the IAF apparently very much impressed the Americans with their abilities, and showed that pilot-to-pilot, as an American pilot said, the IAF is "just as good as us."

I simply don't understand the bruising of egos and the need for excuses founded on misconceptions that this exercise generated. Remember, this wasn't a competition, but a cooperation in exercise, seeing and learning and experimenting ('how would 4 F-15s fare versus 4 -27s and 2 Su30s and these mission factors?''hmm interesting, now what about using this tactic against this situation', etc)... The only thing to take away from this exercise is that both sides learned a great deal from each other, and laid a great foundation for friendship and future cooperation.
November 21st, 2004  
The outcome of the exercise boils down to [the fact that] they ran tactics that were more advanced than we expected
I hope the iaf didn't reveal all their best tactics to the US because it may end up at the hands of the pakistanis.But overall I think they did a good job, i think this will be a great moral booster for the iaf which has been going through a tough time recently because the frequent mig crashes(though they have decreased considerably).