Sunday, 12 September 2010

Indian news wire report: Strategic Command to acquire 40 nuclear capable fighters

A copy of a report filed by a PTI correspondent today is affixed below. I think it's a load of hogwash, for the following reasons amongst others:

(a) There is no need to "acquire" 40 nuclear capable fighters. India already has several types that are more than capable of undertaking this role.

(b) Secrecy and surprise would dictate "hiding" an aircraft-borne nuclear capability within the IAF's many bases and aircraft... not handing over this job to an identifiable, and therefore targetable, two squadrons located at bases which would be known.

(c) I would be really surprised if an MoD official leaked this information to a PTI correspondent!

But read the report anyway. It's attached below.

Strategic Command to acquire 40 nuclear capable fighters

Ajit K Dubey

New Delhi, Sep 12 (PTI)
With an aim of increasing its lethal power, India's tri-services strike force is planning to acquire 40 fighter planes capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

The Strategic Forces Command (SFC) has submitted a proposal to the Defence Ministry for setting up two dedicated squadrons of fighter aircraft which will act as "mini-Air Force", ministry sources told PTI.

This will be the first time that SFC, which at present depends on the Indian Air Force for delivering nuclear weapons under its command, will have its own aerial assets, they said.

The SFC does not want untested fighters but the ones which are battle proven and have capabilities to deliver nuclear-tipped missiles, the sources said.

12 comments:

Gagan said...

I think what this means is that the SFC wants 40 aircraft to be placed at its disposal from the IAF fleet. This means that each squadron will have to have a certain number of aircraft ready and available for the SFC in case the need arises.

This will result in 40 aircraft being off the table as far as regular IAF duties during a war, and one can say that the IAF is now 40 aircraft short.

This is just like saying that a hospital reserves a few ambulances for a VVIP visit, which are then not available for the general patients.

JMTs

Mr. Ra said...

The way now Paki and Red Dragon are vehemently cooperating with each other, it may pose a great danger to India on a two front basis with two nuky states.

Realizing that Tejas MK2, MRCA, AMCA, FGFA all lie in future beyond Nostradamus, it may be prudent to go for such an arrangement for realizing a small and limited first strike capacity to ward off against the advances of a full war by Paki and/or a limited war by the Red Dragon.

Anonymous said...

Where in the referenced report does it say the new assets will not be maintained in IAF bases?

It doesn't still make sense unless the request includes a mix of B52, TU 160 like assets.

Anonymous said...

Why do we neen dedicated fighters for nuclear strike? Are these jets going to remain idle during a conventional war? The best platform for this purpose is Brahmos armed Su30MKI, like the french Rafale/ASMP-A combo. It would be a waste to keep such an expensive platform just for nuclear strike.

Anonymous said...

Shuklaji:
1. 40 Fighters could be part of a different command, but interspersed with regular aircraft to avoid becoming easy tragets.
2. Even though IAF may have other aircraft that can do the job, those aircraft are likely dual use. By having designated aircraft for nuclear delivery, one can provide them with extra electronic counter measures as well as a more specific delivery mechanism that will have a lesser chance to malfunction.
3. The leak to PTI is very likely intended to send a message to the Chinese, as the pakis and cheenis have started to play in the same sand box these days.

Rahul said...

In a highly democratic country where people share big ego, need for a separate Strategic Force parallel to three is highly desired. Today our strategic assets lies in hands of Air Force and Army and soon it will go into the hands of Navy too. Now it is no hidden fact that these three are highly competitive and its consequences Bharat had already suffered during Kargil War when Army restricted IAF from getting involved early. And in case of second strike there is no room for any such delay. IMO it will be better if we get a separate force which will have direct control on each and every military hardware built for strategic purpose be it dedicated N payload carrying fighters or N-Tipped missiles or SSBNs. While these hardwares should remain dispersed and mixed with services but person who control their moves and officer and men who man them should belong to SFC and should be answerable only to SFC.

I don't think secrecy will be an issue. If our enemy decides to strike first then there is absolutely no chance that they will leave even a single AFB untouched.

IMO what SFC is asking is just one brick of the wall of deterrence. And ask for 40 jets is psychological one. Do everything that enemy thinks one more time before throwing N-Bomb towards you. I think this is the whole point here.

BTW JMT.

Vivek said...

quote:"capabilities to deliver nuclear-tipped missiles"

That about sums up the quality of the report.

Devindra Sethi said...

Ah at last the first glimmer of a Strategic Rocket Forces Service with personnel specially selected from the three armed forces.These dedicated aircraft with nuclear tipped missiles can be deployed at concealed facilities.With large great circle flying capabilities they can strike our "assertive" foes from maximum ranges at 360degree points of the compass.A look at the map of India and the IOR will clarify the above.This will give food for thought to our "assertive" neighbours and will ensure extensive spread of their expensive AMD / AAD assets or localise it to point defense systems for important cities/ military/ industrial installations.Any capability which increases our strategic options must be built up.A world class economy being built up by India for Indians by Indians must be protected, no matter what.The capabilty to reduce 'assertive'countries economic assets to ashes will give immense pause to the thought process in their higher echelons of decision making.GO FOR IT SOON.

joydeep ghosh said...

@Ajai sir

How about buying 40 Su-34 fighter bombers that are ideally suited for longhaul flights with non stop flying of 6000 kn side by side seats for pilots and urinals for relieving themselves during long flying hours.

Since its built by Sukhoi I dont there will be much change in need for adding extra facilities for flying these crafts since India already maintains Su-30MKIs

MPatel said...

The issue is basically this: The missiles under SFC are simply not relibale. We are not talking of 90% relibalility....you need to have 100%. Currently in the SFC it is basically cross your fingers and hope that the missile takes off and heads in the right direction. This is the reality. Otherwise why go back to the 1950's concept which everyone has moved away from....think boys!

Anonymous said...

Report says: "capabilities to deliver nuclear-tipped missiles"

So the SFC wants planes that can deliver the agni-3? excellent... this is how they plan to increase the range :D

And before someone goes on to say.. missiles need not include agni, but "smaller" mini nukes.. i would like to say, those are not "strategic" assets but only tactical (which would be under the perview of the AF). Strategic are large nukes designed to take out whole cities.

joydeep ghosh said...

@ Ajai sir

just heard UAE is replacing its entire fleet of Mirage-2000s bought little over decade ago with Rafale jets and Dassault will buy back these planes for export (it did the same for Qatars Mirage-2000).

Also if I am not wrong a South American country is also selling its Mirage-2000 back to Dassault.

If India buys these Mirage-2000 planes we can tide over current shortfall in number of fighters as well as keep some exclusively for nuke strike missions.

Also we are entering into TOT with Dassault for upgrading our Mirage-2000. So it shouldnt be a problem