Wednesday, December 22, 2010

India signs mega defence deal with Russia

India, yesterday, signed the biggest defense deal in it's history. The deal with Russia will involve the supply of 200-250 Fifth Generation Fighter Aircrafts(FGFA), being developed by Russia's Rosoboronexport and Sukhoi. The aircraft, being touted as 'Perspective multi role fighter' or PMF, will give a new edge to India's combat ability. Previously discussed on this blog, this aircraft will be no less capable than other 5th generation aircraft being developed or in production, like USA's F-22 or F-35, and India's own Medium Combat Aircraft.

Check out more info

Friday, December 17, 2010

“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”
                                                                      John Stuart Mill
                                             English economist & philosopher (1806 – 1873)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet Ordnance Load out

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Bridge too far...

Operation Market Garden. The largest airborne operation of all time. Also, a miserable failure.

For those who don't know, the operation plan's strategic context required the seizure of bridges across the Maas (Meuse River) and two arms of the Rhine in Netherlands in World War 2. This was supposed to be achieved by the surprise dropping of around 40,000 airborne troops deep into Nazi-occupied Netherlands in September 1944, and the rapid advance of an entire armored division, brigade and 2 infantry divisions through these bridges. What could have been the most successful allied operation during the WW2 soon turned into mayhem when the paratroopers were overrun and the bridges re-occupied by the Germans, and also because the armored drive encountered a lot more resistance than expected. The operation had to be ditched and the survivors evacuated.

The phrase "A bridge too far" comes from a comment made by British Lt. Gen. Frederick Browning, deputy commander of the First Allied Airborne Army, who told Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery before the operation, "I think we may be going a bridge too far." It has come to signify any "act of overreaching".

Friday, December 10, 2010

Short analysis of WWII Tactics

Standard task – Attacking a hill defended by an enemy infantry company

Germany, early and mid-war:
An hour before sunrise a battalion of troops has breakfast and prepares to attack. At dawn the hill is softened by dive-bombers and battalion mortars, then infantry moves in, throws grenades, charges into the trenches. By afternoon the Germans have already built their own defensive positions on the hill.

Germany, end of the war:
Because there is no gas for the dive-bombers and the battalion has 47 men remaining (including three HitlerJugend kids and two VolkSturm men who didn’t take part in WWI because of poor health), the attack fails. The attempt to reinforce the the battalion with a tank company fails because one of the tanks had engine trouble, two were destroyed by enemy bombers on the move, and the last one started to advance, but was knocked out.
A cavalry squadron charges the hill and goes down in a hail of bullets.
The troops retreat across the nearest sea and start the naval blockade.
USA in Europe:
A regiment moves near the hill, and the hill is bombarded by 150 strategic bombers for two weeks. Sometimes they miss and hit their own troops. In two weeks the remaining battalion occupies the giant crater.
USA in the Pacific:
An island (10 sq.mi) is attacked by five battleships, four heavy carriers, and 150 supporting ships. After three days of bombardment, the troop transports enter the bay that used to be Japanese fortifications and land everything needed to take the island: Marines, beer, and a movie theater.
USSR, early war:
The regiment assigned for the attack is disorganized because of air strikes, so it starts the attack three hours too late and attacks by companies. The retreat order is late by eight hours, the remains of the regiment (about a hundred men) go into the forest, form a partisan unit from the locals, and the Germans have to keep that company on the hill for the next 3 years.
USSR, mid-war:
The regiment assigned for the attack is disorganized because of contradictory orders, so it starts the attack three hours too late and attacks by companies. The retreat order is never comes, after the regiment is wiped out the hill is attacked by three penal battalions. By the third battalion Germans run out of ammo and remaining convicts take the hill in fierce hand-to-hand combat.
USSR, late war:
The hill is bombarded by dive bombers, then heavy artillery, then Katyushas. The battalion assigned for the attack, along with supporting tanks and SP guns, finds only a smoldering plain where the hill was supposed to be. The commanders bitch about being given the wrong maps again and decide to take another hill 5 miles to the west, punching through the second line of German defenses. Everyone gets awarded.
Italy, early war:
After losing all tanks in a frontal assault, an Italian regiment surrenders to the defenders. Mussolini asks Germans for help (see above).
Italy, mid-war:
Due to horrible cold (2 degrees below freezing), Italians don’t attack. Then the entire battalion surrenders to a Soviet scout platoon.
Italy, late war:
While Italians try to figure out if they’re supposed to attack, some of them are disarmed by the Axis, some by the Allies, and the rest go home.
Plan the attack until the Germans get tired of it and attack them.
Japan, early war:
Soldiers with bayonets fixed and officers with swords drawn do a human wave assault on the hill. The English shoot a couple volleys and retreat across the nearest sea.
Japan, late war:
Soldiers with bayonets fixed and officers with swords drawn do a human wave assault on the hill. American sentries start shooting at them, they are supported by American company HMGs, battalion mortars, regimental howitzers, battleships and heavy bombers. None of the Japanese make it past the barbed wire.
Romanians, Bulgarians, etc.:
Massive desertions after rumors about an attack order.

Note:I read this while going through random military sites. The original author is unknown.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Aviation Spearhead:The Future of the Indian Airforce

The aging MIG-21

The Indian Air force is in the process of acquiring some brand-new aviation hardware, to replace it's aging fleet. Through the last few decades, the MIG's have been the backbone of the force. The MIG-21 in particular has been the most profilic, even if it's been marred by criticism for it's high accident rates...even being nicknamed the "Flying Coffin" by the section of the media. It has performed the role of interceptor with elan. It has been supported in this by the formidable MIRAGE-2000 and MIG-29. And the aquisition of the Sukhoi-30 MKI is sure to add to the punch. The MIRAGE, MIG-29 and Su-30MKI are basically air-superirority/multi-role fighters. The ground-attack scenario has been covered by the Jaguars and MIG-27s. The MIG-23(Fighter-Bomber) and MIG-25(Reconaissance) have either been phased out or are in the process if being phased out.

So let us look at what the future holds for the Indian Air Force:

LCA Tejas

The HAL Tejas or Light Combat Aircraft  is a 4th generation lightweight multi role, tailless and delta winged aircraft being developed by Hindustan Aircraft Limited, using mostly indigenous hardware and technology. The IAF is reported to have a requirement for 200 single-seat and 20 two-seat conversion trainers.The first production variant of the 'Tejas' (LSP-1) flew on June 2008. Tejas completed 1000 Test Flights by January, 2009 with more than 530 hours of in-flight testing. Originally intended to serve as an air superiority aircraft with a secondary "dumb bomb" ground-attack role, the flexibility of this design approach has permitted a variety of guided air-to-surface and anti-shipping weapons to be integrated for more well-rounded multirole and multimission capabilities. The original plan was for the LCA prototype aircraft to be equipped with the General Electric F404-GE-F2J3 afterburning turbofan engine, while the production aircraft would be fitted with the indigenous GTRE GTX-35VS Kaveri turbofan being developed in a parallel. Continued development snags with the Kaveri resulted in a 2003 decision to procure the uprated GE F404-IN20 engine for the eight pre-production LSP aircraft
                         It is equipped with  23 mm twin-barrel GSh-23 cannon with 220 rounds of ammunition and 8 hard-points for a variety of ordnance. 


(L-R): Dassault RafaleEurofighter TyphoonF-16 Fighting FalconF/A-18E/F Super HornetJAS 39 Gripen and Mikoyan MiG-35.
The Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) RFP caps a process that began in 2001, when the IAF sent out its request for information (RFI) for 126 jets. After delays lasting almost 2 years beyond the planned December 2005 issue date, India’s Ministry of Defence finally announced a formal Request for Proposal on Aug 28/07.
The MRCA is most likely to be a medium-weight aircraft (MTOW of ~24 tons) and will supplement the Sukhoi-30MKI.

Personally, I prefer either the Swedish Gripen or the Russian MIG. The Gripen is an excellent light-weight aircraft which is in service with the Czech, Hungarian and South African airforces too. The MiG-35/MiG-35D exhibits the latest advancements on MiG-29K/KUB and MiG-29M/M2 fighters in combat efficiency enhancement, universality and operational characteristics improvement. The main features of the new design are the fifth-generation information-sighting systems, compatibility with Russian and foreign origin weapons application and an integrated variety of defensive systems to increase combat survivability. The new overall design overtakes the design concepts of the baseline model and enables the new aircraft to conduct full-scale multi-role missions as their western counterparts. Both MIG and Dassault are prepared for full transfer of technology, and will be a better option versus the hesitant and sometimes embargo-imposing Americans.


The Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA), formerly known as the Medium Combat Aircraft (MCA), is a twin-engined 5th generation stealth multirole fighter being developed by India. It will complement the HAL Tejas, the Sukhoi/HAL FGFA, the Sukhoi Su-30MKI and the as yet undecided MRCA in the Indian Air Force.

Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA)

India will eventually spend over $25 billion to induct 250 advanced stealth fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA). Development is being done by HAL and Sukhoi, and the target is a 30-tonne FGFA "swing-role fighter, with very advanced avionics, stealth to increase survivability, enhanced lethality, 360 degree situational awareness, smart weapons, data-links, high-end mission computers and the like.

All the aircraft are planned to be in service by 2020. Therefore, the future line-up of the IAF will consist of the LCA in air-superiority/interceptor, Sukhoi-30MKI and MCA in the lower rung of the multi-capability mode and FGFA filling in the higher rung., Janes Review, Bharat Rakhshak


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Snippets of Glory : Photographs from the 1971 Indo-Pak War

 Pakistani action against Civilians
 The Mukti Bahini (Bangladeshi resistance)
 Indian Infantry on the way (Courtesy:BCCL)
 Indian Infantry with captured Recoil less gun (Courtesy:BCCL)
 Indian Soldiers (Courtesy:BCCL)
 PNS Ghazi, the Pakistani Sub destroyed off Visakhapatnam coast
 INS Khukri, Indian Navy's biggest wartime loss
 Indian tanks rolling into Bangladesh

 Pakistani Tank Tracks at the epic Battle of Longewala
"Victors" : Major Kuldip Singh Chandpuri with his men after the Battle of Longewala
 Indian jets pounding Pakistani positions
 Lt.Gen.A.A.K.Niazi of the Pakistani Army signing the "Instrument of surrender" in the presence of Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora of the Indian Army
The Instrument of Surrender