Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Indian Air Force Superiority over US Air Force !!

The real story behind Indian Air Force Superiority over US Air Force - USAF underestimated Indians as Iraqis or Iranians
Balaji Reddy, Special Correspondent
June 18, 2004

"Surprising sophistication of Indian fighter aircraft and skill of Indian pilots" stunned the US Air Force. A June 2 article in the magazine Inside the Air Force reported -"The exercise, in which US F-15Cs were said to have been defeated more than 90 per cent of the time in direct combat exercises against the IAF, is causing US Air Force officials to re-evaluate the way the service trains its fighter pilots while bolstering the case for buying the F/A-22 as a way to ensure continued air dominance for the United States."
The magazine quoted US officials who participated in the exercise as saying it should "provide a reality check for those who had assumed unquestioned US air superiority."

What really happened is as follows: US Air Force underestimated the India Air force Pilots and their numerical skill. They thought these are another set of Iraqi or Iranian Pilots. The numerical analysis and problem solving capability of IAF Pilots are well known and are probably the best in the world. In absence of signal intelligence, satellite guidance and automated software control, USAF faced Indians who were world class and
far superior than their US counterpart. IAF recruits the country's best brains in Air Force. It is prestigious too. USAF can only recruit willing average or slightly above average. In addition, in absence of superior communication and jamming, Indians proved absolutely formidable.

On the face of it, the performance of the IAF, with its oft-reported air crashes in an aging, non-American fleet, might seem surprising. But US officials told the magazine that the Indians were much better than they had bargained for.

"What happened to us was it looks like our red air training might not be as good because the adversaries are better than we thought," the article quoted Col. Mike Snodgrass, commander of the 3rd Wing at Elmendorf Air Force Base, as saying. "And in the case of the Indian Air Force both their training and some of their equipment was better than we anticipated."

"Red air" refers to the way the US Air Force simulates enemy capability in air combat training. US officials emphasised that such simulation deliberately handicap US planes and pilots against the enemy because the service has assumed for years that its fighters are more capable than enemy aircraft.

In Cope Thunder, four F-15Cs were pitted against 10 or 12 of same model Indian fighters such as the Mirage 2000, MIG-27 and MIG-29s in offensive and defensive counter air scenarios. But the two most formidable IAF aircraft proved to be the MIG-21 Bison, an upgraded version of the Russian-made baseline MIG-21, and the Sukhoi SU-30K Flanker, US officials said.

"What we faced were superior numbers, and an IAF pilot who was very proficient in his aircraft and smart on tactics. That combination was tough for us to overcome," the magazine quoted a US airman who took part in the exercise as saying.

While acknowledging the performance of their Indian colleagues, who they will meet again in another air combat exercise in Alaska next month, the US airmen also made a major pitch for the F/A-22 aircraft that the US government has been slow to embrace because of its cost and lack of a perceived threat.

"The major takeaway for the Air Force is that our prediction of needing to replace the F-15 with the F/A-22 is proving out as we get smarter and smarter about other [countries'] capabilities around the world and what technology is limited to in the F-15 airframe," Col. Snodgrass said. "We've taken [the F-15] about as far as we can and it's now time to move to the next generation."

- as published in India Daily

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