Tuesday, December 28, 2010

MMRCA : BVR Silver Bullets for IAF

SOURCE :  Vinayak shetti security Editorial Panel For Security Magazine (Idrw.org Magazine)
Lot of discussions have taken place on aircrafts in the race for providing 126 fighter jets to Indian air force for MMRCA tender , but very little has been discussed about the weapons which will come with this , particularly Beyond visual range (BVR) Air to Air missiles  (AAM) which is essential weapon in any fighter aircraft now .

Indian air force chief has recently disclosed that whichever aircraft will be selected of the MMRCA tender, Aircrafts will be deployed near Chinese border which will replace old Mig-21s currently guarding north eastern borders of our country, and this is a considerable shift in IAF strategy and planning.
earlier in late 80’s saw arrival of brand new Mirage-2000h and Mig-29A which were mostly deployed in western sector towards Pakistani border , but recent decision to base IAF frontline Sukhoi Su-30MKI and also upgrade many North eastern airbase and runways to keep heaver fighters is the indication that best will be kept to face Chinese air force in case of border conflicts and Pakistani border will be guarded by Upgraded Mirage-2000h and Mig-29SMT along with indigenously developed LCA-Tejas which will be based in western sector from 2012 onwards .
Coming back to BVRAAM’s which will come with the aircrafts if selected by IAF
MBDA Meteor: Termed has one of the best BVRAAM is a Next generation BVRAAM developed by MBDA. Meteor is a light weight BVRAAM which incorporates stealthy profile and lesser drag with advance sensors, Meteor has data link capability and can be guided by another aircraft like AWACS or by another fighter aircraft. Gripen and Eurofighter are the aircrafts which will be have them has a standard BVRAAM package but they are Plans by IAF to acquire them in any case to improve Sukhoi-30 MKI BVR fighting capability and integrations will be done with assistance from MBDA , when MKI’s Mid-life up gradation program which will start in another two years from now .
Raytheon AIM-120 AMRAAM : American mostly likely table Family of AIM-120 AMRAAM which will be offered with F-18 SH and F-16IN , latest in the family are AIM-120D and AIM-120C7  , Saab Gripen also can carry this missile which gives Swedish an edge in MMRCA tender since both Meteor and AIM-120 can be offered has the standard BVRAAM for their jet  .AIM-120 Family of AMRAAM will serve USAF and other countries till 2020 still a replacement which is under development become active and hits production .
Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinder: One more offering will come from Americans will be Sidewinder, it does not fall in category of BVRAAM but still is a potential AAM in close range dogfight, both of the American Missiles are standard missiles in almost all of fighter jets operated by USAF and USN which includes F-15, F-16, F-22, F-35 and even F-18SH, both AAM’s are battle proven and has very high rate of success in dog fights.
MBDA MICA: another BVRAAM coming from MBDA is MICA which is a standard BVRAAM for Rafale jets and can also be integrated with Eurofighter, IAF is already procuring them for their Mirage-2000H which will be upgraded soon with new avionics package and radar and will also get MICA BVRAAM. MICA has been rumored to be already operational with 10 IAF Mirage 2000’s which were purchased from the excess French Air force stock.
PYTHON-5 and DERBY: Israelis are keen to offer there PYTHON-5 which actually is not a BVRAAM but is still an advance AAM missile and currently operational with Israeli F-15 and F-16s, while DERBY is a standard BVRAAM with Indian Navy’s Sea Harrier fleet, while IAF has not yet integrated any of this missiles with their fleet of fighter jets, but recently Indian navy have told they could like to have DERBY in Naval –Tejas too

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