Sunday, September 12, 2010

PTI: India's Joint Nuclear Command Wants 40 Nuclear Strike Jets

A befuddling report on the wires. The Press Trust of India, reports that India's joint nuclear command -- the Strategic Forces Command -- is looking to procure 40 fighters for two dedicated strategic strike squadrons. The report indicates that while the Indian Air Force's Mirage-2000s, Jaguars and Su-30MKIs have so far been earmarked for the nuclear strike profile, the SFC wants two squadrons of its own. The report says nothing more. The Ministry of Defence has not commented on the report.

If this report is accurate -- and there are no official indications so far that it is -- the obvious questions would be: (a) Why does the SFC need its own fighters -- why can't it continue to depend on available IAF assets? (b) Why the need to ramp up the air-delivered leg of the nuclear triad when Indian doctrine points to more substantive deterrence from strategic land-based missiles and an SSBN fleet, and far less on air-delivered deterrence? (c) Why does a nuclear strike fleet need as many as 40 aircraft? (d) Does India have the kind of stand-off nuclear weapon capability to justify such a fresh induction of assets? (e) If the SFC were to get its own "mini air force", would these still be operated by the IAF? (f) In which case, what difference would it make?

A totally separate but tantalizing coincidence -- in June, Dassault offered the IAF a fast-track sale of 40 Rafales to shore up squadron strength ahead of the MMRCA induction. The Rafale is also the only aircraft explicitly described in its bid document as a nuclear capable strike fighter. Answers to those questions above and more details later this evening.

Jaguar Photo Courtesy IAF

36 comments :

Invincible Attitude said...

does that mean India is readying for a nuclear strike?

Ram said...

The eed for SFC may be a necessity in wake of the Nuclear Doctrine adopted by Pakistan and China. The number of 40 according to me may still be less. If we are targetiing cities like Islamabad, Peshawar, Sargodha (to prevent any counter strike by the F-16), Karchin etc in Pakistan, and Cities like Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Tianjin, Wuhan, Guanghzhou, Shenzen, Shenyag, Xinbei etc, we may need atleast 60 to 90 taking into account combat losses during the actual delivery of such systems. Invariable of either the IAF operating or the SFC operating, successful delivery should be the mission accomplishment. Even with the present SU MKI I guess India does have a nuclear weapons capability delivery. Along with the Strategic Forces Command the Country also needs a Special Forces Operations Command. Unified commands have had their advantages and this was successful with the Ameruicans

Mr. Ra said...

Perhaps they may like to keep an ever ready but small first strike capability.

Anonymous said...

this interesting within itself because this hints towards more active nuclear posture. This is in no way a attack on the credibility of the IAF but probably more of a, recognition that during a conflict the IAF will have other duties. This akin to the USAF Strategic command. Same pilots same aircraft different combat duties. Basically IAF creates the havoc and these guys sneak in and set the house on fire. Possibly the intended role will be tactical battlefield nuclear strikes. In todays a missile launch can easily be detected and the information can be forwarded to our foes by their bigger redder friends. an aircraft will be able to deliver the same hurt but be a little more inconspicuous.

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.

ankur said...

Mr ram is right.when u consider the strategic and tactical targets around our neighbour hood 40 aircrafts dedicated to nuclear mission seems way below the desired mark.i wonder why in the past and even now we don't have a dedicated theatre level strategic bomber like tu-22M's.it's true that we need our sea leg of the triad to be more substansive but a good air leg will certainly provide for carrying out strikes at greater distances.also the detachment of air assests from the IAF provides it to focus exclusively on conventional strike operations and leave the nuclear delivery mission to SFC.regarding the stand off weapon capability,we need to develop nuclear capable LRCM's whcih can launched outside the envelop of enemy's air defenses.

Anonymous said...

They possibly need special aircraft for nuclear strike. They need something that flies very far without refueling; flies low and fast; and they need something very stealthy. BTW, which current IAF aircraft do these things VERY EFFECTIVELY ? I can't think of one.

Anonymous said...

they should look for Stealth bombers....like B-2 Spirit or some other Russian aircraft....

Mr. Ra said...

I think they will have to manage from the available list of reliable fighters.

Anonymous said...

sounds great, but when it will become into action, and surly long rang and stealth otherwise no use, regarding china they will come with 100s of aircraft without quality to strike so we can't fight with them in their air. if it is possible more info on this regard pls

AA said...

SFC is set to swell its inventory with SSBM, Nirbhay CM,PAD-AAD ABMD, Agni-5, etc. Surely, time to shove all this to a separate account, and let SFC plan for itself. Two 'in-house' yet modern platforms are Brahmos/Nirbhay capable Su-30MKI and specially equiped PAK-FA.

Shiv please note: Quote from Aviationweek 10/5/10: "An air-launched ...Nirbhay would be a candidate platform for the air force element of India’s strategic nuclear triad ambitions. Current IAF nuclear weapons capability consists almost certainly only of free-fall weapons"

Anonymous said...

Shiv plz upload report about the aircrafts which are its best for nuclear strike....

Anonymous said...

Oh ! Boy !!sounds GOOD !! That would release 40 aircraft for normal ground attack duties......

Also, 40 specialized a/c clearly identifying nuclear intent distinctly....

Not bad, we are finally getting aggressive/organized.

Sarkozy said...

The Rafale or the MKIs seem to be the best bet.

The MKIs use the Popeye (Have Nap) standoff missile, while the Rafale uses the ASMP-A standoff missile for nuclear delivery.

Rahul said...

In a highly democratic country where people share big egos need for a separate Strategic Force parallel to three is highly desirables. 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 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.

So 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.

A 4 U.. said...

India is spending too much on defense... i know next thing you know there will be bunch of ppl comming up tons of reasons with statics like its only 2% of GDP... man the armed force is getting ahead of the economic curve, if not for the 3G spectrum sale India would have been in really deep sh!it

Jaguar - flies fast,low,stealthier (small profile, with DRLs stealthier intakes, RAM coat + over the wing WVR), long range now that they have IFR + medium range stealthier cruj Mrs-ile + stealthier drop tanks or conformal fuel tank + big @s$ mutli frequency active jammer.. (remember the comment by the F-15 pilot abt the venerable Bisons!?)
- will perfectly fit the bill... + u dont hve any royal PIA EULA + its cheap & HAL can produce in #s in no time

we need to be innovative,frugal,resourceful
you dont need a multi-role, air-superiority, super cruise or some fancy TVC sh!t ... all u need is one hard point for the deed + minimum self defense...

moreover every1 should remember its a deterrent, God forbid its never used.. it just 1 variable in the bigger equation.... IMVHO v should work on diplomatic front, asymmetric capabilities, cyber w@rfair, social engg etc.,.


PS: or use them Tu-142 once Navy gets their Poseidon or use the 4-7 Tu-22M supposedly India never got... =P

Anonymous said...

40 aircraft are required because a n strike mission is numbers heavy. You need one with the payload, another as backup, a handful to escort, another couple to suppress enemy defenses, plus take into account a two theater conflict, plus spares for attrition. All in all, we are talking, for a typical strike 2 aircraft+ around 5-10 escorts. Unlike a conventional mission, a nuke one cannot fail. The number of escorts can be reduced once a long range A2S missile like the scalp can be developed, to reduce reliance on gravity bombs. In which case, the DRDO LRCM report makes ample sense.

Pratik Das said...

Perhaps this is an excuse for getting some of the Mirage 2000-9s the UAE wants to sell.

Ram said...

A more better option would be Air launched Nuclear tipped Brahmos. They can be launched from the Sukhois. The greatest advantage would accrue after the missile is launched. Its supersonic speed and precision would enable perfect strikes. This operations should be done to hit targets where the land based Missiles cannot reach. Apart from this, yes, we do need a strategic Bomber squadron of Tu' or any other bomber in its class.

Anonymous said...

we should try to develop our own medium range BOMBER armed with LRCM or Brahmos.It will be the best nuclear strike platform for us.
or we can also try to become partener in PAK DA programme

Anonymous said...

i assume 40 fighters may carry 1 each and 1 reserved nuclear bomb it counts 80 what about the number of missiles which carry nuclear warheads
it is really wise to assume india had 150 +nuclear weapons or even more

NJS said...

yes rafale and su-34 are capable to carry nuclear weapons , india also needs longer range bombers for its nuclear command ( Tu-160 black jack ), only trusted friend in regards to nuclear is Russian and france , other will not support fully in this particular issue . due to china has s-400 sam , which can hit fighters and missile in range of 400 kms , even our su30 mki is not advisable to enter directly , for this particularly india need tu-160 atleast to destroy these sam sites .

Sudip Das said...

Unified commands have their advantages and with their dedicated squadrons can react very fast.

Secondly the MMRCA tender maybe a political decision to gain in terms of international diplomacy .

Let us assume that the tender is decided in favor of an American company , then every time the AESA has to be reprogrammed , IAF will have to go the the manufacturer as USA has made it amply clear that source code will not be provided .

You cannot have such aircrafts at the disposal of SFC.

Moreover these 40 aircrafts ( long range fighters with ground attack capability ) can be procured, the fast track way and the no can be increased as and when required .

So apart from the projected 200-250 fighter aircrafts to be procured via the MMRCA tender , India can have another 100 aircrafts under this deal and if this will be Rafael , what's wrong ?
They are ready to transfer all relevant technologies as well as fulfill and meet offset requirements

joydeep ghosh said...

@Shiv
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

Gagan said...

Shiv, why did you think Rafales and not the 40 odd Brahmos equipped MKIs recently ordered from Russia?

I would think that the Brahmos equipped MKI would be a more natural nuclear strike aircraft. This doesn't necessarily mean that the Brahmos will be the weapon that will be used to deliver a nuclear bomb. It is possible that what we think are Brahmos equipped fighters might be 'special' in other ways.

Or perhaps that India is finally getting ready to recieve the Tu-22 bombers or something similar that was included in the original Gorshkov-Akula-Long Range Bomber package.

Anonymous said...

@ A 4 U,

I dont know if you are a RATshaker or a paki. In either case, india should develop more weapons and delivery systems, preferably own its own using pvt companies. Everythins in the defence forces is falling apart. Mig21s (and dont say Su30 will replace these as they will only number 270), the LCA (no end in sight), the artillery, tanks (renovating T70s instead of buying arjuns even though it costs the same!)..

it already looks like the MOD is filled with pakis, we dont need more on blogs.

Gagan said...

Oh, and Pakistan has all of 25 uranium based fizzled bombs in their arsenal.
Any figure out there that says otherwise has been pulled out of someone's musharraf. You will read massaland based 'experts' claiming that pakistan has nearly 100 bums or that they have more bums than India.

All that is bovine scatology.

Mr. Ra said...

Since Brahmos has demonstrated its capability to attack vertically down, it can be the best candidate for being the nuke weapon to accurately strike the hidden narrow ridges and valleys behind the mountains.

Brahmos can be best associated with SU-30mki to increase the punch and return safely.

However alternately Rafale and Jaguar can also be used with suitable nuky standoff missiles.

I think for such purposes the long range bombers may be too costly as they may be difficult to hide and their work can also be performed by suitable land based missiles.

Anonymous said...

IAF to acquire 126 multi-fighter aircrafts soon


http://www.ptinews.com/news/948672_IAF-to-acquire-126-multi-fighter-aircrafts-soon-

Anonymous said...

Gagan, why don't you leave your stupid terminalogoy at BR? its kiddish...comprende? Put your head up shiv's and smile. On a serious note why do we want to move to plane delivered devices? I thought these have the likely hood of being intercepted..somehow? unless off ycourse they are delivered by a BR fart :-)

Anonymous said...

gagan.. keep your RATshaker talk to yourself please. noone here cares for your terminology. You realise, to the intellectual, your post sounds as if it came from a mentally retarded person.

Anyhow, the question here is whether this report is really true. Because then you would have to ask the following questions:
1- Who would run/maintain these planes (I know pilots, but under whom?)
2- Countries prefer to keep their nukes on subs hidden somewhere in the ocean, why would they want to have them on planes that can be targetted both on the ground and in the air? Considering our nuke arsenal is limited
3- The PTI report uses the phrase "...and have capabilities to deliver nuclear-tipped missiles" - nuke tipped missiles as in agnis??? 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.

This report seems dodgy. Would like to see some clarification.

Anonymous said...

Next project by DRDO:

Long range bomber

-First they will make a powerpoint presentation.

-Next it will be released to every kid.

-Ratshakers will relish on this and they create a new thread on BR and involved in intense mental mast...tion!

-Govt. will release money. That money will be spent in developing a wind-tunnel model.

-By the time this happens, rest of the world has moved to other planet. DRDO and BR members remain here.

Anonymous said...

@anon 8:19 PM

LMAO - sadly, its not far from the truth. I've seen image after image, presentation after presentation showing what they (DODO aka DRDO) will be developing - yet no prototypes, no tangible development!

Its a vicious circle, they take so long to develop it, armed forces change requirements, then they take forever to implement changes, and it keeps going...

Only way to break this cycle is bring pvt sector companies and give them big incentives.

Meanwhile, the RATshakers will keep (as they would put it) lungi-dancing to every stupid presentation that pops up on a newspaper - no offence to any editors/journalists because they are only relaying the message, problem is at the source, DODO

Satish Chandra said...

How the C.I.A. Killed Bhabha and Shastri
I am India's expert in strategic defence and the father of India's strategic program, including the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program. I have written in my blog titled 'Nuclear Supremacy For India Over U.S.', which can be found by a Yahoo search with the title, about how Robert Crowley, former Assistant Deputy Director of Clandestine Operations of the CIA, gave documents of his own top secret operations to his friend, historian Gregory Douglas and described in detail how the C.I.A. has done “business” with Russian intelligence agencies for many decades, how the C.I.A. directly arranged the plane crash which killed Homi Bhabha but relied on Russian intelligence agencies, with which it did “business”, to assassinate Shastri who had given a go ahead for an Indian nuclear weapons program. The Russian intelligence agencies -- large parts of which were brought on the C.I.A.’s payroll -- brought down the Soviet Union. After a letter of mine in Indian Express in the early nineties which appeared under the editor's heading “Grab This Opportunity” regarding a Russian proposal to form a Russia-China-India alliance, P. V. Narasimha Rao sent the head of India’s submarine-launched ballistic missile program to Russia to get help, where he died as Shastri did. When, in a letter to the press, I pointed out that this was the “help” the Russians had provided, the Russians hastily withdrew a delegation that was visiting India.

ABHISHEK said...

is nuclear command not sure about agni and prithvi or want to have a upper hand in nuclear delivery missions as a plan b

Shubham said...

Hi Shiv...waiting eagerly for more details on this report as you had mentioned :)..Thanks!