25 September, 2020

Superior Defence

By showcasing the agile SU-30, the air force makes its point

Superior Defence
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

IT was a spectacular display that served as a riposte to doubters. The fire power demonstration, codenamed Vayu Shakti-98, by an array of Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft at the Pokhran range on March 21 gave an indication of its varied capabilities. The centrepiece was the SU-30 with its high agility, its high scope for combat manoeuvring and low-level aerobatics. As it fired eight bombs on a simulated runway with perfect marksmanship, its capacity for accurate weapons delivery was also showcased.

The air force is in the process of replacing its fast depleting fighter fleet and would need to replace about 100 aircraft over the next 10 years. Out of a field of choice comprising the Mirage-2000, Mirage 2000-5 and SU-30, the IAF plumped for the latter—but not without some criticism. It carried out a detailed evaluation of all aircraft along with the DRDO, and settled for the SU-30. One reason was simple: the Mirage 2000-5 was found to be twice as expensive, that too with much lower operational capability.

There were other pluses. In view of the fast developing threats in...

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