Recently, the conflict between India and Pakistan has intensified. First, the Indian army upgraded the ground conflict to the air battlefield by means of air cluster raids. Then, the Pakistani army responded by shooting down Indian fighter planes and capturing Indian pilots. At that time, public opinion was uproarious, which aroused widespread concern in the global media. Now, as the situation gradually subsides, the author also tries to resume this short and exciting air contest from the technical and tactical point of view.
In terms of tactical application, India and Pakistan have their own characteristics, but both sides have achieved military operations based on and serving their own strategic objectives and comprehensive strength, launching demonstrations with distinct meaning and combining the relaxation of force. According to the conflict schedule published on the website of the Hindustan Times, the Indian military and intelligence departments spent two days choosing targets after making up their operational decisions, and then used the opportunity of large-scale military exercises along the Indian-Pakistani border to shield the ground and air forces from conducting reconnaissance activities for several days. At the same time, they used about a week to draw up combat troops and organize cooperative training on the spot. At last, the scheduled operational objectives were achieved. Although the decision-making-execution process is slightly delayed, considering the complexity of the whole operation, it still shows that the Indian Army has a strong operational capability of the system.
In the use of force, the capabilities of the Indian Air Force can not be ignored. Combining the information disclosed by several Indian media, the Indian fighter planes involved in the war include two fighter planes, one refueling aircraft, one early warning aircraft and an unknown number of UAVs. The fighter fleet is small in size (about 20), but its structure is complex. It comes from at least four different units, but it can complete the organization and coordination in one week. This reflects the training level of the Indian Air Force can not be underestimated. In order to cover up the battle attempt, the combat training was organized by the Indian Central Air Force Command, and the training airspace was specially selected in the depth of the territory more than 500 kilometers from the border. But in the course of operation, the forward command of the battle fleet was transferred to the headquarters of the Indian Air Force or the command of the Western Air Force. It also shows from one aspect that the Indian Air Force has the ability of command coordination and support to carry out cross-theatre and long-distance combat tasks.
If synergy is the key to the success of the Indian army, then the Pakistani armys retaliatory action highlights the characteristics of strategy. Pakistan reacted quickly after the Indian air strikes. From the point of view that the Pakistani army took counter-action action the next day after the air attack, the details of the operation were quickly finalized by Prime Minister Pakistani National Security Council meeting, and then the time left for the Pakistani Air Force to make plans and deployment was only a few hours. After short-term planning and preparation, the Pakistani Army chose the Pakistan side of the actual control line which is closer to the existing air base and less difficult to support air conditions as the battlefield. As the airspace is adjacent to the Pakistani Capital Air Defense Circle, the Pakistani Air Force can be put into operation without additional training.
In terms of operational targets and tactical choices, the Pakistani army ambushed Indian fighter planes patrolling along the border, which took advantage of the paralysis of Indian pilots on routine patrol missions to seize the sudden attack and increase the probability of winning. When occupying the air attack position, the Pakistani army forced the Indian pilots to parachute into the Pakistani side, and also won the initiative of diplomacy and public opinion.
Looking at the performance of India and Pakistan in this conflict, it can be used for reference in terms of tactics and the use of air power. According to their air defense needs, the Indian army deployed light fighters (such as the MiG-21 Bison fighter planes shot down in air combat) in the frontier airspace near the border, while heavy fighters, early warning aircraft and refueling aircraft were deployed in the depth of the territory. This deployment method makes clear functional distinction between different types of fighter planes, reduces the peacetime combat readiness burden of high-value weapons such as the Su-30MKI, enables it to specialize in the main business of striking deeply and fighting for air supremacy in theatre, and improves the performance of military strength and equipment utilization. At the same time, the Indian army can quickly complete the formation, training and cross-theatre operations, which also shows that it has made a lot of efforts in the overall and cooperative combat capabilities of the Air Force.
Compared with the vast and abundant Indian army, the Pakistani army is better at developing its strengths and avoiding its weaknesses, and planning counter-offensive operations with all its strength. In view of the characteristics of the deployment of light and heavy aircraft in front of the Indian army, the Pakistani Army grasps the weakness of its opponents and takes the relatively backward light aircraft as its main target of attack, so that it can quickly withdraw and relax. For the air forces of all countries, the experience and lessons mentioned above deserve attention and study.
The picture shows the wreckage of the shot-down Indian MiG-21 Bison fighter plane found by Pakistani Army soldiers in the control area on the Pakistani side. On the upper right is an improved Mig-21 Bison data map of India.
Source: Author of Reference News Network: Editor-in-Charge of Marquis: Shi Jianlei_NBJ11331