Could have inflicted heavy damage on Pak if we had “technological asymmetry”: IAF

Kashmir Times. Dated: 4/26/2019 1:13:27 AM

‘Satellite images of Balakote strike not made public due to confidentiality clauses’

NEW DELHI, Apr 25(Agencies): If the Indian Air Force possessed high levels of “technological asymmetry”, then it would have been able to inflict heavy damage on Pakistan during its (Pak’s) unsuccessful aerial raid on February 27, according to an IAF report.
Another report stated that confidentiality clauses have prevented the IAF from showcasing high-resolution satellite images procured from a friendly strategic partner of Balakote attack on February 26, 2019 in public.
The report analysed various aspects of IAF’s air strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorist training camp in Pakistan’s Balakot on February 26 and the subsequent Pakistani retaliation the next day.
India carried out the air strike to avenge the Pulwama attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.
In the report, the IAF said Pakistan Air Force has been consistently enhancing its air defence and offensive capabilities since the Kargil war in 1999 and there was a need for India to bolster its “technological asymmetry” for aerial combat, official sources said sharing details from the report.
At present, Pakistan has some edge with its fleet of F-16 jets with AMRAAM missile fitted with them, said an official.
The sources said the planned induction of Rafale aircraft with deadly Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) and S-400 air defence missile system will provide India a significant advantage over Pakistani Air Force.
“We felt we could not punish the adversaries appropriately. So we need to bolster technological asymmetry so that the enemy does not even dare to come close to the border,” said a source.
On the Balakot strikes, the report said the Israeli Spice 2000 precision guided munitions (PGM) fired from Mirage 2000 jets hit five out of the six designated targets in the JeM training facility. However, one Spice PGM did not leave the aircraft because of a drift in the inertial navigation system.
The report said the deception used was successful as Pakistan was caught off guard despite their air force being put on highest alert.
Various packages of jets flew in several directions including a fleet of Jaguars went towards Bahawalpur, a key air base of Pakistan Air Force, sources said.
In the list of possitives from the strike, the IAF talked about accuracy of intelligence inputs, precise selection of targets, demonstration of its ability to carry out precision strikes and its success in maintaining secrecy of the operation though over 6,000 personnel were involved in it.
In its analysis of possible areas for improvement, the IAF sought superior technological asymmetry and air defence system over Pakistan, sources said.
It also talked about the need for procuring new weapons and other platforms for enhancing the IAF’s overall combat capabilities.
Induction of Rafale jets along with Meteor beyond-visual-range missile and S-400 air defence missile system will provide India an edge over Pakistan, according to the report.
India is procuring a batch of S-400 air defence system from Russia at a cost of USD 5 billion. India is also buying 36 Rafale fighter jets from France at a cost of Rs 58,000 crore.
During the aerial combat of February 27, IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman had engaged with one of the Pakistani F-16s and shot it down before his Mig-21 Bison was downed.
Varthaman was captured by Pakistan and was released after spending nearly 60 hours in Pakistani custody.
The Indian Air Force had on February 28 displayed pieces of an AMRAAM missile, fired by a Pakistani F-16, as evidence to prove that Pakistan deployed the US-manufactured fighter jets during the raid.
In the meanwhile, an Indian Air Force review of the February 26 air strike on the Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist camp in Balakot confirms that while its bombs struck their targets accurately, the key Israeli air-to-surface missiles called the Crystal Maze, which would have provided a live video feed of the weapons hitting their targets, was not launched.
This video feed, which the IAF hoped to play out in public after the attack, would have been proof that the Indian fighters did strike and destroy targets within the Jaish terror base located near the town of Bisian, north of Balakot in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunwa province.
At the same time, the IAF's Mirage 2000 fighters, which made a shallow incursion across the Line of Control on February 26, did manage to launch five SPICE 2000 penetrator glide bombs, which accurately struck their targets, though they did not bring down the buildings they struck. The Spice 2000 bombs were aimed at "four targets, of which three were hit. One [was hit] with three [bombs] and the remaining two with one bomb each," said a source familiar with the operations that day.
However, unlike the Crystal Maze, which the IAF's pilots could not launch that day, the SPICE 2000 glide bombs were not configured to provide the launch aircraft a live video feed as they approached and struck their targets. Consequently, the IAF could not play out actual video of the strikes in public and had to rely, instead, on assessing the success of the operations through high-resolution satellite images procured from a friendly strategic partner. Confidentiality clauses have prevented the IAF from showcasing these images in public. It is unclear if additional non-classified, high-resolution satellite imagery of the strikes have been acquired and whether these will be showcased in public in the future.
Sources familiar with the IAF's attack on the Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp have told NDTV that the presence of low clouds prevented the launch of six Crystal Maze missiles meant to accompany the SPICE 2000 glide-bombs. "The Crystal Maze were not launched as the missile works on the pilot flying the missile to the target. The weather conditions of undercast clouding precluded this." Once launched, "the Crystal Maze requires acquisition of [the] target visually by the pilot in the last phase of the attack." In other words, the weapon flies to its target based on pre-fed Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates but requires the pilot of the launching platform to manually steer it to its precise point of impact through an electronic data-link between the launch aircraft with the weapon.



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