India vs Pakistan:- Air-to-air offense capability

At present, war clouds are hovering over these South Asian rivals due to some issues. With the growing tensions, Armed Forces on the both sides are on high alert. This time, it is a different situation because the Aggression is on peak. With heavy artillery rounds falling on both sides of the fence, the conditions are not good and not even expected to be good in coming future (probably this year). Air Force, carrying out intensive CAPs, armed with AAMs to counter any aerial threats.

In this era of 5th generation warfare, Air combat is heavily dependent upon precision hits with AAMs. The theory of “one who see first will shoot first” is quite true. But, winner can’t be predicted with this theory because many factors affect such scenario like Maneuverability, Altitude, Airspeed, EW strength, etc. of the bandit.

In this article, we are going to compare the current active stock of BVR Air-to-air missiles of Indian Air Force and Pakistan Air Force.

Well, before that, as a page dedicated to share information on the subjects related to Defence and military, we don’t want to put some politics in here. So, information is unbiased and not promoting conflicts/war in any way.

Btw, A Beyond-Visual-Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) can be defined as a guided missile capable of engaging aerial threats at ranges of 37 km or greater. In addition to the range capability, the missile is capable of tracking its target at this range or even acquire the target in flight.
So let’s start the comparison with:

1. AIM 120 (Pakistan) vs R-77(India)

AIM-120 (aka Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile, AMRAAM) is the primary BVRAAM equipped on PAF F-16s while RVV-AE (or R77) is the primary BVRAAM equipped on IAF Su-30MKIs and MiG 29UPG. Both missiles follow active radar homing guidance to track the target. AIM 120C5 used by PAF can hit targets under the range of 105-110 kms while R77 has an operational range only upto 80-100 kms.

AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missile (AMRAAM) has proved its combat capabilities during missions in Iraq, Bosnia and Kosovo.The missile is guided by an internal active radar seeker complemented by an inertial reference unit and microcomputer. The missile carries a high-explosive fragmentation warhead with proximity and contact fuses.

The R-77 carries a 22.5kg multi-shaped charge rod type warhead for a maximum distance of 80km. An inertial/radio-corrected navigation system guides the missile during the initial flight phase, while a multi-function doppler-monopulse active radar seeker is employed in the terminal phase.

2. PL-12 (Pakistan) vs Mica EM (India)

PL-12 (aka SD-10) is a Chinese development but carries similar technology of R77 with little indigenous modifications that can ve noticed in the shape and propulsion system. It is primarily used by the fleet of JF-17 Block II aircrafts. Very few information is available on the internet but after researching about the missile, I came to know that this missile can only engage the targets under the range of 70-75km and has a speed of Mach 3.5–4. Enough for BVR engagements against potential threats.

MICA RF is the BVRAAM used by Mirage 2000 fleet of Indian Air Force. It is the active radar guidance variant of MICA missile family. MICA is one of the renowned weapon for Europe with state-of-the-art capability. It is widely adopted by various other Air Forces around the world. Maritime Rafale are usually spotted with MICA missiles during sorties. It is capable of operating in “lock-on before launch” and “lock-on after launch” modes. A Thrust Vector Control (TVC) system fitted to the rocket motor gives a significant boost to the missile’s agility. In case of range, it has an advantage over PL-12. It can engage targets under the range of 80-85 kms with a speed of Mach 4.

That’s it, the above two (PL-12 and AIM 120) are the only available BVRAAMs in PAF inventory so further continuation of comparison is not possible. After PL-12 and AIM 120, Pakistan only relies on Short range missiles for aerial engagement. While India is operating more BVRAAMs like R-27 (primary AAM of MiG 29) and Derby (selected for Tejas). Also, first batch of indigenously developed Astra Missiles will be delivered by the end of this year.
For future, there are plans to integrate:

Indian Air Force

1. Meteor (for Rafale)

Meteor is a European BVR missile developed to engage targets at a long range. Actual range of the missile is not yet revealed, but has a confirmed No Escape Zone (NEZ) under 100 km leaving no chance for the target to evade. It has air-breathing ramjet propulsion system which also provides a max speed upto Mach 4.5–5.

A Two way data-link and an active radar target seeker ensures that Meteor reaches its target, even at very long ranges. Two-way data-link enables the missile to be guided by an AWACS or by other aircraft sharing the link in case if the aircraft launching the missile is not in suitable firing range. A jam resistant proximity fuze allows effective precision and course of the weapon.

2. R-37M, also known as “AWACS Killer” (for Su 30MKI)

A very long range BVR missile specially designed to hit the high value aerial targets like AWACS, ELINT or Military Cargo Aircrafts under the range of 390 km. Such missiles are usually preferred in these situations because High Value (HV) aerial assets are usually escorted by friendly aircrafts. So it will be hard to engage them in easy way as most of the BVR missiles are available under 150 km range so a hostile aircraft can be tracked by friendly aircrafts well before it reaches a suitable firing range to engage a HV target.
Therefore, it is also known as “AWACS Killer” becuase it has the capability to shoot down the “eyes in the sky” with suitable range.

3. Astra (ordered for Su 30MKI)

An Indigenously developed BVRAAM. It features mid-course inertial guidance with terminal active radar homing. It can hit targets under the range of 75-80 kms and can reach the speed upto Mach 4.5. Astra is also equipped with electronic countermeasures to allow effective operation even during enemy attempts to jam the systems through electronic warfare.

4. RVV-SD (under testing, for Su 30MKI)
 Improved variant of RVV-AE (R-77) with an enhanced range of 110 km.

5. BrahMos-NG (under development, for Mirage, Tejas and Su-30MKI)

Indigenously developed light weight variant of BrahMos cruise missile. It can be used to engage slow moving targets under the range of 300 kms. However, the range and this capability will be confirmed once it is developed.




Source:- Military Marvel Facebook Page

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