An F-16 fighter jet
A US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jet, manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corp | Photo: SeongJoon Cho | Bloomberg
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If US President Donald Trump offering to mediate on the Kashmir issue wasn’t enough, he went ahead and exonerated ‘selected’ Prime Minister Imran Khan – implying that under Khan, Pakistani perfidy has stopped. To cap it all, the State Department announced a resumption of military supplies – specifically F-16 spares – to Pakistan. In many ways, the F-16 is a microcosm of India-US ties: oversell, unable to understand the other, stringing your lover along in spite of not understanding what he/she is saying, and a final rejection leading to bitterness.

Let us be clear, however, that the F-16 never stood a chance. Lockheed Martin (LM) screwed up on several issues: its primary weapon the AMRAAM; its sales pitch peddling a point the Indian Air Force (IAF) did not understand; a sales campaign that bordered on outright lies; and finally, Balakot, which proved to be the last nail in the coffin.

Avoiding F-16 in a dogfight

The moment India is offered the same equipment as Pakistan, you pretty much know it’s going to be rejected. Although, India had no hesitation buying the same manufacturer’s C-130 transport aircraft, which Pakistan also operates. However, the IAF, instead of looking at how its aircraft perform in combat situations, seems to be obsessed about fitting them with one particular missile: the European Meteor. The Meteor missile’s long range outclasses the F-16’s primary long-range air-to air weapon, the AMRAAM.

It is in fact a tribute to the F-16’s potency that the IAF wants to avoid engaging it in a dogfight and would prefer to take it out at longer ranges. In effect, it wasn’t the F-16 that irritated the IAF so much as it was the AMRAAM – after all, no matter how advanced an F-16 India was being offered, if the missiles were going to be the same as Pakistan’s (AMRAAM), the electronics differential of the launch platform wasn’t going to be much use to India.


Also read: Days after Trump-Imran meet, US approves deal to monitor 24×7 Pakistan’s F-16 fighter jets


F-16, upgraded to F-21

To counter this perception, LM had a clear case that the F-16 being sold to India (the Block 70 variant, since renamed F-21) was a whole different beast from the Block 50 that Pakistan has. Beyond the superficial exterior resemblance, there’s about 40 per cent difference in terms of equipment; and the electronics derive much from the F-35’s heavily network centric architecture. As such, the F-21s are a generation ahead from anything on Pakistan’s F-16 that could be better in terms of being able to see further, ‘talk to’ other networked assets, and jam enemy frequencies better. So, even if the F-21 and F-16 use the same missile, the F-21 can detect its enemy faster and shoot first and more accurately.

Sadly, given the hodgepodge of equipment the IAF operates, almost none of which talk to each other, the IAF simply doesn’t understand networked warfare, nor does it care. Stuck in the 1980s’ mindset, the IAF still believes in kinetics while the rest of the world has moved towards electronics. The simplest explanation for this is the scene from Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark, where an Arab swordsman comes around flaunting his sword skills and Indy simply shoots him with a revolver. Here, the IAF is the Arab swordsman, who thinks a better sword could have won him the battle, instead of transitioning to a revolver; Lockheed Martin is the revolver salesman, who futilely tries arguing with the swordsman to give up his sword for the revolver.


Also read: Was it US’ F-16 or China’s JF-17 that ‘downed’ MiG 21 Bison piloted by Abhinandan?


US firm’s disinformation campaign

If LM’s sales pitch left the IAF confused, then LM’s disinformation left the IAF entirely not-amused. This disinformation campaign started off with the promise of F-16 production being shifted to India. This developed into a set of transparent lies that F-16 production would involve deep technology transfer and make India independent. Obviously, it didn’t take long for the lies to get called out, which was followed by a public retraction from Lockheed. The amount of damage this did to LM’s campaign is almost incalculable.

But Balakot was the last straw. The IAF is convinced that it shot down an F-16 using an obsolete MiG-21. The severe factual inaccuracies of the “IAF didn’t shoot an F-16” lobby, combined with an embarrassing set of tweets by the Pakistani DG-ISPR unable to explain two missing pilots, means the IAF is now convinced that its reliance on dogfights is valid (that is, the Arab swordsman can still win against Indian Jones’ revolver) and that the F-16 is a flawed product.

In the end, the overall problems of the India-US relationship explained earlier are distilled into India’s F-16 saga: India’s understanding of war and technology being different to the US, both talking a different language; disinformation from the US’ side; India giving false hope where there was none to begin with. In such circumstances, the resumption of military sales to Pakistan was a foregone conclusion, and would have happened regardless of whether there was a Donald Trump involved without anyone getting surprised.

The author is a senior fellow at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies. He tweets @iyervval. Views are personal.

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113 Comments Share Your Views

113 COMMENTS

  1. Given the shortcomings of the Tejas some, but not all, of which can be rectified it is not surprising that the IAF finally threw in the towel and decided to seek an advanced foreign fighter to satisfy its MMRCA requirements, even if only partially. That the 90 aircraft now considered for acquisition will be single-engined suggests that this segment of the IAF may eventually end up bifurcated. The single-engine platform, which hopefully will be announced in the next year or so, will complement the 83 Tejas fighters already approved for procurement: together serving as replacements for the retiring MiG- in the IAF inventory. Because the 90 future selectees and the 123 Tejas aircraft that will eventually be acquired will still not suffice as one-to-one replacements for the MiG-, i 40 t is possible that the IAF may consider acquiring additional medium-weight twin-engined Western fighters down the line, if and when finances permit, in order to further strengthen the IAF for counter-air operations involving China and preserve the three-tier force that the service has sought to maintain more recently.

  2. Starting with the IAF race first, the F-16 is a storied fighter that has been in continual production since 1976 with over 4,500 aircraft built since. Although designed initially as a light fighter for within- visual-range combat, it has evolved into a formidable multirole platform over time, all the while remaining one of the most agile air combatants ever produced by the United States (US). Today, the F-16 in the US Air Force (USAF), for example, is employed for all-weather counter-air operations: these include both beyond- and within-visual-range air-to-air engagements as well as anti- surface strike (including specialised missions such as the suppression of enemy air defences).

  3. The Indian Airforce does not understand network centric warfare! Are you serious Abhijit? You are as confused as your surname pal.
    A senior fellow at Harvard should know better before writing something so ridiculously inaccurate as this; and in doing so, not only does he show his absolute lack of knowledge about the subject he’s writing about but also portrays his organisation in very poor light for admitting such uninformed people into their fellowship programmes.
    Sure the Indian Airforce may not be as technologically advanced as (your) US air force, but to compare it with an analogy of an Arab swordsman is insulting, to say the least.
    My dear friend, Lockheed Martin is not the revolver salesman, Dassault aviation is.
    Over the years the IAF has steadily worked to improve its electronic warfare capabilities and better battle field management and awareness through a network centric approach.

    I will give you one other reason why India should not buy the F-16/21, other than the fact that it is itself of a vintage design.
    And that is the trustworthiness of the Americans (or the lack of it).
    India should not purchase any strategic weapons from an unreliable ally like the US. And we cannot guarantee that our self interests will never be in conflict.
    That is why LM should never stand a chance.

  4. The Most distressed thing out of all is And INDIAN favouring the one who closed GPS to favour the terrorist Nation and left many of our brave soldiers killed but ironically by god’s grace we shot down the well trending aircraft of the same country with and Sword to be precise you mother Fucking Author and this proves why the Arab still preferred a sword you moron your F-16 revolver couldn’t even touch it you doushe bag we are proud of being an Indian and family of IAF not cock sucker of America like you. So take care nowadays Mig-21 shoot F-16 so you do wanna count your chances. Better stay safe ASS hole

  5. The author clearly holds a bias towards IAF. Let me clarify few points
    1. The new rafael planes will be upgrade to network centric platforms as planned by France and thus same goes for India.
    2. America is not as reliable as you would like to believe. They blocked use of GPS during Kargil war, so what’s to say it won’t do it again regarding spares of the jet.
    3. F-16 was earlier rejected and now this F21 is F-16 with India in mind. This is a campaign to misguide people.
    4. When you place such a large order you expect diplomatic assistance and as we all know US is more than happy to sell it’s hardware but with serious conditions and no great help. French have been more helpful to us as seen from Kargil conflict.
    5. As talked about meteor middle by author( as if it is an obsession, it is not)it gives our planes more freedom to operate because of its range which no American missile can give.
    6. America will always favour Pak in the end because of its location and strategic value as seen recently they are going to upgrade Pak F16s.
    7. The author should have looked into the RCS, spectra capabilities, IRST and new Aesa radar of rafael and then make comments about IAF being a backward Arab.

  6. First of all Abhijit should clarify whether he born to Tamil Iyer or Bengali Mitra before writing such idiotic article comparing weapons Shame on you man.

  7. This is definitely a narrative influenced by the Americans.i wonder how much the print got paid by lm for putting across this narrative. To equate our airforce to that Arabian swordsman is in very bad taste.what India is trying to do is buying the best equipment for it’s security. And media houses like the print and shear Gupta don’t care for this.they are just interested in making money at any cost, country be damned. Bloody hypocrites.

  8. I never heard of The Print ,,,, but now i m sure that they dont deserve to b knwn . Such an idiotic ,unresponsive writting .He has no knowledge of the issue or may b its a Paid opinion of writter ….

  9. Dear writer,

    Need to improve your general knowledge..

    You are writing India is not using networked warfare.. just read about how ancient mig-21 shot down so called advanced f-16.

    why are you doubting decision of IAF for not purchasing f16 or f21.. ?

    Why are you doing such fever to LHM ?

  10. my brothers have said it all. this article reeks of propaganda and is disrespectful to the IAF. one thing is also very clear the writer has no technical knowledge, so it’s better he leaves engineering stuff to engineer-turned writers. and if he is 1 then it’s a real shame that he doesn’t even know the basics.

  11. Disappointed to see such a poor article by Abhijit Iyer Mitra. First of all, the IAF would’ve been able to tackle the PAF F-16s in WVR combat. IAF Su-30MKIs and even the MiG-21Bison equipped with HMS and R-73E Archer missiles are more than capable of taking down PAF F-16s that are armed with AIM-9L and JHMCS for the newer Block 52 variant. What took the IAF by surprise was the fact that the PAF took AMRAAM shots at the IAF fighters in the first place and that too at long ranges. Obviously, the fact that the AMRAAMs were fired at such long ranges meant that the IAF Su-30MKIs were able to dodge them by going beam on them. And apparently, Mitra is not aware of the IAF Operational Data Link (ODL) program to share tactical data between fighters. It is not yet in service, but the IAF is no stranger to Net Centric Warfare. As for the IAF being primarily interested in close combat or dogfights, that is pure BS. IAF has been training with foreign air forces and has practiced BVR combat for a long time. It was Exercise Varuna with France that was conducted in India, that showed the IAF the value of BVR combat. French Mirage-2000-5 fighters were shooting down IAF Mirages from BVR ranges, well before the merge even occurred. In dogfights, IAF pilots in Mirage-2000H (non-upgraded) were able to shoot down French Mirage-2000-5s, but they stood no chance in BVR combat. After that exercise, the IAF’s emphasis changed to allow for practice of BVR tactics.

    • This guy knows nothing, but he has got one thing right. F16 aka F21 stands a very low chance of getting IAF colours. Instead of renaming a block 70 as F21, had LM offered a F16XL with the vista package as F21, that would work. IAF has always been partial to delta wings and the benefits it offers. As far as net centric warfare is concerned, try net centric warfare with Russian, french, Israeli and US equipment. The fact that Su30MKI even exists is a testament of IAFs understanding of the country’s air defence needs. What LM should have tried to pull off was what Sukhoi did with the MKI and offer the customisations needed by IAF. Otherwise this kind of crapshoot/fanboy articles do nothing to add to either LM marketing efforts or to any kind of journalistic achievement.

  12. Just want to understand that if the writer is really a writer or a judge who told his judgement that IAF is a swordsman and LM is revolver salesperson. What you think that we people are fool that we don’t understand that why LM is so much eager to sell F21 to India if they have so many countries who wants to purchase their craft why specifically they want India to purchase. Do we hv any relationship with them. And why are you taking their side thats the important question. Stop manipulating people. We understand that thats the money game of LM and your as well.
    LM and other foreign companies pushes their money to conuntry’s news agency to put pressure on government so that they purchase LM weapons. And being a english newspaper people most of the time find you sophisticated and believe in you.
    DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE THAT IAF HAS 1980 MINDSET? if that is so they would not hv won Kargil war. I know IAF because i know them closely and i know if their mind is from 1980 or 2050.

    But shame on you guys to spread this false agenda. Atleast be logical and respectful.

  13. the writer must be an american. If they are so proud of their fighter jets and ammunitions so why they are always tryibg to sell the f-21 to india sell it to other buyers na. even few days ago iran shoot down their UAV and in vietnam war mighty mig 21 give them so much pain. 😂😂 with so many improved and hi-tech weapons still they are not able to dominate in iraq, afghanistan 😂😂 put that revolver which you are trying to sell to indians in your ass and pull the trigger 😂

  14. A fair analysis except where it departs into conjecture on what the IAF wants or why it operates a large number of incompatible platforms. To say that the IAF believes in dogfights over BVR is silly and not what the layperson can gather from how they have engaged in exercises with foreign air forces. A motivated piece, and disappointing.

    • Why did USA with best fighter planes, latest technology and gadgets are not able to win in Afghanistan. It’s going to be almost 20 years. So one thing is clear toys don’t win you war it’s the zeal & determination of the soldier. Secondly, why this bugger don’t understand a simple point that we are not going to buy any equipment which our enemy has got especially when it can prove a game changer.
      Iyer go wipe your white Master’s ass.

  15. Leave the topic that Indian Airf Force doesn’t under network centric warfare.
    Indian old/oldest war horse is enabled for net centric warfare.
    The us air force itself acknowledged this fact.

  16. The fighter aircraft market is more or less stagnant, with few countries buying them in such numbers as the IAF currently, so everyone wants to grab this very lucrative contract and will make all kinds of promises and threats. Promises are fine but threats won’t work for india, not from US either. The IAF is the most professional AF in the world and they pay with their lives in I teri or equipment, so will select the best available resource given a free hand. The plane has to remain competitive for the next 40 years. US should have offered f 35 or f 22 if they wanted to win this, not a plane they are themselves replacing. The IAF knows what it needs and should be given a free hand.

    • India is not a NATO member or Major non nato ally, solely based on that their chance of getting an F-35 is slim to none.
      If they want a 5th gen fighter SU-57 is their best bet if they want a competitive fighter as Russia needs the money and knows India won’t backstab and reverse engineer it like China does with Russian weaponry. However until they get a massive budget or develop indigenously a comparable fighter they will need to use fourth gen+ fighters, which the new block 70 F-16/F-21 is one of the best. Personally though if they insist on dogfighting the F-15X would be perfect or the SU-35 although I don’t favor it as much in BVR combat it still can fight reliably and is extremely capable to deal with Pakistan’s threat but possibly not China’s. Look into the F-15 and the F-15X proposal it looks promising to me.

  17. After Reading This Post….I Guess Russia Has Won The 114 Fighter Jet Contract….Lol XD !!!! Its Just A Frustration !!!! One Message to This Post Writer….Do You Remember Fighter Jet Name GNAT ???? No ?? Go Read The History !!! LOL !!! Rest is History Bro !!! XD

  18. Yes IAF would avoid dogfight with F16 but would confront with longer range missile, rightly said by you but tell me friend then who is the swordsman and who is the guy with revolver?

  19. Author has no idea about SU 30 MKI and still talks IAF does not know network communication strategy. Don’t write crap. Educate yourself before blaming.

  20. LHM sold F16s to Pakistan a bankrupt country in low price to help America against terrorist in Afghanistan,but what Pakistan did?Use it against India for a air conflict in February 2019 ending up with excuses and American Pentagon organization lieing about the no F16 was use in the air conflict by PAF to save it business and image and still LMH thinking that Indian IAF would even like to buy F21(a cheap knockoff upgrade of F16) with nothing good and high price,that’s so funny!

  21. If not about the actual plane, the verdict from IAF is already out atleast about the F21 simulator. The IAF pilots came out unimpressed.
    While the author’s description of IAF as Arab swordsman smacks of a snooty snobbish mindset, he is somewhat correct in describing US/LM’s approach towards the whole affair. Why Rafale came through and despite hard bargain from LM, F16 fell through is because of compatibility issues. France understands the gravity of India’s strategic choices. While for US F16 and other war material is just push commodity. India gives a different pedastal to such purchase while for US this sales means trade and jobs.
    The Eagle just could not dance with the Elephant..

  22. Sorry dog u lost not on sky on ground . Now pl give pk all your junk . Neither past or in future u are just pk junk supplier on free. ..

  23. Looks like writer is having more knowlege than those protecting Indian skies….everything presented in a questionable and willfully wrong manner( for pitching a dead case of F16 again). One-time he says that IAF refrained to indulge in dogfight with F16 while making himself wrong by writing in next line that it was AMRAAM that is the real reason and not the F16….not knowing that AMRAAM is BVR missile and not for dog fight purpose. Infact, Mig21 won the dogfight against F16 when shot down by 5 km range missile of Mig21 in a hot-pursuit with Abhinandan got locked on to F16 engine. So writer is making a mockery of himself by writing all these factually incorrect statement and letting down THE PRINT
    Image.
    Writer himself is acknowledging that after Balakot …F16 was a dead deal. And simultaneously proving Indian Airforce living in 1980s mindset.
    The fact which author is ignoring while calling IAF relying too much on kinetics than electronics, that the Indian fighter dodged no. of AMRAAMs both electronically and kinetically. Infact Balakot happened with the help of electronic warfare itself to suppress the radars and jamming lots of other surveillance equipment. How can writer ignore that stupendous effort of IAF before making such absurd remarks.
    Moreover, network centric warfare is not a zero sum game that either you have it or not. Every advance airforce is relying on it. But how much?…that is important. US is overrelying on it which is experienced by IAF during Indo-US airforce excercise in 2004 when India won by 9-1 in dog fights.( Not using BVR missile).

  24. The author lacks knowledge of aerospace and tactical thinking.Your weapon systems should be dictated by what your enemy has,no point in launching a laser guided bomb on a man throwing stones.Speaking of f16’s superiority,Aamram’s and meteor,why engage in a dogfight when I can blow it from a distance.Pretty much the reason why we are not fighting wars sticks and swords.Think before writing bro.Don’t keep spilling unadulterated bs on topics you have less knowledge on.

  25. The author is learned no doubt since he has composed an article worth 5k words,but his knowledge is far from reality,the entire IAF is based on network centric warfare,one of the most active AIR FORCE in this region hence the author is far away from the reality bordering to yellow journalism

  26. All the guys commenting forget , even after having 6 times the budget of PAF IAF was talking about we shot one plane and ducked the AMRAM by SU30
    If this is not incompetence than what is this 1970 era mentality of IAF has literally shown the limitations of our armed forces.

    With the budget differentials any sane guy would have expected none of the PAF planes should have dared to attack if attacked none of them should have been allowed to go back.

    In the name of patriotism we cant be so blind on incompetence

    • By making 6 times budget remarks one should be careful enough to know that nobody knows for how much US gave F16 to Pakistan. All the new F16(block 50) were given during their so called war against Terrorism during Musharraf era on subsidised prices( better to call them free of cost)…. Pakistan exploit their relationship with US and got at least 50 of those to fight against Taliban…..Wait ! Are you serious??….everyone knew that they were buying to match IAF which had clear edge during Kargil war with Mig29 air superiority fighters( the reason why PAF kept calm during the war when Mirage 2000 pounded kargil hills). So to say 6 times budget is actually ignoring the cost that US injecting all those years ( 2001-2012) into PAF…….while our politicians were playing with our Airforce.( Not a single new fighter of 4+ generation was procured during Sonia Gandhi’s Govt in 10 years). While she was busy doing corruption in Augusta Westland helicopters.
      And in 2016, Mr. Obama again gave free of cost 500 AMRAAMs( air to air missiles) to Pakistan to fight Taliban….hahaha……does Taliban has an airforce??…..US thinks so.

      • Head in the sand all I can say, they have 18 f16 cost max 2 billion and with the budget IAF has couldn’t have fighters with missiles having absolute edge

        In the name of patriotism it’s absolute shame the kind of outcome we have.

        Again sheer incompetence all I can say

  27. india and f16 :

    the author has succumbed to the kaleidoscopic, fragmented, attention management that goes on in India and in US.

    in india US affairs the past brings illumination while the present tends to bring darkness to the picture, due to indian thinkers prefering tiny peep hole views of all things, and americans taking an artificial view of the world, both shying away from continuity or truth.

  28. IAF doesn’t need f-16 as india already had mig-29 by that time when the pakis were signing the deal. Mig is a good machine.even the 16 got intersepted by 50 year old mig-21 ,so please SHUT UP

  29. F-16 or F-21 with modern digitised modifications is actually a resale of 1970s Technology at a COST. Will it match up to China’s 5th Generation ( J-20) and beyond versions in quantity and quality ( with time critical induction) is anyone’s guess. With our own sattelites and UAVs in place digitised situational awareness and vectoring of combat aircraft with adaptable lethality is feasible. However the logistics and maintenance parameters for specialist aircraft will reduce it’s scope of employability and turn around targetting. Aerial refuelling does not entail aerial rearming as yet and the limitations of targetting commensurate with enemy response capability is a balance that has to be favourable. Being Pakistan centric is like picking up a fight where you expect to presumably win. Induction of Rafale without Indigenisation has been on the agenda since 2007 or earlier. Induction of F-21 with logistics and maintenance upgradation in addition to existing stockpiles of other vintage aircraft such as Sukhois and Mirages may take decades for implementation of a progressively vintage combat capability. Can India afford to remain outdated and expectant over such prolonged ineffective periods in time/ resources? Can India afford mix and match of western and Eastern technology without indigenised common interfaces in digitised combat actualisation? Can we afford a mix and match of varied logistic and maintenance infrastructure ? Do we need F21s or should we limit ourselves to limited one time purchase of adaptable combat capabilities that we need for a period in TIME( effective). Can we afford to be logistically dependent? This is not a one on one gun- sword fight. Modern combat is all about real time effective synergy. Aircrafts can be denied in their “fixed” bases too in modern precision attrition. In the digitised era , denying “digitisation” may also be a cost effective solution. Strategy cannot be ” an open forum” discussion amongst specialists of history. We need to holistically vet and analyse existing and future capabilities with time critical criteria and optimise the use of reliable acqusitions thereof. Dreams don’t resolve challenges in reality.

  30. No doubts left…. Articles from print are not worth reading…… What do you people think…? Indians are so stupid that they will buy this nonsense??? Cmon…

  31. Foreign Policy and LM spokesperson said no F-16 was shot down so why do you people keep paddling this lie over and over again? Abhinandad didn’t shoot anything down as he was looking for a target when his plane got hit. Why do you Indians believe in propaganda so much?

    • Because we have common sense! And we can tell what is propaganda.
      Why would we believe some alien government and a private company?? Who are trying to sell us their second grade equipments to make money.

      Obviously, our government and our Forces are more trustworthy. Our forces have integrity to tell and accept that we lost people and equipment, whenever we did.

      Unlike Pakistanis who refused to honor their slain pilot, who refused to receive bodies of their regular officers and soldiers in Kargil war.

    • Do you believe Osama never lived In Pakistan and was never killed????Pakistan said so.Idk why you guys are dumb enough to think that a company will own that one of it best jets was downed by a Mig bison.

  32. There is a famous say…”muh se mungfali nahi tutati, aur ga**d se akhrot fodne ka sapna dekhna”.

    This best suits here as, LM’s F16 could not stand against Mig21 and dreaming it in comparison with Rafale.

    So, LM is not a revolver salesman instead its selling a stick to a swordsman.

    • Absolutely disgusting analysis by the writer, there is a way difference between a generalist and specialists approach. IAF is a organisation of trained and intellectual people and they knows better what is good for them or not because their job is to deliver security and they are performing it extraordinarily.
      Actually the issue is Lockheed Martins F-16 after the the Balakot incident has proven a junk and LM is just doing its face saving .
      Moreover LM these days doing R&D in doing propoganda rather then refining its technology.

  33. People in comments screams ng about paid article or Indian Airforce is great at integration of various weapons with many different platforms doesn’t understand one simple point.
    Simplicity, simplicity of operations is what improves operational efficiency. All this talk of how IAF integrated missiles into Su-30 and its an brilliant job is absolutely silly.
    India has to develop an Ad-hoc method to integrate two different systems and its patchwork at best and bad behavior at worst in long term.
    This Article is brilliant and says a lot about how Indian armed forces are thinking about modernizing. Pretty pathetic actually.

    • Indian air Force has been proving their abilities since the day IAF was formed from nirmaljit singh to abhinandan every generation proved themselves and talking about modernisation and making new generation parts india made one of the best cruise missiles ballistic missile and even nuclear missiles which can even be equipped with sukhoi and what you think making an aircraft engine missile or body is child’s play it takes years of research and resources to make a single prototype and dealing with a vast country comes vast responsibilities . It doesn’t matter you give 100% result in 2 years or 5 years what matters is that India has always given jaw dropping results to the world in every field not only defence but in every sector the latest example is *chandrayaan 2* , gslv mk3 , cryogenic engine .

  34. Indian armed forces have excelled in each war they have fought based on the shear choices of man and machine made; history is witness to it. Poorly researched and peddled articles are not going to change that anytime in the near future!

  35. Is he not the same analyst, who spent time in jail for derogatory remarks about Konark temple in Orissa. How am I going to trust his opinions on defence matters. There is nothing in his paper which is anything new or his analysis of great importance. Only words come to my mind is – Get Lost.

    I agree with a post earlier that Shekhar Gupta is playing into wrong hands.

  36. Luytens media and unprofessional journalists (the print) shame on you. Don’t show your stupidity to the public. Go to faKISTAN o chinkistan n live there happily.

  37. All I can say that I can smell foul in this article. As usual, has a biased POV. I firmly believe IAF knows more about the modern warfare than the author.
    It was clear in MMRCA trials that F16 lost to Rafael and Typhoon. IAF regularly participates in combat exercises with Nato countries so it knows aircrafts better than the author.
    This article is shit!

  38. F16 is no match for Rafael or other contenders. There is no dearth of brokers in India working for other countries just for piece of s**t. This media joins this list.

    • Indian airforce should adapt modern warfare. It is essential no matter what u do u need to be organised and attact with real time information. For that reason india is buying reconicence aircrafts but the sad thing is russian built fighters are lacking of technology( stealth, radar jamming) par with others and reliability is a big issue. India should consider buying rafale as it is only its option. india cannot but euro fighter as it is opposed by some EU countries like germany to sell to india and only other option is US we don’t have such good relation with US. Now, the real problem appears India wants modernize its squadrans but cannot have a relaiable partner hence it is such depended on mig29 and sukois of russian made or licenced to produce by HAL. It’s a different game in navy as there are many sellers of submarines and frigates ( sweden, UK, US, Russia, France) but for IAF it is hard choice so guys the only viable option is considering rafale as it is modern and effecient for coming decade.

  39. It’s pretty obvious it’s you that’s stuck in the 1980’s relishing past achievements and glory. It’s 2019 today, Indian Air Force has been using network warfare for quite a long time now. The SU 30 is the most sophisticated air superiority multirole plane in it’s class that can also operate as a MINI AWACS, and once their upgraded to the Super Sukhoi standard they will be nearly unmatched. Only recently did the US start to catch up with the F22 & F35 and they still don’t have some of the features the SU 30 has.

  40. The author says IAF is behaving like a 1980’s Force which doesn’t know network warfare capabilities. So far from truth that it’s a blatant lie and how do these people even write articles without knowing the basics as t how much IAF is investing in NCW capability. Within a decade our flying platforms will have datalink while this Mr.Learned now thinks he knows sooo much. An earlier article by late Mr. Karnad wanted Rafale deal to be scrapped and India instead go for strategic bombers. That, my friends is the 1950’s mindset which the US deployed in Vietnam and Korea. Grow up my revered intellectuals…at least don’t palm off frivolous articles and mislead the common people while not deserving even a casual laugh.

  41. The Print will soon loose its readership if such silly pieces continue.
    IAF has combined and used various OEM tech in past and is using technology from multiple OEMs and have excelled at making diverse components work together.
    Example: Balakot bombing -> French Aircraft, Israeli Ammunition and Russian radar and communication technology.
    Even as we speak IAF is working on Sukhoi – Meteor integration. This is entirely home made integration which either tech OEMs have declined.
    Now, if the author says that IAF doesn’t understand network model, then probably author doesn’t understand what IAF is currently running. Nor does the author has any ideas of the outcomes of Airforce war games IAF teams have recently participated in using Russian and French origin Aircrafts. Much more than the machine, it is the man and the training that wins you wars. IAF doesn’t need crap LM junk.
    Sadly zero research or analysis by the author!

  42. It’s bull shit to say IAF doesn’t know electronic or fly by wire avionics… Author seems to be paid writer… F16 is old technology and can’t fit to IAF looking at.. US simply want to kill indigenous efforts of India to build Tejas fighter. Tejas itself is fourth generation fighter and way ahead then F16. If US is really in interested in sell of its fighter, offer us F35. Secondly if u buy any of defence equipment from US one has to compromise on its use. US will never share entire technology and always try to control all your defence activities. Look at Pakistan Saudi Arabia UK Japan……

  43. US main role under any President always try widening gap between neighbouring countries to creat war type sitation to sell its arms and ammuniation as well as fighter crafts. Further, this developed country also try to capture oils, resources and other minerals from small countries by way of economic and other pressures. India under PM Narendra Modi Ji should not come under the influence of Donald Trump, as he is unpredictable, but maintain diplomatic relations.

  44. India is DEADPOOL rather than old school Arab swardsman. India uses it’s brain and chooses it’s weapon accordingly.

  45. The author needs to be sent to some asylum for rest of his life. He has no logic and his brain seems to have stopped working when he shoots shit through his pen

    • This is the same guy who went to jail for deragatory comments on Odisha state & it’s history. Just another guy born in a privileged family & wasting entire countries time with his worthless words. I’m more than surprised that he’s still getting hired in the name of free press. What’s the point of letting whack jobs write stories just because they’re against the tide? At least they should have a little credibility.

  46. We have many more such Moles working in India paid by CIA and ISI who blow hot and cold in same breath. The article doesnot analyse anything precisely but advertise shamelessly F16 of US for India. Mr. Mitra,your logic and analytical skills are very suspicious and are laced with treason.

  47. What is it with The Print – They bring Bollywood or Hollywood into their stories –

    In this article, Indiana Jones movie is referred to – In the videos Shekar GUpta makes analogies with songs sucks “Mera Juta again Japani, Yeah Patloon . . .”

    These analogies happen too often in The Print – Lets not make it a trend !

    I bring it up as such journalism makes important issues “feel” less serious. – As such the English used is not on par to convey command of language or subject & then adding such analogies makes it worse !

    My request toALL Journalists – Being PROFESSIONAL m ans something !!

  48. How much money did Shekhar Gupta get paid for this ad from LM? Here is the bottom line: history shows that we can not trust US, especially with the critical technologies for national security.

  49. The F35 was a joke so was the F16 the only true capable aircrafts were F-15 eagle strike ,F-18/A super hornet and the F-22 which the U.S. keeps to themselves only..No Current export variety of an US aircraft can match Mirage 2000 or sukhoi 30MKI varient that India uses Russian Radars on Indian Jets and Those isareli targeting systems on those Jets and not to mention how agile the Russian Jets are compared to US export variants…F-21 is a joke and BTW US will impose Monopoly on it’s usage so author go fuck yourself

  50. I can’t understand the fact that the F16 is the sword which the author describes as the revolver. Even the revolver is outdated. IAF downing the F16 with a second generation Mig with some upgrades questions the entire product. If the US was to offer the F22 raptor or the F35 things would have been different. Well played IAF by not purshasing a. Piece of junk

  51. The writer is abhijit lyer mitra, yes the same one that got arrested for making derogatory remarks on konark temple and spend 43 days in prison. This American lapdog will give bj to donald trump for 50 dollar if asked. Don’t believe a single word this vermin is saying. Both rafale and mig 35 are far superior to f21 in every single way. And India and her people will not listen to some western hoe for advice

  52. F-16 is rebranded product of F-21. F-16 & F-21 is same fighter aircraft. It is not suitable for IAF as per of their present requirement. But LM trying to push sell it just for making huge profit and securing $18 billion USD global tender by Govt. Of India. France Rafel air craft is most suitable fighter as per of IAF present requirement.

  53. You know for a while i used to think the print is also a legit news media showing opinions of the other spectrum… But this is absolute rubbish and anti national to even claim an f21 is better than a rafale…the ans is simiply no. An f21 is in its barebones an f16 and will always be an f16. Rafale is simply a generation agead and the obvious better pick. The obvious other option was the eurofighter tycoon… But never an f21. I am not getting into the corruption charges… But to even suggest an f21 as an option is baffling

  54. Author my friend your point has one problem , F16 was long rejected by our Airforce before all the current events happened in MMRCA 1 . Second US does not believe in concept of Transfer of Technology , Third your aircraft boneyards are filled with Stockpile of F16 junks where they can be easily be salvaged and made to be retrofitted to the so christened F21 , Finally you need to get out of the mass Hysteria that only your Airforce is a capable one , just because you have technology on your side . Do remember even with all technology you couldn’t stop an Atom Bomb Test of India , couldn’t check Pakistan using F16 to target our Country and finally a 1960s plane got your Marvel of technology down to dust . Because of the man who flew it and not because of any technology Period .

  55. The author is either a paid agent of Lockheed or a pakistan sympathizer……blatant example of yellow journalism

    • The print was and will remain a mouthpiece of India’s enemies. The author in this case seems to know more than the IAF itself, and clearly does not talk about the Congress rule, where the defense forces were intentionally kept under equipped.

  56. Very nicely described the current situation with Indian Armed forces ! The need of the hour, whether we like it or not, electronic reliance and platform (aircraft, ships, network and surveillance platforms like Radar systems, AWACs, information warfare, cyber security protocols) enabling the new paradigm in information enabled warfare to be recognized as soon as possible. Otherwise, it might be too late and costly for the conventional mindset and the equipment in the armed forces to be upgraded in the foreseeable future leading to India’s Broken Arrow !!!
    My 2 cents,
    Jai Hind !

  57. Thank you Sir for this informative article. If I were a Pak or Chinese, I will smile. Because I do not need to waste resources in human intel to get info. All I need to do is look out for such in depth analydis of all Indias weakness, their holdings, their policies, how incapable the indian defence personnel are and their thinking and strategy orientation. Kudos, please continue with such free widom disdemination.

    • One such wisdom is never trust US and their f16. With right PILOTS like abhinabhin with an old mig21 can show enemy’s day. This article is a part of f16 marketing. If u follow writings on this issue u can confirm it urself.

    • @ Shankar : First of all, this article is simply the author’s opinion and he’s no expert on the Indian armed forces, and hence his ‘analysis’ not reliable. If anything, it helps if our enemies underestimate us. Secondly, the information he has provided is all within the public domain. There are govt agencies who take care that the Official Secrets Act not be violated.

  58. I dont know much about modern fighter aircrafts but one thing I would like to remind. When ISRO wanted a cryogenic engine to fit into its GSLV rocket it was the USA that did its best to deny India this critical technology. It was Russia that came to our rescue with 5 readymade cryogenic engines for ISRO’s use while our scientists struggle to master this technology and produce our own engines . So who is the more reliable defence partner can.easily be deduced from this episode.

  59. The article is laced with ridiculous logic. US was offering India a nearly 45 years old airframe, for use over the next possible 50 years. This is an aircraft for which the manufacturer does not have even a single order for supply, and the plant was under consideration for being closed, till the 126 Rafael aircraft deal got scuttled. Typically, the sales pitch was based on falsehood.
    It is very unwise to buy any electronics controlled equipment from US, because they always retain hidden remote control over the equipment.
    US has never been a trustworthy friend to anybody. Why trust them on matters of our national security.
    This article has clear telltale indicators of influence of Lockheed story-telling!

    • U.S is looking to dump their extinct revolver(F16) with a new paint (F21). You could have your garbage to yourself and in your regular dump yard (Pakistan). We(India) are interested in Laser gun not revolver

  60. The author and whatever ‘fellow’ he is, one thing for sure, he is a paid stooge of LM or US. This fellow has no understand of aerospace defence requirements and IAF strategies. Using Indiana Jones analogy he just dates his knowledge. It would be foolish to buy a cutting edge weapon from US which has used sanctions as a weapon against us in the past on more than one occassion. What’s the point in buying a revolver which will not be operational when required. A sword will and always will serve its purpose even if some rusts begets it.

    And then Rafale/ Su’s/ Eurofighters are no swords if that 80’s junk is a revolver.

    Print please mark such articles as advertisements

  61. A good article for children stories .

    Does writer knows when you dog fight and when you launch BVR?
    If not meteor what else?
    Or any Dreams by DRDO?
    Live in what is available and not what can be…..because what can be has led to delays and never got items..

  62. India is committing a blunder keeping US Dollars 138 Billion in UD Treasuries pat of which will fund Pakistan,the World Bank.We get 2 percent for our US Treasury Holdings and give 9.5 percent for the US Dollar 105 Billion WB Loan losing, about US Dollars 7 Billion about Rs 50000 Crores, per year y arbitrage.The money in US Treasury will be bad if the US A offers Financial Aid to Pakistan as India may be finding the same,in addition to losing huge amount annually..USA’s IPR does not allow India getting high Tech from that Nation.Hence any “Strategic Alliance” is fruitless.And that includes the huge US Treasury Holdings at huge loss by India.
    As rightly pointed out the USA was embarrassed by India shooing down the F 16,with its sales prospects becoming dim.All said and don India has to review its US Policy as the latter misuses Sanction etc,forcing Sovereign nations lose in Global trade and adversely affecting Foreign Relations.

    • IAF is getting rafale, which is much better than your old revolver 😂 lol. Also pakistan still can’t win against a swordsman like IAF no matter how much revolver US supplies them.

  63. US or Lockheed not giving us Fighters free we have to pay so why we trust a country which send aircraft carrier as help of Pakistan on 1998war on india. & Pakistan. So its our choice with which we go russia or us whome we pay for a good deal we are not. Beggers like pakistan thats why The Print just shut your mouth for our internal matter. Write this thigs for begger state like pakistan not for india

  64. The author gets it completely wrong. An aircraft is not about just it’s missile systems or munitions. So Aamram beeing bone of contention and Meateor obsession is primitive view of IAF assessment. F21 is 1.5 ton heavier and not as maneuverable as F16 C/D blocks. The author even goes on to contradict himself by saying IAF avoids dog-fights with F16 and later saying IAF is banking on Dog fights. In reality IAF regularly parctices with many airforces operating F16 and Singapore F16 pilots train in India. This is most flawed analysis that I have come across. As to how he is senior fellow at the said institute is a reflection on the standard of the institute. It’s more gossip than analysis.

  65. Your article shows IAF like some obsolete force while you completely ignore the fact that it is one of the most advanced airforce in the world and even there are shortfalls in modernization but still Pakistani s are no match to it. Balkot showed that too, Pakistani s can’t even detect Indian warplanes..

    • Such paid but confusing article won’t serve India’s cause of mmrc. No developed Country use f16 as their front line Fighter, it’s on verge of phasing out in usaf . And for pakistani f16 pilots, squadron leader Hassan Shiddiqui and wing commander Nauman Ali, in pak parliament name of Hassan Shiddiqui was mentioned by the PM himself to be facilitate in honor his feat. But none of them the they could produce before media, What they would have done repeatedly to humiliate India. Both r dead, it’s foregone conclusion. I repeatedly challenge them in different social media platforms to show a glimpse of them but none could, only they forwarded some old videos of interviews and training. F16 is hyped fighter do business in undeveloped countries. It is as much vulnerable as mig 21 bison. Apart from this we should always keep china in our mind while purchasing fighter jets.

  66. Utterly uninformed and vague article. The article is biased towards US defence industry, trying to make an impression that they make the best weapons that can be operated. There is no point about how LM F-16 / 21 would integrate with existing and available stockpile of weapons India own (some of which are the best in the world).

    Simply a pre-sales pitch or a cry over India shunning the substandard US weaponry.

  67. SIMPLY PAID ARTICLE. AUTHOR DON’T KNOW F-16 IS OUTDATED VERSION IN AVIATION. HOW MUCH IT UPGRADE WITH NEW ACCESSORIES LIKE FRENCH MIRAGE_2000 . WORLD HAS ENTERED 5TH GENERATION AIRCRAFT . SUKHOI SERIES AIRCRAFT ARE MORE ADVANCED THEN WEST AIRCRAFT. RECENTLY SYRIAN WAR PROVES THAT AMERICANS ARE NOWHERE EVEN THOUGH NATO MEMBER TURKEY IS ALSO BUYED RUSSIAN MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM S_400.. DON NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE IAF. THEY ARE MASTER IN TASTE/EATING EXPENSIVE FOREIGN DISH BRITISH SPECAT JAGGUAR, FRENCH MIRAGE RUSSIAN DISH.. AND THEY NOT INTERESTED HOME MADE FAILED HAL MARUT, TEJAS ALWAYS LOT OF COMPLAINT OTHER SIDE THEY NEVER COMPLAINT FROM FOREIGN MAKE DISH I THINK THEY EXPLORING THE WORLD AND WASTE OF PUBLIC MONEY LIKE APACHE -64 ., C 17, THEY ALREADY HAVE BETTER OPTION LIKE MIL 17, MIL 24 HIND, KA SERIES, IL 76. THEY ARE BETTER THEY ALREADY CRASHED BRAND NEW C 130J . RECENTLY CRASH RECORDS SHOWS A IAF WAS WASTEING THE PUBLIC MONEY. P.M SHOULD LOOK INTO THIS MATER NEED SERIOUS ACTION.

  68. No matter which ever car is given to you, if you are drunk, you will crash. Pakistan’s position is like that. Any good fighter jet have no meaning if the usage is not clear to the pilot. Many times, Indian pilots performed better is stressful condition with old technologies to Pakistan’s so called latest. Pakistan is America’s military market, funded by same Americans.

  69. F 21 is another shit like f16.
    Better planes available in the market why will india but these old USA planes.
    They trying to sell there old technology planes to India.
    Sukio 57 is more superior.
    India should wait till Russia operations of sukoi s57

  70. Comparing IAF with Arab swords man is like boosting yourself as the top defence expert. May be your knowledge is limited to the small 5*5 room in terror factory. Accept the fact PAF F16 was shot down. Obviously it is understood that neither USA and Faker a Azam will accept that given how USa derive money from its military sales. And it is known to all no adversary operate same weapon as primary offence platform or Defense platform. And what you say IAF equipment don’t talk to each other LMAO please die in your multi billion dollar bathroom. India have developed it’s own communication equipment unlike Terroristan which is even dependent for FAKER a Azam underwear in China. In short I will tell you your article is not even worth to publish in class nursery level wall magazine also.

  71. I don’t know much about fighter jets but even I can deduce that Rafale is a far better figure aircraft than the upgraded version of F-16 which is in use since 1980’s. And I also know that USA cannot be trusted in this kind of matters.
    P.S: The author should stop watching too much of Hollywood movies.

  72. Good job defaming the IAF Sir , but whatever you say , the fact is that the IAF is a pretty capable force , and in any circumstance , the French Rafales and it’s Meteor missiles are way advanced the the AMRAAM , also , it’s just not the aircraft that matters but also the pilot in it .

  73. Selling US military aircraft to India is important, but that doesn’t mean that Pakistan is no longer relevant to the US in the Afghan context.

  74. A good basis for a durable friendship between India and the United States would be : Feel free to sell your military hardware to customers of your choice, some of whom have been with you since the 1950s. We in turn will continue to buy from our traditional suppliers, some of whom go equally far back in time.

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