Su-30 “hammered” Eurofighter

A squadron-minus of IAF Su-30MKIs (No. 2 Squadron, ex-Kalaikunda) are currently in a war-exercise with RAF Eurofighters in England. The predictable happened — the Eurofighters apparently got a “hammering” from the highly agile Indian Su-30s. Assuming IAF and RAF fielded their best, most experienced, pilots — this flight of Su-30s being led by Group Captain Srivastava — the combat aircraft was the difference, and resulted in many RAF Eurofighter “kills”. This is bad advertisement for the Eurofighter that UK and Germany so desperately tried to pitch to Delhi after the Rafale deal hit the skids. By the same token, the Su-30 once again proved it is non pareil — the best aerial fighter around, confirming DefMin Parrikar’s preference for an augmented fleet of this plane rather than buying Rafale. Unfortunately, he seems not to have displayed the strength of his convictions to fight for this option once PM Modi made the ridiculous Rafale deal on the run in Paris, which deal is still going nowhere.

About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
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19 Responses to Su-30 “hammered” Eurofighter

  1. Rituraj Rao says:

    Su-30 has problems in EW area (Jammer/MAWS/RWR etc) which coincidentally is also the weakness in LCA-MK1. I wonder why can’t they find a common solution when the SA to RM himself is a avionics expert ???

  2. Rahul says:

    So what happened to former RAF chief Stephen Daltons chest thumping after 2011 Indradhanush?
    “”Well, they lost,” was Stephen Dalton’s response when IANS asked how the Russia-developed India-manufactured Su-30MKI air superiority jets performed against the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Typhoons when they matched their wits during the joint exercises in recent years.

    However, he was quick to add that the two aircraft are different in technologies, and that Typhoons are next generation, and hence there is no comparison. Dalton also indicated that the IAF inventory of Sukhois, MiGs and Mirages are no match to the Typhoons.”….

    Well, no one in IAF then refutted what Dalton had said unlike Red Flag 2008 when IAF went hammer and tongs at the USAF pilot who criticized the performance of the Flankers to an training audience in a video which got leaked and went viral…. It was the same Sukhois and Typhoons…So what changed in these 4 years? Makes me suspicious….

    Also Mr Karnad, let me remind you that we have selected the Rafales and not the Typhoons in MMRCA. The Swiss airforce had evaluated the Typhoons, Rafales and the Gripens in their version of MMRCA and found out that Rafales defeated both the Typhoons and Gripens in all performance parameters but they selected the Gripens because of their low cost….

    And we don’t know the results of Garuda though…So criticizing the IAF and defence ministry for selecting Rafales will be premature….

  3. Arup ganguly says:

    Sir you r a brilliant writer but the SU 30 mki is not optimized for full spectrum of strike capabilities which Rafale has. And therfore the Rafale.request you to crosscheck the same with one of your peers in the Airforce

  4. sriramdatla says:

    Sir i had heard that sukhoi parts are brought from russia including bolts but since we have the jet why don’t we use this jet’s technology to design a new jet which is 100% indigenous except the engine. Instead of buying rafale’s and stuff why can’t we make more of tejas, more of sukhoi and push the 5th generation fighter design with Russia faster so that we become self sustainable in the advent of war.

  5. India is such a great customer, always eager to buy everything, give away money, rather than reverse-engineer and build indigenous capability.

  6. shishir mohan says:

    Im sure the indian team was good and also better at certain times,but 12-0 !…….common mr Karnad ,even you know better……?

  7. Rahul says:

    Here comes the rebuttal from RAF….They have described IAF’s claim as ‘comical’…–using-russiandesigned-jets-10444466.html

    Haviing said that and after analysing whatever reports are there out in the public domain, I believe the following is the scenario….

    SU 30 MKI is an unbelievable fighter in dogfighting situations…Its 3D thrust vector helps it to defeat any opponent fighter in close fighting scenarios….Once beaten badly in close dogfight, the Western nations asks for BVR scenarios where the western fighters do come back in the match and turn tables somewhat upside down….All these western fighters like the 4th and 5th Gen US ones and the likes of Typhoon/Rafale have been designed keeping in mind BVR scenarios. The philosophy is “Shoot the enemy down even before it comes close to you or sees you”….NDTV, which carried out the story 12-0 in close dogfight for the Flankers admitted that when the Flankers and Typhoons operated in a mix in both the groups in ‘Large Scale Scenarios’, the Flankers were less successful. Maybe what they termed as ‘Large Scale Scenarios’ were basically ‘Large Scale BVR scenarios’….

    No doubt the Flanker is an unbelievable fighter but the Chinese have that too. And the Chinese have modified the basic Su-27/Su 30MKK versions…So to say that the Indian Flankers are leagues ahead in Asia and we should be ordering more and more Flankers will not be the greatest decission….We need the Rafales badly and the Tejas, the later one in LARGE numbers….

  8. Owl says:

    From what I gather, the 12-0 was in the “familiarization phase” where one side lets the other lock on to test the equipment. Stupid reporters then took the test as an exercise and said that it was a “12-0 kill”. Obviously. You’ll get that as long as your radar doesn’t fail.

    Reporters. Sigh…

  9. archit says:

    “We need the Rafales badly and the Tejas, the later one in LARGE numbers….”
    Why ? will the LARGE numbers defeat the Chinese? : -) is this the 18th century?

  10. To me the ’12-0′ is not as exciting as the ‘2 kills in 1’ outing that the Sukhoi performed, killing two of the Typhoons one after the other. The IAF guy just would have loved to be an Ex-Ace. LOL

    That said. How good will the Rafale be. I guess an AESA and a new IRST on the Sukhoi will kill all survival chances for Rafale.

    But what about the C&F agency being run inside IAF HQ.

  11. Rahul says:

    Mr. Karnad, if Rafale is not 21st century, then plz write an eye opener article for the Govt of India to do away with this technology transfer, ‘Make In India’ production, license production, offsets etc etc which are holding up the deal by raising the costs…There is no point in adamantly wanting for the above mentioned items if it is not 21st century, i.e. if it is obsolete technology, I mean what are we going to learn by paying additional money?…….Obsolete technologies? As it is the IAF who has to fight and die for this country and if they are happy with such an obsolete technology, we should leave it to their discretion…We should just reduce the costs by directly buying the same from OEM. So critics including you who are criticizing Mr. Modi for directly ordering Rafales should actually thank him for having the vision thinking right…

    Archit, you just need to get out of the colonized mindset of 18th century. This mindset teaches you that whatever the colonial masters are developing/offering to their ‘once upon a time’ colonized states, it HAS to be superior than what the ‘once upon a time’ but now fully independent colonized state can build for itself….Once you get out of this mindset, you will realize the potency and importance of Tejas as a weapon….

  12. archit says:

    to all up there
    a truly indigenous effort

  13. Pavan says:

    Both Su30MKI and Eurofighter fought in simulated conditions. They did not use AWACS. Just saying Sukhoi is good in dogfight is not justified. The tactics and theatrics of modern day air-air battles are now different. Whatever they are i still will say that eurofighter has a better chance in a real battle for the following reasons:
    1) It’s RCS is smaller compared to Su30MKI. This will definitely be a huge advantage in 1v1 or 2v2 combat. Because it is all about first shot, first kill. The real combat now is in BVR(beyond visual range) not in visual range. Su30MKI is a air-superiority fighter though it has multi-role capabilities. But between Rafale and Eurofighter both which have smaller RCS than Su30MKI are multirole fighters and Rafale is better for ground attack and eurofighter is better in air-air combat.

    2) Despite smaller RCS even these aircrafts are not immune to SAM. But between Su30 and eurofighter it is crystal clear that Su30 will be recognized easily by radars than eurofighter.

    Hence in the modern combat we need to move ahead to 5th Generation for Air-Air combat and drones/cruise missiles for ground attack. We are needlessly singing praises for such old generation weapons which have no real significance in a modern war. The enemies of India also know this and hence are not much worried about the Su30, as we can surely use it protect our airspace, but we can forget using them for invading enemy airspace.

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