Over the past 50 years, the Indian military services have been armed mostly with Russian weapons and supporting hardware. These Russian systems have proved their utility and ruggedness, which last is not an attribute to be under-estimated. And yet, growingly, sections of the military officer cadre are being seduced by the supposedly superior Western counterpart systems, despite being aware that these are optimized for temperate fighting climates of Europe and northeastern Asia, and do not/cannot fare as well in the tropics where the heat and the dust are, if not disabling factors, can cause severe attrition in performance.
A case in point — special hangars for the French Mirage 2000 and potentially, Rafale, combat aircraft versus the frontline Su-30 MKI judged the finest fighter plane in business braving the Indian sun, sitting on the simmering tarmac without cover of any sort, all the year round, ready to fly off at a moment’s notice. Oh, sure, in the last few years the IAF has erected basic asbestos/corrugated tin-roofed shelters with sides open for the these hardy Sukhois (as at 2 Wing base at Lohegaon, Pune)!
And just what is the edge Western vendors have always claimed for their military equipment and weapons platforms and repeated ad infinitum by their well-wishers and pushers here, in and out of uniform? Their electronics/ avionics/software-driven systems, right? It turns out that is not any more the case. US military circles are still agog with how a Russian Su-24 tactical strike aircraft flew over an Aegis missile destroyer and in its first pass over the American warship venturing into the Black Sea during the Crimean crisis in April 2014 and before getting in range of its on-board weapons, completely and remotely shut down the radar at the heart of the Aegis system — rendering the intruding ship instantly blind and deaf.
The news of this is just getting out in the western media even as the Russian press had reported this incident at the time. The outcome was a shaken US Navy has not again deployed any vessels in the Black Sea. The attenuating circumstances trotted out are that Cook was in solo and that Aegis works best when there are more Aegis units sharing, triangulating, target info, etc. Except, the more complex the system, the easier it is, according to Russian EW/ECW specialists to knock them out. The means to do so — i.e.,impose a blackout on the USS Cook was the Khibiny electronic counter-measures system on the Su-24 which, after blinding and silencing the Aegis, made 12 attack passes to drive home the point to the crew on board the American missile destroyer about the extremely vulnerable state it had been reduced to, and so easily. So much for US’ avionics/electronics edge.
Khibiny, by the way, will be fitted/retro-fitted on all Russian combat aircraft, starting with the Su-35 plane — the very aircraft the IAF wouldn’t let the Strategic Forces Command buy for its nuclear mission!
I thank a correspondent for alerting me to this incident, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8s4sKAMgYsU
and for info on Russian EC/ECW systems refer https://russiandefpolicy.wordpress.com/2015/10/27/how-good-is-russian-electronic-warfare-part-i/