IAF will finally get a strategic bomber

[Tu-160 White Swan in a refuelling exercise]

The Indian Air Force seems to be getting over the strategic hump, perhaps with a little push from the PMO, and will soon acquire the advanced and upgraded version of the Tu-160 Blackjack called the ‘White Swan’. This transaction, after the S-400 and help in hypersonic weapons technology, confirms Russia’s status as the sole supplier to India of prime military technologies (even if for a hefty price!).

This was disclosed in a throwaway line about a “bomber” being acquired by IAF, which was preceded by a generous acknowledgement — “Mr Bharat Karnad will be happy to know”, by the former CAS, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha. He was delivering the keynote speech yesterday at the first edition of the ‘Chanakya Dialogues’ hosted by the Chanakya Foundation in New Delhi. On further questioning by me, he confirmed that the aircraft in question was the Tu-160.

By way of another casual remark, he also indicated that a nuclear-warheaded version of a hypersonic glide weapon may soon be on the way. No doubt it is an armament that will be carried in the White Swan’s weapons bay.

It will reverse the obdurately tactical and theatre-level orientation of the IAF brass for 70-odd years. It resulted in August 1971 in the IAF rejecting the Tu-22 Backfire bomber offered the Air Marshal Sheodev Singh Mission by the Soviet Defence Minister, the legendary Admiral of the Fleet, Sergei Gorshkov. Moscow had not reckoned with the obstinately nonstrategic mindset of Air Chief Marshal PC Lal — regarded, incidentally, as a great leader by the IAF!– and his cohort running the service at the time. Indeed, Gorshkov was so certain the IAF would jump at this offer he had a squadron of this bomber aircraft painted with IAF roundels and parked on a military base outside Moscow for flight to India. Nonsensical reasons were offered for this plainly idiotic nyet decision by IAF — the pilot needed to be winched up into the cockpit, the aircraft, ex-Bareilly, would not reach cruising altitude before crossing into Pakistan, etc. Pakistan! — for God’s sake, with no hint of China as the obvious threat to neutralise with this bomber and this, mind you, at a time when the Bangladesh War was in the offing and China had already threatened to intervene if India moved militarily against Pakistan! So what did IAF choose instead? MiG-23BN — no joke!! Worse, the IAF, dog-in-the-manger like, not only did not want the Backfire for itself, it later prevented the Indian Navy from buying this aircraft for maritime surveillance, fearing the Navy was trespassing on its turf by expropriating the strategic bombing role. (These and other details first revealed and analysed in my 2002, 2nd ed 2005 book – ‘Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security.’)

Post-1974 and India’s possessing very basic 12 kiloton gravity nuclear bombs, the Tu-22 would have been a credible recallable manned option as nuclear deterrent before India obtained in the late 1980s the first of the Agni land-based missiles. The Tu-22 could have been replaced with newer versions of the aircraft, including the latest, most advanced, Tu-22M3, and would now have comprised a more compelling two-pronged air vector in the nuclear triad along with the Tu-160.

It is always heartening when something one has ardently advocated over the years begins to take shape, becomes reality. [For the case made for a genuine strategic bomber, and this aircraft in particular, see pages 335-336 in my 2015 book –‘ Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)’.] The negotiations with Russia are apparently in the final stages for securing on lease six – a third of a squadron — better than nothing! of the supersonic, fly-by-wire, 4-man crewed Tu-160. It will leave the frontline Russian fleet with 29 of these aircraft, because only a total of 35 ‘White Swans’ have been built. Published material suggests the White Swan Tu-160 (the equivalent of the American B-1 strategic bomber) has a 70metres/second climb rate, max speed of 2,200 km/h and cruising speed of 960km/h, unrefueled range of 12,300km, and combat radius of 7,300km.

One version of the bomber runs on hydrogen fuel, which may be right up Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan for converting the country to a hydrogen economy. Though for reasons of fuel/fueling aspects, the aircraft India leases will likely stick with the variant run on enhanced aviation fuel.

To show off its astonishing endurance, the Russian Air Force staged a Murmansk to Venezuela sortie in 2008 (to show support for the regime of Left-leaning President Nicolás Maduro Moros at a time when the Obama Administration was tightening the sanctions screw on it), and in 2010 a 23 hour patrol covering 18,000 kms over the Russian landmass.

The options and possibilities this bomber offers should make the mouths of IAF warplanners and operations guys water. Preparatory planning should begin for nuclear targeting by the White Swans of the most distant Chinese targets — Beijing!, with the more critical, but relatively proximal, targets, such as the Three Gorges Dam and its system of downstream dams and the Lop Nor nuclear weapons complex in Xinjiang left, if necessary, for the Su-30MKIs to take out. The Sukhois can be embarked from Tezpur/Kalaikunda in the one case, and the Ainee base in Tajikistan available to IAF, in the other.

The problem IAF will have is in basing the Blackjack. The Bareilly base — which ran the Canberra medium bomber and the MiG-25 Foxbat high-altitude surveillance aircraft, won’t do. Bareilly is too near major and satellite PLAAF airfields on the Tibetan plateau in the central sector of the LAC, not to pose risks to the White Swans based there. A base in southern central India will be the safest and best option considering the “long-legged” Tu-160 will still be able to hit deep inside China, and have IAF air defence/interceptor aircraft out of a string of air bases in northern India as protective tier.

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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73 Responses to IAF will finally get a strategic bomber

  1. AKS says:

    Congratulations sir, your recommendations are finally taking shape like exporting Brahmos, choking Malacca strait, strategic bomber etc. But you were critical of the Modi Govt not listening. May be you will view the govt appreciatively.

  2. Email from Air Marshal Vinod Kumar Verma (Retd)
    Sun, 7 Aug at 11:51 am

    Good one


  3. Ravi N Ghosh says:

    Dr Karnad, thanks for sharing this news with us.

    Will you please shed some light on the weapons package that India might get along with the Tu-160? Will India receive weapons like the long range Kh-101/102?

    Thank You
    Ravi N Ghosh

  4. Blackjack says:

    Obama administration tightening the screws on Maduro in 2003?!

    But otherwise, good article. Although I am not sure if this weapons delivery system will offer as much survivability against potential deployment against China as conventional ICBMs

  5. Amit says:


    You seem more excited than the IAF at this news! I guess even when the tortoise cross the finish line it creates joy!

    But one thing I wonder is why India has no plans to develop its own strategic bomber? There are all kinds of weapon systems that the DRDO, HAL, BEL, ADA, etc. are developing but I’ve never read anything about a bomber. Why depend on Russia for such an asset?

    • Realistically, it is too late for that, considering HAL-ADA failed to design and produce the small passenger plane — Hansa(?) it had conceived nearly two decades back.

  6. vivek says:

    was expecting some post analysis on pelosi visit and china’s response

  7. Ayush says:

    Dr karnad, the fact that you had argued for a strategic bomber for decades is a public secret among veteran mil-intel circles.

    I will use the same argument I had used a couple of weeks ago.WE NEED STEALTHY B21 type BOMBERS.These bombers are useful for a country as HUGE as RUSSIA.However, every nook and corner of India is in the range of PLARF DF-21C / DF-26 and under real time observation of PLASSF’s 60+ odd Military satellites equipped with AI based data crunching software.Simply put, these fancy bombers will be blown up before they take off! It seems,A lot of people are still not aware of just how mighty a an animal we are facing at the North.And in any case , if we are going for a Russian bomber it should have been the stealthy sukhoi PAK-DA. At the very least we can fund it.Or maybe the Tu-160 M3 is a “stopgap measure”- so as to use IAF terminology.
    I am fully aware of the highly successful HGV prototype soon becoming operational(around 2024).

    • Amit says:

      @Ayush, you make a good point for a stealth bomber, but if the TU-160 is expensive for India it would be super expensive to get a stealth bomber (also close to impossible to get from the US). Making it in India does not seem like a possibility.

      Additionally, to your point about escalation control and dominance earlier, the kind of spectacular conventional first strike you are talking about is not likely. There is also a lot of hype about China’s military capabilities. Please watch A recent CSIS program on China’s sustainence capabilities done by the US war college. It punctures a lot of myths about Chinese capabilities. They are no doubt a formidable opponent, but they still have major gaps in fighting a long war. There is no Indian think tank that does this kind of an enemy assessment, but I’m sure the Indian military does so. And they know these weaknesses too.

      As the Taiwan crisis unfolds you will see how the US challenges China and busts a lot of myths about the Chinese dragon. That’s what I’m betting on.

  8. Edelbert Badwar says:

    Congrats that your recommendations have been acted upon.

  9. Mandar Karnik says:

    Excellent news Sir. I recall you were quite animated about India’s reluctance to buy such aircraft in a podcast on Youtube.
    Will only 6 suffice or more will be required in the future?

  10. Andy says:

    This is great news! Been hoping IAF would get some upgraded TU 160 Blackjacks for sometime now. In fact we discussed this very thing sometime in 2017,if I remember correctly, The Backfires were the aircraft of choice,but the newer Blackjack was much more appealing.

    Hopefully these are brought into the IAFs inventory ASAP. The Blackjack induction should be followed by the very capable Shinmaywa seaplane in the Indian Navy.

    Your recommendations being paid heed to ,aka Brahmos sale to SE asian countries, additional mountain strike corp for China front, now the strategic bomber induction for sure are a matter of great satisfaction. Kudos!

  11. shishir mohan says:

    Sir ,plz tell us about the reach of this beast from a base in south central India,can it strike at straits of malacca against chinese fleet????

  12. JP says:


  13. RogerR says:

    It could have been political pressure which made IAF offer excuses for not wanting the TU-160. Now it is the Modi government.

  14. Arun Vishwakarma says:

    Good to hear saar.
    It was a consistent topic everytime we met.
    Dismantling Pakistan remain unfinished business and blunting Chinese aspirations priority of current times.
    Saint AK Anthony did some lasting damage to Indian security.but nothing compared to destroying Indian industrial base by allowing Chinese imports unfettered access to Indian market vid 2008 policy change to “loot India agreement” between CCP and INCongress Rahul gandi, Sonia signed. With PM MMSingh on sideline.

    That is hurting big time India.

    -Arun Vishwakarma

  15. Email from Lt Gen JS Bajwa (Retd)
    Sun, 7 Aug at 10:47 pm

    Had run an article in IDR which I tasked a classmate and coursemate of mine on the Canberra and why no replacement was sought? What emerged was myopic vision that could not trend into the realms of the strategic future. There is a group of Canberra pilots who bond strongly and felt orphaned when the Canberras went into history.
    Jiti Bajwa

  16. Charlie tamancha says:

    How much has Russia been able to use its TUs against Ukraine? Will these high altitude large radar signature aircraft be able to penetrate deep into China or take on a ship in such dense AD environment unless there is complimentary overwhelming electronic warfare capability also available? Are corresponding ling range weapons available to fit onto these aircraft? The truth is that these will have to stay in own territory all the time. Also even in own territory these will not be safe closer to borders in the face of long range AD missiles of the enemy. Manned aircraft are now being rendered obsolete progressively.

  17. JP says:

    Hello sir,

    Great work! A few questions from my end.

    1. What is the expected timeline to join IAF?
    2. Will it have any issues such as engine and low serviceability as in the case of SU-30MKI and Mig fighter planes?

    Much appreciated!

    • Once the lease contract is signed, inside of a year. Low serviceabilty of Su-30 and MiG aircraft has many reasons. Among them is the fact that there is a set Russian procurement protocol and yearly timelines that have to be followed in indenting for spares, etc. which the IAF has not always done.

  18. Deepak says:

    Excellent news Sir, you have recommended it long before.

  19. obi says:

    One correction. We are not yet sure if the Tu-160 we are going to get is the Tu-160M variant of the older TU-160M in service with the Russian air force. TU-160 is being remanufactured by Russia and 10 were expected in service this year of the new version. The new version has better engines is lighter, and has better air defense capabilities which will utilize the weight reduction. Maybe the war in Ukraine and the need for foreign exchange gave us an opportunity to strike a bargain.

  20. Email correspondence of interest in a net forum run by Grama Seetharaman that featured the Tu-160-related post on this blog.

    From Gopalaswami Parthasarathy (former High Commissioner to Pakistan)
    12:44 PM, Aug 8

    Bharat is an overenthusiastic guy, but he sometimes gets too personal about the IAF. Yes, we did rather strangely reject the TU 22 offered no less than by PM Kosygin, in 1970/71. But we may have not got it on time for the Bangladesh conflict. And in any case, we established air dominance in the 1971 conflict without the Tu 22.

    Bharat Karnad responds:
    1:44 PM, Aug 8

    Don’t know what you mean by “overenthusiastic guy”, Partha. Some one has to be about strategic options in the context of little historical evidence of strategic thinking and innovation in the Indian armed services. You may have been in the Moscow embassy at the time. But it was Gorshkov as def min who pushed, Kosygin merely rubberstamped the Tu-22 to India decision. Apparently, you haven’t read any of my books nor this post, which last makes clear that the Tu-22 was a strategic platform NOT for use in the Bangladesh war, but rather that it would have set up India’s N-delivery system rightaway in the interim between the 1974 test and APJ Abdul Kalam’s Integrated Guided Msissile Devevelopment Programme producing the Agni missiles!!

    Incidentally, what use were the MiG-23BN that were procured instead put to in the 1971 ops?


  21. Ayush says:

    Dr karnad,
    I hate to say it, but our overenthusiasm and euphoria is highly misplaced.Also, I believe the HGV’s you talked about, do certainly are certainly limited to the “few hundred km range”(in the prototype stage).However,their range can be radically increased by several times by providing say a K-4 booster, this is exactly what the Chinese have done with their DF-17 which has a DF-16 booster.And by the way, the DF-17s main scientist has already defected to western intelhttps://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1554695/China-rocket-scientist-defects-West-MI6-global-tensions.

    However,the air launched version will certainly be with a very limited range.With this range, it will have to fly very close to key targets located thousands of km inside China.These bomber will be easy target practice for PLAAF operated SA-21s.Optionally,they can detect this with their latest KJ-500A AWACS at a range >500km and neutralize it with PL-21(analogous with our Astra mk3).To say it bluntly, the “white swan” is a white elephant.

    Also,your argument that the RU VKS has not used its bomber force because UKR is a “Tactical-theatre” operation is deeply flawed, to say it mildly.The Russian’s had used low flying Tu-160s in at least once case on 24th feb.Also,casually recall that back in Op Iraqi Freedom,US had used all of its “strategic” B2s to drop 350+ JDAMs on Baghdad on Day 1 as part of their crushing shock and awe campaign.The only reason why the Russians have held back their bomber fleet is because of the formidable UKR SAM network, which remains active to date.The Russian failure to suppress UKR SAMs speaks volumes about the quality of their aircraft and the guys who operate them.And,remember the Ukes operate soviet era S-300s!The devastating impact these S-300s have had on the VKS is no exaggeration.The VKS jets lack basic targeting pods and PGMs.Their unguided “dumb” bombs are welded ones and not steel forged ones like that of their western or even Chinese counterparts.Their welded dumb bombs are crude even compared to WWII standards.What’s more is that their overhyped cruise missiles have dozens of critical western subcomponents and micro electronics including flight computers.The Russia-ukraine war has been an eye opener for even the most rabid, diehard Russophiles in our security establishment.https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/a-never-ending-ukraine-war-spells-trouble-for-president-xi-101649305308117.html

    I understand how much visceral hatred veteran cold warriors such as yourself have for the US led west.However, we cannot let our personal bias delude ourselves regarding some very obvious facts relating to Russian military equipment and their reliability

    • Have no “visceral hatred” for the US and the West. Far from it. Having spent a good part of my early life in America and having, if anything, imbibed their unsentimental and hard approach to power politics, some friends find me too “American” for comfort. All my books and writings, talks and lectures to military and lay audiences, and interaction in government circles, over forty years reflect this fact. It is simple really. Realpolitik — entirely bereft of morality and similar unctuous nonsense — is the metric I judge all policies and strategies by.

    • Andy says:

      ‘To say it bluntly, the “white swan” is a white elephant.’

      Not true. Your assumption is that the TU160 will be flying thousands of kms in to enemy territory solo. There will be fighter escort,bristling with EW suites,most probably the SU 30 with its long range ,with mid air refuelling tanker meeting them on the way back. Awacs should also be part of the package. These will have to escort the white swan through contested air space and will have to fight their way in,how many escorts? That’s for the IAF to decide,. but one thing is sure that their only job is to get the White Swan through to the point it can launch its payload.

      This nuclear delivery is a strategic level operation to cause maximum damage to the enemy where it hurts him the most. When the fighters sweep the sky clean and lead in the bomber, the SAMs,will have to unleash their missiles,may take a few hits as well, ground strikes to take out the SAMs will follow. This will be a critical mission and failure is not an option, so every precaution will be taken. Comparing a strategic level operation with a tactical conventional bombing sortie is a blinkered way of looking at what the end game will achieve.

      Russia not committing these expensive and limited number of bombers to take out low value targets in Ukraine is the right thing to do. They have the SU34 for such contingencies.

  22. Ayush says:

    I am well aware of the fact that you are a UCLA graduate.I personally had an opportunity to join one of them and also Purdue.Truly regret having turned that down for IIT Bombay.IITs are pure c_r@p,to say it mildly.The median package for CSE graduates is 15-20 lakh.Salaries saturate at the 30-40 lakh level within 10 years–not worth the hard work.You are lucky if companies like Samsung care to pay a visit during placements.60%+ of the guys here are on reservations.And some”ST” category people get one way tickets to iits and good branches if they bother to solve a handful questions in jee advanced.The student ethos is unbelievably atrocious.The reservation types and guys from places like navodaya vidyala are always dreaming about government jobs and “do number ka paisa”.These are the types who usually end up at places like,( say )drdo! And never mind the GOI propaganda that IITs have actually “started to make something”.For instance ,the “top iit minds” teamed up with drdo took some 20 odd years to develop the “indigenous” RF seeker for astra mk1.And even that so called indigenous seeker has critical western micro electronics.The rocket motor is copy-paste of some Israeli stuff.The production plant for this seeker was unveiled by Def min only a couple of weeks ago!This country is truly “ram bha_rose”.

    • Gaurav Tyagi says:

      @Ayush- Very well said. It seems that you are pursuing B.Tech in Computer Science from IIT Bombay. You can apply for a Masters Degree in International Relations from any Western University once you are finished with your B.Tech.

      You have a good knowledge about Strategic Affairs so it won’t be difficult for you to change your stream for your Masters.

      ‘guys from places like navodaya vidyala are always dreaming about government jobs and “do number ka paisa”.

      This statement of yours reminded me of the year 2013. I returned from Netherlands after completion of my Masters Degree. I found a job as a Communication/Placement trainer at an Engineering College in Meerut(U.P.)

      The students over there had no interest in attending classes regularly. They all wanted government jobs because as per them one doesn’t have to do any work besides making a lot of ‘under the table money’ in the public sector.

      I resigned from the job within a few months & moved out of India again.

  23. ranjith says:

    How is this supposed to cross the Tibetan Plateau without getting shot down?

    • Incidentally, Tu-160s will likely round in from over the sea to reach Beijing and northeastern Chinese targets. Su-30MKI will require complicated tactical routing to reach Lop Nor and Three Gorges.

  24. Sankar says:

    “On further questioning by me, he confirmed that the aircraft in question was the Tu-160” –

    This raises question, or should one say ‘opens the pandora’s box’, about Tu-160’s navigation over such long distances. Modern technology in this context is SATNAV, which is the technology of navigation by satellites. To my knowledge, all long-distance strategic bombers of the US or the Russians use the SATAV, and for that they have their own military satellites in space. And China has also its military satellite.

    So, it boils down to, does India have its own military satellite in space? ISRO has made great strides in mastering Satellite technology for civilian purposes true, but I think SATNAV is in the distant future of IAF to master. In a recent article in IDR on state-of-the-art air weaponry by a retired Air Marshal I raised this issue, but he did not respond to my prompting. I can only surmise that no program exists for the IAF at present to close that gap in technology.

    Could Professor Karnad comment on this please, in particular, whether IAF is goading ISRO to launch a ‘military satellite’ for its own use?

    • ‘Am subject to correction, but already India has several dedicated military satellites in geosynchronous and low earth orbits, and also its own GPS.

      • Ayush says:

        @ Bharat/Sankar
        I believe there is something called as “GSAT-7A” also nicknamed as “Angry bird”.The exact specifications of this satellites is highly classified. This provides secure, encrypted beyond line-of- sight comms to IAF jets in our extended neighbourhood (Pak/China). This satellite is in the geostationary satellite and far beyond the range of PLA kinetic ASAT weapons.What’s more is that IAF has equipped all of its frontline jets with state of the art Software defined radios something which even the Russians’ lack.This of course, is a well learned lesson from Op swift retort.

  25. Roy says:

    Will India’s acquisition of the strategic bomber cause China/PLA to reconsider the salami slicing tactics on the Indo-China border?

  26. Gaurav Tyagi says:


    Excerpts from the aforementioned;

    “We all believe in Akhand Bharat but until it is formed, every person’s heart should continue to dream of it.”

    “Jews prayed for 2,000 years before they got their land,” Fadnavis said.

    The agenda of BJP is clear. They wish the masses to remain in perpetual fantasy of unattainable Akhand Bharat while they themselves enjoy all perks & power.

  27. Shaurya says:

    @Sankar: The IRNSS provides satnav upto 1500 KM from Indian borders. For coverage beyond these Indian military has access to GLONASS military frequencies.

    • Amit says:

      According to an assessment done by the EUCFR last year, India has 9 military satellites compared to China’s 125. China’s reach is definitely superior. Clearly some catching up to do. Maybe with India signing on to the BECA with the US, India could use US assets (US has 218 military satellites), especially when it comes to China. Maybe till it builds a more robust network.

    • Sankar says:


      Thanks for the technical data which is vital. that I was not aware of – I have no exposure to Satellite technology. I think GLONASS is of the Soviet era and China has the full insight of the EM spectrum of it. .

      What comes in mind in this context is that you can only jam Satellite signals at the receiver end and not at the transmitter. Thus, the receivers at a ground station can be made inoperable in theory by an aircraft in the sky flying near it. The signal from a Satellite will be intercepted however by the receiver on the Tu-160 flying high up in the sky, hence cannot be jammed from a ground station but by a Satellite transmitting the appropriate radiation. Hence a Chinese military satellite could undertake an electronic attack on the bomber. The only way to counter it would be if the GLONASS module of the Indian Satellite controlling the navigation is tweaked in some way, for example, by modulating the GLONASS transmit beamform not in the main lobe, but on one of its sidelobes, and the receiver on India’s bomber is accordingly tuned. This will surely need hard work in signal analysis. But DRDO has excellent expertise to carry out this research.

  28. V.Ganesh says:

    @BharatKarnad Instead of leasing these, does the Government of India have the money to ask the Government of the Russian Federation to build 12 to 16 of these and will the Government of the Russian Federation agree?

  29. V.Ganesh says:

    @BharatKarnad Is Sergei Gorshkov the one after whom the Soviet/Russian Navy aircraft carrier Gorshkov was named and the one which the Indian Navy bought?

  30. V.Ganesh says:

    @BharatKarnad You talked about PLAAF Hong-9. I couldn’t find anything to read about it on the web. What I found instead was the Xian H-6, the license-built version of Tu-16 used by the PLAAF on Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xian_H-6

    How much of a threat is the PLAAF Xian H-6 to India?

  31. V.Ganesh says:

    @BharatKarnad US Congressman Ro Khanna says that Joe Biden will expedite India sanctions waiver over Russian missile deal https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/joe-biden-will-expedite-india-sanctions-waiver-over-russian-missile-deal-3241448/

    I’m assuming by now the US would have come to know about India leasing Tu-160 White Swan [I might be wrong, I’m only making an assumption], so in that case will Biden sanction India or offer the US equivalent of the Tu-160 White Swan or something similar? The US sees that it needs India to contain China.

  32. V.Ganesh says:

    @BharatKarnad As and when the Tu-160 White Swan joins the IAF, is it possible to use it to destroy Pakistan’s entire nuclear arsenal without it having to enter Pakistan’s airspace? Former ACM, B. S. Dhanoa said that the IAF can take out Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal if the government gives the permission to do so.

    • Think strategic, think Lop Nor!

      • V.Ganesh says:

        @BharatKarnad Lop Nor should definitely be a target, but, if by using the Tu-160 White Swan to obliterate Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, India can wipe out Pakistan’s military in its aftermath and put an end to all the mayhem that Pakistan unleashes in India, won’t it be good? And that way, India can repeat 1971 and undo Pakistan.

    • Gaurav Tyagi says:

      @Ganesh- ‘Former ACM, B. S. Dhanoa said that the IAF can take out Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal if the government gives the permission to do so.’

      This is the most ridiculous statement which only a frustrated, retired army guy can make. While in service enjoy free whisky in the force’s bars without doing anything meaningful.

      On retirement indulge in useless rhetorics to stay in the limelight.

      • V.Ganesh says:

        @Gaurav I don’t know on what basis you said what you said and I don’t have a problem with that.

        But, for me, what former ACM B. S. Dhanoa said sounded good and was something that the Government of India should order the IAF to do so ASAP.

        Especially when we’ve the nuclear-armed Rafale which I think doesn’t need to go into Pakistan’s airspace to strike targets there, along with the S-400 Triumf along with the Tu-160 White Swan.

        I don’t understand why the Government of India agreed along with the Government of Pakistan to share the list of their respective nuclear installations every year https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-Nuclear_Aggression_Agreement

        The late former Prime Minister of India, Shri Rajiv Gandhi signed this agreement in his wisdom is even more shocking considering the fact that he made R&AW’s CIT-X and CIT-J to go after terrorist groups backed by Pakistan.

        Shri Narendra Modi should withdraw from this Non Nuclear Aggression Pact.

        It’s like two sworn enemies Israel and Iran sharing the list of their respective nuclear installations which is never going to happen.

        It’s time India undid 50% of Partition by wiping out Pakistan from the face of the earth and annex it.

  33. vrittamani s govindarajan says:

    Very encouraging to hear this news.

  34. Gaurav Tyagi says:

    @ Ganesh- What I meant by my statement was the useless nonsense talks from Armed Forces Personnel. We can do this, we can do that blah blah. Go and do it then why hiding behind Government’s permission or non permission?

    ‘It’s time India undid 50% of Partition by wiping out Pakistan from the face of the earth and annex it.’

    What do you propose to do with the huge population of Pakistan? Make them do ‘ghar wapasi’ and make them Hindus again to recite Ramayana or to put them all in Gas Chambers like Hitler did with the Jews?

    Pakistan has been a free nation since 1947. They will never subjugate to Indian rule. Even if your fantasy of annexing Pakistan were to come true. Indian establishment will face a daily barrage of attacks/assassinations in Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad etc.

    The best option is to open the borders between India and Pakistan. Let there be free movement of people and trade flow.

    However, the establishments of both these countries will never do the aforementioned because it suits their respective agendas of keeping people under false fear and hatred for the other side.

  35. kenny says:

    I see the vedio and when did chief say about six tu-160 things? thanks

    • Read the post again. I say only that Raha confirmed lease of bombers, not their numbers. But when I asked him about leasing six Tu-160s, he did not refute it, mainly because this deal has been on the backburner since ACM NAK ‘Charlie’ Browne’s time.

  36. Andre Dowling says:

    Good Lord.

    Indian military analysts are getting excited about acquiring a 40 year old, non stealthy aircraft that, in the 21st century, is completely and irretrievably obsolete. Such a bomber wouldn’t stand a snowballs chance in hell of penetrating Chinese air defences.

    The US equivalent to the Tu-160, the B-1b, is soon to be retired. The US Airforce realises this sort of aircraft have had their day….they are no longer useful in a modern, 5th generation airforce.

    Seriously, what is the obsession India has with old, ineffective Russian military equipment.

    India is a natural, close military allie of the USA. Both countries have very fundamental interests in countering the expansionary tendencies of a belligerent, nationalist China and an extremist Islamist Pakistan. Just imagine what the Indian military could do with a few squadrons of F-35 fighters, a few Regiments of HIMARS and a few battalions of M1-Abrams tanks?

    India could be the dominant military power in South and East Asia. Instead, you kid yourself about the effectiveness of equipment dating from the Soviet era.

    I just don’t get you guys. Has Ukraine taught you nothing?

  37. Pingback: Indian Air Force eyes world’s biggest bomber – Indian Defense Analysis

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