Tuesday, August 26, 2008

EXCLUSIVE: IAF's Red Flag team to report airborne ELINT on Sukhois

The Indian Air Force's Red Flag 08-4 team will include, as part of its routine report to Air Force HQ, notings on two "extra-exercise incidents" by what were possibly US Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) aircraft -- one at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho, where the IAF warmed up, and the second over the Nevada range airspace off Nellis where the Red Flag exercise was held. An official with the contingent that attended the exercise at Nellis confirmed that team leader Group Captain Diptendu Chaudhary's official debrief to Vayu Bhawan would contain descriptions of two incidents that will be categorized formally as "suspicious" and "unscheduled".

According to this official's account, the first incident took place on July 21 at Mountain Home AFB in Idaho, during the training phase. The second took place on August 17 during Red Flag itself. The nature of both incidents is, so far, unknown. In separate incidents, one unconfirmed account suggests that IAF Sukhois were spooked by a USAF RC-135 rigged with an ELINT payload twice in July -- once when a fleet of Sukois were near flying near the Southern Coast of England (they were there for the Farnborough Air Show), and the second, in the same month when the Red Flag squad was flying into the United States.

As has been reported in the American press, the Sukhois flew during their exercise with their Tikhomirov Instrument Bureau (NIIP) radars "trimmed" to training mode, and with pre-set instructions not to use electronic or active countermeasures, because of which they were repeatedly slammed by ground-based enemy air defences.

I spoke to former AOC-in-C Western Air Command, Air Marshal AK Singh yesterday as part of the story I did on Headlines Today last evening. He was one of the pilots who ferried Jaguars to Ambala from the UK in 1981. He described repeated incidents where US intelligence aircraft based in Saudi Arabia would spook the Jaguars, and, on one memorable occasion, when one even formated with the Jaguars over the Arabian Sea.

The question of course is, how much does the US already know about the Su-30MKI. Does it know everything it already needs to? In which case, are any spooking attempts simply efforts to confirm already held information?

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

If story appeared on Headlines yesterday then why was the info not put up here yesterday itself

Shiv Aroor said...

anon: i didn't have the time yesterday to post. that's why had to put it up today.

Anonymous said...

stinking yanks will stop at nothing. good we turned our radars off. by the way is the same radar used on the su-35???

Anonymous said...

anon @ 6:10. -
i think the su 35 has a different radar with capablity to show more targets . pts called N035 Irbis radar system or something. soon the su 35s will have a new radar called IRBIS E and the indian su 30 mkis would be upgraded to it from 2010 onwards.

single seat su 35BM will be a good option for india as lot of trainig is required for these two seater aircraft and more pilots. its all the same in comparison with the su 30 MKI, so the same squadron can operate the same aircraft with the experienced pilots flying the su 35 on shorter missions.

it has lesser radar signature also.....

Anonymous said...

what we got from this exercise,except loosing our secrets and
nation is proud to see su 30 being deployed abroad,US government is so much protective to save it's military tech that even it's allies are refused to share tech,why can't
our government does the same,this example shows kursk disaster was related to spying by brits and americans.

and no wonder if they follow our nuke subs,brits and americans are still one when it comes these kind of scenerios.

eric said...

in the international airspace it is absolutely permissible for airlanes to spy each other, but US using ELINT on the aircraft of a country it has invited is really unwanted. americans are a really scared group of people, probably because they r felling guilty about waging so many wars.
what has happened regarding the ELINT is nothing as compared to the information that india gave to US formally over the pretext of 'network centricity', and then the us would have had a close physical look of all the major components.
US pilots were flown on our aircraft, inspite of the fact that they were aware that US had used ELINT. inspite of all the controversy IAF personnel were rather so happy glorifying americans.

in the jaguar incident as told by Air Marshal AK Singh, F14 figters follwed the indian fighters and took photos. probably UK wasnt willing to show their planes to US then.

Austin said...

Its part of the game , IAF knows it will be spooked when on such mission and hence they take extreme care on they use radar and other EW equipment.

I am sure when the USAF or other countries come to India for exercise ,the IAF tries the same trick.

We should be more careful about ground spies than such stuff.

These days of software re-programmable radar and EW equipment , it provides additional safety measures.

Anonymous said...

This frequency or whatever, is it so unchangeable?

why not cycle the frequency/ or change it permanently after coming back to India? Forgive my lack of technical knowledge on this front.

Anonymous said...

Sir,

The so called development of Indo-US relations is itself disturbing. US has always played twin-roles, one of supporting Pak and other hand(now a days) of supporting India by going into nuclear deal,offering mili aircrafts and so called invitation to joint exercises. On the other hand our relations with Russia is worsening day by day( E.g Delay of Vikramaditya, Post-design invite to take part in PAK-FA programme etc).. The current incident of spooking of Su-30's by US spy planes in Nevada is itself an example of US policy.(think it is second such incident reported by you)

Our Govt./ Mili Bosses need to remember the saying

Known Devils and better than unknown Angels

as thus try to improve our relations with our good friend RUSSIA

Pain in Shiv's U-No-Ware said...

Dear Shiv,
This not your typical jolly good glory day for India hazmottalah report of very cheery I love that $$ mungo-mongo bongo/bingo we jump for the yank newjs...Patience, patience is the name for all yore issues , Shiv. It will happen, whatever yore heart dezires.

Anonymous said...

What does the last comment mean and what kinda name is this...pain in shiv's u-no-ware ??

Anonymous said...

someone has said above india tries the same tricks when other fighters come to india.

first of all it seems that IAF doesnt have the capablity to get the frequency etc, even if india had they wouldnt have done it, we r too 'clean' it seems. all paplu kind(right on top, we have a helichopter pilot) of people run our airforce now, it lacks shrewd tacticians who in the past have won wars for india when our enemy's were far more adnanced than us.


and then what will india do with getting secret information abt ancient fighters like F 15, f-15, f-18, french mirage 2000's(which india itself has, india can straight away attack these aircraft seeing their radar signature

Anonymous said...

Fcuking americans.They are always after the MKI`s

Anonymous said...

Americans are known for stabing on the back.

I am worried americans will sell this data to all airforces which have purchased F-16; as Software upgrades to increase their sales of their ancient machines.

That includes PAF (pakistan air force)
The CIA has very close relation with ISI. so free upgrades to paf
Now even those stupid paf f-16 will have some(if not more) guts to think about fighting Su-30MKI
GOD give some Bhuddhi to our Governmnet who allowed IAF to go there in Red Flag

Anonymous said...

though not the exact incident but the american interest in the radars on the sukhois appeared six days back in Aviation week

Anonymous said...

If Americans are known for stabbing in the back, then Shiv Aroor is also an American.

Anonymous said...

Looks funny on part of our so called Govt. who wanna sell our secrets to Pakis.... Here goes the link

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_channel.jsp?channel=defense&id=news/INDI08218.xml

Anonymous said...

US doesn't know the secrets of bars
radar because only india and malaysia have these radars and these were never used in any exercise with anyone this is the second time india took these aircraft to froeign land thats why they are trying to get it's frequencies so we should be very aware of and save our secrets.

thats why US doesn't use f22 on foreign land with foreign air forces neither they export it just see how protective they are,they are selling us f18 for which they don't even allow to transfer aesa tech

these exercises are of no use other than spying,so we should stop using our top end fighters and not to show our all cards

Anonymous said...

the F-15s which US fielded for the excercise along with the Sukhois has had its share of problems just before the excercise. As according to the ,american media reports "..they were largely grounded from from Nov. 3, 2007, to Jan. 10 after an F-15 broke apart in mid-air over Missouri. An investigation found that 160 of the Air Force's nearly 700 F-15s had defects.."

The whole purpose of this excercise from the american perspective was nothing but to dig for more info reg. Sukhois.

WillWorkForFood said...

By spooked, do you simply mean tailed?

Or do you mean , the aircraft some sort of external electronic interference?

Why would there be electronic interference off the coast of England, or while "entering" the US. I would think their radars would be turned off no?

It makes sense that there would be some attempt at intereference during Red Flag.

I would also expect that the Sukhois may have also been able to gather some sort of data on the F-16s as well, yes?

Indian delusions of self importance never cease to amaze me. The IAF isn't stupid. Give them some credit. If they didn't think they would get an advantage of flying at Red Flag, they wouldnt have gone.

The IAF has a lot more to gain from the Americans then them from us. The USAFs intelligence capability surpasses none.

The electronic intelligence was probably the USAF making sure that they can truly detect and take care of the Sukhois, especially with things going downhill in Georgia.

anthony said...

Maybe one reason they want the MKI's technological secrets, i.e. the frequency bands, is so they can counter Tikhomirov's N001V radars used on PLAAF Shenyang J-11s and Sukhoi Su-30MKKs.