Chinese acquisition of S 400 SAM in near future possesses serious challenge for RAFALE to perform it’s SEAD mission . Chinese would be getting hand on these systems from year 2020 onwards. Most likely they would be fielding it near indian border region especially in the Northeastern states of india .
This post would give a brief insight how could RAFALE counter S- 400 threat from CHINA in near future for IAF.
⏩ 1) Rafale’s low flying capabilty with abilty to launch A-G cruise missile at tree top height.
The Rafale is fitted with a multisensor terrain-following system operating at the pilot’s choice from the radar or from a digital terrain database : the RBE2 radar can detect even unreported obstruction and the digital terrain database does away with telltale emissions where total covertness is required.The terrain-following function integrated with the Rafale’s flight control system actually flies the aircraft closer to the ground or the sea than would be reasonable for the crew flying in manual mode — and it does so with a demonstrated safety level even in blind weather.
Rafale have the ability to launch A-G cruise missiles like scalp at very low level ,so it can also launch brahmos NG cruise missile from that height also.
So S 400 radar would have difficulty in detecting rafale at such low height from such long range .
⏩ 2)Spectra’ Active cancellation tech-
Rafale Spectra can fool those radars by giving false radar echo returns with the help of it’s active cancellation tech .It had been tested in S 300 in MACE XIII in April 2012 in Slovakia & appears to be quite succesful
Rafale threat library systems (ESM system ) needs to be updated to various bandwidth. India can use it’s own S 400 radar systems wavelength frequencies to update rafale’s Spectra’s threat library system . It can practice SEAD operation with it’s own S 400 systems .
⏩ 3)New generation of long range A-G Supersonic cruise missile-
New variant of Supersonic cruise missile like Brahmos -NG with enhanced range of 500km can help rafale to keep away from S400 radar range plus targeting a supersonic cruise missile with steep dive capabilty for S 400 SAM’s point defence system like pantsir/Tor Missile wont be an easy job .
EMP warheads should be developed so that it fit in Brahmos NG which can take out those radar systems of S 400 .
i dont feel long range glide bombs like Spice 250/ Anti radiation missile would be effective against S 400 point defence system like pantsir/TORs . unless it is fired in large numbers to overwhelm them.
⏩ 4) Self protection systems should be improved on rafale-
Improved self protection system should be installed in rafale like expendable EM decoys like french LEA / Swedish brite cloud systems ,as towed decoys wont be useful in case of rafale it would unnecessarily waste 2 weapon points .You cant guarantee in combat that you would remain undetected everytime, so even if you are detected & fired by S400 -SAM missiles you need expendables EM decoys like LEA/brite cloud which gives the plane sufficient safe distance from SAM missiles warhead’s blast radius compare to towed decoys .
⏩ 5)Next gen of Spectra should be developed for IAF rafale-
New gen of jamming capability should be employed with GaN tech for rafale in terms of SPECTRA NG , i doubt india would be getting it ,but RBE 2 aesa radar with EA/ESM capabilty is under development in france , would be fielded by 2021/22. India should opt for further upgrades of these system in rafale’s (mid life upgrade) MLU program.
US airforce is planning to use 2 EA -18 growlers with next gen Jamming pod coupled with E 2D top to target S 400 radar systems with the help of other SIGNIT platforms also .
Similarly india needs to use it’s SIGNIT platforms like phalcons , reconnaissance UAVS & even satellite network to locate SAM threats inside Chinese territory & proper planning of flight path for IAF ‘s rafale should be determined to avoid hot SAM sites radar coverage
⏩ 6) Ground based EW suites should be used in border areas .
Incase the chinese deploy S 4oo in borders areas & india deploys rafale in Northeastern states then S 400 can detect Rafale while taking off from those airbases so Ground based EW suite like Samyukta EW suites should be used to jam S 400 radars to prevent detection of rafale entry path in chinese airsapce & also while take off.
⏩ 7)Stealthy combat UCAVS should be developed like france are developing nEURon UCavs
These ucavs can be partially contolled by Rafale’s pilot from the cockpit to enter highly dangerous SAM threat areas coupled with PGMs /glide bombs .India AURA UCAVS can be controlled by rafale if they decide to do it
⏩ 8)Make a secret deal with Vietnam/chinese neighbour countries to use their bases for refueling/landing-
My best bet is to avoid getting into S 400 radar coverage range as much as possible . We need to use countries like vietnam in nuclear strike missions deep inside chinese territory as we can land in & take off from their airbases if situations demands to avoid long flight path to heart of china which can be highly dangerous.
⏩ This article was written by IDF member DrSomnath999 .