Next War India-Pakistan (Review & OOB) Part II: The Indian Air Force

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Two SU-30MKI, the backbone of the future Indian Air Force

Two SU-30MKI, the backbone of the future Indian Air Force

Next War: India-Pakistan (Review & OOB) Part II: The Indian Air Force


I like to review the game and its Order of Battle because each counter has unique abstracted features. By knowing in details your forces and equipment , you can enjoy much more the game and be more embedded into the simulated war. The Next War: Indian-Pakistan game comes with advanced rules for several aspects of the warfare, including the Airpower. By using these specific rules, we may need for time to complete the turns but at the same time we are getting much more detail on this aspect of the battles.


A close-up of the Indian Air force included in the GMT game Next War: India-Pakistan

A close-up of the Indian Air force units included in the GMT game Next War: India-Pakistan


Of course, it is still possible to use airpower without using the advanced rules. so we can instead use the standard rules for this.



In my previous post I reviewed the Order of Battle for the India, in particular the ground forces. Now, I focus on the Indian Air Force and its counters included in the game:



There are twenty-two (22) counters for aircrafts of different types included in the game:

3 x Jaguar (Attack)

The SEPECAT Jaguar is an Anglo-French jet attack aircraft, originally used by the British Royal Air Force and the French Air Force in the close air support and nuclear strike role, and still in service with the Indian Air Force. For the SEPECAT Jaguar M/S 115 planes, and for the SEPECAT Jaguar T 30 planes. Service-life upgrades to be completed by 2020. Also operated in a naval strike role.

The Indian Air Force plans to upgrade up to 125 Jaguars starting in 2013 by upgrading the avionics (including multi mode radar, auto-pilot and other changes) as part of the DARIN III programme and is considering fitting more powerful engines, Honeywell F125IN to improve performance, particularly at medium altitudes. By assuming a wing of 30~40 units per counter we can have 120 Jaguars in the game.

3 x Mig-27 (Attack)


The Mikoyan MiG-27Flogger-D/J” is a variable-geometry ground-attack aircraft, originally built by the Mikoyan design bureau in the Soviet Union and later license-produced in India by Hindustan Aeronautics as the Bahadur (“Valiant”). It is based on the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 fighter aircraft, but optimized for air-to-ground attack.Indian Air Force 165 MiG-27Ms licensed built by HAL.


Total 120 Upgraded Mig-27ML Active. To be retired between 2018 to 2020.All non-upgraded aircraft to be retired by March 2016, with remaining aircraft to be retired by 2018. To be replaced by HAL Tejas

  • No. 2 Squadron IAF
  • No. 9 Squadron IAF
  • No. 18 Squadron IAF
  • No. 20 Squadron IAF
  • No. 22 Squadron IAF
  • No. 222 Squadron IAF

Therefore, we can consider 120 Mig-27ML(upgraded) in service in 6 squadrons, which means three wings. This makes roughly 3 counters with 36~40 planes.

4 x Su-30 (Multi-role air superiority fighter)


The Indian version of the classical Russian Su-30 Sukhoi is referred as Su-30MKI (NATO reporting name: Flanker-H) . This plane is currently being built under licence by India’sHindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force (IAF).

The aircraft is considered as a heavy, all-weather, long-range fighter. From 2000 , India has manufactureed 140 Su-30 fighter jets and additional MKIs have been ordered to increase the total to 272. The IAF had 200 Su-30MKIs in service as of August 2014. This Su-30MKI is expected to become the central aircraft of the Indian Air Force’s fighter fleet to 2020 and beyond. The SU-30MKI is currently deployed in many Indian Air Bases as follows:

  • Bareilly AFS: 15 Wing’s No. 8 Squadron IAF Eight Pursoots (since mid-2007) & No. 24 Squadron IAF Hunting Hawks sqns with Su-30MKI(since late 2003, and since early 2009 four of its Su-30MKIs have been tasked with strategic reconnaissance along the Sino-Indian LAC with EL/M-2060P SAR pod)
  • Bhatinda AFS: 34 Wing – No. 17 Squadron IAF Golden Arrows with Su-30MKI (since June 2012)
  • Chabua AFS: 14 Wing – No. 102 Squadron IAF Trisonics with Su-30MKI (since 8 March 2011)
  • Halwara AFS: 34 Wing – No. 220 Squadron IAF Desert Tigers with Su-30MKI (since 25 September 2012)
  • Jodhpur AFS: 32 Wing – No. 31 Squadron IAF Lions with Su-30MKI (since 1 October 2011)
  • Lohegaon AFS: 2 Wing – No. 20 Squadron IAF Lightning (since 27 September 2002) and 30 SQN Rhinos with Su-30MKI (since 21 March 2005)
  • Bhuj AFS: 27 Wing – No. 15 Squadron IAF Flying Lancers.
  • Tezpur AFS: 11 Wing – No. 2 Squadron IAFWinged Arrows with Su-30MKI (since 15 June 2009)
  • Maharajpur AFS: 40 Wing – TACDE with Su-30MKI (since October 2010)
  • Sulur AFS to get Su-30MKI aircraft in 2016.
  • Thanjavur AFS to host a squadron of 16–18 Su-30MKIs beginning in 2017.
  • Kalaikunda AFS: New squadron raised to further strengthen the eastern sector

Typically, one wing can consists of two squadrons of 16-18 planes.  This makes around 32 or 36 planes for wing. Taking into account that the game does not represent the full Indian Army and Air Force because the action is limited to the Pakistan border, we could estimate each counter of Su-30 as a wing, consisting of 36 planes: 4 x 36= 144 planes, which is more than half of the Su-30 in service (200). Note that usually not all the aircrafts a nation has are ready to join operations. A recent example of the low available number of F-18s of the Marine Corps (60%) illustrates this problem.

2 x Mig-29 (Fighter)


The Indian Air Force has 59 MiG-29 (or Baaz which in Hindi means Hawk) in service and 10 MiG-29UPG. The Mig-29 is an Air superiority fighter. The units are being upgraded to MiG-29UPG standard, the first six were upgraded in Russia. Remaining aircraft to be upgraded by HAL. It seems appropriate to consider each counter as one wing of 30 planes.

The Mig-25 are not shown in the game ans not operative either in large numbers.

2 x Mirage (Multi-role Fighter)

India has a fleet of 59 Mirage 2000. In 2007, India announced a $1.9 billion program to arm 51 of its Mirage 2000 aircraft with the MBDA AIM-132 ASRAAM dogfighting missile.  In July 2011, India approved an upgrade to the avionics and other systems on its Mirage 2000s. Each counter again can represent 30 planes approximately.


4 x Tejas (Multi-role Fighter)


The plane HAL Tejas is an Indian single-seat, single-jet engine, multi-role light fighter developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The development began in the 1980s and aimed to replace India’s ageing MiG-21 fighters. “Tejas” means “Radiant” in Hindi. Currently, there are no full squadrons with planes in service in the Air Force, however design and production has already started with 16 series productions delivered with 18 more on order for Mk.1 with IOC-2 standard. First aircraft entered service on 17 January 2015, with FOC expected in 2016. Mk.1A is in design stage with plans to finalize design by 2017 and production by 2019. Total planned numbers are 20 Mk.1 and 100 Mk.1A. 5 squadrons to be delivered by 2022-23. Therefore, there will be 120 Tejas operative by 2022-2023. By considering again 30 planes per counter, this will lead to 120.


4 x Mig-21 (Fighter)


As of August 2013, at least 252 MiG-21s are known to be in operation. The Mig-21MF and Mig-21 Bison are the variants operated by the Indian air Force. MiG-21MF (“Type 88″) and one squadron of upgraded MiG-21 Bisons to be retired in 2017. Remaining 132 aircraft to be phased out by 2022 or 2025.To be replaced by the HAL Tejas.  The plane has been plagued by safety problems. Since 1970 more than 170 Indian pilots and 40 civilians have been killed in MiG-21 accidents. At least 14 MiG-21s have crashed between 2010 and 2013.

Mig-21 Bison seems to have at present the role of an interceptor and  possibly a limited role of a fighter aircraft.The remaining Mig-21 Bisons of the IAF are scheduled to be phased out by 2019. Because 132 aircraft remain operative, and we have 4 counters, I think each one can represent 30 or 32 planes in agreement with previous aircraft types.



I think here the game is slightly ahead in the future since as far as I know the IAF does not have still full squadrons or units with attack helicopters, but it is good opportunity to see what-if they have right now. There are three counters for helicopters included in the game. We can consider approximately 10 units per squadron here.


1 x Rudra (Attack helicopter)


The HAL Rudra, also known as ALH-WSI, is an armed version of HAL Dhruv. Rudra is equipped with Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) and Thermal Imaging Sights Interface, a 20 mm turret gun, 70 mm rocket pods, anti-tank guided missiles and air-to-air missiles. Attack Helicopter with a total of 38 units on order. 7 operative.

1 x LCH (Attack helicopter)


The HAL Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) is a multirole combat helicopter being developed in India by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for use by the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army. 65 on order. 3 prototypes delivered. during combats in the Kargil War, it was highlighted the requirement of an attack helicopter made for such high altitude operations. In 2006, HAL announced its plans to design and build the LCH; funds for designing and developing the LCH to meet the requirements of the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force were sanctioned later that year.


1 x AH-64 Apache (Attack helicopter)

In April 2013, the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) decided that the IAF would receive the 22 AH-64s.In May 2013, the Indian Army requested 11 AH-64Es; and has a requirement for 39 Apaches.

The NEXT WAR: India-Pakistan is a GMT strategy game.

sphere The Analysis and Review of the Indian Army is available here

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