One step forward with PAKFA and many steps backwards with the latest air to ship missile defense system. It is an old 1980’s idea of a funky weapon. Theoretically sound for Cold War and Reagan Star War period, but old and useless for the current modern warfare doctrine of this millennium.
We are at a time of stand off weapons on stand off platforms. Biggest and best in the game are the Brits, USA and Russia. The most popular platforms are not only the F-22, F-35 or Russian Sukhoi’s, there is also the Mil-35 which also doubles as an EWS and an air to air CC. British and Americans might be expensive with no tech transfer but you have all kinds of durable Indo-Russified gadgets – which makes adaptation to stand off platforms easier and way cheaper.
Pakistan is getting access to Chinese version of Sukhoi and probably Mil-35 from Russia. Should Putin decides to sell and transfer this air borne technology (with multiple look down and shoot targeting radar) on the Mil, then your current defense industry update and missile defense acquisitions are ancient – fit for Museums). If you are operating from a one source CC, an air borne Mil-35, if not Sukhoi could stand off to hack, jam or over ride your mother board for another platform could fire. So India might as well be ready for “plinking” (Army, Navy and Air Force) should a conflict arise.
But unless India’s doctrine is inward looking and probably focused on fighting home grown Islamic terrorists, and showing off to the media, then it is understandable to acquire dog fighting aircrafts and 1980’s single purpose (star war) ship defense missiles for your Navy. When all you need to counter incoming stand off missile from a stand off platform is a set of sea borne robotic sentries to protect personnel, carriers and their entourage.
These sentries are deployed like air borne missile deflectors on an air craft (Russia’s already deploy them to cover its arctic zone) Only difference is they are recoverable water based robotic mini drones. They are different from swarming robotic boats – not big and could easily fit into a backpack. They have laser missile deflectors, range and target finder with a gun platform for firing back if needed etc, and are absolutely fantastic as decoys – deflecting to take the brunt of any type of incoming missile (ahead and away) from the mother ship.
They could be used on land as well. You just need to configure them with tracks or wheels. You can also use them to provide air cover in support for tanks and armored vehicles – in case you get lured into a tank battle by Pakistan.
To survive and thrive in that region, India need to re-access it’s doctrine, procure the right (which is too expensive) or update what you have by cross referencing with known Sputnik associates (they are cheaper) and forget about being awed by fashionable trends and push button defense industry mechanism from France, Israel, Sweden, Norway, Japan and Taiwan.
Imagine if I have a stand off platform like a Mil-35, do you think I’ll fire one stand off missile and forget about it? No. I’ll do lateral vertical firing of three missiles or slightly canted firing of three missiles, at close intervals, maybe. Each with a multiple warhead, and fired from a longer (stand off) range. I’ll get away from position and let the missiles do their job – suppress, jam, over ride, home in and kill – with hull, bridge and broadside as options.
The British Navy employed this particular type of firing tactics against German submarines in the last world war. Guess who won!
My point is what is BEST for India to have at the moment is not be the RIGHT thing for it’s defense.
The British Military procuring system is not about the BEST, no. It is about securing everything and anything that is RIGHT for the job – officers, troopers and weapons of the moment and future included. Same base and supportive doctrine was used to set up Russian, Brazil and Chilean military by the British government centuries ago.
Following fashionable trend without a real purpose is dangerous to any military, more so if you have a huge population behind you.