chola wrote:The truth of the matter is we have all the time in the world to allow an indigenous solution to work itself out. There is NO threat scenario for the next two decades at least that requires carrier aircraft as the principal weapon.
All conventional threat scenarios over the next two decades will have the carriers playing a crucial role. The naval response to a conflict with Pakistan or China will come into the form of 'policing' of SLOCs running to Gwadar/Karachi or past Malacca.
There is nothing in the Indian Ocean that the IAF and the IN surface fleet can't handle. Carrier air power is nice to have but not essential to our ability to deal with the Pakis and whatever rump vessels the PLAN can spare for the Indian Ocean.
Any naval blockade of the Pakistani ports will involve positioning a fleet in or near the Gulf of Oman, which places it within strike range of shore-based PAF aircraft.
As for China, the PLAN is inducting 3 x Type 52D destroyers annually
. That's a rate of deliveries that is 6 times higher than ours (the P-15B program is scheduled for biennial deliveries). 12 times higher if you include capital ships; 3 x Type 054A annually vs first P-17A in 2023.
So yes, unless the Americans exert adequate pressure in the East, the 'rump' that the PLAN can spare may actually be larger than the whole IN by 2025. And if the Type 001A project remains on schedule, that expeditionary battle group may be centred around an operational aircraft carrier.
Yes, get better western aircraft to replace the Russian crap we're currently forced to use but let not that be an excuse to kill off the NLCA.
It should absolutely not be an excuse to kill off the N-LCA. At its price point, the acquisition of the N-LCA make sense even if its held in reserve (for attrition replacements) and for training.
That still doesn't change the fact that it'll be available no earlier than 2026 (best case), a good half decade after the Vikrant comes online. And that we have only enough fighters to equip one carrier, and even that type (MiG-29K) is of middling technology, that can at hold its own against PLANAF J-15As & PAF F-16s, but no more.