$10-15B just for "status"!
But seriously,no one is disputing the power that a carrier contains with sqds of strike aircraft,mobile on the high seas. The US,which declares itself as the "lone superpower" must possess 10-12 supercarriers to be able to threaten and thus cow down little upstarts like NoKo,etc. It needs overwhelming firepower to do the same.Hence the large fleet of super-large carriers.
Yet,despite its massive carrier capability,the US also requires smaller allies who possess smaller carriers,amphibs,etc. to "take up the slack" when Uncle Sam decides to sh*t on someone. You have "Little Britain",punching way above its weight,only because Britain's "uncle",Sam by name is bigger than any other power's "uncle"."Uncle" Putin ,Czar of all the Russias is also a powerful uncle,the only one who can stare Uncle Sam eyeball-to-eyeball,but he is very selective as to whom he supports and only where Russia's interests will be damaged severely.Uncle P has a much reduced global agenda requiring a alarge no. of carriers. He feels that his subs can do the biz.The would-be-superpower,China,the arrogant ars*hole of Asia,and by the way since China is so fond of renaming Indian entities,I'm renaming Beijing as "Bullsh*t" and Shanghai as "Shithole",
is building not only sev. large carriers but also a huge fleet of N-subs.I posted yesterday the new PRC facility that can build 4 N-subs at a time all under one roof,the world's largest! It is investing most heavily in its navy (GOI pl. take note)
,and post 2020/25 will have around 70-80 brand new subs and around 4-5 carriers. But all this is costing a massive fortune,something that India and the IN-which gets the smallest share of the defence halwa,does not have.
Therefore,we must "cut our coat according to our cloth".Regrettably,in reinvent years,some of the N's thinking has been influenced by the USN,which is a carrier first navy. AS said before,it can't afford everything and its allies like catamite UK,yaps at its heels. Having India with a few useful carriers that complement its own fleet is what the US intends to achieve,putting the IN to its good use first rather than India's!
The huge no. of USN F-18s which are hangar queens,due to huge MRO problems/shortages/funds,etc., requires the US to seduce the IN to follow its line,not a strategy that puts India first. Our third carrier would best be a sister ship to the new Vikrant/IAC-1,with some mods and a little larger,so that commonality bears its own fruit in operations,crew/manning,and spares/support. Not to also mention similar aircraft. WE're told that 29K problems will be resolved by the OEM and wait for the same.In any case,even a Rafale-M can operate from the Vik-A,IAC-1 and IAC-2 if it is a sister ship as the CDG is a similar med. sized carrier too,albeit N-powered so that there is that extra power for CATS. One would rather have IAC-2 sometime around 2025 instead of the "status" carrier nowhere before 2030!
Our signal requirements are a balanced fleet ,of course comprising carriers (3),but one's that we can afford .Right now the sub fleet is in acute crisis where even our 6 Scorpenes will come without AIP while China's 8 subs sold to Pak and under construction will have the Stirling AIP system and will be armed with a variety of missiles that even our Scorpenes will not be able to match! BUulding subs is a long an arduous task.We've yet to master it,relying upon significant Ru help for our ATV/SSBN programme and Kilo upgrades. To meet the looming challenge from China and Pak requires a multi-lateral strategy for augmenting the sub fleet asap.Here are some options. Another point against the extra Scorpenes,they must have a better AIP system than MESMA which Pak is discarding in favour of the Stirling engine system (on Chinese boats).
1.3 extra Scorpenes to make up numbers.These must be AIP boats and able to fire BMos-L,Klub,etc.It will need a nod from Russia and must also be affordable as the current cost for non-AIP Scorpenes are an outrage. You can get 2 larger Kilos for just one Scorpene.
2.More upgraded Kilos. In a recent exercise with the USN,our Kilo "sank" a USN Los Angeles SSN.That speaks for itself! Perhaps 3+ more built at great speed,which is being done in Ru yards,will increase the no. of Kilos to 12.From 20025 or so,Kilos the first of the already upgraded will need replacing.
Remember that they will have undergone a second refit/upgrade and will have a definite lifespan. Because of the 9 in service,these subs will still be our principal type until 2030. The 6 Scoprpenes will not carry BMos,Klub,etc. but vastly inferior sub-launched Exocet and harpoon which Pak already posses!
This is why Pak is going in for Chinese boats which will come with superior anti-ship/land attack cruise missiles.
3. A new Ru type such as Amur/Kalina. Even if we sign today,the first boat will arrive only 5 years hence. Leasing the 2 Amurs was an option,offered to us but it would mean that we must then choose that type as a second line of Ru diesel/AIP boats. Not knowing anything about the new Kalina design,construction of the first boat to begin shortly,and one assumes that it would be much better than an Amur,the interim solution of extra upgraded BMos Kilos makes more sense,until we know which boat suits us best.
4.More German U-boats so that our decades of experience with the excellent U-209s doesn't go waste. The 4 ins ervice have upgrade limitations and should be replaced in time with upto 8 new U-boats 214/216,whatever is affordable to us.I would plump for this as or 3rd line of conventional AIP subs,to replace the Scorpenes
.However,even here the new U-boats must be compatible with our most fearsome weapon,BMos.
In all,at least 24+ conventional subs must be in the IN's sub fleet.,Ru,Fr,and German tech. In fact that's what we have at the moment!
5.N-subs:SSN/SSGN.These form a requirement in itself,apart from the diesel/AIP subs mentioned above. These subs will spearhead our multi-ocean blue-water ops anywhere on the globe,will have 90-100 days endurance,as against the 45+ endurance of most AIP subs,and will carry a wide range of missiles and torpedoes. They will be required to sink Chinese CBGs,convoys,etc.that threaten to ingress into the IOR (as the Enterprise did decades ago,which was tailed bu Sov. N-subs) before they enter our "backyard",in the ICS/Pacific. Our stated requirement is for 6 SSNs,One more Akula-2 SSGN is on order,much modified,and perhaps 2 more again leased from Ru ill provide us with enough capability until all our 6 N-boats are delivered.
6.Leasing more N-boats/diesel boats from Russia. For any immediate 'medicine',this is the only reasonable option until our domestic yards are in full swing building at least 2-3 subs/yr.L&T should be given the job of SSNs,VIzag SSBNs,and MDL SSKs (FR/German).KIlo/Ru iupgrades,etc. was already signed on by Pip/R.co. some time ago.
Russia's example of upgrading and returning to service its Cold War SSGNs is a moot point.The Oscars,Sierras,etc. ,have massive arsenals nd echo what the USN is doing with its old SSBNs,filling them up with huge arsenals of LRCMs like Tomahawaks.
These are just a few points to start the debate .Pl wade in and open fire!