^ Thanks. At the end of the day you have a Russian system, designed and built in russia and a US system. The economy's of the two nations are different, wages are different and there is also a lot less transparency on russian system contracted costs (Actually a $40 Million MiG is a much higher relative cost to Russia than even a $80 Million Shornet is to the US economy). The best place to look at the cost of a russian aircraft is to sift through news articles, while for the US most above a certain $ amount are required to publish a SAR, unless there is high system level classification (essentially reserved for the <5% of the systems that deserve such treatment). Within the SAR we can seperate Research, development, test and evaluation costs form acquisition costs, and within each acquisition cost category we can further seperate based on pure recurring fly-away cost, or a higher fly-away cost that includes initial bed down spares, support etc. We can also calculate the infrastructure cost that is unique to the system being acquired such as hanger upgrades, new construction as a result of the new system etc. The US gets its cost reduction through economies of scale because it will have, much like Europe significantly higher wages in aerospace compared to say a Russia or China. Its a given that Russian aircraft will be cheaper...
As the SAR shows the base fly-away (recurring) cost of the SH over its program was a tad below $60 Million per jet. This was achieved through a large order with high production run (Over 700 aircraft acquired). Reduce the production volume and the cost rises. A $35-40 Million MiG-29K, or $45 Million MiG-35 would always come in cheaper due to the difference in the economies of the two nations, but that was not what he was claiming. He was claiming that they were selling equal capability at half the cost with the MiG-29K which was a distortion of reality and doing so all along. While the reality is, that within he same post, he was seeking for an upgraded MiG-29K (modernization, perhaps at MLU he said) with capability the current block Rhino already possesses. Among western fighters, the Rhino has one of the lowest acquisition costs (over its production life) primarily because of its scale of production, rate of production and because it was based on an existing frame and transfered to an existing line. The F-35 will show a similar cost curve with production already surpassing 50 units per annum this year, and expected to more than double that by the end of the decade.
The MiG-29K is a great upgrade for the IN over the Harrier, and it will no doubt serve the IN well given that there was virtually no other realistic option since the aircraft essentially came with the carrier. Going forward, it becomes more cost-prohibitive to introduce a new type unless it s a long term decision (and for that they can well wait for the AMCA, N-FGFA, or F-35 to mature). Its a good aircraft, at a great price and hopefully the IN gets the most out of it and is well supported by the OEM. That in itself should be enough but he has to resort to making stuff up to somehow draw a comparison with a US aircraft and then claim superiority..and superiority at half the cost no less
The Rhino is a strike fighter dubbed the best fit for the 'pragmatic navy' by the head of naval aviation in the USN a few years ago. As the comrade makes sure to point out virtually on a weekly basis, they went for a 'systems truck concept' where they maximized mission systems, missions system upgrades, and reliability' over out and out performance - and used it to justify doing way with the F-14D in favor of a smaller, cheaper and arguably a more upgradable aircraft that offers higher reliability. And if anyone had a doubt on it, the USN's role in Iraq, Syria, has shown the value. These aircraft are flying 500+ hours per year, with the first batch of Rhino's likely to complete their service life (6000 airframe hours) even before the last one is delivered. Within a sequestered budget, the USN is barely finding enough O&S cash to fly these aircraft and is borrowing spares from other units to the existing crafts in extended deployments (not unusual for long deployments, historically speaking). Imagine them having to do the same with an F-14D, that costs twice as much to operate, and probably broke down twice as often. What they lost out in all out interception and speed capability, they have more than compensated by fielding enhanced mission systems a decade+ ahead of the competition. F-18E/F's deployed in the western pacific already field the Aim-9X Block II, Aim-120D (Super Hornet units were spotted carrying the Aim-120D CATM last year in Japan and more than 1000 missiles had been delivered by the end of 2015), already field the higher capability data-links (Growler), can talk to the E-2D for CEC (SM6 is my wingman concept), and already field an upgraded AESA radar. In about 5 years the Rhino fleet will get fleet-wide EW upgrades, and the Growler fleet will get the Next Generation Jammer Increment 1. Other system wide Growler upgrades, and medium term RMA's are posted int he Int. Military thread. The Super Hornet is a good example of institutional support delivering large capability upgrades over short periods of time. Contrast that with the Eurofighter Typhoon that has fielded an expensive weapons system with partners trying to get out of their commitment to fund timely upgrades. It was a different approach and has resulted in a different timeline when it comes to integration of weapons and mission system timelines. Again, a superior weapons system not being kept up to date as well as the Rhino - something that would have happened to the USN as well, had they gone in for the F-14D, F/A-18C mix.
You can't really compare that to the MiG-29K since its been acquired in very small numbers by the IN and Ru Navy or even the MiG-35, that has been a test-article for many year and is expecting Egypt as its first customer, probably followed by Russia sometime between 2017 and 2020 (deliveries) for an unknown but unlikely to be, large quantities.