nachiket wrote:The total orders for Mig-29Ks at this point are 45. The Vikramaditya will carry not more than 18-24 of these at any given time. The Vikrant is not going to be ready for commissioning for a few more years. So what exactly is the need for more fighters at this point?
More importantly, what is the need for a second imported fighter type? CONFIGURATION:
Our carriers today are STOBAR. This configuration inherently limits the capabilities of onboard aircraft no matter how good they are.
With STOBAR, all aircraft e.g. rafale or hornet or super hornet or Su-33 will be as limited as a Mig-29K in terms of the payload they can carry. Only a steam catapult or EMALS will help aircraft realize their full potential.
With STOBAR, the Mig-29K is a multi-role aircraft that can perform superbly in the air defence role, while carrying lightweight anti-ship missiles and bombs in the strike role, and there is no need for a second fighter type, except as a Mig-29K replacement 20 years later.SIZE:
The 40-45,000 ton VikAd and Vikrant are too small to carry 2 fighter types because they will carry 20-24 jets max with a more likely number being 16.
The Charles de Gaulle is a similar sized carrier that carries only the multi-role rafale today (with a steam catapult).
The old RN carriers Ark Royal & Eagle were the last 40-50,000 ton carriers to see service and deployed a mix of 12 air defence Phantoms and 12 strike Buccaneers as their final air wing (with steam catapults).WHY A SECOND FIGHTER:
With a CATOBAR configuration, the Rafale with its higher payload capacity is far better than a Mig-29K and is a valid replacement.
If the IN's intent is to buy newer generation more capable fighters to operate off the 65,000 ton INS Vishal equipped with an EMALS, then we should buy 40 rafales or 40 F35s that can either deliver a very large payload (rafale) or bring stealth (F35) to the table, because neither the Mig-29K nor the LCA Tejas is designed to offer either capability.
The LCA Tejas is a valid second type because it helps our strategic capabilities to progress.
To reiterate - the CNS is not stating anything new or something that we didn't know before. The ToI reporter (Rajat Pandit I bet) simply has the statement repackaged with an intent to sensationalize.