Austin wrote:If the Navy can afford to buy 57 Combat Aircraft when they couldnt get passed smaller program via MOD with far less budget then I have a moon to sell.
Neither the Vikrant or IAC wont carry more than 18-20 AC even during best of times , The rest of complement will be ASW Choppers , AEW system and SAR Choppers , The Helicopter numbers will far outclass the fighter component on our Aircraft carrier , The Viraat too never carried more than 12-14 SHAR most of the time it sailed but the fleet of Helicopter was far larger. Indian AC emphasis Fleet Air Defence as much as it does for ASW duties they are primary threat for CBG.
The Navy released the RFI for the 57 fighters because it isn't boneheaded enough to invest $7-8 billion and two decades in its carrier fleet (not to mention the cost of the other elements in the CBG) and then cheap out with an under-strength air complement.
The VikAd & Vikrant are twice the size of the Viraat, and the objective has always been to embark with a standard complement of two fighter squadrons each (i.e. 20-24 MiGs) plus 10 helicopters, hardly an over-ambitious goal.
Meanwhile, the current naval fighter strength is NOT enough to operationally deploy the Vikrant & VikAd with even 18-20 fighters. And while the MiG-29K has fairly decent combat potential today, it is certainly not cutting edge, which means there is no space for trade-offs with respect to numerical strength (especially if it continues to be dogged by availability issues).
With the N-Tejas almost out of the picture, at least in the relevant timeframe, an alternative is required. Also, given that the IN can spread the cost of follow-on MiG-29Ks over a decade or so, the cost can hardly be considered debilitating.
But to come back to your original assertion -
Austin wrote:If they are planing to buy 57 Aircraft which is just a RFI long way from RFP and much longer from any selection or purchase then it would be for the new aircraft carrier only.
The Navy's position has been crystal clear, the acquisition is not about the IAC-2.
As far as the carrier-based aircraft is concerned, we need it in a time line of the induction of the aircraft carrier. We have the MiG 29K, which operates from Vikramaditya and will operate from IAC Vikrant. We were also hoping to operate the LCA from these two aircraft carriers. Unfortunately, the LCA is not being able to meet the carrier’s required capability. That is why we need an alternative aircraft to operate from these two aircraft carriers. If you look around the world, there are not too many options available and we need this carrier capable aircraft sooner than later. So, I am looking at next five-six years. - Adm. Sunil Lamba