sudeepj wrote:Rakesh ji, I am not sure a nuclear power is necessary for a carrier to make a difference. Even if the carrier itself is nuclear, the planes are not and after a couple of weeks of operations, the carrier needs to take on aviation kerosene so it can continue to function as a weapons platform. Nuclear power does give advantages, particularly if your goal is to operate in the Pacific with vast distances and no nearby bases. If the farthest distance an Indian Carrier Battle Group operates is around malacca, a conventionally fueled carrier can be quite effective both in battle and occasional patrols.
Aiyoo! Saar, Let's drop the ji? I am not worthy of ji.
And you are more or less spot on....that is if the Indian CBG is to operate in and around Malacca, then a conventionally powered aircraft carrier can be just as effective. And as per the Indian Navy itself, their primary zone of operations is in the IOR. However, the Navy is the one asking for a nuclear powered, aircraft carrier. That got soundly rejected by the babus in the MoD. Going further down that path, even EMALS would be a moot point for the IN. A regular catapult - as in the Nimitz Class or on the Charles De Gaulle - would be fine.
But if the IN is looking to mimic carrier ops - covering vast expanses of ocean - like the Nimitz or Gerald Ford Classes or even the Charles De Gaulle, then a nuclear powered vessel makes perfect sense. But the Navy keeps emphasizing that the IOR is their main focus. So no wonder, the MoD Babus rejected the idea of a nuclear powered vessel.
No argument there.
CATOBAR allows your carrier to have organic AEW (Chopper borne AEW is just not the same), sustain increased pace of combat operations, confidently take on land based fighters and finally, influence a land battle. You have the point about the carrier needing support, excuse me, ass backwards and fundamentally wrong.
Its the rest of the fleet that needs air cover by the carrier to confidently go in a region contested by either naval or land based air power. Without the carrier, virtually the entire Indian fleet will not venture into the strike radius of a Mirage/P3 based in Karachi. Even the best Indian naval SAM is outranged by the vintage cruise missiles owned by Pak. Once they locate the fleet, they can continue to remain outside the envelope of the SAM while taking pot shots at the fleet itself.
Without the carrier, specifically a CATOBAR carrier, any navy can not truly call itself a blue water force.
Navy's new £3.5b aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth needs protecting by FRENCH warships
https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/82904 ... -Falklands
Britain's new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth will be forced to rely on French frigates to protect it from attack, the Ministry of Defence confirmed yesterday.
When the PN's Agosta 90B and Type 039Bs coming knocking, the Vikrant carries no sonars. How are they going to detect them? The same is true for the Vikramaditya. The Sea King Mk 42B - to be carried aboard both vessels - are not the greatest, especially against Agosta 90Bs and Type 039Bs. In fact the Navy is right now having a competition to replace the Sea King who is well past her prime. To protect the carrier, you need dedicated submarine hunters like the Delhi Class, Kolkata Class (destroyers) and Shivalik Class, Talwar Class (frigates) to do the job. Send an aircraft carrier out into the Arabian Sea, without a battle group and she will either be sunk or rendered inoperable by PN submarines.
An aircraft carrier's greatest enemy comes from not surface vessels or from aerial targets (which air power aboard an aircraft carrier can take care of). Her greatest threat comes from a submarine. And the PLAN has a sizeable fleet of them and so will the PN by the end of the next decade. Now there is that age old argument ---> the ocean is vast, an aircraft carrier is hard to detect and thus the sub threat is overblown. I would beg to differ. A US Navy's carrier strike group consists of;
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrier_b ... tle_Groups
1 Aircraft Carrier
1 Guided Missile Cruiser (for Air Defense)
2 LAMPS (Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System) Capable Warships (focusing on Anti-Submarine and Surface Warfare)
1–2 Anti Submarine Destroyers or Frigates
This is a sample CBG of the French Navy...from the same link above...
1 Aircraft Carrier
1 Rubis Class submarine
2 anti-submarine destroyers
1 or 2 anti-air destroyers (Horizon or Cassard class)
1 stealth frigate in forward patrol
1 supply ship
What happens to the aircraft carrier's air power, if for whatever reason carrier operations are not available at that point in time? No point in having a 50+ aircraft fleet, if the carrier cannot launch them. At that point, for defence you need a Guided Missile Cruiser and Anti-Submarine Destroyers or Frigates. So let's say an anti-ship missile strikes the Vikramaditya and now the flat top is compromised. How is she going to fight any further? She will be unable to.
A CBG is symbiotic, they both need each other for survival. But no Navy will send out an aircraft carrier out into the middle of a conflict...all by herself. That is foolishness. A Kolkata, Delhi, Shivalik or Talwar can go out into the open ocean all alone, provided she has an effective helo fleet (S-70B for ASW), a towed array sonar and a hull mounted sonar. The first two are right now lacking. Everything else on those vessels are fairly up to date - radars, weapons, sensors, etc.