phillip wrote:The MIG-29 is a later development.The F-18 was actually a development of the loser in the USAF fighter stakes ( the YF-17)which the F-16 handsomely won way back in the 20th siecle ('70s).
Let's not dig ourselves deeper into a hole. The MiG-29 prototype first flew in October 1977, while the F/A-18 classic hornet (which isn't even the Super Hornet) flew nearly a year later in 1978. The YF-17 demonstrator on which the F/A-18 classic hornet was based on first flew in 1974 a mere three years ahead of the MiG-29.
The F-18, initially known as McDonnell Douglas Model 267, was drastically modified from the YF-17. For carrier operations, the airframe, undercarriage, and tailhook were strengthened, folding wings and catapult attachments were added, and the landing gear was widened. To meet Navy range and reserves requirements, McDonnell increased fuel capacity by 4,460 pounds (2,020 kg), by enlarging the dorsal spine and adding a 96-gallon fuel tank to each wing. A "snag" was added to the wing's leading edge and stabilators to prevent an aeroelastic flutter discovered in the F-15 stabilator. The wings and stabilators were enlarged, the aft fuselage widened by 4 inches (102 mm), and the engines canted outward at the front. These changes added 10,000 lb (4,540 kg) to the gross weight, bringing it to 37,000 lb (16,800 kg). The YF-17's control system was replaced with a fully digital fly-by-wire system with quadruple redundancy, the first to be installed in a production fighter.
The YF-16 was chosen over the YF-17 for several reasons, none of which involved its evaluation as a carrier based multi-role fighter. I think that should be quite clear just as most common sense and even superficial knowledge of this stuff would also make it quite clear that the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet is a significant departure from the classic hornet, let alone the YF-17, and is, even at its baseline (block I) a significant enhancement in capability in pretty much every which way one evaluates the two. The part about Block II and Block III Super Hornet should also be quite easily understandable once one peeps into the upgrades that the got along the way.
phillip wrote:The MIG-29 and SU-27 are of the same vintage, the 29 entered service in the mid-80s.
The F/A-18 also entered service in the 1980's (1984 to be exact) and was a smaller complement to the F-14 Tomcat. But that F/A-18 (classic hornet) is not part of the discussion here as it is A) no longer in production, and B ) is on its way to being retired by USN and USMC and being replaced by a combination of the Super Hornet and F-35B and F-35C.
Classifying the SH as a 3+++ gen design, when its parent design (F/A-18 A-C) entered service with a full digital FBW system in the mid-1980's [IIRC the MiG-29 didn't have an operational fully digital FBW system till a decade or more later], while classifying the parent MiG-29 design as 4th gen SMACKS of extreme bias, extreme ignorance or just an allergy to facts.
phillip wrote:The F-18 even in its latest avatar will be of vintage value post 2030
As opposed to the MiG-29K which will be cutting edge, tip of the spear stuff? Please tell me how in the context of Naval Aviation will the Block III or future Block III+ enhancements be "vintage" compared to other naval fighters out there (minus the F-35C which is unlikely to be exported to anyone).
Let's see, how many MiG-35 based modified MiG-29K's is the Russian Navy buying? Zero, as far as I can tell. How many F/A-18 E/F Block III's is the US Navy buying? 76 at the very minimum, to be delivered between 2021 and 2025 and to be operational for a couple of decades (through 2040's) beyond that. That is the very minimum they will get. It is very easy to see the USN Block III production extending into the triple digits given the need to replace aircraft fast (due to excessive utilization over the last 2 decades). I'd much rather take funded and operationally committed investment rather than something that is very much a part of your personal wish_list (MiG-35 mods to the MiG-29K design) as opposed to something funded by the actual operators of the kit. Do note that 100% of the Block III development cost is funded by the USN, as well as putting those upgrades into production. USN pilots are already flying early Block III updates to validate them (CFT for example). Same is the case with the F3+ or F4 variants of the Dassault Rafale. France is paying for that R&D and is committing to upgrading its own Rafale-C's to that standard. None of those options requires the IN and MOD to pay for R&D and bank-roll enhancements being proposed either by A) the OEM offering the aircraft or B ) fanboys proposing magical transformation and upgrades. Again, I don't claim to have inside track on the IN/MOD thinking but with all this "could be proposals" for upgrades and enhancements, one would imagine that at some point the IN will ask them to put up or shut up..Develop and field a ++ variant of the MiG-29K (like USN is doing with Block III SH or Dassault/French navy Rafale) or else stop proposing fantasy S&T projects in lieu of actual operational variants.
phillip wrote:why I have advocated that we start a naval AMCA programme right now to perfect a 5th/6th- gen stealth fighter for our larger carriers which will arrive only a decade+ hence.
The AMCA is a mid to late 2030's deliverable at best on a carrier deck. The IN is CURRENTLY
requesting 57 new naval fighters to be delivered a decade if not more ahead of that. There is no magic wand that one can wave and get a new clean sheet 5th gen carrier based fighter in service in under 2 decades. Even the USN budgeted between 15-20 years and will need almost all of that time given a 2021 first F-35C operational deployment/cruise [ though the Marines were closer to 16 years with the F-35B].
phillip wrote:Even a MIG-35 naval bird if developed with TVC, far more capable than a 29K, will be at a stealth disadvantage with other stealth naval fighters operating even in this decade like the F-35 and Chin birds.
So a highly modified MiG-29/35/29K isn't going to be "vintage" in post 2030 environments? AND the IN should go ahead and fund someone else's R&D and integration and qualification work so that they could offer something for the IN, in a configuration that they themselves do not operate or plan to operate.
I have no special insight into the IN and MOD but putting my speculation hat on, I am willing to bet that the IN DOES NOT want to go down the path of picking something that essentially requires R&D/S&T investment to first develop and then a lengthy integration and test phase to validate EVEN BEFORE it can compete for the tender. It has been nearly a decade (or more) since the initial MRCA requirements were floated. MiG put together an AESA radar equipped multi-role fighter. Since that decade, exactly how many of those have been operational (with an AESA)? Meanwhile, in that time-frame, Boeing has managed to put >350 F/A-18E/F's (and EA-18G's) for a total fleet size of >500.
phillip wrote:One other possibility is a naval version of the SU-57 now cleared for Ru series production, with 70+ of the first avatar on order.
Same as above with a hyothetical naval variant of the Su-57 which is finally dragged on into serial production with an extremely low production volume (about 76 units in 9 or so years
). You suggest that the IN should discard its need for 57 carrier borne aircraft in order to save money to essentially bank roll Russian R&D and convert a land based aircraft into a carrier borne aircraft (which will require a SIGNIFICANT capital to develop and test) just so that carrier borne aircraft can then successfully compete for the IN's future aircraft procurement competition, if there is any money left to do it after funding Sukhoi's development of a naval fighter. I guess if the IN doesn't like the end-product, the Chinese could always pick it up for its Aircraft Carrier program and thank the IN for funding its development because the Russians sure wouldn't have done so in the next decade given the lack of an actual Aircraft Carrier program.
The IAF/MOD washed it hands of the JV to develop the FGFA (land based figther) based on the Su-57 which the Russian Air Force is funding and buying in small quantities for now. Yet you expect the IN/MOD to turn around and now exclusively bank roll a Naval-FGFA transformation from scratch when there has actually been ZERO funding towards such a hypothetical variant from the Russian side.
There is some serious departure from reality going on here!
While we are at it, is there any other Russian R&D you wish the IN (or IAF or IA) to also bankroll? A new CVN for them perhaps given that the last 4-5 seem to be struggling to go beyond the plastic model stage?
A 5th generation Naval Fighter (AMCA-N) is a 2 decade plus investment. It is 2019, and only one nation has managed to get there and for it, 5th generation technology investment track started in 1980s so it was a very long and winding road. I don't think the IN is willing to wait 2 decades before having an operational naval fighter (NEW) on its carrier decks, but that is something you do on the side even though it is not a viable option for the current round of acquisition, it will be later down the road.