srin wrote:So if Navy is unlikely to get its 57 fighters, will the existing 45 Mig 29Ks be enough once INS Vikrant also gets commissioned?
How many aircraft can be accommodated on Vikramaditya and Vikrant together ? Wiki uncle says 26 fixed wing aircraft each, but I'm not sure if that is for peace time or wartime surge.
Are 44 MiG-29K's sufficient for two carriers? It depends on what the deployment schedules looks like, what other duties are tasked to those aircraft and whether any residual land based round the clock needs those fighters provide. A fleet of 44 aircraft that has 20% of the aircraft down at any given time can generate about 35 deployable aircraft. Assuming that a few two seat trainers don't deploy that is enough for one carrier with some reserves provided they can be cycled back and forth without impacting readiness or training. But it is a rather small fleet for a two carrier force
Precisely my thought. For a single carrier Navy, 45 Mig 29Ks are enough. But in the next two or three years, with Vikrant also coming in, we will need quick augmentation of carrier airwing.
There are three options that I can foresee.
New aircraft type: This is the 57 aircraft procurement. Both Shornet and Rafale are favourites. But looks quite unlikely given the finances.
More Mig 29K: If the Navy was happy with Mig 29K, the subject of new aircraft type wouldn't have arisen, so I presume they don't want it. With Kuznetsov all but scrapped, we may end up being the only operator. But this may be the most likely option.
Naval LCA: Depends upon how firm Navy is on only twin engine aircraft rule, and the performance of LCA Navy in the carrier based trials. My favourite, but I am not too optimistic.