Philip wrote:The P-8 can't perform low and slow prosecution of subs unlike turboprops. Low and slow has its better results than a bird flying at higher alts. Secondly larer numbers of long endurance aircraft are needed. The IL-38s come at a fraction of the cost of a P-8,please compare the huge cost difference.
Philip, this slow&long turbo-prop endurance is another one of those things that have been discussed in the Balakot strike as well as post-Balakot operations. In that case, AEW(pak eriye) vs AEWC (Netra). If you are fighting a war over a vast area like India and its surroundings, you need to reach the theatre of action fast and quick, unlike pakis*. For regular patrols and surveillance, you can use fuel-sipping but slow turboprop to keep the OPEX low. The paki turboprops had longer endurance and acted more like picket surveillance than a truly offensive and fast mode like the Netra did during the Balakote strikes. Indian defensive play was all GCI managed, based on the awards to the lady, despite Netra being around. To summarize, the low and slow for normal times, but high and fast for increased temparature situation.
Regarding the "low and slow prosecution of subs"? If a sub is streaming underwater at a quiet 5 knots, can IL38 also keep pace, without stalling? What if sub stops, will the IL38 hover and lower a dunking sonar? Doesn't it too uses single-use sono-buoys dropped at a high speed? So what is its big slow-speed advantage vis-a-vis P8I other than fuel usage? The P8I apparently uses a GPS guided para-drop method for both buoys and torpedos, from its usual operating heights (30k feet). Seem more accurate and a lot safer than the old and slow method to me, if the sub or a sub-tender trawler has even a basic MANPAD.
That C-295 will make a great defensive MPA or a picket AEW for border surveillance, but no way can it replace the Netra or P8I's wartime advantages of speed. We need a ton of Netras and P8Is like yestereday and maybe some C-295 (although drones could be a lot more easier on budget)
Also Post-USSR, all the Russian kit's brochure prices have been low, but operating them is where the spike has been. Just because the Tu-Bear went all the way till SAfrica and back, does not mean they regularly do it - most of the time they seem to be basking in the Goan sun. P8I on the other hand has been cited as doing magnitude more mission hours due to excellent uptime. For example, if we consider the Su30MKI's past uptime, it was 60%. So an airforce that direly needs 10 squadrons of these craft on air will need to spend money for 4 more squadrons to bridge that gap. But what about 40% of duds in that 4 squadrons? Another 2 more to bridge the gap of the 4 squadrons, and another 1..... and so on
IN's IL38 has never been cited by Navy as a high-uptime aircraft, compared to P8I.
From ASW perspective, a large aircraft carrier never made sense, but a robust ASW capability consisting of MRSAM defended island-based bubbles, a large fleet of P8Is , sat-networked MALE drones, SOSUS and a small fleet of fast SSNs (that can chase down a carrier group) would make sense for an armed recon role during peace or war. Maybe four amphibous assault ships that can swing to an ASW (lots of helicopters) or sea-control (AShm + A2A loaded aircraft) role after the assault is over, to deny reinforcements to be floated into an IOR island territory. Basically three more Vikrants
* Cheen with its identical vast theatres, still produces turboprop AEW for reasons other than logic, so is not a good role model for many things - their experiments with Y8 to keep open an ancient assembly line is something that would make even our OFB unions cringe. If we still churned out Avros like they do with Y8s, our guys too would also be forced to mount everything on it. But their Comac has a different and worrying production line though, need careful scrutiny.