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INS Vikramaditya update?

Josh_TN

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i was thinking earlier
with the IN already thinking of a MiG-29K replacement

in retrospect do you think rather than Fulcrums, they should have gone for more Harriers (either the UK or US versions) instead?
could probably have lasted until 2020-2030ish, which by then they could have moved on to something else, F-35B/C, Rafale, etc.

I assume it would not be too difficult to adapt the harrier to the Vikramaditya
Short answer? No. Long answer? Hell no! The Harrier is a fine plane. But at this point, it's a 55 year old design, it's subsonic, carries 4,000 pounds less ordinance and is significantly less capable as an interceptor primarily due to its low speed. The Harrier has provided outstanding service throughout its life. But even a compromised MiG-29K offers more.
Besides all of the above, it isn't in production any more and the only remaining user are the USMC (possibly the Spaniards still? Pretty sure the Italians retired theirs). All the British examples were bought for parts by the US, so there is only one large pool of working aircraft and they are not in great shape even now, let alone in the future.

The obvious, in fact only, STOVL choice would be F-35, but it isn't clear India will ever be allowed to purchase that due to S-400 purchases.

EDIT TO ADD: F-18E/F/G seems like a more likely option for Indian STOBAR ops. With the retirement of Viraat, there's no reason to have two very different modes of operations between carriers. Any future Indian CV I assume is CATOBAR, which can use the same aircraft and similar deck handling procedures to STOBAR. The Rafale M not having folding wings seems like a deal breaker to me, so I can't see the Indians buying anything but F-18 unless F-35 were to become available. The F-18 isn't especially capable as a fighter, but it has an excellent avionics fit, vastly better range than an MiG-29 (especially any future purchase which would be Blk 3), and has been integrated (and will continue to be integrated) with possibly the widest range of ordnance options of any Western aircraft.
 
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Archibald

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Dassault excuse was that the Rafale delta has short span. They didn't integrated a fold for weight and complexity reason - even more because the French Navy come a distant second to the Air Force in the timeline (late 80's) and in numbers (60 to 200+). So basically "screw them".
Well, I'm sure they are wishing they'd included one now with STOBAR carriers becoming more common

C'est la vie ! To their credit, fate of all those Soviet carriers post 1991 was quite unpredictible and looks pretty weird with 100% hindsight. China starting a collection of Kievs as amusement parks, only to go for Kuznetsov unfinished brother, cloning it; with India getting the one and only Kiev China didn't got and upgrading it in the end... weird.
 

uk 75

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At the moment, India only has a second carrier (Vikrant) working up.
I suspect the first ship will keep its Migs while Vikrant will get Sukhois like the Chinese carriers. Being India, they will probably have to take some Tejals too.
Shame about the lifts as Rafale would have been politically easy for both India and France.
India has never bought any US combat gear and I cant see them starting now. Under Trump it might have been , but Biden .
 

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At the moment, India only has a second carrier (Vikrant) working up.
I suspect the first ship will keep its Migs while Vikrant will get Sukhois like the Chinese carriers. Being India, they will probably have to take some Tejals too.
Shame about the lifts as Rafale would have been politically easy for both India and France.
India has never bought any US combat gear and I cant see them starting now. Under Trump it might have been , but Biden .
How would they even get Sukhois? It was my understanding that the Russians shut down SU-33 production in 1999. Even the Russian Navy is replacing them with MiG-29Ks. So unless they want Chinese knockoffs, which I doubt as those are supposedly even more dangerous than the MiG is, I don't see how they're getting any
 

Josh_TN

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The Indians have made US purchases more recently as noted above. C-17s and P-8s are hardly minor purchases. But I suspect they will just end up buying more MiGs for now. I don't think they would buy Hornet unless they were committed to replacing the MiG-29 completely, and even politics aside it an expensive aircraft. Su-27 family was already rejected, probably because of the small payload from a non cat launch and the physical size of the airframe compared to MiG29 in such a relatively small deck area. The J-15 is hardly ideal for Liaoning either, but the Chinese are pretty adamant about domestic construction now.
 
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uk 75

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I mistakenly thought the Indians had their own production line.
I had forgotten the P8. But this and the C17 are less likely to be impacted if Biden decides India is doing sonething the US doesnt like.
I stick with Migs and Tejans with perhaps Sukhois/Rafale for Vikrant. But with India being a democracy they may replace Mohdi with someone less right wing.
 

Josh_TN

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I sincerely doubt Modi is going anywhere and I doubt the Indian Navy wants to maintain two types of embarked aircraft across a fleet of only two carriers. So it will be most likely be MiGs for now. When carrier three comes into service that type will be very dated, not built for cat launches, and likely out of production.
 

helmutkohl

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i was thinking earlier
with the IN already thinking of a MiG-29K replacement

in retrospect do you think rather than Fulcrums, they should have gone for more Harriers (either the UK or US versions) instead?
could probably have lasted until 2020-2030ish, which by then they could have moved on to something else, F-35B/C, Rafale, etc.

I assume it would not be too difficult to adapt the harrier to the Vikramaditya
Short answer? No. Long answer? Hell no! The Harrier is a fine plane. But at this point, it's a 55 year old design, it's subsonic, carries 4,000 pounds less ordinance and is significantly less capable as an interceptor primarily due to its low speed. The Harrier has provided outstanding service throughout its life. But even a compromised MiG-29K offers more.
Besides all of the above, it isn't in production any more and the only remaining user are the USMC (possibly the Spaniards still? Pretty sure the Italians retired theirs). All the British examples were bought for parts by the US, so there is only one large pool of working aircraft and they are not in great shape even now, let alone in the future.

The obvious, in fact only, STOVL choice would be F-35, but it isn't clear India will ever be allowed to purchase that due to S-400 purchases.

EDIT TO ADD: F-18E/F/G seems like a more likely option for Indian STOBAR ops. With the retirement of Viraat, there's no reason to have two very different modes of operations between carriers. Any future Indian CV I assume is CATOBAR, which can use the same aircraft and similar deck handling procedures to STOBAR. The Rafale M not having folding wings seems like a deal breaker to me, so I can't see the Indians buying anything but F-18 unless F-35 were to become available. The F-18 isn't especially capable as a fighter, but it has an excellent avionics fit, vastly better range than an MiG-29 (especially any future purchase which would be Blk 3), and has been integrated (and will continue to be integrated) with possibly the widest range of ordnance options of any Western aircraft.

in this whatif scenario, India buying more harriers over the MiG-29K would have happened in the mid 2000s when the whole thing first began. and would probably exit service around now (assuming F-35Bs were allowed to be sold to India).
In that case the Harriers would have been good enough for Indian needs for those 15 years.

as for Rafale.. its wingspan is 10.5m and isnt the Vikrant elevators supposed to be 11m?
 

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i was thinking earlier
with the IN already thinking of a MiG-29K replacement

in retrospect do you think rather than Fulcrums, they should have gone for more Harriers (either the UK or US versions) instead?
could probably have lasted until 2020-2030ish, which by then they could have moved on to something else, F-35B/C, Rafale, etc.

I assume it would not be too difficult to adapt the harrier to the Vikramaditya
Short answer? No. Long answer? Hell no! The Harrier is a fine plane. But at this point, it's a 55 year old design, it's subsonic, carries 4,000 pounds less ordinance and is significantly less capable as an interceptor primarily due to its low speed. The Harrier has provided outstanding service throughout its life. But even a compromised MiG-29K offers more.
Besides all of the above, it isn't in production any more and the only remaining user are the USMC (possibly the Spaniards still? Pretty sure the Italians retired theirs). All the British examples were bought for parts by the US, so there is only one large pool of working aircraft and they are not in great shape even now, let alone in the future.

The obvious, in fact only, STOVL choice would be F-35, but it isn't clear India will ever be allowed to purchase that due to S-400 purchases.

EDIT TO ADD: F-18E/F/G seems like a more likely option for Indian STOBAR ops. With the retirement of Viraat, there's no reason to have two very different modes of operations between carriers. Any future Indian CV I assume is CATOBAR, which can use the same aircraft and similar deck handling procedures to STOBAR. The Rafale M not having folding wings seems like a deal breaker to me, so I can't see the Indians buying anything but F-18 unless F-35 were to become available. The F-18 isn't especially capable as a fighter, but it has an excellent avionics fit, vastly better range than an MiG-29 (especially any future purchase which would be Blk 3), and has been integrated (and will continue to be integrated) with possibly the widest range of ordnance options of any Western aircraft.

in this whatif scenario, India buying more harriers over the MiG-29K would have happened in the mid 2000s when the whole thing first began. and would probably exit service around now (assuming F-35Bs were allowed to be sold to India).
In that case the Harriers would have been good enough for Indian needs for those 15 years.

as for Rafale.. its wingspan is 10.5m and isnt the Vikrant elevators supposed to be 11m?
Where are they getting them from? The Harrier went out of production in 1997. As Josh pointed out, there were only 2 countries with large fleets of Harriers: the US and UK. And when the UK retired them, the USMC bought every single one to provide spare parts for theirs which were becoming increasingly costly to operate.

As for the Rafale, that would give you less than a foot of clearance on either side to get it onto the lift. And that's assuming the numbers are accurate.
 

helmutkohl

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i was thinking earlier
with the IN already thinking of a MiG-29K replacement

in retrospect do you think rather than Fulcrums, they should have gone for more Harriers (either the UK or US versions) instead?
could probably have lasted until 2020-2030ish, which by then they could have moved on to something else, F-35B/C, Rafale, etc.

I assume it would not be too difficult to adapt the harrier to the Vikramaditya
Short answer? No. Long answer? Hell no! The Harrier is a fine plane. But at this point, it's a 55 year old design, it's subsonic, carries 4,000 pounds less ordinance and is significantly less capable as an interceptor primarily due to its low speed. The Harrier has provided outstanding service throughout its life. But even a compromised MiG-29K offers more.
Besides all of the above, it isn't in production any more and the only remaining user are the USMC (possibly the Spaniards still? Pretty sure the Italians retired theirs). All the British examples were bought for parts by the US, so there is only one large pool of working aircraft and they are not in great shape even now, let alone in the future.

The obvious, in fact only, STOVL choice would be F-35, but it isn't clear India will ever be allowed to purchase that due to S-400 purchases.

EDIT TO ADD: F-18E/F/G seems like a more likely option for Indian STOBAR ops. With the retirement of Viraat, there's no reason to have two very different modes of operations between carriers. Any future Indian CV I assume is CATOBAR, which can use the same aircraft and similar deck handling procedures to STOBAR. The Rafale M not having folding wings seems like a deal breaker to me, so I can't see the Indians buying anything but F-18 unless F-35 were to become available. The F-18 isn't especially capable as a fighter, but it has an excellent avionics fit, vastly better range than an MiG-29 (especially any future purchase which would be Blk 3), and has been integrated (and will continue to be integrated) with possibly the widest range of ordnance options of any Western aircraft.

in this whatif scenario, India buying more harriers over the MiG-29K would have happened in the mid 2000s when the whole thing first began. and would probably exit service around now (assuming F-35Bs were allowed to be sold to India).
In that case the Harriers would have been good enough for Indian needs for those 15 years.

as for Rafale.. its wingspan is 10.5m and isnt the Vikrant elevators supposed to be 11m?
Where are they getting them from? The Harrier went out of production in 1997. As Josh pointed out, there were only 2 countries with large fleets of Harriers: the US and UK. And when the UK retired them, the USMC bought every single one to provide spare parts for theirs which were becoming increasingly costly to operate.

As for the Rafale, that would give you less than a foot of clearance on either side to get it onto the lift. And that's assuming the numbers are accurate.
obviously the UK or the US. but my question is when did they retire them?
 

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The F-18 isn't especially capable as a fighter, but it has an excellent avionics fit, vastly better range than an MiG-29 (especially any future purchase which would be Blk 3), and has been integrated (and will continue to be integrated) with possibly the widest range of ordnance options of any Western aircraft.
I think this might be the first time that anyone has ever referred to the Hornet's range as a positive.
 

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obviously the UK or the US. but my question is when did they retire them?
The US is still flying them and didn't start retiring them until the last couple years. The UK didn't retire theirs until 2010/2011 and the US bought them immediately.
 

Josh_TN

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The F-18 isn't especially capable as a fighter, but it has an excellent avionics fit, vastly better range than an MiG-29 (especially any future purchase which would be Blk 3), and has been integrated (and will continue to be integrated) with possibly the widest range of ordnance options of any Western aircraft.
I think this might be the first time that anyone has ever referred to the Hornet's range as a positive.

The Super Bugs aren't exactly long legged, but the Blk 3 is supposed to add over a hundred miles of combat radius. When I looked up the MiG-29K combat radius, I found out it apparently carried substantially more fuel than the baseline MiG-29 and so has a surprising long endurance. But I think the blk3 Hornet probably still wins pretty easily.
 

Josh_TN

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Back to the ship herself a bit more, what is the purpose of that tall stand alone mast aft of the island?
 

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The F-18 isn't especially capable as a fighter, but it has an excellent avionics fit, vastly better range than an MiG-29 (especially any future purchase which would be Blk 3), and has been integrated (and will continue to be integrated) with possibly the widest range of ordnance options of any Western aircraft.
I think this might be the first time that anyone has ever referred to the Hornet's range as a positive.

The Super Bugs aren't exactly long legged, but the Blk 3 is supposed to add over a hundred miles of combat radius. When I looked up the MiG-29K combat radius, I found out it apparently carried substantially more fuel than the baseline MiG-29 and so has a surprising long endurance. But I think the blk3 Hornet probably still wins pretty easily.
That's only if the conformal fuel tanks are retained though, and the Navy is now talking about not keeping them because they are apparently causing maintenence issues (at least if I'm remembering the article I read correctly)
 

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The Gorshkov deal was inked around 2004-5 ish so its a possibility India could have bought them before the US could. And perhaps the invincible with it. Probably would retire it around now once the Vikrant gets into service.

Back to the current issue


folded wings
Super Hornet - 9.32m
F-35C - 9.08m
MiG-29k - 7.5m

Rafale - 10.5m

If this article is correct

Vikrant lift - 10x 14 (but is located on the sides allowing for hang)
Vikramaditya - 18.8 x 9.9 (the larger lift in the front)
 

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The Gorshkov deal was inked around 2004-5 ish so its a possibility India could have bought them before the US could. And perhaps the invincible with it. Probably would retire it around now once the Vikrant gets into service.

Back to the current issue


folded wings
Super Hornet - 9.32m
F-35C - 9.08m
MiG-29k - 7.5m

Rafale - 10.5m

If this article is correct

Vikrant lift - 10x 14 (but is located on the sides allowing for hang)
Vikramaditya - 18.8 x 9.9 (the larger lift in the front)
You're using hindsight. Vikramaditya was supposed to enter service in August, 2008, 4.5 years after the contract was signed in January, 2004. In 2008, everyone who had Harriers was still flying them. The Indian Navy was expecting to need fighters by 2008, not 2013 (when she actually commissioned).
 

Josh_TN

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The F-18 isn't especially capable as a fighter, but it has an excellent avionics fit, vastly better range than an MiG-29 (especially any future purchase which would be Blk 3), and has been integrated (and will continue to be integrated) with possibly the widest range of ordnance options of any Western aircraft.
I think this might be the first time that anyone has ever referred to the Hornet's range as a positive.

The Super Bugs aren't exactly long legged, but the Blk 3 is supposed to add over a hundred miles of combat radius. When I looked up the MiG-29K combat radius, I found out it apparently carried substantially more fuel than the baseline MiG-29 and so has a surprising long endurance. But I think the blk3 Hornet probably still wins pretty easily.
That's only if the conformal fuel tanks are retained though, and the Navy is now talking about not keeping them because they are apparently causing maintenence issues (at least if I'm remembering the article I read correctly)
Thanks for that, I hadn't heard they were having problems. I assume it probably has something to do with launches and recoveries, since several previous aircraft types have easily accepted conformal add ons. But the F-18 would be the only one I know of that has to make an arrested landing.
 

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Thanks for that, I hadn't heard they were having problems. I assume it probably has something to do with launches and recoveries, since several previous aircraft types have easily accepted conformal add ons. But the F-18 would be the only one I know of that has to make an arrested landing.
Ok, so I did remember correctly. Here's the article. But the gist of it is that the Navy discovered issues with the CFTs during testing "in a carrier environment." They don't say exactly what the problem is beyond "technical, structural and sustainment" problems. Which could mean anything from as serious as "launching and trapping is causing issues" to something as simple as "maintenance is a bitch and the ground crew keeps complaining."
 
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uk 75

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With Biden starting to be more assertive with Russia and China those Indian F18s might yet happen. It would be an easy way of being seen to counter China's military buildup.
 

helmutkohl

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On a related note.. what happened to those Rafales with CFTs?
did they give up on it too?
C2y_Tl9WEAAj7Ly.jpg
 

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