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Old 19th May 2015, 08:55   #16
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Default Re: Indian Naval Aviation - Air Arm and its Carriers

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Originally Posted by Rahul Bhalgat View Post
Russia has been our trusted and consistent ally since long. If a western and an eastern neighbour calls war on us simultaneously, then I think, only Russia is in a good position to balance the situation in our favour. Rather, I would say that western and eastern neighbours are not calling war at a time because of our robust alliance with Russia. So, while making the deals, this needs to be given some weightage.
To a certain extent I agree with you. Right from the days of USSR, Russia is our strategic partner when it comes to international relations and defense co-operations. But gone are those days when Russia was given preference in all defence deals as India has started looking towards west and to the matter of fact Russia is no longer numero 1 arms supplier to India. Below is the snippet which I am pasting directly from India today dated Aug 2014

"Stunning new figures on Indian defence imports by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley in Parliament on Tuesday have revealed that for the first time, the United States has overtaken all competitors to become India's largest defence supplier in the past three financial years"

So all I am saying is Russian equipment may be cheap but their availability at any point of time is less when compared to its Western counterparts and it requires some extra efforts to keep it in shape. Now coming to the point, cost of INS Vikramaditya may or may not be cheap but the way Russians have modified it from a helicopter carrier into STOBAR based aircraft carrier is incredible and the workmanship of Russian shipyard is highly commendable.

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Old 19th May 2015, 09:18   #17
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Default Re: Indian Naval Aviation - Air Arm and its Carriers

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Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post
INS Vikramaditya & the Mig-29K

This brings us to the 4th and last part of our story of the here and now of INS Vikramaditya joining the fleet in 2013 and entry into service of the Mig-29K multi-role combat aircraft.
Reminds me of a brilliant pictorial put up by bhpian swsumit when they headed to Russia from Mumbai to probably get Vikramaditya home:

Thread link (Timeless Travel: A Journey of 8,400 Nautical Miles across the 7 Seas!)

Superb read as always V.Narayan. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 19th May 2015, 10:36   #18
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Fantastic compilation Narayan. Thank you very much for the effort you have put in collecting those pics, editing them with description and the writeup. Splendid.

Rated a well deserved 5 *

Please keep such informative threads coming. Will definitely be of huge help in understanding our Armed forces
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Old 19th May 2015, 11:17   #19
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To a certain extent I agree with you. Right from the days of USSR, Russia is our strategic partner when it comes to international relations and defense co-operations.

So all I am saying is Russian equipment may be cheap but their availability at any point of time is less when compared to its Western counterparts and it requires some extra efforts to keep it in shape.
Agree with you; I carry the same impression after reading / hearing the media since past.

We can get rid of compromises with Russian equipment only if USA and EU is with us on terrorism, Pakistan and Kashmir issue. So far, they have not endorsed our stand 100% on these issues. So in case of hostile situation with such neighbour, can we be sure that USA will not support them? If we start having a winning edge, USA may intervene to stop the war "for peace". This is where I think Russia counts. So, willing or unwilling, we may have had to accept such compromises.

I hope that with domestic manufacturing and with good strategic alliance and trade with other nations, we will not need to make compromises in the future.

To make that happen, let us trust our leadership from time to time (irrespective of the parties) whenever they are proactive on this front. Past and present Govt. took such actions from time to time, to win 100% confidence of USA. We (and the media) shall refrain from criticising them.

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Old 19th May 2015, 12:16   #20
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Another brilliant article Sir. Nicely Compiled.

Isn't the P-8I named Neptune in IN service? The Tu-142s and P-8Is are operating in the same squadron as A & B flights.
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Old 19th May 2015, 20:18   #21
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Originally Posted by peterjim13 View Post

Let me come to my questions :

1. With CSL offering to build the next one in line after INS Vikrant II and since they have made a statement saying that it can be delivered within 4 years after the INS Vikrant II is delivered (Currently in construction) that is at about 2018; what is your take on this. Should we have a follow on order for the same? ( I assume they are talking about something that can be build in the same infrastructure, that would be again a carrier in the range of 40K displacement)

2. What is your take on the next carrier INS Vishal. The Govt has alloted 30 Crore for the same. On the same lines, what all should be the features of our next Carrier ?
*From what I understand, it will be a CATOBAR super carrier with the new generations EMALS tech for fighter take off, and we also have an option for a nuclear powered engine for the same.

3. And last on the combination of fighter for the Naval Air Arm, We have Mig 29 KUB (Air Superiority, Multi Role Fighter) and Tejas Naval Variant in pipeline, shouldn't we look at the Rafale Naval Variants which are currently in service on Charles De Guelle.

* I hope these questions make sense, and these questions were formed from a select set of 10-12 questions I had in mind. So this is the top 3.
Dear Peterjim, the following are my two paisa worth - opinions of an enthusiast and not a professional.

(1) If we have to build a second carrier after the new INS Vikrant then it would make most sense to build a second ship to the same design with improvements in the details of design and production planning and not in the fundamentals of the ship. A humungous effort I suppose has gone into this design (of Vikrant II) and we should continue the step by steady step journey that has served the Navy so well and resist the bombastic temptation to start a fresh clean sheet of paper design. Stick with the same hull, engines, transmission, auxiliaries + improve on the electronics and self defense to suit what is available 7 years from now when the new vessel will commission (if she is laid down this year) + increase the aviation facilities to the extent the design allows you to. We should get to be a 3 carrier Navy as soon as we can and then build a bigger CATOBAR ship to replace INS Vikramaditya 25 years on.

(2) BHPians, EMALS (Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System) that Peterjim refers to is a linear motor based aircraft accelerator to launch fighter jets from the deck of a carrier. The US Navy is developing this new system. Peterjim in my opinion it is too early to say how successful and reliable EMALS will be as it requires a very large quantum of electrical power and would need the carrier to have (my guess) another 25MW of generating capacity only to run EMALS. But it seems to be the way of the future and it is quite likely that carriers we may commission in 2030 could very likely have this system given our closer political alignment with the Americans (good or not I won't comment) which is likely to continue strengthening for the medium term future. Eventually we will build CATOBAR ships of that I have no doubt.

(3) Rafale and Mig-29K is like picking between the new Mercedes C class and BMW 3 series. Very very tough pick. I love both aircraft and have read reams on both. Given the limitations of our budgets and the fact that 45 Mig-29Ks have been ordered/delivered and the whole back up infrastructure has been set up it may be some time before we buy the Naval Rafale.

Happy to attempt to answer your other questions.
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Old 20th May 2015, 16:02   #22
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Another brilliant article Sir. Nicely Compiled.

Isn't the P-8I named Neptune in IN service? The Tu-142s and P-8Is are operating in the same squadron as A & B flights.
I think they are P8i - Poseidon though I have heard them being referred to Neptune.
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Old 20th May 2015, 17:33   #23
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Default Re: Indian Naval Aviation - Air Arm and its Carriers

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Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post
Dear Peterjim, the following are my two paisa worth - opinions of an enthusiast and not a professional.
Whatever you call yourself, you are a professional for me. For me you are the most credible and accessible person for authentic/expert response to my queries and I deeply respect that. In turn you have become the one person to go for for anything related to Defence/Aviation/Naval here. And thank you for your kind answers, I am gonna bring my rest fo the queries in a part by part basis.

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Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post
(1) We should get to be a 3 carrier Navy as soon as we can and then build a bigger CATOBAR ship to replace INS Vikramaditya 25 years on.
Yes, this super carrier is not even on the drawing boards as I understand. As you rightly mentioned, I think in terms of operational costs also this would make sense. It would also give a big boost to CSL who is already finishing the Vikrant II.

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Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post
(2) Eventually we will build CATOBAR ships of that I have no doubt.
So instead of building something new, it would be ideal to be an expert in STOBAR carriers. We are already and with one more in the Vikrant Class, we can also look at exports in the future for developing nations while we work on CATOBAR carriers.

We have also invested in Shore Based Testing facilities at INS Hansa, which only less than a handful in the world has. LCA Navy and Mig 29 KUBs are being tested there.

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Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post
(3) Rafale and Mig-29K is like picking between the new Mercedes C class and BMW 3 series. Very very tough pick. I love both aircraft and have read reams on both. Given the limitations of our budgets and the fact that 45 Mig-29Ks have been ordered/delivered and the whole back up infrastructure has been set up it may be some time before we buy the Naval Rafale.

Happy to attempt to answer your other questions.
Yes very true, and i really liked the Merc C Class and BMW 3 Series comparison.
And I also remember reading your quote that Mig 29 KUBs are even comparable to Su30MKIs.

Given the fact that we are now overhauling our own IAF Mig's in India itself, it is proved that we are experts in handling and taking good care of these Russian fighters.

On the same note, imagine we agree to build Rafales in India through the "Make in India" initiative, and we exercise the rest of the initial plan to build 108 in India. With a naval variant already on production, wouldn't this make the Mig Vs Dasault competition more complex.

Last edited by peterjim13 : 20th May 2015 at 17:34. Reason: Syntax Error
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Old 20th May 2015, 17:48   #24
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Default Re: Indian Naval Aviation - Air Arm & its Carriers

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I think they are P8i - Poseidon though I have heard them being referred to Neptune.
P-8I-Neptune is the customized export variant of P-8 Poseidon for Indian Navy. Basically it features BEL made Data link II communications technology.
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Old 20th May 2015, 19:46   #25
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I think they are P8i - Poseidon though I have heard them being referred to Neptune.
The Poseidon is designated name for the USN P-8A. The Indian Navy got a customized variant of the P-8A - the P-8I Neptune(where I stands for India).
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Old 20th May 2015, 19:48   #26
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This is one of the most debated topics of all time. I am no expert in this but as with all Russian military equipment they are cheaper to buy but expensive to maintain and not to forget with 2.35B price tag INS Vikramaditya doesn't has a proper air defense system in place.
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Originally Posted by Rahul Bhalgat View Post
Russia has been our trusted and consistent ally since long....
Anyway, we do not have much choice. It has been mentioned in this thread that there are only 4 instances so far (other than our carriers) where an aircraft carrier has been sold by one nation to another. Usually, no one sells aircraft carrier to the other country.
If we wanted a carrier we really had no choice but to opt for Gorshkov to be converted to its present STOBAR configuration. The only other two available in the 1990s and the 2000s were the ex-French Foch which the Brazilians bought and the incomplete Soviet Varyag laid up in Ukraine which the Chinese towed away and worked on for 11 years to rebuild and complete. So to our credit we did the pragmatic thing by buying Gorshkov (now INS Vikramaditya) and thus ensuring we have one operational and fairly modern vessel till we start commissioning our own indigenous ships. I only wish we had taken this step in 1993 rather than 10 years later. But that is so much water under the bridge now.

Russian equipment is not so well supported anymore by spares and associated maintenance know-how nor have the Russians to best of my knowledge learnt the fine art of being customer centric. This supports what Dragon Hawk writes about the lifetime cost of Russian equipment now being a lot more than a comparable Western one. Gone are the days when the Soviets supplied us with Mig-21s at $3 million a piece and we paid for them in rupees. It is a hobson's choice between the Russians and the Americans - the Russians now sell in volumes to the Chinese and the Americans have always done it to our western neighbour. Probably the most reliable are the Israelis followed by the French. And ultimately nothing like making our own. Today outside USA no other nation is capable of manufacturing everything that goes into a big ship.


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A little known fact is that before we started using the Connies for maritime patrol, we used B-24 Liberator bombers which were never sold by the US to India! At the end of the war they had so many surplus aircraft that it didn't make sense to fly these war-weary aircraft back to the USA so they were scrapped at their airbases. After India gained independence, HAL acquired these scrapped airframes, and combined the best parts together to build a small number of aircraft that were then used in the Maritime Patrol role.
vivtho, thank you for sharing this unique piece of our aviation history. Few know of it. It was a testimony to the ingenuity of HAL in 1948-49 that they raised a squadron of B-24 Liberators out of a scrap heap with zero OEM support or drawings. You clearly are well read in aviation matters.

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As for the Naval Dhruv, I think they are a wasted lot, the navy doesnt want them and they have their reasons, I would prefer HAL would stop pushing these birds and come up with a upgrade, a class above perhaps........but in the mean time i wish to thank you for this wonderful work and will want more of such articles.
Dear shantonob, You are right the Navy does not like the Dhruv. Maybe it cannot be an ASW helicopter but it can make a suitable replacement for the venerable work horse the Alouette III as a search and rescue, utility, coastal patrol chopper. It is in our longer term interest to support our home base. Just my thoughts. My own experience with the Dhruv has been very encouraging.

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Originally Posted by peterjim13 View Post
On the same note, imagine we agree to build Rafales in India through the "Make in India" initiative, and we exercise the rest of the initial plan to build 108 in India. With a naval variant already on production, wouldn't this make the Mig Vs Dasault competition more complex.
Dear peterjim13, The key attributes of the Rafale stem from its (a) canards (foreplanes) (b) engines and (c) its big, big delta wing.

The canards help the Rafale in many flight regimes - in reducing the take off run, in maintaining stability at slow speeds and at high angles of attack, it also sends a vortex of spinning air scrubbing over the upper wing in tight turns to help maintain the tightness of the turn and so on. The engines, SNECMA M-88's are designed for super cruise. That is to say at full dry or military power ie without afterburners they can push the aircraft across Mach 1.0 at low altitudes on a sustained basis. I do not know what sort of stores the aircraft can carry in this power state but I assume 2 or 4 air-to-air missiles are likely to be the case. The engines, reheat turbofans, yield 5100 kgf dry and ~7700 kgf reheat. It is believed that the engines India will get are of slightly higher ratings. The big delta wing is an aerodynamic work of art - its delta shape is the right one for supersonic flight and high acceleration and a delta shape gives it a large wing area (497 sq feet) almost twice as large as a Mig-21bis and thus a low wing loading of 67 lbs/ sq foot loaded clean. In the same clean loading the American F-16 and Russian Mig-29K have wing loadings of 88 lbs/ sq foot. The lower the wing loading the better the turning and rolling rate ie maneuverability. If we start to assemble and later (hopefully) manufacture the Rafale then the chances that it will equip a possible second carrier go up a lot. Photo of a naval Rafale in French service.
Attached Thumbnails
Indian Naval Aviation - Air Arm & its Carriers-rafale.jpg  

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Old 20th May 2015, 22:39   #27
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Russian equipment is not so well supported anymore by spares and associated maintenance know-how nor have the Russians to best of my knowledge learnt the fine art of being customer centric.


Dear peterjim13, The key attributes of the Rafale stem from its (a) canards (foreplanes) (b) engines and (c) its big, big delta wing.

The canards help the Rafale in many flight regimes - in reducing the take off run, in maintaining stability at slow speeds and at high angles of attack, it also sends a vortex of spinning air scrubbing over the upper wing in tight turns to help maintain the tightness of the turn and so on. The engines, SNECMA M-88's are designed for super cruise. That is to say at full dry or military power ie without afterburners they can push the aircraft across Mach 1.0 at low altitudes on a sustained basis.

its delta shape is the right one for supersonic flight and high acceleration and a delta shape gives it a large wing area (497 sq feet) almost twice as large as a Mig-21bis and thus a low wing loading of 67 lbs/ sq foot loaded clean. In the same clean loading the American F-16 and Russian Mig-29K have wing loadings of 88 lbs/ sq foot. The lower the wing loading the better the turning and rolling rate ie maneuverability.
Fully agree with the observation on Russian equipment. They follow different lifecycle strategies, which served them well till the 1980s even, but the leaps in technology/avionics and increasing costs meant they too can't rely on simple, cheap equipment and have to infuse high-tech components, that then have to be reliable in the smaller numbers they're fielded in.

That was also the driving force for the IAF to diversify and prefer western jets even if more expensive to purchase.

The placement of the canards - a little above and ahead of the wings, is key in their effectiveness. However, the Rafale isn't a supercruiser. Where did you find the claim to the contrary? That too at low altitude ? Sustained high speed at low altitude is something few aircraft do, few are designed to do.

As for wing loading, that figure discounts the LERXs and lifting fuselage of the larger twin engine jets, MiG-29 , Su-27/30/35 and the F-14. Effective wingloading in these is lower once the (large area of) LERX is also included, if all the photos of the vortices kicking off the LERX are any indication.


Here's one :

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Old 21st May 2015, 14:03   #28
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Brilliant thread and brings back some memories as well.

As a young kid, the Short Sealand amphibian was a familiar one for me, little realising the significance of this aircraft. T-BHP members who grew up in Trivandrum in the 1970s would have seen this aircraft. One of the 10 aircraft the Navy bought was the one on display at Jawahar Balabhavan at Vellayambalam in the 1970s. As kids attending the summer camp there we could play around freely on the aircraft. This is the aircraft which later was shifted to the Naval Aviation Museum at Goa and I understand is one of the few surviving Sealands now in the world The Navy replaced the Sealand with a Sea Hawk at the Trivandrum Balabhavan in 1980. There is a thread here on T-BHP on this aircraft.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/shifti...rivandrum.html (The Story behind the Sea Hawk at Museum Road, Trivandrum)

Also another article on the Sea Hawk on display at Trivandrum from Yentha.com

http://www.yentha.com/news/view/4/A-Sea-Hawks-Tale.


The first Naval Air Station which based the Sealand was INS Garuda at Kochi. The airfield at Wellingdon Island also served as the airport for civilian flights until 1999 when the airport at Nedumbassery was commissioned .

I believe three naval aviators have become Chief of Naval Staff. Admiral R H Tahiliani was followed by Admiral Arun Prakash and Admiral Suresh Mehta.

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Old 21st May 2015, 17:51   #29
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However, the Rafale isn't a supercruiser. Where did you find the claim to the contrary? That too at low altitude
Dear Ricci,
The info on Rafale as a having super-cruise capability came from other sources the following link
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supercr...cruise_ability

I usually try and write on the basis of books and trade journals but on this I have no other source. Low altitude? - that is my (un)educated guess. I don’t have any hard number from a trade journal but do recall a conversation with a senior person from SNECMA in 2010 at Farnborough. Maybe it was a sales talk! Super cruise at high altitudes is not so useful for a warplane. Super-cruise as you know has been around since the English Electric Lightning achieved Mach 1 plus without reheat in the 1950s and the good old Concorde super-cruised for 25 years before the term was coined by the Americans. Thank you for sharing the photo on the vortexes. It will help brother BHPians see what scrubbing the wing means. You know a lot about aircraft. I look forward to your comments and writings.
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Old 21st May 2015, 22:33   #30
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Dear Ricci,
The info on Rafale as a having super-cruise capability came from other sources the following link
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supercr...cruise_ability

Super cruise at high altitudes is not so useful for a warplane. Super-cruise as you know has been around since the English Electric Lightning achieved Mach 1 plus without reheat in the 1950s and the good old Concorde super-cruised for 25 years before the term was coined by the Americans.
Thank you sir, I hope I am as worthy of praise as you think!

Coming to supercruise, the subject is controversial largely because of the classified data about these machines. Supercruise is done at higher altitudes only , low altitude dash would not only burn fuel faster, but subject the aircraft to great stress. Not to mention, some of these planes can only go supersonic with reheat at low altitude, but being a classified matter, you probably won't have official/reliable sources admitting it.

Among the wikipedia list - only the F-22 is cited as genuine supercruise capable. The jury is divided about the Typhoon and say it merely manages mach 1.2 against the 1.4-1.5 of the F-22 ; the Rafale nowhere in contention since it's M88s at 75kN each are trailing the 90kN thrust of the EJ200s of the Typhoon. Maybe an uprated version of the M88 has been built since, I'm not fully up-to-date.

The EE Lightning indeed was the earliest to supercruise, while the Concorde was designed to. Unconfirmed sourced have claimed some other modern jets were capable of supersonic flight without reheat - the Su-35. As per some flight sims based on flight performance claims by pilots, the MiG-29 too can match the Typhoon's supercruise performance.

Maybe this subject deserves a separate thread of its own.
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