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Old 22nd May 2015, 10:02   #31
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Default Re: Indian Naval Aviation - Air Arm & its Carriers

What a wonderfully written thread, V Narayan! Definitely deserving of a 5 star rating!
Coming from a family where joining the Navy has been a tradition (unfortunately me being the black sheep of the family), loved every bit of the write up.
Will share this with the ex and serving members in the family and get back with any comments that they might have to add! Cheers.
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Old 22nd May 2015, 12:06   #32
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Will share this with the ex and serving members in the family and get back with any comments that they might have to add! Cheers.
Thank you for reading the article and for your kind words. I would be deilgted to hear feedback and inputs from your relatives on the article. Two other threads on the Navy are....



http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/commer...ahmaputra.html

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/commer...dian-navy.html

Best wishes, Narayan
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Old 22nd May 2015, 13:02   #33
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Dear peterjim13, The key attributes of the Rafale stem from its (a) canards (foreplanes) (b) engines and (c) its big, big delta wing.
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.
Understood.

But I just read our honorable Defense Minister quoting the number 36 to be final. So we may not see anything more manufactured in India anytime soon. Looks like saving the rest of the cost for 90 planes to be spent on LCA and may be some other single engine with the objective of replacing the Mig-21s.

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Dear Peterjim, the following are my two paisa worth - opinions of an enthusiast and not a professional.

Happy to attempt to answer your other questions.
Hi Narayan,

Adding my next set of questions below.

1. Indian Navy Multi-Role Support Vessel Program :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_...ssel_programme

Like the INS Jalashwa, we were looking for more Support Vessels, the details tells me more about Landing Helicopter Docks. On what I understand we are looking for 4 of these.

How critical are these to Indian Navy, as we are parallely working on Aircraft Carriers and Helicopter Carriers. For instance what would be the practical application of a ship like the Mistral Class in Indian context. I would be more than happy to see them bearing Indian Navy flags, but have not been able to understand where the actual application would be.

Is this connected to our hunt for ASW Helicopters.
"In February 2011, India selected the S-70B over the NHIndustries NH90 for an acquisition of 16 multirole helicopters for the Indian Navy to replace its aging Westland Sea King fleet; the order include an option for 8 additional aircraft.[49] India selected the Seahawk and confirmed procurement in November 2014." (Source : Wikipedia)

Last edited by Zappo : 2nd July 2015 at 20:15. Reason: Back to back posts merged
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Old 22nd May 2015, 19:28   #34
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Hi Narayan,

Adding my next set of questions below.

1. Indian Navy Multi-Role Support Vessel Program :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_...ssel_programme

How critical are these to Indian Navy, as we are parallely working on Aircraft Carriers and Helicopter Carriers. For instance what would be the practical application of a ship like the Mistral Class in Indian context.

Is this connected to our hunt for ASW Helicopters.
"In February 2011, India selected the S-70B over the NHIndustries NH90 for an acquisition of 16 multirole helicopters for the Indian Navy to replace its aging Westland Sea King fleet; the order include an option for 8 additional aircraft.[49] India selected the Seahawk and confirmed procurement in November 2014." (Source : Wikipedia)
Dear Peter, A Navy in any country has many diverse roles to play including critical roles which lie in a grey zone between full peace and full war. Warlike roles of a Navy like sinking ships or submarines or operating carriers are alive in the public mind. But there are other roles that are equally important but short of war example mine-sweeping, disaster relief, protecting islands, the deterrent potential of an amphibious landing, anti-piracy and anti-terrorist patrols, ability to snarl if someone disputes your island territories with their vast exclusive economic zones, ability to patrol large areas of sea (ie sea control) without necessarily deploying your carriers and so on. At sea a nation and its government has the luxury of a graded response of threat projection without actually biting or taking a small bite without escalating to full war (see what is happening in the Spratly islands in the South China Sea).

It is here that a multi-purpose ship with versatile capabilities comes in handy - it addresses many of these critical grey zone of needs. It does not have the glamour quotient of a carrier but is as useful and maybe more so. Warships are better off the more multi-purpose they are as that gives them the flexibility to respond to a greater spectrum of surprises. Hence these ships that can serve as a Harrier Carrier and/or a Helicopter Carrier for sea control and/or land troops and tanks to project power in a different way from an aircraft carrier and/or serve as disaster relief ships and/or act as command ships. We should go in for 3 or 4 of these very useful vessels which compliment what a carrier can do. As a people we are not sea-minded . And while the average Indian or journalist or politician is aware of the threats on our land borders the awareness of the threats across our sea borders and to our exclusive economic zone are less known and lesser discussed.

So an aircraft carrier plays the role of power projection through the deterrence of deep penetration air strikes, air superiority over a zone and sea control. A multi-purpose vessel such as Mistral serves as an instrument to project power through the deterrence of landing troops and tanks at sensitive spots and be able to sustain them there through air cover, helicopter attack, helicopter transport and tonnes of logistics & tanks delivered through landing crafts. It also doubles up as a sea control ship. Think of an aircraft carrier as a Porsche Cayenne that is powerful and fast and top dog in every way. The multi-purpose vessel is more like the Mercedes GL class - big, carries a lot of people, powerful, AWD, and still as top end as it comes.

Many smaller well equipped navies such as those of Malaysia, Singapore and New Zealand already have smaller versions of such ships.

Indian Naval Aviation - Air Arm & its Carriers-mistral2.jpg
As the drawing depicts the multi-purpose vessel carries not only a hangar deck line a carrier but also a vehicle deck for tanks, armoured personnel carriers and trucks plus space forward for 900 odd troops. In addition it would deploy between 10 to 25 helicopters/ Sea Harriers depending on what the mission requirement is.


The selection of the S-70 Sikorsky is as a replacement of the Sea King (also derived from a Sikorsky product the SH-61). The S-70 is an anti-submarine warfare and anti-ship strike helicopter. The current line up is - Sikorsky S-70, Franco-German NH-90, Augusta Westland EH-101 and Russian Kamov Ka-28. I am not equipped with enough knowledge to say which is best or most suited. The SH-60 is the most mature and proven product of the four and American anti-submarine sensors and weapons are usually world beating by a mile. It will also provide some weapon commonality with the Boeing P-8I long range maritime patrol. Most importantly the S-70 (or SH-60 as it is called in US service) will be in American service for the next 25 years or more.

Indian Naval Aviation - Air Arm & its Carriers-sikorsky-s.jpg
US Navy Sikorsky SH-60 (export version known as S-70B)
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Old 22nd May 2015, 20:41   #35
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Reading a thread on T-Bhp end to end after a long time. But then this thread deserves it. The photos are awesome. Many of which I am sure never ever have been on internet before.
I always had a soft spot for MIG's over Sukhoi's. Hope next generation MIG's are inducted in IAF too.
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Old 23rd May 2015, 15:32   #36
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The photos are awesome. Many of which I am sure never ever have been on internet before.
I always had a soft spot for MIG's over Sukhoi's. Hope next generation MIG's are inducted in IAF too.
Thank you for reading the article end to end. It makes writing these articles a whole lot sweeter. The photos, especially the older ones are from books picked out the old fashioned way. I am often surprised to see these old photos (which really belong to the Navy) featuring on well known defense web sites with the websites name embossed on the photo as if it is their copyright! And I look up an old book from 25 or 30 years ago and say boy this photo has been around in books before the www was invented. Sad. For your viewing pleasure here are a few more historical ones I had got my niece to shoot from the books but never used in the thread. The 3 photos below are from "the Indian Navy, An Illustrated History" 1989, Copy right Naval Headquaters, New Delhi

Indian Naval Aviation - Air Arm & its Carriers-z-first-chopper.jpg
Hughes 300 helicopter used for training the first batch of naval helicopter pilots circa 1960s. This was one of the first helicopters designed expressly for training. Entered service in 1964. It is still in production in a modernized form 50 odd years later! Even today it is powered by a 190 hp piston engine. A piston engine on a helicopter is a rarity.


Indian Naval Aviation - Air Arm & its Carriers-z-missed-approach.jpg
Hawker Seahawk coming in to land on INS Vikrant and just beginning to pull away to port (left) because its approach is too high and the aircraft will miss the arrestor wires. You can see the arrestor hook beneath the fuselage. This photo shows the risks and aloneness of a naval fighter pilot - no one can help him get back to the deck - he is effectively on his own.


Indian Naval Aviation - Air Arm & its Carriers-z-r11.jpg
1961. Commissioning ceremony of INS Vikrant by Mrs Vijyalaxmi Pandit the then High Commissioner to the UK. This is taking place in the hangar below the flight deck. Capt. Pritam Mahindroo the first commanding officer can be seen just behind her.
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Old 25th May 2015, 18:44   #37
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Default Re: Indian Naval Aviation - Air Arm & its Carriers

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At sea a nation and its government has the luxury of a graded response of threat projection without actually biting or taking a small bite without escalating to full war (see what is happening in the Spratly islands in the South China Sea).

It is here that a multi-purpose ship with versatile capabilities comes in handy - it addresses many of these critical grey zone of needs. It does not have the glamour quotient of a carrier but is as useful and maybe more so.
So in our case, with Andamans and Lakshadweep in purview this would be ideal. And also we can also do well when it comes to Chinese subs in the indian ocean region, Looking at a scenario where there is an LHD in the sea with some 8-10 ASW Choppers roaming around.

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The selection of the S-70 Sikorsky is as a replacement of the Sea King (also derived from a Sikorsky product the SH-61).
US Navy Sikorsky SH-60 (export version known as S-70B)
Hope we have more of these built/assembled in India as a part of "Make-in-India". As far as I know, the TOT is almost there and adding to the existing 16 off the shelf, we are looking at something close to 100 of these ASW's.

So here is my next question Narayan.
5. So now we have Aircraft Carriers, LHD's etc lets look at Carrier Onboard Delivery. Indian Navy has already issued an RFI on this and we have already expressed interest on V-22 Ospreys for the same.

I think looking at 2 Carriers and LHD's around Carrier On Board Delivery will be critical. As far as I understand we currently use Chetaks or Dhruvs for the purpose, but with more number of Ships like this, we might need more Support Aircrafts like these. For US since they had a lot of Carriers, always had specialized aircrafts of this class like Grumman C-2 Greyhound, Lockheed Viking etc.

Wouldnt it be the right time to look at V-22 osprey for this option. I think this can also do a good job in support roles in Andaman & Nicobar base too. Or do you think in the current Indian context we can have our existing Choppers dot he job. ?
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Old 25th May 2015, 20:58   #38
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Gosh! What a thread V Narayan. Not sure how I missed it.

Makes me so proud to read all this (you know why). Kudos for having put this together. Rated 5 stars!
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Old 26th May 2015, 00:43   #39
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It takes vast and enormous efforts and money to build and operate such a fleet. Also, it takes a good amount of planning and stratetic work to arrive at the decisions from time to time.

This makes me think: If the world is not so hostile, if the nations/persons do not pose threats to other nations, if there is more emphasis on diplomacy and less on combat, all these efforts and money could have been diverted to education and empowerment of poor and underprivileged. And that would have made the world much much better in terms of safety, security, cleanliness, environment.
Very informative thread, thanks a lot Narayan. I was fortunate to get a chance to step aboard the INS Vikrant during the few years it was parked at Bombay dockyard as a museum, open on Navy Day.

I completely agree with Rahul's remarks quoted -- these fancy weapons systems and hardware are so staggeringly expensive, it's such a shame that a time has come where we cheer such stuff and feel elated each time a defence acquisition is announced. Instead I think of all the ways those lakhs of crores of rupees spent on fighter jets and carriers and tanks and bombs could have been used improving the quality of our lives.
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Old 26th May 2015, 22:57   #40
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So here is my next question Narayan.
5. So now we have Aircraft Carriers, LHD's etc lets look at Carrier Onboard Delivery. Indian Navy has already issued an RFI on this and we have already expressed interest on V-22 Ospreys for the same.

I think looking at 2 Carriers and LHD's around Carrier On Board Delivery will be critical. As far as I understand we currently use Chetaks or Dhruvs for the purpose, but with more number of Ships like this, we might need more Support Aircrafts like these. For US since they had a lot of Carriers, always had specialized aircrafts of this class like Grumman C-2 Greyhound, Lockheed Viking etc.

Wouldnt it be the right time to look at V-22 osprey for this option.
Peterjim13, Thank you for your question. I am no expert but let me try and do justice to the question. Apologies in advance if this was not the answer you were hoping to hear.

Carrier On Board delivery is needed if you deploy your carriers out for many months far away from a home base. A carrier would normally carry stores, spares, food, tools for 45 to 60 days and ammunition for 2 weeks odd with a high consumption rate. The resupply of a large warship is done mainly by large logistics vessels that bring her tonnes and tonnes of fuel, ammunition etc. What Americans use Carrier On Board Delivery for is to deliver critical spares, crews, medical supplies & vital electronic parts because their carriers often deploy for months on end and they have the giant budgets to fine tune their requirements. The British who deployed big carriers till the late 1970s never developed this specialized capability due to cost reasons. With limited budgets and unlimited demands I do not know if buying 5 or 8 Osprey V-22's at $70MM (Rs 425 to 450 crores) a unit is the best use of our limited resources (A Sukhoi Su-30 costs around $60MM and the LCA is said to be at $32 to 35MM). Whether the Navy should invest in V-22s or in developing its much needed capability to repair & refit our submarines or invest in new minesweepers is something for the military experts to determine. If we deploy our carriers off the coast of China for 6 months (not likely to) then the V-22 can't get that far. If we deploy our carriers in Malacca or the Red Sea the duration of the sailing is not enough to need it. With its effective range in the 1000 kms band (2 days sailing) the V-22 doesn’t fly far enough to be meaningful. Ships are designed to sail for extended periods with little external support other than re-fuelling so given that we are a regional Navy maybe the money can be better used for other more pressing needs. Just my two cents.

The Americans developed their many specialized carrier aircraft because they need to dominate swathes of ocean to protect their geo-political needs and stature and the did it over 60 years and with simply massive budgets. We would, in my opinion, be better served by not over investing in our limited carrier needs but instead by building a medium sized balanced force with an adequate two or three squadrons of everything - amphibious capability, carriers, submarines and more submarines, minesweepers, long range lightly armed but very useful anti-piracy vessels such as INS Sukanya, missile boats, several logistics supply vessels etc.

Having given this long lecture the V-22 can improve the effectiveness of our fleet within defined limits but at a huge cost.

Fellow BHPians the V-22 Osprey is a unique aircraft in that it lands and takes off like a chopper and cruises like a prop driven fixed wing aircraft. It achieves this by tilting its wing by 90 degrees from horizontal to vertical and back again. It was many years in development and in resolving its teething troubles. Payload ~9000 kgs; Cruise speed 445 kmph; Range 1200 to 1600 kms; Powered by 2 x 6100 hp Rolls Royce turboshafts

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Taking off vertically with the wing at 90 degrees

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Cruising in forward flight at about 75% + faster than a usual helicopter; 450 kmph for the Osprey versus ~250 kmph for a fast helicopter

Last edited by V.Narayan : 26th May 2015 at 23:02.
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Old 27th May 2015, 11:52   #41
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Peterjim13, Thank you for your question. I am no expert but let me try and do justice to the question. Apologies in advance if this was not the answer you were hoping to hear.
Nothing like that Narayan. True that I would be more than happy and proud to see an Osprey with the tricolor badge on it, but my knowledge on these are limited so I am not fully equipped to say whether we need them or not, how they improve over operational efficiency.

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Carrier On Board delivery is needed if you deploy your carriers out for many months far away from a home base.
The resupply of a large warship is done mainly by large logistics vessels that bring her tonnes and tonnes of fuel, ammunition etc.
Having given this long lecture the V-22 can improve the effectiveness of our fleet within defined limits but at a huge cost.
Buying an expensive hardware which does not have defined application or cover any of our operational handicaps in our current or future scenario may not make sense.

Thanks for your thoughts, I too feel the same as our priority is to protect our Seas we may not always need to spent so much on a craft like this, since we have more priorities to meet with our limited budgets.

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Old 27th May 2015, 21:04   #42
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Interesting video on youtube with computer animation of the new INS Vikrant as she will be when commissioned. Hope you enjoy it.
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Old 28th May 2015, 00:51   #43
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Interesting video on youtube with computer animation of the new INS Vikrant as she will be when commissioned. Hope you enjoy it.
If this is indeed a DND video - they probably goofed up pretty bad! I didn't know we are going to get F15's any time soon!!! That is so clearly a 15. Was the designer like hmm, two tail planes, two engines, almost delta wing. Yep it is a 29k ( didn't they call it a 30 for some time ) so then almost half the aircraft carrier (45k tonnes vs the George bush at 100 approx) so half the aircraft (15 vs 29) rotflmao

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 29th May 2015 at 09:10. Reason: Removing Youtube URL from quoted post.
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Old 29th May 2015, 07:55   #44
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Awesome article Narayan sir. Painstaking research, wonderful photographs & simple language are the hallmark of this wonderful article. "Insahallah" the wish of every proud Indian to see a two/three CBG navy with a home grown Aircraft carrier may soon be realised.
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Old 29th May 2015, 16:05   #45
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Wonderful write up.Felt like being in a movie which involved lot of theory and facts.Loved each and every bit of it.Used to visit every air show( the only means of experiencing these mean machines) in our area.
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