Us aircraft carriers vs indian aircraft carriers

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by Lions Of Punjab, Apr 1, 2015.

  1. Lions Of Punjab

    Lions Of Punjab Regular Member

    Apr 21, 2013
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    Ahmedabad, India, India

    The US Navy’s Aircraft Carriers come under a category known as Super-carriers. They weigh in excess of 90,000 long tons. The current breed of aircraft carriers, known as the Nimitz class aircraft carriers are capable of launching upto 90 fixed wing aircraft from their decks. For this, they cannot use the ski jump based take off. This is because of the limited operational capabilities of a ski-jump type launch mechanism. Hence, these nuclear powered Aircraft Carriers use Steam Catapult based launch systems.

    This usage of catapult has led to the terming of their configuration as CATOBAR i.e Catapult Assisted Takeoff Barrier Assisted Recovery. The launch is using a catapult while the recovery is by means of an arrestor wire which uses enormous forces to bring the 14-odd ton hornet fighter to a stop within 100 feet. In combat conditions, the Aircrafty Carrier Nimitz can launch its full complement of 90 fighters in under 30 minutes. That is close to 3 per minute. This is enable by the 3 steam catapults on the deck.

    When you compare this capability to the Indian Navy’s newest Aircraft Carrier INS Vikramaditya, the differences in the capacities become well pronounced. The Vikramaditya is STOBAR configuration aircraft carrier. STOBAR stands for Short Take-Off Barrier Arrested Recovery. It uses a arrestor wire similar to the Nimitz class to recover its fighters. The Vikramaditya which weighs only 45,000 tons can carry 30 fighters onboard. However, it can launch a MiG 29 every 3 minutes. The launch is made by a Short take off run by the MiG 29 on the Ski-jump. It effectively converts the momentum of 18-odd ton MiG-29K into altitude. This is achieved by applying the afterburners of the fighter, which in turns consumes quite some fuel.

    This is a significant lack of capability when compared to the Nimitz. Although, the Vikramaditya is a potent platform (One can even consider it the king of the Indian ocean) it’s complement of launch capabilities pales in comparison to the CATOBAR nimitz. Another effective drawback is the lack of flexibility in the operation of different fixed wing aircraft. The nimitz can operate heavier aircraft such as Grumman E-2C&D Hawkeye AEWCs.

    It has also operated Electronic Warfare aircraft and Tactical Bomber such as EA- 6B Prowler and A-6 Intruder. Such impressive flexibility is lacking on the STOBAR Vikramadithya which operates only the Multi-role MiGs. It operates the Ka-31 and Ka-28 as AEWC and ASW platforms respectively. While these are good platforms, by virtues of being Helicopters, their operational range simply does not stand up to that of the E-2C and E-2D Hawkeyes.

    Hence, US Navy’s operation of CATOBAR and not STOBAR Aircraft Carriers gives it an operational and strategic advantage over navies operating STOBAR carriers such as China (and India).
  3. Sylex21

    Sylex21 Regular Member

    Sep 6, 2014
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    Honestly you can't really compare the two, because they aren't meant to be equivalent. The US carrier is over 2x the size and meant to operate far away from American shores, India isn't really trying to deploy a carrier near Hawaii or anything. The STOBAR are also more expensive to operate and cause more wear and tear on the equipment and planes. The main reason the USA needs the STOBAR is to launch heavier aircraft especially their carrier based AWACS. I'd say a much bigger limitation than STOBAR would be that India's current carriers lack nuclear propulsion, something that will hopefully be added to the next one.

    India's carrier program is also not as mature as that of the USA which has had an extra 1/2 century to develop them. India's playing rapid catch up though, so over time the ability gap will shorten and shorten.
  4. Black knight

    Black knight Regular Member

    Oct 11, 2015
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    I like to tell a very important point that our carriers will be patrolling in indian ocean only so we can operate AWACS from in shore moreover our enemies will find difficult to destroy those aircraft if it is in inshore rather than in aircraft carrier.Another thing is that helicopters are very useful in ASW roles and aircraft carriers main enemy is not bombers or fighters so it is wise to have helicopters rather than AWACS
  5. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

    Mar 10, 2009
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    EST, USA
    It is not just the carrier, but also the carrier group.

    Comparing US carriers with Indian carriers is like comparing a whale with a dolphin. Comparing India with the world biggest Navy is good in one way, it will help us set our standards high.
    Black knight likes this.

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