Chinese J-15 Vs. MIG-29K, which is superior in the Indian Ocean?
India and China already investing heavily in the development of indigenously developed Aircraft carriers for their navies and both navies with their new found Blue water Navy capabilities are all set to patrol each others backyard in a show of dominance in the region.
IF any kind of war erupts with china. navies of both the countries is going to play a key role. both navies with their new found Blue water Navy capabilities are all set to face each others
A scenario of Indian Naval Mig-29k taking on Chinese Naval J-15 fighter jets somewhere in the middle of Indian ocean or in the South China Sea is quite a realistic scenario
Mig-29K was initially intended to fulfill the role of multi-role Strike aircraft fighter jets which can be operated from aircraft carriers and be comparable to F-18 fighter jets developed by the United States but financial troubles at the end of cold war terminated Mig-29K program which was only resumed in 2002.
MiG-29K is a carrier based multirole fighter. It is extremely maneuverable and one of the most modern fulcrum present in the world. The problem marring the previous variant of MiG-29 were elimated and all the systems like fuel storage, radar, avionics, smoky engines, weapons, fire control systems, HOTAS, HMD and IRST system were upgraded.
The MiG-29K is fitted with more powerful RD-33MK engines, replacing the RD-33K turbofan engines used in the early prototypes.MiG-29K is armed with R-73E air-to-air missiles, Kh-31A and Kh-35E anti-ship missiles and Kh-31P anti-radar missiles. Other armaments include guided aerial bombs, rockets and aerial bombs.
The main Sensor is the onboard radar which is Phazotron Zhuk-ME which is an X-ban mono-pulse pulse-Doppler radar with an aerial target detection range of 150km which can initiate tracking at 130km for targets having RCS of 5 square meters and in Track-While-Scan (TWS) mode can acquire 20 targets and engage four targets. aircraft is also equipped with IRST for passive detection.
Improved airframe boosts of Special Radar absorbent material (RAM) along with enhanced range. Mig-29K comes with additional fuel tanks which have been accommodated in dorsal spine and LERX increasing its fuel-carrying capacity by 50% when compared to older Mig-29A variants which further improves with drop tanks and Air-to-Air refueling capability with added option of center line buddy refueling tank.
But the main problem affecting the performance is its serviceability. MiG-29K has a serviceability of just 28% to 45%. It means only 28-45% fighter are capable of operations at anytime. But localizing the production of spare parts like the engines has increased to the serviceability to some extent.
MiG-29K being a light fighter, can easily takeoff with full payload and fuel from an aircraft carrier. Also more MiG-29K can stored in the carrier’s hangar due to its small size.
J-15 Flying Shark
J-15 Flying Shark is a derivative/illegal copy of the Russian SU-33 which was originally based on framed Sukhoi-27 airframe. China for the first time unveiled Flying Shark in 2010 and according to China’s own Defense Analyst, it is unlikely to achieve the same performance characteristics of the Russian Su-33 carrier-based fighter.
J-15 does sport a more modern avionics system than its Su-33 predecessor which is closely copied from existing American and Russian technology and never disclosed officially for a far comparison.
The one thing that pulls the J-15 back is its size. The weight of J-15 is more than MiG-29K, which affects its ability to takeoff with full payload from a carrier deck. It has to take off with less weapons and fuel, which severely decreases it combat range and its ability to fight. The size of J-15 will also hinder movement on the deck in a battle.Mig-29K on other hand has better Power-to-Weight Ratio than Su-33 or J-15.
J-15 during a mission can only be armed with two YJ-83Ks and two PL-8s for strike roles where it can carry just 25% of the fuel seriously hindering its operational range which is just 125 kms.
Indian Navy Mig-29K on the other hand can takeoff with full combat load of 5.5 tonnes and carry a combination of Anti-Ship Missiles , PGMs , Fuel Tanks , Air-to-Air Missiles and has a range of 1300 kms which in comparison to J-15 is manifold times greater.Another limiting factor for J-15 is Liaoning itself which is quite small and taking off and landing on such a carrier is quite difficult.
The Russians also understood the limtations of the Flanker platform in regards to being deployed on Aircraft Carriers who are generally Quick-Reaction , Mobilization assets.In Russian service, the Su-33 has been restricted to short-range patrols carrying just a few air-to-air missiles
Beijing-based Sina Military Network (SMN) criticized the Flying Shark calling it a “flopping fish” due to its limited attack range up to to a distance of 120 kilometers from the carrier.
While other Chinese Defense Analysts have blamed limitation of aircraft carrier Liaoning for the under-performance of J-15 which they believe will be rectified in bigger aircraft carriers China is building which also boost of electromagnetic catapults allowing heavier J-15 take off with better weapons load.