They have talked about air launched versions of ASMs too. They are getting ready for naval battles where RuN sinks enemy vessels with direct participation of its naval aviation. And I don't see anything flawed in it to be honest, it is like having a battery tool and refusing to use it for drilling because you just want it to turn screws... bad used investment IMO.
All their surface ships are becoming multirole because of their new systems and sensors and unified weapon launchers too, and I suspect occasionally they might find the use of aircraft for a strike mission might be useful, but I don't see them building 100K super carriers like the US... so while they will become multifunction aircraft I rather suspect the next gen fighters are going to act as much as recon and support aircraft as fighters... and likely UCAVs could carry the strike weapons against strong targets and Su-33s with dumb bombs will be used in Syria type conflicts where the actual enemy does not have open proxy support that could deal with that.
Carriers are for supporting surface ship operations and are primarily air to air in terms of fighters and AWACS type platforms...
“With the first phase of the modernization now complete, we are preparing for the second phase, centering on higher engine thrust, improved detection system, and the like so as to make the Su-33 a truly multi-role aircraft,” Major General Igor Kozhin, chief for aviation with the Russian navy, told journalists
Better detection systems and more engine thrust... that doesn't make it a better strike platform... it makes it better at detecting incoming threats like stealthy missiles, so you could say it has become a fighter/interceptor/recon aircraft that can shoot down threats but also detect threats for the battle management system to deal with.
It could always drop dumb bombs... so now it can very accurately drop dumb bombs too... not really suggesting they are going to use it as a substitute Su-34 or anything... the aircraft numbers on their carriers don't suggest enough for round the clock CAPs plus extra airframes available for strike missions and the various escort aircraft they would need to perform such strike missions.
"We are working on the missile’s light version. It should fit the size of a torpedo tube and be almost 1.5 times smaller by its weight. It will be possible to mount our airborne missile on a wide range [of aircraft]. Of course, we’ll be developing it, first of all, for the fifth-generation plane but, possibly, it will be mounted on the MiG-35 fighter, although we have not carried out such developments,"
That is an Indian programme, it is not necessarily true that the Russian Navy wants these...
The Brahmos is cleared for use on Su-30MKI, but are not cleared for use on other Flanker types AFAIK... simply because the Indians paid for them to be adapted and tested and the Russian military did not.
— The new system will help you correctly choose the tactics of attack used ammunition. In the absence of ammunition to pass the target to another plane, to "highlight" it for the cruise missiles, — told "Izvestia" Dmitry Boltenkov.
Arming and equipping naval aviation is given special attention. Arsenal MiG-29КР/KUBRA will soon join missiles X-31. "Thirty-first" will be able to impress not only the court and the ships of the enemy, but to destroy the coastal radar station. Thanks to the supersonic speed of Kh-31 is virtually invulnerable to air defense and in military slang was called "supersonic death". To send to the bottom of the carrier, only one missile volley of a link of fighters.
Thanks to the new system, pilots will not only be able to hit air, sea and land targets on their own, but also direct cruise missiles to these objects.
Most of the time MiG-29KR and Su-33 aircraft operating from carriers will be armed mostly with AAMs... at times of tension perhaps fully loaded with AAMs, but most of the time it will only be specific missions where they carry Kh-31 or other air to ground weapons, so most of the time they will detect threats and pass those targets on to ship based weapons.
Obviously if an attack is intended against a country the fighters could fly to the approaches of the coastal area of the target ingress routes of the cruise missiles to be fired from the sea and they might detect some SAM batteries or HQs or comms centres that they might launch Kh-31 or Kh-35 missiles against to make the later cruise missile attack from sea more effective, but why send aircraft when you can send hypersonic missiles into a defended air space, and if the air defence is weak or non existent then why not send subsonic Kalibr-M
So, naval aviation is not only to shoot down missiles or enemy air wing. It is there to attack both naval and land targets, as it is logical in order to effectively defend the fleet by eliminating the enabling means the opponent is using to attack you.
I would say more to detect all sorts of threats and shoot down air threats, and alert other platforms to other threats that they can deal with.
If a CAP is operating and detects an attack, then it will probably only be armed with AAMs so any air threats can be dealt with but the information they collect about the attacking force can be used to reformulate the weapons of the replacement fighters sent out to support them... so four Su-33s on a CAP each armed with 10 AAMs and two jamming pods might be able to take down quite a few incoming anti ship missiles, but detects a few small sized ships approaching or perhaps an island with a SAM battery, and further out a couple of large ships that launched the anti ship missiles and a few aircraft... so the Su-33s can relay all this information back to the carrier group and start engaging the aircraft and anti ship missiles, while another flight or two of fighters loads up with weapons... Kh-31s to engage the radars of the SAM, plus a mix of Kh-31s and Kh-35s to engage the small surface ships, plus air to air missiles to help deal with that threat and in case any more missiles or aircraft are launched... in the mean time the real threat of the bigger ships further out can be engaged with Zircon missiles to deal with the main long term threat to the Russian surface ships, while the aircraft look for threats and deal with any in air aircraft or incoming missiles and also any smaller ships approaching the Russian force.
In fact I think it is indeed a matter of price. Each Kalibr costs like $1 million, and they are huge and scarce on any fleet to sustain a campaign. Imagine price of Zircon. Compare it to dropping dumb bombs on ISIS from the navy's fighters, there is no way you can match the cost an effectiveness of the later with such expensive missiles. The evidence is clear, Russia has launched some dozens
Kalibr in separated occasions over the years in Syria yet carried out thousands of bombing sorties. That is what aircraft are there for in the end.
But lets be clear, sending a dozen aircraft in to hostile territory on the other side of the planet is a serious risk and I don't think sending a group of fighters together with bomb armed aircraft will be all that much cheaper than sending one cruise missile.
I suspect often HALE or MALE type armed drones will come in to their own if equipped with this high altitude bombing system.
The MiG-25 was expensive, but the drone that used one of its engines that could only be used once was not affordable and not sustainable...
An aircraft carrier could be a tool to increase the defence and situational awareness of a group of surface ships, but also carry reusable strike weapons... they might be manned fighter aircraft, but could just as easily be drones of a variety of potential types...
In the end is not my opinion on the matter what I try to convey but the simple facts that proof what RuN thinks about their strike capabilities. Regardless of what we think, they want it and are actively developing it.
But what are they trying to develop... everything is becoming multirole... fifth gen fighters are sometimes called omnirole because they perform all sorts of missions at once... and it is mentioned specifically that when sent out on a mission that any intel they collect makes them recon aircraft with their powerful sensor suite no matter what the purpose of the original mission actually was.
In a net centric force all the elements have a data collecting role as part of the team, but I would suggest that what they are wanting is not an Su-24 deep strike capacity with manned aircraft because they already have a deep strike capacity with missiles that is only going to become more impressive over time.
If they can't afford Kalibre missiles then why are their new ships carrying so many UKSK launch tubes.
I would suggest what they want is the equivalent of MiG-31 and Su-27 for the PVO supported by ship based SAMs and ship and sub based attack missiles for long range attack/strike instead of Su-34. For shorter range or surprise threats they have tactical air to surface weapons like the Kh-31 and Kh-35 and probably Kh-38 as well... but I suspect only very occasionally will they drop bombs from manned aircraft... bombs from UCAVs would be even cheaper... with fighter escort would be more secure too.
Comparing to non modernized Su-33 absolutely correct. But now Su-33 will go through stage 2 modernization and its radar will be modernized to domestic N001VEP radar, the same as in Su-27SM3 or Su-30M2, which is in all parameters better than Zhuk-M in MiG-29K, although it still have old radar antenna.
Are you suggesting they have updated the Su-33, but that the MiG-29K is the same aircraft from the late 1980s?
IRST could be easily replaced with the new one from Su-30SM or Su-35 and it is already fully networked with data link and IFDL to share informations for aerial, ground and sea targets, what we have seen in Syria.
Everything could be replaced to make it an Su-57, but it isn't and that is the issue... now, near the end of the operational life of the Su-33 it is getting an upgrade... to make it as good as the MiG-29K they didn't buy in the 1990s...
About self defense equipment they both have the same L-150 Pastel RWR and chaff and flare dispersers. Su-33 is already equipped with twin Sorbtsia-S ECM pods, but after stage 2 modernization, it could be equipped with newerm more capable Khibiny ECM pods.
Are you suggesting the MiG-29 can't use ECM pods?
What else could they do to this plane that they have never bothered to do with it before?
And how many more MiG-29K they have comparing to Su-33?
The MiG-35 is in production... they can make as many as they want without having to pay for tooling and production start up...
Russian NAVY is buying Su-30SM and they are standard ground based fighters. For now the groups in Arctic islads will be consisted by four fighters and they need 12 Su-33 to have 3 groups in 3 islands (Novaya Zemlya, Zemlya Aleksandra and Kotelny), while the rest are in reserve in Severomorsk base.
Hang on... first you say the Navy ground based fighter is the Su-30 and then you talk about land based Su-33... so which is it?
Fighter groups on three islands would mean you would need rather more than 12 aircraft... a fighter group of four aircraft would be pretty bloody useless in a 24/7 operational tempo... you would at least need three groups on each island for three shifts to operate three 8 hour shifts a day so one shift was always ready... so that means a bare minimum of 36 aircraft for three islands.
The other aspect is that even despite these minor upgrades... the Su-30 is a rather much better and more modern and capable aircraft than any model Su-33 and the folding wings and tail hook are completely irrelevant for island basing... the Su-30s will be in much better airframe condition with much younger aircraft and the capacity to produce a couple more if needed, whereas there are no new production Su-33s and not much chance of any in the future, so it makes rather more sense to keep the existing Su-33s in training in the black sea area using the Nitka training facilities while the K is in dock and put them back on the ship when it is back in the water because if you use up the air frame hours of the SU-33s in the far north then you will only have MiG-29Ks left to operate from the K when it is back in the water.
In case of emergency, they could increase the number from reserve.
In case of an emergency in the north they could send Su-35s and any Su-57s they might have in service... why use Su-33s as a fire brigade... they are not the best they can send.
Carrier come and go, but groups based on islands will be constantly present snd will have support from A-50 AWACS, Il-78 refueling planes, Il-38ASW planes and Mi-8AMTSH-VA search and rescue helicopters as well as new ground based radar network.
Indeed when when the carrier is available only the MiG-29K and Su-33 can operate from her... when it is not there Su-30 and other flanker types offer better performance than any upgraded or not upgraded Su-33.
Soviet NAVY actually never had real land attack capabilities beside nuclear ballistic missiles in submarines. Ships were armed only by anti-ship missiles and torpedoes, helicopters were armed for anti-sub operations and planes were mostly armed for air to air tasks (Yak-38, Su-33).
Primary armament of the Yak-38 was rocket and gun pods, AA-8 AAMs, and AS-7 Kerry air to surface missiles.
Main Soviet Navy strike power was Su-17 and Su-22 to provide air support for landings... but it was not very convincing.
Now Russian NAVY have full land attacl capabilities with ships armed with LACMs, multirole planes and helicopters, etc.
Indeed, multirole aircraft and ships and subs... but if they wanted to use air power for their primary strike role against land and sea targets, then why all those UKSK launchers on everything from corvettes and up?
Why convert all anti ship missiles to add land attack capability if they want to use aircraft with dumb bombs?