Furthermore, to me these posts again highlighted the limitations of a STOBAR carrier with relatively conventional aircraft. I really wonder why some countries invest vast sums in these (India), except perhaps as a learning opportunity (PLAN?) or just for national prestige, showing the flag and making port calls. What would be their role in a region where their most likely opponents can be expected to be decently armed?
STOBAR is cheaper. Aircraft requires less modifications for naval role than CATOBAR, much less STOVL which requires dedicated aircraft with considerable development investment. And the ship is cheaper, too, and doesn't need to be steam powered which always brings its own issues.
Those characteristics are all true (and familiar). What I meant to ask is what kind of role is envisioned for such carriers and their aircraft during conflict against an opponent of at least medium weight? A STOBAR carrier with conventional aircraft is indeed much simpler and cheaper to get going and operate, but 1) still represents a substantial investment that could have been spent otherwise, 2) imposes severe limitations on the aircraft's fuel and weapons load.
Browsing through the Chinese defense forums (such as the CDF), it appears that the PRC has already had its fill and that it stopped the production of the J-15 STOBAR aircraft after only two dozen examples. Hence, its next and third carrier is rumored to be of the CATOBAR type, which naturally requires a redesign of this aircraft or a new design altogether.
Then there is India. What is the precise need that is fulfilled by its carrier with its small complement of MiG-29Ks? Engage Pakistan from the sea during conflict? This implies that either the carrier has to get really close to the Pakistani coastline and thus within range of Pakistani land based aircraft or that a land-based tanker is required to increase the range of the MiG-29K. In the latter case, one could just as well base these aircraft on land, say on Jamnagar AFS in Rajkot.
(EDIT: An improvement of fleet air defense by the MiG-29Ks is of course a possibility.)
Edited by Daan, 07 November 2019 - 1539 PM.