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Indian Navy to build 2 more Aircraft Carriers, IAC-II to be repeat of Vikrant with improved technologies while IAC-III will be a completely different one

Source : Indian Defence Analysis

Indian Navy to build 2 more Aircraft Carriers, IAC-II to be repeat of Vikrant with improved technologies while IAC-III will be a completely different one
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Indian Navy to build 2 more Aircraft Carriers, IAC-II to be repeat of Vikrant with improved technologies while IAC-III will be a completely different one

Indian Navy has two operational aircraft carriers and envisions to build two more aircraft carriers as it has doctrine of 3 and INS Vikramaditya will be decommissioned in coming decade. INS Vikrant or IAC-I has created an ecosystem and capability of building an aircraft carrier within the country. Indian Navy is looking to tap into this opportunity. It wants IAC-II to be the repeat order of INS Vikrant with some technological improvement. However, IAC-III is going to be warship of completely different class. Indian Navy has already given green signal to IAC-II and the decision is with MoD to further progress on this case.

Whenever the discussion of shipbuilding comes especially warships, the first hurdle is huge fund required to construct the warships. So, lets try to understand little about the economics behind the shipbuilding.

Economics behind Aircraft Carrier

INS Vikrant is the largest ship ever built in maritime history of India and houses state-of-the-art automation features. As per the Economic Survey 2022-23, the newly commissioned INS Vikrant has alone engaged approximately 500 MSMEs, 12,000 employees from ancillary industries, and 2,000 shipyard employees. Shipbuilding with its links to other ancillary industries, including steel, engineering equipment, port infrastructure, trade and shipping services has the potential to create a collaborative production eco-system. With the development of these ancillary industries, the sector generates opportunities for smaller businesses and strengthens supply chain networks.

IAC1 Vikrant with INS Kolkata D63 during sea trial cropped
Indian Navy Aircraft Carrier INS Vikrant (R11) with Destroyers INS Kolkata (D61) during sea trials

The Indian Navy Chief has also highlighted two major benefits of ship building. The first one is job creation with multiplier effect of 6.4 times which means that if the shipyard involved 2000 employees for building a warship more than 12,000 employees will be needed in the ancillary industries.

The second aspect is the multiplier effect of the money invested which is approx. 1.8 times i.e., for every rupee spent 1.8 rupee is circulated in the economy. The money allocated for various shipbuilding for Indian Navy is 1.5 Lakh crores which will translate into 2.7 Lakh crores. Best part is that the money is going to be circulated within our country. This is the beauty of shipbuilding industry and self-reliance.

IAC-III : A new design

The IAC-III will be a much bigger and a warship class apart. INS Vikrant has a displacement of around 44,000 tonnes, however IAC-3 will have displacement of around 65,000 tonnes. Indian Navy has begun the study of IAC-3 which will be entirely a new design.

INS Vishal
Proposed INS Vishal design

The initial plan for the aircraft carrier included nuclear propulsion system but this was later changed to an integrated electric propulsion system due to the complexities involved in developing a nuclear reactor with a capacity of 500 to 550 megawatts. The most important feature of this aircraft carrier is going to be CATOBAR system for the operation of fighter jets from its decks. IgMp

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