Source : The New Indian Express
|Indian Navy’s first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC-1) INS Vikrant|
New Delhi: In order to maintain its operational capabilities in future the Indian Navy will continue the
study for its third indigenous aircraft carrier which will be larger than the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier
(IAC)-2. The Navy has already confirmed to go ahead with the IAC-2 on the lines of the IAC-1
commissioned as INS Vikrant.
Admiral R Hari Kumar confirmed by saying, “Initially we will go for the repeat order with improved
capabilities and in the meantime, we will go for study of larger carriers. Because the third aircraft which
will come in and by the time it will be commissioned by that time the life of INS Vikramaditya may end.”
He was speaking with the media on the sidelines of Aero India 2023.
The earlier plans, as per the Chief of Naval Staff were that “the IAC 2 should be bigger than IAC 1 in size.
The size of INS Vikrant is 44,000 tonnes and we wanted the IAC2 to be around 65,000 tonnes.” The
decision for the repeat order of IAC 1 is based on multiple factors including construction time, the cost
involved and the trajectory of indigenization of the aviation assets also.
Admiral Hari Kumar said, “When we have to design a new aircraft carrier, it will take time and we
have to bring new technologies because the present arresting, landing through catapult system is
being changed now. For new design, the ship-building facility will have to be upgraded. So we thought
if we went for the repeat order the work would start soon.”
“Operationally, new technologies and drones are coming in that can be launched from the carrier
that can enhance operational capabilities. The Indian Navy requires three aircraft carriers because
the ship if it goes for maintenance, it takes time,” he added. Aircraft carriers are known to have
lengthy maintenance schedules. The cycle of maintenance can lead to an absence of a carrier for
years, as has been the case with the refit of India’s lone Aircraft Carrier INS Vikramaditya
which started at the beginning of 2021 and still continues. It has been delayed due to a fire
onboard in July.
With one aircraft carrier still under maintenance and one yet to be inducted, the Indian Navy
will be operating without one for some more time. The Navy has been maintaining the three
carriers-based force structure so that it can operate two of them in maritime zones on
each side of the Indian coastline — eastern and western coasts. INS Vikramaditya was
originally a Russian carrier — Admiral Gorshkov — was commissioned in 2013 after
total refurbishing. The 44,500-tonne INS Vikramaditya has an airfield with an overall
length of about 284 meters. As reported by TNIE in December, the Navy completed all the
documentation work on the repeat orders and it is expected that the approvals from the
government will come soon. The new aircraft carrier is also expected to be of 45,000
displacements and STOBAR technology.
As enunciated by the Navy Chief the timeline would match India’s push for self-reliance
aim even to indigenise the aviation complex and it might match up with the production
of the Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter (TEDBF). TEDBF is being designed for the Navy
and officials of the HAL have been claiming it to be ready for commissioning by 2032.
Even if a decision on the carrier is taken today, it will take over a year to begin the
process of manufacturing, defence sources told this newspaper.