Slamming the lackadaisical attitude of various stakeholders involved in building country’s first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC), Defence Minister A K Antony on Tuesday said that responsibilities would be fixed in case of further slippage in the project.
Concerned over frequent delays in the project, Antony held a high-level review meeting here and asked the stakeholders to work for an early delivery of the warship. “Everybody has to be accountable for the warship which is a national project. We will fix responsibilities in case of further slippages. We cannot go on hearing excuses,” Antony said.
India is only the sixth nation in the world to design and build such a carrier.
The carrier, being built by Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), was originally scheduled to be inducted into the Navy by 2014-15. Now the proposed induction has been decided for 2018 and the cost of the project has also gone up. During the review meeting, the Defence Minister was also informed that some complex problems related to equipment supply for the 40,000-tonnes aircraft carrier had been sorted out. Antony also asked the stakeholders including Navy to work together on the project and try to compress the delivery schedule of the warship. Antony said an Empowered Committee had been formed under the Defence Secretary to constantly monitor the progress of the IAC. He also asked the CSL to give a firm date at the earliest on the induction of the carrier into the Navy. Sources in the Ministry of Defence said they would move a proposal to the Finance Ministry and the Cabinet Committee on Security for improving the flow of funds for the project which was launched in 2009.
The CSL, after working for almost two years, had a successful technical launch of the ship in December last year. Based on a telescopic design -- wherein design and construction are carried out concurrently-- the IAC project poses many challenges and Antony, in August 2011, had admitted the complexities involved in the project.
The CSL is getting help in propulsion system integration from an Italian firm. The CSL is also procuring the equipments from a Russian firm for aviation facilities complex for the IAC.