Preparation for second INS Vikrant done, Navy awaits Government nod

The new aircraft carrier is also expected to be of the 45,000 displacement and will have the STOBAR technology for the onboard combat aircraft.
Image of INS Vikrant. (Photo | PIB)
Image of INS Vikrant. (Photo | PIB)

NEW DELHI: Decks for another Aircraft Carrier are almost clear with all the paperwork complete. This will be of the same size as the recently commissioned INS Vikrant but better equipped and added indigenised content.

Sources told, “The Navy has completed all the documentation work and it is expected that the approvals from the government will come very soon.”

The new aircraft carrier is also expected to be of the 45,000 displacement and will have the STOBAR technology for the onboard combat aircraft. "Short take off but arrested recovery” is a mechanism to launch and recover aircraft from the aircraft carrier. Indian Navy’s second operational aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya also has this mechanism onboard.

“The timeline will suite our push for self-reliance as we aim to indigenise the aviation complex and it might match up with the production of the Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter (TEDBF).” added the sources.

INS Vikrant has 76 per cent indigenous content which includes the equipment and machinery, involving major industrial houses in the country as well as over 100 MSMEs. “We have gained expertise and an ecosystem is set thus it will bring down the construction period”, the sources added. TEDBF is being designed for the Navy and officials of the HAL have been claiming it to be ready for commissioning by 2032.

The keel of INS Vikrant was laid in February 2009 and it was commissioned in September. It is designed by Indian Navy's in-house Warship Design Bureau (WDB) and built by Cochin Shipyard Limited; a Public Sector Shipyard under the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Vikrant has been built with state of the art automation features and is the largest ship ever built in maritime history of India.

The process for the larger aircraft carrier has been kept in abeyance, the sources.

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. This can only happen when the Navy has three carriers as one can be used as a substitute when either of the first two undergoes maintenance.

Aircraft carriers are known to have lengthy maintenance schedules. The cycle of maintenance can lead to an absence of a carrier for years.

The push to maintain credible force levels is keeping in mind the threat perceptions and the changing international dynamic. China has been successful beating deadlines in adding to its military might. It started manufacturing its first aircraft carrier in 2012 and commissioned its third indigenous one, Fujian, in June this year.

China has become the biggest Navy with 355 warships and submarines while India’s total fleet strength is 130. “Keeping in mind our pace, even if we take a decision on the carrier today, it will take over a year to begin the process of manufacturing,” was told earlier by a defence source.

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The New Indian Express