Navy keen on 3rd aircraft carrier to retain edge over China, even as 2nd delayed yet again

NEW DELHI: The commissioning of India’s second aircraft carrier has been delayed till September next year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. While reconciling to this setback, the Navy remains all the more keen to push its case for a third aircraft carrier as well as two new fighter squadrons to counter China’s expanding footprint in…

Navy keen on 3rd aircraft carrier to retain edge over China, even as 2nd delayed yet again

NEW DELHI: The commissioning of India’s second aircraft carrier has been delayed till September next year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. While reconciling to this setback, the Navy remains all the more keen to push its case for a third aircraft carrier as well as two new fighter squadrons to counter China’s expanding footprint in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

As the US recently displayed in the South China Sea, much to China’s discomfort, nothing projects raw combat power like an aircraft carrier strike group (CSG) capable of moving over 500 nautical miles (900 km) in a single day.

But India, which has currently deployed the bulk of its warships and submarines in the IOR to send a clear signal to Beijing, is in danger of losing its decisive edge over China in the CSG arena.

India-China border stand-off: Complete coverage

Sources say the “basin trials” of the first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC-I) being built at the Cochin Shipyard, which would have checked the 40,000-tonne warship’spropulsion, transmission and shafting systems, have been derailed by the pandemic.

The basin trials of IAC-I, first sanctioned by the government way back in January 2003, are to be followed by extensive sea trials. It’s only after IAC-I gets commissioned in September 2021 now, and is christened INS Vikrant, that the “flight trials” will be launched to make the carrier fully operational by 2022-2023.

The continuing delay in IAC-I, being constructed for Rs 22,590 crore, comes when China already has two aircraft carriers, while two more are being frenetically constructed. With the eventual aim to have a 10-carrier Navy by 2050, China is expected to begin deploying a CSG in the IOR within the next few years to take care of its “Malacca Dilemma”.

India is currently making do with only the 44,500-tonne INS Vikramaditya, the refurbished Admiral Gorshkov inducted from Russia for $2.33 billion in November 2013. Another $2 billion was spent on procuring 45 MiG-29Ks to operate from its deck.

Sources said Navy will once again push for grant of “acceptance of necessity (AoN)” for a third carrier, the 65,000-tonne IAC-II (tentatively christened INS Vishal), which has been pending since May 2015.

Having earlier junked nuclear-propulsion for IAC-II to bring down the price, the Navy contends the projected Rs 45,000 crore construction cost will be spread over 10-14 years, with the bulk of it being ploughed back into the country’s economy, as was earlier reported by TOI.

The proposal may well sail through this time, with the government fast-tracking some long-pending defence projects due to the military confrontation with China.

Similarly, the Navy has also cut down its requirement of 57 multi-role fighters capable of operating from carriers to about 36 (two squadrons) now. With the indigenous twin-engine naval fighter likely to be ready only by 2032, the French Rafale, American F/A-18, Swedish Gripen and Russian MiG-29K would be the contenders for this mega deal.

Unlike China, India has mastered the intricate art of operating “flat-tops” over six decades, commissioning as it did its first carrier INS Vikrant with its Sea Hawk jets way back in 1961. It must not lose that edge now.

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Corona Virus (COVID_19)

Stay Home Stay Safe

Wash your hands frequently

Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.

Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.

Maintain social distancing

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.

Practice respiratory hygiene

Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.

Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.

If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.

Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider

Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.

More COVID-19 Advice