Navy's aircraft carrier to be delayed by three years

India’s ambitious plans of operating two all-out carrier battle groups (CBGs) by 2015 will only be partially realised.

While INS Vikramaditya has already been procured from Russia, the carrier is expected to become operational after 2012. However, indigenous development of another aircraft carrier, likely to be named INS Vikrant, has been delayed by three years. This implies that it will be operational only after 2018.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Cochin Shipyard Limited Executive Director Jose Mathew said: “There were delays in procurement of diesel generators, gear box and so on, which delayed the project itself. We are now confident of rolling out the vessel by 2018 and we are in line with that target.”

India, which has decided to raise two armoured brigades along the Chinese border, is also keen on operating two CBGs given that China is likely to commission its first aircraft carrier later this year.

CBGs play an important role in the Navy’s strategy since they can travel about 550-600 nautical miles a day with accompanying destroyers, frigates, submarines, fighters and other aircraft.

The indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC), weighing close to 37,500 tonne, will have the capacity to carry about 30 aircraft, with 17 of them accommodated in hangars at any given time. “We have got the knowledge of building of aircraft carrier from Russia, this carrier will have a speed of about 28 nautical miles (nm) and we have build new electronics systems, hydraulics and some other key equipments already,” Mathew said.

The total steel weight of the IAC is about 21,000 tonne. The company has erected about 13,000 tonne and another 16,000 tonne of steel has already been fabricated.

In terms of design, Mathew said: “Just like any other project of this nature, 99 per cent of the design work is complete but we are open for modifications as we go along. This is because the requirement keeps changing. The basic design, however, will not be touched.”

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