Navy spells out expansion plan

Indigenous aircraft carrier to be ready next year


The Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) will be launched in the sea in 2010. After an elaborate fitting-out programme to equip the vessel with weapons and sensors it will be commissioned in 2014, said Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma here on Wednesday on the eve of Navy Day.

The IAC assembling began in February 2009. The 40,000-tonne carrier is being built at a cost of more than Rs 3,200 crore. The ship is currently being constructed in the dry docks of Cochin Shipyard. It would be floated in the sea next year. The launching would be followed by the fittings and sea trials before the vessel is ready for induction.

The Navy has also started looking for a suitable place to start a second assembly line for constructing six additional submarines in addition to half-a-dozen Scorpene subs currently under construction in Mazgaon dock in Mumbai with French collaboration.

“A high-level team headed by a department of defence production official is in the process of identifying the shipyard where the second line will come up,” he said.

The Navy has issued a request for information to procure fighters for the proposed second indigenous aircraft carrier. The first IAC will have MiG-29 K and LCA naval version that can enter the compatibility trial phase in 2013.

A request for proposal has been issued to procure six medium range maritime surveillance aircraft.

Verma said the INS Arihant, the indigenous nuclear submarine,  would be inducted in two years. But asked about the induction of the Russian nuclear submarine Nerpa for training the Arihant crew, the Navy chief declined to make any comment.

Verma denied dilution of its blue water objectives because of the additional brown water responsibilities—closer to the shore—in the wake of 26/11.

After the terror strike, the Navy has been entrusted with the responsibility of overall maritime security through proper coordination involving many central and state agencies including Coast Guard, Customs, Marine Police, Central Industrial Security Force and fisher folk.

A national maritime domain awareness document will be brought out in a few months to inform various government departments how to distinguish between the friend and foe on the high seas.

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