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Navy junks idea of new type of Aircraft Carrier; prefers repeating IAC-1 order

Currently, the Indian Navy operates two aircraft carriers -- INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant. However, INS Vikrant is yet to be operational in the waters.

Navy junks idea of new type of Aircraft Carrier; prefer repeating IAC-1 order
First Published Dec 3, 2022, 7:50 PM IST

The Indian Navy has junked the idea of having Indigenous Aircraft Carrier-2 (IAC2) and is instead mulling a repeat order of IAC1.

Also Read: Indian Navy operating without sole aircraft carrier for 1.5 years!

Addressing the media persons ahead of Indian Navy Day 2022 in New Delhi, Indian Navy chief Admiral R Hari Kumar said: "On IAC2, we are still working on what size it should be and what are the capabilities that are desired etc. Right now, we have put a hold on it because we have just commissioned Vikrant. We are very happy with the ship and the way the ship performed in the trials. A lot of expertise has been gained in building IAC-1 in the Cochin shipyard. A lot of ancillary industries have come up, which is AatmaNirbhar in full bloom."

"We are also examining if we should repeat order an IAC-1 instead of going for an IAC-2 to capitalise on the expertise available in the country and how we can plough back into the economy. This is all right now in the discussion stage, and we have not firmed up our mind, nor have we taken it to the Government," he added.

The Indian Navy has been pushing for a third aircraft carrier weighing 65,000 tons with a nuclear-propulsion system. The IAC2 was envisioned to house around 55 aircraft, including 35 fixed-wing combat aircraft and 20 rotary-wing aircraft. It would have been equipped with a catapult-assisted take-off but arrested recovery (CATOBAR) aircraft launch system. CATOBAR is a system used for the launch and recovery of aircraft from the deck of an aircraft carrier. It enhances the aircraft's payload capacity.

Currently, the Indian Navy is operating with two aircraft carriers -- INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant. However, INS Vikrant is yet to be operational in the waters.

Both the carriers are short take-off but arrested recovery (STOBAR) designs, using an angled bow/ski-jump to provide additional lift for embarked aircraft on take-off. 

Sources in the Indian Navy said: "The idea of junking off the IAC2 project is basically due to the funding constraint. It would have required over Rs 50,000 crore for life cycle cost for around 40 years."

An official stated that India needed a third aircraft carrier, given the situation with China and Pakistan. "You need to have two aircraft carriers in operation and another in maintenance."

In reply to a question on eight former Indian Navy officials detained in Qatar, Admiral Kumar said: "This has been taken up with all agencies involved and at the highest leadership in the country. There is a continuous effort, and we are hopeful that it will be resolved."

Agnipath scheme

He informed that a total of 3,000 Agniveers have joined the training facility at INS Chilka, out of which 341 are women. "Their training started on November 21."

He also announced that from next year women officers would be inducted across all branches.

Predator drones

He said that the case of 30 high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) unmanned aerial systems (UAS) is under process. "It is at a stage where we are discussing the rationalisation of the numbers. The Indian Navy is currently operating with two HALE UAS on lease, and “their performance is quite good."

Also Read: Yudh Abhyas 'Kill Box': India, US troops eliminate 'terrorists' holed up in houses

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