Ambiguity continues over status of Navy’s third aircraft carrier

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The ambiguity over Indian Navy’s third aircraft carrier continues even as China is adding to its maritime might. The Navy has been strongly pushing for a third aircraft carrier. The proposed indigenous aircraft carrier-2 (IAC-2, expected to be 65-70,000 tonnes) will supplement INS Vikramaditya (46,000 tonnes), and INS Vikrant, the 44,500-tonne IAC-1 that is expected to join service this month after almost a six-year delay.

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, as has been the case with the refit of India’s lone Aircraft Carrier INS Vikramaditya which started in the beginning of 2021 and still continues. It has been delayed due to a fire onboard in July.

With one aircraft carrier still under maintenance and one yet to be inducted, the Indian Navy will be operating without one for some more time. 

This is the state of affairs when 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,” said a defence source.

NEW DELHI: The ambiguity over Indian Navy’s third aircraft carrier continues even as China is adding to its maritime might. The Navy has been strongly pushing for a third aircraft carrier. The proposed indigenous aircraft carrier-2 (IAC-2, expected to be 65-70,000 tonnes) will supplement INS Vikramaditya (46,000 tonnes), and INS Vikrant, the 44,500-tonne IAC-1 that is expected to join service this month after almost a six-year delay.

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, as has been the case with the refit of India’s lone Aircraft Carrier INS Vikramaditya which started in the beginning of 2021 and still continues. It has been delayed due to a fire onboard in July.

With one aircraft carrier still under maintenance and one yet to be inducted, the Indian Navy will be operating without one for some more time. 

This is the state of affairs when 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,” said a defence source.