With indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant joining INS Vikramaditya in the Indian Navy’s service, the push for a third aircraft carrier seems to be getting stronger. The insistence for a second Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) is also crucial in the backdrop of the rapidly strengthening carrier fleet of the Chinese Navy.
Making a case for it, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence had earlier said in its report last December that the third aircraft carrier is an “unavoidable requirement to meet any eventualities” considering the “long coastline and hostile adversities on both sides of Indian peninsula.”
Interestingly, another report of the committee, presented to Lok Sabha in March this year, contains a table with the description ‘A written note was furnished regarding Details of Acquisition planned by Indian Navy for the year 2022-23.’ The table lists ‘Indigenous Aircraft Carrier-2’ and ‘Multi Role Carrier Borne Fighters (MRCBF)’, among others.
The second IAC is slated to be called INS Vishal and is proposed to have a displacement of around 65,000 tonnes, equalling the Queen Elizabeth-class of carriers of the UK. Once given approval, the carrier may take somewhere around 10 to 12 years to complete.
The Russian-origin INS Vikramaditya was commissioned into the Indian Navy in 2013. The modified Kiev-class aircraft carrier earlier served as Admiral Gorshkov in the Russian Navy from 1987 to 1996. When INS Vikramaditya was inducted, the British-origin Centaur-class aircraft carrier INS Viraat was nearing retirement. It was decommissioned in July 2016.
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