New Delhi, Oct 12: Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba today reviewed the construction of the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier, the 40,000-tonne INS Vikrant, at the Cochin Shipyard.
INS Vikrant, the construction of which was first approved way back in 2003, will fully-operational by 2022.
The CAG noted serious delays in production in its report last year: “It is evident from the PERT chart (September 2014) of Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) that while the delivery of the carrier with completion of all activities is likely to be achieved only by 2023, the Ministry and the Indian Navy continue to hold the timelines of final delivery of the ship as December 2018.
The Navy remains hopeful of getting the carrier by 2019.
Vikrant, named after India’s first aircraft carrier that was acquired from the U.K. in 1961, was launched ceremonially in August 2013.
In April this year, China has launched its first indigenously designed and built aircraft carrier. State media said the carrier is expected to enter service in 2020. At 70,000 tonnes, it is considerably larger than Vikrant and will accommodate more fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.It is expected to carry China’s indigenous J-15 aircraft.
The Type 001A – named Shandong – will give China a 2-1 edge over India for the first time in the carrier race. After decommissioning the Viraat earlier this year, the Indian Navy is down to a single carrier, INS Vikramaditya – a Russian ship Admiral Gorshkov that was repurposed at a cost of over $2 billion.
Experts also say India’s carrier-first strategy has drained the Navy of resources. Compared to over 70 that China has,the Indian Navy is left with just 13 conventional submarines. Eleven of those are more than a quarter-century old.
INS Vikrant at a glance
Cost: Over ₹ 20,000 crore allocated
Displacement: 40,000 tonne
Crew: 160 officers and 1,400 sailors
Capacity: 12 MiG-29Ks, 8 Tejas Light Combat Aircraft & 10 helicopters
Endurance: 7,500 nautical miles at 18 knots speed