Feb 24, 2015
Indian Navy Set to Accelerate Second Indigenous Carrier as INS Viraat is Set to Decommission Next Year
The work to develop the carrier — thought to be called INS Vishnal — has been given a top priority to shore up capability gaps in the service following the planned retirement of INS Viraat — the former U.K. Royal Navy carrier Hermes next year.
Vishnal — the indigenous aircraft carrier-II (IAC-II) program — would take 10 to 12 years of construction and is seen as a hedge against China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) own domestic carrier program.
The PLAN has started to patrol more in the Indian Ocean in the last several years, which has prompted concern in Indian leadership.
The Indians are reportedly leaning toward a nuclear powered carrier and have determined it will feature a catapult-assisted take-off but arrested recovery (CATOBAR) — in line with the current generation of U.S. Nimitz-class carriers (CVN-68).
India’s other carriers — the Soviet-built Vikramaditya and the domestically built Vikrant (IAC-I) — currently are built around a short-take off but arrested recovery (STOBAR) system which require a sloped “ski-jump” ramp to allow aircraft to take off.
A CATOBAR system would allow Vishnal to not only launch heavier fighters than its current crop of Mikoyan MiG-29Ks but also heavier airborne surveillance aircraft.
The Indians have inquired about the inclusion of the General Atomics Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) that will launch aircraft off the new U.S. Gerald R. Ford-class of nuclear carrier.
A 65,000-ton nuclear powered CATOBAR Vishnal would be an exceedingly more complicated shipbuilding program.
Under the accelerated timeline, Vishnal could commission as early as 2033.