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The Indian defense establishment is actively pursuing the development of an indigenous Electromagnetic Launch System (EMALS) for its proposed IAC-III aircraft carrier. This move, if successful, would make India the third country after the US and China to possess this next-generation technology.

The Indian Defence Minister recently inspected a scale model of the EMALS system developed through a collaborative effort between state-owned Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), private sector companies, and academia. Both BEL and the Indian Navy are actively seeking funding to integrate this indigenous system into the 65,000-ton IAC-III carrier.

The primary motivation behind this endeavor is cost. While the US has offered customized EMALS and AAG systems for the IAC-III, the cost, exceeding $1 billion, coupled with India-specific development expenses, makes it a significant financial burden.

To overcome this challenge, the Indian Navy plans to conduct feasibility studies with various partners to create a functional full-scale model of the EMALS and AAG system. Approval from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) would unlock funding for this project, paving the way for further development.

This initiative holds immense strategic significance. Possessing an indigenous EMALS system would significantly enhance the capabilities of the IAC-III carrier, allowing it to launch heavier and faster aircraft. Additionally, it would bolster India’s self-reliance in critical defense technologies, reducing dependence on foreign suppliers.

However, the path ahead is not without its challenges. Developing such a complex system requires significant technical expertise, financial resources, and time. The success of this endeavor hinges on overcoming these hurdles and securing the necessary approvals and funding.

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