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SOURCE: NARAYAN APTE/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

INS Vikrant, India’s first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier 1 (IAC-1) recently completed its first leg of sea trials while it plans to accomplish 5 more before it is cleared for induction next year in 2022 but already Tongues were wagging about India going for the development of a 65000 tons IAC-II that due to budgetary concerns has been put on hold but Navy is planning to raise funds for the projects from its budget that might see the induction of sister ship of INS Vikrant that might become IAC-II.

India has made no plans for Super Aircraft Carrier which are usually classified when they cross or are close to 1,00,000 ton in its displacements and usually requires nuclear propulsion to power such a mega warship but if it plans to have one in 2040, it needs to start investing in the technology that will be required for the construction of the such a mega warship in our dry docks.

The 45,000 ton INS Vikramaditya, that joined the Navy in 2013 has a lifespan of 25 years after which it could require major refit since it is a modified Kiev-class aircraft carrier that was launched in 1982. The ship is 39 years old now even though it had gone through a major refit before it was sold to India, it won’t have a lifespan of 50+ years of service in the Indian Navy that usually comes with a brand new aircraft carrier. When Russians had sold INS Vikramaditya they had offered 25 years of life cycle support it will turn 25 in the Indian Navy around 2038 after that it’s not clear if it can be sustained beyond that since it will be 58 years old hull by then.

As per an estimate, India will need a third aircraft carrier by 2040-45 to replace its aging INS Vikramaditya, and its critical that plans for the development of the third aircraft carriers are in place from 2021 onwards for which the Indian Navy has to decide what it could like to have as IAC-II! A Second 45,000 ton Vikrant class aircraft carrier at a much cheaper cost or a new 65,000 ton Vishal Class aircraft carrier.

Budget allocation for the IAC-II at this stage will decide if the Navy will have funds to develop and manufacture an IAC-III that will be a super aircraft carrier powered by nuclear propulsion.

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