Work on third aircraft carrier to start soon, more to follow, says Rajnath Singh : The Tribune India

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Work on third aircraft carrier to start soon, more to follow, says Rajnath Singh

Work on third aircraft carrier to start soon, more to follow, says Rajnath Singh

The Indian carriers during a joint operation. file



Tribune News Service

Ajay Banerjee

New Delhi, May 14

India will soon start making its third aircraft carrier, said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh while talking to The Tribune. He was referring to the pending proposal of the Navy to make another indigenous carrier same in size as INS Vikrant, which weighed 45,000 tonne and was commissioned in September 2022.

Naval race

  • The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence in January last year suggested the need for having a third sea-going aircraft carrier
  • China has two operational aircraft carriers — Liaoning and Shandong
  • On May 1, it started a week-long sea trial of its next-generation aircraft carrier Fujian

India has one more carrier — INS Vikramaditya — sourced from Russia in 2013. “We will not stop at that (three carriers). We will make five, six more,” said Rajnath.

These are first indications of long-term plans for having sea-going carriers that can launch and recover fighter jets from the deck while sailing. Till now, India has been speaking about having three carriers. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence in January last year suggested the need for having a third sea-going aircraft carrier. It had said, “The reach and flexibility of a carrier is far superior to military airfields in far-flung island territories.” What Rajnath said is setting is a fresh target for India and it matches China’s plan to have aircraft carriers.

Three years ago, a US Department of Defence report, ‘Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2021’, warned, “China continues to build a multi-carrier force. Plans are for six carriers by 2030.”

China has two operational aircraft carriers — Liaoning and Shandong. On May 1, it started a week-long sea trial of its next-generation aircraft carrier Fujian. This is China’s third aircraft carrier and the first equipped with electromagnetic catapults. The US aircraft carriers use the technology of electromagnetic catapults to launch fighter jets from deck. A catapult launch allows jets to carry heavier payload and reduce the time between the launch of two jets.

Fujian, an 80,000 tonne warship, is bigger than carriers made by the UK, France, India and Japan.

Not just India and China, other Asian countries are also racing to project power at sea and make carriers. The Japanese have converted helicopter carrier JS Izumo into an aircraft carrier capable of flying F35. It is converting another helicopter carrier, JS Kaga.

South Korea has a plan to launch a carrier by 2030.

India operated its first carrier — HMS Hercules — in 1961. It was sourced second hand from the UK and was renamed ‘INS Vikrant’. It played an important role during the 1971 India-Pakistan war on the eastern front before getting decommissioned in 1997.

India’s second carrier, HMS Hermes, also sourced second hand from the UK, was renamed INS Viraat. Inducted in 1987, it was decommissioned in 2017.

About The Author

The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

#Rajnath Singh


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