Indian Navy to decide tonnage of its 2nd Indigenous Aircraft Carrier

Mumbai: As waves hit the hull of the first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC-1) (formerly Project 71 Air Defence Ship (ADS)), which is now floating aimlessly near to Cochin Shipyard Limited, Indian Navy is mulling if its second Indigenous Aircraft Carrier – IAC-2- is going to be 45000 tonnes like IAC-1 or 65000 tonnes. Chief of Naval Staff Admiral DK Joshi during Navy day briefings (December 2012) said the navy was planning a 65000 ton carrier. However, Rear Admiral A.K. Saxena, NM, DG, during the recent SMM India summit (Apr 4-5) hinted the decision has not been taken.

Directorate of Naval Design (DND (SSG), which designs the surface warships, has only the line design of the aircraft carrier, which is only an initial step. It has to be followed by detailed drawings and rest of the procedure. A well prepared Rear Admiral A.K. Saxena presented the pros and cons of a 45000 ton vs 65000 ton carrier.

Two considerations that weighed on Admiral Saxena’s presentation were the cost of the carrier and the aircraft’s to be used. A 45000 ton carrier saves 1/4th of the cost against a 65000 ton carrier. Navy is also worried about the aircraft’s to be fielded in future. Existing combination of LCA Tejas Navy and MiG-29 K will require a 45000 carrier. If the aircraft’s are going to be bigger in future, then the navy has the need to go for a 65000 carrier.

The talk reveled that the vendors for lifts, pumps and other crucial equipment have already made their presentations and Navy has made a list of suppliers. The Admiral mentioned a side lift for IAC-2. Indian Navy has been traditionally using MacTaggart Scott lifts, but a new US supplier is also expected to be considered.

IAC-2 could also be steam propelled unlike IAC-1, which has diesel generator. Steam propulsion is making a comeback due to its power generation capabilities.

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