Indigenous Aircraft Carrier

Admitting ”hiccups” in India’s Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) project, Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma today said the 40,000-tonne warship could not be launched this year because of delays in supply of equipment, but it would be ready for sea trials by 2014.

The IAC was to be launched this year and because of some indigenous equipment that could not be supplied on time the launch has been delayed. We are expecting it (launch) by the middle of next year, as things stand,” he said at the annual press conference ahead of Navy Day on December 4.

“But at the same time, efforts are on to compress the time frames by ensuring that the amount of outfitting on the warship is much more than earlier envisaged, so we cut down on time. We expect to put it out at sea by 2014,” he said.

The Navy Chief said since India was building an aircraft carrier for the first time, a lot of trial and error took place during construction.”We should graduate to sea trial stage where one can say …the target is 2014,” he added.

On the Navy’s future acquisition and capability enhancement programmes, Verma said there were 36 ships and submarines on order in various Indian shipyards and that these programmes were largely on track.

Among the major projects were the IAC in Kochi and the refurbishment of INS Vikramaditya (erstwhile Russian Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier), both of which were “progressing satisfactorily and going well.”

“Vikramaditya’s induction has been delayed due to increase in the scope of work, which consequently led to unavoidable upward revision in price. But, there has been progress in the past few months. All efforts are being made to ensure ‘Vikramaditya’ will be delivered to us by December 2012,” he added.

Verma pointed out that India’s first stealth frigate INS Shivalik had been commissioned and two more ships of this class would be commissioned soon.”Other projects in pipeline are Kolkata class destroyers, four advanced anti-submarine Corvettes and six Scorpene class submarines, four modern fast patrol vessels and a sail training ship are at various stages of construction,” he added.

In the Shivalik class, MDL will be delivering the second ship in the line to the Navy in a few months from now.He said orders for five Offshore Patrol Vessels and two cadet training ships had been placed at private shipyards.

“We had smaller ships being constructed, but in terms of size, this is a first as far as Indian Navy is concerned (to be built at a private yard) and we have told them to deliver on time and within costs,” he noted.

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