India is trying to fast-track finalization of its long-pending ambitious plan to launch indigenous construction of its largest-ever aircraft carrier. Though the propulsion system for the proposed 65,000-tonne warship is yet to be decided, the plan is veering towards nuclear power for greater operational endurance, the Times of India reported on Monday (22 Feb 2015).
The ongoing “detailed” naval study for this indigenous aircraft carrier-II (IAC-II) project has gained urgency since the ageing 56-year-old INS Viraat -- quite toothless now with just 11 Sea Harrier jump-jets left to operate from its deck -- will be retired in 2016.
India has to plan ahead since it will take at least 10-12 years to construct IAC-II, which will be christened INS Vishal, if it wants to systematically build military capabilities to counter China’s expanding long-range naval deployments in the Indian Ocean Region, say officials.
China, after inducting its first 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier Liaoning in September 2012, already has a second one under construction and two more are in the pipeline to further bolster its expanding maritime power, said the Times.