India expects to bring into service its first domestically made aircraft carrier by 2018 as it looks to counter China’s expanding military capabilities in the region.
The diesel-powered, 40,000-ton INS Vikrant will be ready within three years, Indian Navy Chief R.K. Dhowan told reporters in New Delhi today. It’s under construction at a shipyard in the southern port city of Kochi.
The aircraft carrier project is three years behind schedule after difficulties in procuring materials, including high-grade steel from Russia. When finished, it will be capable of supporting MiG-29K fighter jets, helicopters and long-range surface-to-air missile systems. INS Vikrant was started in 2008, and the keel was laid in February 2009.
India’s navy currently has two aircraft carriers: the 56-year-old INS Viraat built by the British and a refurbished Russian vessel.
In February 2015, admiral Ravi Vohra was quoted saying “India’s ultimate goal is the eventual establishment of a five-carrier fleet comprising a mix of large and small carriers
Vikrant in 2013. Incomplete but floating
SOURCES – Bloomberg, Wikipedia, Youtube
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