India set to complete first domestic aircraft carrier in 2018 and another about 2025 as part of 5 planned carriers

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