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Carrier battle groups to add muscle to Navy (India)
The Times of India ^ | Apr 12, 2010 | Rajat Pandit

Posted on 04/12/2010 1:38:50 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki

Carrier battle groups to add muscle to Navy

Rajat Pandit,

TNN, Apr 12, 2010, 02.26am IST

NEW DELHI: Nothing projects geostrategic power better than aircraft carriers prowling on high seas. Powerful fighter jets tearing into the skies from a moving airfield, which can travel 600 nautical miles a day, can send shivers down any adversary’s spine. Carrier-battle groups (CBGs) can, after all, rapidly respond across the entire spectrum of operations as ‘‘situation changers’’ in times of crisis. It’s no wonder then that US has as many as 11 CBGs to deploy around the globe, giving it the capability to strike almost anywhere.

India has been making do with a solitary carrier, the 50-year-old INS Viraat, since 1987. But now, with India and Russia finally ending their bitter wrangling over the huge cost escalation in Admiral Gorshkov’s refit, the Navy is steaming towards its aim of deploying two CBGs in Indian Ocean and beyond. ‘‘By 2014-2015, we should have two full-fledged CBGs, with their accompanying fighters and other aircraft, destroyers, frigates and tankers. It will make a huge difference,’’ said Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma, talking exclusively to TOI.

The first CBG will be centred around the 44,570-tonne Gorshkov, rechristened INS Vikramaditya, which India will now get in early-2013 under the fresh $2.33 billion deal inked last month. ‘‘We hope to run Vikramaditya for 40 years,’’ said Admiral Verma. The second CBG will be around the 40,000-tonne indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC), whose keel was laid at Cochin Shipyard in February 2009. ‘‘There is some delay but it will be launched by first half of 2011. We should get it by 2014,’’ he added. The 45 MiG-29K fighters, contracted from Russia for about $2 billion, will operate both from Vikramaditya and IAC. Incidentally, a 65,000-tonne IAC-II is also on the drawing board. ‘‘It will be much bigger and capable of operating fighters, AEW (airborne early-warning) aircraft, tankers etc,’’ Admiral Verma said.

But for now, Navy’s intention is to ‘‘stretch’’ the operational life of the 28,000-tonne INS Viraat, even though it’s left with only 11 of its Sea Harrier jump-jets, till IAC is commissioned. With as many as 40 warships and submarines on order, coupled with a dedicated communication satellite to be launched later this year by Isro, Navy is fast emerging as a true-blue three-dimensional blue-water force.

This is critical since India’s geopolitical interests stretch right from Hormuz Strait down to Malacca Strait. ‘‘Construction of support and escort warships for the CBGs is going well,’’ said Admiral Verma. Under the Rs 8,101 crore Project-17 at Mazagon Docks, for instance, the first of the 5,300-tonne stealth frigate INS Shivalik will be commissioned this month.

‘‘The second (INS Satpura) will be delivered later this year and the third (INS Sahyadri) next year,’’ he said.

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: aerospace; india; indiannavy; navair; navy

1 posted on 04/12/2010 1:38:50 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
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2 posted on 04/12/2010 7:31:12 AM PDT by Vroomfondel
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3 posted on 04/12/2010 8:01:21 AM PDT by magslinger (Cry MALAISE! and let slip the dogs of incompetence.)
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