A second IAC proposal is made as the navy gets ready to commission Vikrant on September 2

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A second IAC proposal is made as the navy gets ready to commission Vikrant on September 2

According to Navy Vice Chief Vice Admiral SN Ghormade, vital flight tests will start taking place on board the indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) Vikrant in November, and by the middle of the following year, the warship is anticipated to be completely operational and integrated with its air wing.

Using the knowledge and experience gained with the first carrier, he continued, the navy is arguing for the construction of a second aircraft carrier that would be built more quickly than Vikrant. On September 2, in Kochi, where it was built, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will commission Vikrant into the navy.

The vice chief of the navy stated that Vikrant will increase India’s ability to deter China. “It will provide the required deterrence against the growing strength of the neighbour. It will promote peace and stability in the Indian Ocean region.”

So yet, Vikrant hasn’t flown a fighter jet from its flight deck.

A new deck-based fighter that the navy is trying to purchase as a stopgap measure to cover its needs until the indigenous twin-engine deck-based fighter (TEDBF) is available in a few years is expected to be operated by Vikrant, along with twelve MiG-29Ks, according to Ghormade. INS Vikramaditya, an active navy aircraft carrier, is home to MiG-29K fighters.

The TEDBF might be ready in five to seven years, he suggested. To address the needs of the navy, India aims to purchase 26 new fighters for Vikrant under a government-to-government agreement. The US company Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet and French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation’s Rafale-M are vying for the procurement.

Vikrant, which has a 76% indigenous content, will fly a wing of 30 aircraft, including modern fighters, multi-role MH-60R helicopters, Kamov-31 choppers, and innovative light helicopters. “We have learnt a lot. The capability to build IAC-2 exists. It is being discussed with the government and the defence ministry. We will be able to cut down construction time when the approval comes and make it fully indigenous,” he said.

When questioned about the status of IAC-2, Ghormade stated that the ecosystem for constructing warships was prepared for a second carrier made in India. Costing 20,000 crore, the 45,000-tonne Vikrant was constructed at Cochin Shipyard. The only countries with the ability to build aircraft carriers are the US, UK, Russia, France, and China. It bears the name of the navy’s INS Vikrant, an aircraft carrier that served from 1961 to 1997.

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