India is hoping to utilize US expertise in catapult launch technology for its recently announced indigenous 65,000-ton aircraft carrier after the signing of the 10 year Indo-US Enhanced Defense Framework Agreement by US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday.
India is looking at the latest American EMALS (Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System) and AAWS (Advanced Arrester Wire System) for the nation’s next indigenous aircraft carrier, INS Vishaal.
Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar had recently cleared initial funding of Rs 30 crore as “seed money” to commence project work on the aircraft carrier in April 2015.
An official Indian statement said, “building on the areas of agreement during President Obama’s visit to India in January 2015, India’s Defense Minister, Manohar Parrikar and US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter on Wednesday agreed to expedite discussions to take forward cooperation on jet engines, aircraft carrier design and construction, and other areas.”
The Indian Navy currently operates two aircraft carriers, i.e. the 56-year-old, 28,0000-ton, steam-driven INS Viraat and the 43,000-ton, steam-driven INS Vikramaditya. The gas-turbine-powered 37,000-ton INS Vikrant is under construction and is expected to join the Navy in 2018.
The INS Vishaal is India’s most ambitious carrier project ever. Given that it will carry an increased number of aircraft and helicopters than the current Vikramaditya and the upcoming Vikrant, a key technological requirement for it is the CATOBAR (catapult assisted takeoff but arrested recovery). Current Indian aircraft carriers use the ski-jump technology.
India earlier sent out a request for information for suitable aircraft to be placed on the Vishaal carrier. Boeing’s F/A-18, the Saab Gripen and the Dassault Rafale can be adapted for carrier role.