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08:28 AM, November 9, 2016
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Indian Navy’s latest aircraft carrier, INS Vishal

The Indian Navy’s latest aircraft carrier INS Vishal, which will be empowered by a nuclear reactor, is scheduled to be commissioned in 2030 or later.

The INS Vishal will also be the first non-Western aircraft carrier equipped with the complex CATOBAR capability, Business Standard reported Monday.

The 65,000-ton supercarrier will be able to accommodate up to 55 aircraft, including 35 fixed-wing combat aircraft and 20 rotary wing aircraft. They will be launched using a catapult assisted take-off but arrested recovery (CATOBAR) aircraft launch system, incorporating US defense contractor’s General Atomics’ new electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS) technology.

CATOBAR aircraft launch systems put less strain on the airframe of planes during takeoff reducing maintenance cost in the long run. Further it permits carrier based aircraft to carry a heavier weapons pay loads. Furthermore, CATOBAR launch systems increase the sortie rates of carrier air wings by allowing a faster landing and takeoff rate.

The Indian Navy’s preference for the CATOBAR aircraft launch system indicates that the new warship will in all likelihood not carry MiG-29K Fulcrum fighter jets, the current mainstay of India’s naval combat aviation.

However, it has to be noted that the second ship of the Vikrant-class will not enter the service till 2030s as it has to incorporate all these technologies. The actual plan was to induct the carrier in the 2020s. Also, It is still unclear when the construction of the new warship will begin.

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