The first of India’s indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) will be inducted into the Navy by 2020 together with a squadron of MiG-29 carrier-borne fighter jets.
The IAC-1 would end India’s reliance on Russia for aircraft carriers and would begin a series of carriers made indigenously which would progressively improve in technology and features, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command, Vice-admiral Karambir Singh said today on the eve of the Navy Day.
The IAC-2 would boost of a ski-jump system on which the MiG-29K jets would be based. From IAC-2 onwards, the catapult launch system would be introduced which would speed up the launching process.
Vice-admiral Singh said that the IAC-1 was currently being built at the Cochin Shipyard. The Navy has a requirement of two operational carriers. The Maritime Capability Perspective Plan envisages a force level of three carriers to ensure availability of two carrier battle groups at any given time.
It is not yet clear if India will order additional MiG-29s since the IAC-1 deck is made for MiG-29K operation. The INS Vikramaditya carrier which was bought from Russia has a complement of MiG-29 carriers.
A three-carrier fleet will enable India to match China’s growing fleet which also is aiming for a three carrier batte-groups in the medium term and up to 10 carriers in the long term.