Saturday, August 20, 2011
India's first IAC likely to be wet by the end of the year
India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) is likely to be wet by the end of the year, according to sources.
This will mark the culmination of the first phase of construction of the carrier, being built at the Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL) for the Indian Navy. With this, India will also join the elite club of nations capable of designing and building carriers upwards of 40,000 tonnes. The ship was scheduled to be wet in 2010.
The second phase will cover all balance work till the delivery of the ship to the Navy in end-2014. The keel was laid in February 2009. After the government sanctioned design and construction in January 2003, the yard commenced steel cutting in April 2005. Construction work on the blocks of the ship commenced in November 2006. CSL is using high-strength steel developed in-house with the help of Defence Research & Development Organisation and Steel Authority of India Ltd. Italy’s Fincantieri helped in propulsion system integration, while Russia’s NDB assisted in aviation aspects.
Designed by the Navy’s Design Organisation, the 260-metre-long and 60-metre-wide ship will be able to handle a mix of MiG-29K, Ka31 and indigenous light combat aircraft. It will be propelled by two shafts, each coupled to two LM2500 gas turbines, developing a total power of 80 Mw, sufficient to attain a cruising speed of 28 knots. It has an endurance of around 8,000 nm. It will have two take-off runways and a landing strip with three arrester wires. It can carry 30 aircraft, with adequate hangar capacity.
There will be a long-range surface-to-air missile system, with multi-function radars and close-in weapon systems. The ship will be equipped with the most modern C/D band early air warning radar, V/UHF tactical air navigational and direction finding systems. It will also have jamming capabilities over the expected electromagnetic environment, along with carrier control approach radars, to aid air operations.
To optimise the on build period, the defence ministry has already advanced Rs 200 crore to CSL to augment infrastructure in areas such as large cranes, workshops, heavy duty machinery, etc.
Separately, the shipping ministry through the Planning Commission sanctioned Rs 98.6 crore for the creation of a small ship division, so that commercial shipbuilding can be continued during the pendency of the IAC Project.