The first one – 40,000 tonnes Indigenous Aircraft Carrier 1 (IAC-1) – is being constructed at Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) since 2009 and is expected to be inducted by 2017.
Subsequently, CSL will undertake construction of the second carrier, which will be bigger than the first one.
“The indigenous aircraft carrier programme is planned to be a continuing process over the next decade as Indian Navy aims to have at least two fully operational and combat worthy carriers available at any given time,” Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma said in his talk at the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London on Monday.
With India’s lone carrier INS Viraat at the fag end of its career, Navy is set to receive Russian-origin INS Vikramaditya in December to boost its capability.
The IAC-1 will be launched in water by 2013 and may start sea-trials by 2016. The programme is almost two and half years behind schedule as the target launch date was 2010. As the Navy’s long-term perspective plan envisages having three carrier battle groups, the CSL will start building IAC-2 once the work on the first one is over. A must to have in the repository to be projected as a powerful maritime nation, a carrier battle group is a small flotilla of warships at the core of which lie an aircraft carrier.
Verma said Navy’s induction programme was structured in such a way that every year over the next 5 years, as many as five ships and submarines would be inducted if shipyards deliver the platforms on contract schedule.