January 3, 2013

Aircraft carrier construction to resume soon

Construction of the indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) is likely to resume soon at the Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) here, one year after it was floated out, on completion of a significant portion of the outer structure.
The vessel will be brought back to the building dock of the CSL early next month for completing the remaining part of the first phase of the project like fitting of gear boxes and diesel alternators, official sources told TOI here.
There were problems with the reduction gear box supplied by the Gujarat-based Elecon Engineering. But the new set of gear boxes and diesel alternators have already arrived here.
"Together they weigh about 900 tonnes. Their fitting as well as completion of the remaining work in the first phase would take about a year," the sources said.
Meanwhile, top officials of the Indian Navy, CSL, and the ministries of defence and shipping had a meeting in New Delhi on November 21 to work out the schedule and cost estimates for completing the remaining part of the IAC construction.
Defence minister A K Antony, who chaired the meeting, has reportedly asked a joint panel of these agencies to prepare a roadmap for the delivery of the IAC within a month. Antony has insisted that the new schedule must strictly be adhered to and accountability must be fixed for any further delays.
However, defence experts here point out that there are wide differences in the cost estimates of the Navy and CSL and finding a consensus within a short time-frame could prove a tough task. The first phase cost was Rs 1,160 crore, while the second phase cost is yet to be announced.
The contract for beginning the second phase of the work could be signed by the Navy and CSL only after a consensus on cost estimates was reached between them.
As per the original plan, the IAC was to be inducted into the Navy in 2014-15. But, as per broadly agreed revised schedule, its delivery would take place only in 2016 and the trails would take another two years.

Times of India

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