New Delhi: There are mainly three divisions in the Indian Army. One of them is Navy. Army and Air Force are the other two branches. Air Force is the most important of these three branches. It also has close links between both the Army and the Navy. Mainly the work of the Navy is to guard the coastal borders of India. In addition to providing cooperation to the Army and Air Force. Along with this, naval forces also serve in case of natural disasters.
Both ships, which were supposed to reinforce the navy, are not operational
Although the Indian Navy has two aircraft carriers, Vikrant and Vikramaditya, neither of them is operationally ready. This is indeed a serious blow to the Indian Navy which has to protect the East and West coasts.
Pilots of India’s strongest Indian Navy have not landed any aircraft carrier in nearly two years. The operation will take time in the future as well, with the much-awaited INS Vikrant gearing up for the first landing early next year, reports said. Another aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya has been under repair for the last two years and is not operational.
An aircraft carrier is a warship built with a primary purpose of equipping and relocating aircraft and serving as a seaworthy air base.
There are a few reasons why an aircraft carrier is inactive, and here is an in-depth look at them
Fire in INS Vikramaditya, repair work
The main reason why INS Vikramaditya is not operational is the fire incidents it has witnessed. A fire incident occurred in the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, which was undergoing sea trials after repairs in the Arabian Sea off Karwar in Uttara Kannada district.
Thus, the vessel has been out of use for many months due to the ongoing repair work of Vikramaditya. Sources in defense and security agencies said that after the repair work is completed, it will be ready for loading process. The Russian-based aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya is said to be fully operational by the end of the year or early next year.
Vikramaditya, unlike Vikrant, does not have a ski-jump
Even though naval pilots have undertaken joint exercises with several countries including the US, they are unable to take off from those aircraft carriers as they do not have a ski-jump like the Vikramaditya Vikrant. For the same reason, planes are not taking off in the Navy for two years.
Also Read: Full right of justice belongs to women here!
INS Vikrant entering the fray next year?
Flight trials of India’s first indigenously built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant will begin this month, sources said. Built at a cost of around Rs 20,000 crore, the aircraft carrier successfully completed the fourth and final phase of sea trials last month.
But current reports suggest that the actual landing of the MiG 29K is likely to happen early next year.
INS Vikrant is the largest ship ever built in India’s maritime history, featuring state-of-the-art automation.
India’s first aircraft carrier, which played a major role in the 1971 war, is named after its illustrious predecessor, an indigenous aircraft carrier. The aircraft carrier, which has many features, however, will take more time for loading, informed sources said. “Landing and take-off of a moving aircraft carrier in reality is drastically different from that in SBTF or a simulator,” a source said.
Officials explained that the pilots undertake multiple landings and take-offs on the aircraft carrier to train in various situations, including night landings and varying sea states. It is measured by the Douglas Sea Gauge using wave height and sea swell. Each pilot undergoes various grading processes depending on the number of such landings and this has been the norm for many years.
This ‘Vikrant’ is the pride of India.
Former Chief of Indian Navy Admiral Arun Prakash (retd), himself a naval aviator. He said India is fortunate to have SBTF which enables pilots to maintain and improve their flying skills.
“The Goa SBTF is the second such facility in the world, the other being in Crimea. It comes with an exact replica of the carrier landing space with arrester wires and a precise ski-jump,” he explained. “Except roll, pitch and aircraft carrier movements, the SBTF offers the same dynamics so that flying skills are practiced. Pilots will take a maximum of a week to 10 days to return to deck operations,” said Arun Prakash.
Vikramaditya takes longer to reset
Vikramaditya is an old warship and needs frequent maintenance. INS Vikramaditya will complete 50 years in 2032. As a ship ages, its maintenance becomes expensive. It becomes more of a liability than an asset. Hence, the Navy has contemplated decommissioning the carrier after 2032.
INS Vikramaditya is originally a Russian carrier. It was decommissioned in 1996 and later purchased by India in 2004 and commissioned in 2013 after renovation. Sources said it is undergoing a process called “normal reset”. Retired officer said that due to Corona this resettlement work is getting delayed.
A fire incident last July damaged blowers and fuel pipes. Hence its repair work is taking more time. The carrier last underwent a five-month refit at a cost of Rs 700 crore in 2018, the second refit the ship has undergone since commissioning in late 2013. On the question whether it is normal for the ship to have frequent fires, sources explained that every ship has a refit cycle.
How does a general overhaul of a ship take place in the Navy?In the Indian Navy, a ship undergoes three minor overhauls before undergoing a general overhaul (which takes care of minor repair work) during which large-scale inspections are carried out and every system is scrutinized.
After two rounds of general refit, the ship undergoes a so-called medium refit, which involves intensive repair work that includes dry dock works.
Vikramaditya’s contract was signed in 2004 by the then NDA government for $974 million, which eventually reached $2.35 billion in 2010. The price-fixing process turned into a scandal in 2010 when pictures surfaced of a senior naval officer closely involved in the Admiral Gorshkov deal.
Is an aircraft carrier not economically viable??
Aircraft carriers are a billion dollar investment and need to be planned in advance in terms of time and costs. It will not be built solely as an aircraft carrier, but must be integrated to house weapons, sensors and even fighter jets to make it fully operational and combat ready.
The high-cost factor mentioned does not take into account the long time involved in manufacturing an aircraft carrier, which creates massive employment opportunities, provides business to local industries and promotes local shipbuilding. There is no denying that aircraft carriers are expensive assets.