More reports on: Defence general

US likely to offer technology for India's largest aircraft carrier

04 February 2015

The United States is expected to help India build a new 65,000 tonne aircraft carrier incorporating state-of-the-art technology under the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) signed by President Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month.

The technology deal could lead to US directly participating in building the proposed 65,000-tonne INS Vishal, which India plans to build, reports quoting defence officials said.

The two countries have agreed to ''form a working group to explore aircraft carrier technology-sharing and design,'' the report quoted sources as saying.

Reports quoting former vice admiral Arun Kumar Singh said naval planners want a carrier that can launch heavier planes, and that needs longer and flat decks - the kind used by US aircraft carriers.

Only the US navy currently operates large carriers, which have flat decks, rather than the ''sky-jump'' decks of Russia-made carriers.

The technology being discussed is the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) developed by General Atomics, which is now being installed on the Gerald R Ford class of carriers that are joining the navy.

The new system helps jets take off from a flat deck at a faster rate and with less fatigue to the aircraft.

The incorporation of the EMALS system will help increase the number of aircraft on board the INS Vishal to 50 from 34, enable deployment of heavier fighter jets with longer reach as well as airborne early warning aircraft.

"The Americans, I believe, have said 'Ok, we will help you design a ship and you also buy our catapults' to launch the aircraft," Singh said.

INS Vishal is the second Vikrant-class aircraft carrier currently in its design phase, which will be built by Cochin Shipyard Limited and the second aircraft carrier (IAC-II) to be built in India.

Its proposed design features significant changes from INS Vikrant (IAC-1), like an increase in displacement to over 65,000 tons. It will be nuclear-powered with CATOBAR system to launch heavier aircraft like larger fighters, airborne early-warning aircraft and mid-air refueling tankers.

Vishal's proposed design would make India the third nation after United States and France to operate a nuclear powered aircraft carrier. Its construction was expected to begin by late 2014.

India proposes to build a fleet of five aircraft carriers, which include large and small carriers, former Rear Admiral Ravi Vohra was reported as saying.

Once the US administration and defence industry decides to part with the advanced EMALS technology, it would mean a big leap for Indian Navy whose existing carriers use ski-jump ramps to help planes take off and use wires to slow them while landing.

 search domain-b