First January 2004 was a red letter day for the Indian Navy’s aviators
when its 10 year long quest for the carrier Gorshkov materialised.
Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov accompanied by C in C
Russian Navy, Admiral of the Fleet Vladimir Ivanovich Kuroedov
visited New Delhi, and signed
the $1.5 billion deal for the delivery of the 44,500 ton aircraft
carrier, Admiral Gorshkov in 2008, along with its
attendant complement of air elements. The carrier is now at
Severodvinsk where it is being overhauled and upgraded at the
Defence Minister confirmed the deal to the media, but did not
confirm whether the 4 TU 22M MR aircraft for the Indian Navy were
Gorshkov deal includes 12 custom built single seat and 4 twin seat
MiG 29Ks and 6 additional Kamov 28/31 ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare)/
AEW(Airborne Early Warning) helicopters.
pilots will be trained on MiG 29Ks from 2007, and possibly also get
experience on IAF’s MiG 29s, as there have been exchange
programmes of pilots between the two services.
spotlight has now turned on to the Indian Navy’s home built 37,500
ton carrier called the Air Defence Ship (ADS) which was sanctioned
some years ago. The carrier will be built at Cochin Shipyard Ltd in
South India and facilities and preliminary work at the yard had
progressed as funds were already advanced for this purpose. Cochin
shipyard has refitted the INS Viraat twice, and has the experience
of modernization, but building carriers ab initio will be a new
experience for Indian naval architects.
Naval design team at New Delhi have designed the Indian Navy’s
aircraft carrier. Unfortunately it was unable to complete the final
design as it was unsure of the aircraft details, till the Gorshkov
deal was inked. This has now taken place and it is hoped that the
design will be completed soon.
INS Viraat is due to be decommissioned in 2008 when the Gorshkov
arrives. Hence the Navy is keen to commission the ADS by 2010.
lifts, hangar space and servicing facilities were critically
dependent on the MiG 29K decision and now work on finalizing the
design has commenced in earnest.
naval version of the Light Combat Aircraft LCA called Tejas is
planned to follow the IAF’s 6 series versions, with strengthened
under carriage and folding wings but that is some distance away.
in 1988, DCN of France were contracted to perform design studies for
a CVL of about 28,000-tons, which was completed in 1991 at a cost of
$12 million. Later after gleaning trends and defining operational
needs for the Navy, it settled for a larger carrier of 37,500 tons,
with an Indian Naval Design Directorate plan to include an angled
ramp takeoff over bow configuration, for operating Short Takeoff But
Arrested Recovery (STOBAR) aircraft.
STOVL variant of the Air Force’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) will
eventually be developed for the Navy, but that could not be taken
into consideration for the present design, which will now be based
on the MiG 29K, the current naval choice.. The ADS is expected to
handle an air wing of up 18-fixed wing and four to six Advance Light
Helicopter (ALH) and Kamovs.
final design of the aircraft carrier has not been announced but the
length will have to be around 240 meters for the Mig 29Ks to operate
in free take off and with mathematical calculations the angle of the
Ski Ramp could be in the region of 12 to 14 degrees.
Indian yards have chosen the Tribon design software. The final
working design of the Air Defence Ship, a misnomer adopted for the
aircraft carrier can now be completed. In due course the line
drawings will need to be converted into working drawings and
construction commenced, and the yard hopes to cut the steel this
present all warship steel is imported. The Navy and Cochin Shipyard
have held discussions with yards abroad, which have experience of
building aircraft carriers for collaboration. Admiral Madhvendra
Singh the Chief of Naval Staff in a recent interview mentioned
Italy, Spain and France as possible countries and so the assumption
was Fincantieri, Izar and DCN as the possible contenders.
the recently held DEFEXPO 04 in New Delhi the Italians displayed a
model of the Andrea Doria which has similarities with India’s ADS,
and it evinced a lot of interest. The ship has the LM 2500 gas
turbines, five bladed CPP propellers, side lift and one lift forward
and the ski ramp, which is reported to be in the Indian Navy’s
Russians will carry out the fitment of aircraft supplies and systems
akin to the Gorshkov and possibly supply the arrestor gear as they
have made prototype barriers at an airfield near Moscow where the
capabilities of the MiG 29K were demonstrated to the Indian Navy