Aircraft Carriers

• The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence said that having three aircraft carriers will considerably enhance combat capabilities of the Navy.

• The country’s first IAC (IAC-I) Vikrant is currently undergoing sea trials and is scheduled to be commissioned next year.

What are Aircraft Carriers?

• A vessel that acts as a seagoing airbase with a full-length flight deck and facilities for carrying, arming, deploying, and recovering aircraft is known as an aircraft carrier.

• While the Indian Navy currently operates one aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya, it is keen to add a third one to its fleet in line with its prospective plan to simultaneously operate three carrier battle groups (CBG) so that two of them remain serviceable on either flank at any given time.

• INS Vikrant– The first indigenous aircraft carrier– to be commissioned in 2022. Motto of the IAC is Jayema Sam Yudhi Sprdhah. It is taken from Rigveda 1.8.3.

• Like Vikramaditya, IAC-1 has a STOBAR (short take-off but arrested recovery) system of aircraft launch and recovery on the flight deck.

• STOBAR (“Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery”) is a system used for the launch and recovery of aircraft from the deck of an aircraft carrier, combining elements of “short take-off and vertical landing” (STOVL) with “catapult-assisted take-off but arrested recovery” (CATOBAR).

• INS Vishal– proposed to be India’s 2nd indigenous aircraft carrier, is awaiting defence ministry’s clearance.

Need for aircraft carriers

• By its diplomatic and tactical power, its mobility, its autonomy and the variety of its means, the aircraft carrier is often the centerpiece of modern combat fleets.

• One of its great advantages is that, by sailing in international waters, it does not interfere with any territorial sovereignty and thus obviates the need for overflight authorizations from third-party countries, reduces the times and transit distances of aircraft and therefore significantly increases the time of availability on the combat zone.

• Maritime Capability Perspective Plan of the Navy envisages a force level of three aircraft carriers, to ensure development of a capability to operate two Carrier Battle Groups (CBGs) at any given time.

• The combat capability, reach and versatility of the aircraft carrier would add formidable capabilities in the defence of the country and help secure India’s interests in the maritime domain.

• Its induction will give a fillip to the sea control capabilities of the Navy in the Indian Ocean Region.

• These measures would help enhance the Navy’s operational reach and prowess to protect India’s maritime interests.

• There is an aggressive effort by China to gain a foothold in the Indian Ocean Region.

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Mains Paper 3: Defence and Security

Prelims level: Aircraft Carriers

Mains level: Indigenization of technology and developing new technology

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