The myth about the strength of the Russian Navy’s naval forces was dealt a powerful blow again, and India did it. on 2nd September India commissioned its first indigenously-built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant.
India overtakes Russia in Aircraft carriers and becomes 4th country to have more than one aircraft carrier after USA, UK and China.
India has overtaken the Russian Navy in terms of the number of aircraft carriers in service after commissioning the new aircraft carrier INS Vikrant a few days ago. Thus, the Indian Navy already has two aircraft carriers in service after the entry into service in 2014 of INS Vikramaditya – the Russian converted Admiral Gorshkov.
A historic day for India!
Words will not be able to describe the feeling of pride when I was on board INS Vikrant yesterday. pic.twitter.com/vBRCl308C9
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 3, 2022
At the same time, although it is possible to see certain features of the Soviet carrieer in INS Vikrant, it is an home made development, built by Kochin Shipyard, India. And this 262-meter ship with a loaded displacement of 45,000 tons is the first aircraft carrier built in an Indian shipyard, and the level of use of exclusively Indian components is claimed at 75%, with the involvement of more than 100 local enterprises.
INS Vikrant is designed for an aircraft wing of 30 vehicles and a crew of 1,600 people. The main aircraft was supposed to be the MiG-29K, which India planned to purchase from the Russia, but a series of disasters and existing problems with this aircraft during operation as a deck machine forced it to look for alternatives.
The Naval Tejas, an Indian-built fighter that was planned to replace the MiG-29K, had difficulties during testing due to a single engine. And right now, a Rafale-M alternative is being thought about, one that has a strong possibility of being combined with the current air force fleet. Despite the fact that concerns concerning the rate of their supply are quite serious and the size of the aircraft also not fitting.
Another option is the F/A-18 Super Hornet specially for which Boeing even proved the possibility of this aircraft launching not by catapult, but by Skilaunch. For the American company, India can become quite an important buyer in view of the US plans to abandon the F/A-18 and replace it with the F-35.
At the same time, the current contract with the base customer ends in 2024, and all other existing F/A-18 operators plan to retire it and replace it with the F-35.
It is also important that there is relatively little time left for the selection of the aircraft in India, the deadline for bringing the INS Vikrant to operational readiness is set for mid-2023. Therefore, it is possible that Delhi will stop at the MiG-29K.
At the same time, it should be noted that the construction of INS Vikrant, which work began back in 2009, encountered a number of problems, and its commissioning was originally planned for 2014. Due to this, the cost of the project has already exceeded 3 billion dollars, which increased the previous and extremely optimistic estimates of the cost by six times.