Even as of 2013 sea trials of India’s first first nuclear submarine INS Arihant were about to begin, we’d begun wondering about a nuclear-powered 65,000-tonne carrier ins vishal in the future.
These are expensive – they can take upwards of $10 billion to build. Even the Royal British Navy is reverting to carriers propelled by gas turbines/diesel-electric systems from nuclear ones.
However, the US has 11 Nimitz-class “super-carriers” — each an over 94,000-tonne behemoth powered by two nuclear reactors and capable of carrying 80-90 fighters – to project power around the globe. China, too, is now looking at nuclear-powered carriers after inducting its first conventional carrier, the 65,000-tonne Liaoning.
However, US is unwilling to offer help to India in nuclear propulsion technology for warship.
The Manohar Parrikar-led defence acquisitions council had sanctioned an initial Rs 30 crore as seed money for INS Vishal in May 2015. Since then, India has issued RFI (request for information) for design consultancy to several foreign shipyards. But it is felt nuclear propulsion will make better sense for greater operational endurance.
For instance, the maximum range of India’s 44,500-tonne carrier INS Vikramaditya is around 7,000 nautical miles. Whereas, the range of an American Nimitz-class supercarrier – the US has 10 of them, all over 100,000 tonnes – is unlimited and it can operate for over 20 years without refueling due to nuclear propulsion. It will take at least 10-12 years to construct INS Vishal, which is critical towards the plan to build military capabilities to counter China’s expanding footprint in the Indian Ocean Region.”
“We are setting up the naval test flying team in INS Hansa to evaluate potential and future aircraft: to evaluate everything from aircraft to weapons,” Commodore Raghunath Nair, commanding officer of naval air station Hansa, said to Telegraph
“The Indian navy now has 240 aircraft but not enough infrastructure. We are finding an energetic response from the government to the plans.”
SOURCE : INDIA TIMES