India leaves China behind in the construction of indigenous aircraft carrier

Indian Aircraft carrier
Courtesy: Indian Navy

11 June 2015 4:20 PM AEST: India heightened its relevance at the international forefront as it undocked its first indigenously-built aircraft carrier yesterday. Christened INS Vikrant, the floating airstrip was entirely built by the South Asian giant at Kochin Shipyard Limited in the state of Kerala.

With the undocking of the 40,000 tonne beast, India overnight became an elite military power. It has now joined Russia, the UK, the US and France that are the only nations in the world that can design and construct aircraft carriers independently.

INS Vikrant is also a clear indication that the world’s largest democracy has beaten the world’s second largest economy in terms of their respective blue water aspirations. India is already well ahead in planning its second aircraft carrier, to be christened INS Vishal, whereas China has not yet completed its first.

There is a discontent among Chinese nationalists who view the number of aircraft carriers their country has is grossly incommensurate with its general military and economic prowess. This is evident from a recent piece on Global Mail which said, in terms of the number of aircraft carriers,China has lagged far behind its neighbor India, not to mention developed countries”. The article lamented that China had only one aircraft (that too limited to training) against the two India already had on its waters.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (Xinhua/Li Gang)
Chinese President Xi Jinping reviews a guard of honor on The Liaoning on 28 August 2013. Courtesy: Xinhua

The first aircraft carrier which was commissioned into the Chinese navy in September 2012 was a ‘discarded’ vessel bought from Ukraine in 1998 which was later refurbished by China. The communist nation is currently building its first homegrown carrier.

As for INS Vikrant, although its construction began long before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched his ambitious ‘Make in India’ programme last year, it will still be an apt brand ambassador for ‘Made in India’ tag.

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi releasing the logo at the inauguration of the “MAKE IN INDIA”, in New Delhi on September 25, 2014.

Standing as tall as a 14 storey building (IBN 2012 report), the carrier will enable the South Asian nation to launch strikes 8000 miles from its shores. Stretching 260 metres in length and 60 metres in width, by the time it is handed over to the Indian Navy in 2018, it is expected to cost India 3 billion US dollars.

The carrier has two runaways and is said to be able to launch up to 30 aircraft including fighters. However, it is still long way from being handed over to the Indian Navy; it is due to undergo a series of trials and fitments before then.

All in all, China is sure to feel the pressure hereon, a pressure to expedite its shipyards, specially because India is jamming well with the US. According to a recent Hindustan Times report, the US is offering India state-of-the-art electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS), advanced arresting gear (AAG) and latest three-dimensional electronic warfare suite for the 65,000 tonne INS Vishal.

2 thoughts on “India leaves China behind in the construction of indigenous aircraft carrier

  1. Purohit Mahend Sharma

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    China and Chinese people are peaceful buddists.They know you will die one day.I saw many Chinese from China and Chinese born overseas in Tibet now called China doing respect and prayers in Kailash.Chinese people work hard.No good to tease them.They are our ancient neighbour.One Nuclear bomb is enough to end the world.They have not stolen anyones land and sold the land and the resource like gold to call them self developed rich country.Let us make the world a peaceful place to live.Good on India to make a ship to protect itself.

  2. The 2 active Indian aircraft carriers, one is more 50 years old from U. K
    and another is from Russia which is more than 20 years old. Although keeping repeated upgrade, those ships are obsolete and too small and are volnurable by air and submarine attacks as the Indian warships are lack of SAM and anti-submarine warefares due to waiting for import or being tested by Israel. For the so-called indigenous carrier under construction, it’s just an assembly of various components from different countries. Though it was launched twice. it is only 30% finished as the ship building platform needed to give way for construction of other vessels and also the parts from foreign countries are not in place. That being the case, I really wonder how Indians should be proud of saying how adance they are in construction indigenous carriers as they forget India is just doing the assembly under foreign supervision all the major element including the design is by Italy, engines, radar, generator, weaponry, aircraft telecommunication equipment and even painting materials are all imported, mainly from Russia, USA, France. UK , Israel, Ukraine and Germany. Therefore, the strength of those carriers is meaningless.

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