The Indian indigenous carrier construction was launched in 2011 at the Cochin shipyard. The hull was launched in 2013 and the ship was expected to be combat ready by 2018. However, a recent assessment made by US Navy technical team which is assisting the construction of the carrier has sent alarm signals to the Pentagon. From the state of affairs the team has concluded that the aircraft carrier may not be ready for another 10 years. This is cause for alarm as the aircraft carrier was to be part of the strategic relationship and a counter to China.

Matching China

Both the USA and India are concerned about China which very soon will have the largest navy in the world.Already Chinese submarines are patrolling the Indian Ocean and one nuclear-powered submarine also made a foray in the Indian ocean and Arabian sea and docked at Karachi. In such a scenario, it is imperative that the Indian navy is suitably beefed up. This aircraft carrier is part of the grand design to face China.

An inspection by the US team has revealed glaring technical flaws in the construction of the warship. Firstly the warship is being made at the Cochin shipyard which has never constructed a warship earlier. The project which has already cost the government of India $ 3 billion is 5 years behind schedule.

and the navy which is sticking to the 2018 deadline is unlikely to have the aircraft carrier ready by that date.

Carrier defects

Apart from the shoddy workmanship the US team is alarmed that the weapon systems for the carrier are nowhere ready. Many of the proposed systems for assault may never fit into the carrier as the hull was made before the navy thought of the weapon systems onboard.

These defects are serious cause for concern as India is planning to construct 2 aircraft carriers to match the Chinese. As things stand the Indian carrier would be a sitting duck if it were to operate in distant seas like the Persian gulf, the coast of East Africa or the deep Indian ocean. It will have limited capability only close to the Indian shore where it can be given air cover from the land.

Last word

There is also cause for worry about the Tejas the Indian made interceptor which is supposed to operate from the carrier The Indian plane is not entirely a success when operating in simulated conditions of carrier operations. Despite this, the US still sticks with India as a strategic partner and has supplied billions of dollars worth of arms and equipment in the fond hope of a deterrent to China.