On its way to becoming an emerging superpower, India will have to face a major setback as its single operational aircraft carrier will be under maintenance for the next eight months. INS Vikramaditya, India’s only aircraft carrier will be ready for operations only after eight-month maintenance refit.
Adding to the trouble, the Comptroller and Audit General (CAG) tabled a report in Parliament on July 26 saying that the 44,570–tone INS Vikramaditya will have to soldier alone for the next six to seven years as the already long-delayed 40,000-tone indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant will be ready only by 2023, as per the Cochin Shipyard.
Aircraft carriers have been visualised as Symbols of a Great Nation around the world. India, however, still continues its first formulating and then executing long-term strategic plans in-tune with its geopolitical aspirations, according to media reports.
The Indian Navy has been demanding three aircraft carriers to protect its eastern and western coastlines with one aircraft carrier in both the directions and the third one being a backup option. But the recent CAG report, in detail criticised the shoddy planning and project execution in INS Vikrant’s construction.
Moreover, the CAG added that the recently ordered MiG-29K fleet from Russia for $2 billion for INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant has defects in the fighter airframes, RD-33MK engines, and fly-by-wire systems. Consequently, the operational availability of these fighters is not up to the mark. However, the Indian Navy is confident of getting INS Vikrant by 2018 and plans to start sea-trails by the same time.