First Indian carrier not before 2017
In another major delay dogging India’s most ambitious shipbuilding effort, the country’s debut home-built aircraft carrier of the new Vikrant class will not be commissioned into service with the Indian Navy before 2017 – putting down a cumulative delay of six years from initial projections. The fresh projection is a two-year delay over and above the last time frame of 2015. Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma has indicated serious problems in the installation of gearboxes, compounded by an unfortunate road accident from Pune to Kochi in which a truck freighting gener- ators for the brand new aircraft carrier met with an accident, compelling Cochin Shipyard Ltd to send the equipment back to the OEM for inspection and repair. When the Navy chief was asked about the follow on aircraft carrier (which may or may not be built at CSL), reported to be in line to be christened Vishal, the Navy chief said, “It’s too soon to talk about that. I’ve got more pressing priorities now.” It is known that the Vishal class of carrier will be a larger class of over 60,000 tonnes. Naval designers and planners are currently deliberating over the design philosophies that the new class will be imbued with, including aircraft launch configuration, propulsion and other dynamics.