Aircraft carrier technology: Indo-US working group likely to meet soon

Indian Navy currently operates two aircraft carriers — INS Viraat and INS Vikramaditya. While INS Viraat was imported from UK in 1987 and is on extended operational life because of delayed induction of INS Vikramaditya, the latter, originally Admiral Gorshkov, arrived from Russia in 2013. India is indigenously constructing its third aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, at Cochin Shipyard which is expected to enter service in 2018. New Delhi: In a major push to bilateral defence cooperation, an Indo-US working group on aircraft carrier technology is likely to meet next month, diplomatic sources told The Indian Express. India and US had decided to form a working group “to explore aircraft carrier technology sharing and design” during President Obama’s visit to Delhi this year. This was again reinforced during the visit of US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter to India earlier this month. It is believed that Indian Navy has already completed the technology assessment, feasibility studies and analysis of alternatives for joint development of an aircraft carrier, tentatively christened INS Vishal. It is currently believed to be working on engineering design of the warship. The Defence Acquisition Council had approved Rs 30 crore as seed money for this project in April. Former US State Department official and senior associate at Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Ashley Tellis had penned a monograph in April arguing for joint development of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. “Working in concert to develop this vessel would not only bolster India’s Naval combat capabilities but would also cement the evolving strategic bond between the US and India…,” Tellis wrote. Sources said the two projects, agreements for joint development of Mobile Electric Hybrid Power Sources and the Next Generation Protective Ensembles, have been notified to the US Congress.

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