India mulls options for nuclear-powered aircraft carrier

Discussion in 'Indian Navy' started by Anshu Attri, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. Anshu Attri

    Anshu Attri Senior Member Senior Member

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    Eye on future, India mulls options for nuclear-powered aircraft carrier

    Eye on future, India mulls options for nuclear-powered aircraft carrier - The Times of India

    NEW DELHI: Nothing projects raw power like an aircraft carrier prowling on the high seas, capable of unleashing strike fighters against an adversary in a jiffy. A nuclear-powered carrier can make the punch even deadlier with much longer operational endurance.

    With its first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) set to be "launched" at Cochin Shipyard on August 12, and sea trials of the first nuclear submarine INS Arihant to begin shortly after, India is now examining the possibility of having a nuclear-powered 65,000-tonne carrier in the future.

    Navy vice-chief Vice Admiral RK Dhowan on Thursday said a "detailed study" was underway on the "size, type of aircraft and their launch and recovery systems, propulsion" and the like for the IAC-II project. "Yes, we are also considering nuclear propulsion. All options are being studied. No final decision has been taken," he said.

    There are huge cost issues with nuclear-powered carriers, which can easily take upwards of $10 billion to build. The Royal British Navy is reverting to carriers propelled by gas turbines/diesel-electric systems from nuclear ones.

    However, the US has 11 Nimitz-class "super-carriers" — each an over 94,000-tonne behemoth powered by two nuclear reactors and capable of carrying 80-90 fighters - to project power around the globe. China, too, is now looking at nuclear-powered carriers after inducting its first conventional carrier — the 65,000-tonne Liaoning — last September.

    So, while Navy may want a nuclear-powered carrier, it will ultimately have to be a considered political decision. The force, however, is firm about its long-term plan to operate three carrier-battle groups (CBGs). "One carrier for each (western and eastern) seaboard and one in maintenance," said Vice Admiral Dhowan.

    But, even two CBGs will be possible only by 2019. The 40,000-tonne IAC, to be christened INS Vikrant, will be ready for induction only by December 2018, as was first reported by TOI.

    "Design and construction of a carrier has many challenges. Around 75% of the IAC structure has now been erected. India joins only four countries — the US, Russia, the UK and France - capable of building a carrier over 40,000-tonne," he said.

    The 44,570-tonne INS Vikramaditya - or the Admiral Gorshkov carrier now undergoing sea trials after a $2.33-billion refit in Russia - in turn will be ready by end-2013 instead of the original August 2008 deadline.

    Vice Admiral Dhowan admitted India's solitary carrier, the 28,000-tonne INS Viraat, will soldier on till 2018 due to these long delays. The 54-year-old INS Viraat is left with just 11 Sea Harrier jump-jets to operate from its deck. The 45 MiG-29K naval fighters, being procured from Russia for over $2 billion, can operate only from Vikramaditya and IAC.

    The 260-metre-long IAC, whose construction finally began in November 2006, will be able to carry 12 MiG-29Ks, eight Tejas Light Combat Aircraft and 10 early-warning and anti-submarine helicopters on its 2.5-acre flight deck and hangars. It will have a crew of 160 officers and 1,400 sailors. Powered by four American LM2500 gas turbines, the IAC will have an endurance of around 7,500 nautical miles at a speed of 18 knots.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2013
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  3. lookieloo

    lookieloo Regular Member

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    Reverting? Which UK carriers were nuke-powered again?
     
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  4. Payeng

    Payeng Daku Mongol Singh

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    At that price we can have more then a couple of conventionally powered aircraft carriers :notsure:
     
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  5. rock127

    rock127 Maulana Rockullah Senior Member

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    or 5 to 6 subs depending on the current situation and threats.
     
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  6. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Nuclear Powered Aircraft Carriers are not a good idea, ask France. They are too complex too build, too expensive, and we don't need worldwide power projection.
     
  7. lookieloo

    lookieloo Regular Member

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    Pretty sure the French are happy with their ship, although they haven't yet decided what to do next. Besides speed and endurance, nuclear power has other special advantages in carriers, as it allows the dedication of more internal space to aviation needs as opposed to ship needs: no fuel bunkerage (except for the planes), more room for munitions, and no space-hogging intakes or uptakes for propulsion-exhaust (which also fouls equipment topside).

    Disadvantages: Costs more to buy/operate... can't be mothballed in times of financial hardship (use it or lose it).
     
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  8. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Charles De Gaulle has spent an extra-ordinarily long time in repair and "maintenance" Iirc France's next Aircraft Carrier will be conventional
     
  9. lookieloo

    lookieloo Regular Member

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    All carriers spend long periods in maintenance; it's just more noticeable when only one is available. As for the next French carrier, that is on ice for the foreseeable future and nothing has been decided.
     
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  10. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
  11. lookieloo

    lookieloo Regular Member

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    The French may have a funky reactor kit. I believe it requires somewhat frequent refueling compared to the Nimitz-class.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
  12. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    Would it be possible for IN to acquire a retiring USN carrier, if economically feasible?
     
  13. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Depends, on the offer and the kind of kit USN is willing to part with. And whether it will fit in with the rest of the fleet.
     
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  14. lookieloo

    lookieloo Regular Member

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    We've got plenty of hulks laying around on museum-hold or waiting for the breaker; but only the USS Kitty Hawk is maintained in any sort of readiness, and that ends in 2014. A retiring nuke wouldn't be safe or practical given that each serves about 50 years. Should sequestration bite too much, it might be possible to sell off one of the newer ships; but as Singh mentioned, that largely depends on what tech we're willing to part with, and I rather doubt that Nimitz-class reactors are on that list.
     
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  15. Payeng

    Payeng Daku Mongol Singh

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    No such deal even with her closest :noidea:
     
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  16. syncro

    syncro Regular Member

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    impossile .. American aircraft carrier cannot be sold by law
     
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  17. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    How did America "sell" Trident SLBMs to UK ?
    dsca.mil is down at the moment
     
  18. SajeevJino

    SajeevJino Long walk Elite Member

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    They Interested to sell their Kity Hawk to India
     
  19. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    but can be leased:p:p
     
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  20. Decklander

    Decklander New Member

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    Arihant has an 84Mw reactor. IAC-2 will need close to 300Mw. We have another upgraded Arihant reactor under development which is approx 150Mw. This reactor will go into the follow on nuke attack subs and two of them will go into IAC-2. This is the plan as of now. May change later based on how far we have travelled down the line with this new reator. Unofficial sources say that this reactor is already operational and undergoing evaluation.
     
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  21. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Arihant has a 80MWe reactor. We should be careful with such designations since they can mean something else when we use MWt.
     
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