It was sometime around 2010-11 when rumors began circulating of a new class of aircraft carriers that India intended to build. This, then non-existent project, was given the title INS Vishal Most rumors speculated a design similar to the British Queen Elizabeth Class of carriers. But unlike the Brits, who were brought over by Lockheed Martin and their STOVL F-35B, India was to go with catapults. (This is something the Royal Navy may well rue in the coming years as they stare at the less than impressive flight range and payload of the F35B.) The rumors, unsurprisingly, were right and come Feb 2014, we should have a design freeze of the new carrier. However, whether the new carrier will be nuclear powered or conventionally powered is still an unknown. And this is where the metamorphic devil in the detail lurks. There is always the cost angle to the purchase of any naval vessel. But equally, there is also the question of its cost-to-effectiveness ratio. And adding a nuclear reactor (or a couple) will most certainly stress the acceptable cost-to-effectiveness ratio for the Indian Navy even if the overall cost remains acceptable. The following is a comparison by the US GAO of the lifetime costs of a conventionally powered carrier and a Nuclear powered Carrier of the USN using the year 1998 as the base line. The data is compiled by GAO for the USN fleet of conventionally powered supercarriers and nuclear powered carriers. As one can see, the difference is $8 billion in 1998 dollar terms. Now here is the another set of data... spare Parts, supplies, and intermediate maintenance. *c Includes a number of indirect support cost categories As one can see, for the same air craft complement of around 70-75 aircraft, i.e. the same firepower, the conventional powered carrier costs considerably less than a nuclear powered one, both in initial costs as well as over the entire lifetime. Historical data indicate that a conventional carrier uses about 500,000 barrels of fossil fuel each year or about 25 million barrels over its lifetime. At todayâ€™s value of $107 per barrel, this translates to $53.5 million in fuel expenditure per year or $2.675 billion over its lifespan.