INS Vishal (IAC- II) Aircraft Carrier

Bleh

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Good. Let them station Brahmos equipped Su-30s at A&N first.
 

Tactical Frog

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Fighting sea blindness

This newspaper recently carried an article, “Third aircraft carrier not required as military’s focus is on land borders: sources”. In it defence sources questioned the need for a third aircraft carrier citing budgetary constraints. They propounded the immediate requirement of a strong Army supported by a capable Air Force. There can be no two views about this. What needs deliberation is whether (a) naval warfare is undertaken just for the sake of naval warfare; and (b) a maritime country like India can ever be strong without a strong Navy, since it depends on the sea for over 97% of its trade.

An incomplete understanding
One source said the Indian Navy “has seen action only twice, 1965 and 1971, on the sidelines of the land operations and the aircraft carrier had minimum role”. India has seen classic naval action only once, in 1971, which was also a decisive victory. The political directions available on record indicate that the involvement of the Navy in 1965 was kept to the minimum; in fact, it was prevented from operating beyond the north of Okha. That the 1971 war was land-centric is belied by documentary evidence. Both adversaries viewed sea communications as central to the war. Notwithstanding the attacks on Karachi by small missile boats, the ‘centre of gravity’ was on the Eastern front, where the carrier was deployed. Terming carrier involvement as peripheral displays an incomplete understanding of military history.

In An Odyssey in War and Peace, Lt Gen J.F.R Jacob noted the maritime orientation of the briefing by Gen Sam Manekshaw and the Director of Military Operations, Maj Gen K.K. Singh, who identified the ports as “prime objectives”. It reads: “At the meeting, held in the operations room, Manekshaw, K.K. Singh, Arora and I were present... KK Singh spelt out the objectives, maintaining that if we captured Khulna and Chittagong... the war would come to an end”. Gen Jacob recommended utilising “our naval superiority” to have an “effective naval blockade”.

The official history of the Pakistan Navy (The Story of the Pakistan Navy) acknowledges that “the success of Pakistan’s counter-plans hinged largely on reinforcements and resupply of the eastern theatre of war by sea... (by) breaking India’s naval blockade”. If the Indian Navy had not effectively stymied this plan, Pakistan was hopeful of a “stalemate” followed by international intervention. Almost a lakh Pakistani soldiers would possibly not have surrendered unless they had lost their “will to fight”. The Indian Navy, using its lone carrier, ensured that no reinforcements or supplies were forthcoming and no escape route was possible.

Indian Naval history (Transition to Triumph) also records that “by themselves the ships of the Eastern Fleet were too few and too slow to enforce contraband control and help would be needed from Vikrant’s aircraft. But the extraordinary extent to which Vikrant’s aircraft actually succeeded in assisting ships in contraband control and apprehending merchant ships, over and above their air strikes against East Pakistan, came to be fully realised only after the war.”

The contemporary argument that a carrier’s utility in “future war scenarios will be short and swift” is interesting. Pakistan Navy history laments “vague concepts” such as “a short, sharp war” leading to it being accorded a lower inter-service priority. This rendered it incapable of “providing protection to the sea lines of communication between the two wings” and led to the 1971 debacle.

Another shibboleth that needs discarding is the claimed ability of any air force providing effective air cover at sea. In 1971, for example, carrier-borne aircraft repeatedly attacked Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar airfields on the request of the Air Force.

Impact of parochialism
There are other counterpoints to the article too. First, stating that China went in for a carrier only after building its army is a narrow interpretation. This may have been Hobson’s choice. Aircraft carrier operations take years to master even if a ship is available. Further, China’s 2015 defence white paper states that “the traditional mentality that land outweighs sea must be abandoned”. Even as China is reducing its land forces to focus on the sea, ‘sources’ are propounding that India do the exact opposite. Second, forgoing a carrier due to budgetary constraints is counterproductive. An indigenously constructed carrier can galvanise the economy given the large number of industries and MSMEs involved in the supply chain. Third, carriers being required only for global powers is debatable. India had initiated procurement of INS Vikrant within a few years of independence. Carriers cannot be built overnight. Planning for the future requires foresight. Parochialism and sea blindness in an era of COVID-19 budget cuts can have a long-term impact on comprehensive national power.

Captain D.K. Sharma, a retired Naval Officer, was the Spokesperson, Indian Navy, at the Ministry of Defence
 

WolfPack86

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Navy Keen On 3rd Aircraft Carrier To Retain Edge Over China, Even As 2nd Delayed Yet Again
NEW DELHI: The commissioning of India’s second aircraft carrier has been delayed till September next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While reconciling to this setback, the Navy remains all the more keen to push its case for a third aircraft carrier as well as two new fighter squadrons to counter China’s expanding footprint in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).




As the US recently displayed in the South China Sea, much to China’s discomfort, nothing projects raw combat power like an aircraft carrier strike group (CSG) capable of moving over 500 nautical miles (900 km) in a single day.



But India, which has currently deployed the bulk of its warships and submarines in the IOR to send a clear signal to Beijing, is in danger of losing its decisive edge over China in the CSG arena.



Sources say the “basin trials” of the first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC-I) being built at the Cochin Shipyard, which would have checked the 40,000-ton warship’s propulsion, transmission and shafting systems, have been derailed by the pandemic.



The basin trials of IAC-I, first sanctioned by the government way back in January 2003, are to be followed by extensive sea trials. It’s only after IAC-I gets commissioned in September 2021 now, and is christened INS Vikrant, that the “flight trials” will be launched to make the carrier fully operational by 2022-2023.



The continuing delay in IAC-I, being constructed for Rs 22,590 crore, comes when China already has two aircraft carriers, while two more are being frenetically constructed. With the eventual aim to have a 10-carrier Navy by 2050, China is expected to begin deploying a CSG in the IOR within the next few years to take care of its “Malacca Dilemma”.

India is currently making do with only the 44,500-ton INS Vikramaditya, the refurbished Admiral Gorshkov inducted from Russia for $2.33 billion in November 2013. Another $2 billion was spent on procuring 45 MiG-29Ks to operate from its deck.



Sources said Navy will once again push for grant of “acceptance of necessity (AoN)” for a third carrier, the 65,000-tonne IAC-II (tentatively christened INS Vishal), which has been pending since May 2015.



Having earlier junked nuclear-propulsion for IAC-II to bring down the price, the Navy contends the projected Rs. 45,000 crore construction cost will be spread over 10-14 years, with the bulk of it being ploughed back into the country’s economy, as was earlier reported by TOI.



The proposal may well sail through this time, with the government fast-tracking some long-pending defence projects due to the military confrontation with China.



Similarly, the Navy has also cut down its requirement of 57 multi-role fighters capable of operating from carriers to about 36 (two squadrons) now. With the indigenous twin-engine naval fighter likely to be ready only by 2032, the French Rafale, American F/A-18, Swedish Gripen and Russian MiG-29K would be the contenders for this mega deal.



Unlike China, India has mastered the intricate art of operating “flat-tops” over six decades, commissioning as it did its first carrier INS Vikrant with its Sea Hawk jets way back in 1961. It must not lose that edge now.
 

samsaptaka

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The commissioning of India’s second aircraft carrier has been delayed till September next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic
GAWD ! Not again. Chinkie bioweapon working perfectly, nuke the damned chinks dammit :frusty:
 

WolfPack86

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Shelving plans for IAC-2 would affect India’s blue-water navy capabilities
India it appears is all set to torpedo its plans for an second indigenous aircraft carrier, just as China prepares to surge in to the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) with her aircraft carrier group. This, even as India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC-1) Vikrant—under construction at Kochi Shipyard Ltd—is reportedly ready to commence her basin trials in September 2020 and is expected to be fully operational by 2022.


Barely a month after taking over as India’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Bipin Rawat, when speaking to journalists in February 2020, indicated that the Indian Navy may not get approval for a third aircraft carrier (the second indigenous aircraft carrier IAC-2) anytime soon. The reason, he said, was that since aircraft carriers are expensive to build, the priority instead should be to bolster the Navy’s submarine fleet.


Many in the defence and strategic community were alarmed at the cursory manner in which the General’s comments were made.


India currently has only one aircraft carrier—the 45,000-ton INS Vikramaditya, acquired from Russia in 2013. This is the third carrier to be operated by the Indian Navy since independence. India acquired its first aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, from the United Kingdom in 1961, being the first Asian country to do so. INS Viraat, the second carrier and also from the UK, came in 1987. Both have since been decommissioned.


Exorbitant costs involved in operation and maintenance of a carrier and vulnerability to anti -ship missiles besides submarines are touted as reasons against the carrier. While the cost factor is true, carriers take over a decade or so to build and so the expenditure gets spread over that period. Further, an aircraft carrier has a life span of about 40-50 years, which is value for money.


Warships including carriers are meant to go in harm’s way and therefore a certain amount of vulnerability will always remain in battle. However, the primary weapons of a carrier are its ‘integral aircraft’ which have a long reach, far ahead of the carrier group. The aircraft carrier and ships of the fleet/formation afford mutual defence and protection. On the other hand ‘shore based aircraft’ are limited by operational radius and even with aerial refueling; their effectiveness at extended ranges would be determined by human endurance of the pilots sitting in cramped cockpits.


The argument against a carrier therefore is mainly about the inter-se priority of the shrinking defence budget. The decision to cancel a strategic asset such as the IAC -2, if at all, must be debated at the highest level of the national security leadership and only then announced at an appropriate forum and not during journalistic interaction.


Further, the investment already incurred on carrier production facilities at Kochi Shipyard Ltd would become redundant, if the programme is closed and trained and skilled manpower would dissipate. For instance, when India closed the HDW submarine programme in 1994 for various reasons, it had difficulty in finding trained manpower when subsequently the Scorpene submarine project was approved in 2005.


Interestingly, China recently commissioned its first indigenous aircraft carrier, the Shandong, in December 2019. Earlier, China acquired the decommissioned Soviet carrier Varyag from Ukraine which was towed to China in 2002 under the pretext of turning it in to a theme park—and then later converted to a training aircraft carrier named Liaoning.


Simultaneously China spent a lot of time and effort in tailing American carriers and learning the nuances of aircraft carrier operation. China is now working on its third and fourth aircraft carriers of the Type 002 class at the Jiangnan shipyard in Shangai. The Chinese Navy aims to have at least 10 aircraft carriers by 2050.


China does not require these carriers for the South China Sea (SCS) as she has reclaimed and militarized several islands in the Paracel and Sprately group complete with airstrips, fighter aircraft and air defence systems. These are obviously meant for the IOR to protect the critical import of crude oil from West Asia and West Africa, to fuel China’s burgeoning economy. In fact China’s first overseas base at Djbouti now has a pier capable of berthing an aircraft carrier.


The Indian Navy is expected to push for a grant of ‘Acceptance of Necessity’ (AoN) for the third carrier, the IAC- 2 soon. Admiral Karambir Singh, Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) has consistently maintained that the need for a new 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier (IAC-2) remains non-negotiable, since one carrier would need to be deployed on the western and eastern seaboard respectively, while the third undergoes refit and repair. To balance the cost of the third carrier, the IN has reportedly trimmed the number of fighter jets to 36 (two squadrons) from the original 57 planned to be inducted in to the force.


Former PM Atal Behari Vajpayee had said in 2005 “India’s maritime area of interest extends from the Straits of Hormuz in the west to Malacca Straits in the east. PM Modi’s maritime vision saw the ‘Look East’ policy re-designated to the ‘Act East’ policy, enunciated to an ‘Indo-Pacific’ policy and is intent on reinvigorating the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or QUAD for short.


All of these have the maritime medium as its backbone—with the Indian Navy being the premier maritime force. The Navy may not be able to meet the political and strategic ambitions of the country without adequate number of carriers.


Several strategic analysts post the Galwan incident have opined that scrapping of the proposed mountain strike corps in 2017 was a strategic mistake; the IAC-2 should not be allowed to go the same way. A ‘Blue Water navy’ such as the Indian Navy requires both the carriers and submarines in its arsenal and, given the political will, funds can always be made available for the same.
 

silentlurker

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Any news on when IAC-2 will start construction? Before Vikrant comission? After? Or two peojects no relation
 

silentlurker

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Any articles on this? Or are you making logical conclusion that money saved on Vinshal will go to something else in the Navy
 

Trololo

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It's more likely to be shelved in favour of SSK/SSNs. Maybe construction will start from 2025-30 if Navy manned to get funds cleared later on.
I hope the design is more or less frozen by then and 2 are ordered together or 2 years apart in different shipyards.
 

Trololo

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Guys I read somewhere that we dropped out of a nuclear powered carrier because BARC said they didn't have the reactor tech. Is that correct?
 

Bleh

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I hope the design is more or less frozen by then and 2 are ordered together or 2 years apart in different shipyards.
Our hopes are irrelevant... They didn't built an indigenous P-75I based on our Scorpene & Amur experience. So I'm guessing we're not in a position to fulky exploit absorbed submarine tech.
 

Chinmoy

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Guys I read somewhere that we dropped out of a nuclear powered carrier because BARC said they didn't have the reactor tech. Is that correct?
It was dropped because of huge operational cost.
 

WolfPack86

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Submarines or aircraft carriers? A lively debate is gathering momentum

When HMS Hercules joined the Indian Navy as INS Vikrant in 1961, India became the first Asian power to have an aircraft carrier. That single carrier was enough for several decades, since no other Asian power wanted to control the Indian Ocean. Today, though, when the Chinese navy is projecting power with two carriers, while building a third and planning for two more, India is finding itself at sea. India’s second carrier—Vikrant, which is the first to be made in India—is getting fitted at Cochin Shipyard; naval engineers have been drawing up designs for a third. But in February, Gen Bipin Rawat poured cold water on their blueprint. As chief of defence staff, whose job is to prioritise military procurement, Rawat questioned the wisdom of having three carriers. Carriers, he said, were expensive and vulnerable to torpedoes. He favoured submarines, citing the Navy’s worries about its dwindling underwater capability. Or, he asked, why not develop shore-based capabilities? Rawat’s idea, apparently, is to build more submarines and develop islands in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea into “unsinkable strategic hubs”. He has left the call to the defence ministry, which he said might review its decision after INS Vikrant becomes operational. The main argument against carriers is indeed their cost. India’s lone carrier in operation, the Russian-made Vikramaditya, cost a whopping 012,500 crore ($2.35 billion). Vikrant is expected to cost 019,590 crore ($2.8 billion). Its sister ship, which naval designers have been working on since 2012 and want to name Vishal, is expected to cost between 075,000 crore and 01.5 lakh crore. Rawat’s comments have triggered a debate on whether carriers are white elephants. “They cost a packet and if hit by one enemy torpedo, all this will sink to the bottom of the sea,” said a Navy officer. Abhijit Bhattacharyya, member of the London-based think tank International Institute of Strategic Studies, said: “Between a submarine and an aircraft carrier, the former is comparatively economical and safer to operate, is difficult to be detected, and does not require an accompanying flotilla of surface vessels.” He added that the visible deterrence provided by a carrier battle group was something a submarine could not achieve. Unlike submarines, carriers operate in battle groups—with destroyers, corvettes and frigates accompanying them—and thus have no stealth element. They are visible, and therefore vulnerable, to ships, aircraft and submarines. Many maritime strategists, too, have been arguing for a submarine-centric force. The debate is as old as the start of the Cold War, when the US acquired carrier after carrier, while the Soviet Union went for fleet after fleet of silent submarines. The trends led to two rival maritime doctrines—of sea control (by American carriers) and sea denial (by Soviet submarines). The rivalry and divergence got reflected in the Indian subcontinent, too. While India went for a carrier as far back as 1961, the Pakistan Navy put a premium on submarines. After the 1970s, however, India acquired submarines, too. The doctrines also evolved out of geopolitcal compulsions. India, like the US, has a long coastline and, therefore, can have bases from where carrier battle groups can operate. Pakistan, like Russia, does not have much of a coastline, and thus cannot have many bases. All the same, most modern navies are seeking to balance both types of assets (carriers and submarines) and doctrines (sea control and sea denial). The oceans now have 41 aircraft carriers that belong to 13 navies. The US operates 11 carriers and 70 submarines. The Russians and the British, having toyed with the idea of making do without carriers for nearly a decade, are coming back with one carrier each. The Royal Navy commissioned the 65,000-tonne HMS Queen Elizabeth and a second carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, is in its last leg of completion. Japan, which did not have any since World War II, now has three. Australia, France, Italy and Spain have one each. Even Thailand, which operates a helicopter carrier, HTMS Chakri Naruebet, may soon upgrade it to carry airplanes. The latest argument against carriers is that even if sea control is the preferred doctrine, it can be achieved by developing islands as bases, from where aircraft, surface ships and submarines can patrol thousands of sea miles around. But carrier enthusiasts argue that carriers are essentially tools for projection of power (“100,000 tonnes of diplomacy,” as Henry Kissinger said), which cannot be achieved with shore-, submarine- or island-based platforms. Also, carriers have full-length flight decks capable of carrying, arming, deploying and recovering aircraft. A carrier battle group (CBG) that has destroyers, frigates, corvettes and submarines provides operational flexibility, with an ability to relocate up to 500 nautical miles in 24 hours. It can sanitise more than 200 nautical miles around it at any given time. Its primary missions can switch dramatically from air defence and strikes against surface ships, to strikes on shore targets and hunting submarines. “The US achieved air superiority in the Gulf War with the use of aircraft from carriers,” said a rear admiral. India’s first Vikrant, a 20,000-tonne vessel, played a key role in enforcing the naval blockade of East Pakistan during the 1971 war, and its Hawker Sea Hawk planes struck Chittagong and Cox’s Bazaar. Its crew earned two Maha Vir Chakras and 12 Vir Chakras. Vikrant’s successor, Viraat, did not get a chance to bloody itself in combat, but threatened to starve Pakistan with a blockade of the Arabian Sea during the Kargil war. General Rawat’s preference for shore-based facilities over carriers, said former navy chief Admiral Arun Prakash, was like comparing apples and oranges. “Shore-based strike has its own place to support naval operations and the aircraft carrier operating in the middle of the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean has a completely different role to play. To show that shore-based facility is a replacement of aircraft carriers is a complete fallacy,” he said. Naval officers say Rawat, being an Army officer, may not understand the imperatives of maritime strategy. “In an increasingly hostile operational environment, the aircraft carrier is the only platform that provides comprehensive access to littoral spaces, for surveillance and effective sea command,” said an officer. The Navy has been maintaining that it needs at least three carriers to fulfil the increasing demands that are made on it every day. It is now being asked to police not only the Arabian Sea against Pakistan, but also the Bay of Bengal, and virtually the entire Indian Ocean from Malacca Strait to the Persian Gulf against the Chinese and other hostile powers, including pirates, gun-runners and terrorists. While submarines are best for sea denial, carriers control seas and project power. “The carrier sits at the heart of India’s maritime strategy,” said Abhijit Singh, head of maritime policy initiative at the Observer Research Foundation (ORF). “Regardless of the debate surrounding [the new Vikrant], the Navy is unlikely to give up its demand for a third aircraft carrier.” The Navy says the cost argument is fallacious. The 65,000-tonne Vikrant, it said, will finally cost about 049,000 crore (without the aircraft), but the money has been spent over 15 years. Moreover, as the ship is expected to serve around 45 years (twice the life of any other warship), “the cost is peanuts”, said the officer. Vishal is expected to cost $7 billion to build, and the fighter jets, helicopters and reconnaissance aircraft will cost another $5-8 billion. Anticipating the high-cost objection, the Navy has already scaled down the number of fighters from 57 to 36. While India is caught in the desirability debate, China is seeking to permanently position three or four warships and submarines, including a nuclear one, in the Indian Ocean. “It is only a matter of time that this task force is replaced with a CBG,” said an officer. “By 2028, there could even be two Chinese CBGs floating around.” Said Admiral Prakash: “If China decides to send three aircraft carriers into the Indian Ocean, then no amount of submarines, destroyers or frigates can tackle it. Aircraft carriers are the only answer to such a situation.” The Navy also points out that building a carrier is in tune with the government’s Make in India policy. Today, only a handful nations—the US, Russia, Britain and France—can design and build heavy (40,000-plus tonnes) carriers; India is one of them. “A carrier-building project generates a lot of industrial skills and jobs, especially in the micro, small and medium enterprises sector,” said an officer in the Navy’s design bureau. The money spent, said the officer, will be mostly ploughed back into the country. Dr Harsh Pant, research fellow at ORF, said carriers should be prioritised over other capabilities. “It would boil down to an assessment of threat perceptions,” he said, “and what capabilities are best suited to manage them in the short to medium term. ”Shore-based strike has its own place to support naval operations and the aircraft carrier has a completely different role to play. To show that shore-based facility is a replacement of aircraft carriers is a complete fallacy. —Admiral Arun Prakash, former Navy chief The latest argument against carriers is that even if sea control is the preferred doctrine, it can be achieved by developing islands as bases, from where aircraft, surface ships and submarines can patrol thousands of sea miles around.
 

Trololo

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I would have been very happy if the Vishal was nuclear powered. BARC had said it'll take some 15 years to build a 100K ton carrier grade naval reactor. IMO this was an opportunity to tie up with the French for this technology. They have the relevant experience as well. Perhaps preferential market access to India for French goods would have been a good bait for this, other than the cash and the possibility of more Rafales. Also, sharing such tech with us would firmly put them in our camp for the next 40 years, and a good opportunity to take them away from servicing Paks mirages and Agostas. Ordering 2 carriers to be built in parallel over a 10 year time period and 40 year ship life could have been a great choice. And by the time these ships will be ready for commissioning the domestic reactor tech would have been ready too for the next set of carriers.
 
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I would have been very happy if the Vishal was nuclear powered. BARC had said it'll take some 15 years to build a 100K ton carrier grade naval reactor. IMO this was an opportunity to tie up with the French for this technology. They have the relevant experience as well. Perhaps preferential market access to India for French goods would have been a good bait for this, other than the cash and the possibility of more Rafales. Also, sharing such tech with us would firmly put them in our camp for the next 40 years, and a good opportunity to take them away from servicing Paks mirages and Agostas. Ordering 2 carriers to be built in parallel over a 10 year time period and 40 year ship life could have been a great choice. And by the time these ships will be ready for commissioning the domestic reactor tech would have been ready too for the next set of carriers.
We neither have sufficient budget to spend on a costly project stalling all other nor sufficient time to wait even much longer for this ship.

Best option is to developed another 40-50k displacement aircraft carrier with an aim to commission it with minimal deplays like Vikrant. Expertise in same would at least give room to IN to try things later.
 

Trololo

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We neither have sufficient budget to spend on a costly project stalling all other nor sufficient time to wait even much longer for this ship.

Best option is to developed another 40-50k displacement aircraft carrier with an aim to commission it with minimal deplays like Vikrant. Expertise in same would at least give room to IN to try things later.
Alas yes. Both are huge constraints. Time-Cost constraints say a larger conventional flat top Vikrant class is in our best interest.
 

silentlurker

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When Vikramaditya was sold to India were the blueprints acquired? Why not build a known design vs a new one (Vikrant)?
 

silentlurker

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Ski jumps are a thing of the past now, deck based fighters cannot operate efficiently because of them, need flat tops, whatever be the tonnage.
Right but Vikrant is also a skijump, I meant why build Vikrant + Vikrant flattop instead of Vikramaditya2 +Vikramaditya2 flattop
 

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