New Delhi: With its lone aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya, undergoing maintenance for the next eight months, India will be left without a single operational aircraft carrier prepared for combat during that duration.
This comes as the Comptroller Auditor General (CAG), in a report to the Parliament, indicated that the much awaited 40,000-tonne indigenous aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, will be ready only by 2023.
According to reports, the CAG, in a damning report, accused the Navy of not forming a long-term strategic plan in sync with its geopolitical aspirations.
Criticising the Navy for its faulty planning and execution in INS Vikrant’s construction, the CAG also called out on the improbability of India having a two-carrier force till 2023. The Navy has long been pitching for three aircraft carriers, one each for the western and eastern sea-board and an additional one.
The Navy had also ordered a fleet of MiG-29K fleet from Russia for $2 billion for INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant. But the fleet, which includes 45 fighter jets, is ‘riddled with problems’, the CAG report added.
However, the Navy is confident of getting INS Vikrant on board by December 2018.
"INS Vikrant will not have its Russian aviation complex and the Barak-8 long-range surface-to-air missile systems. We are planning sea trials from 2018 onwards," said a senior officer.
INS Vikrant was first approved in May 1999 with its construction beginning in November 2006, and is expected to be complete by December 2018....