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Submarine force-levels "under strain", admits Navy Chief Featured

  • Sunday, Nov 10 2013

New Delhi, November 10,2013: Describing the need of two carriers battle groups “a must”, the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral D.K Joshi has indicated the country’s lone aircraft carrier at present INS Virat shall remain in service till the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier(IAC) is inducted in the fleet, probably in 2017.

Admiral Joshi also admitted, in an interview to Nitin Gokhale of  NDTV, that the submarine force is “under strain” as the Scorpean project has delayed and India’s ambitious submarine project code named as project 75I is still awaiting CCS (cabinet Committee on Security) nod. Although, he painted a rosy picture about the indigenous nuclear powered submarine INS Arihant, saying that the boat was ready to go for sea trials on a “very short order” and thereafter likely to become operational towards the end of next year. 

Talking about the upcoming commissioning of the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov in the Indian Navy on November 16 at Sevmash shipyard of Russia, the Navy Chief said it was India’s long felt need to have at least two carriers operational, one on each seaboard. “With the commissioning of Vikramaditya, we would have two carriers but INS Virat as you know is getting a little long in the tooth”, he said, adding that the navy was spending a lot of money to keep it going as it has become something like maintaining a vintage car.
“We would plan to keep her (Virat)  going till the time we are able to induct IAC 1,which got a bit delayed but is now on track. And you should see her commencing her sea trials somewhere around 2017. And therefore at that time we will have two brand new carriers and would be able to provide adequate coverage on both our seaboards (On eastern and western fronts).” Admiral Joshi said.

To a question, the Navy Chief candidly admitted that the submarine-force levels have gone down due to the delays in various projects. “Submarine-force levels, I agree with you, are under strain. And essentially it is so because our Project 75 got a bit delayed”, but he insisted the issues that had caused the delays are over and “behind us”.

 “The production is in full swing. And again commencing 2016-17 onwards, we should have our first boat online and we have been assured by both DCNS and MDL that the subsequent ones, they will try and compress the timelines for delivery; so that the last boat actually will be commissioned at about the time she was envisaged”, the Navy Chief said.

On Project 75I front, which has been delayed considerably, Admiral Joshi was “hopeful” of early CCS approval. Under the Project 75I, Indian Navy is planning to buy two submarines of the shelf and rest of the four will be built through the transfer of technology route indigenously in India.

Regarding INS Arihant, India’s own nuclear powered submarine, the Navy Chief said its reactor was made critical in the month of August. “I spent the entire forenoon there,” he recalled adding that the entire crew, the teams of the DAE, the BARC and the DRDO along with the navy officials connected with the project were also present in the Ship Building facility of Vizag  on the occasion. “Everyone is upbeat, full of dynamism and I think very, very enthusiastic and in a very short order we would again put her out for sea trials and operational towards the end of next year”, the Admiral said.

 

He was full of praise for the Indian ship building industry, which according to him “is coping up in a most admirable fashion, both the public sector, which really has had the lead in this regard, but also the private sector, which has chipped in and has come up very rapidly”. As on date out of 47 orders that navy have placed for ship and submarine constructions, 46 are actually were being built in Indian shipyards, he proudly pointed out. 

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