Context: INS Viraat to head to Alang yard for dismantling.
- The Indian Navy currently operates one aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya, while the second, INS Vikrant, is under construction in Cochin, due for commissioning in 2022.
- There had been demands from various quarters to not let Viraat be scrapped like we did with INS Vikrant (India’s first carrier that was eventually scrapped)
- Don’t get confused. INS Vikrant is also the name of India’s first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier or IAC-1).
- INS Vikrant, which has a displacement comparable to Vikramaditya (45000T), is under construction at Kochi Shipyard and is soon expected to undergo sea trials
- Alang in Gujarat is the world’s biggest ship breaking yard with hundreds of ships getting scrapped each year.
- Since 2017, India has been operating a single carrier — INS Vikramaditya — as against the minimum essential operational requirement of having two Carrier Battle Groups — which are formations of ships and submarines with Aircraft Carriers at the lead role.
- But the Maritime Capability Perspective Plan of the Navy envisages a force level of three aircraft carriers, to ensure development of a capability to operate two Carrier Battle Groups (CBGs) at any given time.
- CBGs are large task formations centred around a carrier, and provide unmatched flexibility, reach and sustainability.
- These are primary assets for the projection of power, and provide credible deterrence through visibility.
- China currently operates two carriers, and is likely to have four by 2028, with the eventual aim of 10 by 2050.