After a long gap, the Indian Navy will have two operational aircraft carriers by the middle of this year, reports Hindustan Times.
The last time when the Indian Navy operated two aircraft carriers was in the last decade when both, the INS Vikramaditya and INS Viraat were operational. INS Viraat was retired in 2016.
Since then, the Indian Navy operated only one aircraft carrier — INS Vikramaditya.
The INS Vikrant which was inducted into the navy in September 2022 is currently undergoing fighter jet trials.
The HT report says that INS Vikrant is expected to be fully operational by May 2023.
The report further says that INS Vikramaditya will be handed over to the navy by March 2023.
Moreover, the Indian Navy is also planning to order another INS Vikrant-sized carrier for the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier 2 (IAC-2) instead of the 65,000 tonnes carrier.
The Indian Navy is also conducting a competition to buy 26 deck-based fighter jets. Boeing’s F-18 Super Hornet and Dassault Rafale are competing in the tender.
Various reports suggest that the Indian Navy has selected the Dassault Rafale over the F-18 Super Hornets and the Indian Navy has communicated its decision to the Ministry of Defence.
With both aircraft carriers operational by the end of May, the Indian Navy will have a powerful fist of two aircraft carriers in the Indian Ocean.
These aircraft carriers — INS Vikrant and INS Vikramaditya — in combination with the QUAD nation navies, will act as a deterrence to the Chinese People Liberation Army Navy from undertaking any aggressive manoeuvres in the Indo-Pacific.
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