New Delhi, Dec 3 (UNI) Making out a strong case for three aircraft carriers, Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba on Monday said the country’s first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) Vikrant, under final stage of construction at Cochin Shipyard, is likely to go for sea trials in 2020.
Addressing a press conference here on the eve of Navy Day, Admiral Lanba said that discussions for a second aircraft carrier were already on but it would take nearly a decade for its construction. He said the second carrier would have a displacement of 65,000 tonne and the construction would begin in another three years. The IAC II would use a Catapult Assisted Take Off But Arrested Recovery (CARTOBAR) for launching aircraft.
Referring to overseas deployment and exercises, Admiral Lanba said that in the past one year Navy has participated in 20 exercises with Navies of friendly foreign countries.
Asked about the pending issue of appointing a Permanent Chief of Staff Committee (PCoSC) who will act as a single point military advisor to the government, the Navy Chief said: “The three services have initially agreed on a permanent chief of staff committee” and the rules and responsibilities have been sent to the Defence Ministry.
He said there was close coordination among the three service chiefs who even overruled their own headquarters in some matters. “We must have a higher defence organisation in Delhi before we can have theatre commands. We need one operational commander,” he noted.
On queries about the delay by Reliance Naval Engineering Limited (RNEL) in delivering five patrol boats, Admiral Lanba said the contract has not been cancelled yet. However, he added, the Navy was examining it.
“RNEL is undergoing corporate debt restructuring and they are being taken to court by their banker IDBI,” he said.
He asserted that there was no preferential treatment shown to the company and the Navy has encashed the bank guarantees. The RNEL was supposed to supply five patrol boats to the Navy and the process began in 2014.
Replying to questions about deployment of women officers on board warships, Admiral Lanba said that all new ships were being constructed keeping in mind the accommodation for lady officers. “All new ships are being made to accommodate lady officers on board. They’re already there, like Vikramaditya and Kolkata class have facilities to accommodate lady officers on board. All future ships will have facilities to accommodate women on board,’’ he said.
On India’s commitment to thwarting piracy in Gulf of Aden, he said the Navy remains committed to curbing this global menace. “Since 2008, as many as 70 Indian naval warships have been deployed, which safely escorted over 3440 ships with over 25,000 mariners on board,’’ he informed.