Indian Navy to majorly increase combat capabilities

December 1st, 2010 - 10:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Dec 1 (IANS) The Indian Navy is poised to substantially enhance its combat capabilities in the next five-six years with a wide range of ships, submarines and choppers slated to join its fleet, a top officer said here Wednesday.

“These would include two aircraft carriers, one from the
Soviet-era and one indigenously built, two fleet tankers, two stealth frigates, three destroyers and sophisticated all-weather aircraft like the MiG-29K (of Russian origin),” said Vice Admiral Sanjeev Bhasin, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command.

He was speaking to reporters aboard the INS Viraat aircraft carrier Wednesday afternoon ahead of the Navy Day celebrations.

Bhasin said that an encouraging factor in its capability enhancement was the keen interest shown by private shipyards in the Indian Navy’s ship-building plans, besides the defence public sector undertakings.

He said that the two fleet tankers - Deepak and Shakti - built by the Sestre Ponente Shipyard of Fincantieri in Italy - would be commissioned next year. They have been renamed after two decommissioned tankers.

While INS Shivalik, the first of the indigenously designed and built stealth frigates, was commissioned earlier this year. The second in the series, INS Satpura, will be commissioned in 2011. A third vessel, INS Sahayadari, is also under construction

Building on the experience gained from indigenously constructing three Delhi-class guided missile destroyers, the first of Kolkata-class would begin sea trials end-2011.

“The Admiral Gorshkov (the Soviet-era) aircraft carrier, which would be renamed INS Vikramaditya, would start its sea trials in March 2011 in Russia. It is expected to join the Indian Navy fleet by December 2012,” Bhasin said.

A new carrier dry dock is being carved out at the Naval Dockyard here in Mumbai so that the gigantic INS Vikramaditya can undergo refits here before the commissioning deadline of 2014.

Meanwhile, Bhasin added that the indigenous carrier being constructed at the Kochi Shipyard will be launched in 2011 and is expected to be commissioned in 2015.

Touching upon the air capabilities of the Indian Navy, Bhasin said that six MiG-29Ks have recently been in Goa and the rest of the aircraft would arrive here in due course and will be assembled here.

The trials of the aircraft, currently based in INS Hansa in Goa, have already started, he added. These aircraft will be deployed on the INS Vikramiditya and on the indigenously-built carrier.

Bhasin said the production of the Scorpene submarines has commenced and the first of the lot is expected to be commissioned in 2015.

The Indian Navy will also get eight Boeing P8I multi-mission aircraft. It also plans to induct 56 new helicopters in the next few years to replace the aging fleet of Chetaks.

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