New Delhi: Set to induct two aircraft
carriers by the middle of the decade, the Indian Navy is
planning to decommission its lone warship capable of operating
fighter jets-- INS Virat, in another seven years.
"We are expecting the Russian-built INS Vikramaditya
and the indigenous Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) by 2017.
After receiving the two warships, we will go ahead with the
decommissioning of INS Virat," a senior Navy official said
He added that though after the upgrades, INS Virat
would be available for use till 2018, it would be
decommissioned after the two other ships arrive.
INS Virat has been in service for the last 50 years
and has undergone a number of upgrades to allow the Navy to
operate at least one carrier.
At present, the USD 2.33 billion INS Vikramaditya is
being refurbished in Russia and is expected to join the Navy
by the end of 2013.
"The IAC is expected to be launched by the end of this
year and we hope that it will take another five to six years
to join operational service," officials said.
The Indian Navy plans to deploy a carrier on each of
its two seaboards to protect and safeguard its assets in its
area of interest ranging from the Hormuz strait in west to the
Malacca strait in the east.
On the follow-on ships of the IAC, the officials said
the size of the future indigenous aircraft carriers would
depend on the type of fighter aircraft that the Navy chooses
in the near future.
At present, the Navy operates the British-origin Sea
Harrier aircraft and has recently placed orders for 45 new MiG
29K aircraft for operating on the INS Vikramaditya.
It is also looking to induct the naval version of the
LCA, which is expected to be ready by the time the IAC joins