Looking to buy 57 fighter aircraft to augment its fleet, the Indian Navy recently invited foreign vendors to carry out trials to see if the planes could operate off the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya.
French Rafale, Swedish Saab Sea Gripen, Russian MiG-29K and American F-18 are the contenders for the over Rs 75,000 crore mega deal of the maritime force.
“The foreign vendors were asked to prove that their aircraft would be able to operate off our Russian-origin aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya,” a senior Navy source told MAIL TODAY.
Aircraft manufacturers, including the French Rafale and American F-18, had taken part in the trials and were asked to provide more inputs on their respective plane’s capabilities to be able to take off and land at the Vikramaditya, the sources said.
The trials were held at INS Vikramaditya’s home-base in Karwar in Karnataka. The 57 new planes would be used for operations from the INS Vikramaditya and the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) being built at the Cochin Shipyard Limited in Kochi along with the 45 MiG29Ks already imported from Russia.
DIFFERENCE IN TAKE-OFF SYSTEMS
There is a huge difference in take off systems on board the aircraft carriers of Russian and Western origin. While the aircraft on Western carriers are launched using a steam-powered catapult while on the Russian platforms, they take off from an angled ski-jump – the launch mechanism on both the Vikramaditya and the underconstruction IAC.
The need for buying new super expensive aircraft came up after the Navy asked for twin-engine fighter with a stronger airframe and landing gear to operate from a flight deck with high-tempo flying cycles.
As per the requirement projected by the Navy, it wants to manufacture these planes in India as the Request for Information had asked the original equipment manufacturers to respond to it.
It also sought to know at what level of Transfer of Technology (ToT) and deep repair expertise the company is willing to share with India.
It also asked the vendor to specify critical technologies required and comment on its ability to absorb the aircraft manufacturing technology at the levels of sub vendor/supply chain elements in India through ToT from OEM and its partners.
As regards the delivery schedule, the first lot of jets have to be delivered in three years after inking of the contract and all the 57 have to be delivered in the next three years.
With two aircraft carriers and over five squadrons of maritime strike aircraft, the Indian Navy would be emerging as a very strong force to reckon with.
By: India Today
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