India Edges Closer to Third Aircraft Carrier, Expand MPA Fleet

  • Defensemirror.com Bureau
  • 07:30 AM, October 9, 2023
  • 549
India Edges Closer to Third Aircraft Carrier, Expand MPA Fleet
INS Vikrant aircraft carrier @Indian Navy

India is advancing its naval capabilities with plans for a third aircraft carrier and an expansion of its Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) fleet.

Admiral R. Hari Kumar, Chief of Naval Staff for the Indian Navy, has expressed interest in acquiring another Vikrant-class aircraft carrier, building on the experience gained from the construction of the first INS Vikrant, as per Naval News. This approach emphasizes cost-effectiveness and quicker deployment, rather than a larger CATOBAR-equipped design.

Indigenization efforts are underway to equip the third aircraft carrier with domestically manufactured components, including arresting and restraining gear systems. By 2028, development of these systems is expected to be completed, reducing dependence on foreign suppliers. Additionally, an import ban on Precision Approach Radar for aircraft carriers is scheduled for 2031.

The Indian Navy is also working to enhance the indigenous capabilities of its MiG-29K fighter aircraft, covering various components, including displays, instruments, tires, and self-sufficiency in repairs.

Regarding Maritime Patrol Aircraft, Boeing is actively pursuing the procurement of six additional P-8I long-range MPAs, with the goal of increasing the fleet to 18 aircraft by 2032. This expansion is expected to create significant indigenization opportunities within India's aerospace and defense sector. Boeing is committed to enhancing engineering, manufacturing, and sustainment capabilities in India.

Furthermore, the Indian Navy is exploring modifications to the Airbus C-295 transport aircraft to meet its requirements for Medium Range Maritime Reconnaissance (MRMR) and Multi-Mission Maritime Aircraft (MMMA). The MRMR variant aims to incorporate higher indigenous content, including avionics and sensors.

The order for 15 MQ-9B SeaGuardian Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) from General Atomics, along with 16 SkyGuardians for the Indian Air Force and Indian Army, is also under consideration. These acquisitions will be carried out over several years, complementing other naval assets such as submarines, surface combatants, and fighter aircraft. The Indian Navy is actively developing and deploying unmanned assets across various domains.

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