With the commissioning of INS Vikrant, the Navy will have two aircraft carriers, each to guard its western and eastern seaboards. However, the Navy lacks enough war jets to keep both its carriers operational at the same time and it raises questions about the slow pace of the force’s modernisation.
According to vice-admiral MS Pawar (retd), former deputy chief of naval staff, the delay in resolving the shortage of enough jets will make Vikrant “toothless”. Pawar, who served as the air direction officer on the old INS Vikrant during 1993-94, stressed the need for at least 26 fighters under the Navy’s ongoing multi-role carrierborne fighters programme for carrier-based operations. “Both Vikrant and Vikramaditya can carry around 30 aircraft each. As of now the Navy has only around 45 MiG-29Ks. The naval variant of LCA Tejas proved unviable for the Navy’s requirements. The twinengine deck-based fighter under development is expected to be inducted only by 2030. It means, the only option is to procure fighters from foreign countries,” he said.
The Open Magazine of India by Artmotion Network (https://magazine.armotion.com/)