Ramanna,I realised this in the early '80s (that our land mass was one massive carrier and the fact was not lost on the navy top brass even from the '60s), when we were at the height of the Cold War.USN CBGs used to visit SL regularly,once coinciding with the NAM summit at Delhi when India/Mrs. G took over the chairpersonship from Castro/CUba.Former sr. naval officers managed to get MRP out from the IAF first with Super-Connies and then came the IL-38s.
These visionary officers who drew up the masterplan for the IN, well knew that the IN,cinderella of the services ,would never get enough money to one day have its dream of 3-5 carriers planned at the time of independence and Adm.Mountbatten's foresight.We could only afford/acquire ex-RN light carriers like the Vikrant/Viraat. If you remember,the US banned the sale of even modest Skyhawk carrier jets to India.Yet using our vintage SeaHawks,we thrashed the Pakis in '71! Sea Harriers then came and with the advent of the Viraat ,we had for the first time two SH carriers.But these were inadequate for the future with the increasing threat from China.
During the '80s,we were v. fortunate to acquire the TU-142 Bears which we've only now retd. These provided fantastic range and endurance and designed as bombers,could carry a huge load of munitions/missiles,torpedoes,etc.Along with the IL-38s ,they were a very potent capability.
The search for the 3rd carrier began 2+ decades ago and all we could acquire during CW days was the Gorshkov,modified and inducted with the 29Ks. However,after the retirement of the Bears,and arrival of the P+9Is,ASW cap[ability may have got a boost,but LR maritime strike has decreased significantly. The P-8Is cannot carry BMos and the IN must acquire a supersonic maritime strike bird such as Backfires. The IAF too do not possess any bomber,tactical or strategic.Why they've never considered acquiring TU-34s or even larger aircraft defeats me.Very myopic thinking,when we were offered backfires for the IN decades ago.
Building even IAC-1 has taken far more time than anticipated.IAC-2,a much larger flat top,will arrive only around 2030 at this rate and we will face a perilous decade from 2020 onwards. There is simply no alternative but to acquire a new LRMP,preferably supersonic that can carry BMos and other future LRCMs missiles Nirbhay,etc. in significant number. China is reducing its land forces to just around 1M,but instead is developing and expanding its navy even more.The PLAN today is the first choice of the PRC in expansion both in number and in acquiring by any means new maritime warfare technology by any means. The IN will not get another carrier for another decade at least,judging from our track record unless it is a (modified) sister ship of the new Vikrant.Carrier vulnerability is also growing,to new anti-ship missiles like BMos,etc.,Why we should leverage our planned amphib flattops into possessing good ASW/limited air support so that numbers of flat tops available increase dramatically.Japan is actually sending its very own multi-use amphib flat top to the Malabar exercises. having more numbers will also offset the growing vulnerability of carriers in modern warfare as expressed by this report on the RN's new CV.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/07 ... tom-ocean/
HMS Queen Elizabeth will go 'straight to the bottom of the ocean' without greater protection, retired RAF chiefs warn
HMS Queen Elizabeth
Two Royal Navy frigates have joined HMS Queen Elizabeth to secure the seas around the giant aircraft carrier as she embarks on her maiden sea trials
Ben Farmer, defence correspondent
12 JULY 2017 •
Britain’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth will go “straight to the bottom of the ocean” in any future hostilities unless more maritime patrol planes are bought to protect her, retired RAF leaders warn.
In a letter published in Thursday’s Telegraph, former senior officers say that the current plan to buy nine aircraft is not enough and at least three more are needed.
The letter from four former RAF officers with significant maritime aviation experience comes as the new warship costing more than £3bn has recently begun trials in the North Sea.
Britain axed its troubled Nimrod patrol plane programme as part of the 2010 cost-cutting defence review. The Ministry of Defence announced in 2015 that it will order nine Boeing P-8 submarine hunting planes,