Indian Navy is likely to go to the US to its second indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC-II) with an advanced Catapult-based aircraft launch system (CATOBAR), which is on the drawing board. For some time, India is looking for the possibility of setting up the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) in its ships.
A senior Navy officer stated, “IAC-II will have a CATOBAR launch. However, the kind of propulsion is yet to be decided.” General Atomics Aeronautical System Inc. is installed on the Gerald Ford Carrier and it is the same system that has been offered by U.S. It is a latest EMALS technology equipped system offered by U.S to India.
The new technology system EMALS uses an electric-motor driven catapult that will ease and allow the launch of even much heavier aircraft, infact reduces the extra stress on the aircraft while launching. It is different from older generation of CATOBAR that used steam catapult, not electric-motor catapult.
As per the views of another officer, “EMALS will allow us(Indian Navy) to operate heavy surveillance aircraft in addition to heavy fighters.” However, it cannot be ignored that the system EMALS is quite expensive and needs to be factored in.
The IAC-II in the navy is estimated to be around 65,000 tonnes and is capable of carrying more than 50 planes. Although navy is keen for nuclear propulsion, which can give it an unlimited range and endurance, its development of time seems suspicious.
Last Friday, the fourth meeting of the group of two countries which had been set up for a joint working group on Aircraft Career Technology Cooperation (JWGACTC) under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative has been concluded.
Vikrant, India’s first domestic carrier, weighing 40,000 tonnes, is in an advanced stage of construction in Kochi and it has to be started by the end of 2018 and it works on the mechanism of STOBAR (Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery) with the same ski jump in the current carrier INS Vikramaditya.