With the commissioning of INS Vikrant into Indian Navy’s squad, India has now two aircraft carriers; INS Vikrmaditya and INS Vikrant. Both behemoths however differ in their capabilities.
What makes INS Vikrmaditya different from INS Vikrant:-2 Sea Warriors; INS Vikrant Vs INS Vikrmaditya; Comparison
India now boast of inherit capabilities to build aircraft carrier on its own land. Vikrant is testimony to ‘New India’ becoming aatamnirabhar in its defense needs. INS Vikrant with displacement of 45,000 Tons; only few countries have capability to construct aircraft carrier above 40,000 tons. India has joined elite club of countries which consists of US, UK, Russia, France and China.
However on global front, INS Vikrant may be a poor man’s carrier. It can be one of the world’s smallest carrier. When global counterparts are running on nuclear aircrafts, INS Vikrant may lag behind as it still runs on gas turbines. But we were able to make such a ship building marvel without having a industrial ecosystem like US and China. Speculation are also doing rounds as why INS Vikrant is not nuclear powered. Why India could not opt for nuclear powered aircraft carrier. Directly any country can’t jump into manufacturing of nuclear powered aircraft. Manufacturing aircraft carrier and developing a nuclear reactor capable of driving an aircraft need two different capabilities which any country needs to develop separately. INS Vikrant being first aircraft manufactured in India, India did not risk to master two technologies together. Main takeaway of making Vikrant is confidence which India have now on its own capabilities. Often we undermines ourselves and even intelligentsia is doubtful whether Vikrant is as good as a foreign aircraft carrier.
This article we are gonna discuss country wise possession on aircraft carriers. INS Vikrmaditya and INS Vikrant. What is India’s Global stand? There are 5 countries viz US, UK, Russia, France and China which have the capability to manufacture aircraft carriers above 40,000 tons. There are total 47 active aircraft carriers in the world operated by 15 navies as on Sep 2022. Lets have look on the countries having aircrafts
France operates single aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, 42,000 tonne nuclear powered aircraft carrier. France has planned one other aircraft carrier (75,000 tons) which will be nuclear powered and will get into service 2040.
UK operates two aircraft carriers which are 65,000 tons each. HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.
Russia operates single 55,000 tons aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsova.
China owns two aircraft carriers, Liaoning(60,000 tons) and Shandong(70,000 tons) in service. China launched its third carrier Fujian which is over 80,000 tons in Jun 2022. However Fujian will take another 3-4 years to get into service.
In the long run, China has had a long plan to operate 6 large aircraft carriers.
US leads the club with 11 super 1,00,000 tons aircrafts in service. All 11 carriers are nuclear powered. Each of which carries 80-90 helicopters and aircrafts. Each carrier is 3 times bigger in size and capabilities than Vikrant. 3 Ford class aircraft carriers are under construction and 6 more are planned.
These are countries who constructs aircraft carrier indigenously. However there are other 9 countries which operate aircraft carriers like Australia, Brazil, Italy, Egypt, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Thailand and Turkey. They have to depend on other countries to buy aircraft or their aircraft are below 40, 000 tons displacement.
Indi has clear-cut edge on countries except US in terms of aircraft carriers. Apart from building capabilities, India has legacy of 60 years vast experience in carrier based operations. INS Vikrant will definitely boost India’s maritime strength.