How many Aircraft Carriers should India have? Why?



Drew McCormick, studied at Reed College

I love the ingoistic love of the Indian keyboard warriors to acquire six or eight carriers. So here are a few informative facts.

Carriers are complex machines, especially the nuclear powered ones. Count on at least a third of the time in dock. So three carriers, one for each coast, won't do it if you want them asea always.

There are three types of carriers:

1.Super Carriers: around 100,000 tons, carrying about 90 planes. Only the US has these. They have a catapult launching system.

2.Regular Carriers: around 40,000 tons, carrying about 40 planes each. Most of these don't have catapults and can only carry short take off and landing planes.The US has 8 of these, twice as many as any other country.

3.Crap Carriers: built and operated by navies with no expertise in carriers. Both the Russian and carriers fall into this category.







Carriers are accompanied by a battle fleet of 5 to 15 other ships designed to protect the carrier and do tasks the carrier is not designed to to.

Carriers are really expensive, not just to acquire, but also to operate. A single US Carrier group costs $7 Million a day: the carrier alone costs $100 Million per year to operate.

The upshot is that if you want a carrier group, you should have damn good reason for it – not just macho nationalism. That money could be better spent elsewhere.

Update: It is interesting to see that many on this question claim carriers are needed to protect the Indian coast. But there is a better way to do this, called airfields. They may not be as impressive, or fancy, or nationalistic bombastic as an aircraft carrier, but they do have a number of advantages:

1.They are cheap. Really, really cheap. You can build a hellalot of air fields for the same price as one aircraft carrier.

2.They are unsinkable. Duh.

3.Aircraft flying from them have a longer range.

4.They require less training to use. Therefore fewer accidents involving multimillion dollar jets.

5.They can be used for other purposes, like civilian aircraft, which might help grow the economy.

译文来源:三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/47574.html  译者:Joyceliu











Ayush Singh, 100000 tonnes of diplomacy

India needs at Least 20 nuclear powered super carriers with 10 of American design and other 10 of Russian design

1-Collossus class [American design]


1-巨人级 [美国设计]



Displacement: Approxmately 120,000 short tons Length :( 360 m) and 80m width

The new vessels will have a hull similar to the Gerald Ford class, but with design features intended to improve efficiency and operating costs, including reduced crew requirement

Carriers of the Colossus class will incorporate features including

Advanced arresting gear, Automation, which reduces crew requirements by several hundred from the Gerald Ford-class carrier. BMD missile of Israeli origin system with range up to 500km and Barak 8 for short range air defense. An Israeli dual-band radar.

An Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS)

A new nuclear reactor design for greater power generation. Stealth features to help reduce Radar cross-section. The ability to carry up to 100 aircraft including








Vishnu Menon, LL.M. in Business Laws from National Law School of India University, Bangalore

Originally Answered: How many Aircraft carriers are there in commision in Indian navy, and how many shuold actually be?

At present the Indian Navy operates 2 Aircraft carriers:

INS Vikramaditya:

INS Vikramaditya is a modified Kiev-class aircraft carrier which entered into service with the Indian Navy in 2013. She has been renamed in honour of Vikramaditya, a legendary emperor of Ujjain, India.



INS Vikramaditya:



INS Viraat-

INS Viraat is a Centaur-class aircraft carrier in service with the Indian Navy. INS Viraat was the flagship of the Indian Navy before INS Vikramaditya was commissioned in 2013. It is the last British-built ship serving with the Indian Navy and was the oldest aircraft carrier in service.

INS那时Viraat也- - - - - -

INS Viraat是印度海军现役的一艘半人马座航空母舰。在“维克拉马蒂亚”号于2013年服役之前,“维拉特”号是印度海军的旗舰。这是英国建造的最后一艘印度海军舰艇,也是服役中最古老的航空母舰。


INS Vikrant (under construction)-

The Vikrant class (formerly Project 71 Air Defence Ship (ADS) or Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC)) is a class of two aircraft carriers being built for the Indian Navy. The two vessels are the largest warships and the first aircraft carriers to be designed and built in India. They are being built by Cochin Shipyard.




INS Vishal (Planned)-

INS Vishal (IAC-II) is the second Vikrant-class aircraft carrier currently in its design phase, which will be built by Cochin Shipyard Limited for the Indian Navy and the second aircraft carrier built in India. It is intended to be the first super carrier to be built in India. The proposed design of the second carrier features significant changes from INS Vikrant (IAC-I), including an increase in displacement and proposals to incorporate nuclear propulsion. An EMALS CATOBAR system is also under consideration, and could be used to launch heavier aircraft like larger fighters, AEW (airborne early-warning) aircraft and Mid-Air Refueling Tankers.

INS Vishal(计划)

INS Vishal (ia - ii)是目前正在设计阶段的第二艘vikrant级航空母舰,将由Cochin船厂有限公司为印度海军建造,也是第二艘在印度建造的航空母舰。它将成为印度建造的第一艘超级航母。第二艘航母的设计方案与“维克兰特”号(IAC-I)相比有显著的变化,包括增加排水量和纳入核推进的提议。EMALS CATOBAR系统也在考虑中,可以用于发射更重的飞机,如大型战斗机、预警机和空中加油机。


Indian Navy ideally wants to operate 3 well armed aircraft carriers.



Vimal Joseph, A proud Indian

It's not that much easy to have 4-8 aircraft carriers. Acquiring an aircraft carrier is not only expensive but also maintenance is a big hurdle.. In fact expense for the maintenance for one aircraft carrier require 11 crore rupees per one day. Like that India operates 2 aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya and Viraat..



Soon INS Vikrant will induct before the decommissioning of INS Viraat. Before 2022 INS Vishal which will be a nuclear powered aircraft carrier will join the navy then India operates 3 advanced aircraft carrier.. Indian navy only require these 3 aircraft carriers for the protection of our nations interest. We don't want to invade anyone..















Rishikesh Patil, Defence Tech Buff

Originally Answered: How many Aircraft Carriers does India need?

For fighting a two front war, possibly with and Pakistan, India needs two aircraft carriers. One for the east front in Bay of Bengal to fight Navy (PLAN) and one for the west front in the Arabian Sea to counter Pakistani Navy.




CNS Liaoning

already has Liaoning in service, and has started sea trails of Shandong. PLAN plans to maintain a fleet of six aircraft carriers including Liaoning and Shandong. To counter PLAN, we need atleast one aircraft carrier. Submarines would play an important role to counter PLAN’s aircraft carriers on the east front. Pakistan does not a aircraft carrier, and its remaining navy is not impressive. But having an aircraft carrier even in the west, will be an advantage.

Indian Navy has planned to acquire one more aircraft carrier, the INS Vishal, which would be a CATOBAR nuclear powered supercarrier. Design work has been started for INS Vishal.




INS Vikramaditya

There is a possibility that both the aircraft carriers of Indian Navy, INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant (IAC-1), will be used against PLAN, in case of a war. Pakistan Navy can be taken care of by destroyers, frigates and submarines of Indian Navy.


印度海军的维克拉马迪亚号航空母舰和维克兰特号航空母舰(ac -1)都有可能在战争期间对抗民解放军。巴基斯坦海军可以由印度海军的驱逐舰、护卫舰和潜艇来对付。

INS Vikrant

In 1971-Bangladesh Liberation War, the Chittagong harbour was bombed by attack aircrafts from INS Vikrant (R11). Due to this bombing, no other naval ship could be used from chittagong harbour, and this gave naval supremacy to the Indian Navy in Bay of Bengal. An aircraft carrier is a combination of air power and naval power, which is very useful in strategic warfare.




Ankita Xalxo, Mistress of knowledge on the Navy, Surrounded by friends working in the Navy.

Hey Gaurav,

Talking about Aircraft Carriers

Currently there are two aircraft carrier which are active INS Viraat (the one at the Naval base in Bombay) and INS Vikramaditya (whose homeport is Karwar). After INS Viraat, INS Vikramaditya is the largest aircraft carrier and soon will be the largest aircraft carrier because by the year end INS Viraat will be decommissioned and sent to the scrapyard.

INS Vikrant 19,500 tons, Majestic-class carrier, (ex-HMS Hercules)- the first ever aircraft of India was decommissioned two years back and she played a very important role in the 1971 Indo-Pak war. Bajaj is melting the metals and making bikes out of the metal of INS Vikrant.

INS Vikrant 44,000 tons, Vikrant class carrier is being built at the Cochin Shipyard and will be in service in 2018.

INS Vishal is being planned and most likely by 2025 it will be in service.

There is no such limit that you should have this many number of Aircraft carrier.The U.S. Navy has 10 aircraft carriers being the largest Navy in the world and looking at this number we should have increase the number of aircraft carriers. There is nothing proposed as to the number of aircraft carriers. More the number the stronger it becomes.








And the two Aircraft Carriers that exst in India as of now were never build in India. INS Viraat was built by Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering, (Headquartered at UK), and INS Vikramaditya was built by Sevmash. (Headquartered at Russia). And now currently India is making its own Aircraft carriers. A lot of money goes in building these ships. And the Government spends a huge amount of money. I don’t know whether you are aware of it or not – If a Naval Personnel is transferred from one base to base a huge amount of expense is incurred by the Government and that’s the reason Navy does not have frequent transfer.

So, I guess Indian Government would have a burden of financial expense if it starts making aircraft carriers randomly. So i guess the monetary issue restricts the Government but there are plannings of Aircraft Carriers coming up.




Prashant Bhardwaj

Its hilarious to see how easily people say 8 carriers or 6!!!

what will we do with 8 aircraft carriers do we have even slightest of Idea about operating cost and manufacturing cost?

Responsible powerful states are respected not bully or threatening ones.

even 3 is an overkill! no one is going to take away our land, 3 are much more than enough for deterrence. Neither nor US will even thinking of messing with India if you already have 3 carriers, even a small conflict can be disastrous for both countries and no one will ever want to take that risk for fun.

If you have to fight Full scale war with even 8 will be fall short cuz there naval strength is many times in submarines, destroyers and frigates and it will keep growing by the time you have 8. What will those Nukes do? What would those 10 US carriers do if comes to attack us? US is just waiting eagerly to encircle . We have Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, US and other ASEAN countries,  have pak and Myanmar. Anyways going by logic of 8 to be global bully like US even 20 will be less.







Jebin Cherian, works at Don Bosco Institute of Technology, Mumbai

First of all lets understand the total number of fleets India possesses. Up to the 1971 war India possessed one fleet, which was commanded by a Rear Admiral whose designation was Flag Officer Commanding Indian Fleet. This was changed in the run up to the 1971 war where 2 fleets were created the Western Fleet and the Eastern Fleet each commanded by Rear Admirals designated Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet (FOCWF) and Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet (FOCEF). Each of these fleets should have a carrier task force based around a supercarrier. As you will notice there is no Southern Fleet as the SNC is a mainly a training command and there has been no need for a fleet over there. To maintain 2 supercarriers at any given time we will need 3 supercarriers, because there will be times that the ship is undergoing a refit or an overhaul. When all 3 supercarriers are available, one supercarrier can be used for power projection and maritime diplomacy. We may need a 4th supercarrier if the GoI decides to accept Vietnam's offer of a naval base i.e. Cam Ranh Bay base which was used by the Americans and the French. The purpose of the fleet based over there will be primarily to irritate the and remind them that aggression on land will have them paying a price at sea and to take the fight to them. We will also need, according to me 2 light or a baby carrier that supports S/VTOL air units, one of which would be based in the Andaman & Nicobar Command (which is a tri-service command) to give that region a limited floating airfield to carry out operations and to guard the archipelago at all times, the other one would sit as a reserve with the Southern naval Command and be transferred to ANC if needed. if there is no need for it then it can be used for training.

So to sum up I think we would ideally need 6 carriers

4 supecarriers

2 baby carriers or light carriers

I do realize that this is an expensive proposition because I always talk of carrier taskforces so not only do the carriers have to be built but the other ships that are part of the taskforce like destroyers, submarines etc. Plus there are also operational costs







Prangyavit Sahu, studied at Asia Pacific Institute of Management New Delhi

India has long history of maintaining Aircraft carrier. Due to its long cost line it always require a huge naval force to defend it and the navy proved its worthiness in last 3 wars with Pakistan. But the time has changed now. Till today most of the Indian thinks Pakistan is the enemy from whom defence force must defend, but the real problem is .

To improvise the strength of Navy they require different type of warships. And the most valuable, amazing , powerful and majestic is Aircraft carrier . Aircraft Carrier is nothing but a small floating airbase which can relocate any where in the world. Right now India has only aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya and it is purchased from Russia.

As per many Defence analyst India must have 4 Aircraft carriers. I will explain why. The reason behind 4 Aircraft Carrier is 3 for defending 3 defence side of cost and 1 is for reserve or can be use in strategic positions.

Before we proceed further let check which areas navy assigned to protect. The total Cost length of India is 7515 Km.





The mainland is around 5423 Km and coastal length of all islands is 2094 Km. Now this is a huge area to cover even for Aircraft carrier.

Now, lets check what is the endurance of our only active Aircraft Carrier INS Vikramaditya and it is 13000 NK. With this range it can only defend one side of the Coast other sides. So one aircraft carrier for each side of India, one is Indian Ocean and the forth one will be used for strategic roles like back up plan or blockage at Andaman sea or straight of Malacca.

Planning for 4 Carriers is easier compare to reality. A carrier never travel alone . It is always move with its Carrier battle group. And maintaining one CBG cost around 11–12 Crore per day. So it brings a lot of cost upon us. But cost never is a problem when comes to defence. The major problem is the combination of CBG . The CBG generally consists of two destroyers, 3 frigates , 1 anti submarine warfare corvettes, 1 submarine and 1 support ship. So apart from Aircraft Carrier , there are requirement of another 8 to 9 different ships.





Wes Frank, Freelance Writer and Historian

The prestige, political, and dramatic aspects of aircraft carriers tend to obscure some fundamental cautions you have to be aware of.

First, aircraft carriers are hideously expensive to build, support, and maintain. They require a separate, small air force, with all the land based infrastructure of a national air force , in addition to being the largest, most complex ships in your navy, by a factor of thre or five.

Second, and this is where American history tends to obscure things, they are of strictly limited use against any enemy that can fight back. Any use of an aircraft carrier fails a risk-benefit test if the opposition has respectable land-based air power or a decent submarine force. You can only use them from a distance—as the British did in the Falklands—or in overwhelming numbers—as the Americans did in World War II—or against an opponent that cannot strike back at them. The latter situation is what most navies use their aircraft carriers for nowadays.

In any limited international military crisis or confrontation, such as counter-terrorism, civil uprisings, or coup de etates, the nation with an aircraft carrier on hand has a powerful tool present in the zone of conflict. It can intimidate, rescue, or act, as needed.

In the unlikely event of India getting into a major war, its air force is going to be a key factor and it’s excellent navy is going to be out at sea, avoiding the enemy air force. Trading shots with modern missiles launched from modern aircraft is not good risk-benefit strategy.

But, for everything else, one or two carriers is all you need.







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