Why can’t India build its own aircraft carrier ships at the same speed as China?




JC Hóu, Very VERY amateur military enthusiast

This is going to be a brief answer where I will simply list the reasons broadly and as neutrally as I can:

1.The Indian standard for shipbuilding and especially military shipbuilding has always been relatively slower. Usually for destroyers (the backbone of most medium to large navies) India takes around 10 years from laying down to commissioning one. I don't know what procedures caused this but it seems consistent and likely systematic, while for China in the recent two decades the span for building a destroyer is usually well within 5 years (also from laying down to commissioning). So it shouldn't be a surprise that for aircraft carriers the situation is similar.

2.Chinese ships almost all use domestically-built equipment. No negotiation, procurement, evaluation, etc. with foreign parties was needed for the recently-launched 002 (known to some as the Type-001A) carrier. The Type-001 kept a lot of the existing Soviet design (although most of the equipment was removed way back) and they have reportedly changed much of that from radar to propulsion, because they can and want to…

The Vikrant for India seems to use quite some foreign equipment, and it does not help those equipment need more time for integration also. The Vishal should rely on foreign components even more because it will be (reportedly) nuclear-powered and equipped with catapults, which seem almost certainly to be imported or "jointly done".

3.Fully-integrated supply chain. No need to elaborate about this. This is the norm for China from most military equipment to the household appliance industry.







Yuqi Liu, studied at University of Copenhagen

To answer this question we can have a look at the civilian shipbuilding capacity of both China and India. Here is the statistics from 2016: Largest shipbuilding nations based on gross tonnage 2016 | Ranking. China together with the South Korea build the world's most civilian ship. However, i cannot see India in this chart.

Although the civilian shipbuilding capacity only counts for part of the military ship building capacity but it still help China trained the experienced workers and engineers, improve the building process and also solve many unseen problems during the building. Building enough civilian ship will do help you boost your ability to build military ship more efficiency.

The other thing i would like to point out is that, the recently finished aircraft carrier is based on the old Varyag class (Type 001A) which is a refurbished one. China bought this ship from Ukraine together with tons of design paper. And then China begun its first domestic build carrier (Type 002), the previous experience for refurbishing the 001A will help China to boost its building speed.

In conclusion, China is way better in civilian shipbuilding than India, China has more experience on aircraft carrier building and the third one is that China have the full supply chain of aircraft building from radar to engine.

译文来源:三泰虎  http://www.santaihu.com/47581.html  译者:Joyceliu






Robert Clouse, Disable Veteran at Cincinnati, OH (2000-present)

China hasn't build it's own carrier yet! It has bought 4 ex-carriers (since 1985), and the carrier it uses now is the converted Soviet aircraft carrier Varyag (Kuznetsov class), bought in 1998!

Through various ventures, China has also purchased the ex-Soviet carriers Minsk and Kiev. These carriers have become floating amusement parks for tourists.

It next Chinese Carrier, home built, was started in the mid 2010′s, and isn't expected to be operational until 2023!

Starting when the Chinese bought the Australian HMAS Melbourne, in 1985, it wasn't until 2011 the Chinese had a carrier at sea, but they didn't land a aircraft in it until November 2012!

China has bought 4 ex-carriers, one Australia, and three Soviet, but one has been sent to sea and it still isn't operational!

The Indian carrier, the Vikrant-class, was started from scratch in 2009, and expected to be operational in 2018, 9 years later. The Chinese Carrier is converted Soviet carrier bought in 1998, and still not operational until 2012, 14 years later!

BTW, the Chinese carriers are basically the equal to WW2 light carriers, holding about 40 aircraft at the most!









Hanqing Zhao, studied at New York University

China did not build its own aircraft carrier at all.

Those ships are just some fishing boats that were camouflaged like aircraft carriers.

Indians think that they really are warships? Don’t be fooled by Chinese media.





Akshay Shah, studied Bachelor of Science in Computer Science at Osmania University


Thanks for asking.While I understand that India and China are perceived to be pitted against each other, so this kind of analogy is expected.

So a gentle disclaimer, to all my fellow Indians is to not be jingoistic about this.

1.Chinese economy is a 12.2 Trillion economy against 2.4 Trillion Indian economy. So all this means is that India cant match up to China vis a vis clout & money power.

2.Chinese style of functioning is pretty clear.Grow and outgrow , outnumber , overwhelm the opponent. So in this pursuit they have put Defence on the top most areas of investment more so in the last 20 years.India on the other hand seems to be grappling with building a 30+ year old prototype called Tejas. So, policy making and approach is all that seems flawed in India’s case. When go nments change policy changes in latters case unlike the former which has unity in command and direction.

3.Innovation and Indigenization is where both countries are at a different trajectory.While the Indian trajectory is to procure foreign equipment so first there has to be a RFP, followed by political intervention, followed by negotiation with the seller or seller nation.Then there is the great filthy Indian middlemen angle.Finally you get the equipment. By the time it arrives the technology isnt dated anymore or somewhat redundant.On the other hand China is completely indigenous from a hair pin to building an aeroplane.The only defence equipment that they seem to be still comprehending is a jet engine. Other than that China seems more or less a nation that has a local industry that caters to its defence needs.

4.Indian capability in ship building is restricted because of decades of political lethargy,lack of infrastructure,indecisive decision making , limited skilled and semi skilled workforce. Moreover there is severe cash crunch as most of the fund allocation is utilized for maintaining the armed forces.









WorldinChina Seeingthe

According to data released by the China Shipbuilding Industry Association, in 2014, there were still 735 shipbuilding enterprises in China, with a total of 529 shipyards and shipyards of more than 10,000 tons, of which 56 were large docks and shipyards of more than 100,000 tons. Of the 56 large docks and shipyards, 20 are of the 100000 ~ 250,000 ton class, 30 are of the 300000 ton class, and 6 are of the 500000 ton class. The tonnage here refers to the deadweight tons of the cargo ship planned to be built on the berth / dock, not the displacement of the ship, nor the load-bearing capacity of the berth / dock. Since 2014, China has not built large shipyards or docks.

How many aircraft carriers can be built?

There are 38 docks in China with a length of more than 304.5 metres and a width of more than 75 metres. Even if the size of the "Ford" class aircraft carrier in the United States (333 meters in length and 77 meters in width) is taken as the standard, there are 34 Chinese docks with lengths and widths longer than the Ford class. For example, Dalian Shipbuilding heavy Industry, which has built the "Liaoning", has three large docks with a length and width of 540 meters × 80 meters, 400 meters × 96 meters, and 370 meters × 86 meters, respectively.

That is to say, if the Chinese shipbuilding industry starts to go all out to build aircraft carriers without considering other factors and only the limitations of docks, we can see the spectacular scene of more than 30 aircraft carriers being built in docks at the same time! Of course, In reality, it is impossible not to take into account other factors: the country's strategic planning for naval development, the occupation of shipyards for other ship production, and the closure of some enterprises with large docks (of the 34 docks mentioned above that can accommodate the "Ford" class), Seven shipyards are located in shipyards that have closed down), most businesses do not have confidential qualifications, and so on, and-money.

中国船舶工业协会发布的数据显示,2014年中国造船企业仍有735家,造船厂529家,其中大型码头56家,10万吨以上船厂56家。在56个大型码头船厂中,10 ~ 25万吨级20个,30万吨级30个,50万吨级6个。这里的吨位是指拟在泊位/码头建造的货船的载重吨,不是指船舶的排水量,也不是指泊位/码头的承载能力。自2014年以来,中国没有继续建造大型造船厂或码头。





Glenn Lee, studied at University of California, Berkeley

Aircraft carriers are used to project power. The US needs to project power and the US navy operates far from home; the US needs aircraft carriers. China and India should not waste their resources on aircraft carriers . Does India or China need to project power in the Black Sea? Mediterranean? the Atlantic? etc.?

India and China should finalize their mutual borders, sign a non aggression treaty with each other and with Russia, sign a free trade treaty with each other and with Russia.

The enemy of India and China is poverty, inadequate public services, diseases, inadequate nutrition. Surely their enemy is not each other; their media should stop their war mongering activities.

It does not matter how fast a aircraft carrier can be built if aircraft carriers are not needed.






Lokesh Meena, B.Tech Electronics and Communication Engineering, Malaviya National Institute of Technology, Jaipur

When you speak of a ship class, in context of China it means at least 20–30 ships while in case of India it’s usually mean 3–6 ships in a class. If a Indian shipyard starts churning out a destroyer in 2 years instead of 6, it would remain dry for years and that’s bad for both equipment and workforce. As for construction techniques, all new ships are modular in design which is the latest trend in shipbuilding.

If India was looking to build a navy as large as that of China or USA, it would no doubt work the shipyards double time, but that’s not the case.




Sashank Reddy, works at Neato Robotics

Budgets & Finances.

The Navy needs a fleet sizeof over 200 ships with primary purpose being anti ship and anti submarine in addition strategic deterrence. The aircraft carrier is an offensive platform and an expensive one at that. The current Vikrant under construction has already exceeded $4 billion. That’s a major chunk of money sunk into one ship. We get a lot of sensitive equipment imported and they cost in $ which means we are paying costs like the US and Europe with Indian defense budget.

For the same $4 billion, we can get 4 - 5 modern destroyers or frigates or 9 - 12 conventional attack submarines or 7 nuclear submarines. This is the reason aircraft carriers are frowned upon. You can an entire fleet for the price of 5 carriers. In fact, with enough modern submarines, one can easily challenge an aircraft carrier fleet. Submarines are deadly to a carrier. This makes the carriers very expensive losses in war. Indian Navy does not need too many carriers at this point as it operates more or less in its own back yard. Island bases help more than carriers.

We are building 45 ships at once. Our capacity for construction is pretty good. Many new private players have entered the industry as well. Its only mater of will and more importantly funding.



花同样的40亿美元,我们可以获得4 - 5艘现代驱逐舰或护卫舰或9 - 12艘常规攻击潜艇或7艘核潜艇。这就是航母不受欢迎的原因。你可以用5艘航空母舰的价格买下整个舰队。事实上,有了足够多的现代化潜艇,人们可以轻易地挑战航空母舰舰队。潜艇对航空母舰来说是致命的。这使得航母在战争中损失惨重。印度海军目前不需要太多的航母,因为它基本都是在自己的后院作战。岛屿基地比航空母舰更有帮助。



Simon Burgess

I don’t know much about this specifically but I know that Chinese build stuff fast at a great sacrifice to quality. They are famous for developing so fast in just 20 years but everything built was very poor quality indeed. Houses and buildings less than 10 years old seem more like 70 years old. The whole sewage and drainage system in every city is so bad that if it rains even for a little while there is always flooding - especially in the north.

China is pretty well known for making cheap products that break after a very short time. This is true even today. They make everything from small products to huge buildings in the same way so I’m sure the aircraft carriers are no different.




Amar Pat, Supervisor at Apple

1.Budgetary restraints

2.Wespons building infrastructure not up to the mark.(though growing up at snails pace)

3.Skilled tecnicians , workers are numbered.

And the biggest reason i would list as lack of defense engineeing courses in educational instutions that are failing to provide any bedrock for the interested candidates who are looking forward to make their career in weapons and machinery building.






Anuj, former Engineer

Answer in one line -Corruption.

Example- we purchase INS Jalashwa from America, America used the ship for 25 yrs and India purchase the ship in new ship price. Same thing happen with INS Vikarmaditya (Ex Russia Admiral Gorshkov), we purchase this ship in the price that they would give us new Aircraft Carrier




Aakash Ranga

China has refined the science of construction and building to an art form. As an Indian I truly admire their skills and ability to execute. You guys are the best at the moment.



JIasheng Xu, studied at Tsinghua University (2007)

Because India are too quick and too happy to build or do any other thing.

When Indians are working, they’re still dancing in their mind. It makes the Indian minds very quick but bloody unobservant and unfocused.

I advise the Indians to think over some extremely miserable moment in their life before they start to do some jobs so they could keep a peaceful and quiet heart.




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