India's Aircraft Carrier Future: British Designed and F-35 Armed?
by Charlie Gao
India’s search for a third carrier recently made big news in the United Kingdom when it was announced that Indian Navy officials visited the Rosyth dockyard in Scotland, where the Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier was built. Reports have suggested that this delegation was interested in buying plans for the QE as a basis for their third carrier, the INS Vishal.
But why is India interested in a British design? What planes might it use? Could it lead to an F-35 purchase by India?
India’s prior experience with the INS Viraat, a former Royal Navy aircraft carrier could have lead to their preference for British design. The INS Viraat was decommissioned in 2017 after serving the Indian Navy for over thirty years. It was replaced by the INS Vikramaditya, a former Russian carrier, but the INS Vikramaditya has had significant issues with its powerplant and boilers. The INS Vikramaditya’s issues have proven deadly, with a boiler fire killing an officer on board in April 2019.
While the INS Viraat also killed one of its officers in a similar fire in 2016, the INS Viraat is far older than the INS Vikramaditya and served for far longer. The INS Vikramaditya has killed three people in the five years she has been in service.
This abysmal safety record probably has driven interest in British designs, which are known to be generally safer and feature modern gas turbines in contrast to the INS Viraat and INS Vikramaditya’s boilers.
With regard to planes, both the INS Vikramaditya and the INS Vikrant (India’s second carrier, currently undergoing trials) are designed to use MiG-29Ks, navalized variants of the MiG-29. However, problems with these aircraft may lead to the procurement of a new carrier-borne aircraft in the near future.
India buying the F-35 could be potentially politically toxic due to America’s relationship with Pakistan. However, after India’s withdrawal from co-developing the Su-57 jet with Russia, there have been rumbles of F-35 interest within the Indian Air Force. Classified briefings were said to have taken place early in 2018, and Lockheed’s pitch of the “F-21” jet to India was accompanied by the tagline “India’s pathway to F-35”, though this was quickly redacted.
grignon13 hours ago
This is pointless posturing by India's leaders. All of India's territory is well within fighting range of land based aircraft. As is the whole of its main adversary's territory. Aircraft carriers cannot function as a single ship. They require an extensive and expensive support fleet if they are not to be neutralized by a single submarine or air attack.
If it's a British design...will the planes taxi on the wrong side, like English cars....?
Will India buy England design toilets too ?
Indian armed forces may be the 4th largest in the world in numbers but the equipment in use is woefully outdated and manpower poorly trained. India took over 30 years to design plan and build the prototype of its small third generation fighter aircraft the Teja which according to media report is now being inducted into the air force UK aircraft technology is old and outdated.
West8 hours ago
What about building some toilets in India ?
drew17 hours ago
India has operated two British built aircraft carriers.
we can only hope india continues to grow strong.
We wouldn't sell them F35s, but we can sell them our old Harriers.
India is top recipient of US economic aid. . .
Is that aircraft carrier expired for British Navy?
Indian built aircraft carriers are not one I would dare serve.
And just what would India do with an aircraft carrier.
Romney 20122 days ago
Powered by cows.
Why India will want to waste $billion to build up its military instead of building up its infrastructure and improve the standard of livings for its citizens?
Why can't Indians make their own? Indians are super-smart people. Why does the West have to keep everyone dependent on them?
WANNA CUT COST...BUILD IT OUT OF BAMBOO.
Will it have enough toilets?
Powered by curry
And yet the Indian military continues to woo the Russians. Amazing.
Will they lease it like they did the Russian carrier?
India does not need all this. It is a peace loving country. In case of a war Russia and America will fight for India.
eeyaw2 hours ago
Indian aircraft carrier powered by cow dung.
India got no money
M B7 hours ago
India will never buy F35 because US will not sell it to India.
Jagmohan7 hours ago
Most of the comments are feel superior and stupid. India is a giant waking up.
Me3 hours ago
Buy from Russia...get junk!