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  • Parth Sharma asked: Is China's aircraft carrier, Liaoning, fully operational? What is the current status of India's aircraft carrier?

    Sarabjeet Singh Parmar replies: The Chinese aircraft carrier, Liaoning, recently completed sea trials after a 37 day sea sortie from November 26, 2013 to January 01, 2014 in the South China Sea. Sea trials are a major part of sequential events that make a ship fully operational. Other facets, to name a few include:

    • Construction or acquisition or earmarking of escort assets.
    • Continuous training and exercises to validate doctrines by
      • Day and night and adverse weather flight operations
      • Surface operations with escort ships/assets (again day and night and in adverse weather conditions)
    • Establishment of a fully capable shore support for repair, maintenance and logistics.

    All these issues require time for fusion so that the standard operating procedures are streamlined and the viability of meeting strategic and operational targets is achieved. This could take time as China is operating an aircraft carrier for the first time and, therefore, could make mistakes that would stretch the time period. Although the carrier could be termed as operational when the flight operating standards are met, a fully operational status could be termed as reached when operations with escort assets and adequate shore support targets are also achieved.

    In contrast, INS Vikramaditya would achieve fully operational status in a shorter time frame. This is due to the fact that escort assets and shore support facilities exist and India has the experience of operating aircraft carriers since 1961. The first indigenous aircraft carrier is likely to be commissioned in 2018 after which it would also follow the path of trials before becoming fully operational. The second indigenous carrier is, as per reports, in the design phase with a planned commissioning date of 2025.

    Posted on January 28, 2014

    Indian Airpower Afloat

    The Indian navy has long aspired for a true blue water capability and the aircraft carrier project is a critical part of safeguarding India’s maritime interest that includes providing security along the sea lanes of communication.

    September 02, 2013

    Understanding Diverse Global Thoughts on Air Power

    Air power has gone through a lot over the last two decades—from being a decisive tool of war fighting during Operation Desert Storm and operations over Kosovo, to a more sobering period in the first decade of this century when it faced intense criticism over its use in Lebanon, Iraq and Af-Pak.

    March 2013

    Maneesh Aggarwal asked: India has Andman & Nicobar and Lakshdweep, we can use them as our Naval and Airforce Strong base to guard India or break of String of Pearls

    S. S. Parmar replies: The 572 islands of the Andaman and Nicobar chain running in a north south direction of around 780 km long places this eastern most “Outpost” of India close to the South East Asian nations on Chinas’ radar scan.

    Although we have an integrated command based at Port Blair and a number of Naval, Air Force and Coast Guard bases, the assets (in this regards I refer to ships and aircraft) presently, are not sufficient to place the vast sea area and islands under surveillance. A number of the Islands are uninhabited and offer a safe haven for elements inimical to the security of India.

    As and when the required numbers of assets are available there would be the requirement of placing them at places that offer logistics support that would require the requisite infrastructure to be constructed. More importantly these places or bases would require to be in close proximity of navigable choke points so that the time required to reach the area would be the shortest.

    There are two points to be kept in mind. Firstly, aircraft given the speed and potent reach are always considered an omni present threat. The nations adjoining the area would question our intentions. We may reason and give the rationale of anti piracy and anti smuggling but it may not go down well with them. Secondly infrastructure to support these assets would require to be constructed. There would be a requirement to duplicate and maybe triplicate similar infrastructure given the extent of the Island chain. This would be a costly affair.