|Builder:||Cochin Shipyard Limited|
|Status:||Planned (design phase)|
|Propulsion:||Integrated electric propulsion|
|Aircraft carried:||55 (35 fixed-wing and 20 rotary-wing) (planned)|
INS Vishal, also known as Indigenous Aircraft Carrier 2 (IAC-2), is a planned aircraft carrier to be built by Cochin Shipyard Limited for the Indian Navy. It is intended to be the second aircraft carrier to be built in India after INS Vikrant (IAC-1), and the first supercarrier to be built in India. The proposed design of the second carrier class will be a new design, featuring significant changes from Vikrant, including an increase in displacement. An Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) CATOBAR system is also under consideration. Its name Vishal means 'giant' in Sanskrit.
Design and development
In April 2011, Admiral Nirmal Kumar Verma stated that construction of the second carrier was some years away as there were a number of higher spending priorities for the navy. The design stage of IAC-2 began in 2012, and was undertaken by the navy's Naval Design Bureau. The navy decided not to seek outside help in preparing the design concept and implementation plans, but might seek help from the Russian Design Bureau later to integrate Russian aircraft into Vishal. IAC-2 is proposed to be a flat-top carrier with a displacement of 65,000 tonnes and might have a CATOBAR system, unlike the STOBAR system on IAC-1. On 13 May 2015, Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) allotted Rs.30 crore for initial construction planning process of INS Vishal.
In May 2015, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Robin K. Dhowan initially floated the possibility of nuclear propulsion, saying that that "all options are open for the second indigenous aircraft carrier. Nothing has been ruled out." The initial plan for the aircraft carrier included nuclear propulsion system but this was later changed to an integrated electric propulsion system due to the complexities involved in developing a nuclear reactor with a capacity of 500 to 550 megawatts that would possibly take 15 to 20 years.
The Indian Navy also reached out to four international defence companies for suggestions with the design of Vishal, with letters of request sent to the British BAE Systems, French DCNS, American Lockheed Martin and Russian Rosoboronexport on 15 July 2015, according to a report in Jane's Navy International. The letter asked the companies to "provide technical and costing proposals" for the IAC-2 program.
In 2013, the Indian Navy reportedly sought to equip the aircraft carrier with EMALS, which could enable the launching of larger aircraft as well as unmanned combat aerial vehicles. General Atomics, the developer of EMALS, also gave a briefing of the technology to Indian Navy officers with the permission of the US Government. In April 2015, US Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Frank Kendall stated that the Obama administration was supportive of selling EMALS to India, amongst other technologies. A Joint Working Group on Aircraft Carrier Cooperation was also formed between India and the United States to collaborate on the design and development of aircraft carriers, with the first meeting between Indian Navy and United States Navy naval officers held in August 2015. In October 2017, just ahead of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's visit to India, the Trump administration approved the release of technology for the EMALS for Vishal.
On 3 December 2018, Chief of the Naval Staff Sunil Lanba told media that the work on Vishal had moved ahead and the construction of the ship is expected to begin in 3 years. Initially, the carrier was expected to enter service by the 2020s, but the expected date of completion was later postponed to the 2030s.
British newspaper Daily Mirror reported on 5 May 2019 that India was in talks with the United Kingdom to purchase the detailed plans for HMS Queen Elizabeth to use as the basis of INS Vishal's design.
Battle group organisation
Naval planners believe that, with INS Vishal likely to enter service in the early 2020s, they should plan on operating UCAVs from that carrier, as well as an fixed wing ASW aircraft, and medium and light fighters. According to a naval planner, it "could greatly expand our mission envelope with UCAVs, using the pilot-less aircraft for high-risk reconnaissance and SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses). Mid-air refueling would let us keep UCAVs on mission for 24–36 hours continuously, since pilot fatigue would not be a factor."
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