The Indian Navy has put forward a requirement
of U.S. $25 Billion to equip the Indian Navy's five year force
buildup plans. According to Indian Navy chief Admiral Sureesh
Mehta, "The navy currently has 136 ships and building of
33 more ships is underway in our shipyards".
Among these are six new Scorpene submarines, the
Russian built aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, (formerly the
Russian Navy's Admiral Gorshkov) and the ex-U.S. Navy
amphibious ship Trenton, expected to be handed over to the
Indians in January 2007. Another
carrier is currently built at Cochin in India, but this
vessel will be ready within 10 to 12 years. Mehta emphasized
the need to have the capability to launch a nuclear second strike
as "we are a no-first use nation". "We do not
have the (second strike) capability...But we are moving in that
direction," he said.
The admiral admitted that the Indian Navy lags behind in maritime
reconnaissance capabilities. "We have not kept pace with
maritime reconnaisance." He said. Nevertheless, Indian
unmanned systems are already providing impressive coverage "Instead
of the usual range of 120 miles, our UAVs operate for 400 miles
off the coast by passing control onto another platform."
India is operating land-based IAI Heron
UAVs in the maritime recce role. The Navy plans to field
rotary wing UAVs from ships in the next few years. Hinting about
a possible long term solution "We are thinking of satellite
coverage of a large area," he added.
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