Indian Navy Chief Outlines Growth Plans

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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.

Read the full article at: India defense




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