With navy budget declining from 18% to 13%, navy will field 175 warships, instead of planned 200 - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Tuesday 3 December 2019

With navy budget declining from 18% to 13%, navy will field 175 warships, instead of planned 200

By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 4th Dec 19

The chief of naval staff (CNS), Admiral Karambir Singh, has admitted that the navy’s declining budget has forced him to re-evaluate his long-term plan to field 200 warships by 2027. This target is institutionalised in the navy’s Maritime Capability Perspective Plan (MCPP) for the period 2012-2027.

To media queries about how many ships could realistically be expected to be in service by 2027, the navy’s vice chief, Vice Admiral G Ashok Kumar replied “about 175”. The CNS, however, termed that figure “optimistic”.

Singh was addressing the media on Tuesday on the eve of Navy Day.

The navy currently has about 130 warships, he said, and another 50 are under construction in shipyards in and outside the country.

“The navy’s share of the defence budget has declined from 18 per cent in 2012 to approximately 13 per cent in the current financial year (2019-20)”, stated Singh.

The navy was allocated Rs 56,388 crore in 2019-20, of which Rs 25,656 crore was for capital expenditure, or the payment for new ships. An estimated 90 per cent of this was already earmarked for paying instalments for warships and equipment purchased in earlier years.

“We have projected [our additional requirement] and our hope is that we’ll get some more money. Based on that, we will prioritize our requirements so that the maritime interests of the country are not compromised”, said the CNS.

“Acceptance of Necessity” (the first step in procurement of military equipment) has also been accorded for 41 ships, 31 Helicopters, 24 Multi Role Helicopters and six additional P 8I maritime aircraft”, said Singh.

Singh explained that the expected shortage of warships would have to be compensated for by introducing high technology and building more capable warships. “Our aim will be to make sure that we get the maximum bang for the buck and by prioritisation, [improving] networking, and thinking deeper about how to improve the effects [of our weapons systems] rather than just bean counting”, he said.

Elaborating on this, Singh went on: “But more important is what you pack into your ships. If they’re modern and lethal then you have that much more in terms of effects.”

Asked how the navy compared with China’s navy, Singh replied: “They are doing what they have to do and moving at the pace they are capable of. We will move at the pace that we are capable of.”

On whether the budget crunch threatened to kill the project to build a third aircraft carrier, INS Vishal, which is planned to be built in Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL), Admiral Singh stated: “As naval chief, I’m convinced that the country requires three aircraft carriers.”

“There have been press reports against the aircraft carrier, but we are preparing our case and finalising our requirements, after which we will go up to the government for Acceptance of Necessity (AoN). Once the AoN is given, we will get into design consultancy on the exact contours of this aircraft carrier,” said the CNS.

Asked when the long-delayed indigenous aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, would be completed by CSL, Singh revealed: “All ship building issues are over… We are almost certain that we will take delivery (of the carrier) by February-March 2021. After that… aviation trials will take about a year, since we will have to go to sea. We should have a fully operational carrier by 2022, equipped with the MiG-29K fighter.”

1 comment:

  1. In 2030 SATELLITE and DRONES will be able to track a aircraft carrier 24/7.

    At speed of 60 70kms it will be a slow moving white elephant. Very difficult to hide with poor stealth capabilities.

    Wonder if this money could be better utilized to buy more rafales.



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