In just over a year – between September 2016 and now – India’s second Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC-2) narrative has changed drastically. And that is because the Indian Navy has rejected the Naval Light Combat Aircraft in its present configuration and has placed its bets on acquiring a foreign combat plant that can do a ski-jump take-off, as an alternative to the indigenous aircraft.
The first time the trouble regarding India’s IAC-2 was mentioned in the Indian media was in September 2016. The reportage on the subject said that the then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was prudent about the money he spent as the nation’s security head. He preferred to save money for the nation and the first savings he would want to do was on the development and construction of IAC-2, which was being envisaged as an over 65,000-tonne mammoth sea-faring asset with nuclear power as its propulsion system.
The reports said the plans for IAC-2 (or INS Vishal, as per reports in the Indian media for some time now) were off the priority list and the drawing board. The reports claimed that the project would receive no funds due to the estimates of high cost for construction of the aircraft carrier. This thinking had seeped into the Indian officialdom’s mind after their consultations with the American and Russian counterparts on the project.