Navy clear about need for third aircraft carrier: Vice Admiral

The Navy is certain about its need for a third aircraft carrier and has firmed up its plans accordingly, Vice Admiral M.A. Hampiholi, the new Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Southern Naval Command, has said.

The rising economic power of India would need to be underpinned by military power and hence the need for a potent, flexible, survivable platform such as an aircraft carrier with a range of capabilities, he told the media on board the lead ship of the First Training Squadron INS Tir on Thursday.

The plan was awaiting the nod of the Ministry of Defence and a third carrier was actually ‘affordable’ given the fact that the outlay would be spread over a period of 15 years, he said.

On the growing concerns over China, he said while the Navy had factored this in, in its Maritime Capability Perspective Plan, all the Services were seized of the challenges and developing capabilities accordingly. Best practices and lessons learnt during interactions with friendly foreign navies got dovetailed into the Navy’s training philosophies, the way it operated and even in the ‘requirements’ on its platforms.

20% space for women

To a question, he said the Navy inducted women since 1992 in various roles and they even served as pilots and air operations officers (airborne combatants) besides on board ships since last year. Rear Admiral Antony George, Chief of Staff of the command, said that 20% of living space on all future ships would be earmarked for women and the present platforms were getting retrofitted with gender-sensitive living infrastructure.

Vice Admiral Hampiholi said the liaison between the civil authorities in Kerala and the navy had improved tremendously over the years, as evident from the support the Navy extended to the civil administration during emergencies and in normal times. Diving assistance was provided on 20 occasions last year and the Navy undertook fire and safety audit of some 138 hospitals in Kerala, he said. “There’s complete synergy and coordination between civil authorities and military and technological advancements are catalysing it.”

He said a national effort steered at the highest level, by the NITI Ayog, was under way to develop infrastructure, facilitate tourism and better the economy of the Lakshadweep and Minicoy and Andaman and Nicobar island territories.

The Navy, he said, had taken a slew of measures, including turning to solar power, using LED light, planting trees, plastics recycling, holding clean-ship drives and the like from five years ago to reduce carbon footprint. “It is even looking at using bio fuels for ships, but that is some time away,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2022 3:51:49 PM |

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