The Indian Navy is on course to becoming a leaner force with augmented weapon, sensor and network-centric competence to give it endurance, punch and extended operational range, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Arun Prakash has said.
"By 2015-20 the Indian Navy (IN) will be a three-aircraft carrier force - one on either coast and one in reserve - alongside adequate surface and subsurface combatants, robust reserves and sound logistical support for blue water operations and visibility wherever national interests dictate," Admiral Prakash told the 'Jane's Defence Weekly'.
"In the past our shipbuilding and force planning went awry due to the skewed debate over large versus small units," he admitted. The continuing reappraisal of the navy is going to rectify this error by maintaining little more than half of its 140-145 vessels as ocean going, he said. The remainder would be assigned coastal duties.
Admiral Prakash said work on refurbishing the Admiral Gorshkov, the 44,500-tonne Kiev-class Russian aircraft carrier India acquired for the price of its refit (estimated at about 675 million dollars), at Russia's Sevmash shipyard was "encouraging".
He said "the services is keeping its options open for a new enhanced weapons fit, fire-control system, radar and sensors for the 20 MIG-29K fighters, including four trainers, meant for the Gorshkov. The navy reportedly paid 1.5 billion dollars for the 20 MIG 29Ks.
Admiral Prakash said the Indian Navy also planned to buy between 15 and 20 MIG-29Ks for the 35,000-37,000 tonne Air Defence Ship being built locally.