Monday, February 09, 2015
By : Tejaswi Singh
Courtesy : DEFENCE NEWS Network
With the recent visit of US president Mr. Barack Obama, India got great deals in its bag. One of them is the sophisticated and critical technology needed for our aircrat carriers.
With the recent visit of US President Barack Obama, India got great deals in its bag. One of them is the sophisticated and critical technology needed for our aircraft carriers. The new-generation catapult, Electro-Magnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) is featuring with our domestically built second aircraft carrier INS VISHAL or IAC II. We have got exactly what we needed, plus India may also buy V-22 Osprey aircrafts which are capable of Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) and Short Take Off and Landing (STOL).
CATOBAR vs STOBAR :
As the ship is based on STOBAR, it has its own drawbacks. STOBAR aircraft carriers have to maintain speeds of 20-30 knots to generate wind over deck to support the mission. In other words, it can not support launch missions in still conditions. It is also difficult to operate bulky airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft using this system which can make the carrier very vulnerable during wartime. So the need is to find solutions for all these problems, and the answer is Catapult Assisted Take-Off, Barrier Assisted Recovery (CATOBAR).
CATOBAR uses “trap lines” to stop an aircraft while landing, and a catapult to help it launch. Initially there were reports that the Indian Navy is going with steam catapult for INS Vishal. A steam catapult uses more than 600 kg of steam to launch an aircraft. Plus there is a requirement of hydraulics and oils, water to break the catapult, and associated pumps, motors and control systems.
The result is a large, heavy, maintenance intensive system which requires more manpower. On the other hand, EMALS uses an approach analogous to an electromagnetic railgun results to accelerate the shuttle that holds the aircraft.
The United Stated navy is the most experienced player in CATOBAR carriers, but all their carriers feature steam catapult system. EMALS is featuring in their new Ford class carrier, Gerald R. Ford which costs around whooping $13 billion.
CATOBAR offers more options such as supporting operations of heavier fighters, AEW aircraft and, crucially, unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVs), when compared with STOBAR systems. This will give Indian Navy an upper hand in the region by expanding their mission envelope with UCAVs, using the pilotless aircraft for high-risk reconnaissance and suppression of enemy air defences.
THE INS VISHAL :
A nuclear powered aircraft carrier is the most suitable option for the Indian navy, which will also give us outstanding power projection over a conventional aircraft carrier. We have gained some experience from INS Arihant in this field, though a submarine and an aircraft carrier are totally two different structures.
The designing of INS Vishal is also going to be a tough job for ‘Directorate of Naval Design’ (DND) of the Indian Navy.
Though DND has successfully designed INS Vikrant, but this is totally a new breed which needs sleek, precise and sophisticated design for faultless construction. It would be a boon for the DND if the United States could also assist India in designing of the aircraft carrier, INS Vishal. However there is nothing clear about the fighter aircraft, which will be deployed on INS Vishal.
INS Vishal will be the future of a new brand of aircraft carriers. It will dominate the Indian ocean and give India a giant leap over the Chinese. From here you can see the Indian Navy become a formidable true blue water navy capable of projecting deadly force across the Indian ocean and beyond.