Global Times recently reported that, after visiting India’s first domestically constructed Vikrant-class aircraft carrier, top U.S. Naval engineers may have lost hope in expecting India’s cooperation to contain the Chinese Navy in the Indian Ocean. To the surprise of the Americans, the supposedly combat-ready carrier, launched three years ago, may take up to another ten years to obtain real battleground operational capabilities. The Americans found the Indian carrier doesn’t even have a small-scale missile system for self-defense. The Pentagon was very much concerned that India insisted on producing aircraft carriers entirely on its own, which significantly delayed the combat readiness of the ship. According to India’s own audit report released in September, the first India-made carrier suffered significant flaws in both design and construction quality, such as the aircraft launch system and the air conditioning system, due to the shipbuilder’s lack of experience. The three-billion-dollar project has been delayed for five years now. The Indian-made Tejas fighter jets suffered a troublesome record in practice on and off the deck, while Russian jets had absolutely no issue in using the same deck. The U.S. experts expressed their belief that the first Indian carrier can only operate within the range of India’s land-based air force coverage. However, the United States confirmed its willingness to continue its cooperation with the Indian Navy but will put its the faith in India’s second domestically built carrier.
Source: Global Times, December 2, 2016