Indian Navy abandons dream of nuclear-powered aircraft carrier INS Vishal
New Delhi : Indian Navy has reportedly abandoned the dream of indigenous nuclear-powered aircraft carrier INS Vishal.
The configuration of the much-reported vessel has been amended to meet the deadline.
"The Indian Navy’s second indigenous aircraft carrier, INS Vishal, will not be – as has been widely reported – an American-style, nuclear-powered “flat-top”. Instead, it will be a conventionally powered 65,000-70,000 tonne vessel, housing some 55 aircraft and incorporating a state-of-the-art “electromagnetic aircraft launch system” (EMALS) to catapult aircraft off the carrier," a Business Standard report said.
The newspaper, quoting five top officials of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), revealed that the configuration was amended and cleared by defence ministry because it would take 15-20 years to develop a nuclear reactor capable enough to propel the 65,000-70,000 tonne vessel.
Business Standard said in a report that BARC has developed a nuclear reactor that generates 190 Megawatts power. The reactor is used in India’s first indigenous nuclear-capable submarine, INS Arihant. However, a vessel of the size of INS Vishal will require 500-550 Megawatts, which will take 15-20 years to become completely operational. Apart from miniaturising the reactor, one challenge for BARC will be to make it impervious to the marine environment.
There is also a dispute regarding who will foot the bill for the 500 Megawatt reactor. A navy admiral told the paper: “BARC wants us to place a ‘development contract’ to fund the reactor’s development. Why should we do that?”
In a nuclear-powered vessel, the electricity is generated by generators that are run by steam produced by the nuclear reactor.
INS Vishal will have a capacity to house 55 aircraft and will also have the “electromagnetic aircraft launch system” (EMALS) to catapult aircraft off the carrier.