To counter the increasing Chinese Naval presence, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has initiated the much-discussed project to build a 65,000-tonne sea-borne aircraft carrier — its second indigenous carrier. The first one, INS Vikrant, under construction at Cochin Shipyard Limited weighs 40,000 tonne and is the biggest warship India has ever built.

SS Gerald R. Ford, at its drydock flooding.

Carrying more than 50 fighter jets and helicopters, the second carrier will be built in India, with possibly the engines, fighter jets and some key technology from another country. The MoD has asked nine shipyards, including four in the private sector, to tell if they are interested in the project.
The warship could be either nuclear-powered or conventionally powered using diesel or gas turbines. Navy Chief Admiral Robin Dhowan had told The Tribune (news report on May 7): “All options are open for the second indigenous aircraft carrier. Nothing has been ruled out. It could be nuclear powered or conventionally powered.”

The shipyards were issued letters on July 10 and have been asked to respond till July 21 with the details of their experience in warship building.