Navy sets timelines to become completely atmanirbhar by 2047: Admiral Hari Kumar
The Navy is working towards becoming completely atmanirbhar (self-reliant) by 2047 and has set milestones to get rid of dependence on foreign suppliers in critical areas of “move” and “fight” components for manufacturing engines and air platforms, as global insecurities mount.
Instead of the next higher version IAC-II, the Navy is thinking of having a repeat of Indian Aircraft Carrier (IAC-I) after the successful induction of indigenously made INS Vikrant in September to secure country’s maritime interest and meet the security challenges Other than that, Navy is drafting a cabinet note for twin engine deck-based fighter aircraft to replace ageing fleet of MiG-29k.
“Recent global events amply underscore that we can’t remain dependent on others for our own security requirements. Government has given us very clear guidelines on Aatmanirbhar Bharat and one of the Navy’s commitments to the top leadership is that we’ll become an Aatmanirbhar Navy by 2047,” Navy chief Admiral R Hari Kumar said on the eve of Navy Day. At the annual presser, the Navy chief said last year was “operationally busy” and “satisfying”, and “transformational” and talked about his force’s futuristic vision.
The Navy seeks to address its capability through three components — “float”, “move” and “fight”. Admiral Kumar stated that while Navy has achieved Atmanirbharta of 95 per cent in float components, managed 60 to 65 per cent in move components, and 50 per cent in fight components which is about manufacturing aircraft and armaments.
Next aircraft carrier
The Navy chief stated that right now the conceptualisation of the IAC-II is on hold since the force is contemplating whether to have a repeat of IAC-I or work on IAC-II. “It’s at a discussion stage,” Hari Kumar told reporters in response to a query on the next aircraft carrier. “It inspires self-confidence among us and it’s a shining symbol of our indigenous capability. It has contributed to enhancing the stature of the nation in the world. I’m sure Vikrant will proudly fly the Tiranga across the wide reaches of Indo-Pacific in years to come,” the Navy chief stated.
Similarly, on the other Make in India big acquisition, he stated the Navy is coordinating with Aeronautical Development Agency (AD) on twin-engine deck-based fighter aircraft (TED) and a draft cabinet note is being prepared for approval and a prototype of the TEDF should be ready some time in 2026. As per Admiral Hari Kumar, the Navy can expect to have TEDF by 2032, but before that as an interim solution, the force is going through the reports of trial of Rafale-M and FA/18 Super Hornet to identify replacement for aging MiG-29k whose supplies are not forthcoming. The Navy is looking at 26 fighter jets to operate from INS Vikrant.
He also stated that acquisition of HAIL (High Altitude and Long Range) drones has not been shelved but is still in under consideration though the Navy is thinking of “number rationalisation” which is whether to buy 30 of them as was initially thought. He, however, observed that the experience of using the two leased HAIL predator drones for a year-and-half has been of a “great value”, also due to its reach in the Indian Ocean Region.
Kumar also shared that the Navy is in the process of shedding colonial past, following the directions of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to give up “gulami ki mansikta”. Unveiling of a new Naval ensign on the day of INS Vikrant commissioning in September was a step in that direction and more colonial symbols and practices are being identified for getting them rid off, Admiral Kumar stated.