The Indian Navy is keen to have a third aircraft carrier, while being in the process of inducting 56 warships and submarines to augment its maritime capabilities, Naval Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba said here on Monday.
"The third aircraft carrier (AC) is important because if we have three aircraft carriers, it will give us the capability to fight in the war at least with two at any given time. We are in discussion (with the government) and we have worked out the details. We will see a start in three years," Admiral Lanba said.
INS Vikrant, being built indigenously, is in its third and final phase of construction, he added.
Besides INS Vikrant, 32 ships and submarines are presently under construction at different Indian shipyards, he said.
These include P-15B Class Destroyers, P17A class stealth Frigates, P28 ASW Corvettes, Offshore Patrol Vessels and Scorpene class submarines.
He also said that on the aviation front, a long-standing critical shortfall in the naval helicopter fleet has been finally addressed with the accord of AoN (Acceptance of Necessity) for 111 utility helicopters in August this year and issue of LoR (Letter of Request) for 24 multi-role helicopters last month.
Admiral Lanba said that the induction of the new assets and capabilities are being progressed in consonance with the Indian Navy's long-term perspective plans.
He also touched upon the Indian Navy's thrust on supporting the Make-in-India vision and apprised that since 2014, 82 per cent of AoNs on cost basis has been accorded to Indian vendors. Also during the same period, 72 per cent of the cost of contracts concluded is with Indian vendors.
The Naval Chief also stated that more than two-thirds of Navy's modernisation budget has been spent on indigenous procurement in the last four years. And that 60 per cent of the naval budget is earmarked for modernisation and capital expenditure.
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