US yes on EMALS-AAG for Indian Navy’s next aircraft carrier

Defence news: Indian Navy has one more reason to cheer when it comes to it’s next aircraft carrier. Thanks to the US department of defense approval of sale, American cutting edge technology can find it’s way on Indian navy’s next aircraft carrier. This new ship (Next generation INS Vishal) will most definitely will be a nuclear powered super carrier if this technology is indeed used. Read on to know why…

Indian Defence News, INS Vikrant

Image: INS Vikrant under construction (Source: Indian Navy) Defence News

The Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) is a system under development by the United States Navy to launch carrier-based aircraft from an aircraft catapult using a linear motor drive instead of the conventional steam piston drive. The Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) system uses electric motors for aircraft deceleration during aircraft carrier recovery operations.

American and Indian interests in the region run in harmony, Chinese influence is increasing and China is using every crooked trick in it’s bag to occupy any territory it can. Resource greedy China wants to control every island, every inch of it’s neighbors soil and even the high seas. All this on the name of “traditional Chinese grounds” with a “false sense of history” excuse. America has been looking for a counter balancing force in the region. With a neutral diplomacy, no tendency to copy technology and a responsible democracy, India seems to fit the bill. Not to say that India will ever act like an American Lieutenant, but a capable India will definitely check China’s influence in the region.

The Indian Navy in November 2016 confirmed plans to integrate EMALS catapults into its future super-carriers by revealing the dispatch of Letters of Request (LoR) to the U.S. DoD to buy this advanced aircraft launch system. The LoRs cover acquiring three EMALS under the U.S. Foreign Military Sales Program. Sources in the Indian Navy told media the LoRs were issued in February 2016. The Indian navy expects the Pentagon to approve the LoRs and to issue its Letters of Acceptance (LoA) approving the deal within the next few months.

So why offer India carrier tech?

OK, for that matter why not fighter tech? submarine tech? or something else? Simply because in other places India does have alternatives, but to really project “carrier diplomacy” super carriers are required. Super carriers are able to field large aircraft and larger compliment of fighter squadrons with various support crafts. AWACS and AEW aircraft are a must if a worthwhile battle is to be fought. Carriers often attack land masses that may have countries with capable air-forces, or at sea when another battle group is at the opposition. Here is when AWACS, mid air refueler and other support aircraft multiply force of the flying squadron many folds. Large aircraft cannot take off with ski jumps and require catapult and arrested recovery mechanisms. Similarly regular deck fighters can take off with more weight, enhancing their load-out tonnage and thus number and range of weapons for the mission. The EMALS reduces the stress on air frames when compared to ski jump and steam systems. It is also cheaper to operate.

US wants India to fill this technical void so it can present itself to balance the power vis-a-vis China. Americans understand that this partnership is mutually beneficial. Being non-aligned has worked for India so far, but the day has come when India looks to open seas and the bigger world for opportunities and resources. Now is the time India chooses it’s friends and allies. There is no reason to make enemy of any country including China, but we definitely need to be prepared.

Written by Baldeva Singh

Baldeva Singh is a tough talking nationalist who has a flair for writing. Defence matters, technical details on weapons and war scenarios are his key expert areas. Baldev is known to walk the talk in his personal life. He is from Patiala (Punjab). His friends call him a “blunt weapon” but he is often found reading old books when free!

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