Thursday, September 19, 2013


Received from the INDIAN EXPRESS

Russian-Built Aircraft Carrier INS Vikramaditya Ready To Sail, Finally


We've made no bones about for a couple of years now, we are fans of the Indian Navy. We admire their skills and find them specially amazing in light of the non standardized equipment they have to operate. Their energy, determination, and innovation to build a first rank fleet despite budget considerations and little help from the West is amazing as is their inventory of first order naval skills such as operating air craft carriers ( this will be the second active carrier in their fleet), performing underway replenishment, and launching missals from submerged submarines . We call them "the Tigers" not for aggression but for a can do assertive attitude that runs from the admiralty to the ratings. 

 They bought a bargain basement Russian ski jump carrier at one of those post Cold War Russian military fire sales. Things didn't go as planned and the condition wasn't quite as advertised but the Tigers just kept working the problem and are about to sail home with air craft carrier number 2. Meanwhile the Dragon (China) which would like to establish its proposed "String of Pearls" naval bases in the Indian Ocean is still learning to operate their first carrier. The Tigers have been flying off flattops for decades now. But politically the Tigers are still non aligned and the West hasn't stepped in with gifts, grants, or fire sale equipment that would be NATO compatible.  We continue to see that as a mistake. India is a stable democracy and a reliable sheriff for the Indian Ocean in terms of enforcing international law. Their independence shouldn't bother the West, particularly the United States. The Indians have shown themselves to be independent but harbor no ambitions on the lands of their neighbors (unlike some of their neighbors). They are a moral people and a welcome addition to the International community, a truly constructive and trust worthy regional power. It would be to the advantage of the West for the Tigers to have a more standardized, and to the maximum extent possible, a NATO inter-operative Fleet. Morally/Politically it seems inconceivable that any Western Power will ever have an armed conflict with India despite her dedicated independence. On the other hand she is menaced by enemies we have in common.

  It is highly unlikely that the West would ever let India sink, because we would be highly likely to follow. We would be a lot more effective in backing up India if her Tigers manned a more NATO inter-operative fleet. And we should have no qualms about being the back up player to India in the Indian Ocean. The Western States have no coast line there. We do need freedom of innocent passage for our merchant and naval shipping, but we have no need to assume the traditional duties of adjacent coastal states in the region.The new Indian aircraft carrier may be a refit of a misfit but we are banking on the Tigers to deliver her in Bristol condition and operate her and maintain her in a true crackerjack fashion. Score another one for the Tigers. Iran, Pakistan, and China simply just don't add up. Frankly the Tigers could build a global fleet if they wanted to. But clearly their ambition is to be the leading coastal state on the Indian Ocean. They already are in fact and are simply solidifying the position. Everybody else is an also ran, the Dragon had best keep its nose in the China Seas. Below is a lead in and a link to the full story from the Indian Express. Maybe next year the Tigers will field an international baseball team, we'd like that.
From The Indian Express
"It is without doubt the largest warship ever to be operated by the Indian Navy. But if there is a record for the longest time spent by an Indian warship in a shipyard, the INS Vikramaditya would hold that too. After a long a painful process of renegotiations, price escalations and delays, India's new aircraft carrier finally seems to be on its way home.
The refurbished ship — it was originally the Gorshkov, launched in 1982 — is currently undergoing an exhaustive series of trials in the Barents Sea to test its weapon systems, flight operations, propulsion and communications." To read more click here:


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