Yet another likely delay in dispatching the much-awaited aircraft carrier has caused tempers to flare back in India, but the problems are not as grim as reported.
It is a setback no doubt, but the “technical malfunction” experienced during INS Vikramaditya’s high-speed trials in the Barents Sea is hardly a disaster. Ship is not crippled, as some 'experts' have suggested. But what happened was that seven of the eight steam boilers in the carrier’s power plant overheated.
However, casual observers have missed the point that the overheating was discovered during trials. That’s what trials are for – to identify and remove such glitches. And no, unlike what some ‘experts’ have been suggesting, fixing the problem won’t require cutting open the ship.
INS Vikramaditya at sea trials ( Image Courtesy - defenceforumindia.com )
Vikramaditya’s problems are not insurmountable. The ship’s propulsion system is brand new, the problem is most likely with the integration of the boilers. Information trickling in, suggests that the first reports exaggerated the problem, and that the ship is sailing on its own power. The overheating seems to be happening only at high speeds. Two months ago the carrier experienced its first landing, by a MiG-29K. The sea trials have been under way for several months off the north coast of the Barents Sea, and in all other respects the ship appears to be in working order.
So, it is a wait for few months, not years, as some of the media has been shouting on top of their lungs. A 45,000 ton Aircraft Carrier, would go through a fine tuning just before it is ready for commissioning. You will be surprised to know what French Navy went through with their Aircraft Carrier - Charles de Gaulle.
News Courtesy - indrus.in