The Indian Navy’s (IN’s) longstanding plan to build and commission its second indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC-2) into service by 2030–32 has been further postponed due to steadily declining budgets, technological hurdles, and, above all, enduring delays by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in approving the program.

The proposed 65,000–70,000 tonne conventionally powered ‘flat top’ carrier – tentatively named Vishal (Grand) – capable of embarking 50–60 fixed- and rotary-wing platforms, attaining speeds of up to 30 kt, and projected to cost INR800–900 billion (USD11.65–13 billion) – is part of the IN’s Maritime Capability Perspective Plan (MCCP).

INS Viraat was formally decommissioned in March 2017, leaving the IN with just one carrier in operation. (Indian Navy)

First announced in 2005 and later updated for the 15-year period until 2027, the MCPP envisages the IN fielding three carrier battle groups (CBGs): one for each seaboard and one in reserve.