SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Russia has offered to sell India its nuclear aircraft carrier, dubbed “Storm,” a senior Indian Navy official said. The offer comes as India and the U.S. have conducted ongoing discussions about the transfer of technology for India’s future nuclear aircraft carrier, the INS Vishal.
A diplomat with the Russian Embassy in Washington D.C. confirmed to Diya TV that a Russian contingency visiting India last week indeed relayed the sale offer.
Krylov State Research Center, a Russian shipbuilding research and development institute, are designing the ship, simply referred to as Storm and also known as Project 23000E.
“First revealed in May 2015, the Project 23000E multipurpose aircraft carrier is designed to conduct operations in remote and oceanic areas, engage land-based and sea-borne enemy targets, ensure the operational stability of naval forces, protect landing troops, and provide the anti-aircraft defense,” the Navy official said.
India’s plans to build its own second homegrown carrier, the aforementioned INS Vishal, will also be nuclear powered, 300 meters long, 70 meters wide and displace 65,000 tons.
“The choice [India’s] is to have a nuclear powered carrier, technology for which will not be easy to get, and international help will be needed by India in the design and development of the super carrier,” Nitin Mehta, an independent defense analyst, said.
Russia have already renovated and modernized a Kiev-class carrier-cruiser, renamed INS Vikramaditya, for the Indian Navy from 2004-2013 in which they “gained valuable insights into carrier-building techniques through that process,” Mehta said.
The U.S. have offered the electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS), however, the system does not include nuclear propulsion technology and is not available for installation on the Russian carrier, the Indian Navy official said.
“EMALS is a major attraction because it is flexible and allows variety of aircraft to come on the deck including the lighter, homemade light combat aircraft and heavy fighter aircraft,” he said.
The U.S. and India have formed a joint working group on aircraft carrier technology cooperation, but thus far, no discussions have taken place regarding offering nuclear technology on an Indian carrier. India still has to make a decision on whether to acquire Russia’s super carrier or built its own locally.