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Navy drops cherished dream of nuclear-powered aircraft carrier

Discussion in 'Indian Navy' started by proud_indian, Oct 27, 2017.

  1. proud_indian

    proud_indian 2nd Lieutant FULL MEMBER

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    Navy drops cherished dream of nuclear-powered aircraft carrier

    [​IMG]
    BARC says new reactor will take 15 years; navy must pay (pic: Royal Navy's aircraft carrier, Queen Elizabeth II)

    By Ajai Shukla
    Business Standard, 27th Oct 17

    The Indian Navy’s second indigenous aircraft carrier, INS Vishal, will not be – as has been widely reported – an American-style, nuclear-powered “flat-top”. Instead, it will be a conventionally powered 65,000-70,000 tonne vessel, housing some 55 aircraft and incorporating a state-of-the-art “electro-magnetic aircraft launch system” (EMALS) to catapult aircraft off the carrier.


    This is the configuration being cleared through the defence ministry; Business Standard has learned through off-the-record interviews with five officials directly connected with the INS Vishal project.

    The INS Vishal proposal is before the Services Capital Acquisition Categorisation Higher Committee, headed by the Chief of Integrated Defence Staff. Before the year-end, it could be cleared by the ministry’s apex Defence Acquisition Council, chaired by the defence minister. Given its stratospheric cost, it will also require clearance from the Cabinet Committee on Security.

    The navy, which was eager to incorporate nuclear propulsion for INS Vishal, has been told by the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) that it would take 15-20 years to develop a nuclear reactor powerful enough for an aircraft carrier, incorporating features to protect it from the corrosive and dynamic marine environment.

    BARC has successfully developed a 190 Megawatt (MW) reactor for India’s fleet of four-to-six nuclear propelled, nuclear missile carrying submarines, of which the first – INS Arihant – has already been commissioned. However, INS Vishal would require a reactor capable of generating at least 500-550 MW. That means developing a brand new, miniaturised reactor, ruggedized against a marine environment.

    Nor is such a 550 MW reactor in the development pipeline, because of a dispute over who will pay the bill. Says an indignant navy admiral: “BARC wants us to place a ‘developmental contract’ to fund the reactor’s development. Why should we do that?”

    Contacted by email for comments, BARC did not respond.

    Instead of nuclear reactors, an Integrated Electric Propulsion System (IEPS) will now drive INS Vishal. This will be based on gas turbines that drive generators to produce electricity. The electricity will rotate powerful electrical motors that will turn the warship’s propellers, driving it through the water.

    In a nuclear powered warship, the reactor produces steam to drive the electrical generators that produce electricity. That drives the motors and, in turn, the propellers.

    The challenge in designing a ship-borne nuclear reactor includes protecting it from saline corrosion, shock, impact and developing the radiation shielding needed to protect the crew – which would spend longer periods of time, in closer proximity to the reactors, than in land-based nuclear power generation plants. In addition, are the issues around refuelling the reactor cores and storing spent fuel.

    Designing an IEPS-driven vessel involves different challenges, including identifying a compatible combination of gas turbines, generators and motors, says a designer involved in INS Vishal. Industry sources say India’s choice of conventional propulsion opens the doors for British and French shipyards to provide design assistance. Both are building conventionally powered aircraft carriers, while the US has built only nuclear powered carriers for decades.

    Crucially, Indian Navy designers have concluded that an EMALS can be powered through gas turbine driven generators. The navy wants INS Vishal to have a catapult launch facility, which allows the launch of heavier and more diverse aircraft than the ski-jump launch fitted on Indian carriers – the in-service INS Vikramaditya and the under-construction INS Vikrant. Instead of six-decade-old steam catapult technology, the navy has decided to equip INS Vishal with EMALS, which America has fitted for the first time on its newest aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R Ford.

    EMALS features what its maker, General Atomics, calls a “dial-up-a-power-level”, allowing catapult power to be adjusted to launch aircraft of completely different sizes – from a light drone to a 60-tonne P-3C Orion maritime surveillance and anti-submarine aircraft. EMALS can launch many more aircraft per hour and is easier to maintain. Steam catapults are more subject to corrosion and put far greater stress on the aircraft being launched.

    http://ajaishukla.blogspot.in/2017/10/navy-drops-cherished-dream-of-nuclear.html
     
  2. Guynextdoor

    Guynextdoor Lt. Colonel SENIOR MEMBER

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    They should, nonetheless, start work on the reactor. We may have a need for it in 15 years.
     
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  3. stephen cohen

    stephen cohen Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    This project like the Submarine will have to be funded by the Govt

    Whether the money comes from BARC Account or Navy account ; it is the Same Public Money

    Even if it takes time ; So be it ; The Nuclear Submarine also took 20 years
     
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  4. stephen cohen

    stephen cohen Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    When the World's largest Super tankers and Container Ships
    can run on Gas turbines ; So can an Aircraft Carrier

    UK's Latest Carrier is also Conventionally powered

    Nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is basically Needed when you have to Patrol the Entire World like US Carriers

    INS Vishal even if it Goes on the Pacific Ocean can Refuel in Vietnam ; Singapore
    Japan Or Taiwan
     
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  5. Bloom 17

    Bloom 17 2nd Lieutant IDF NewBie

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    Whats the point of the carrier being nuclear powered if its entire CBG is conventional.
     
  6. Agent_47

    Agent_47 Admin - Blog IDF NewBie

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    Yay ! i always advocated the idea of conventionally powered carrier. It balance perfectly with indian navy requirements,money and timeline.

    They will choose RR Marine Trent MT30 with IEPS drive.
     
    Rajaraja Chola, Bloom 17, MKM and 5 others like this.
  7. GuardianRED

    GuardianRED Captain FULL MEMBER

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    As long as this system can function well within indian conditions and don't do a Daring Class! :biggthumpup: .. All will be fine!
     
  8. Agent_47

    Agent_47 Admin - Blog IDF NewBie

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    I would like to think its more like Queen Elizabeth class or Zumwalt.
     
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  9. sunstersun

    sunstersun Lieutenant IDF NewBie

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    Probably the pragmatic decision. India's carriers are primarily defensive or if we're being realistic, they won't operate out of the asian-pacific hemisphere for a long time.

    EMALS are less intensive than CATOBAR on the carrier's resources.
     
  10. Zer0reZ

    Zer0reZ 2nd Lieutant FULL MEMBER

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    Why not use two reactors??
     
  11. Sancho

    Sancho Lt. Colonel Technical Analyst

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    You don't need nuclear power to patrol the coast lines of India, or even the IOR. IN has no requirement for global reach and should built up more capable support fleet and air wings instead.
    SSNs for the CBG, sufficient fleet tankers or JSSs, AEW, IFR and proper strike capability is what they need in the first place.
     
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  12. Guynextdoor

    Guynextdoor Lt. Colonel SENIOR MEMBER

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    India should aim for global reach in 20 years. We are keen on playing a bigger role if we want to be part of UNSC.
     
    Angel Eyes likes this.
  13. randomradio

    randomradio Colonel Technical Analyst

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    @Hellfire @vstol jockey
    Says an indignant navy admiral: “BARC wants us to place a ‘developmental contract’ to fund the reactor’s development. Why should we do that?”

    This is the stupidest statement I've ever heard. Or am I wrong in my interpretation?
     
    TSUNAMI, mugundhan, Zer0reZ and 9 others like this.
  14. Gessler

    Gessler Lt. Colonel Technical Analyst

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    Exactly what I was thinking.
     
    Blackjay likes this.
  15. randomradio

    randomradio Colonel Technical Analyst

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    Space.
     
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