The day is not far off when the Eastern Fleet, based at Eastern Naval Command in Visakhapatnam, will have its own carrier battle group, once the carrier is built locally. INS Vikrant is commissioned in the Indian Navy. Hinting that the aircraft carrier is undergoing rigorous sea trials, the Commander-in-Chief of Eastern Naval Command, Vice-Admiral Biswajit Dasgupta, said that after the trials were completed, INS Vikrant would be based in Visakhapatnam. Efforts were being made to order it in August 2022 to commemorate the farewell of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’s celebrations.
After induction, the aircraft carrier could be based in Western Command for about a year, as some infrastructure installation was brewing here. “But once it’s ready and the ship gets here, we’ll have a ‘carrier battle group’ on the east coast,” he said.
Regarding the capacity building of the Eastern Fleet, Vice Admiral Dasgupta said that the three Delhi-class guided missile destroyers INS Delhi, INS Mysore and INS Bombay, would be rebased to Visakhapatnam from Western Command.
“INS Mysore is already there and is undergoing refit, the other two destroyers will likely be there by the time of the presidential fleet review, which is scheduled for February 21, 2022, ”he said.
The seven Nilgiri-class stealth guided missile frigates under Project 17 Alpha, under construction in Mazagon, Mumbai, and Garden Reach, Kolkata, would be part of Eastern Naval Command, Vice Admiral Dasgupta said. Five shallow anti-submarine warfare (ASW) craft were also under construction.
MiG29 K squadron
Speaking about the improvement of air assets on the east coast, Vice Admiral Dasgupta said that the MiG29K, which is part of the air assortment on board INS Vikrant, would have a squadron in Visakhapatnam. “It is expected, but held back temporarily due to a technical problem,” he said.
The Navy is also acquiring four other P8I aircraft in addition to the existing fleet of eight. “All planes will be based in Arakkonam and this will enhance our long range anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASuW) and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities,” he said. declared the head of the ENC.
“We are working on introducing more long-range drones and have already introduced two for which tests are underway to assess performance. In addition, our Kamov helicopter fleet is undergoing a mid-life upgrade in Russia and will soon be reintroduced to enhance our ASW capabilities, ”he said.
He praised the performance of the advanced light helicopters built by HAL and said that by 2024 the ENC would have a few MH60 R (Romeos) helicopters purchased from the United States. Alternative base of operations approaching Rambilli at Visakhapatnam. It should have been ready by now, but for technical reasons it had been delayed and it was expected to be ready and operational in the next two or three years.