The Indian Navy is advancing its efforts to secure approvals for its second Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC-2) and has plans for a larger third carrier. The approvals for IAC-2 are in advanced stages, and a larger third carrier is under consideration, as maintaining operational capabilities is a priority. Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R. Hari Kumar previously mentioned the Navy's intention to order another IAC-1 with improved capabilities while simultaneously studying the construction of larger carriers.
The need for advanced technologies like catapult systems for launching aircraft and potential upgrades to shipbuilding facilities is highlighted in this strategic move. It aligns with the Indian Navy's goal to extend its air power and operational flexibility, especially in regions like the Malacca Strait and the Gulf of Aden due to increased Chinese activity in the Indian Ocean.
Having two operationally ready carriers allows the Navy to be active in multiple areas simultaneously, enhancing its maritime capabilities. Aircraft carriers offer unique capabilities, and modern technologies, including drones launched from carriers, are essential for contemporary naval operations.
Maintaining a three-carrier-based force structure ensures operational continuity for the Indian Navy. This approach enables deployment on both the eastern and western coasts, strengthening India's maritime capabilities and protecting its interests in the Indian Ocean region.