Why is India building aircraft carriers and submarines that can be easily destroyed using anti-ship missiles?
Craig Mowbray, Inquisitive, creative, irreverent, flaneur
I have been reading all the answers to this question with great interest and and decided to join in all the fun;)
Forgive me if I don’t resort to vast quantities of intricate detail as I would like to take a slightly more distanced take on the matter and avoid arguing over intricacies.
So, in answer to your question
“India: Why is Indian Navy building Aircraft carriers and Submarines which can be easily destroyed using anti-ship missiles?”
Well basically because they can and what’s more they deserve it!
India is a strong, confident and technically proficient nation with a proud military history. It has great expectations and has a desire to be taken seriously, a force to be reckoned with on the world stage. It rightly considers itself a future global power with a seat at the top tables of influence. The commissioning and deployment of such vessels will be a clear illustration and manifestation of this intent
Irrespective of the strategic and tactical aspects of their proposed military application, the political and diplomatic advantages of their presence will be enormous to India moving forward. This together with the various non tangible benefits associated with such projects, for instance national pride, cannot be underestimated. Luckily India has both the industrial facilities, expertise and most importantly will to achieve its aims. The industrial, scientific and general learnings from their manufacture will assist India not only in other military projects but offshoot commercial ventures as well and will go a long way to projecting national status at home and abroad.
How will India deploy them? This will already have been resolved, so rest assured, the carriers will be protected by a corresponding carrier group. It will probably take the form of a layered approach with Pickets and AEW aircraft forming the outer perimeter, ASW frigates set inboard of this and then AAW ships close to the carrier to provide air detection and cover. Plus the odd sub or two and some of the ships maybe have a dual role and having ASuW capacity. Not forgetting all the aircraft on the carrier and the necessary supply ships in attendance. Pretty impressive.
Rahul Kardam, Entrepreneur, Web-Developer and an investor at heart.
I'd like to answer the part "easily destroyed using an anti-ship missile".
Till some years back I used to think the same. Then one day I happened to visit INS Viraat when it was berthed in naval dockyard in south Mumbai . There the naval officer explained that an aircraft carrier is protected by a multitude of assets. The first is the carriers own aircraft flying protective sorties which can engage an incoming enemy missile as far as 200 km away. The next is the the carriers own anti aircraft missiles capable of engaging enemy missiles upto 50 Km away. And they typically fire two missiles not just one. In case the enemy missile is still able to evade carrier's missiles, then aircraft carriers have a multitude of gattling cannons which start churning out bullets in the tune of thousands per minute, which create a sort of iron wall within 500 meters of the aircraft carrier.
I still did not believe that this much of protection would be enough.
Then one day I saw
( a single aircraft carrier was the only formidable naval asset US had just after Japan attacked Pearl Harbour and that was USS enterprise (while other carriers had been put out by Japanese navy). Long story short , USS Enterprise lived the world war 2 and survived, despite taking multiple poundings from Japanese.
The concept of carrier battle groups existed since WWII . Dozens of warships have protected the central carrier with their anti aircraft anti missile batteries. The Carrier is pretty much like a dinosaur which can take a lot of beating. Just one single missile , even if it had a straight shot at it, would not be able to sink it.
Abhishek Kb, studied at Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science and Engineering
Aircraft carriers are not a easy target,they wil be having heavy escorts(cruisers,destroyers etc) and they themself will be equipped with bunch of defensive tools,
Coming to submarines they are the difficult target to destroy before submarine gets spotted it could destroy that ship .They can penetrate into enemy waters without their notice & can carry an ambush over enemy teritory.
In the war of 1971 'INS VIKRANTH' played a vital role and helped to maintain supremacy in east cost of India & caused a huge damage to eastern pak naval fleet
And now a days defence systems are highly advanced like we have anti torpedo units ,air to air missiles etc , So Aircraft Carriers & Submarines are not waste of money they are the BEAST's of the sea.
And maintaining the aircraft carrier is not an easy job for the country it needs a stable economy ,thats the main reason for Pak not to have an aircraft carrier(pak admiral himself agreed that they cannot afford aircraft carrier)Lol
Chaitanya Ramesh, studied at The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India
Mainly because such anti-ship missiles are unproven.
Such missiles have never been used in a full scale combat situation. Without actual use in combat, it is impossible to tell whether such missiles would change the face of naval warfare or just be ineffective gimmicks.
Soviet naval doctrine was indeed against carriers since they felt these were missile-magnets. But there were several other factors too.
The Soviet Navy, unlike its US and UK counterparts, did not play a major role in WW2. After that, during the Cold War, the Navy had the least priority among the 5 Armed Forces of the USSR, resulting in it getting minimum finance. Now aircraft carriers and aircraft themselves are extremely expensive. Thus, the Soviet Navy was forced to develop alternate tactics.
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Also, look at military naval history.
Prior to WW2, the dominant thought among naval circles was that submarines had been made obsolete by ASIDIC - an early version of sonar (which sends sound waves into water, enabling ships to locate submarines). Actual combat in WW2 proved that despite the deployment of ASIDIC, submarines were still extremely useful and were definitely not obsolete.
In contrast, many dismissed aircraft carriers as showpieces with only a marginal role in naval warfare (the dominant ships then were battleships). During WW2 however, it was aircraft carriers which became the dominant factor for Navies and the battleship was relegated to secondary roles.
Thus, it is impossible to say whether a technology is effective or not without use in warfare. And as I said, these anti-ship missiles have never been used in combat before.
Even if initially successful, there is no reason why counter-measures cannot be developed. In fact, one such counter-measure actually exists.
These are Close-In Weapons System (CIWS). This is basically a computer-controlled machine gun, firing a huge number of rounds per minute, which tries to shoot anti-ship missiles before they damage the ship.
Amit Gujar, like the cat, curiosity will kill me too
By your reasoning the following should also be excluded:
Tanks: easy targets for multiple medium barrel guns, aircrafts, enemy tanks, etc
And cost of making one is a few 100 times than of the device used to destroy one.
Aircrafts: easy targets for SAMs and enemy aircrafts.
Helicopters: Can be brought down by even a grenade launcher. Plus many other guns.
Soldiers: can be decapitated by a single bullet. Cost of bullet far far less than expense incurred on soldiers.
I am sure if you can think of counter reasons why above equipment is necessary, them air craft carriers and submarines are necessary.
Veerappan Laxman, Engineer, Gamer, Dreamer, likes History, Science, Technology and Peace. Dislikes Politics, Terrorism, Viole...
Short Answer: Power Projection especially since we sit right next to the World's shipping jugular.
Long Answer : Compared to China which is only open to the Pacific and is bound by regional neighbours like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, South East Asian Nations and foreign powers like US - we have a far larger access to the most important naval region in the World - even more so in coming century - nearly half the World's shipping passes through the Indian Ocean - so the ability to project our power - which is symbolized by the AC - is absolutely vital to our strategic interests.
So basically, it's just our requirements based on our situation in the geo-political scene is very different from China's.
Aircraft carriers and sub marines aren't that vulnerable like you think.They are loaded with highly sophisticated tactical systems to misguide the missiles coming to them and also detect the source of their launches in order to eliminate the roots in no time.
There must be an ideology and clever engineering behind building such costly and gigantic ships.
They wouldn't have produced such type of ships unless they were clear with all saftey precautions.
Nikhil, lives in India
By your logic. Why do we buy cars when we know that they can be destroyed in a single accident ?
Everything can be destroyed . An aircraft can crash , which doesn't mean you say , what's the point in buying a plane when you know it can crash someday.
Some things are necessary to project power and safeguard our territory. Carriers perform humanitarian missions also. You can't send a missile boat to a hurricane hit area to rescue people. Carriers are useful in war and peace time. Missiles are useful only in war. And carriers are well defended.
Hence we are building aircraft carriers . And we are giving them the best possible protection.
Mitu Kumar, Proud to be INDIAN, working for developed India
is USA ,France , britian fool to have heavily invested in the construction of aircraft carrier from the very beginning. US navy has largest number of aircraft carrier and that too nuclear powered which are more expensive than the conventional ones.
Aircraft carriers are the means to project power in the region and in the world . they carry carrier based fighters which can strike the part of area near the vicinity of carrier.
you must cite the example of INS Vikrant which took part in indo-pak war 1971 and sent its fighters in the war in the Bangladesh .it made a huge impact.
Amit Kumar, Follower of national developments
With growing stature of India, it ought to strengthen its defences, securing major lines of communication(which are sea lanes) and enhance its presence in areas around itself and beyond. India’s geosrategic position has been the reason for naming the ocean as Indian Ocean. And hence comes the need of strong navy. And submarine and aircraft carrier forms a major part of fill above requirements.
Now to the question, if they are easily targetable by anti-ship missiles.
Aircraft carriers are like moving islands for the country. Just 5 countries have aircraft carrier which are very heavy investment and employ most sophisticated technology. Defence development tried to keep it nearly undetectable on radar with its minimum signature and stealth deployment. Simultaneously, it has its own defence systems. India has been developing anti missile technology indigenously as well as with Israel. Destroyer ships too assist the carrier in protecting the seas as well as themselves.
Coming to submarines.
They provide nuclear deterrence and possibility of second line of attack. They are not easily detectable being under water and use of tech. Nuclear launch capable submarines is the reply to attack threats of nuclear weapons. Just 4 other countries have such capability.
Never forget that aircraft carriers show how much power you can project away from your own land.
You may think that aircraft carriers are very vulnerable to attacks. Sure they are, but they are never alone. Several warships accompany it for its protection.
And since aircraft carriers are so huge, they can be used for transporting very easily. Fighter jets of Navy can easily project dominance over the ocean.
That is why they are so important. Infact, very large types of aircraft carriers are called supercarriers and they are even more formidable since they have a larger capacity to carry aircrafts and forces. INS Vishal which is being developed by Indian Navy, will be a supercarrier.
We need 3 aircraft carriers one each in Arabian sea and bay of Bengal while one can be under refit as it is constantly required.
in addition land based sukhois and LCAs and rafales when they come will serve as a backup
we also need to scale up the order of MIG 29K from 45 to at least 90
So that while 60 aircrafts will alwez b at sea 30 will b as back up landbased
also explore if no of sukhoi can be increased from 270 to 300
No of LCA should be increased to 180 from present requirement of 120
In short we need at least 100 aircrafts each on the western and the eastern sea fronts as a back up for carrier battlegroups
India has a peninsula to target penninsular india through carrier based aircrafts any CBG should come at least up to 1000 kms near the land mass. In that scenario they will b sitting ducks for these land based aircrafts as range of all above aircrafts is at least more 2000kms.
Plus land based anti ship ballistic missiles. Develop agni missiles as land based anti ship ballistic missile variants as well by modifying their guidance system with a range of at least 3500 kms
I.e. just upto agni 3 should be modified to anti ship ballistic missile variant and station them in each coastal state on east and west and also in andaman and lakshwaseep islands
This will make Indian ocean and indian navy impregnable
It's merely a matter of strategy. Some countries choose to invest in the gun and some in the bullet. India has chosen to invest in the gun. But it is true that these days aircraft carriers and frigates are sitting ducks in the ocean. With hypersonic antishipping technologies getting inducted, these ships will find themself blown up without even detecting incoming missiles.
Do you think destroying an Aircraft carrier or Submarine is as easy as shooting someone across the LOC, an Aircraft carrier has so many Fixed wings and helicopters, missiles, torpedoes, guns, experienced personnel.