New Delhi: India's key navy programmes, the indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) and the nuclear-powered submarine INS Arihant, are running late, with the carrier's induction pushed to 2017 and the submarine to be inducted only sometime next year.
The aircraft carrier was originally scheduled for induction in 2015 and the nuclear submarine earlier set for operationalisation this year.
Indian Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma, who is to retire this month end, said at his farewell press conference here that the aircraft carrier may not be inducted anytime before 2017 or so and the reason for the delay was the "set back" the project had over delays in gear box deliveries and a road accident involving a truck carrying the generators for the vessel.
This delay has hit India's plans to deploy at least two aircraft carriers on both eastern and western seaboard by 2015.
India is scheduled to induct INS Vikramaditya, the erstwhile Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier of the Russian Navy, in December this year following its refurbishing in Russian Sevmash shipyard. It is already operating the over-half-a-century old INS Viraat, which would be pushed to service for another five years now.
On Arihant, Verma said: "We are pretty close to putting it to the sea."
Reminding that a nuclear-powered submarine programme is very complex, he said there were a lot of unknowns that could happen, which was the case with naval programme of several major countries too.
"Next few months, we should prepare the submarine for putting it to sea," he added.