Indian Navy set for ‘a new era in carrier aviation’ with Royal Navy

Admiral Sunil Lanba being greeted by Admiral Sir Philip Jones at NCHQ, HMS Excellent

by LAUREN CODLING

THE chief of the Indian Navy (IN) has spoken of the “valuable” partnership between themselves and the Royal Navy (RN), as a carrier aviation plan was announced between the two forces.

Admiral Sunil Lanba toured the HMNB Portsmouth naval base last Thursday (14) as part of a week-long trip to the UK.

At a press conference onboard HMS Elizabeth, Admiral Lanba spoke of the shared views of the Indian and UK militaries.

“[These shared visions] make the IN and the RN natural partners,” Lanba said, noting the 2017 formation of the Carrier Capability Partnership (CCP), which aims to share best practice with the UK’s carrier programme.

“The CCP is valuable to our navies,” he said. “Our navy aspires to be a three-carrier navy and we look forward to developing capabilities in tandem and improving our interoperability.”

Admiral Sunil Lanba paid a visit to HMNB Portsmouth and HMS Queen Elizabeth as part of a week-long trip to the UK

Lanba, who assumed office in 2016, was given an insight into how the Royal Navy worked with industrial partners in advancing the aircraft carrier.

The First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Philip Jones, said it was a chance to “look forward to a new era of carrier aviation”.

“I am sure we will be able to develop further synergies in our respective future carrier strike capabilities,” he said.

Describing the building and operation of aircraft carriers as “not [something] for the faint-hearted,” Jones acknowledged the demanding nature of the development.

Many nations found they were not able to deliver maritime capability, he said, which was why the CCP between two nations that could and does deliver it was so valuable for both navies.

The Royal Navy and the Indian Navy have formed the Carrier Capability Partnership (CPP) which aims to share best practice from the UK’s carrier programme

Referring to the success of the Konkan series, an annual UK-Indian naval exercise which usually takes place off the coast of Goa in India, Jones expressed confidence at the continued partnership.

“We will be increasingly well placed to work together across the full spectrum of naval activity – from disaster relief to high-end warfighting,” he said.

Jones revealed they had also discussed opportunities where the two nations believed they could learn from each other, including how to roll out safety culture and structures across the navies.

“[It is] to make sure we are operating at the edge of operational capability but as safely as we possibly can,” he said.

Thanking the RN for its hospitality, Lanba added that the increased focus that the British force had on the Indian Ocean region was a welcome step.

“We hope to partner with the RN in leveraging our collective strengths to ensure security of the region,” he added.