- India has one operational aircraft carrier, the Viraat. It's hard to keep in service because it's so old, and will have to be withdrawn around 2010-2012.
- India was supposed to be getting a bigger replacement, the former Russian carrier Admiral Gorshkov, heavily modified from a cruiser-carrier into a full carrier. The Gorshkov refit was supposed to be $700-800 million, and be done in 2008. Russia is now quoting $1.4 billion, with delivery around 2012-2013.
- Recall the timeline on the Viraat's retirement.
- Notice that the same Russian shipyard just lost a $500 million contract for 12 civilian ships, with the Norwegians calling their work utterly unacceptable and noting extortion-like tactics to seek price increases. The word "sabotage" is also used by the Norwegian CEO. But Russia has India's future carrier near Archangel, monies have already been paid, and where else can they get a replacement by 2013, let alone 2010?
- India has sent out RFPs for a $10+ billion fighter competition. US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets and land-based F-16 E/F Desert Falcons are up against Europe's Eurofighter, France's land/naval Rafale, Sweden's excellent JAS-39 Gripen lightweight fighter, and Russia's thrust-vectoring MiG-29OVT/-35.
- The USA and India signed a 10-year strategic agreement during George W. Bush's presidency, and diplomacy to India has been something this administration has emphasized, in part thanks to the efforts of a great US ambassador/poet.
- The USA's last non-nuclear carrier, the USS Kitty Hawk [CV 63], is scheduled to return from its base in Japan this year for decommissioning. It's 81,000 tons, smaller than a 96,000 ton Nimitz Class CVN, but larger than any other nation's carriers.
Ladies and gentlemen, are you pondering what George W. Bush is pondering....?