The Indian Navy will launch its first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) in 2010 and will commission the vessel in 2014, according to Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma.

The vessel can carry 30 aircraft and will include long-range surface-to-air missile systems with multi-function radar and close-in weapon systems.

The IAC will operate a mix of Russian MiG-29K, Ka 31 and light combat aircraft, which are being developed by Hindustan Aeronautics.

The 260m-long and 60m-wide aircraft carrier can accommodate a crew complement of 1,600 and will have an operational range of 8,000 nautical miles and a maximum cruising speed of 28kt.

The Indian Navy is also analysing concept studies for a second indigenous aircraft carrier which will have a displacement capacity of over 50,000t and will be equipped with steam catapults to launch fourth-generation aircraft.

Admiral Verma said that price negotiations with Russia for the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya are in their fourth and final stages.

Currently, the Indian Navy’s sole aircraft carrier, the INS Viraat is set to complete 50 years of active service and will undergo another inspection by 2013.