Atanu Dey On India's Development

The Heap of Prettied-up Scrap known as the Aircraft Carrier Admiral Gorshkov

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Aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov

Aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov

It just keeps getting better. The refitted Admiral Gorskhov — which is being reincarnated as INS Vikramaditya — will be delivered sometime soon but will not have anti-missile defense for a few more years. What does that make it? A heap of prettied-up scrap best used as a sitting duck for random target practice.

Is this a joke? Actually, it was launched on April 1st, 1982. Perhaps it is an April fool’s joke, although a very costly one for a desperately poor third world country (DPTWC). Here’s what I wrote over four years ago in April 2009 in a post titled “The War and the Circus.”

See the excerpt below the fold.

{Begin excerpt from the April 2009 post:}

Moving on, let’s consider another example of DPTWCs buying useless junk from AICs.

Item: In January 2004, India signed a deal to buy the antique and obsolete 1980s-design Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov. Originally the deal was for $1.5 billion but the Russians later said that the retrofitting will take an additional $2 billion. The heap of prettied-up scrap will be delivered to India sometime in 2012, and it will be accessorized with 16 matching MiG-29Ks. The deal was made by the Congress-led UPA government. Pranab Mukherjee and lots of other people got lots of foreign trips out of the deal. The Indian navy big bosses must be looking forward to having another floating deck to strut about on.

Meanwhile, however, aircraft carriers have become sitting ducks. Gary Brecher writes, “THIS IS HOW THE CARRIERS WILL DIE

I’ve been saying for a long time that aircraft carriers are just history’s most expensive floating targets, and that they were doomed.

But now I can tell you exactly how they’re going to die. I’ve just read one of the most shocking stories in years. It comes from the US Naval Institute, not exactly an alarmist or anti-Navy source. And what it says is that the US carrier group is scrap metal.

The Chinese military has developed a ballistic missile, Dong Feng 21, specifically designed to kill US aircraft carriers: “Because the missile employs a complex guidance system, low radar signature and a maneuverability that makes its flight path unpredictable, the odds that it can evade tracking systems to reach its target are increased. It is estimated that the missile can travel at mach 10 and reach its maximum range of 2000km in less than 12 minutes.” That’s the US Naval Institute talking, remember. They’re understating the case when they say that, with speed, satellite guidance and maneuverability like that, “the odds that it can evade tracking systems to reach its target are increased.” [1]

I believe that a large part of the answer to the persistent and pervasive poverty of the DPTWCs lies in the insanity of modern war. And the answer is that until the people realize what is going on, they are unlikely to move a finger to change the system. But then that requires an understanding of what is going on, an understanding that in our case we don’t have given the dismal state of our educational system. Indeed, one could cynically argue that the educational system is deliberately not allowed to function because otherwise the people may become smart and stop feeding the machine. Cynical but perhaps closer to the truth than what those in power want you to believe.

Meanwhile, the poor will continue to be distracted from the real issues by the routinely staged three-ring circus called “democratic elections.” Let the circus begin. Because the least one can give them in exchange for their blood, sweat and tears is some entertainment.

NOTES:

[1]. You should go read that Brecher article for more but I cannot resist quoting a bit more from it because I like the way he puts it:

The lesson here is the same one all of you suckers should have learned from watching the financial news this year: the people at the top are just as dumb as you are, just meaner and greedier. And that goes for the ones running the US surface fleet as much as it does for the GM or Chrysler honchos. Hell, they even look the same. Take that Wagoner ass who just got the boot from GM and put him in a tailored uniform and he could walk on as an admiral in any officer’s club from Guam to Diego Garcia. You have to stop thinking somebody up there is looking out for you.

Remember that one sentence, get it branded onto your arm: “Ships currently have no defense against a ballistic missile attack.” What does that tell you about the distinguished gentlemen with all the ribbons on their chest who’ve been standing up on carrier bridges looking like they know what they’re doing for the past 50 years? They’re either stupid or so sleazy they’re willing to make a career commanding ships they know, goddamn well know, are floating coffins for thousands of ranks and dozens of the most expensive goldplated airplanes in the history of the world. You call that patriotic? I’d hang them all.

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