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India-US joint working group on aircraft carrier tech meets for first time

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NEW DELHI (PTI): In a major boost to bilateral defence ties, the India-US joint working group on aircraft carrier technology met for the first time as India firms up the design and technology for an upcoming 65,000 tonne indigenous carrier.

The American Navy hosted the delegation of senior Indian naval officers for the inaugural meeting in the eastern coast from August 12-14.

During the three-day visit, the Indian delegation, led by Vice Admiral SPS Cheema, Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command, visited the US Navy's state-of-the-art aircraft carrier, PCU Gerald Ford, currently under construction at Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia.

Ford is the first aircraft carrier in the world that will have an EMALS technology that is of interest to India.

They received briefs on US Navy management of aircraft carrier programmes, met with senior Pentagon officials, and toured the US Navy's research and development facilities for aircraft carrier launch and recovery systems as a first step to exploring opportunities for cooperation, a statement by the American Embassy here said.

During the working group the US and Indian navies held candid and open discussions on various aspects of aircraft carrier development, including design, integration, test, evaluation, management and oversight of carrier construction, it said.

The Joint Working Group on Aircraft Carrier Technology Cooperation, co-chaired by US Navy's Programme Executive Officer for Aircraft Carriers, Rear Admiral Tom Moore, and India's Controller for Warship Production and Acquisition, Vice Admiral G S Pabby, is part of the larger India-US Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).

The intent of DTTI is to reduce procedural obstacles in order to facilitate broader cooperation in defence production as a component of the strategic partnership.

The Defence Ministry here has identified aircraft carrier technology as one of the topics of interest to pursue under DTTI.

Building on a highly successful first meeting, the working group is looking forward to setting a meeting agenda for the next working group to be held in India early next year, the statement said.

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