In a sign of the deepening U.S.-India defense relationship, the United States Navy hosted a delegation of senior Indian naval officers for the inaugural Joint Working Group on Aircraft Carrier Cooperation on the U.S. eastern coast from 12-14 August.
During a three-day visit, the Indian delegation, led by Vice Admiral S.P.S. Cheema, Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command, visited the U.S. Navy’s state-of-the-art aircraft carrier, PCU Gerald Ford, currently under construction at Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia, received briefs on U.S. Navy management of aircraft carrier programs, met with senior Pentagon officials, and toured the U.S. Navy’s research and development facilities for aircraft carrier launch and recovery systems as a first step to exploring opportunities for cooperation.
During the working group the U.S. 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.
The Joint Working Group on Aircraft Carrier Technology Cooperation, co-chaired by United States Navy’s Program Executive Officer for Aircraft Carriers, RADM Tom Moore, and India’s Controller for Warship Production and Acquisition, VADM G.S. Pabby, is part of the larger India-U.S. Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI). The intent of DTTI is to reduce procedural obstacles in both the U.S. Government and Government of India defense establishments in order to facilitate broader cooperation in defense production as a component of the strategic partnership. The Indian Ministry of Defence 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.