Indian Navy gets delivery of the first indigenously built aircraft carrier – IAC-1 from the builder of the warship, Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL) on Thursday and will commission it as INS Vikrant ahead of its planned induction into service next month, the Indian Navy informed.
“Delivery of Vikrant was marked by the signing of acceptance documents on behalf of Indian Navy by the Commanding Officer Designate of Vikrant, representatives of Naval Headquarters and Warship Overseeing Team (Kochi) and by the Chairman and Managing Director on behalf of Cochin Shipyard Ltd., in the presence of Senior officers of Indian Navy and Cochin Shipyard,” Indian Navy said.
India’s largest warship, with a deep displacement of close to 45,000 tons, has been the country’s most ambitious navy vessel project, and it will bolster India’s goal for a blue sea in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) according to the press statement. “Coinciding with the celebrations to commemorate the 75th anniversary of India’s independence ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’, the reincarnation of Vikrant is a true testimony to the country’s zeal and fervour in pursuing capability build up towards enhanced maritime security,” it said.
One of the largest and most modern ships in the world, the 262-meter-long carrier has an output of 88 megawatts and can travel at a maximum speed of 28 knots. The development marks the culmination of a long journey – the carrier’s construction began in 2009. Finished under three phases of the contract between the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and CSL, the project cost over Rs 20,000 crores and was completed in May 2007, December 2014, and October 2019, the release added.
“With the delivery of Vikrant, India has joined a select group of nations having the niche capability to design and build an aircraft carrier,” the Navy statement stated and added, “with an overall indigenous content of 76 per cent, the IAC is a perfect example of the nation’s quest for ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and provides thrust to the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative”. Only the US, the UK, Russia, France, and China can build aircraft carriers.
Military aircraft like the MIG-29K fighter jet, Kamov-31 and MH-60R helicopters, as well as the indigenously developed Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) and Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), can all fit in the IAC’s large hangar area (LCA). 30 planes can fly at a time from the Short Take-Off but Arrested Landing system, which includes ski-jumping and a series of “arrester wires” for aircraft recovery after landing.
“The ship has a large number of indigenous equipment and machinery, involving major industrial houses in the country viz. BEL, BHEL, GRSE, Keltron, Kirloskar, Larsen & Toubro, Wartsila India etc. as well as over 100 MSMEs. The indigenisation efforts have also led to the development of ancillary industries, besides generation of employment opportunities and bolstering plough back effect on the economy, both locally as well as pan-India,” the release stated.
India currently operates a solitary aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya, bought second-hand from Russia, but the navy has been arguing its case for three such floating airfields given its vast area of interest. INS Vikrant will be the fourth aircraft carrier to be operated by the Indian Navy, first Vikrant (British origin) from 1961 to 1997, INS Viraat (British origin) from 1987 to 2016 and INS Vikramaditya inducted in 2013 will serve for at least 30 years.