Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi commissioned the nation’s first indigenous aircraft carrier, Indian Naval Ship (INS) Vikrant, at Cochin Shipyard in Kochi, in the southern Indian state of Kerala today. This is a significant milestone in boosting India’s self-reliance in defense and security.
In his remarks Modi praised the INS Vikrant as “a symbol of indigenous potential, indigenous resources and indigenous skills.”
The INS Vikrant, India’s second operational aircraft carrier and the largest warship ever built in India, is the result of 17 years of construction and tests.
Designed by Indian Navy’s in-house Directorate of Naval Design (DND), the carrier is named after its famous predecessor, India’s first Aircraft Carrier which played a crucial role in the 1971 war.
The 262 meter carrier has a full displacement of close to 45,000 tons, is powered by four gas turbines totaling 88 MW power and has a maximum speed of 28 Knots. With an overall indigenous content of 76%, the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier provides a boost to the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.
Built with a high degree of automation for machinery operation, ship navigation and survivability, INS Vikrant is designed to accommodate an assortment of fixed wing and rotary aircraft. The ship is capable of accommodating 30 aircraft comprising MIG-29K fighter jets, Kamov-31, MH-60R multi-role helicopters, in addition to indigenously manufactured Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) and Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) (Navy). Using a novel aircraft-operation mode known as STOBAR (Short Take- Off but Arrested Landing), the IAC is equipped with a ski- jump for launching aircraft, and a set of ‘arrester wires’ for their recovery onboard.
The indigenization efforts have also led to development of ancillary industries, generation of employment opportunities and bolstering plow back effect on economy, both locally as well as pan-India. A major spin-off of this is the development and production of indigenous warship grade steel for the ship through a partnership between Navy, DRDO and Steel Authority of India (SAIL), which has enabled the country to become self-sufficient with respect to warship steel. Today all the warships being built in the country are being manufactured using indigenous steel.
With its commissioning, India joins a select group of five nations (US, UK, France, China and Russia) with the capability to indigenously design and build an Aircraft Carrier.