The Indian Navy on Thursday took delivery of the country’s first indigenously built aircraft carrier ‘Vikrant’ from its manufacturer, Cochin Shipyard Ltd, ahead of its scheduled commissioning next month. The aircraft carrier, built at a cost of around Rs 20,000 crore, successfully completed the fourth and final phase of sea trials three weeks back.
With the delivery of ‘Vikrant’, India has joined a select group of nations having the niche capability to indigenously design and build an aircraft carrier. The Indian Navy described the delivery of the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) as “historic” as it coincides with the celebrations to commemorate the 75th anniversary of India’s independence.
The warship is set to operate MiG-29K fighter jets, Kamov-31 helicopters and MH-60R multi-role helicopters. It has over 2,300 compartments, designed for a crew of around 1700 people, including specialised cabins to accommodate women officers.
Vikrant has a top speed of around 28 knots and a cruising speed of 18 knots with an endurance of about 7,500 nautical miles. The IAC is 262 metres long, 62 metres wide and it has a height of 59 metres. Its construction began in 2009.
“Indian Navy has created maritime history today by taking delivery of the prestigious IAC Vikrant from her builder Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL),” the Navy said in a statement. It said the ship is powered by four gas turbines totalling 88 MW power and has a maximum speed of 28 Knots. The IAC project has been implemented under the three phases of contract between the ministry of defence and Cochin Shipyard Ltd, beginning May 2007. The ship’s keel was laid in February 2009.
“With an overall indigenous content of 76 per cent, the IAC is a perfect example of the nation’s quest for ‘Aatma Nirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India) and provides thrust to government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative,” the navy said. “The ship would be capable of operating air wing consisting of 30 aircraft comprising of 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),” it said. The Navy said the aircraft carrier would soon be commissioned into the force and it would bolster India’s position in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and its quest for a blue water Navy.
The aircraft carrier is likely to be commissioned on August 15. “Vikrant has been built with a high degree of automation for machinery operation, ship navigation and survivability, and has been designed to accommodate an assortment of fixed wing and rotary aircraft,” the Navy said.