INS-Vikrant, First Indigenous Aircraft Carrier

The Indian Navy got its first indigenous aircraft carrier, INS-Vikrant

INS-Vikrant, First Indigenous Aircraft Carrier
INS Vikrant, 1st India-Made Aircraft Carrier; PM Modi commissioned INS Vikrant today. Image Credit: Indian Navy

INS-Vikrant: PM Modi commissions India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier. Today will be marked by two defining moments: the first is the commissioning of India’s first indigenously built aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant and the second the hoisting of an ‘indigenous’ naval ensign on board as part of ridding the country of its colonial heritage. “Both of these reflect an India of the21st century,” opines an expert.

Sharing his views with Financial Express Online, Commodore Anil Jai Singh, Vice President, Indian Maritime Foundation explains: “While one is showcasing India’s technological prowess and ability to project power beyond its shores, the other is a symbolic manifestation of India’s distinct identity and rich heritage. The commissioning of Vikrant will greatly boost India’s maritime capability and reinforce the country’s standing as the pre-eminent power in the Indian Ocean. India is heavily dependent on the sea for its economic well being, future sustainable development and its energy security. Its national interests span the globe from South America to Russia.”

“It is a preferred security provider in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). To ensure the security of its own interests it must always maintain a favourable maritime situation in the region and provide the wherewithal for regional capacity building in the Indian Ocean. It is quite evident that the emerging Great power rivalry between the US and China will be played out in the Indian Ocean since China needs the sea room and access to the Atlantic, both of which the Indian Ocean provides,” says the former submariner of the Indian Navy.

Meanwhile, China is arming Pakistan with formidable naval capability to act as its proxy in containing India in the Indian Ocean.

“India therefore needs the maritime muscle to shape the future outcomes in the region and not allow itself to get shaped by them. The induction of INS Vikrant will go a long way in providing this capability.”

“A word of caution though – just one Vikrant will not be enough. If Indian Naval power is to be optimally deployed, many existing capability gaps need to get the traction they deserve and which are presently not getting their due attention,” he concludes.

Why are aircraft carriers important?

Because they are an important part of any blue water navy and are considered to be the country’s biggest marine assets. These aircraft carriers enable the navy to travel far away from its country base and be deployed in operations/exercises in other areas or countries.

Also Read: Historical Day! Indian Navy gets indigenous aircraft carrier, joins niche group of countries to build its own carrier

When will INS Vikrant become operational?

Not until the end of 2023 or it could be later than that, explained a senior officer in New Delhi. From the day of its commissioning, till it becomes fully operational (it roughly takes around a year or more) until then it will just be a floating air-deck. This means it cannot be deployed for any operation at sea.

Aircraft carriers of India in the past

India has been using warships since 1961. And none of them, including the old INS Vikrant, were built in India. In fact, both INS Vikrant and INS Viraat were inducted in the Indian Navy back in 1961 and 1987 respectively and they were constructed by the British. They were named — `HMS Hercules’ and `HMS Hermes’ respectively, before they were commissioned in the Indian Navy.

Aircraft carriers like `INS Vikramaditya’ which was commissioned in the Indian Navy in 2013 was made in erstwhile Soviet Russia and was known as `Admiral Gorshkov’.

The aircraft carrier is essential part of any navy to be considered as `blue water navy’ – which in easy terms means that the navy with an aircraft carrier has the capacity to project that country’s power across the high seas. A navy’s aircraft carrier is the capital ship of a battle group/carrier strike and is escorted by a group of destroyers, frigates, missile cruisers, submarines and supply ships and of course on board are helicopters and fighter jets, UAV as well.

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First published on: 02-09-2022 at 10:47 IST