The Indian Navy on Thursday took the delivery of the first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) `Vikrant’ from Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), Kochi. With this delivery, India joins a niche group of countries which have the capability to build aircraft carrier with almost 76 percent of indigenous content on board. The IAC has been designed by the Directorate of Naval Design (DND) of the Indian navy and built by CSL, which is a Public Sector Shipyard and functions under the Ministry of Shipping. Next month IAC will be commissioned into the Indian Navy and then it will be — Indian Naval Ship (INS) Vikrant , at a ceremony to celebrate 75th anniversary of India’s independence. With IAC commissioning the navy will be in a position to bolster its position in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and its quest for the Blue Water Navy.
All about `Vikrant’
The aircraft carrier is christened after her illustrious predecessor — country’s first aircraft carrier which had played a very big role in the 1971 war.
Built at an overall cost of around Rs 20,000 crore the IAC which has a maximum speed of 28 knots will be powered by four Gas Turbines giving output of 88 MW power. Financial Express Online earlier this month had reported that the 262 meter long carrier has a full displacement of close to 45,000 tonnes. This IAC is larger and more advanced than her predecessor.
According to the Indian Navy “The reincarnation of Vikrant is a true testimony to the country’s zeal and fervour in pursuing capability build up towards enhanced maritime security.”
The IAC project progressed in three phases of the contract between the Ministry of Defence and CSL – concluded in 2007, second phase in December 2014 and October 2019, said the Indian Navy in an official statement.
As reported earlier, the ship’s keel was laid in Feb 2009, and it was launched in 2013 and followed by launching in Aug 2013. And it has been built with a high degree of automation for machinery operation, ship navigation and survivability. Based on its design the new IAC will have more space to accommodate different rotary and fixed wing aircraft.
On board will be 30 aircraft including the newcomer MH-60R multi-role helicopters from Lockheed Martin, Russian MIG-29K fighter jets, Kamov-31 helicopters. And in addition there will be indigenously built Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) from state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Light Combat Aircraft (Naval Version).
The new IAC also has a unique aircraft-operation mode known as STOBAR (Short Take- Off but Arrested Landing), which means it is equipped with a ski- jump for launching aircraft, and also has on board a set of ‘arrester wires’ for their recovery onboard.
Recently top officials of the Indian Navy confirmed they will soon assess the performance report of the F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet from the US based Boeing Company and Rafale Marine (M) from Dassault Aviation of France. Both these aircraft had landed in Goa from demonstrating their deck based capabilities. The two companies are competing to get the Indian Navy’s order for 26 fighter jets to join the naval aviation fleet on board the IAC.
Major companies including BHEL, BEL, Keltron, GRSE, Kirloskar, Larsen & Toubro (L&T), Wartsila India and others and more than 100 MSMEs are behind the large number of indigenous equipment and machinery, which is fitted on board the IAC `Vikrant’.
Financial Express Online had reported earlier that the aircraft carrier has been built using indigenous warship grade steel which has been developed and produced through a partnership between the Navy, Sail Authority of India and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). In fact, all the ships being built in the country are using the indigenous warship grade steel.
In the designing of the ship the in-house design bureau of the Indian Navy used several design iterations, including use of 3D Virtual Reality models and advanced engineering software. And while building the ship CSL managed to upgrade their infrastructure and also enhanced their productivity skills.
The IAC was handed today after extensive user acceptance trials which were conducted between August 2021 and July 2022, in accordance with trial protocols and system parameters. The performance of the ship, including main propulsion, hull, aviation facilities, weapons & sensors, PGD, auxiliary equipment, sea keeping & manoeuvring capabilities were monitored and were proved satisfactory.