'Vikrant': Indian Navy set to commission first indigenous aircraft carrier

With the commissioning of 'Vikrant' on September 2, India would join the select group of nations having the niche capability to indigenously design and build an Aircraft Carrier, which will be a real testimony to the Make in India thrust of the Government of India

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  2 Sep 2022 5:52 AM GMT
Vikrant: Indian Navy set to commission first indigenous aircraft carrier

Hyderabad: Come September 2, the Indian Navy will commission its first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) 'Vikrant'. Prime Minister would be the Chief Guest on this momentous occasion. Vikrant is the largest warship to have ever been built in India. It is also the first indigenously designed and built Aircraft Carrier for the Indian Navy.

Designed by the Warship Design Bureau (WDB), the Indian Navy's in-house organization, and built by M/s Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), a Public Sector Shipyard under the Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways, the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier is christened after her illustrious predecessor, India's first Aircraft Carrier which played a vital role in the 1971 war.

Vikrant meaning victorious and gallant, the foundation for prestigious IAC was firmly established in Apr 2005 by ceremonial Steel Cutting. To push the indigenization drive, the Warship grade steel required for the construction of IAC was successfully indigenized through the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) in collaboration with the Defence Research & Development Laboratory (DRDL) and the Indian Navy. The hull fabrication progressed thereafter and the ship's keel was laid in Feb 2009. The first phase of ship construction was completed with the successful launch of the ship in Aug 2013.

The 262 m long and 62 m wide Vikrant displaces approx 43000 T when fully loaded, having a maximum designed speed of 28 Knots with an endurance of 7500 NM. The ship has around 2200 compartments, designed for a crew of around 1600 that include specialized cabins to accommodate women officers and sailors. The carrier is designed with a very high degree of automation for machinery operations, ship navigation, and survivability. The carrier is equipped with the latest state-of-the-art equipment and systems. (The ship boasts of a fully-fledged state-of-the-art Medical Complex with the latest medical equipment facilities that include major modular OT, emergency modular OT, physiotherapy clinic, ICU, laboratories, CT scanner, X-Ray machines, Dental complex, Isolation ward, and telemedicine facilities, etc.)

The ship would be capable of operating an 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). Using a novel aircraft-operation mode known as Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR), the IAC is equipped with a ski-jump for launching aircraft, and a set of three 'arrester wires' for their recovery onboard.

Despite COVID-related imponderables and restrictions, adversely affecting the availability of OEMs & supply chain, the readiness of the ship's propulsion and Power generation equipment/ systems in harbor was tested as part of Basin Trials on Nov 20. 'Vikrant' has completed multiple phases of Sea Trials from Aug 21 to date, where the ship's performance, including the response of the ship's hull to various conditions of operations, maneuvering trials, main propulsion, Power Generation, and Distribution (PGD), ship's Navigation and Communication systems, endurance testing of propulsion machinery, electrical & electronic suites, deck machinery, lifesaving appliances, integrated trials of the majority of equipment/ systems and trials of other auxiliary equipment were ascertained and proved to the satisfaction of Indian Navy's trials team and ship's crew.

In line with the prevailing practices being followed by other advanced countries having experience in building Aircraft Carrier, the deck integration trials of fixed-wing aircraft and exploitation of Aviation Facility Complex will be carried out post commissioning of the ship when the operational command & control of the ship including flight safety is with the Navy.

`Vikrant' has a large number of indigenous equipment and machinery, involving major industrial houses in the country viz. BEL, BHEL, GRSE, Keltron, Kirloskar, L&T, Wartsila India etc. as well as over 100 MSMEs. The indigenization efforts have also led to the development of ancillary industries, besides the generation of employment opportunities for 2000 CSL personnel and about 13000 employees in ancillary industries thus bolstering the plow-back effect on Nation's economy. A major spin-off of building an Indigenous Aircraft Carrier is the development and production of indigenous warship grade steel for the ship through a partnership between the Navy, DRDO, and SAIL, which has enabled the country to become self-sufficient concerning warship steel. Indigenous content of the project is approx. 76%. The Indigenous construction of the Aircraft Carrier is a shining example of the Nation's quest for 'Aatma Nirbhar Bharat' and the 'Make in India' Initiative.

With the commissioning of 'Vikrant' on September 2, India would join the select group of nations having the niche capability to indigenously design and build an Aircraft Carrier, which will be a real testimony to the Make in India thrust of the Government of India.

Commissioning of 'Vikrant' would be a proud and landmark moment for the Nation showcasing our Aatma Nirbhar credentials during 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav', a true testament to the country's zeal and fervor in pursuing capability build up towards enhanced maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region and shall demonstrate Indian Navy's unwavering commitment to contribute towards peace and stability in the region. The induction and reincarnation of 'Vikrant' is thus not only another step towards strengthening our defense preparedness but also our humble tribute to the sacrifices made by our freedom fighters for the independence of the nation and our brave soldiers during the 1971 war.

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