KOCHI : Scripting history, the Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL) handed over India’s first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) to the Indian Navy on Thursday. The aircraft carrier, which was designed by the Navy’s in-house Directorate of Naval Design and built by the CSL, will be christened after INS Vikrant, India’s first aircraft carrier, which played a crucial role in 1971 war against Pakistan. 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.
Sources said the vessel will be commissioned and formally inducted into the Indian Navy by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi after Independence day. The Navy is planning to make the induction ceremony a mega event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of India’s independence.
The 262 m long aircraft carrier has a full displacement of close to 45,000 tonnes which is much larger and more advanced than her predecessor. The ship is powered by four gas turbines totalling 88 MW power and has a maximum speed of 28 Knots. Built at an overall cost of Rs. 20,000 crores, the IAC has been built in three phases of a contract between the Ministry of Defence and the CSL, concluded in May 2007, December 2014 and October 2019 respectively.
The ship’s keel was laid in February 2009. With an overall indigenous content of 76%, IAC is a perfect example of the nation’s quest for “Aatma Nirbhar Bharat” and provides a thrust to the Union government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, the Navy said in a release.
The aircraft carrier 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 ship would be capable of operating an air wing consisting of a fleet of 30 aircraft including MIG-29K fighter jets, Kamov-31, MH-60R multi-role helicopters, and indigenously manufactured Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) and the naval version of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA). 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 ship has a large number of indigenous equipment and machinery, which have been developed by major industrial houses in the country like BEL, BHEL, GRSE, Keltron, Kirloskar, Larsen and Toubro, Wartsila India etc. as well as over 100 MSMEs.
The indigenisation efforts has also led to development of ancillary industries, besides generation of employment opportunities and bolstering plough 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 Ltd (SAIL), which has enabled the country to become self-reliant in warship steel production. Presently all the warships being built in the country are being manufactured using indigenous steel.
Several design iterations, including 3D Virtual Reality models and advanced engineering softwares were used by the Directorate of Naval Design to design the carrier. The CSL had also upgraded their shipbuilding infrastructure for the purpose.
The delivery of Vikrant was marked by the signing of acceptance documents on behalf of the Indian Navy by the Commanding Officer Designate of Vikrant, representatives of Naval Headquarters and the Warship Overseeing Team (Kochi). The Chairman and Managing Director of the Cochin Shipyard Ltd. Represented the builder
Vikrant has been delivered to the Indian Navy by CSL following extensive user acceptance trials conducted between August 2021 and July 2022, during which ship’s performance, including hull, main propulsion, auxiliary equipment, aviation facilities, weapon and sensors were tested and proved.