New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 2 September will commission Vikrant — India’s first indigenously-built aircraft carrier – introducing the country into a select group of nations that can manufacture carriers with a displacement above 40,000 tonnes.
The Vikrant will set sail after commissioning, the Navy said Thursday.
The Navy also stressed that India has the capacity and ecosystem to build another indigenous aircraft carrier. This would give the country three aircraft carriers in addition to the INS Vikramaditya and the to-be-commissioned Vikrant. However, the central government’s clearance is pending for the third.
While five sets of trials have been completed for Vikrant, another trial will take place from November onwards this year. The Vikrant is expected to complete all trials by the middle of next year, the Navy said.
The keel-laying of the Vikrant was done in 2009, the ship was first launched in August 2013, the sea trials began in August 2021, and the ship was delivered in July 2022.
Speaking at a press conference Thursday, Vice Chief of Naval Staff Satish Namdeo Ghormade highlighted Vikrant’s commissioning as an important step in making India a Blue Water Navy. He also added the aircraft carrier would be essential for maintaining safety and security in the Indo-Pacific.
The Vice Chief lauded the construction of the Vikrant as a “whole of nation effort”. The Vice Chief said 18 states and Union Territories supplied components, underlining that Vikrant was made with 76 percent indigenisation. Some cities that sent parts were Ambala, Daman, Kolkata, Jalandhar, Kota, Pune, and New Delhi.
The Vikrant was designed by the Navy’s Warship Design Bureau and built by the Cochin Shipyard.
Equipped with 32 MRSAMs & displacement of 42,800 tonnes
The Vikrant is equipped with 32 Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missiles (MRSAM). It will also be loaded with AK 630 rotary canons, which are close-in weapons systems.
It will also have the Kavach anti-missile naval decoy system, which is used to distract laser-guided missiles from their targets.
Further, the Vikrant has the capacity to hold a mix of 30 aircraft and helicopters. It has a displacement of 42,800 tonnes.
The Vikrant can accommodate a crew of up to 1,600 people. It has a cruising speed of 18 knots and a maximum speed of 28 knots. It has a maximum range of 7,500 nautical miles.
76 percent of indigenisation
The Vikrant has involved over 100 MSMEs and indigenous original equipment manufacturers. Further, over 500 sub-contractors and ancillary industries in India have been involved in its manufacture, the Navy said.
The steel for the ship has been jointly developed by the Steel Authority of India Limited and the Deference Research and Development Organisation.
The carrier’s combat management system, electronic warfare suite, data network, power distribution system, and integrated platform management system have all been built indigenously.
The combat management system has been built by Tata Advanced Systems, the electronic warfare suite and data network by Bharat Electronics, the power network by L&T, and the integrated platform management system by Bharat Heavy Electricals.
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