In a landmark achievement, India’s first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) ‘Vikrant’ began sea trials off the coast of Kochi. Designed by the Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design (DND) and built at Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), Vikrant is a leading example of the nation’s quest for “Atmanirbhar Bharat” with more than 76% indigenous content.
The maiden attempt of the Indian Navy and CSL puts India in the exclusive list of a handful of countries that have the capability to indigenously design and build an Aircraft Carrier.
The Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) will carry the name Indian Naval Ship (INS) Vikrant, the same as the Indian Navy’s first aircraft carrier that was decommissioned in 1997 after 35 years of glorious service to the nation.
During the sea trials, Vikrant’s propulsion plants will be put to rigorous testing along with testing of various navigation, communication and hull equipment. The commencement of sea trials of the IAC after trials of various equipment at the harbor, especially during these difficult times of the COVID-19 pandemic is a landmark achievement for the country.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter and wrote,” The Indigenous Aircraft Carrier ‘Vikrant’, designed by Indian Navy’s Design Team and built by Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), undertook its maiden sea sortie today. A wonderful example of make in India. Congratulations to the Indian Navy and CSL on this historic milestone.”
“The “reincarnated Vikrant (IAC) sailed for her maiden sea trials today, in the 50th year of her illustrious predecessor’s key role in the victory in the 1971 war”, the Navy said in a statement celebrating a “proud and historic day for India,” the Indian Navy said in a statement.
Deciphering IAC Vikrant: India’s largest and most complex warship
The state-of-art IAC Vikrant is a mini floating city, with a flight deck area covering the size of two football fields. The ship is 262 m long, 62 m at the widest part, and has a height of 59 m including the superstructure. The ship comprises 14 decks in all along with five in the superstructure. Further, it has 2,300 compartments, designed to cater to a crew of around 1,700 people, including customized cabins to accommodate women officers.
For the first time in the country, the size of an Aircraft Carrier is completely modeled in 3D, and production drawings are extracted from the 3D model. Cochin Shipyard Limited carried out the detailed engineering of the ship using advanced technology which enabled the designer to get a complete 3D view of the compartments of the ship.
Notably, Vikrant has a top speed of around 28 knots and a cruising speed of 18 knots with an endurance of about 7,500 nautical miles. The ship can accommodate an assortment of fixed-wing and rotary aircraft.
India now in the select club of naval powers
With the delivery of Vikrant, India will join a select group of nations with naval superpowers to indigenously design and build an Aircraft Carrier, which will be a real testimony to the ‘Make in India’ thrust of the Indian Government.
IAC Vikrant is a shining example in India’s quest for ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and ‘Make in India Initiative’. With the growth in indigenous design, it will provide employment opportunities for 2,000 CSL personnel and about 12,000 employees in ancillary industries. Vikrant has more than 76% indigenous content towards procurement of equipment, besides work by CSL and their subcontractors is being directly invested back into the Indian economy. Around 550 Indian firms including about 100 MSMEs are also registered with CSL, who are providing various services for construction of IAC.
With the development of 44 ships & submarines being built indigenously, the Indian Navy’s ship-building programme is rightly poised to provide requisite ‘Economic Stimulus’.