By Aakanksha Nigam
India’s maritime history will reach an important milestone tomorrow with the commissioning of INS Vikrant, the culmination of 17 years of construction and tests as the country seeks to catch up with regional rival China and its far larger naval fleet.
INS Vikrant, India’s Largest Built Warship, an indigenously built aircraft carrier, is to be commissioned by PM Modi on September 2, 2022 at Kochi. It is named after India’s first aircraft carrier Vikrant (R11) which played an important role in the war of 1971. INS Vikrant is designed by the Indian Navy’s in-house Warship Design Bureau, in the Cochin Shipyard.
The work on design began in 1999 when Defense Minister George Fernandes authorized Project 71 Air Defense Ship (ADS) to develop and construct an aircraft carrier, the INS Vikrant. The keel was laid down on February 28, 2009 and the aircraft was finally launched on August 12, 2013.
The 262 meters long and 62 meters wide warship has cost around ₹23,000 crore and can displace 45000 tonnes. According to the Defense Ministry, 75% of the ships equipments and machinery are indigenously procured from major industrial houses in the country such as BEL, BHEL, GRSE, Keltron, Kirloskar, Larsen & Toubro, Wartsila India etc as well as over 100 MSMEs. The warship will be able to accommodate a crew of around 1,600 and operate a fleet of 30 aircraft, including fighter jets and helicopters. With the crew accommodation of 1,600 and 30 aircraft operation, including fighter jets and helicopters, it has 15 decks, 2400 compartments including a multi-speciality hospital, a pool, a kitchen and exclusive cabins for women. It features a novel aircraft-operation mode known as STOBAR (Short Take-Off but Arrested Landing), equipped with a ski-jump for launching aircraft, and a set of ‘arrester wires’ for their recovery onboard. It also has technology for carrying, arming and recovering fighter aircraft.
The commission of INS Vikrant will make India a bona fide A-listed nation that can design and build its own powerful and massive warships.