The first indigenous aircraft carrier has been delivered to the Indian Navy after a series of acceptance trials that validated its performance at sea. The warship will be formally commissioned next month and will initially operate with MiG 29K fighter jets and a variety of helicopters.
The Vikrant, which has been built at close to ₹20,000 crore and at 45,000 tonne displacement, is by far the biggest-ever warship constructed in India. Named after INS Vikrant, India’s first aircraft carrier that saw operations in the 1971 war, the ship’s keel was laid in February 2009 at the Cochin Shipyard Ltd.
Besides the government-owned shipyard and other PSUs, many Indian companies have contributed to the carrier, including Larsen and Toubro and Kirloskar.
Officials said that the ship has 76% indigenous content, with the design being carried out in-house by the Directorate of Naval Design. “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,” officials said.
India currently has only one aircraft carrier –– the INS Vikramaditya –– procured from Russia.
The Navy has on several occasions said that the nation requires a total of three aircraft carriers to look after the vast areas of responsibility.
“The ship would be capable of operating an air wing consisting of 30 aircraft comprising MIG29K fighters, Kamov-31, MH-60R helicopters, in addition to indigenously manufactured Advanced Light Helicopters and Light Combat Aircraft (Navy),” officials said.
The Navy also received two of the MH 60R helicopters in Kochi on Thursday.