First indigenous aircraft carrier launched
By Express News Service | Published: 12th August 2013 08:25 AM |
To add more teeth to its naval prowess, India launched its first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC), to be christened INS Vikrant, at the Cochin Shipyard here on Monday.
Defence Minister A K Antony’s wife Elizabeth launched the 37,500-tonne warship. This marks the end of first phase of construction, more than four years after its keel was laid by the Minister.
Apart from Antony, Union Shipping Minister G K Vasan and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral D K Joshi witnessed the launch.
After the launch, the carrier would be docked at the repair yard for hull construction, which would be completed by June 2014.
The ship will undergo extensive sea trials by 2016 ane be inducted into the Navy by the end of 2018.
IAC will add to Navy’s concept of three Carrier Battle Group, an official said.
“INS Viraat is being maintained in good shape. INS Vikramaditya will be delivered by the end of this year. And INS Vikrant is being launched,” he added.
INS Vikrant can operate 25 to 30 aircraft, including MiG 29K and Light Combat Aircraft (LCA). The tonnage and complexity of the vessel is very important. It has got a ski-jump from where the aircraft will take off,” Vice Admiral K R Nair, Controller Warship Production and Acquisition told media on the flight deck of the vessel.
The ski-jump was not part of the original first-phase plan, said Commodore K Subramaniam, CMD of the Cochin Shipyard. “Initially we did not plan to have a ski-jump. It was not part of the original first phase plan. Later, the Navy wanted the ski-jump to be fitted. So it was also included,” he said. The super structure’s first tier has been fitted and another four tiers would be ready by 2014, he pointed out.
The second phase of construction has already started, Commodore Subramaniam said. The second phase, which comprises detailed laying of electrical cables, ventilation systems and setting up of about 2,300 compartments, will be completed in four years, the official added.
- INS Vikrant with a capacity to carry 36 fighter planes.
- The ship, which has a length of 260 m and breadth of 60 m, has been designed by Directorate of Naval Design and is being built at Cochin Shipyard Limited.
- About 90% of INS Vikrant's hull has been built indigenously with DRDO and SAIL supplying high quality steel.
- The indigenous component of the vessel was 90 % in the float category, 60 % in the move category and approximately 30 % in the flight category. Except about half the quantity of bulb bars imported from Russia, the entire steel used for the vessel was India-made.
- By 2016, its propulsion would be set to trials and basin trials would begin in 2017. Weapon trials would be conducted by the Navy after its handing over in 2018.