India’s first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) christened INS Vikrant will be commissioned in 2022.
This was recently stated by Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh who is on a two-day visit to Karwar and Kochi.
- Defence Minister described this achievement as India’s pride and a shining example of Atmanirbhar Bharat or a self-reliant Bharat.
- He said that the commissioning of IAC will be a befitting tribute to India’s 75th year of India’s independence.
About Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC):
- IAC is the most complex warship to have been designed and built-in India, Indian Navy.
- The carrier will be named INS Vikrant, after India’s first aircraft carrier which was decommissioned in 1997.
- The IAC is 262 meters long and 62 meters wide and has a STOBAR (short takeoff but arrested recovery) configuration with a ski jump capability.
- Once commissioned, INS Vikrant would be the most potent sea-based asset of the Indian Navy.
- The carrier would have onboard about 35-40 aircraft — a mix of naval fighters, anti-submarine helicopters, and naval UAVs.
- The aircraft component includes the MiG-29K fighters, Kamov-31 Air Early Warning Helicopters, the soon-to-be-inducted MH-60R multi-role helicopter, and the indigenous advanced light helicopters.
- It would offer an incomparable military instrument with its ability to project air power over long distances, including offensive and defensive counter-air, air interdiction, anti-surface warfare, airborne early warning, and airborne anti-submarine warfare.
- Besides having four AK-630 close-in weapon systems, INS Vikrant is also equipped with four OTO Melara 76mm dual-purpose cannons.
- It also has two 32 cell VLS (Vertical Launch System), capable of firing 64 missiles in total.
- It is equipped with the Israeli Barak 1 surface-to-air missile for short-range and the Barak 8 for long-range defence against aerial targets including helicopters, fighters, drones, and missiles.
- It has been designed by the Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design (DND) and is being built at Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL).
- Navy sources said the IAC is the most complex warship building project to have been indigenously designed and built.
Motto of the IAC is Jayema Sam Yudhi Sprdhah. It is taken from Rigveda 1.8.3.
- The plans for the ship were floated in 1989, but the design work began in 1999 after then defence minister George Fernandes greenlighted the project.
- The keel was laid in February 2009.
- It was floated out of its dry dock in December 2011 and was launched on 12 August 2013.
- The basin trials of the ships were completed in December 2020.
- It will undergo sea trials by end of 2022 and is expected to enter into service by end of 2022.
Why has the project taken a long time to execute?
The ambitious project of the Indian Navy, which was expected to be completed by 2018, has suffered a number of delays due to a number of reasons, including financial resources and the latest reason being the COVID-19 pandemic.
Why does India need aircraft carriers?
- The IAC project comes at a time India needs aircraft carriers on the eastern and western seaboards and another in dock.
- While INS Viraat was decommissioned in 2017, INS Vikramaditya remains the only aircraft carrier in the navy’s fleet.
- Defence minister conducted aerial survey of several ongoing projects which are being carried out at INS Kadamba under Navy’s “Project Seabird”.
- He received on-site briefings, capability demonstration at shiplift tower and undertook a tour of naval harbour.
- Project Seabird (christened INS Kadamba in 2005) at Karwar, will be the largest Naval Base of the Indian Navy in future.
- It will provide the facilities and infrastructure to support the Navy’s operations in the Indian Ocean Region and beyond.
- The first phase of “Project Seabird” was completed in 2005.
- The second phase, construction for which began in 2011, is expected to be completed by late 2022 or early 2023.