INS Vikrant Steps into the Waters for the First Time
Indigenous Aircraft Carrier-I (IAC-I) designed by Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design (DND) is being built at Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL). The IAC consists of more than 76 percent of indigenous content. This is the maiden attempt of the Indian Navy and Cochin Shipyard to indigenously design and build an Aircraft Carrier.
The Indigenous Aircraft Carrier is 262-metres long, 62-metres wide in some parts. The height is 59-metres including the superstructure. There are 14 decks in all, including five in the superstructure. The ship has over 2,300 compartments, designed for a crew of around 1700 people, including specialised cabins to accommodate women officers. The ship has been designed with a very high degree of automation for machinery operation, ship navigation and survivability, Vikrant has a top speed of around 28 knots and 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.
Most of the ship construction activities have been completed and the ship has entered the trials phase. Readiness of ship’s Propulsion and Power Generation equipment/ systems was tested in harbour as part of Basin Trials in Novembe, 2020. Progress of construction of the Carrier was reviewed by the Defence Minister during his visit to the ship on 25 June,2021.
A press statement from the Indian Navy stated, “Though the commencement of Sea Trials was delayed due to the second wave of COVID, with concentrated and dedicated efforts of large number of workmen, OEMs, engineers, overseers, inspectors, designers and the ship’s crew, who had put their heart and soul towards the ship’s readiness for sea trials. This is a major milestone activity and historical event. Reaching this milestone is significant as they have been achieved barring the current pandemic challenges and imponderables. During the maiden sailing, ship’s performance, including hull, main propulsion, PGD and auxiliary equipment would be closely watched.”
With the delivery of IAC, India would join a select group of nations with the capability to indigenously design and build an Aircraft Carrier.
The Indigenous construction of the aircraft carrier is a has led to a growth in indigenous design and construction capabilities besides development of large number of ancillary industries, with employment opportunities for 2000 CSL personnel and about 12000 employees in ancillary industries, the press note added.
Over 76 percent 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 registered with CSL, who are providing various services for construction of IAC.
Indian Navy’s ship building programme is rightly poised to provide requisite ‘Economic Stimulus’, with 44 ships and submarines on order being built indigenously.