Prime Minister Narendra Modi will commission the first indigenous aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, on Friday at Cochin Shipyard in Kochi. It will strengthen India’s naval capabilities. Notably, INS Vikrant is the largest ship ever built in India’s maritime history. The Prime Minister will also unveil the new Naval ensign of the Indian Navy.
The 262 meters long and 15-story high aircraft carrier has a flight deck comparable to two football fields with an angled sky jump. It is important to note that INS Vikrant is more than five times the size of any warship ever built in the country, reported All India Radio News. . It is named ‘Vikrant’ as a tribute to India’s first aircraft carrier.
After the commissioning of INS Vikrant, India will join the United States, Russia, China, France, and the United Kingdom which can indigenously design, build and integrate an aircraft carrier.
After the MIG-29 Supersonic fighters complete crucial flight trials from the deck of INS Vikrant, the aircraft carrier will be combat-ready. It will also be equipped with high-tech weapons including the Barak-8 surface-to-air missile system reportedly by mid-2023.
The warship is capable of accommodating a crew of around 1,600. It can also operate a fleet of 30 aircraft, including fighter planes and helicopters. Notably, over 75 percent of the components of INS Vikrant were procured indigenously.
“The final proof of the pudding is the ship’s performance during sea trials. While it seems to be behaving pretty well, stability-wise, aircraft operations have yet to commence. One hopes it will be a success story all the way,” former Chief of India’s Naval Staff Admiral Arun Prakash told Reuters.
India can now deploy an aircraft carrier on its eastern and western seaboards. With the induction of INS Vikrant, India will require more naval fighter jets. At present, around 40 Russian-made MiG-29Ks operate on INS Vikramaditya.
Notably, In June this year, China launched its third aircraft carrier. According to reports, it will a full-length flight deck with a catapult launch system. However, India’s aircraft carriers use ski-jumps.