The first indigenously designed and built aircraft carrier of India, which will be named INS Vikrant once commissioned, Wednesday began its sea trials off the coast of Kochi. The landmark achievement will put India on the list of only a few countries that can manufacture aircraft carriers.
According to the navy, Vikrant is 262m long, a maximum of 62m wide, and 59m high, including the 40000-tonne superstructure. It has 14 decks – five in the superstructure. Designed for a crew of around 1,700, it has over 2,300 compartments, including cabins to accommodate women officers, and will be equipped with 36 multi-role fighter jets. The project cost is 23000 crore.
The defense minister rajnath Singh and the Indian navy spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal had dropped a lot of praise for the aircraft.
“true testimony to our unwavering commitment to ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat‘ said, Rajpath Singh
“It is a proud and historic day for India as the reincarnated Vikrant (IAC) sails for her maiden sea trials today in the 50th year of her illustrious predecessor’s key role in the victory in the 1971 war,”
The Indian navy has been pushing the Indian government to fall two aircraft carriers, at present Indian has only one aircraft carrier the Russian-origin INS Vikramaditya, and getting another aircraft carrier would help them to counter China in the Indian ocean
“India joins a select group of nations having niche capability to indigenously design, build and integrate a state-of-the-art aircraft carrier. Reaching this milestone despite COVID-19 challenges (was) made possible by dedicated efforts of all stakeholders,” the Indian Navy said.
As the second aircraft carrier is to be commissioned in the Indian navy soon, the navy had already demand work for a third 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier should begin soon. However, the government is still unconvinced of its need.
According to the Navy, a third carrier is an operational necessity. On Navy Day, the force’s Chief Admiral, Karambir Singh, had said the Navy does not want to be a force “tethered to the shore” and “air power at sea is required”.
“The Navy is all about reach and sustenance. If you, as a nation, that is aspirational…you will have to go outwards, seek the world, you will have to move out…And for that, you require air power and you require it at longer ranges…aircraft carrier is necessary,” he had said.
However, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, who is mandated to prioritize defense acquisition among the armed forces, said the two aircraft carriers can be a potential target value for enemies and that they can use islands like Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar as as “unsinkable” aircraft carriers.
However, the Navy has been going ahead with its push for the third carrier, with senior sources saying that there needs to be a change in the mindset for the government to be convinced.
Once commissioned, IAC-1 will carry forward the legacy of INS vibrant the first aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy which was commissioned in 1961.