New Delhi: The Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL) on Thursday handed over India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier – Vikrant, the largest warship to be built at home – to the Indian Navy ahead of its planned induction into service next month.
Built at an overall cost of close to Rs20000 crores, the carrier is christened after her illustrious predecessor, India’s first Aircraft Carrier INS Vikrant, which played a vital role in the 1971 war. Coinciding with the celebrations to commemorate the 75th anniversary of India’s independence ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’, the reincarnation of Vikrant is being considered a true testimony to the country’s zeal and fervor in pursuing capability build up towards enhanced maritime security.
Vikrant has put India in a select league – only the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, and China have the capability to build aircraft carriers. The carrier, designed by the Directorate of Naval Design, has 14 decks, including five in the superstructure, and 2,300 compartments, and can accommodate a crew of 1,700, including specialized cabins for women.
The 262-meter-long carrier has a full displacement of close to 45,000 tonnes which is much larger and more advanced than her predecessor. “With the delivery of Vikrant, India has joined a select group of nations having the niche capability to design and build an aircraft carrier,” the navy said in a statement.
India currently operates a solitary aircraft carrier – INS Vikramaditya – bought second-hand from Russia for $2.33 billion, but the navy has been arguing it needs three such floating airfields given its vast maritime territory. Vikrant will be the fourth aircraft carrier to be operated by the Indian Navy — the first Vikrant (British-origin) from 1961-1997, INS Viraat (British-origin) from 1987-2016, and INS Vikramaditya (Russian-origin) from 2013 onwards.