INS Vikrant commissioned: all you need to know

The carrier was built by Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL) in Kochi with BEL, BHEL, GRSE, Kirloskar L &T and joint efforts of 100 MSMEs. The keel was laid down in 2009 and was launched in 2013.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi commissioned India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant in a ceremony held today at the Cochin Shipyard Ltd in Kochi, Kerala.

Ahead of the ceremony, PM Modi received a guard of honour as he arrived to inaugurate the ship.

India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier

INS Vikrant is named after India’s first aircraft carrier, the older INS Vikrant played a pivotal in the 1971 war against Pakistan was its jets were used to bomb and destroy important Pakistani targets.

The carrier was built by Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL) in Kochi with BEL, BHEL, GRSE, Kirloskar L &T and joint efforts of 100 MSMEs. The keel was laid down in 2009 and was launched in 2013.

It has over 76% of indigenous components, making it a fine example of “aatmanirbhar Bharat” and Make in India.

The new INS Vikrant with a length of 262 metres, which is longer than two football fields and a displacement of 45,000 tonnes, is the largest ship ever built in India.  It can accommodate up to 1600 crew members and 30 aircraft like the Mig-29k and LCA Navy fighters, Ka-31and MH60 Romeo helicopters.

The aircraft hangar under the flight deck is bigger than two Olympic-sized pools and facilities for maintenance and storage of these aircraft.

INS Vikrant is a STOBAR (Short takeoff But Arrested Recovery) aircraft carrier, which means the fighter jets use a ski-jump ramp to take off and land on arresting cables.

A Mig-29k taking off from a ski jump on INS Vikramaditya

With EL/M-2248 MF-STAR AESA radar (Active Electronically Scanned Array) the ship can detect fighter and helicopter sized targets from a distance of 450Km. the ship is loaded with the Barak-8 surface-to-air missiles which protect it from anti-ship missiles and other aerial threats.

The ship has two gas turbines which give it a range of over 15,000km.

India joins an exclusive club

Operating an aircraft carrier on its own is an exclusive club as only 14 countries operate such vessels. However, India joins the club of building and operating an indigenous aircraft carrier. India is in the planning stages of the development of its 3rd carrier which will be named INS Vishal.

Power projection in Indian Ocean Region and beyond

The ship’s airwing consists of capable aircraft like the Mig-29k, LCA Navy, MH60 and Ka-31 helicopters, performing missions like naval reconnaissance, maritime strike, air-to-air combat, anti-submarine operations and disaster relief. Additionally, to boost the airwing, the Navy is looking to acquire the American-made F/A-18 Super Hornet or the French Rafale –M fighters to be operated from the carrier.

The ship has two gas turbines which give it a range of over 15,000km.

With a mix of Kolkata Class and Vishakhapatnam Class guided-missile destroyers, Talwar Class, Shivalik Class guided-missile frigates and Kamrota class anti-submarine frigates accompanying INS Vikrant makes for a deadly carrier battle group and a formidable force in the Indian Ocean Region and with an ability to project power far beyond India’s neighbourhood.