What has happened?
- The nation’s first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC-1) will be commissioned on September 2, the Indian Navy has announced.
- The commissioning of the warship, which will be christened ‘Vikrant’, will mark a “historical milestone of realisation of Nation’s commitment towards AatmaNirbharta” (self-reliance), the Navy said in an official release.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the chief guest on the occasion.
- Vikrant is the largest warship to have ever been built in India, and the first indigenously designed and built aircraft carrier for the Indian Navy.
- It puts India in an elite club of nations that have the capability to design and build these giant, powerful warships.
- The Navy took delivery of the warship, designed by the Warship Design Bureau (WDB), its in-house organisation,
- From the manufacturer, Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL), a public sector shipyard under Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways, ahead of schedule on July 28.
- The ship had successfully completed its fourth and final phase of sea trials three weeks previously.
Why aircraft carrier is important for India?
- An aircraft carrier is one of the most potent marine assets for any nation, which enhances a Navy’s capability to travel far from its home shores to carry out air domination operations.
- Many experts consider having an aircraft carrier as essential to be considered a “blue water” navy — that is, a navy that has the capacity to project a nation’s strength and power across the high seas.
- An aircraft carrier generally leads as the capital ship of a carrier strike/ battle group.
- As the aircraft carrier is a prized and sometimes vulnerable target, it is usually escorted in the group by destroyers, missile cruisers, frigates, submarines, and supply ships.
What’s the big deal about made-in-India?
- Only five or six nations currently have the capability of manufacturing an aircraft carrier, and India has joined this prestigious club now.
- Experts and Navy officials have said that India has demonstrated the capacity and self-reliance to build what is considered to be one of the most advanced and complex battleships in the world.
- India has had aircraft carriers earlier too — but those were built either by the British or the Russians.
- The ‘INS Vikramaditya’, which was commissioned in 2013 and which is currently the Navy’s only aircraft carrier, started out as the Soviet-Russian warship ‘Admiral Gorshkov’.
- India’s two earlier carriers, the ‘INS Vikrant’ and the ‘INS Viraat’, were originally the British-built ‘HMS Hercules’ and ‘HMS Hermes’.
- These two warships were commissioned into the Navy in 1961 and 1987 respectively.
So why this is also named as Vikrant?
- The name ‘INS Vikrant’ originally belonged to India’s much-loved first aircraft carrier, a source of immense national pride over several decades of service before it was decommissioned in 1997.
- The original ‘Vikrant’, a Majestic-class 19,500-tonne warship, which was acquired from the UK in 1961, played a stellar role in the 1971 War with Pakistan.
- India deployed the ‘Vikrant’ in the Bay of Bengal, and its two air squadrons of Sea Hawk fighter jets and Alize surveillance aircraft were used to prevent Pakistani forces from escaping.
Indigenous component in Vikrant?
- The warship-grade steel required for the construction of the IAC-1 was indigenised through Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) in collaboration with Defence Research & Development Laboratory (DRDL) and the Indian Navy, the Navy said.
- It said that a major spin-off of building the indigenous aircraft carrier has been that the country has become self-sufficient with respect to warship steel.
- The indigenous content of the project is approximately 76%.
- This includes 23,000 tonnes of steel, 2,500 km of electric cables, 150 km of pipes, and 2,000 valves, and a wide range of finished products including rigid hull boats, galley equipment, air-conditioning and refrigeration plants, and steering gear.
- According to the official release, major Indian industrial houses, viz., BEL, BHEL, GRSE, Keltron, Kirloskar, L&T, Wartsila India, etc., as well as over 100 MSMEs were involved in building of the indigenous equipment and machinery on board.
- The indigenisation efforts led to the development of ancillary industries, and generated employment opportunities for 2,000 CSL personnel and about 13,000 employees in ancillary industries, thus bolstering the plough-back effect on the nation’s economy, the release said.
- The Navy had said that about 80-85 per cent of the project cost of approximately Rs 23,000 crore had been ploughed back into the Indian economy.
Capability of vikrant?
- The new warship is comparable to India’s existing carrier ‘INS Vikramaditya’, which is a 44,500-tonne vessel and can carry up to 34 aircraft, including both fighter jets and helicopters.
- The 262 m long and 62 m wide ‘Vikrant’ displaces approximately 43,000 tonnes when fully loaded, and has a maximum designed speed of 28 knots (about 52 km/h) with an endurance of 7500 NM.
- The ship has around 2,200 compartments designed for a crew of around 1,600, including specialised cabins to accommodate women officers and sailors.
Will India build more?
- Since 2015, the Navy has been seeking approval to build a third aircraft carrier for the country, which, if approved, will become India’s second Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC-2).
- This proposed carrier, to be named ‘INS Vishal’, is intended to be a giant 65,000-tonne vessel, much bigger than both IAC-1 and the ‘INS Vikramaditya’.
Q) What is the longest warship in the world?
- USS Iowa
- USS Nimitz
- USS Ohio
- USS Enterprise