India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier enters service

The Indian Navy has commissioned its first indigenously-built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant at a ceremony held at Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) in Kochi in the southern state of Kerala.

The ceremony for the induction of the vessel into service was held today (2 September) in the presence of the country’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Prime Minister Modi also unveiled a new naval ensign during the commissioning ceremony.

INS Vikrant, a 262-meter-long and 62-meter-wide vessel, is the first aircraft carrier India has designed and built on its own. 

The vessel was designed by Warship Design Bureau (WDB), the Indian Navy’s in-house organization.

In order to push the indigenisation drive, the warship grade steel required for the construction of the aircraft carrier was successfully indigenised through Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) in collaboration with Defence Research & Development Laboratory (DRDL) and Indian Navy.

The hull fabrication progressed thereafter and the ship’s keel was laid in February 2009. The first phase of ship construction was completed with the successful launch of the ship in August 2013.

INS Vikrant is the largest and most complex warship ever built in the maritime history of India, according to India’s officials. The ship is named after its predecessor, the first aircraft carrier, which played one of the vital roles in the 1971 war.

The ship would be capable of operating air wing consisting of 30 aircraft consisting of MiG-29K fighter jets, Kamov-31, MH-60R multi-role helicopters, in addition to indigenously manufactured advanced light helicopters (ALH) and light combat aircraft (LCA).

In the past few months, INS Vikrant completed various phases of sea trials where the ship’s performance, including response of the ship’s hull to various conditions of operations, manoeuvring trials, main propulsion and other equipment was tested.

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