Ship sail

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India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant is ready to join the naval fleet

India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant is ready to join the naval fleet

IIn a fortnight, the first indigenous Indian aircraft carrier built at the Cochin shipyard will join the naval fleet as INS Vikrant, taking the name, crest and pennant number (R11) of the first carrier. Indian planes. Final flooring and painting is underway as this monster ship prepares for the big day in the first week of September, possibly September 1st.

The project started in 2007 and the keel was laid in 2009. The 262 meter long vessel, with a full displacement of around 45,000 tons, is powered by four gas turbines with a capacity of 88 MW and can sail at speeds of up to 28 knots. Locally designed and built at a cost of around ₹20,000 crore, the aircraft carrier can carry nearly 30 aircraft, both fixed-wing and helicopters, of different varieties. Initially, MiG-29K fighters and Ka-31 helicopters will operate from the ship. But depending on the government’s decision, INS Vikrant could get the Rafale (M) or the F-18 Super Hornet fighters.

The MH-60R multi-role helicopters that have already been delivered to India will join the aircraft carrier’s air arm, once inducted. The ship will be manned by nearly 1,700 personnel under the leadership of Commander (designate) Commodore Vidhyadhar Harke. The significance of INS Vikrant is that it gave a boost to the indigenization of shipbuilding materials and processes. The Cochin shipyard now says it is confident of building another carrier of similar dimensions in less than seven years.

Text and images by Thulasi Kakkat