Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) Vikrant is India’s largest aircraft carrier which is built in India. Before we get into the facts of INS Vikrant, lets look at other important facts regarding aircraft carriers.
What is an aircraft carrier?
An aircraft carrier is a large warship with a full-length flight deck. It facilitates the take-off and landing of an aircraft.
Why are aircraft carriers important?
Aircraft carriers pose as islands which can move around, meaning, aircrafts can take-off and land from anywhere in the ocean. They can be closer to enemy territory and save a lot of fuel since they do not have to take off from the mainland. This has drastically changed the way wars are fought in the contemporary world.
India’s aircraft carrier INS Vikrant:
India’s first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier is being named after INS Vikrant (decommissioned) to honour the legacy of the aircraft carrier.
The construction of the aircraft carrier began on 28th February 2009 at the state-owned Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) in Kerala. The warship has a displacement of 37,500 tonnes.
Being 262 metres long, a height of 59 metres, having 14 decks with 2,300 compartments, the IAC has the capacity of accommodating a crew of 1,700 including specialised cabins for women officers.
INS Vikrant will be the fourth warship of the Indian Navy, but the only one built in India. The first warship was INS Vikrant which was of British origin and was decommissioned in 1997. The second warship, INS Viraat was also of British origin and was decommissioned in 2016. Our third warship, INS Vikramaditya is of Russian origin and has been commissioned in the Navy since 2013.
Only a select few countries including The United States of America, The United Kingdom, France, China and Russia have the capacity and capability to build aircraft carriers. India being able to her own aircraft carrier, puts us in the league with the superpowers and makes us a nation to reckon with.
INS Vikrant will operate MiG-29K jets, Kamov-31 helicopters, MH-60R multi-role helicopters and Indigenous Advanced Light helicopters.
The warship has been undergoing sea trials since August 2021. The sea trials will test the warship in various conditions and test its ability to undertake complex manoeuvres. The aircraft carrier is expected to be commissioned in August 2022.
The first sea trials tested the ability of the warship in the realms of propulsion, navigational suite, and basic operations, whereas the second sea trials witnessed the ships machinery and flight trials. The Navy as well as the government officials like our Prime Minister, President and Vice President are extremally happy with the progress of the aircraft carrier and expect the best out of it.
The building of the aircraft carrier costed around Rs. 23,000 crores. The warship operates at 28 knots with a cruising speed of 18 knots and an endurance of around 7,500 nautical miles.
Our neighbouring country, China, with which we have off and on relations with, has two aircraft carriers, Liaoning and a second ship which is under sea trials. They also have a third and possibly fourth ship under construction and anticipate them being ready by the end of 2022.
This is a major game-changer as Indo-China relations are strained most of the time. It puts them at an advantage as they are also allies with Pakistan and hence, are capable of surrounding India from all sides.
Expanding the Navy to the ocean is of utmost importance in the 21st century. With a constant state of conflict and uncertainty, one cannot risk the defence of their country.
India, now having built their first ever aircraft carrier has proven that they are not dependent on other nations for enforcements. We are highly capable of funding our military and have the means and capacity of taking on big projects.
A third aircraft carrier can certainly be built in the coming future which will exponentially improve India’s defence.
I hope this article provided relevant information about the soon-to-be commissioned INS Vikrant and how having aircraft carriers in the country’s defence forces is advantageous to the security of the nation.
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