Why India’s First Native Aircraft Carrier Matters

INS Vikrant. (Courtesy of Indian Navy)

Photo: Twitter

New Delhi: India receives its first Made in India aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, on Friday. There’s no other way, more word weaving that can possibly make it more exciting than it already is. Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “Tomorrow, September 2 is a landmark day for India’s efforts to become Aatmanirbhar in the defense sector.

So why the INS vikrant so important?

India has built its largest and most sophisticated warship ever in the form of the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant. Vikrant’s 44,000 ton beast is the first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) to be developed and built in India.

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When he joins the Indian Navy, he will be known as INS Vikrant and is currently known by his codename, IAC-1. This shows what a pioneering achievement this has been for the indigenous quest or ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ of India.

India will have two operational aircraft carriers after the commissioning of Vikrant, which would improve the country’s maritime security.

What does it do?

An aircraft carrier is a warship with a large flat deck where fighter planes can take off and land. It functions as an airfield at sea. The flagship frequently commands a battle group and is protected from attacks by destroyers, frigates and submarines.

Strategic importance

The commission is also important internationally as it allows India to project its power abroad and adds India’s name to a relatively small club of countries with the capacity to produce such high-end aircraft.

The warship will be a crucial part of the Indian Navy’s effort to position itself as a ‘blue water’ force after its induction, one capable of projecting its influence across distant seas.
This is particularly crucial given China’s carrier-focused navy, which has already enlisted two warships, and India’s efforts to serve as a net security provider in the Indian Ocean region.

About the warship

Over 76% of the equipment and materials on board the carrier are indigenous, including 21,500 tons of special grade steel which was locally created and first used in Indian Navy vessels.

It can accommodate 20 aircraft in its hangar. The ship has 14 decks, more than 2,300 compartments, including a single cabin for female officers, and can accommodate 1,700 people. It has a range of around 7,500 nautical miles, a top speed of around 28 knots (over 50 km/h) and a cruising speed of 18 knots.

According to an Indian Navy officer, the ship used steel equivalent to three Eifel towers.

It is capable of operating “an assortment of fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft” according to the Indian Navy. It will accommodate Kamov-31 early warning helicopters, MiG-29k fighters, native ALH (Advanced Light Helicopters), MH-60 R multirole helicopter.

India’s first aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, was purchased from the UK in 1961 and now India’s first native aircraft carrier will bear its name and vindicate its heritage and more. The original Vikrant was decommissioned in 1997.

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