Powerful Vikrant to rule the seas
02 September 2022 marked the historic milestone of understanding for the Indian Navy. A memorable date with the commissioning of the first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) “Vikrant”.
The enthronement of the mighty Vikrant was also a testament to the nation’s commitment to ‘Aatmanirbharta’. The construction of IAC has indeed been the most prestigious warship construction project in India’s maritime history, so far.
The Vikrant is the largest warship ever built in India. It is also the first locally designed and built aircraft carrier for the Indian Navy. It is also very significant that this is the first attempt by the Indian Navy Warship Design Bureau (formerly Naval Design Directorate) to embark on this journey, along with Cochin Shipyard Limited, which was also building a warship for the first time is coming – Vikrant.
The Vikrant is named after its illustrious predecessor, India’s first aircraft carrier, which played a vital role in the 1971 War of Liberation.
It was reported that Prime Minister Modi was the main guest at the commissioning ceremony on September 02 in Cochin.
Vikrant, meaning victorious and valiant, the foundation of the prestigious IAC was firmly established in April 2005 by the ceremonial cutting of steel. In order to push the drive to manufacture indigenous products, the warship grade steel needed to build the IAC was successfully fabricated by Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) in conjunction with the Defense Research & Development Laboratory (DRDL) and the Indian Navy. Hull fabrication progressed thereafter and the vessel’s keel was laid in February 2009. The first phase of the vessel’s construction was completed with the vessel’s successful launch in August 2013, as noted.
The 262m long and 62m wide Vikrant displaces approximately 43,000T when fully loaded with arsenal and warheads, having a designed maximum speed of 28 knots with an endurance of 7,500 nautical miles. The ship has approximately 2,200 compartments, designed for a crew of approximately 1,600, which include specialized cabins to accommodate female officers and sailors.
The carrier is designed with a very high degree of automation for machine operations, ship navigation and survivability. The carrier is equipped with the latest state-of-the-art equipment and systems. (The ship has a fully-fledged state-of-the-art medical complex with the latest medical equipment facilities which includes a major modular OT, an emergency modular OT, a physiotherapy clinic, an intensive care unit, laboratories, a CT scanner, X-ray machines, dental complex, isolation ward and telemedicine facilities, etc.)
Cohesive, quiet and combat-ready, the ship will house its operational air wing of 30 fighter aircraft comprising MiG-29K fighter jets, Kamov-31, MH-60R multi-role helicopters, in addition to advanced light helicopters locally made. (ALH) and Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) (Navy). Utilizing a new mode of aircraft operation known as Short Take Off But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR), the IAC is equipped with a ski jump for launching aircraft and a set of three ‘ stop wires” for their recovery on board.
Despite the uncertainties and restrictions related to Covid, negatively affecting OEM and supply chain availability, the readiness of the vessel’s propulsion and power generation equipment/systems in port was tested in part of the basin trials November 20. ‘Vikrant’ has successfully completed several phases of sea trials from August 21 to date, where the vessel’s performance, including the vessel’s hull response to various d operations, maneuvering trials, main propulsion, power generation and distribution (PGD), vessel navigation and communication systems, propulsion machinery endurance trials, electrical and electronic suites , deck machinery, lifesaving appliances, integrated testing of majority of equipment/systems and testing of other ancillary equipment have been checked and proven to the satisfaction of the team. trials of the Indian Navy and the ship’s crew.
In accordance with established practices followed by other advanced countries with experience in aircraft carrier construction, the fixed-wing aircraft deck integration trials and operation of the aviation facility complex will be carried out after the Commissioning of the ship when operational command and control of the ship, including flight safety, rests with the Navy.
“Vikrant” has a large number of indigenous equipment and machinery, involving major industrial houses in the country like BEL, BHEL, GRSE, Keltron, Kirloskar, L&T, Wartsila India to name a few, as well as more of 100 MSMEs.
The efforts have also led to the development of ancillary industries, in addition to the creation of employment opportunities for 2,000 CSL employees and approximately 13,000 employees in ancillary industries, furthering the ripple effect on the national economy. A major spinoff of building an indigenous aircraft carrier is the development and production of indigenous warship-grade steel for the ship through a partnership between the Navy, DRDO and SAIL, which has seen the country become self-sufficient in warship steel.
In a nutshell, the native content of the project is approx. At 76%, with the commissioning of ‘Vikrant’ on September 2, 2022, India has joined the select group of nations with the niche capability to locally design and build an aircraft carrier, which will be a veritable testament to the Make in India push by the Government of India.
Expressing his sense of gratitude, VCNS, Indian Navy – Vice Admiral Satish N Ghormade said, “I would like to acknowledge the contribution of the crew of ex-Vikrant, the illustrious predecessor…who had played a monumental role during the 1971 war to liberate Bangladesh. .”
The commissioning of “Vikrant” was a moment of pride and history showcasing the country’s zeal and fervor in pursuing capacity building for enhanced maritime security in the ocean region. Indian. The enthronement and reincarnation of “Vikrant” is therefore not only another step towards strengthening our defense preparedness, but also our humble tribute to the sacrifices made by our freedom fighters for the independence of the nation and our brave soldiers during the 1971 war. Shano Varuna.
The opinions expressed above are those of the author.
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