The largest warship to be built in the country, Vikrant, India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier with specialized cabins for women officers, set sail on Wednesday for crucial sea trials ahead of its planned induction into the Indian Navy in less than a year.
Vikrant is designed by the Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design (DND) and has been built at the state-owned Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL). Its construction has made India set foot on the list of leagues with only the US, the UK, Russia, France and China having the capability to build aircraft carriers.
Also read: Fascinated by Indian Mythological tales? Here are 5 myths and legends that will leave you mesmerized
Vikrant’s capacity and features
The warship is said to hold 2300 compartments, designed for a crew of 1700 people and is said to have special compartments for women officers.
The ship is being designed with a very high degree of automation for machinery operation, ship navigation and survivability, said the ministry of defence.
Vikrant is 262 metres long, measuring 62 metres at the widest part and 59 metres high, including the superstructure. There are 14 decks in total, along with five in the superstructure.
The indigenous aircraft carrier can reach a top speed of 28 knots and maintain a cruising speed of 18 knots with an endurance of about 7,500 nautical miles. The ship can accommodate an assortment of fixed-wing and rotary aircraft.
With a displacement of 37,500 tonnes, the warship will operate MiG-29K fighter jets, Kamov-31 helicopters, MH-60R multi-role helicopters, and indigenous advanced light helicopters. It has been named after the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, operated by the Indian Navy from 1961 to 1997.
Testimonials by Indian Navy and Ministry of Defense
Indian navy stated: “India joins a select group of nations having niche capability to indigenously design, build and integrate a state-of-the-art aircraft carrier. Reaching this milestone despite COVID-19 challenges (was) made possible by dedicated efforts of all stakeholders”.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh called the Vikrant’s maiden sea trials a “true testimony to our unwavering commitment to ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’.
“After Vikrant is commissioned into the navy, India will have two aircraft carriers, one each for the western and eastern seaboards and that will mark a quantum jump in maritime capabilities,” said former navy chief Admiral Arun Prakash (retd).
Vikrant will be the fourth aircraft carrier to be operated by the Indian Navy. The first was Vikrant (British origin) from 1961 to 1997, INS Viraat (British origin) from 1987 to 2016 and INS Vikramaditya (Russian origin) from 2013 onwards.