After a long wait, India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, had gone into the seas for the first time. The five-day-long sea trials are considered a significant breakthrough as this will be India’s first-ever warship commissioned next year.
The previous aircraft carriers of the Indian Navy were acquired from the UK and Russia. India’s first aircraft carrier, Vikrant, was obtained from the UK that was decommissioned in 1961. The Indigenous aircraft carrier has got a new avatar with the same name as the Naval says ships never die.
With INS Vikrant, India gets into a select band of seven countries- the US, the UK, France, Russia, Italy, and China- to design and build an aircraft carrier.
The mammoth warship that Commodore Vidhyadhar Harke will command offers to reach ward off any surface, sub-surface or air threat. The ships that are part of a carrier battle group are expected to operate with INS Vikrant.
A cohesive Indian aircraft carrier battle group is supposed to prevent the launch of enemy anti-ship missiles that threaten ships in the fleet.
For decades, the Indian Navy needed three aircraft carriers, two of which will defend either seaboard with one carrier held in reserve. Instead of these, the government has put the Navy’s plans for a third carrier on the back-burner, focusing on the indigenous construction of a class of six nuclear-powered attack submarines.
The Indian Navy’s first made-in-India aircraft carrier is reported to have cost Rs 23,000 crore so far. However, the construction of this class of warship has helped to create jobs for thousands. The construction of Vikrant at the Cochin Shipyard has “employed more than 40,000 Indians over the last few years,” Vice Admiral Anil Chawla, the Commander in Chief of the Southern Naval Command, was quoted as saying by NDTV. “Till today, even 2000 workers each day work on this.”
Built using the latest technologies, INS Vikrant is designed to operate for at least fifty years with a full capacity of 45,000 tonnes. The largest and most complex warship has a crew of over 1,700 officers and sailors.