Kochi (ISJ) -- India?s first aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, decommissioned on January 31, 1977, was reborn on Monday (Aug. 12) with the launch of the indigenous aircraft carrier by the same name. Defence Minister A.K. Antony?s wife Elizabeth Antony launched the carrier at Cochin Shipyard almost four-and-a-half years after its keel was laid by the minister.
Amid chanting of hymns from the Atharva Veda, the carrier was launched at a colourful ceremony laced with traditional pomp and show. Besides Antony, Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral D.K. Joshi were also present on the occasion.
"It is indeed a proud moment for the country to witness our efforts at achieving self-reliance in the field of warship design and construction,? said Antony, speaking on the occasion.
The launch marks the end of Phase-I of the project of the 37,500 tonne carrier, which was designed by Directorate of Naval Design of Indian Navy. The ship has attained its designed length of about 260 meters and is almost at its maximum breadth of 60 meters. Over 80% of the structure, containing about 2300 compartments has been fabricated, all the major machinery, such as the two Gas Turbines to generate 80 MW power, the diesel alternators capable of producing about 24 MW and the main gear box have been fitted.
Vikrant is the first-ever aircraft carrier to be designed by the Directorate of Naval Design and the first warship to be built by Cochin Shipyard Limited and the first warship to be built entirely using indigenously produced steel.
Vikrant will be capable of operating a mix of aircraft like Russian MiG-29K and the naval version of Light Combat Aircraft and Kamov 31 and indigenously developed ALH helicopters. It will also be equipped with long-range surface-to-air missile systems with multi-function radar and close-in weapon system to form the protective suite. The ship?s integration with Navy?s network-centric operations will provide force multiplication.
The aircraft carrier will now enter the second phase of construction of outfitting, fitment of various weapons and sensors, integration of the gigantic propulsion system and integration of the aircraft complex. The ship will then undergo extensive trials before it is handed over to the Navy by around 2016-17.