Kochi (ISJ) - India will make it to the select club of countries capable of designing and building aircraft carriers with the launch of the first indigenous carrier ?INS Vikrant? on Monday (Aug 12). The 37,500 tonne carrier will be launched by Defence Minister A.K. Antony?s wife Elizabeth at Cochin Shipyard, Kochi in southern India.
The launch marks the beginning of the second phase of its construction, and the shell will be re-docked for outer-fitting and construction of superstructure. The keel for the carrier was laid by Antony over four years ago. It is scheduled to be available for the Navy by 2018. Fighter planes in India?s armory like Mig29K, LCA and Kamov 31 could fly from INS Vikrant.
The 260 -by-60 meters ship has been designed by Directorate of Naval Design and is being built at Cochin Shipyard Limited. Besides India, the US, the UK, Russia and France are the only countries capable of designing and building aircraft carriers of similar size.