Prime Minister Narendra Modi will commission the country’s first indigenously-built aircraft carrier (IAC) Vikrant on September 2, official sources said.
The Prime Minister will officially induct the vessel to the Indian Navy at a specially arranged venue inside the Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) here, which manufactured the over ₹ 20,000 crore warship.
The Indian Navy had on July 28 taken delivery of the carrier from CSL after it had successfully completed the fourth and the final phase of the sea trials last month.
“The event is currently scheduled to be held on September 2 at CSL jetty. The retired staff of INS Vikrant, India’s first aircraft carrier, officials of defence, shipping ministries and the state government among others are set to participate,” sources told PTI.
They said an attendance of 1500-2000 people is likely.
The IAC would serve to bolster India’s position in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and its quest for a blue water Navy.
Fighter jets have been brought to the aircraft which is set to operate MiG-29K fighter jets, Kamov-31 helicopters and MH-60R multi-role helicopters.
With the delivery of ‘Vikrant’, India has joined a select group of nations having the niche capability to indigenously design and build an aircraft carrier.
Designed by Indian Navy’s in-house Directorate of Naval Design (DND) and built by the CSL, a Public Sector Shipyard under the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, the carrier is christened after her illustrious predecessor, India’s first Aircraft Carrier which played a vital role in the 1971 Indo-Pak war.
It has over 2,300 compartments, designed for a crew of around 1700 people, including specialised cabins to accommodate women officers.
Vikrant has a top speed of around 28 knots and a cruising speed of 18 knots with an endurance of about 7,500 nautical miles.
The IAC is 262 metres long, 62 metres wide and has a height of 59 metres. Its construction began in 2009.
The flight deck of the IAC is comparable to two football grounds and by walking through the corridors of the massive vessel, one will cover eight kilometres.
The eight power generators onboard IAC are enough to light up Kochi city and the warship contains a dedicated hospital complex with all facilities.