Staff Reporter

Kochi: The keel-laying of India’s first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) will be done by Defence Minister A.K. Antony at the Cochin Shipyard when a huge block fabricated outside is placed on the building bay on Saturday. Admiral Sureesh Mehta, Chief of the Naval Staff, will be present at the ceremony.

The IAC, designed by the Naval Design Bureau and constructed by the Cochin Shipyard, has Italian ship building firm Fincantieri working in tandem, especially in the design of the carrier’s engine room. Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG is another associate as its MiG 29 K will be the mainstay of the IAC fleet. It will also embark Ka-31 helicopters and some Light Combat Aircraft Tejas subject to the aircraft’s commissioning in the next four years.

With a length of 260 metres and breadth of 60 metres, the carrier will be propelled by two shafts, each with two LM2500 gas turbines, sufficient to attain speeds of over 28 knots. It will have two takeoff runways and a landing strip. Many blocks have been already fabricated and the construction using the integrated hull outfitting and painting method is making steady progress.