The indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) that will be christened INS Vikrant, after its decommissioned sibling, can carry a total of 30 aircraft (fighters and helicopters).
The biggest ship made in India and carrying a price tag of over ₹20,000 crore, it has an overall length of 263 m and breadth of 63 m. The towering vessel has 15 decks and displacement (weight) of 40,000 tonnes. Propelled by four gas turbines, it is expected to touch up to a speed of 30 knots (approximately 55 kmph). Its endurance is 7,500 nautical miles at a speed of 18 knots (32 kmph), Navy sources said.
The vessel can carry up to 1,500 personnel and has 2,300 compartments (in its hull), while a total of 2,100 km cables were used within.
Cochin Shipyard Limited, which built the IAC, is expected to fully hand it over to the Indian Navy in 2022. After successful completion of basin trials in November 2020, preparation is on for sea trials.
The Cabinet Committee on Security approved the project in 2002, while its phase-I contract was signed in 2007. Its keel laying was in 2009, followed by launch in 2013. Its phase-II contract was signed in 2017 and the phase-III contract in 2019.
The shipborne weapons include Barak LR SAM and AK-630, while it has MFSTAR and RAN-40L 3D radars as sensors. The vessel has a Shakti EW Suite.
It has a pair of runways and a ‘'short take off but arrested recovery’ system to control aircraft. The vessel relies largely on Russian technology and has an integrated platform management system readied by Bharat Heavy Electrical Ltd.
As per estimate, India needs three aircraft carriers - one each in Western and Eastern naval commands, while the third can be docked for maintenance, if needed.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who reviewed the vessel on Friday morning, was accompanied by Admiral Karambir Singh, Chief of the Naval Staff, and Vice Admiral A.K. Chawla, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command, Kochi.
On board the IAC, he interacted with 10-year-old Veer Kashyap, a student of Navy Children School, Kochi, who won the Pradhan Mantri Bal Puraskar 2021 for developing Corona Yuga - an innovative board game.
Thereafter, he visited a few training establishments of the Southern Naval Command and was briefed on important training and operational activities being undertaken by the command. He had lunch with Navy sailors at the Naval Project Gallery. He left for New Delhi in the evening.