Indian Navy takes a significant step towards operationalising the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier by successful landing of MiG-29K on INS Vikrant by Naval Pilots demonstrating India's prowess in Aircraft Carrier design, construction & operations while enhancing Navy's Combat Readiness.
INS Vikrant (R11) was the first aircraft carrier to ever grace the arsenal of the Indian Navy. Initially starting life as the HMS Hercules of the British Royal Navy, the ship was re-christened as ‘Vikrant’ after purchase by the Indian Navy. The construction aircraft carrier began when World War II was in full swing, but would not be completed even after the end of the conflict. The incomplete ship was sold to the Indian Navy in 1957, who would finish its construction by the year 1961.
INS Vikrant, also known as Indigenous Aircraft Carrier 1 (IAC-1), is an aircraft carrier constructed by Cochin Shipyard in Kochi, Kerala for the Indian Navy. It is the first aircraft carrier to be built in India.
Work on the ship’s design began in 1999, and the keel was laid in February 2009. The carrier was floated out of its dry dock on 29 December 2011 and was launched on 12 August 2013. The basin trials were completed in December 2020, and the ship is expected to start sea trials by the end of 2021 and enter into service in end of 2022 or early 2023. The project cost has escalated, by 2014, to ₹19,341 crore. With an additional ₹3,000 crore authorised for phase III, in 2019.
It is 262 metres (860 ft) long and 62 metres (203 ft) wide, and displaces about 40,000 metric tons (39,000 long tons). It features a STOBAR configuration with a ski-jump.
Vikrant is powered by four General Electric LM2500+ gas turbines on two shafts, generating over 80 megawatts (110,000 hp) of power. The gearboxes for the carriers were designed and supplied by Elecon Engineering.
On May 2022, the Indian Navy shortlisted the F-18 Hornet to be used as a primary aircraft for the INS Vikrant. Competing for the same spot is also the Dassault Rafale. Both aircrafts are being tested at the moment extensively before a decision can be undertaken. The carrier will need about 30 planes and if they are not ready on time, an interim alternative will be looked at. But no decision has been taken as yet. There are MiG29Ks on the Gorshkov and the Indian Air Force has the Rafale.
Most American carriers with which the Indian Navy exercises during the Malabar, have the F-18. The Indian navy is expected to arrive at a decision before the official induction of the INS Vikrant by August 2022.
The INS Vikrant was officially commissioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 2nd, 2022. In his speech he asserted that the completion of the INS Vikrant is a sign that “India is on the path to becoming a self-reliant nation”.
In December 2022, the Indian Navy submitted a detailed trial-evaluation report on the performance of the Rafale (M) and F/A-18 Super Hornet to the Ministry of Defence and reportedly France’s Dassault Aviation that makes Rafale (M) emerged as the front-runner for INS Vikrant, leaving Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet behind.
These fighter jets had showcased their capabilities at the shore based test facility at INS Hansa in Goa last year, which consists of a ski-jump resembling that of the two Indian aircraft carriers INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant.
The carrier INS Vikrant has a capacity for around 36 aircraft onboard and the Indian Navy reportedly wants to procure 26 twin engine fighter aircraft.
The aircraft carrier INS Vikrant is the first aircraft carrier, which has been developed and built by the Cochin Shipyard Limited in Kerala for the Indian Navy. It is named after India's first aircraft carrier INS Vikrant as a mark of tribute. Whereas, a light combat aircraft is a light, multi-role jet military aircraft, commonly derived from advanced trainer designs, designed for engaging in light combat. The aircraft can either be used in a light strike or attack missions, reconnaissance, interdiction roles or trainer roles.
Copyright©2023 Living Media India Limited. For reprint rights: Syndications Today