The commissioning of 43,000-tonne indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant has fumed the debate over the need of a third carrier considering impending threat from hostile neighbour. China’s expansionist policy has created a long impasse and a tense atmosphere in the Indo-Pacific region forcing the US, Japan, India and Australia to come together and to unveil several measures to counter increasingly aggressive military policies in the region.
Considering the fact that China has the largest Navy in the world and is aggressively spreading its footprint in small countries and setting up logistical bases to enhance its military and strategic reach, it is the hard time to ramp up military resources to counter any aggressive attempt with the same zeal.
The pragmatic approach towards mordernising the navy with latest artillery besides lobbying with countries with same interest and concerns to form an international lobby to put pressure on China’s aggressive expansionist policy is the need of the hour.
The INS Vikrant is India’s second operational aircraft carrier, joining the Soviet-era INS Vikramaditya that it purchased from Russia in 2004 to defend the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal. After being inducted the carrier, India has joined an elite group of countries such as the U.S., the U.K., Russia, France and China that have the capability to design and build carriers with a displacement of over 40,000 tonnes.
The aircraft carrier is designed by Indian Navy’s in-house Warship Design Bureau (WDB) and built by Cochin Shipyard Limited, a Public Sector Shipyard under the Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways, Vikrant has been built with state of the art automation features and is the largest ship ever built in maritime history of India.
The 262.5 m long and 61.6 m wide Vikrant displaces approx 43,000 T, having a maximum designed speed of 28 Knots with endurance of 7,500 Nautical Miles. The ship has around 2,200 compartments, designed for a crew of around 1,600 including women officers and sailors.
The carrier is designed with a very high degree of automation for machinery operations, ship navigation and survivability. The carrier is equipped with the latest state of the art equipment and systems.
The ship is capable of operating air wing consisting of 30 aircraft comprising of MiG-29K fighter jets, Kamov-31, MH-60R multi-role helicopters, in addition to indigenously manufactured Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) and Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) (Navy). Using a novel aircraft-operation mode known as Short Take Off But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR), INS Vikrant is equipped with a ski-jump for launching aircraft, and a set of ‘arrester wires’ for their recovery onboard.
With 76% indigenous content, construction of INS Vikrant has resulted in direct employment generation for over 2,000 employees of CSL. In addition, it has resulted in indirect employment generation for approx 12,500 employees for over 550 OEMs, sub-contractors, ancillary industries and over 100 MSMEs as well, thereby bolstering plough back effect on economy.