From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : INS Vikrant
Mains level : Indigenization of defense production
The much-awaited sea trials of India’s maiden indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC-1), built by the public sector Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL) have begun.
Indigenous Aircraft Carrier 1
- IAC is the first aircraft carrier designed and built in India.
- It has been designed by the Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design (DND), and is being built at Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), a public sector shipyard under the Ministry of Shipping.
- The IAC-1, the biggest warship made indigenously, has an overall length of 263 m and a breadth of 63 m.
- It is capable of carrying 30 assorted aircraft including combat jets and helicopters.
- Propelled by four gas turbines, it can attain a top speed of 30 knots (about 55 kmph).
- The vessel will have a complement of 1,500 personnel.
Significance of IAC 1
- An aircraft carrier is one of the most potent marine assets for a nation, which enhances a Navy’s capability to travel far from its home shores to carry out air domination operations.
- Many experts consider having an aircraft carrier as essential to be considered a ‘blue water’ navy — one that has the capacity to project a nation’s strength and power across the high seas.
- An aircraft carrier generally leads as the capital ship of a carrier strike/battle group.
- As the carrier is a valuable and sometimes vulnerable target, it is usually escorted in the group by destroyers, missile cruisers, frigates, submarines, and supply ships.
Why does it matter that this is a Made-in-India warship?
- Only five or six nations currently have the capability of manufacturing an aircraft carrier — India joins this elite club now.
- According to the Navy, over 76 per cent of the material and equipment on board IAC-1 is indigenous.
- India’s earlier aircraft carriers were either built by the British or the Russians.
- The INS Vikramaditya, currently the Navy’s only aircraft carrier that was commissioned in 2013, started out as the Soviet-Russian Admiral Gorshkov.
- The country’s two earlier carriers, INS Vikrant and INS Viraat, were originally the British-built HMS Hercules and HMS Hermes before being commissioned into the Navy in 1961 and 1987 respectively.
Why will this warship be named INS Vikrant?
- INS Vikrant, a Majestic-class 19,500-tonne warship, was the name of India’s much-loved first aircraft carrier, a source of immense national pride over several decades of service before it was decommissioned in 1997.
- India acquired the Vikrant from the United Kingdom in 1961, and the carrier played a stellar role in the 1971 war with Pakistan that led to the birth of Bangladesh.
Now that India has the capability, will it build more carriers?
- Since 2015, the Navy has been seeking approval to build a third aircraft carrier for the country, which, if approved, will become India’s second Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC-2).
- This proposed carrier, to be named INS Vishal, is intended to be a giant 65,000-tonne vessel, much bigger than IAC-1 and the INS Vikramaditya.
- The Navy has been trying to convince the government of the “operational necessity” of having a third carrier.