From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : INS Vikrant
Mains level : Indigenization of defense production
The Indian Navy took delivery of IAC-1 the ‘Vikrant’, the nation’s first indigenously built aircraft carrier from its manufacturer, Cochin Shipyard Ltd.
- INS Vikrant also known as Indigenous Aircraft Carrier 1 (IAC-1), is an aircraft carrier constructed by the Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) for the Indian Navy.
- It is the first aircraft carrier to be built in India.
- It is named ‘Vikrant’ as a tribute to India’s first aircraft carrier, Vikrant (R11).
- The name Vikrant means “courageous” in Sanskrit.
- 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.
Why is it important for India to have an aircraft carrier?
- An aircraft carrier is one of the most potent marine assets for any 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 — that is, a navy 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 aircraft carrier is a prized and sometimes vulnerable target, it is usually escorted in the group by destroyers, missile cruisers, frigates, submarines, and supply ships.
And why is it a big deal that this warship has been Made in India?
- Only five or six nations currently have the capability of manufacturing an aircraft carrier, and India has joined this prestigious club now.
- Experts and Navy officials said India has demonstrated the capacity and self-reliance to build what is considered to be one of the most advanced and complex battleships in the world.
- India’s has had aircraft carriers earlier too — but those were built either by the British or the Russians.
- The ‘INS Vikramaditya’, which was commissioned in 2013 and which is currently the Navy’s only aircraft carrier, started out as the Soviet-Russian warship ‘Admiral Gorshkov’.
- India’s two earlier carriers, the ‘INS Vikrant’ and the ‘INS Viraat’, were originally the British-built ‘HMS Hercules’ and ‘HMS Hermes’.
- These two warships were commissioned into the Navy in 1961 and 1987 respectively.
Why will this new warship be named ‘INS Vikrant’?
- IAC-1 — as the carrier is currently codenamed — has been designed by the Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design (DND), and built at Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL).
- Once commissioned, it will be called ‘INS Vikrant’, the name that originally belonged to India’s much-loved first aircraft carrier.
- It was a source of immense national pride over several decades of service before it was decommissioned in 1997.
- The original ‘Vikrant’, a Majestic-class 19,500-tonne warship, which was acquired from the UK in 1961, played a stellar role in the 1971 War with Pakistan.
What weapons and equipment will the new ‘Vikrant’ have?
- The new warship is comparable to India’s existing carrier ‘INS Vikramaditya’, which is a 44,500-tonne vessel and can carry up to 34 aircraft, including both fighter jets and helicopters.
- The Navy had earlier said that once commissioned, IAC-1 will be “the most potent sea-based asset”, which will operate the Russian-made MiG-29K fighter aircraft and Kamov-31 Air Early Warning Helicopters.
- The new ‘Vikrant’ will also operate the soon-to-be-inducted MH-60R Seahawk multirole helicopter manufactured by the American aerospace and defence company Lockheed Martin.
- It will also take onboard the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) built by Bengaluru-based Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.