Prime Minister Narendra Modi today commissioned the country’s first indigenous aircraft carrier Indian Naval Ship (INS) Vikrant at Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), showcasing the country’s growing prowess in indigenous manufacturing and a major milestone in the path towards ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.
During the event, the Prime Minister also unveiled the new Naval Ensign (Nishaan), doing away with the colonial past and befitting the rich Indian maritime heritage. He dedicated the new ensign to Chhatrapati Shivaji.
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister said every Indian is witnessing the sunrise of a new future. This event being held on the INS Vikrant is a tribute to the rising spirits of India on the world horizon.
He said that today we are seeing a manifestation of the dream of the freedom fighters where they envisioned a capable and strong India.
The Prime Minister exclaimed “Vikrant is huge, massive, and vast. Vikrant is distinguished, and Vikrant is also special. Vikrant is not just a warship. This is a testament to the hard work, talent, influence and commitment of India in the 21st century. If the goals are distant, the journeys are long, the ocean and the challenges are endless – then India’s answer is Vikrant. The incomparable Amrit of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav is Vikrant. Vikrant is a unique reflection of India becoming self-reliant.”
Commenting on the new mood of the nation, the Prime Minister said, no challenge is too difficult for today’s India.
He said “today, India has joined those countries in the world, which manufacture such a huge aircraft carrier with indigenous technology. Today INS Vikrant has filled the country with new confidence, and has created a new confidence in the country.”
Designed by the Indian Navy’s in-house Directorate of Naval Design (DND) and built by CSL, a Public Sector Shipyard under the Ministry of Shipping (MoS), the carrier has been christened after her illustrious predecessor, India’s first Aircraft Carrier which played a vital role in the 1971 war.
The Prime Minister acknowledged and praised the contribution of the Navy, engineers of Cochin Shipyard, scientists and especially the workers who worked on the project. He also noted the happy and auspicious occasion of Onam that is adding even more happiness to the occasion.
Every part of INS Vikrant has its own merits, a strength, and a development journey of its own. It is a symbol of indigenous potential, indigenous resources and indigenous skills. The steel installed in its airbase is also indigenous, developed by DRDO scientists and produced by Indian companies, he said.
Explaining the massive proportions of the Carrier, the Prime Minister said it is like a floating city. It produces electricity that is sufficient to power 5000 households and the wiring used will reach Kashi from Kochi, he said.
He said that INS Vikrant is a living embodiment of the Spirit of the Panch Prans that he proclaimed from the ramparts of Red Fort.
The Prime Minister talked about the Indian Maritime tradition and naval capabilities. Chhatrapati Veer Shivaji Maharaj, he said, built such a navy on the strength of this sea power, which kept the enemies on their toes. When the British came to India, they used to be intimidated by the power of Indian ships and traded through them. So they decided to break the back of India’s maritime power. History is witness to how strict restrictions were imposed on Indian ships and merchants by enacting a law in the British Parliament at that time, the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister noted that today on the historic date of September 2, 2022, India has taken off a trace of slavery, a burden of slavery. The Indian Navy has got a new flag from today. Till now the identity of slavery remained on the flag of the Indian Navy. But from today onwards, inspired by Chhatrapati Shivaji, the new Navy flag will fly in the sea and in the sky.
Incidentally, the country’s steelmaking giant Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), a Maharatna PSU, has supplied the entire speciality DMR grade steel for INS Vikrant. SAIL has supplied about 30000 Tonnes of specialty steel for building this first swadeshi Aircraft Carrier.
The Prime Minister remarked that when Vikrant descends to protect our maritime zone, many women soldiers of the Navy will also be stationed there. With the immense power of the ocean and boundless female power, it is becoming the lofty identity of the new India. Now the Indian Navy has decided to open all its branches for women. The restrictions that were there are now being removed. Just as there are no boundaries for the capable waves, there will be no boundaries or restrictions for the daughters of India.
The 262 mtr long carrier has a full displacement of close to 45,000 tonnes which is much larger and more advanced than her predecessor. The ship is powered by four Gas Turbines totaling 88 MW power and has a maximum speed of 28 Knots and an endurance of 7,500 nautical miles. Built at an overall cost of close to Rs. 20,000 Crs, the project has progressed in three Phases of a contract between MoD and CSL.
The 40,000 tonnes — IAC-1’s reach and versatility will give more strength to the Indian Navy to secure the country’s interest in the Indian Ocean region where China continues to increase its presence and beyond. While China operates two aircraft carriers in the region, the Indian Navy so far operates INS Vikramaditya – a modified Russian Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier which is 45,000 tonnes.
This new warship has been designed to hold 1700 personnel, there are special cabins for accommodating women officers, and there are 2,300 compartments. This aircraft carrier is 62 meters wide, has a height of 59 meters and is 262 meters long.
Vikrant has been built with a high degree of automation for machinery operation, ship navigation and survivability, and has been designed to accommodate an assortment of fixed-wing and rotary aircraft. The ship would be 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 STOBAR (Short Take-Off but Arrested Landing), the IAC is equipped with a ski- jump for launching aircraft, and a set of ‘arrester wires’ for their recovery onboard.
The ship has a large number of indigenous equipment and machinery, involving major industrial houses in the country viz. BEL, BHEL, GRSE, Keltron, Kirloskar, Larsen & Toubro, Wartsila India etc. as well as over 100 MSMEs. The indigenization efforts have also led to the development of ancillary industries, besides the generation of employment opportunities and bolstering plough back effect on the economy, both locally as well as pan-India. A major spin-off of this is the development and production of indigenous warship-grade steel for the ship through a partnership between the Navy, DRDO and Steel Authority of India (SAIL), which has enabled the country to become self-sufficient with respect to warship steel. Today all the warships being built in the country are being manufactured using indigenous steel.
Several design iterations, including the use of 3D Virtual Reality models and advanced engineering software, were used by the Directorate of Naval Design in shaping the design of the carrier. CSL had also upgraded their shipbuilding infrastructure as well as enhanced productivity skills during the building of the ship.