About INS Vikrant
- INS Vikrant/Indigenous Aircraft Carrier 1 (IAC-1) is the first indigenously built aircraft carrier, constructed by Cochin Shipyard Ltd, a public sector shipyard under Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways.
- With a displacement of 43,000 tonnes when fully loaded, INS Vikrant is set to be the seventh largest among the carriers or carrier classes in the world.
- The aircraft carrier has a maximum designed speed of 28 knots with endurance of 7,500 nautical miles, which is equivalent to around 14,000 km.
- In its fully operational mode, the carrier will have an air wing consisting of 30 aircraft comprising of Russian-origin, carrier-capable MiG-29K fighter jets and airborne early warning control helicopter Kamov-31 helicopters, US origin MH-60R multi-role helicopters, in addition to homegrown Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) and Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).
- It uses a Short Take Off- Barrier-Assisted Recovery system (STOBAR) to launch and recover aircraft.
- In the STOBAR type of carrier, the frontal part of the deck is elevated, forming a curve. This is called the ‘Ski-jump’. Thus when an aircraft leaves the deck at the end of the runway, it doesn’t travel straight in the same plane. Instead, it is thrown upward due to this curve. This helps aircraft in gaining height during the initial period.
Significance of Aircraft Carriers
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- One of its great advantages is that, by sailing in international waters, it does not interfere with any territorial sovereignty and thus obviates the need for overflight authorizations from third-party countries, reduces the times and transit distances of aircraft and therefore significantly increases the time of availability on the combat zone.
- In recent years, China has significantly ramped up its naval capabilities and is now the world’s largest navy. It has two aircraft carriers and has already started work on the third. China’s growing naval might poses a security risk to India.
- INS Vikrant’s commissioning adds muscle to the Indian Navy’s attempt to keep China in check. It also gives a huge leg up to India’s attempt to become a defence manufacturing hub.
Earlier Aircraft Carriers
- India 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’.
- The name ‘INS Vikrant’ originally belonged to India’s first aircraft carrier, 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.
Demand for another Aircraft Carrier
- Over the last few years, top commanders have been insisting for a third carrier apart from Russian-origin Kiev-class INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant.
- The Indigenous Aircraft Carrier-II will be named INS Vishal with a proposed displacement of around 65,000 tonnes.
- The idea is for India to have two carriers at any given point in time, if a third is in the refit.
Why in News?
- The Naval variant of the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) made its maiden landing onboard the country’s first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC), INS Vikrant.