Cochin Shipyard signs 3rd phase deal for first India-made aircraft carrier

File Photo: Vikrant, India’s first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier at the Cochin Shipyard.

Mumbai: India’s government-owned Cochin Shipyard Limited has signed the Phase-3 contract for the construction of the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier. The announced led to the company (BSE: COCHINSHIP) witnessing a spike in prices of 5.28 per cent, closing at Rs. 409.5 on the Bombay Stock Exchange on Friday than the previous closing price of Rs 388.95.

The Phase-3 contract covers the operational and harbour acceptance trials of various equipment and systems installed on board and also the Sea Trials of the Carrier.

The contract, worth Rs 3,000 crore ($425 million), was signed on Oct. 31, the company told the Bombay Stock Exchange through its corporate filings.

The contract also covers some activities, which are to be undertaken post delivery of the vessel including support during weapon and aviation trials.

The deal was signed at the Ministry of Defence in New Delhi between Joint Secretary and Acquisition Manager (Maritime Systems) Nidhi Chhibber and Cochin Shipyard’s Director (Operations) Suresh Babu N. V.

The contract signals the possible closure of the project within a matter of few months from now, and the likelihood of the first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier, christened Vikrant in a revist of the name the first-ever aircraft carrier operated by the Indian Navy in the 1970s, getting commissioned sometime in the latter half of next year.

The second in the series of aircraft carriers – a total of three is envisaged under the larger project – is tentatively named as Vishal, conceived as a 65,000 tonne aircraft carrier, embarking 55 aircraft and costing Rs 60,000 crore.

After the Ministry of Defence objected to the cost, seen as exorbitant, the navy has reportedly downsized the proposal to a 50,000-tonne carrier costing about Rs 50,000 crore. But the government remains unwilling to accord funding or sanction.

Meanwhile, United Kingdom has offered to help India with the locally-planned super carrier project by offering to share its blueprints of Royal Navy‘s new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth.

India currently operates the lone INS Vikramaditya that it bought from Russia and commissioned in November 2013 in the Indian Navy, which also recently decommissioned its INS Viraat, again bought from the United Kingdom in July 2018.

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