New Delhi: India is all set to commission a new aircraft carrier, the most potent platform of the navy to counter recent Chinese forays in its maritime backyard, in the first half of 2022.
India’s Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh today visited the Cochin Shipyard Limited’s facility to inspect the progress of the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier project.
When commissioned, the IAC is set to be christened INS Vikrant, a reincarnation of India’s first aircraft carrier operated by the Indian Navy five decades ago.
Accompanied by Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh and Southern Naval Command Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Vice Admiral A. K. Chawla, Rajnath Singh checked on the warship’s progress and was briefed about the successful Basin Trials completed during Nov. 2020.
He was also appraised of the progress achieved on integration of a number of other navigational, communication and operational systems since then, as it prepares for its maiden Contractor Sea Trials (CST), which is expected in the forthcoming months.
The IAC shall operate MiG-29K fighter aircraft, Kamov-31 airborne early warning helicopters, the soon to be inducted MH-60R multi-role helicopter and the indigenously manufactured Advanced Light Helicopters.
It would offer an incomparable military instrument with its ability to project air power over long distances, including air interdiction, anti-surface warfare, offensive and defensive counter-air, airborne anti-submarine warfare and airborne early warning.
During the visit, Rajnath Singh described the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier construction at Kochi as a shining example of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He said IAC has nearly 75 per cent indigenous content – from design to steel used in construction to key weapons and sensors. He recalled a recent approval accorded by the Defence Acquisition Council for Request for Proposals (tender, in common parlance) of Project 75(I) for construction of new generation submarines under the Strategic Partnership model, which will give further fillip to indigenous development of niche manufacturing technologies.
Rajnath Singh highlighted the combat capability, reach and versatility of the aircraft carrier, saying that it will add formidable capabilities in the defence of the country and help secure India’s interests in maritime domain.
Appreciating the significant progress was made on the construction of IAC despite COVID-19, he said the commissioning of IAC will be a befitting tribute to 75 years of India’s independence.
He had a day earlier inspected ‘Project Seabird’, a naval base coming up at Karwar in Karnataka, which will be the Asia’s largest naval base, as examples of the government’s commitment to build Indian Navy’s capabilities.
NOTE: Defence.Capital is available on Telegram. Please click here to subscribe