India’s brand-new and indigenously built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant will be ready for serving the Indian Navy soon. The warship with its battle group and lethal fighter aircraft will be deployed by May 2023. The other aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya will also be ready for deployment by the end of March 2023 following a major overhaul which went on for almost 15 months.
The Indian Navy will be operating two aircraft carriers after a gap of almost nine years. The last time the Indian Navy operated two aircraft carriers, the INS Vikrant and INS Viraat, was in 2016. INS Viraat was decommissioned on March 6, 2017.
Since then, the Indian Navy has only used the INS Vikramaditya as its solitary aircraft carrier. Another aircraft carrier was urgently required by the Indian military so that they could be stationed on the western and eastern coasts respectively. INS Vikrant, a homemade aircraft carrier, started its sea trial in mid 2021.
The ship measures 262 metres in length and 62 metres in width. It has a planned displacement of 45,000 tonnes and can travel 7,500 nautical miles at its intended speed of 28 knots. The largest ship ever built in India, INS Vikrat has an advanced automation function. The warship has 18 floors, 14 decks, and 2,300 compartments, and is referred to as a floating metropolis.
It can also generate enough energy to power up to 500 households. The ship has a crew of 196 Navy officers, 1,449 sailors which also includes the air crew. Its kitchen can make 10,000 rotis daily.
The ship is so large that it can fit two football arenas and two Olympic swimming pools inside. It has 16 hospital beds, 250 fuel tankers, and 2400 compartments.
It can accommodate 36 aircraft, including MH-60 Romeo helicopters, Kamov-KA 31 helicopters, MiG-29k fighters. The ship can also carry either Rafael Marine or FA/18 Super Hornet aircraft if the Indian Navy decides to pick one of them as part of its modernisation programme. The indigenous twin-engine deck-based fighters (TEDBF) being developed for the Indian Navy will also join the aircraft carrier.
The domestic Maharatna PSU Steel Authority of India supplied DMR 249 grade steel.
The ship has a cutting-edge STOBAR (Short-Takeoff But Arrested Recovery), which comprises ski-jumping and arrest wires.