INS Vikrant (2013)
INS Vikrant (2013) is an aircraft carrier constructed by the Cochin Shipyard Limited at Kerala for the Indian Navy. It is the first aircraft carrier to be built in India. It is named Vikrant as a tribute to India’s first aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant. The name Vikrant means “courageous” in Sanskrit. The motto of the ship, “Jayema Saṁ Yudhi Spr̥dhaḥ“, means ‘I defeat those who fight against me’.
In 1999, Defence Minister authorised the development and construction of an aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, under the Project 71 Air Defence Ship (ADS). By that time, given the ageing Sea Harrior fleet, the letter of intent called for a carrier that would carry more modern jet fighters. In 2001, Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) released a graphic illustration showing a 32,000-tonne (31,000-long-ton; 35,000-short-ton) design with a pronounced ski jump. The aircraft carrier project finally received formal government approval in January 2003.
By then, design updates called for a 37,500-tonne (36,900-long-ton; 41,300-short-ton) carrier to operate the Mikoyan MiG-29K. India opted for a three-carrier fleet consisting of one carrier battle group stationed on each seaboard, and a third carrier held in reserve, in order to continuously protect both its flanks, to protect economic interests and mercantile traffic, and to provide humanitarian platforms in times of disasters, since a carrier can provide a self-generating supply of fresh water, medical assistance or engineering expertise to populations in need for assistance.
In August 2006, Cheife of the naval Staff stated that the designation for the vessel had been changed from Air Defence Ship (ADS) to Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC). The euphemistic ADS had been adopted in planning stages to ward off concerns about a naval build-up. Final revisions to the design increased the displacement of the carrier from 37,500 tons to over 40,000 tons. The length of the ship also increased from 252 metres (827 ft) to 262 metres (860 ft).
Undocking and fitting-out
Vikrant was undocked on 10 June 2015 after the completion of structural work. Cabling, piping, heat and ventilation works were scheduled to be completed by 2017 with sea trials to begin thereafter. By October 2015, the construction of the hull was close to 98 percent complete, with flight deck construction underway. The installation of machinery, piping and the propeller shafts was in progress by January 2016; it was reported, however, that there were delays in the delivery of equipment from Russia for the carrier’s aviation complex. By May 2017, the carrier’s fitting-out was 62% complete, with trials of the auxiliary systems scheduled.