INS Vikrant (2013)
Vikrant being moved for fitting out in June 2015
|Namesake:||INS Vikrant (R11)|
|Owner:||Ministry of Defence|
|Builder:||Cochin Shipyard Limited|
|Cost:||$0.5bn (planned), $3.765bn (to date)|
|Laid down:||28 February 2009|
|Launched:||12 August 2013|
|Completed:||estimated 2020 |
|Motto:||"I defeat those who fight against me". Sanskrit जयेम सं युधि स्पृध:|
|Class and type:||Vikrant-class aircraft carrier|
|Displacement:||40,000 tonnes (44,000 short tons)|
|Length:||262 m (860 ft)|
|Beam:||60 m (200 ft)|
|Draught:||8.4 m (28 ft)|
|Depth:||25.6 m (84 ft)|
|Installed power:||4 × General Electric LM2500+ gas turbines|
|Speed:||28 knots (52 km/h; 32 mph)|
|Range:||8,000 nautical miles (15,000 km; 9,200 mi)|
|Crew:||196 officers, 1,449 sailors (including air crew)|
|Aviation facilities:||10,000 m2 (110,000 sq ft) flight deck|
INS Vikrant (Sanskrit: विक्रान्त víkrānta "courageous") (IAC-I) is the first aircraft carrier built in India and the first Vikrant-class aircraft carrier built by Cochin Shipyard (CSL) in Kochi, Kerala for the Indian Navy. The motto of the ship is Jayema Sam Yudhi Sprdhah (Sanskrit: जयेम सं युधि स्पृध:), which is taken from Rig Veda 1.8.3 and is translated as "I defeat those who fight against me".
Work on the ship's design began in 1999, and the keel was laid in February 2009. The carrier was floated out of its dry dock on 29 December 2011 and was launched in 2013. The ship is currently being fitted out, according to the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) it is expected to be completed by 2023, though the Navy still hopes to partially commission the ship in late 2018. The project cost has escalated dramatically to ₹19,341 crore (US$3.0 billion) as of 2014.
Cochin Shipyard has offered repeatedly to build a second similar Project 71 Indigenous Aircraft Carrier while the Navy finalizes plans for the configuration of its larger and likely nuclear-powered next carrier.
INS Vikrant is the first ship of the Vikrant class of aircraft carriers. The name Vikrant (Sanskrit vikrānta, literally "stepping beyond") means "courageous" or "bold". It is 262 metres (860 ft) long and 60 metres (200 ft) wide, and displaces about 40,000 metric tons (39,000 long tons). It features a Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR) configuration with a ski-jump. The deck is designed to enable aircraft such as the MiG-29K to operate from the carrier. It is expected to carry an air group of up to thirty aircraft, which will include up to 24–26 fixed-wing combat aircraft, primarily the Mikoyan MiG-29K . The naval variant of the HAL Tejas was rejected by the navy on Dec 2, 2016 for being overweight. Besides carrying 10 Kamov Ka-31 or Westland Sea King helicopters. The Ka-31 will fulfill the airborne early warning (AEW) role and the Sea King will provide anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability.
Vikrant is powered by four General Electric LM2500+ gas turbines on two shafts, generating over 80 megawatts (110,000 hp) of power. The gearboxes for the carriers were designed and supplied by Elecon Engineering.
Vikrant is the first aircraft carrier to be designed by the Directorate of Naval Design of the Indian Navy and the first warship to be built by Cochin Shipyard. Its construction involved participation of a large number of private and public firms. The keel for Vikrant was laid by Defence Minister A.K. Antony at the Cochin Shipyard on 28 February 2009.
The AB/A grade steel which was supposed to be supplied from Russia faced problems in delivery. To resolve this, the Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL) and Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) created facilities to manufacture the steel in India. Reportedly, three types of special steel for the hull, flight deck and floor compartments were manufactured at the Bhilai Steel Plant, Chhattisgarh and Rourkela Steel Plant, Odisha. Due to this, this is the first ship of the Indian navy to be built completely using domestically-produced steel. The main switch board, steering gear and water tight hatches have been manufactured by Larsen & Toubro in Mumbai and Talegaon; high-capacity air conditioning and refrigeration systems have been manufactured in Kirloskar Group’s plants in Pune; most pumps have been supplied by Best and Crompton; Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL) supplied the Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS), which is being installed by Avio, an Italian company; the gear box was supplied by Elecon Engineering; and the electrical cables are being supplied by Nicco Industries.
The ship uses modular construction, with 874 blocks joined together for the hull. By the time the keel was laid, 423 blocks weighing over 8,000 tons had been completed. The construction plan called for the carrier to be launched in 2010, when it would displace some 20,000 tonnes, as a larger displacement could not be accommodated in the building bay. It was planned that after about a year's development in the refit dock, the carrier would be launched when all the major components, including underwater systems, would be in place. Outfitting would then be carried out after launch. As per the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), sea trials were initially planned to commence in 2013, with the ship to be commissioned in 2014.
In March 2012, it was reported that the project had been affected by the delay in the delivery of the main gearboxes for the carrier. The supplier, Elecon, attributed it to having to work around a number of technical complexities due to the length of the propulsion shafts. Other issues resulting in delays included an accident with a diesel generator and an issue with its alignment. In August 2011, the Defence Ministry reported to the Lok Sabha that 75% of the construction work for the hull of the lead carrier had been completed and the carrier would be first launched in December 2011, following which further works would be completed until commissioning. On 29 December 2011, the completed hull of the carrier was first floated out of its dry dock at CSL, with its displacement at over 14,000 tonnes. Interior works and fittings on the hull would be carried out until the second half of 2012, when it would again be dry-docked for integration with its propulsion and power generation systems.
In July 2012, The Times of India reported that construction of Vikrant has been delayed by three years, and the ship would be ready for commissioning by 2018. Later, in November 2012, Indian English-language news channel NDTV reported that cost of the aircraft carrier had increased and the delivery has been delayed by at least five years and is expected to be with the Indian Navy only after 2018 as against the scheduled date of delivery of 2014. Work then commenced for the next stage of construction, which included the installation of the integrated propulsion system, the superstructure, the upper decks, the cabling, sensors and weapons.
In July 2013, the Defence Minister A. K. Antony announced that Vikrant would be launched on 12 August at the Cochin Shipyard. The ship was launched by his wife, Elizabeth Antony, on 12 August 2013. Extensive sea trials are expected to begin in mid of 2017 and the ship will be inducted into the navy by late 2018.
According to Admiral Robin Dhowan, about 83% of the fabrication work and 75% of the construction work had been completed at the time of launching. He said that 90% of the body work of the aircraft carrier had been designed and made in India, about 50% of the propulsion system, and about 30% of its weaponry. He also said that the ship would be equipped with a long range missile system with multi-function radar and a close-in weapon system (CIWS). After the launch, Vikrant was re-docked for the second phase of construction, in which the ship will be fitted with various weapons and sensors, and the propulsion system, flight deck and the aircraft complex will be integrated. In December 2014 it was reported that Vikrant will be commissioned by 2018.
Undocking and fitting-out phase
Vikrant was undocked on 10 June 2015 after the completion of structural work. Cabling, piping, heat and ventilation works will be completed by 2017; sea trials will 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 procurement delays had been resolved and the carrier's fitting-out was 62% complete, with trials of the auxiliary systems scheduled by late 2017.
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The 37,500 tonne INS Vikrant is expected to go for extensive trials in 2016 before being inducted into the navy by 2017, reports say. With this, India joins the select group of countries comprising the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia and France capable of building such a vessel.
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