India launches self-built aircraft carrier

India launches self-built aircraft carrier

By CCTV correspondent Matt Stuttard

India has launched its first domestically-designed and built aircraft carrier, four years behind schedule. The INS Vikrant is the biggest warship ever built in the country and is expected to form the centerpiece of the Indian Navy for years to come.

A momentous day for the Indian Navy, the South Asia giant now joins an elite club of just a few countries capable of designing and building large scale, high capability carriers.

 

India’s indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, built by the Cochin Shipyard
Limited for the Indian Navy, is docked at the Cochin Shipyard Limited in Kerala,
on Aug. 11, 2013. India launched its first indigenous aircraft carrier Monday,
which will put the country in the league of nations to have such a capability,
a top defense official said. (Xinhua/stringer)

The INS Vikrant got a special send-off from the wife of the Indian Defense Minister, at a shipyard in the southern city of Kochi.

The 37,000 ton ship, measuring 260 meters in length, will join the Vikramaditya, another carrier which was purchased from Russia in 2004.

They will form the nucleus of two major battle groups protecting India’s east and west coastlines, which will play a critical role in projecting India’s maritime prowess.

Arackaparambil Kurien Antony, Indian Defense Minister, said, “We must continue the process of strengthening indigenous capabilities towards securing our maritime interests. Our navy must continue to maintain operational readiness at all times to ward off any likely misadventure against our national interest.”

But the carrier is not quite the finished article. It still has to be fitted out with its internal structure and weaponry. The Indian navy says extensive sea trials will take place in 2016 before the ship finally sees active service at the end of 2018.

By the time it goes into service, it will have cost the country 2.2 billion US dollars, more than four times its planned construction budget.

 

India’s indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, built by the Cochin Shipyard
Limited for the Indian Navy, is docked at the Cochin Shipyard Limited in Kerala,
on Aug. 11, 2013. India launched its first indigenous aircraft carrier Monday,
which will put the country in the league of nations to have such a capability,
a top defense official said. (Xinhua/stringer)

 

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