India got its first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier with Prime Minister Narendra Modi commissioning INS Vikrant in Kochi, marking a significant step towards strengthening the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ goal in the strategic sector of defence.
The Vikrant has 76 per cent indigenous content, which includes combat management system, electronic warfare suite, data network, and integrated platform management system, among others. As far as the origin of the word goes, the ‘Vi’ prefix in the Sanskrit word Vikrant denotes something that is distinctive or extraordinary, and the ‘krant’ suffix means to move or advance in a direction.
Named after her illustrious predecessor, which had played a vital role in the 1971 war, INS Vikrant is designed by the Indian Navy’s in-house Warship Design Bureau (WDB) and built by the Cochin Shipyard, a public sector shipyard. With the commissioning of Vikrant, India will have two operational aircraft carriers, which will bolster the maritime security of the nation.
Stretching to 262m, Vikrant in its length exceeds that of two football fields and is 62m wide. Its height of 59m packs in 14 decks in all and the vessel features over 2,300 compartments and provides room for a crew of 1,600 personnel and includes specialised cabins for women officers. Construction of the vessel began in 2009 at the Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL) and the total cost involved is around Rs 23,000 crore.
An aircraft carrier is one of the most potent marine assets for any nation, which enhances a Navy’s capability to travel far from its home shores to carry out air domination operations. Many experts consider having an aircraft carrier as essential to be considered a “blue water” navy — that is, a navy that has the capacity to project a nation’s strength and power across the high seas. An aircraft carrier generally leads as the capital ship of a carrier strike/ battle group. As the aircraft carrier is a prized and sometimes vulnerable target, it is usually escorted in the group by destroyers, missile cruisers, frigates, submarines, and supply ships.