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INS Vikrant (2013)

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INS Vikrant (2013)

During the undocking of Vikrant
History
India
Name: INS Vikrant
Namesake: INS Vikrant (R11)
Owner: Ministry of Defence
Operator: Indian Navy
Ordered: 2004
Builder: Cochin Shipyard Limited
Laid down: 28 February 2009
Launched: 12 August 2013
Commissioned: 2018 (expected)
Motto: Sanskrit जयेम सं युधि स्पृध:
Status: Fitting out
General characteristics
Class & type: Vikrant-class aircraft carrier
Displacement: 40,000 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
Propulsion: Two shafts
Speed: 28 knots (52 km/h; 32 mph)
Range: 8,000 nautical miles (15,000 km; 9,200 mi)[1]
Crew: 1,400 (including air crew)
Sensors and
processing systems:
Armament:
Aircraft carried:
Aviation facilities: 10,000 m2 (110,000 sq ft) flight deck

INS Vikrant (Sanskrit: विक्रान्त víkrānta "courageous"[3]) (IAC-I) is the first aircraft carrier built in India and the first Vikrant-class aircraft carrier built by Cochin Shipyard (CSL) 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[4] and was launched in 2013. Construction is expected to be completed by 2016 and the ship is due to be commissioned in late 2018. The project cost has escalated dramatically to 19341 crore (US$2.9 billion) as of 2014.[5]

CSL 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.[5]

Design

INS Vikrant during its launch in August 2013
INS Vikrant during its undocking in June 2015

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)[6] 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 30 fixed-wing aircraft,[7] primarily the Mikoyan MiG-29K and the naval variant of the HAL Tejas Mark 2, 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.[8][9]

A schematic diagram of INS Vikrant

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.[4][10][11]

Construction

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.[12][13]

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.[4][8] Reportedly, three special steels for the hull, flight deck and floor compartments were manufactured at the Bhilai Steel Plant and Rourkela Steel Plant. Due to this, this is the first ship on the Indian navy to be built completely using domestically-produced steel.[14] The main switch board, steering gear and water tight hatches have been manufactured by Larsen and 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; and the electrical cables are being supplied by Nicco Industries.[15]

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.[16] 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.[17][18]

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 Engineering, attributed it to having to work around a number of technical complexities due to the length of the propulsion shafts.[19] Other issues resulting in delays included an accident with a diesel generator and an issue with its alignment.[20] 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.[21][22] 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.[10] 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.[1][4]

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 2017. Later, in November 2012, 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.[23] Work has begun for next stage which includes installation of the integrated propulsion system, the superstructure, the upper decks, the cabling, sensors and weapons.[24]

Launch

In July 2013, former 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.[25] Extensive sea trials are expected to begin in 2016 and the ship will be inducted into the navy by late 2018.[26][27][28]

According to Admiral Robin Dhowan, about 83% of the fabrication work and 75% of the construction work was complete. 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).[26] 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.[15] 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 commence soon and will be complete by 2017, the sea trials will begin thereafter.[29] By October 2015, the construction of the hull was close to 98 percent complete, with flight deck construction underway.[30]

See also

References

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External links

  • Images during the launch of Vikrant
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