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The Vikrant class aircraft carriers' (formerly, the Project 71 "Air Defence Ship" (ADS)) are the first aircraft carriers of the Indian Navy to be designed and built in Indiamarker. They are being built by Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL).

The Vikrant class carriers will be the largest warships built by CSL. Work on the lead vessel of the class started in 2008, and the keel was laid in February 2009. Eighty percent of works on the carrier will be completed before its launch in 2010. The first carrier of the class was expected to enter service by 2012, but was delayed by a year reportedly due to the inability of Russiamarker to supply the AB/A grade steel. This led to SAIL creating facilities to manufacture the steel in India.. In August 2009 the military purchasing publication Defence Industry Daily reported that the in-service date had slipped to at least 2015.

The early warning sensors and anti-aircraft missile capability of the first aircraft carrier is likely to be similar to that of the Kolkata class destroyers. CSL expects the Navy to place the order for the second carrier of the class by the end of 2009, and work is planned to begin in early 2010.

History

India announced in 1989,a plan to replace the ageing British-built carriers with two new 28,000 ton aircraft carriers.The first vessel was to replace the Vikrant, which was set to decommission in early 1997.Construction was to start at the Cochin Shipyard (CSL) in 1993 after the Indian Naval Design Organisation had translated this design study into a production model.In 2001, CSL released a graphic showing the 32,000-ton STOBAR (Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery) design with a pronounced ski jump. Though the proposal to build a 20,000 ton Air Defence Ship (ADS) had been in the pipeline since the early 1990s, it received formal government approval only in January 2003. By then time, the vessel had doubled in displacement, to a 37,500 ton warship that would carry jet fighters like the MiG-29K and not the Sea Harriers as first planned. In August 2006 the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Arun Prakash stated that the designation for the vessel had been changed from Air Defence Ship (ADS) to Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC). The misnomer ADS was adopted by the navy to ward off objections to the Navy going in for an aircraft carrier, especially by the IAF when the SU-30s were being acquired.The design and construction of Carrier is a technical complexity which far outstrip any such challenge faced hitherto by the Indian Navy. The earlier planned displacement of 37,000 tons was increased to 40,000 tons due to design changes. The length of the ship also increased from 252 (827 ft) metres to 260 metres (853 ft).

Design

The carrier will feature a ski-jump in STOBAR (Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery) configuration. The deck is designed to enable aircraft such as the MiG-29 and smaller to operate from the carrier.

The Vikrant class is designed to deploy up to 40 aircraft, primarily the Mikoyan MiG-29K and the HAL Tejas Mark 2, including 10 Kamov Ka-31 or HAL Dhruv helicopters.

The naval version of HAL Tejas is hoped to be ready by the time INS Vikrant is commissioned.

Status



The keel for the lead vessel of the class, INS Vikrant, was laid by the defense minister A.K Antony at the Cochin Shipyard on February 28, 2009. The ship will use modular construction. A total of 874 blocks will be joined together to speed up the building process. By the time the keel was laid, 423 blocks weighing over 8,000 tons, were completed.

The vessel will be launched in 2010 when it would have completed some 20,000 tonnes, including the hull, as it cannot be launched at a higher displacement from the building bay. After about a year’s development in the refit dock, it will be launched again when all major components and everything underwater would be in place. Only outfitting would then remain. As per the CCS (Cabinet Committee on Security) plan, sea trials were initially planned to commence in 2013, with the ship to be commissioned in 2014.

The order for the second aircraft carrier in the series is expected to be placed by 2010. The second carrier is planned to be inducted into the Indian Navy by 2017.

Ships in class

  • INS Vikrant
  • Two others planned.


References

  1. First indigenous Air Defence Ship by 2010
  2. Cochin Shipyard to build first indigenous aircraft carrier
  3. Keel-laying of indigenous aircraft carrier in December
  4. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/india/ads.htm
  5. Antony lays keel of first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier
  6. Keel-laying of indigenous aircraft carrier in December
  7. http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20090085124
  8. [1]
  9. India joins elite warships club
  10. Keel laying of indigenous aircraft carrier next week
  11. 3rd aircraft carrier to be inducted by 2017: Antony
  12. [2]


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