India’s largest warship enters service

INS Vikrant is the country’s first domestically built aircraft carrier

On Friday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi commissioned the country’s first designed and built aircraft carrier, INS (Indian Naval Ship) Vikrant.

He hailed the $2.5 billion ship as « a manifestation of India’s glorious maritime tradition » and « a vibrant symbol of Indian pride ».

“Until now, these aircraft carriers were only manufactured by developed countries. India has taken a step towards developed country status by being part of the league,” Modi said during the ceremony in the southern state of Kerala.

The new vessel became the largest warship ever built by India alone. The ship is expected to operate an air wing made up of 30 aircraft, including Russian-made MiG-29K fighter jets, Ka-31 early warmer helicopters, as well as American MH-60R multi-role helicopters. Later, the ship is expected to receive potential aircraft, currently known as Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) and Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).

Modi also unveiled the new Naval Ensign, intended to replace the current symbol, inherited from the colonial era and consisting of the Cross of St. George. The introduction of a new sign is a « historic milestone » who « will strengthen national pride and rid our nation of colonial baggage », he stated.

The new 262-metre, 43,000-ton warship has become the second such aircraft carrier in the Indian Navy fleet. Another aircraft carrier currently in use is INS Vikramaditya, originally built as a Baku kyiv-class aircraft carrier cruiser during the Soviet era.

Established in 2009, INS Vikrant was launched in 2013, known at the time simply as Indigenous Aircraft Carrier 1 (IAC-1). The vessel was fully outfitted last year and underwent extensive sea trials for nearly a year. The vessel was named after the very first Indian Navy aircraft, INS Vikrant, originally established as HMS Hercules in Britain.


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