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Vikrant-class aircraft carrier

Vikrant-class aircraft carrier

Lead ship INS Vikrant under construction at Cochin Shipyard Limited in June 2015.

Class overview
Name Vikrant-class aircraft carrier
Builders

Cochin Shipyard Limited

Operators Indian Navy
Preceded by INS Vikramaditya
Succeeded by Project 23000E
Cost $700 million
Built 2009 - 
In commission 2018 -
Building 0
Planned 2
General characteristics
Class and type

Vikrant-class aircraft carrier 

Type supercarrier
Displacement

INS Vikrant: 65,000 tonnes full load

INS Vishal: 90,000 tonnes full load

Lenght INS Vikrant: 262 m (860 ft)

INS Vishal: 330 m (1,083 ft)

Beam 60 m (200 ft)
Draught 8.4 m (28 ft)
Depth 25.6 m (84 ft)
Decks 2.5 acres (110,000 sq ft; 10,000 m²)
Propulsion
Speed

28 kn (52 km/h)

Range

7,500 nmi (13,900 km)

Complement 1,400 (incl air crew)
Sensors and processing systems
  • 1 x Selex RAN-40L
  • L-band, early warning
Electronic warfare and decoys C/D band early air-warning radar
Armament
Aircraft carried INS Vikrant:

The Vikrant class aircraft carriers (formerly, Project 71 "Air Defence Ship" (ADS) or Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC)) are the first aircraft carriers to be designed and built in India. They are being built for the Indian Navy by Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL).

The Vikrant class aircraft carriers were the largest warships built in India until construction commenced on the first INS Shtorm-class aircraft carrier. The scale and complexity of the project caused a number of teething problems which delayed the commencement and timeline of construction for the carrier. The 2010 revised timeline had the lead vessel entering service in 2016. Problems which led to the delay included the inability of Russia to supply the AB/A grade steel. Finally, the DMRL and SAIL created facilities to manufacture the carrier-grade steel in India.

Preparations for building the lead vessel of the class, the INS Vikrant started in 2008, and the keel was laid down in February 2009. The carrier was floated out of its dry dock on 29 December 2011. Vikrant was launched in 2013, sea trials began in 2016 and commissioned in 2018, now fully operational.

Work on Vikrant's sister ship, the 90,000 tons INS Vishal started in 2018. The keel was laid down in 2020, was launched in 2022 and its sea trials began in 2024. Vishal was commissioned in 2025.

DesignEdit

The lead Vikrant class carrier features a STOBAR (Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery) configuration with a ski-jump. The deck is designed to enable aircraft such as the MiG-29 to operate from the carrier.

The Vikrant class carriers will be designed to deploy up to 60 fixed-wing aircraft, primarily the Mikoyan MiG-29K and the naval variant of the HAL Tejas Mark 2, besides carrying 20 Kamov Ka-31 and/or Westland Sea King helicopters. The Ka-31 fulfills the airborne early warning (AEW) role and the Sea King provides anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability.

The carrier will be powered by four General Electric LM2500+ gas turbines on two shafts, generating over 80MW of power. The gearboxes for the carriers are designed and supplied by Elecon Engineering.

StatusEdit

Among the first problems that the construction of the carrier faced was the lack of supply of carrier-grade steel. The Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory worked with the SAIL to create production facilities for the appropriate steel grade in India.

The keel for the lead vessel of the class, to be named INS Vikrant, was laid by Defence Minister A.K. Antony at the Cochin Shipyard on 28 February 2009. The ship will use modular construction, with 874 blocks to be joined together for the hull. By the time the keel was laid, 423 blocks weighing over 8,000 tons had been completed.

The construction plan called for the carrier to be launched in 2010 when it would have completed some 20,000 tonnes, as it could not be launched at a higher displacement from the building bay. After about a year’s development in the refit dock, the carrier will be launched again when all major components, including underwater systems, would be in place. Outfitting would then be carried out after launch. 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.

In March 2011, it was reported that the project had been affected by the delay in delivery of the huge main gearboxes for the carrier. The supplier, Elecon Engineering, had to work around a number of technical complexities due to the length of the propulsion shafts. Other issues resulting in delays included an accident with a diesel generator and an issue with its alignment.

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.

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. 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. Vikrant was launched in 2013, sea trials began in 2016 and commissioned in 2018, now fully operational.

Work on INS Vikrant's sister ship, the 90,000 tons INS Vishal started in 2018. The keel was laid down in 2020, was launched in 2022 and its sea trials began in 2024. INS Vishal was commissioned in 2025.

Ships in classEdit

Name Pennant Tonnage Laid down Launched Sea trials Commissioning Details
INS Vikrant tbd

65,000 tonnes

28 Feb 2009 2013 2016 2018 Conventional-powered STOBAR supercarrier
INS Vishal tbd 90,000 tonnes 2020 2022 2024 2025 Nuclear-powered CATOBAR supercarrier

AircraftEdit

India considered a number of aircraft for operation from its aircraft carriers, the INS Vikramaditya and the Vikrant-class. India evaluated the Russian Sukhoi Su-33, but settled on the lighter Mikoyan MiG-29K as the Vikramaditya was smaller and lacked an aircraft catapult. It is likely that the first of the Vikrant class carriers will also operate the Mig-29K.

On 18 January 2010, it was reported that India and Russia were close to signing a deal for 29 MiG 29K fighters to operate from IAC1. In addition, the navy signed a deal for six naval-variants of the HAL Tejas.

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