India’s indigenously built aircraft carrier

Last month, India objected to a Chinese navy vessel sailing to a port in Sri Lanka that China had built. Although China has maintained that the ship was a research vessel, New Delhi believes it could be used to surveil the region off the Indian coast. The commissioning comes closely on the heels of this incident.

INS Vikrant

INS Vikrant is an 860-foot (262 m) aircraft carrier designed by the Indian Navy and built by Cochin Shipyard, a government of India-owned shipbuilding and maintenance facility located on the southern coast.

Vikrant is a Sanskrit word that means “powerful” or “courageous” and can carry a crew of 1,600 people. It will operate a fleet of 30 aircraft, including helicopters and fighter jets. According to naval experts, the Russian-made MiG-29K aircraft will be primarily used on the carrier, while India is working to incorporate the Rafale-M from France and the F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet from Boeing. India’s other aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya, currently operates a fleet of MiG-29K’s.

While India was already on the list of the handful of nations that operate aircraft carriers, it has now joined an elite group that can indigenously manufacture one as well. According to the Indian Defence Ministry, over 75 percent of the 47,400-tonne warship’s components have been indigenously produced by six major industrial firms and over 100 smaller businesses providing equipment and machinery.

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