June 26, 2021 4:00:38 am
DEFENCE MINISTER Rajnath Singh said on Friday that India’s first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC), INS Vikrant, is likely to be commissioned next year.
The IAC has been under construction at the Cochin Shipyard for over a decade. Singh visited the site on Friday to review its progress. “Reviewed first-hand the ongoing work on the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier, which is India’s pride and a shining example of Atmanirbhar Bharat. The IAC has made significant progress. Commissioning of the IAC next year will be a befitting tribute to 75 years of India’s independence,” he tweeted.
At present, India has only one aircraft carrier, the Russian-origin INS Vikramaditya. The Navy said in a statement that the IAC will be “as INS Vikrant in the first half of 2022, which would be the most potent sea-based asset”. It will operate MiG-29K fighter aircraft, Kamov-31 Air Early Warning Helicopters, the soon-to-be-inducted MH-60R multi-role helicopter, and the indigenously manufactured Advanced Light Helicopters, it said.
“It would offer an incomparable military instrument with its ability to project air power over long distances, including air interdiction, anti-surface warfare, offensive and defensive counter-air, airborne anti-submarine warfare and airborne early warning,” the Navy said.
The Navy said Singh expressed satisfaction at the progress of work. “He stated that the IAC has nearly 75 per cent indigenous content – from design to steel used in construction to key weapons — and mentioned that the recent decision to issue the tender for P75I project for six indigenous submarines will give further fillip to indigenous development of niche manufacturing technologies,” said the statement.
Singh was briefed about the successful Basin Trials completed in November 2020, the Navy said. He was apprised of the progress on integration of other navigational, communication and operational systems since then, as the IAC prepares for its maiden Contractor Sea Trials, expected in the coming months.
It said Singh also reaffirmed the “commitment towards a strong” Navy, and cited “IAC and Project Seabird at Karwar, which will be the Asia’s largest Naval Base, as the examples of our unwavering focus”.
Singh highlighted the measures taken by the government to modernise the Navy, “with emphasis on indigenisation”, and “assured all possible support to the Navy for bolstering their operational preparedness, saying that a strong Naval force is crucial for peace, security and prosperity”.
Speaking on the clashes between Indian and Chinese troops in Galwan last year, Singh said the Navy’s “proactive forward deployment signalled that the country wants peace but is ready for any eventuality”.
Singh visited the Karwar Naval Base on Thursday to review the progress of the ongoing infrastructure development under ‘Project Seabird’, as part of his two-day visit to the Southern Naval Command.
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