Kochi: The first aircraft carrier to be made within India, the INS Vikrant, will be launched on August 12 at the Kochi shipyard. With its debut, India will become just the fifth country in the world to build aircraft carriers after US, Russia, Britain and France.
"About 83 % of the fabrication work and 75 per cent of the construction work is over when the ship goes into water," said Admiral Robin Dhowan, the vice-chief of the navy.
Work on the 40,000-tonne warship began in 2009; it has been blueprinted by the Indian Navy's design organization and is being built by Cochin Shipyard. The ship will be launched by Elizabeth Antony, wife of Defence Minister AK Antony, who will be the chief guest at the event.
The INS Vikrant is 260 metres long to accommodate two take-off runways for planes to take off, and a landing strip that can service the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft, MiG-29K combat jets and a range of helicopters.
After its launch, the carrier will be re-docked at Kochi shipyard for rest of the work, including completion of the flight deck.
Extensive sea trials will begin in 2016 and the carrier is expected to be delivered to the navy in 2018.
Apart of from joining a select group of nations that build aircraft carriers, the major achievement for India has been the ability to fabricate weapons-grade steel which means that more warships can be built indigenously.