Kochi: Its flight deck is over twice the size of a football field, its power unit can light up the entire Kochi city and the cabling is enough to cover the distance between the city and Delhi. INS Vikrant, India's first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC), to be launched on Monday, is the biggest warship to be built in the country. It will also mark India's entry into a select club of countries capable of designing and building a carrier of this size.
Being built at Cochin Shipyard Limited, the IAC is expected to be a centrepiece of Indian Navy's power in the coming years and will be equipped with modern weapons systems including long range surface-to-air missiles (LR SAM) and close-in weapons system (CIWS).
The aircraft carrier will be launched into water on Monday by Elizabeth Antony, wife of Defence Minister AK Antony. It will be re-docked for erecting the island superstructure (for flight control systems) above its flight deck and the remaining underwater work.
The indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), MiG-29K combat jets and a range of helicopters will be deployed on the carrier.
INS Vikrant will be 260 metres in length and 60 metres in breadth and can attain speeds in excess of 28 knots (56 kilometres per hour), said Commodore Saibal Sen, additional principal director, Naval Design.
"There will be about 2,500 km of power cabling and 1,000 km of other cabling and it will have power generation capacity of 24 MW which must be the peak power load of Cochin city," Commodore Sen told IANS.
He said carrier can deploy over 30 aircraft and helicopters.
Standing majestically at the Cochin shipyard with its ski-jump (on the flight deck) giving it a muscular appeal, the aircraft carrier will have an approximate displacement (weight) of 18,500 tonnes at its launch.
The warship is decorated with flags, colourful umbrellas and buntings in an apparent reflection of the joy of personnel who have strived for years to put in place its structure and install gas turbines, engines, gear box and other heavy machinery.
Major outfitting work is expected to be completed by 2016 after which extensive sea trials will be conducted.
The carrier is expected to be delivered to the Navy by the end of 2018.
CSL chairman Commodore K. Subramaniam said that several innovations have gone into making the warship, including special grade high tensile steel and pontoons to provide additional float at the time of launch.
"IAC is a big step towards self-reliance. Only a handful of countries operate such vessels and only a few who can build them," Commodore Subramaniam said.
Navy officials said India will be the fifth country after the US, Russia, Britain and France to have the capacity to design and build aircraft carriers of 40,000 tonnes and above.
The aircraft carrier has been designed by Indian Navy's design organisation.
Vice Admiral KR Nair, controller, Warship Production and Acquisition, said every Indian will feel a sense of pride that the country has launched an aircraft carrier.
"For people like us who have been associated with the production, the feeling (of pride) is that much more," he said.
The aircraft carrier's long take-off strip will be 206 metres and short take-off will be 145 metres. It will have a crew of about 1,560 personnel.
Officials said that the Navy plans to have three aircraft carriers, one each for the seas along the eastern and western coasts and one for requirements of maintenance.
Aircraft carrier Vikramaditya (Admiral Gorshkov) is expected to be delivered to the Navy by the end of this year.