India has launched a 37,500t indigenously-built aircraft carrier – the INS Vikrant. The ship, which will have a length of 260m and a width of 60m, will now be fitted out at the Cochin shipyards ahead of planned sea trials in 2016. The Vikrant is expected to be commissioned in 2018.
At the launch of what is the largest naval vessel to be constructed in India, the country’s defense minister said: “The launch marks just the first step in a long journey. We must continue the process of developing indigenous capability to secure our maritime interests.”
The Vikrant, which is said to be capable of delivering speeds in excess of 28kts, will deploy MiG- 29Ks and a range of helicopters.
The Indian Navy is to take delivery of a Russian-built warship, the INS Vikramaditya, later this year as part of a fleet regeneration program.
The Indian Navy boasts a fleet comprising a former British aircraft carrier, 15 frigates, one nuclear and 14 conventional attack submarines, an amphibious transport dock, eight guided missile destroyers, 24 corvettes, 30 patrol vessels and seven mine countermeasure vessels.