Onboard Vikrant: The commanding officer of India’s first indigenously-built aircraft carrier (IAC) Vikrant, Commodore Vidhyadhar Harke said the ship will provide unmatched capability and will act as a deterrence for any misadventure.
“The Vikrant brings in capability which is unmatched and it would augment the present aircraft carrier, Vikram Aditya. it is a visible deterrence for any misadventure by anybody. When I say our maritime capability perspective plan is not against any country-specific, it is having our own capability,” Harke told ANI.
He explained that capability enhancement is required because of dependence on the blue economy as secure trade requires a strong navy.
“Capability is required because of our dependence on the blue economy as 90 per cent in volume and more than 70 per cent in value of our trade is sea-born. With the growing economy, we have been touted to be one of the leading economies in decades to come. The safety of our trade would be of paramount importance and any growing economy requires a strong navy,” Vikrant Commanding officer said.
Talking about the importance of Aatmanirbhar spirit in the Indian Navy, he said that the effort was not an overnight success as the country was striving on the path of self-reliance.
|Commanding officer of IAC Vikrant, Commodore Vidhyadhar Harke|
“Here we have got a fantastic model wherein each equipment has got the original equipment manufacturer or the partners that we can call them those who are present in India. They can repair it and provide us with spare parts and upgrades. So I’m not tethered to some foreign person who can say ‘No, I will not be able to give you’, on the other side we have Indian partners working in tandem walking the talk and making it happen. That is Aatmanirbhar Bharat and that’s what it means to us,” Harke explains.
With Vikrant, India enters a club of select few countries which can design and construct its own aircraft carriers and the commanding officer feels it will be a stepping stone for the Navy to undertake the construction of more complex and bigger ships.
Vikrant was designed by the Indian Navy’s in-house Directorate of Naval Design (DND) and built by CSL, a Public Sector Shipyard under the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways. The carrier is christened after her illustrious predecessor, India’s first Aircraft Carrier which played a vital role in the 1971 war.
The 262-meter-long carrier has a full displacement of close to 45,000 tons which is much larger and more advanced than her predecessor. The ship is powered by four Gas Turbines totalling 88 MW power and has a maximum speed of 28 Knots. Built at an overall cost of close to Rs 20,000 crores.
With an overall indigenous content of 76 per cent, IAC is a perfect example of the nation’s quest for “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” and provides a thrust to Government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.
The ship would be capable of operating an air wing consisting of 30 aircraft comprising of MIG-29K fighter jets, Kamov-31, MH-60R multi-role helicopters, in addition to indigenously manufactured Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) and Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) (Navy).