INS Vikrant: First Indigenous Aircraft Carrier

Updated: Oct 31, 2021

India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier is fast getting ready at the Cochin Shipyard.

Onboard the deck of IAC-1, the defense minister said, “The IAC boasts of nearly 75 percent indigenous content. This includes the design, the steel used in the construction and key weapons and sensors.”


It is by far the most complex and largest naval warship ever to be built in an Indian shipyard. India’s very own, 40,000-tonne class indigenous aircraft carrier-1 (IAC-1) is expected to catapult India’s maritime interests, adding raw power and a formidable punch to the Navy’s combat capabilities, reach and versatility on the high seas. The INS Vikrant, as the IAC-1 will be known once it is commissioned, now under construction at the Cochin Shipyard Limited at a cost of around Rs 23,000 crore, successfully completed its basin trials in November 2020. According to officials, the next step is the integration of several navigational, communication and operational systems.



To help the Indian Navy in its modernization plans, harnessing India’s indigenous industry and know-how, is a key priority of the government, says the defense minister Rajnath Singh. The minister reached Cochin Shipyard, Kochi today (June 25, 2021) and reviewed the progress made in the construction of the country’s first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC-I) Vikrant. The IAC-1, after completing all trials, is expected to be commissioned in the Navy next year.

Onboard the deck of IAC-1, the defence minister said, “The IAC boasts of nearly 75 percent indigenous content. This includes the design, the steel used in the construction and key weapons and sensors.”

The warship, which was first sanctioned by the government in January 2003, is now being readied for its maiden contractor sea trials (CST) which are expected to start before the end of the year. Sources in the Navy told Frontline that the sea/aviation trials will take at least a year to complete. The aircraft carrier will therefore be fully operational, at the earliest, only by mid-2023. The warship has nearly 75 per cent indigenous content — from design to sensors and steel used in the construction to key weapon systems. The Navy expects the IAC-1 to be commissioned during the first half of 2022, marking a worthy tribute to 75 years of India’s independence.



The government has repeatedly stressed that it was “fully committed” to a strong Navy with an expanded operational reach and prowess. Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, who was on a day’s visit to the Southern Naval Command in Kochi on June 25 said: “The Navy remains poised and combat ready to tackle any challenge. The Navy's proactive forward deployment during the Galwan standoff [with China last year] signaled our intent that we seek peace but are ready for any eventuality.”


The IAC-1, once fully operationalized, will operate supersonic MiG-29K fighter aircraft, Kamov-31 air early warning helicopters, the soon to be inducted MH-60R multi-role helicopters and the naval variant of the HAL manufactured Dhruv advanced light helicopters. Once commissioned INS Vikrant will be India’s second aircraft carrier. The Navy’s only aircraft carrier now is the Kiev-class 44,500-tonne INS Vikramaditya which was acquired from Russia for $2.35 billion in January 2004 and entered service in November 2013. The 1987-built carrier originally served with the Soviet Navy and later with the Russian Navy (as Admiral Gorchakov) before being decommissioned in 1996. India spent a further $2 billion on procuring 45 MiG-29Ks to operate from INS Vikramaditya’s deck.

On the modernization of the Indian Navy, the minister talked about the Defense Acquisition Council’s (DAC) approval for issuance of RFP for Project 75-I. This project is going to be under the Strategic Partnership model, and is expected to give further boost to indigenous development of niche manufacturing technologies. Today, 42 of the 44 warships on order are being built at Indian shipyards.

He also said that “IAC, is India’s pride and a shining example of Atmanirbhar Bharat. Despite COVID, the project was originally approved by the NDA Govt., and has made significant progress.”

When will the IAC-1 be commissioned?

It is expected to be commissioned next year in a befitting tribute to 75 years of India’s independence.

This IAC-1’s reach and versatility will help in securing the country’s interest in the IOR and beyond.

Visit to Karwar, Karnataka

The defence minister on Thursday (June 24, 2021) had also reviewed Project Seabird at Karwar, Karnataka. Work is going on at the navy’s premier base in Karnataka’s Karwar. For Indian Navy, the Karwar base will be the largest in Asia and will provide the facilities and infrastructure to support its operations in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and beyond.

During his visit, in his review address the minister highlighted the government’s focus on two major ongoing projects – Project Seabird and Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) and commitment for a strong navy.

In an official statement, the minister said “These measures will help to enhance the Indian Navy’s operational reach and prowess to protect India’s maritime interests.”

The Indian Navy is poised and combat ready to tackle any challenge, he said, adding, “Navy’s proactive forward deployment during the Galwan standoff signaled our intent that we seek peace but are ready for any eventuality.”

Talking about the Navy’s contribution during the surge in the number of COVID positive cases, the minister highlighted its efforts in bringing back Indian citizens from overseas during Op Samudra Setu-I, and then in Op Samudra Setu II getting the much needed Liquid Medical Oxygen.

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