Indian Aircraft Carrier – INS Vikrant , INS Vikramaditya , INS Vishal

The Indian aircraft carrier is the backbone of Indian Navy carrier fleet. The Indian navy was the first Asian navy to operate first aircraft carrier in the Indian Ocean region . The Indian Navy aircraft carrier names include INS Vikrant , INS Vikramaditya and INS Vishal which is awaiting the government’s approval for its construction .

There are two Indian aircraft carriers currently under construction . The first Indian aircraft carrier under construction is  INS Vikrant ( IAC- I ). The INS Vikrant aircraft carrier is now almost nearing completion . The  second  aircraft carrier is INS Vishal which is still at the planning stage and awaiting the government’s approval to go ahead with its construction.

The Indian navy  might go ahead with the  construction of  one more aircraft carrier of  INS Vikrant ( IAC- I ) class as a contingency plan .  The  construction  work for   INS Vishal might be delayed because of the delay in finalizing the design specifications and budgetory allocations . The INS Vishal is still on the drawing board and the details are still being worked out. Further , INS Vishal is still awaiting the approval from MOD ( Ministry Of Defence ) .

Indian Aircraft Carrier
Indian Aircraft Carrier – INS Vikrant Under Construction,  INS Vikramaditya And Proposed INS Vishal

The Cochin Shipyard  :

The INS Vikrant , the first indigenous aircraft carrier is  currently being built by  Cochin Shipyard Ltd. The Cochin shipyard is  India’s premier shipbuilding  company . The Cochin Shipyard has  all the necessary infrastructure in place for building large size vessels . The shipyard  has an excellent track record of building many large size ships in the past . However , this is for the first time  the Cochin Shipyard will be building India’s first indigenously designed aircraft carrier of this scale .

The INS Vikrant has been  designed by the Directorate of Naval Design of the Indian Navy . This will also be the first  warship to be built by cochin shipyard . This aircraft carrier is  being jointly built by the active participation of a large number of private sector companies and public sector firms. The actual construction work for INS Vikrant started  at the Cochin Shipyard on 28 February 2009 .

Indian Aircraft Carrier –  INS Vikrant ( IAC – I )  :

INS Vikrant  will have the following specifications :

Indian Aircraft Carrier
Indian Aircraft Carrier Under Construction at Cochin Shipyard.
Indian Aircraft Carrier 2019 Update
Indian Aircraft Carrier – INS Vikrant Under Construction

INS Vikrant  –  The Design Challenges  :

Indian Aircraft Carrier – INS Vikrant  is the first ever indigenous Indian aircraft carrier being built by  Cochin Shipyard Ltd  for Indian Navy. In the past , Indian Shipyards have built many ships for Indian navy . The construction of an indigenous aircraft carrier had to overcome many challenges . The aircraft carriers are made up of special AB/B Grade steel . This special steel was initially planned to be imported from Russia . However  Russian steel import could not materialize due to delivery issues . Finally,  a decision was taken to manufacture this special still in India itself .

This special steel  requied for Indian Aircraft Carrier construction was eventually developed within India ,  jointly by  Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory ( DMRL ) and Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) . This special steel was supplied by Indian Bhilai Steel Plant ( BSP )  and Rourkela Steel Plant ( RSP ).

INS Vikrant – The Private Sector Contribution :

 The Indian private sector companies have been  actively involved in the construction INS Vikrant . Some of the most important vital components were manufactured and supplied within stipulated time by Indian private sector companies. Indian engineering giant  Larsen & Toubro manufactured the main switchboard , steering gear and watertight hatches needed for the carrier .

The high-capacity air conditioning and refrigeration systems have been manufactured by another heavy engineering company , Kirloskar Group’s plants in Pune , Maharashtra. The heavy-duty  pumps have been supplied by  Crompton Greaves (CG) . Another engineering company ,  Bharat Heavy Electricals ( BHEL ) supplied the Integrated Platform Management System ( IPMS ) . The carrier’s gearbox was supplied by Elecon Engineering  and the electrical cables have been supplied by Nicco Industries .

INS Vikrant – Proposed Aircraft Onboard :

INS Vikrant  is  expected to carry total 40 aircrafts . This includes both fixed wing aircraft ( Fighter aircraft) and rotary wing aircraft ( Helicopters ) . Initially , INS Vikrant will be operating MIG 29K  which Indian is already operating . Indian navy is currently operating 41  MIG 29K  for its carrier operations . However , the Navy has faced some performance issues with MIG 29K and therefore Indian Navy is exploring new fighter for carrier operations.

Indian Aircraft Carrier - Indian Navy MIG 29K
Indian Navy MIG 29K On INS Vikramaditya Aircraft Carrier .

INS Vikrant – RFR issued  for proposed acquisition for 57 new aircraft :

Initially, the LCA Tejas naval version was to be deployed on INS Vikrant. However , the LCA Tejas was not found to be suitable for INS Vikrant’s  deck landing operations . Although  LCA Tejas naval version is still under consideration but needs improvements . And therefore , LCA Tejas designed for carrier operations may not be ready by 2020. The Indian navy has already initiated the search for new fighter aircraft for INS Vikrant . The Indian navy had also issued RFP – Request For Proposal  to procure  57 new aircraft for aircraft carrier operations .The Indian navy has also received  responses to the RFP which are being evaluated . The French origin Rafale manufactured by  Dassault and the American F-18 Super Hornet manufactured by Boeing seems to be the preferred choice by the navy.

Indian Aircraft Carrier - Rafale And F-18
Dassault Rafale M  And  Boeing F 18 Super Hornet Offered to the  Indian Navy

INS Vikrant – Rotary wing aircraft – Helicopters  :

During the initial phase , INS Vikrant will operate Kamov KA31 , UK made Seaking primarily for ASW – Anti Submarine warfare. However , Indian Navy has recently decided to go ahead with the acquisition of 24  MH 60 SeaHalk from US , This  deal is again going to be another  G to G deal with the US  and the Indian government has also  given approval .

Indian Aircraft Carrier - Kamov 31 And MH60 SeaHawk
    Indian Navy Kamov 31  And  Proposed Sikorsky MH – 60 SeaHawk

The  Sikorsky MH-60 Seahawk   is a twin turboshaft engine, multi-mission United States Navy helicopter based on the United States Army UH-60 Black Hawk .  The proposed acquisition of  MH 60 SeaHawk  would  significantly enhance the Indian navy’s ASW- anti-submarine warfare capability.

INS Vikrant – Air Defence Systems  :

Aircraft carriers are large size ships which makes them vulnerable to many threats. The aircraft carrier has to defend against anti-ship sea-skimming missiles, torpedos fired by the submarines and long-range surface to surface missiles . INS Vikrant will be equipped with one of the most sophisticated Barak 1  and  Barak 8  SAM – Surface To Air missiles. The Barak SAM systems have been jointly developed by India and Israel . The Barak 8 was jointly developed by Israel Aerospace Industries ( IAI ), India’s Defence Research & Development Organisation ( DRDO ).

Indian Aircraft Carrier - SAM Air Defence

Indian Aircraft Carrier Under Construction – INS Vikrant

Status as on Nov 2018  And Proposed Launch   :

The construction work of  INS Vikrant is now nearing completion and currently undergoing extensive sea trials . INS Vikrant would be given to the Indian Navy by December 2018 for user trials . INS Vikrant is likely to be commissioned in Indian Navy in October 2020 .