General Studies IIIInternal SecuritySecurity

Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC)


Recently, the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) 1, which will be called INS Vikrant once it enters service with the Indian Navy, began another set of sea trials.

About Aircraft Carrier:

  • An aircraft carrier is a warship that serves as a seagoing airbase, equipped with a full-length flight deck and facilities for carrying, arming, deploying, and recovering aircraft
  • Typically, it is the capital ship of a fleet, as it allows a naval force to project air power worldwide without depending on local bases for staging aircraft operations.
  • Carriers have evolved since their inception in the early twentieth century from wooden vessels used to deploy balloons to nuclear-powered warships that carry numerous fighters, strike aircraft, helicopters, and other types of aircraft.
  • Tactically or even strategically, it replaced the battleship in the role of flagship of a fleet. One of its great advantages is that, by sailing in international waters, it does not interfere with any territorial sovereignty and thus obviates the need for overflight authorizations from third-party countries, reduces the times and transit distances of aircraft and therefore significantly increase the time of availability on the combat zone.

  • There is no single definition of an “aircraft carrier”, and modern navies use several variants of the type. These variants are sometimes categorized as sub-types of aircraft carriers, and sometimes as distinct types of naval aviation-capable ships

Indigenous Aircraft Carrier 1

  • IAC is the first aircraft carrier designed and built in India.
  • It has been designed by the Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design (DND), and is being built at Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), a public sector shipyard under the Ministry of Shipping.
  • The IAC-1, the biggest warship made indigenously, has an overall length of 263 m and a breadth of 63 m.
  • It is capable of carrying 30 assorted aircraft including combat jets and helicopters.
  • Propelled by four gas turbines, it can attain a top speed of 30 knots (about 55 kmph).
  • The vessel will have a complement of 1,500 personnel.


Significance of IAC 1

  • An aircraft carrier is one of the most potent marine assets for a nation, which enhances a Navy’s capability to travel far from its home shores to carry out air domination operations.
  • Many experts consider having an aircraft carrier as essential to be considered a ‘blue water’ navy — one that has the capacity to project a nation’s strength and power across the high seas.
  • An aircraft carrier generally leads as the capital ship of a carrier strike/battle group.
  • As the carrier is a valuable and sometimes vulnerable target, it is usually escorted in the group by destroyers, missile cruisers, frigates, submarines, and supply ships.


Why does it matter that this is a Made-in-India warship?

  • Only five or six nations currently have the capability of manufacturing an aircraft carrier — India joins this elite club now.
  • According to the Navy, over 76 per cent of the material and equipment on board IAC-1 is indigenous.
  • India’s earlier aircraft carriers were either built by the British or the Russians.
  • The INS Vikramaditya, currently the Navy’s only aircraft carrier that was commissioned in 2013, started out as the Soviet-Russian Admiral Gorshkov.
  • The country’s two earlier carriers, INS Vikrant and INS Viraat, were originally the British-built HMS Hercules and HMS Hermes before being commissioned into the Navy in 1961 and 1987 respectively.

Why will this warship be named INS Vikrant?

  • INS Vikrant, a Majestic-class 19,500-tonne warship, was the name of India’s much-loved first aircraft carrier, a source of immense national pride over several decades of service before it was decommissioned in 1997.
  • India acquired the Vikrant from the United Kingdom in 1961, and the carrier played a stellar role in the 1971 war with Pakistan that led to the birth of Bangladesh.


Now that India has the capability, will it build more carriers?

  • Since 2015, the Navy has been seeking approval to build a third aircraft carrier for the country, which, if approved, will become India’s second Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC-2).
  • This proposed carrier, to be named INS Vishal, is intended to be a giant 65,000-tonne vessel, much bigger than IAC-1 and the INS Vikramaditya.
  • The Navy has been trying to convince the government of the “operational necessity” of having a third carrier.

Total Aircraft Carriers In India

There have been 3 aircraft carriers in the Indian Navy, though only one is still active right now. 2 carriers are in the construction process.

First Aircraft Carrier in India – INS Vikrant (1957)

  • The first-ever aircraft carrier warship of India and was decommissioned in 1997.
    • INS Vikrant aircraft carrier was bought from the UK, it was first named HMS Hercules and changed names after its sale to India.
    • It weighed up to 19-20 tonnes and could carry up to 23 aircraft.
    • It served as the main blockage for the country against the Pakistan Naval Force in the Indo-Pak War of 1971.


INS Viraat

  • Bought from the UK, this carrier served the country for 30 years before it was officially decommissioned in 2017.
  • It was the helm of the Indian Navy as it’s crowned centerpiece before INS Vikramaditya took up the role in 2013.
  • It weighed around 29,000 tonnes and carried up to 26 aircraft.
  • Repairing failing parts and renovation of this longest-serving aircraft carrier needed huge amounts of funds which the Defense Minister Of India could not give his clearance to. That was why INS Viraat was decommissioned after INS Vikramaditya was ready to take over.

INS Vikramaditya

  • This is the current serving aircraft carrier of India.
    • It weighed up to 45,000 tonnes and can carry up to 36 aircraft.
    • It was made by USSR and Russia and was named Admiral Groshkov before changing its name after its sale to India.
    • It serves as the current flagship of the Indian Naval Army.
    • It operates on the STOBAR (Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery) system of launch and recovery of the aircraft.

INS Vikrant (2013)

  • Named after its predecessor and the first airbase reinforced warship of India. It is also known as Indigenous Aircraft Carrier 1 (IAC-1).
    • It is informally called INS Vikrant 2.
    • It is currently under construction and conducting trials by Cochin Shipyard Limited in Kochi, Kerala.
    • It is the first aircraft carrier warship to be made in India.
    • It weighed up to 40,000 tonnes and can carry up to 40 aircraft.
    • It is expected to be commissioned in 2023.

Source: Indian Express

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