Udayavani got the rare opportunity to the INS Vikrant, which will be inducted into the Indian Navy on September 2. It was a wonderful experience to climb nearly 700 steps with a naval team and stand on the magnificent Made in India mighty battleship and aircraft carrier.
The team of ‘Udayavani’ visited to witness the celebratory moments of Vikrant, the country’s first and largest aircraft carrier built under the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
Amid the heavy rains and overcast skies, INS Vikrant was shining like a ray of sunshine at the Kochi shipyard. The navy personnel were rehearsing for the inauguration ceremony by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
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The first view was the hangar compartment where India’s modern fighter jets were lined up. Lieutenant Commander Bharath Chandra Who was our escort on board INS Vikrant informed us that the aircraft stored in the hangar are lifted to the flying deck where the runway is situated. The hangar has the capacity to store up to 30 fighter jets and helicopters, he added.
As we descended further, we reached the heart of the aircraft carrier. The left and right sides of the ship are controlled separately. People work round the clock in shifts, maintaining the facilities required for the crew to survive in the high waters – including a clean drinking water pump, ventilation, an air-conditioning system, and networking.
Not even a small piece of garbage can be seen here. Because some 200 people have been hired just to clean the runway!
INS Vikrant has a very well-equipped kitchen and mess. There are 3 kitchens that cater to the needs of sailors and officers on board. The mega kitchens dish out meals and snacks right from 4 am till 10 pm keeping the crew well fed and in high spirits, Lieutenant Commander Bharath Chandra explained.
‘World class carrier built at lowest cost’
Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) is credited with constructing the vessel at the lowest cost. The ship is built in two-thirds of what the rest of the countries have spent. For example, the construction of INS Vikrant with a capacity of 48,000 tonnes will cost around Rs 20,000 crore. The US has built similar capacity vessels at a cost of Rs 30,000-35,000 crores.
CSL officials say the credit for lower costs goes to ‘Make in India’. About 550 domestic companies have worked for this. About 76 percent of the materials used were sourced from within India. More than 80 percent of the labour force was also Indian, they said.
What’s even more special is that people from all parts of the country, from Jammu and Kashmir to Kanyakumari, have joined hands in one way or the other., they added.
Why was it named INS Vikrant
The INS Vikrant is named after India’s first naval warship which was acquired from the British. After the acquisition of HMS Hercules, it was rechristened ‘Vikrant’. The naval ship played an important role in the 1971 war. It was replaced with INS Viraat purchased in 1987. In 2013, INS Vikramaditya arrived.
India joins the elite club
With the construction of the INS Vikrant, India has joined the elite club of nations that have the capability to design and build an aircraft carrier indigenously. At present, only the US, Britain, China, Russia, and France have such military assets.
Translated from an article in Kannada by Vijaykumar Chandaragi