The development puts India in the elite group of countries capable of constructing aircraft carriers and deploying them for critical operational requirements
INS Vikrant, India’s first domestically built aircraft carrier, achieved full operational status on November 16, 2023. The ship was commissioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 2, 2022 at Cochin Shipyard. It was delivered to the Indian Navy on July 28, 2022.
The INS Vikrant is the seventh largest aircraft carrier in the world. It has a range of around 8,000 nautical miles (15,000 km) and a maximum speed of 28 knots (52 km). The ship is operated by a crew of 1,560, including 160 officers and 1,400 sailors.
The INS Vikrant has considerable amount of indigenous components. It will operate an air wing consisting of 30 aircraft, including:
MiG-29K Fighter Jets
Kamov-31A Anti-Submarine Choppers
MH-60R Multi-Role helicopters
DHRUV Advanced Light Helicopters
The INS Vikrant has achieved significant milestones, including:
Conducting night-time landings of Indian Navy Mig-29K fighter jets
Being equipped with the Israeli EL/M-2248 MF-STAR multi-function active electronically scanned array radar
Being equipped with 32 Israeli-origin Barak-8 Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LR-SAM)
India operates two Carrier Battle Groups which greatly enhances the operational capability, and the ability to project power in India’s areas of interest and reinforces its pre-eminent maritime presence in the Indian Ocean Region.
The Indian Navy showcased its formidable maritime capabilities with a spectacular display of multi-carrier operations and the coordinated deployment of more than 35 aircraft in the Arabian Sea. This demonstration of naval prowess underscores India’s commitment to safeguarding its national interests, maintaining regional stability, and fostering cooperative partnerships in the maritime domain.
INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant, centre-pieces of the exercise, serve as ‘floating sovereign airfields’, providing a launch platform for a wide array of aircraft, including MiG-29K fighter jets, MH60R, Kamov, Sea King, Chetak and ALH helicopters. These mobile bases can be positioned anywhere, allowing for increased mission flexibility, timely response to emerging threats and sustained air operations to safeguard our national interests across the globe. In addition, they provide our friends with an assurance that the Indian Navy is capable and ready to support our ‘collective’ security needs in the Region.