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Carrier Aviation UPSC NOTE

 INS Vikrant 

  • The design work on the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC)-I, later christened Vikrant, began in 1999; however 2005-2006 were probably the most crucial years for the carrier and for India’s war shipbuilding. 

  • The crucial decision was on the warship grade steel, which till then was procured from Russia. 

  • After much brainstorming, it was decided that it would be developed and produced in India, a collaborative effort between the Steel Authority of India, the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Indian Navy

  • DMR-249 steel is now being used for the construction of all warships in the country.

  • The construction also ushered in several new processes and spin-offs benefiting the shipbuilding industry at large. 

  • In 2002, 3-D modelling was introduced for the first time in India and a joint team of 200 personnel from the Navy’s Warship Design Bureau and CSL began work. 

  • The keel of Vikrant was finally laid in 2009, launched into water in 2013 and went through extensive user acceptance trials between August 2021 and July 2022 before its eventual commissioning.

  • The 262m long and 62m wide ship is powered by four General Electric LM2500 engines generating 88 MW of power giving it a maximum speed of 28 Knots and an endurance of 7,500 nautical miles. 

  • Built at an overall cost of around ₹20,000 crore and 76% indigenous content, the ship has around 2,200 compartments, for a crew of around 1,600 that include specialised cabins to accommodate women officers and sailors. 

  • Vikrant houses two galleys which cater to all onboard, preparing upto 4,500-5,000 meals every day. 

  • Vikrant can operate an air wing of 30 aircraft comprising MiG-29K fighter jets, Kamov-31, MH-60R multi-role helicopters, in addition to indigenous Advanced Light Helicopters and Light Combat Aircraft (Navy). 

  • It uses the STOBAR (Short Take-Off but Arrested Recovery) method to launch and recover aircraft for which it is equipped with a ski- jump to launch aircraft, and three ‘arrester wires’ for their recovery

  • While the present Vikrant was the first carrier built in the country, India has had a long history of operating carriers. 

  • The erstwhile 19,500 tonne Vikrant was India’s first carrier purchased from the U.K., which arrived in 1961 and played a vital role in the 1971 war. 

  • Then came the 28,700 tonne INS Viraat commissioned in 1987, formerly HMS Hermes, also from the U.K. 

  • INS Vikramaditya procured from Russia and commissioned in 2013 is India’s third carrier.


  • The Navy has already moved a case for a second Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC-II), a repeat of a Vikrant-like carrier. 

  • The proposal was cleared by the Defence Procurement Board last September and has since been forwarded for approval by the Defence Acquisition Council, expected to be taken up once it meets after the elections.

  • The IAC-II displacing 45,000 tonnes will see some modifications and newer technologies incorporated in the original design of the Vikrant and will also be manufactured by CSL. 


  • It will take around eight to 10 years to build a new carrier, as long as the basic design, engines and propulsion are kept intact.

  • The proposed IAC-II has often been referred to as India’s third aircraft carrier, after INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant 

Need of strong naval presence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR)

  • An aircraft carrier is fundamental to command, control and coordination of operations from the sea and to project combat power ashore, over the seas or in the air

  • Noting that the fragile maritime security situation across the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and India’s stature as the largest resident naval power necessitate a strong and robust Navy. 

  • Aircraft carriers play a pivotal role in this and concurrent availability of two Carrier Battle Groups facilitate credible presence and preparedness on both Western and Eastern seaboards.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Carrier Aviation UPSC NOTE
Carrier Aviation UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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