Vikrant: How is the warship going to join the Indian Navy?

  • Jugal R Purohit
  • Vikrant by ship, Kochi
1 September 2022, 08:01 IST

Updated 44 minutes ago

image source, INDIAN NAVY

“If you’re alone on this ship, do you find your own way.”

I asked a naval officer present on Vikrant. He replied with a smile, “I understand now, but it took two months to understand it.”

On Friday, September 2, India will include its largest warship Vikrant in its fleet. During this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also be present. Vikrant in Sanskrit means brave. It took 13 years to make it.

This process is called commissioning, after this INS will be added in front of the name of this ship.

How is Vikrant from inside?,

It has 2300 compartments inside and you will forget that it is a ship as soon as you enter. On this 262 meter long and 60 meter high ship, no special effect of the strong waves of the sea is felt.

Wide paths and stairs connect the ship, so it is not difficult to go from one place to another. Air conditioners do not allow outside humidity and heat to enter.

You will also be aware of the name Vikrant. This was also the name of India’s first aircraft carrier. She was purchased from the Royal Navy of Britain and commissioned in 1961. INS Vikrant was decommissioned in 1997. It played an important role in many military operations.

Talking about the new Vikrant, 1700 people will work in it. However, 2000 more people are still working in it – technicians who are fixing cables etc., polishing or doing interior work.

Vikrant

image source, Indian Navy

After this the compartment we went to is called TCR or Throttle Control Room.

Senior engineering officer Lieutenant Commander Sai Krishnan says, “We are at the heart of this ship. It is from here that the gas turbine engine is operated, and with the help of this, it is a kind of city, it floats.”

Its four engines give power of 88 MW. People working here told me that their energy is enough for a city.

After this comes the place which the Navy calls ‘Gale’. There is a coffee machine, clean chairs, tables and several containers. This is a canteen or pantry. There are three such places in Vikrant. According to one officer, “If you combine all three galleys, a total of 600 people can eat together.”

Moving on, there are quarters for my left side. Right now the mattresses are kept packed together in plastic here. When people start living on it, they will start using them in bunk beds.

throttle control room
image caption,

throttle control room

Along with this, there is a big medical facility on Vikrant. There is also a 16-bed hospital, two operation theatres, a lab. ICU and CT scan. There are five officers, doctors and 15 paramedics. We were told that this is the biggest medical facility of the Navy.

Then there are the places that make you feel like you are on a ship. But not a common ship, a ship where 30 fighter planes and helicopters can be kept. That is, we are in the hangar.

In terms of capacity, it is important to understand that there are other aircraft that can hold more aircraft, such as INS Vikramaditya. The Queen Elizabeth of the UK’s Royal Navy can carry 40 and the US Navy’s Nimitz class carrier can carry more than 60 aircraft.

Two Russian ‘MiG-29K’ fighter planes and Kamov-31 early warning helicopters are housed in the aft part of this warship.

Medical Facility inside Vikrant
image caption,

Medical Facility inside Vikrant

Lt. Commander Vijay Sheoran says, “Think of it like a parking lot and there’s a team that looks after maintenance and repairs. From here a special lift takes the aircraft to the flight deck, which is right above it.”

After this we reached the deck, that is, the place from where the aircraft take off and land. Vikrant has been tested for different things at different times, but it is yet to be tested for continuous flying operation. The Navy can do this test by the end of the year.

flight deck
image caption,

flight deck

Lieutenant Commander Siddharth Soni is a flight deck officer and also a helicopter pilot. He says, “Our flight deck is about 12500 square meters, that is, about two and a half hockey fields and from here we can operate 12 fighter planes and six helicopters at a time. This is much bigger than our earlier aircraft carriers . If you have more space then obviously you can have more aircrafts.”

The special thing about Vikrant is that it can keep Russian American and Indian aircraft in the same hangar.

Lieutenant Commander Siddharth Soni
image caption,

Lieutenant Commander Siddharth Soni

corona virus

How does this career protect itself?

Captain Rajat Kumar explains, “This carrier never runs alone, it is accompanied by other ships and this gives them full power, it includes warships, anti submarine warfare capability and anti air capability. Vikrant himself too Equipped with a variety of defensive features, it is a matter of coordination between aircraft and ships.

While leaving here, we met Lieutenant Commander Chaitanya Malhotra. His team gives Vikrant weather information, which is one of the most important things for any mission.

He says, “For example, knowing the wind speed is very important for landing and take-off. The role of my team here is very important. We constantly measure the weather on different scales and the weather forecast continues.” Use to do it.”

Captain Rajat Kumar
image caption,

Captain Rajat Kumar

corona virus

needs are not over yet

The specialty of this warship, different from other aircraft, is that it can move an entire airfield from one place to another according to the need of the mission. With the arrival of Vikrant, India will now have two careers.

But the Navy believes they need at least one more. Earlier Navy chiefs have openly expressed their opinion about this.

The Modi government at the Center has been emphasizing on being self-reliant in defense production. But the funds needed for a third career have not been made available yet.

Vice Admiral AK Chawla (retd) was associated with Vikrant till some time back. He says that the issue is now to choose between taking a decision or leaving.

Vice Admiral AK Chawla (Retd)
image caption,

Vice Admiral AK Chawla (Retd)

Vice Admiral AK Chawla (retired) says, “In the 80s, after economic liberalization, China understood that without increasing naval power, it would not emerge as a global power. We have the most powerful navy and they are making new aircrafts very fast. You can’t build a carrier overnight. It takes time, so it is important that we bring more ships like Vikrant which can protect our fleet, far and wide to go and destroy enemy ships.”

China commissioned two aircraft between 2012 and 2022 and started work on the third and largest ever. China increased the capability of its navy and also increased its fleet. China has also left the US Navy behind.

Vikrant:

image source, Indian Navy

corona virus

and in the end,,

Naval band rehearsing outside the ship. Along with this, when big cranes lift heavy things, loud sirens sound. State-owned shipbuilding company Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) has heaved a sigh of relief.

For the first time, the government had given approval for this ship in January 2003. The work started after the first contract was signed in the year 2007. But the second phase of the ship’s construction was delayed, especially when it had to install weapons and propulsion systems and aviation complexes from Russia.

According to CSL Chairman and Managing Director Madhu Nair, it took 13 years to build this ship, they want to reduce this time. He says, “Thirteen years is not the best time, we can do better. But we have to understand that we were doing this for the first time and we are not sad.”

Madhu Nair
image caption,

Madhu Nair

I drew his attention to the rapid progress of China. He said, “When comparing China, we should also think about the entire ecosystem. They are also growing faster than Britain and America.”

With the creation of Vikrant, this shipyard’s confidence in itself has increased. Now they are investing to get more capacity.

He says, “We are investing in a new dock that can make India’s next generation aircraft carrier, which will be ready in 2024. We hope to get the approval for building the new carrier soon. If this happens then we will be ready for quick delivery.

Navy

image source, Indian Navy

20,000 crores have been spent to make Vikrant.

76 percent of the items of this warship are made in India. They are made by about 500 Indian companies. Both Navy and CSL are looking at it as an investment in the Indian defense sector. According to the government, in the last 13 years, about 15,000 jobs have come in the shipbuilding sector.

Putting aside the data, as Anjana KR, general manager design, CSL, says, this is the beginning of an emotional journey.

Anjana KR says, “I was involved in its designing in 2009, in the materials department. I was involved in the purchase of several items needed for the ship and I am back in the design department. It was very challenging. Sometimes it seemed That the way forward is now closed, but we worked together and together with the Navy and faced all the difficulties.”

Anjana KR
image caption,

Anjana KR

Whether it is Vikrant being put in water for the first time in the year 2013 or the trials in the sea last year, Anjana has seen everything very closely. Just like parents.

With a big smile on her face Anjana says, “She’s like my daughter, she’s been here for many years, we’ve grown it. From the first line’s design, it’s a complete ship now. The world is going to see. It’s like marrying a daughter and giving it to someone else, my experience is similar. And now they (Navy) have to take good care of it.”

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