INS Vikrant

INS Vikrant

News: Recently, India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant was commissioned.

Background:
• From the first indigenous warship INS Ajay in 1960, to the first indigenous frigate INS Nilgiri in 1968, the commissioning of the first indigenously designed and built aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, is a significant punctuation in India’s pursuit of self-reliance (Aatmanirbhar Bharat).

About:
• Vikrant (which means courageous) is named after India’s first aircraft carrier, bought from the UK and commissioned in 1961.
• At 43,000 tonnes, Vikrant is the largest naval ship to be designed and built in India.
• India joins the United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK), France, Russia, Italy, and China, which have similar capabilities.
• Technologies used - STOBAR (short take-off but assisted recovery)
• 76% indigenous material was used.
• It was made at Cochin Shipyard Limited in Kochi.

Importance of INS Vikrant:
• It will help in the Indian navy to establish itself as Blue water force, one with the ability to project its power on distant seas.
• Help in India’s bid to be a net security provider in the Indian Ocean region
• Bolster the maritime security of the nation as now India has two operational aircraft carriers (alongwith INS Vikramaditya) Other aircraft carriers across the world – Russia (Admiral Kuznetsov), Italy (Cavour), France (Charles de Gaulle), China (Fujian), USA (USS Gerald R Ford Class), UK (Queen Elizabeth Class)

Challenges present to Indigenization for Indian navy:
• Import dependence still continues – Any warship has 3 components to it. Float, move and Fight. We have achieved 90% indigenization in Float category but only 60% in move and meagre 30% in fight category. Therefore, work still needs to be done.
• Use of old technology - Currently, the Navy employs 15 conventional submarines, each of which requires breaking surfaces to charge its batteries, making them prone to detection every time they are launched.
• Cost and Time overrun - INS Vikrant was to be inducted by 2017. INS Vikramaditya was inducted into service more than 10 years after it was purchased.
• Parliamentary committee on Defense and other experts have cited the need for a third Aircraft carrier for India.

Government initiatives:
• Development cum Production Partner Initiative (by DRDO, it ensures involvement of industries from the beginning of the development cycle and leads to a reduction in the time frame of the development-to- induction cycle)
• SRIJAN Portal - monitor the status of progress of indigenization.
• Increased the FDI limit from 49% to 74%.
• Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX)
• Positive Indigenization List under new Defence Procurement Policy.

Way Forward:
• Development of core military technologies indigenously will significantly enhance naval capabilities.
• All the stakeholders involved in the industry – Defense public sector units, MSME’s, private companies need to join hands to achieve the goal of self-reliance of the Indian navy.
• Our shipyards infrastructure needs to be aligned with the world’s best.

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