India to enter elite club, Antony to lay keel of first indigenous aircraft carrier today

India to enter elite club, Antony to lay keel of first indigenous aircraft carrier todayKochi, Feb 28: India will join the elite club today and will become fourth country in the world to indigenously build its own aircraft carrier of 40,000 tonne plus.

Defence Minister A. K. Antony will lay the keel for country''s first indigenous aircraft carrier or air defence ship (ADS) at the Cochin Shipyard''s construction dock in Kerala today, marking the launch of the first phase of building the 40,000 tonne aircraft carrier.

The ADS will give a major boost to the indigenous defence industry and make the Navy a pure Blue Water Navy.

India becomes fourth country after naval powers of the world like US, Russia, and France to build a carrier with a 40,000 tonne displacement. The United Kingdom has also built its own aircraft carrier, but not such a huge size.

The project codenamed P-71 will initially cost Rs 3,260 crore, but the amount would increase with the progress of the project and as per requirements.

The aircraft carrier will be in the waters by October 2010, as per the phase I contract signed by its manufacturer Cochin Shipyard Ltd
(CSL) with the Defence Ministry. The phase II of the contract will end with the delivery of the ship to the Navy by the end of 2014.

The aircraft carrier is the largest military vessel to be constructed at any Indian yard, boosting shipbuilding capability of the country.

The life of the carrier is 50 years and more than 70 percent of its design is indigenous. Apart from it, the construction is 100 percent indigenous, having 70 percent home made components.

The ship has a length of 260 m and max breadth of 60 m, draft of 8.4 m and a depth of 25.6 m. The vessel will be propelled by four LM
2,500 gas turbines, which enables the ship sail at a maximum speed of 28 knots. The ship will have two takeoff runways and a landing strip with three arrester wires.

The ADS has the maximum capacity to carry 30 fighter jets, comprising Russian MIG-29 K Fighters, indigenous Light Combat Aircraft, and Kamov-31 helicopters on board.

The carrier is built with steel produced by state-owned SAIL (Steel Authority of India ltd.) The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) are also contributing the project.

The Directorate of Naval Design, the only in-house design bureau in the world, has prepared the design of the ADS. Equipments to be fitted on the aircraft carrier are to meet special requirements of shock, vibration, noise, stealth, compactness in size and weight, the official said.

The INS Viraat is the only full deck aircraft carrier currently in operation with the Navy. (ANI)

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