India’s first indigenously built aircraft carrier, the INS Vikrant, was commissioned on Friday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and was launched at the Cochin Shipyard.

The Indian Navy released a statement saying that the INS Vikrant will mark a “historical milestone of realisation of Nation’s commitment towards AatmaNirbharta”.

India’s very first aircraft carrier was also named the INS Vikrant, and was bought in 1957 and commissioned in 1961. It was instrumental in India’s operations against Pakistan in the Indo-Pak war of 1971. Here’s all you need to know about the brand new aircraft carrier.

When did the INS Vikrant start construction?

Work on the INS Vikrant’s design began in 1999 and the keel, or the formal beginning of the construction of the ship, began in 2009. The ship was constructed by the Cochin Shipyard Limited. 

Two years later, in December 2011, the ship was taken out of its dry dock. Finally, it was taken out to sea in 2013. Basin trials for the ship, i.e., checking if a ship’s propulsion systems, were completed in 2020 and the ship was taken out to sea in 2021.

The ship was finally commissioned on September 2, 2022, although flight trials for aircrafts are only expected to be complete by the middle of 2023. 

What are the specifications of the INS Vikrant?

The INS Vikrant is reportedly 262 metres long, 62 metres wide and 59 metres high, including the superstructure on the deck. With a total of 14 decks onboard, the ship has over 2,300 compartments and can hold 1,700 sailors.  The ship weighs ~40,000 tonnes and is powered by two LM2500 gas turbine engines, designed and manufactured by General Electric. 

INS Vikrant can reach a speed of up to 28 knots (52 kmph) but will otherwise cruise at around 18 knots (33 kmph). It’s cruise speed will allow it to travel up to 7,500 nautical miles (13,800 km).

The aircraft carrier has two runways, a long take-off position which is 206 metres and a short take-off position which is 145 metres. The ship can hold an assortment of up to 30 fixed wing and rotary aircraft. 

How much did the INS Vikrant cost?

At the time of its first sea trials in 2021, the cost of building the INS Vikrant had risen to $2 billion (~ Rs 23,000 crore).