After 13 years of construction and trials, INS Vikrant will be handed over to Indian Navy in May

INS Vikrant sea trails
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Cochin Shipyard officials said a new aircraft carrier of IAC specifications can be built by the shipyard in just five years.

The Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) will hand over India’s first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC)  which will be named ‘INS Vikrant’ to the Indian Navy next month. This was revealed by CSL Director (Technical) Bejoy Bhasker here on Thursday in a press conference held to announce the Shipyard’s 50th anniversary.

According to Bejoy, IAC will be out for the final sea trial in the next few weeks.

“The final sea trial was scheduled for this month but faced a slight delay. We will hand over the IAC to Indian Navy next month after which the ship will take the name of INS Vikrant. India’s first aircraft carrier will be commissioned on Independence Day in August this year,” he said.

CSL officials said a new aircraft carrier of IAC specifications can be built by the shipyard in just five years. According to them, IAC is 60 per cent indigenously made, while the remaining 40 per cent of its components are imported

“We have gained experience in the IAC project. If the Indian Navy asks us to bring out another aircraft carrier of 45,000-ton category like INS Vikrant, we can do it in five years. IAC uses ski-jump technology for launching the aircraft from the carrier. We can also make aircraft carriers that use the Electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS) adopted in aircraft carriers of the US Navy. Similarly, we are expanding the capacity of our dry dock here and we can make an aircraft carrier of up to 70,000 tonnes now.  We can also manufacture Jack-up rigs and LNG vessels here,” Bejoy said.

CSL has obtained a contract for eight Anti-Submarine Warfare Shallow Water Crafts. CSL has been declared as the lowest bidder for the New Generation Missile Vessel (NGMV) project.

Similarly, CSL will be handing over the remaining four ferries of the Kochi Water Metro by May or June this year. The first vessel was handed over to authorities a few months ago.

“Covid has caused delays in completing the work for vessels of the water metro project. The components for the vessels had to arrive from 23 countries. The aluminium procured from a company in Australia had to be sent back due to issues regarding the certification given to the company. Similarly, a major challenge was regarding the technology used in the vessel which is the first of its kind in the world. It is a hybrid system with both diesel and electrical generators used. Synchronising these two generators was the most difficult part in the manufacturing of the vessels,” Bejoy said.

Regarding the manufacturing of more vessels for Kochi Water Metro, CSL officials said that specifications for the new vessels are yet to be revealed. “CSL can make big vessels like aircraft carriers to small boats here,” he said.

CSL is expecting to complete the work for the International Ship Repair Facility (ISRF) at Wellington Island in Kochi by 2023. Major ships would be repaired at ISRF. CSL is also looking to tap the market for small-sized cruise vessels that can operate in inland waters.

CSL has consistently achieved positive growth since 1994, the last year it witnessed negative growth. The gross income of CSL was Rs 3,012.76 crores in 2020-21 and net profit in the same period was Rs 610.10 crores. Its net worth in 2020-21 was Rs 3978 crores. The union government holds a 72.86 per cent stake in the company.

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