Agencies, Kochi Amidst chanting of hymns from the Atharva Veda, Vikrant, India’s first aircraft carrier, decommissioned on January 31, 1997, was reborn today as Smt Elizabeth Antony, wife of the Defence Minister A K Antony, christened India’s first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) as ‘Vikrant’ meaning ‘courageous’ or ‘victorious’ in Sanskrit.
In a colourful ceremony filled with traditional pomp and fervour at the Cochin Shipyard Limited in Kochi, Ms Elizabeth floated ‘Vikrant’ in the presence of Mr Antony, Union Minister of Shipping G K Vasan, the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral DK Joshi, the F-O-C in C Western Naval Command Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha, Commander-in-Chief Southern Naval Command Vice Admiral Satish Soni and Chairman and Managing Director, CSL, Commodore (Retd) K Subramaniam.
At the launch, marking the end of Phase- I of the project, the imposing ramp of the 37,500 tonne Short Take off but Assisted Recovery (STOBAR) Carrier boasted the indigenous design and build capabilities of the country. The ship has attained its designed length of about 260 m and is almost at its maximum breadth of 60 m. The main landing strip is ready.
Over 80 per cent of the structure, containing about 2300 compartments has been fabricated, over 75 per cent had been erected, all the major machinery, such as the two LM2500 Gas Turbines developing a total power of 80 MW, the diesel alternators capable of producing about 24 MW and the main gear box have been fitted. Soon after Vikrant floated perfectly upright, she was launched out into the Ernakulam Channel in a pontoon assisted precision manoeuvre. Vikrant was moved out of the building dock to be positioned in the refitting dock where the next Phase of outfitting will be completed.