Cochin Shipyard Begins Vikrant Class Aircraft Carrier Construction

Joining an elite club of nations capable of building large warships, India began the construction of its first indigenous aircraft carrier at the Cochin Shipyard here and will go in for 2 to 3 more carriers in the heavier class.

Pressing a remote to lower the keel -- the ship's backbone -- into the construction dock of the shipyard, Defence Minister A K Antony said, "The Navy's carrier will showcase India's technological prowess and warships' building capabilities to the world. It will be the largest ever warship to be built in India." The 40,000-tonne carrier will operate nearly 30 aircraft including the Russian MiG-29Ks fighters, Kamov-31 helicopters and the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).

"This is a crucial milestone and an occasion to cherish in the shipbuilding traditions and maritime history of the nation. The culmination of this prestigious project, sometime in 2014, will transform India into an aircraft-building nation," Antony said.

He said that India will certainly produce more indigenous aircraft carrier, but in the heavier class category to meet the future challenges and needs of maritime security. "We hope to operate two to three aircraft carriers simultaneously in the not too distant future," Antony said. (india-defence)

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