Cochin Shipyard had no experience in building a warship before INS Vikrant. The aircraft carrier was built by its engineers but they could not have done it without the help of 550 companies, among which 100 were micro, small and medium enterprises
Prime Minister Narendra Modi commissioned India’s first indigenously designed and built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant in Kochi on Friday.
“Vikrant is huge and special. Vikrant is not just a warship. This is a testimony to the hard work, talent, influence and commitment of 21st century India,” the PM said at a grand ceremony at Cochin Shipyard in Kerala.
So who are the people behind the warship?
The successful commissioning of the carrier, a significant milestone and historical event, is testimony to the dedicated efforts of a large number of stakeholders within the Indian Navy, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the Cochin Shipyard, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) and Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) for over two decades.
Modi acknowledged and praised the contribution of the navy, engineers of Cochin Shipyard, scientists and the workers who worked on the project. He said, “It is a symbol of indigenous potential, indigenous resources and indigenous skills… The steel installed in its airbase is also indigenous, developed by DRDO scientists and produced by Indian companies.”
When the contract was first awarded to Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), a commercial shipyard that had no prior experience in making a warship, there was a lot of scepticism. “Before we bagged the IAC project, defence personnel often used to rub it in that ‘CSL doesn’t know how to make a warship’ and we used to respond ‘we will start with a bang’. Now we are one of the very few shipbuilders who have built an aircraft carrier….” said Madhu Nair, chairman and managing director, Cochin Shipyard, reports Times of India.
The IAC Vikrant’s construction began in April 2005 with the ceremonial Steel Cutting. Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) indigenised the warship-grade steel required for the IAC-1’s construction in collaboration with Defence Research & Development Laboratory (DRDL) and the Indian Navy, according to the Navy.
The warship is designed by the Indian Navy’s in-house Directorate of Naval Design (DND).
According to the Navy, the project’s indigenous content is approximately 76 per cent. This includes 23,000 tonnes of steel, 2,500 kilometres of electric cable, 150 kilometres of pipes, 2,000 valves, and various finished products such as rigid hull boats, galley equipment, air-conditioning and refrigeration plants, and steering gear.
In the manufacturing of INS Vikrant, 18 States and Union Territories of India are involved, Vice Chief of Indian Navy Vice Admiral S N Ghormade said. Equipment made in places like Ambala, Bengaluru, Daman and Diu, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Indore, Jalandhar, Kutch, Kota, New Delhi and Pune among others have been used in the manufacturing of the warship.
Nair revealed that 550 companies — big and small— were involved, including BEL, BHEL, GRSE, Keltron, Kirloskar, Larson & Tubro and Wartsila India. Among them, 100 were micro, small and medium enterprises, each having its own work culture and methodology.
The indigenisation efforts resulted in the development of ancillary industries and the creation of employment opportunities for 2,000 Cochin Shipyard personnel and approximately 13,000 employees in ancillary industries.
Many of its crucial systems and parts like aviation flight control, gas turbines, gearbox, Integrated Platform Management Systems (IPMS) etc were custom-made with the help of both foreign and Indian OEMs, and in terms of sophistication and efficiency rival the best systems in the world, reports Times of India.
INS Vikrant has been built at a cost of approximate Rs 20,000 crore. According to the Indian Navy, around 80 to 85 per cent has been ploughed back into the Indian economy.
With input from agencies
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