India’s first designed and built aircraft carrier has set sail for its maiden sea trials and the navy hailed it as a “historic and proud” day for the country, which has invested vast resources in developing domestic technology.
On Wednesday, the Twitter account for the Indian Navy shared a video of the 262-meter aircraft carrier, dubbed Indigenous Aircraft Carrier 1 (IAC-1), heading to sea for trials.
The navy said that many more sister ships are in the pipeline, and the date chosen for IAC-1 taken to the sea occurs 50 years after its soon-to-be predecessor played a pivotal role in securing victory in the 1971 Indo-Pakistani war, which helped with the birth of Bangladesh.
IAC-1 will be named INS Vikrant, meaning ‘stepping beyond’, once commissioned, honoring its predecessor.
Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said the maiden voyage of the 40,000-ton warship was “a true testimony to our unwavering commitment to #Atmanirbharta in Defense.” Labeling it “a proud moment for India,” he added that the “Realization of this historic milestone, regardless of Covid, shows true dedication & commitment of all stakeholders.”
The IAC-1 will host a range of fixed and rotary wing aircraft, including the MiG-29K fighter aircraft and Kamov-31 Air Early Warning Helicopters, according to the navy.
Indian media cites plans to commission the warship in 2022, when it would become the second aircraft carrier in the country’s fleet. The only aircraft carrier currently in use is the Russian-made INS Vikramaditya.
India has been pushing for self-reliance in several industries for many years; defense being a key sector. The government has also pushed forward with plans for self-reliance in the medical sphere during the Covid-19 pandemic. The well-used Hindi phrase ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ roughly translates as ‘self-reliant India’.
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