Cochin Shipyard will mark a new milestone with the laying of the keel for the first indigenous aircraft carrier by defence minister A K Antony, on 28 February.
The indigenous aircraft carrier, designed by the Navy's design organisation and being built at Cochin Shipyard Limited, would be capable of operating an aircraft mix of Russian MiG-29K, Ka31 and indigenous LCA.
The design and construction of the aircraft carrier was sanctioned by the government in January 2003.
This is the most prestigious project, which the Indian Navy has taken up in-house so far. With this project, India becomes the 4th nation to join the select club of 40,000 tonnes plus aircraft carrier designers and builders.
The ship has a length of 260 metres and max breadth of 60 metres. The ship will be propelled by two shafts, each coupled to two LM2500 gas turbines developing a total power of 80 MW, sufficient to attain speeds in excess of 28 knots.
The ship has an endurance of around 8,000 nautical miles and complement of 1,600 personnel. The ship will have two takeoff runways and a landing strip with three arrester wires. It can carry a maximum of 30 aircraft with adequate hangarage capacity.
The carrier is designed with a very high degree of automation for machinery operation, ship navigation and survivability.
The production of the aircraft carrier commenced in November 2006 and large numbers of blocks have already been fabricated, which are under erection. Major equipment to be installed in lower decks of the ship have been ordered.
The ship is being constructed using high strength steel developed in-house with the help of DRDO and SAIL. Long range surface to air missile (LR SAM) system with multi-function radar (MFR) and close in weapon system (CIWS) is envisaged for the carrier.
The ship will be equipped with the most modern C/D band early air warning radar, V/UHF tactical air navigational and direction finding systems. The carrier would also be having jamming capabilities over the expected electro magnetic environment, along with carrier control approach radars to aid air operations.
Integration of all weapon systems onboard the carrier would be through an indigenous combat management system (CMS).The ships integration with Navy's Network Centric Operations would provide forced multiplication, the release said.
Over the last 40 years, the directorate of naval design (DND) has successfully designed 17 different classes of warships, of which around 90 ships have already been built within the country.
DND, the only government organisation in the world undertaking indigenous design of warships, has built the Delhi class destroyers, the biggest warships built so far to indigenous design. These ships are operating successfully over last 10 years and have demonstrated their design superiority when INS Delhi withstood extremely adverse weather conditions and high sea states while encountering typhoons during the ships passage in the South China Sea in 1995.
Though this is the maiden venture for CSL in warship construction, the shipyard has been involved in commercial shipbuilding for the past three decades.
CSL has been provided with funds in excess of Rs200 crore to augment infrastructure in areas such as large cranes, workshops, heavy duty machinery etc.
The ship construction is planned in phases. The first phase covers work up to first launch in end-2010. The second phase would cover all balance work till delivery of the ship to the Navy in end-2014. Fincantieri of Italy and NDB of Russia will provide assistance for propulsion system integration and aviation aspects.