After a long wait, India has entered into a select league of nations capable of building their own aircraft carriers. In one of the most significant moments of India’s existence, the country entered the elite club soon after the commissioning of the indigenously built INS Vikrant. The other countries with the ability to build their own aircraft carriers include US, UK, Russia, China and France.
The joy further increased by manifolds as PM Modi unveiled the Shivaji-inspired new naval ensign bidding adieu to the age-old Cross of St George which was a sign of our colonial past. The new ‘Nishaan’ represents India’s affluent maritime heritage and presence.
The new insignia consists of the tricolour and a navy blue-gold octagon. The blue octagonal shape with the national emblem is present over an anchor which is superimposed on a shield with the navy’s motto and below the shield, within the octagon, is the Indian Navy’s motto ‘Sam No Varunah’.
Coming to the state-of-the-art machine, INS Vikrant is built at a cost of Rs 20,000 crore and was commissioned at the Cochin Shipyard Limited in Kochi, adding tremendous capabilities to the already strong arsenal of the Indian Navy.
The mammoth aircraft carrier is equivalent to two football fields and 18 floors in height. Figuratively, it is 262 meters long and 62 meters wide. The hangar of the aircraft carrier is also as big as two Olympic-size pools and to start with the carrier will have MiG fighter jets along with a few other helicopters.
The warship is touted to be a city on the move, capable of accommodating 1600-member strong crew and 30 aircraft and for the comfort of its residents the ship is equipped with a 16 bedded hospital, a mess with all modern-day amenities and facilities including machines that can make 3,000 chapatis in an hour. It will also have 250 tankers of fuel, and 2,400 compartments.
With the addition of INS Vikrant, the Indian navy now has two aircraft carriers with the other being INS Vikramaditya which has been in service since 2013 and was built on a Russian platform.