India laid the keel of its first aircraft carrier on Saturday 28th February, an event described by Defence Minister A.K. Antony as an “historic moment for India”, according to Indian press reports. “It is a crucial milestone and a moment to cherish in the country’s maritime history,” he said. The ship will be named INS Vikrant, which, in Sanskirt, means “courageous” and “victorious”, it was announced yesterday.
The Cochin Shipyard in Kerala began steel cutting for the ship in April 2005, after the government sanctioned the design in January 2003. Almost half of the 874 steel blocks have already been fabricated. It is the largest military vessel ever constructed by an Indian shipyard
The 260-metre long, 60-metre wide, 37,500 tonne ship will be propelled by two LM 2,500 gas turbines that will enable it to attain a speed of over 28 knots. It will be able to carry 30 combat aircraft, comprised of Russian MIG-29 K Fighters, indigenous Tejas Light Combat Aircraft, and Kamov-31 helicopters.
They've been talking about this for at least ten years. Let's see how many they decide they can afford during the economic mash-up. The question is whether or not the Indians will finish their own carrier prior to the Russians actually delivering on the one they were paid to rebuild for the Indians.
This ought to accelerate the Chinese working on their own carriers. If the Chinese do it, betcha the Japanese follow.