India has commissioned the country’s first home-built aircraft carrier, the INS Vikrant.
The ceremony took place at Cochin Shipyard on September 2, 2022, and was led by the country’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Vikrant was launched in 2013 and first undocked in 2015. Sea trials of the ship began in 2021, and it was delivered to the Indian Navy for further tests in in July 2022.
A special day 02 September 2022— PRO Shillong, Ministry of Defence (@proshillong) September 2, 2022
INS Vikrant pic.twitter.com/gRhiqfns9p
The commission means that the Vikrant is now placed in active service with the Indian Navy, which previously possessed only one aircraft carrier, the INS Vikramaditya, a deeply modified Soviet Kyev-class heavy aircraft cruiser purchased from Russia in 2004 and commissioned in 2013.
However, the Vikrant is yet to finish aircraft trials, which are expected to be completed in 2023.
The Indian Navy currently operates a fleet of MiG-29K carrier-borne fighter jet. While the Vikrant was originally envisioned as carrying the jets, a competition to replace the MiGs is currently underway, with two candidates being the Dassault Rafale M and the F/A-18 Super Hornet.
In the future, India also expects to develop an indigenous carrier-borne fighter jet. The HAL Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter (TEDBF) project started in 2020, after it became apparent that modifying the HAL Tejas for carrier service is unfeasible.