India Aircraft Carrier INS Vikrant Is the Nation's First

Image: India Aircraft Carrier INS Vikrant Is the Nation's First

Tuesday, 13 Aug 2013 12:09 PM

By Michael Mullins

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India's first aircraft carrier, the INS Vikrant, which translates into "courageous," was launched into the Arabian Sea on Monday.

With the launch of the 37,500-ton aircraft carrier, which measures 853 feet long and 196 feet wide, India has now joined a select group of nations capable of building such warships, CNN notes.

The INS Vikrant aircraft carrier was unveiled in southern India at a shipyard in Kochi, where it will undergo extensive tests over the next several years before the carrier is eligible to be commissioned into the navy, India's Defense Ministry spokesman Sitanshu Kar told CNN.

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India's aircraft carrier can carry MiG 29K fighters and light combat aircraft, according to Kar, who adds that only the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, and France have the capability to design and build such warships, CNN reported.

The INS Vikrant reportedly cost $5 billion to build, NPR reported.

On Saturday, India also announced the activation of a reactor on its home-built nuclear-powered submarine, the INS Arihant submarine.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called the reactor "a giant stride in the progress of our indigenous technological capabilities."

"It is testimony to the ability of our scientists, technologists and defense personnel to work together for mastering complex technologies in the service of our nation's security," Singh said in a message Saturday following the reactor's activation, CNN reported.

India's increasing presence in its surrounding waters could be a reaction to China's growing presence in the Indian Ocean, as noted by LIGNET.com in December 2011.

By 2016, China plans to deploy three carriers to secure oil imports coming from the Persian Gulf, according to LIGNET.com.

China and India aren't the only nations that are showing an increased presence in naval military growth.

Last Tuesday, Japan unveiled its largest warship since World War II.

The 820-foot-long, 19,500-ton flat-top ship is named the Izumo and is classified as a helicopter destroyer, capable of carrying 14 helicopters, according to media reports.

Japan's Izumo helicopter destroyer cost $1.2 billion to build.

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