India commissioned the INS Vikrant, the first aircraft carrier domestically produced in the country, at a Friday ceremony, according to Reuters.
The Vikrant will join the Russian-built INS Vikramaditya, another aircraft carrier, and allow the Indian Navy to maintain a carrier presence in the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, according to Reuters.
Standing at a height of almost 197 ft with a length of 860 ft, the carrier will accommodate 1,700 crew members along with 30 aircraft, the BBC reported.
Aircraft stationed aboard will include the Russian MiG-29K fighter jet and Kamov-31 early warning helicopter, according to the BBC.
The Vikrant has an 8,600-mile range and is powered by four gas turbine engines, giving the ship a top speed of 32 mph, according to CNN. The ship will also be equipped with surface-to-air missiles, the outlet continued
The crew will have access to three galleys and medical support. The ship holds a 16-bed hospital equipped with two intensive care units and two operating theaters on board, the BBC reported.
75 years ago we could not even make a safety pin ourselves. Today we can bring together 510 Indian companies to build a ship that is a thousand feet long, carries 1700 crew, endures an 8000 mile run, generates 88 MW power, and holds 30 fighter planes.
Say hello to INS Vikrant. pic.twitter.com/MdwkJg0lX2
— Anand Ranganathan (@ARanganathan72) September 1, 2022
Construction of the Vikrant received approval in 2003 and began in 2009 but faced significant delays caused by design adjustments and the COVID-19 pandemic, according to CNN. The Vikrant was originally scheduled for completion in 2017, the BBC reported.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi labeled the carrier “a symbol of indigenous potential, indigenous resources and indigenous skills,” according to Reuters. (RELATED: Violent Protests Erupt Across India Amid Military Recruitment Overhaul)
The Vikrant adds another aircraft carrier to the “Quad,” a military-focused partnership including the U.S., India, Japan, and Australia designed to counter Chinese expansion in the Pacific.
The carrier could participate in military exercises between Quad nations and enhance the status of India, which was involved in a deadly 2020 clash on the India-China border, as a naval competitor with China, according to CNN.
Modi described the commissioning of the $2.5 billion Vikrant as an event that “filled the country with a new confidence,” the BBC reported.