The commissioning of the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) is a glowing testimonial to India’s ambitious push for indigenisation of the defence sector. From the military grade steel to the 2,500km of cables, 76% of the aircraft carrier’s components have been developed in India by defence PSUs, private companies and MSMEs.
The IAC project has created a new industrial ecosystem in warship building in the country and is a milestone on the road to becoming atmanirbhar (selfreliant), according to the Indian Navy and the ship’s builder, Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL).
Major industrial houses in the country such as BEL, BHEL, GRSE, HAL, MIDHANI, Keltron, Kirloskar, Tata Advanced Systems, L&T, Wartsila India, Johnson Controls India Limited, etc, as well as numerous MSMEs were involved in building a large number of indigenous equipment and machinery for the aircraft carrier. The indigenisation rate achieved during the ship’s construction could be called the USP of Vikrant, but it also means that two-thirds of the total Rs 20,000 crore spent on the project returned to the country’s economy.
The indigenisation efforts have led to the development of ancillary industries, besides generating direct employmentopportunities for 3,000 workers, including contract workers, and around 13,000 indirect employees in ancillary industries, thus bringing about a plough-back effect on the nation’s economy.
“More than 500 Indian companies were part of the project, thus creating a new ecosystem in the warship-buildingindustry in India. For example, L&T produced the switchboards, and Johnson Controls India produced the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. A huge number of micro, small and medium enterprises, including small firms in Kochi, have also catered to the project requirements. So, theknowledge we received from carrying out such a large and complex project is spread across the industrial ecosystem, which should be the base for similar projects in the future. If not, it would be criminal. Using that ecosystem, we can achieve around 87% indigenisation if we make another carrier,” said Madhu managing director.
A major spin-off of building the IAC is the development and production of indigenous warship-grade steel for the ship through partnership between the Navy, DRDO’s defence metallurgical research laboratory, and the Steel Authority of India Limited.
INS Vikrant is the first Indian ship to be built using indigenised DMR 249 steel. India is now self-sufficient with respect to warship steel, which is now used to make all naval warships.
“Thousands of people got job opportunitiesover these years due to the project. Since at least three to five immediate family members are dependent on each worker, the positive effect of such employment is multiplied manifold. An indigenous design gave us the flexibility to get what all we needed on the ship. None of this happened when we received all three previous aircraft carriers from foreign nations,” said commodore Vidhyadhar Harke, the commanding officer of the ship.
The Open Magazine of India by Artmotion Network (https://magazine.armotion.com/)