India recently launched its first locally built aircraft carrier.
The Vikrant, a 40,000 ton aircraft carrier that was designed and built completely within the borders of India, launched today from Kochi. India now joins a select group of nations that are capable of building their own aircraft carriers.
Defense Minister A.K. Anthony said that there was still a lot of work to be done and that the Vikrant wouldn’t officially be commissioned until 2018. TheHindu.com reports that the Vikrant will undergo outfitting until 2016 and will then go to trials.
Anthony said: “The launching of the indigenous aircraft carrier marks just the first step in a long journey, but at the same time an important one.”
NPR notes that there are only a few nations who can design and build their own aircraft carriers. Britain has one, the HMS Illustrious, and another in the works, the HMS Queen Elizabeth. France and Russia also have indigenous aircraft carriers. The Unite States, which has the largest Navy in the world, has 10.
Anthony said that the Vikrant was vital to India’s defense, saying that the ship was needed to ensure the safety of the country’s off-shore assets.
Anthony said: “(We must) continue to maintain high operational readiness at all times to ward off any likely misadventure against our national interests.”
— ALLINDIADAILY.COM (@AllindiaDaily) August 12, 2013
— ST Foreign Desk (@STForeignDesk) August 12, 2013
[Top Image From Shutterstock. Does Not Show India's New Aircraft Carrier]