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India's 1st indigenous aircraft carrier taking shape at Kochi

India's first indigenous aircraft carrier under construction in the Cochin Shipyard.

CHENNAI (PTI): India's first indigenous aircraft carrier was taking shape in the Cochin Shipyard Limited at Kochi, one of the nine Defence PSUs in the country, where 85 per cent of the work relating to its hull are complete, a senior official said here on Thursday.

"Around 85 per cent of the hull is complete and 90 per cent of the fabrication is over. 85 per cent of the erection has been over," Commodore K Subramaniam (Retd), CSL Chairman and Managing Director told reporters on the sidelines of a function organised by the CII.

Interacting with journalists in the sidelines of a CII- organised conference on 'Approach to Integrated Maritime Systems' here, he said many elements of innovations were being incorporated in the building of the aircraft carrier.

"For instance, the Navy wanted a 14 degree ski-jump in the foxle of the ship for easy taking off of fighter planes, for which a big piece of iron had to be welded, which was also trimming down the ship to the front.

"We have employed a big piece of iron in the hull area, which will function as a buoyant, which has made the keel of the hull float horizontally. Likewise, we have made many innovations in the building."

Replying to a query, he said the degree of indigenous equipment in the aircraft carrier was very high, barring the aviation, for which the county was dependent on Russia. "We can say around 80 per cent of the ship is indigenous."

Elaborating on the localisation, he said that the metal sheets used for the building of the ship were designed by the Hyderabad-based Defence Research Development Laboratory and production was being done by Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL).

CSL was looking to focus on ship repair industry, Subramaniam said.

"We are also focusing on ship repair, which is a USD 12 billion or Rs 60,000 crore industry across the globe. But in India it is a less than Rs 1,000 crore. We are investing in 40 acre land of the port in Kochi with an investment of Rs 480 crore," he said.

Commenting on the growth of the ship building in India, he said that there were many obstacles including the taxing, which posed major challenges to the industry.

"Right now, it would be easy for the Shipping Corporation of India to buy ships from abroad than get it from us, since it would involve a lot of taxes. These challenges have to be overcome with a comprehensive maritime shipping policy, which would provide the blue print for all the challenges facing the industry," Subramaniam added.

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