India has launched its first home-built aircraft carrier from Cochin Shipyard in southern Kerala state.
The 37,500 tonne INS Vikrant is expected to go for extensive trials in 2016 before being inducted into the navy by 2018, reports the BBC. With this launch, India joins a select group of countries capable of building such a vessel.
The launch of INS Vikrant marks the end of the first phase of its construction. The ship will be then re-docked for outfitting and further construction. The new aircraft carrier has a length of 260m (850ft) and a breadth of 60m, having been designed and constructed locally using high grade steel made by a state-owned steel company.
Vice-Admiral RK Dhowan of India's navy, cited by the BBC, has described the launch as the crowning glory of the navy's programme to produce vessels on home soil.