The 45,000-tonne INS Vikrant was formally commissioned into service by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday.
Commodore Vidhyadhar Harke has been designated as the Commanding Officer of India's first indigenously-built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant. After commissioning of the vessel, he said has to now fulfil the task of commissioning and integrating the ship.
"The Navy and the nation have vested upon me a great responsibility and I have to fulfil the task of commissioning and integrating the ship in the fleet as planned. For me and my crew, the endeavour would be to come up with the desired standards and expectations of the country, and we will not let you down," Commodore Harke was quoted by the Times of India as saying.
The Designate CO added that while INS Vikrant would not be operating alone, it will take time to complete its full operational capabilities. "It will take inherently finite time to completely operationalise its combat potential and to be fully integrated with the fleet," Commodore Harke said.
But the CO also clarified that the airwings will be introduced to the aircraft carrier through carefully graded trials.
"We have come a long way. All the Russian equipment is in place, acceptance and trial is in progress, but it is a graded trial," Commodore Harke had added in an interview with NDTV.
Commordore Harke added that the crew aboard the INS Vikrant was already "charged up, ready and trained" even as they were still undertaking written exams, and drills to be prepared for all eventualities. "We have come a long way," Commodore Harke added.
However, the CO of India's biggest warship stated that INS Vikrant brings will bring in unmatched capability and act as a visible deterrence for any threats.
"The Vikrant brings in capability which is unmatched and it would augment the present aircraft carrier, Vikram Aditya. It is a visible deterrence for any misadventure by anybody. When I say our maritime capability perspective plan is not against any country-specific, it is having our own capability," Commodore Harke told ANI.
One of Commodore Harke's earliest and most important responsibilities would be to get the flight wings about the carrier ready. The fighters, interceptors and bombers on an aircraft carrier are its biggest assets and INS Vikrant will reportedly carry around 30 fixed wing aircraft.
Indian Navy commissions INS Vikrant
Commodore Harke's statement came after India commissioned its first indigenously built aircraft carrier, the INS Vikrant, on Friday. The 45,000-tonne warship was formally commissioned into service by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Kochi, Kerala.
The Rs 20,000 crore warship that can hold a 1,600-strong crew will bring India into an elite club of nations that are capable of building their own aircraft carriers. The aircraft carrier is 262 m long and 62 m wide. INS Vikrant will have a top speed of 28 knots with a range of around 14,000 km.
Shaping a Dream Building a NationDesigned by #IndianNavy constructed by @cslcochin, a shining beacon of #AatmaNirbharBharat, #IACVikrant is all set to be commissioned into the #IndianNavy.#INSVikrant#LegendisBack@PMOIndia @DefenceMinIndia @shipmin_india @SpokespersonMoD pic.twitter.com/RVweCActMW— SpokespersonNavy (@indiannavy) September 2, 2022
"INS Vikrant has been a giant leap for the navy's and the country's warship design bureau, and the shipbuilding industry," Southern Naval Command Vice Admiral MA Hampiholi told NDTV.