India unveils home-built aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant

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India introduces a 37,500 ton aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant

The carrier's name means courageous

Warship will undergo tests for years before used in the navy, says spokesman

New Delhi, India CNN  — 

India launched a 37,500-ton indigenous aircraft carrier Monday in its bid to join a select group of nations capable of building such warships.

The carrier INS Vikrant, meaning courageous, was unveiled at a shipyard in Kochi in southern India, defense ministry spokesman Sitanshu Kar told CNN.

The warship will undergo extensive tests in the next few years before it is commissioned into the navy, he added.

The INS Vikrant, which is 260 meter (853 feet) long and 60 meter (196 feet) wide, can carry MiG 29K fighters and light combat aircraft, he said.

Only the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia and France have the capability to design and build such warships, Kar said.

Monday’s launch comes two days after India announced activation of the reactor on its home-built nuclear-powered submarine, in what Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described was “a giant stride in the progress of our indigenous technological capabilities.”

“It is testimony to the ability of our scientists, technologists and defense personnel to work together for mastering complex technologies in the service of our nation’s security,” Singh said in a message on Saturday after the reactor on board the INS Arihant submarine was activated.

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