Defence Minister A K Antony will lay the keel for country's first indigenous aircraft carrier or air defence ship (ADS) at the Cochin Shipyard's construction dock in Kerala on Feb 28, marking the launch of the first phase of building the 40,000 tonne aircraft carrier.
India becomes fourth country after naval powers of the world like US, Russia, and France to build a carrier with a 40,000 tonne displacement. The United Kingdom has also built its own aircraft carrier, but not such a huge size.
The project codenamed P-71 will initially cost Rs 3,260 crore, but the amount would increase with the progress of the project and as per requirements.
The aircraft carrier will be in the waters by October 2010, as per the phase I contract signed by its manufacturer Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL) with the Defence Ministry. The phase II of the contract will end with the delivery of the ship to the Navy by the end of 2014.