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India to lay keel of new aircraft carrier on Saturday


NEW DELHI, February 26 (RIA Novosti) - The keel-laying ceremony for India's Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) will take place this coming Saturday, the country's Defense Ministry said on Thursday.

It described the IAC, 260 m long and 60 m wide, as "a milestone in Indian shipbuilding."

Developed by the Navy Design Organization and to be built at the Cochin Shipyard, the IAC will have the capability to operate "a mix of aircraft," including Russian MiG-29K fighters and Ka-31 combat helicopters, as well as domestically made light combat aircraft (LCA).

The ministry said the ship would be propelled by two LM2500 gas turbines developing a total power of 80 MW, sufficient to attain speeds up to 28 knots. It will have an endurance of around 8,000 NM and a crew of 1,600.

The IAC, with two takeoff runways and one landing strip with 3 arrester wires, can carry up to 30 aircraft.

The ship is to enter service with the Navy in late 2014.

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