At the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai on 28 September, the Indian Navy‘s (IN’s) largest Dry Dock to date was inaugurated in a ceremony presided over by Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
Named ‘Aircraft Carrier Dry Dock,’ the 281-m long, 45-m wide and 17-m deep facility is capable of hosting INS Vikramaditya (ex-Admiral Gorshkov), the rare 44,750-ton Kiev-class refurbished carrier and ships up to 90,000-ton.
While most Dry Docks are constructed by digging into the ground and then providing access to the sea, Dry Dock – the Aircraft Carrier is built into the sea: a technique that involves 38 caissons [watertight steel sections] to drain seawater before construction can begin.
The Dry Dock has more than one kilometer of sectioning berthing space to allow docking of several warships, resulting in faster turnaround time for IN warships maintenance and refit routines.
Vikrant, the second aircraft carrier on order for the IN, currently being built by Cochin Shipyard Limited, is also expected to be maintained and repaired by the use of the Dry Dock.
Purpose of the aircraft carrier Dry Dock
A Dry Dock is basically a berthing position where a vessel will be repaired, refuelled and maintained after the dock has been dewatered. This requires maintenance work such as removing heavy machinery that can’t be performed while the boat is running on ice. While there were three existing British-era Dry Docks in the Mumbai naval dockyard, there was none that could fit an aircraft carrier ship. The dimensions of the new state-of-the-art Dry Dock were adjusted to accommodate the INS Vikramaditya, the only aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy, at 281 m long, 45 m wide and nearly 17 m deep.