Indian defence industry made a milestone step about maintaining of naval vessels. Indian defence minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated the Navy’s first aircraft carrier dry dock at the Naval Dockyard. The aircraft carrier dock is capable of accommodating INS Vikramaditya, IAC-I, the indigenous aircraft carrier under construction at the Cochin shipyard and ships with tonnage up to 90,000 tonnes, making it the largest dry dock of the Indian Navy.
Measuring 281 metres long, 45 metres wide, and 17 metres deep, the construction of the dry dock required innovative and extreme engineering methods. While most dry docks are constructed by excavating into the land and then providing access to the sea, the aircraft carrier dry dock is built into the sea, a technique that requires 38 caissons (watertight steel sections) to drain out seawater before construction can commence.
The dry dock has over one kilometre of berthing space with sectioning to allow docking of multiple warships. This results in faster turnaround time for maintenance and refit routines of the Indian Navy’s warships. The dry dock can be drained completely in just two-and-a-half hours and filled in one-and-a-half hours. Other features of the project include a ramp for heavy vehicles to access the dock floor, a 33.5 MVA power supply, and an under dock floor drainage arrangement to remove any seepage.
Started in 2010, the aircraft carrier dock was a unique project which overcame numerous challenges arising out of its sheer size and scale, and the complex technique of construction into the sea. The scale of the project is such that one-and-a-half times the amount of concrete used in the Bandra-Worli Sea Link and the same amount of steel used in the Eiffel Tower went into its construction.