The indigenous-built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant will be fully operational by November of this year according to Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar.
INS Vikrant is designed by Indian Navy's in-house Warship Design Bureau (WDB) and built by Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL). Vikrant has been built with state-of-the-art automation features and is the largest ship ever built in the maritime history of India.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi commissioned INS Vikrant on 2 September 2022 and noted that it is a symbol of indigenous potential, indigenous resources and indigenous skills.
Admiral added, “We will work towards ensuring that it is docked in Visakhapatnam, for which, six squadron pilots have already been qualified,” reports The New Indian Express.
On 17 May INS Vikrant docked successfully for the first time at the newly built berthing facility of Karwar naval base on the west coast.
Currently, the vessel is undergoing air certification and flight integration trials. The ongoing flight trials involve the deployment of Russian-origin MiG-29K fighter jets, which utilise a ski jump for take-off and are subsequently recovered using arrestor wires, employing the Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR) technique.
Moreover, the Naval variant of the indigenous Tejas fighter aircraft also landed on the carrier earlier this year.
The 262-metre-long carrier has a full displacement of close to 45,000 tonne which is much more advanced than its predecessor. The ship is powered by four gas turbines totalling 88 MW power and has a maximum speed of 28 knots.
Built at an overall cost of close to Rs 20,000 crore, the project has progressed in three phases of the contract between MoD and CSL. It has an overall indigenous content of 76 per cent.
Vikrant has been built with a high degree of automation for machinery operation, ship navigation and survivability, and has been designed to accommodate an assortment of fixed-wing and rotary aircraft.
The ship would be capable of operating an air wing consisting of 30 aircraft comprising of MIG-29K fighter jets, Kamov-28, MH-60R multi-role helicopters, in addition to indigenously manufactured advanced light helicopters (ALH) and light combat aircraft (LCA) (Navy).
Using a novel aircraft operation mode known as STOBAR, the IAC is equipped with a ski-jump for launching aircraft and a set of 'arrester wires' for their recovery onboard.
The carrier is named in honour of her historic predecessor, India's first aircraft carrier, which played an important part in the war of 1971.
With the IAC Vikrant, India has joined an elite group of countries with the specialised capacity to design and construct an aircraft carrier domestically, including the US, UK, France, Russia and China.
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