INS Vikrant To Be Operational By June 2023; Flight Trials To Be Complete In Four Months
After the successful landings by the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Navy and MiG-29K fighters on the deck of INS Vikrant, the aircraft carrier is set to be fully operational by the middle of this year.
While the 45,000 tonnes Aircraft carrier was commissioned by the Navy in September last year, it was not fully operational since its primary weapons systems, the fighter jets, had not completed their aviation trials from the aircraft carrier’s deck.
However, according to a by The Times of India, these flight trials will take 3-4 months to complete. After the completion of these trials, the aircraft carrier will become fully operational by May-June 2023.
Most of the weapons firing and helicopter trials are already complete.
“A historical milestone achieved towards Aatma Nirbhar Bharat by Indian Navy as naval pilots carry out the landing of LCA (Navy) on board INS Vikrant,” the Navy said in a brief statement after the Made-in-India fighter landed on the carrier on 6 February.
It said the landing demonstrated India’s capability to design, develop, construct and operate indigenous aircraft carriers with indigenous fighter aircraft.
The Indian Navy currently operates over 40 MiG-29K jets. The air wing of INS Vikrant will be able to carry 30 MiG-29K fighter jets, according to officials.
The Navy is in the process of procuring 26 deck-based aircraft for INS Vikrant. The Navy has already narrowed down on Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet and French aerospace major Dassault Aviation’s Rafale M aircraft for procurement.
INS Vikrant has over 2,300 compartments, designed for a crew of around 1,700 people, including specialised cabins to accommodate women officers.
The carrier has a top speed of around 28 knots and a cruising speed of 18 knots with an endurance of about 7,500 nautical miles. It is 262 metres long, 62 metres wide and has a height of 59 metres.
(With inputs from PTI)
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