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India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier Vikrant sails out for sea trials

Commencement of sea trials of Indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC(P71)) ‘VIKRANT’

India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier, Vikrant, the largest warship to be built in the country set sail on Wednesday for crucial sea trials ahead of its planned induction into the Indian Navy in less than a year, according to an official statement issued on Wednesday.

The construction of the Vikrant has put India in a select league of countries including the US, the UK, Russia, France and China that have the capability to build aircraft carriers.

“Most of the ship’s construction activities have been completed and it has entered the trials phase. Readiness of ship’s propulsion and power generation equipment/systems were tested in harbour as part of basin trials in November 2020,” the Indian Navy said in a statement.

Designed by the Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design, Vikrant has been built at the state-owned Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL).

“The Vikrant is a shining example of the nation’s quest for ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ with more than 76% indigenous content. This is the maiden attempt of the Indian Navy and the Cochin Shipyard Ltd to indigenously design and build an aircraft carrier. Around 550 Indian firms, including about 100 MSMEs are registered with CSL, and are providing various services for construction of IAC,” the statement said.

The Indigenous Aircraft Carrier is 262 m long, 62 m at the widest part and height of 59 m including the superstructure. There are 14 decks in all, including five in the superstructure. The ship has over 2,300 compartments, designed for a crew of around 1700 people, including specialised cabins to accommodate women officers.

The ship has been designed with a very high degree of automation for machinery operation, ship navigation and survivability, ‘Vikrant’ has a top speed of around 28 knots and cruising speed of 18 knots with an endurance of about 7,500 nautical miles. The ship can accommodate both fighter jets such as MiG 29K as well as helicopters like Kamov-31, MH-60R multi-role helicopters and the indigenous advanced light helicopters.

India currently operates a solitary aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya, bought second-hand

The new aircraft carrier has been named after the earlier INS Vikrant operated by the Indian Navy from 1961 to 1997.