Indian Navy

Sea trials of India’s indigenously built aircraft carrier commence off Kochi

Published : August 04, 2021 22:37 IST

The Indigenous Aircraft Carrier sets out for its sea trials from the naval dockyard in Kochi on August 4. Photo: HANDOUT/AFP

The much delayed but eagerly awaited maiden sea trials of India’s first attempt at indigenously designing and building an aircraft carrier commenced on August 4 off the Kochi coast.

The much delayed but eagerly awaited maiden sea trials of India’s first attempt at indigenously designing and building an aircraft carrier commenced on August 4 off the Kochi coast.

Delayed due to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the inaugural sea trials of the 40,000-tonne Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) are a major milestone activity which will involve closely monitoring the warship’s performance, including its hull, readiness of the propulsion and power generation equipment/systems and auxiliary equipment. The in-harbour basin trials of the IAC were completed last November.

Designed by the Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design (DND) and being built at the public sector Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), the IAC, which was sanctioned by the government in January 2003, has indigenous content of more than 76 per cent. Around 550 Indian firms, including about 100 MSMEs, are registered with CSL and are providing various services for the construction of the IAC.

The commencement of the sea trials puts India in a select group of countries that have the “niche capability” to design, build and integrate a state-of-the-art aircraft carrier. To be reincarnated as Indian Naval Ship (INS) Vikrant — after the Navy’s first aircraft carrier, which had been acquired from the United Kingdom in 1961 and decommissioned in 1997 — once it is commissioned, the Rs.23,000 crore IAC will become fully operational after the successful deck trials of the MiG-29K supersonic fighter jets, the recently acquired MH-60R multi-role helicopters and the advanced light helicopters (ALHs). This is scheduled to be completed around mid-2023.

The 262-metre-long, 62-metre-wide and 59-metre-tall IAC has 14 decks in all, including five in the superstructure. The warship, which is designed for a crew of around 1,700, has over 2,300 compartments, including specialised cabins to house women officers. The ship has been designed with a very high degree of automation for both ship navigation and survivability. The ship has a top speed of around 28 knots, a cruising speed of 18 knots and an endurance of about 7,500 nautical miles.

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