Vikrant Aircraft Carrier to be tested in waters this month, sea trials in December

The Harbour Trials of the IAC was completed in August this year.

INS Vikrant, India’s first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC), will undergo the Basin Trials, or testing in waters with its systems and equipment fitted, this month.

Considered an important phase for the under-construction aircraft carrier, the Basin Trials were earlier planned for September but the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown slowed the pace of work.

If everything goes according to plan, the sea trials of the IAC will be held in December, sources said. The Indian Naval Ship Vikrant is expected to be inducted into the Indian Navy by the end of 2021.

Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Admiral Karambir Singh, during his visit to the Southern Naval Command headquarters in Kochi from September 14 to 18, had visited the Cochin Shipyard— along with other senior officers— to review the progress of the Indigenous Aircraft carrier, IAC-1.

At an “advanced stage of construction”, the IAC-1 (technically, it can be called the INS Vikrant only after its induction into the Indian Navy) is the largest and most prestigious ship building project of the Indian Navy.

When contacted for comments, the Navy spokesperson neither denied nor confirmed the development.

The Harbour Trials of the IAC was completed in August this year.

Sources said the Basin Trials were being held for proving the propulsion (move), transmission (electricity) and shafting systems. This can be tested only in water.

Major structural and outfitting work on the IAC, including major milestone activities like the starting of the Main Propulsion machinery and the trials of Power Generation machinery, was completed in February.

It remains unclear if the theft of computer hardware components on board the IAC last September had delayed the progress of work.

Two persons — one from Bihar and another from Rajasthan — have since been arrested for the theft.

The National Investigation Agency sleuths have also recovered 19 of the 20 computer components stolen from the ship.

IAC to weigh 40,000 tonnes

The INS Vikrant will weigh around 40,000 tonnes and its fighters (MiG-29K) will operate on Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery mechanism similar to the current carrier, INS Vikramaditya, with an angular ski-jump.

Helicopters will be part of its aviation complement.

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