India’s first indigenously designed and built aircraft carrier began sea trials off the coast of Kochi on Wednesday. The Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) will carry the name INS Vikrant — the same as the Indian Navy’s first aircraft carrier that was decommissioned in 1997 after more than 35 years of service — once it is commissioned next year. The landmark achievement puts India in an exclusive list of a handful of nations that have the capability to manufacture these most powerful of naval vessels. The IAC sailed for her maiden sea trials today, in the 50th year of her illustrious predecessor’s key role in victory in the 1971 war”.
INS Vikrant is an aircraft carrier constructed by the Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) for the Indian Navy. It is the first aircraft carrier to be built in India. Work on the ship’s design began in 1999, and the keel was laid in February 2009. The carrier was floated out of its dry dock on 29 December 2011 and was launched on 12 August 2013. The basin trials were completed in December 2020, and the ship has started the sea trials on 4th August 2021 and will be commissioned into the service of Indian Navy by August 2022. The total cost of the project was approximately $3.2 billion at the time of first sea trials.
The indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant is 262 metres (860 ft) long and 62 metres (203 ft) wide, and displaces about 45,000 metric tons (44,000 long tons). It features a STOBAR configuration with a ski-jump. The deck is designed to enable aircraft such as the MiG-29K to operate from the carrier. It is expected to carry an air group of up to thirty aircraft, which will include up to 24–26 fixed-wing combat aircraft, primarily the Mikoyan MiG-29K, besides carrying 10 Kamov Ka-31 or Westland Sea King helicopters. The Ka-31 will fulfill the airborne early warning (AEW) role and the Sea King will provide anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability.
Vikrant is powered by four General Electric LM2500+ marine gas turbines on two shafts, generating over 80 megawatts (110,000 hp) of power. The gearboxes for the carriers were designed and supplied by Elecon Engineering Company Limited. The ship’s combat management system (CMS) was developed by Tata Power Strategic Engineering Division in collaboration with Weapon and Electronics System Engineering Establishment and MARS, Russia. It is the first combat management system developed by a private company for the Indian Navy, was handed over to the Indian Navy on 28 March 2019.