India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant begins sea trials

Vikrant, India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) set sail on Sunday for another set of sea trials to carry out complex manoeuvres in high seas, ahead of its planned induction into the Indian Navy by August.

The maiden sea trials in August last year were to establish propulsion, navigational suite and basic operations. The second sea trial in October-November witnessed the ship being put through machinery trials and flight trials.

The ship, in fact was out for 10 days, proving its sustenance in the very second sortie. Various seamanship evolutions were also successfully cleared during the second sortie.

President Ram Nath Kovind visited the carrier in Kochi on December 22 followed by a visit by Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on January 2.

Designed by the Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design (DND), Vikrant has been built at the state-owned Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL). The warship, with a displacement of 37,500 tonnes, will operate MiG-29K fighter jets, Kamov-31 helicopters, MH-60R multi-role helicopters and the indigenous advanced light helicopters. It has been named after the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant operated by the navy from 1961 to 1997.

Several scientists from the Naval Science and Technological Laboratory, a DRDO facility based at Visakhapatnam, are witnessing the third phase of sea trials of Vikrant.

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The warship will operate MiG-29K fighter jets, Kamov-31 helicopters, MH-60R multi-role helicopters.

It has over 2,300 compartments, designed for a crew of around 1700 people, including specialised cabins to accommodate women officers.

Vikrant has a top speed of around 28 knots and a cruising speed of 18 knots with an endurance of about 7,500 nautical miles, officials said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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