The Indian Navy is preparing for an important phase in carrier building and its first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) INS Vikrant has its equipment and systems fitted and is set to commence basin tests next month.
The New Indian Express reported the ship has completed harbor trials and it is set for the final couple phases of trials before being inducted into the Indian Navy.
It’s been a decade since the hull was laid and construction of INS Vikrant began but due to delays in many phases of construction and importing critical components, the construction has fallen behind schedule. The construction was also postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to a lockdown and halt in operations. Until January of 2020, Vikrant was under the third phase of construction.
If INS Vikrant is able to complete the trials, India will become the sixth nation to successfully design and construct its own aircraft carrier in world.
Basin trials are carried out to establish the propulsion, transmission, and propeller shaft systems out of the water before going to sea trials for an evaluation of the entire ship’s operational capabilities in its natural habitat.
Once trials are completed, the INS Vikrant (R44) will displace 40,000 metric tonnes (39,368 tons). At 260 meters long and 60 meters wide, the carrier is the largest to be built at Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) in Kochi, India. The aircraft carrier will be able to accommodate India’s entire squadron of MiG 29K fighter jets and AEW helicopters.
Along with the MiG29K Fulcrums, the prospective Indian aircraft carrier was displayed as part of the navy’s parade on the country’s this year Republic Day, January 26.
The Indian Navy has planned to deploy INS Vikrant in Vizag in the state of Andhra Pradesh on the eastern command of the Indian Navy as the flagship of fleet replacing the Amphibious Assault Ship INS Jalashwa.
INS Vikramaditya (R33), a Soviet-era Kiev-class aircraft carrier, is currently the only operational carrier and serves on India’s Western Command fleet of the Indian Navy, based in Indian Naval Station Kadamba situated on the Arabian Sea.