By Raju Vernekar
Mumbai, Aug 06:
India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier Vikrant(P 71), designed by the Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design (DND) and built at Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), a Public Sector Shipyard under the Union Ministry of Shipping, set sail on Wednesday to begin its first sea trial.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in a tweet: “Maiden sea sortie of Indigenous Aircraft Carrier, ‘Vikrant’ is a true testimony to our unwavering commitment to #Atmanirbharta in Defence. Realisation of this historic milestone, regardless of COVID, shows true dedication & commitment of all stakeholders. A proud moment for India.”
The advanced warship is also the first attempt by the two entities to build an aircraft carrier from the ground up. Indian Navy shared images and videos as the aircraft carrier took to the sea for the first time. “Proud & historic day for India as the reincarnated Vikrant sails for her maiden sea trials today, in the 50th year of her illustrious predecessor’s key role in the victory in the 1971 war Largest & most complex warship ever to be designed & built in India. Many more will follow”, an Indian Navy spokesman tweeted.
Vikrant is a leading example of the nation’s quest for “Atma Nirbhar Bharat” with more than 76% indigenous content. This is the maiden attempt of the Indian Navy and Cochin Shipyard to indigenously design and build an Aircraft Carrier.
Vikrant, monickered IAC-1, has been named after the now-decommissioned aircraft carrier that played a crucial role in the 1971 war. It is likely to be commissioned to Indian Navy sometime around latter half of next year with the name INS Vikrant.
The Indigenous Aircraft Carrier is 262 m long, 62 m at the widest part, and height of 59 m including the superstructure. There are 14 decks in all, including five in the superstructure.
The ship has over 2,300 compartments, designed for a crew of around 1700 people, including specialized cabins to accommodate women officers.
The ship has been designed with a very high degree of automation for machinery operation, ship navigation, and survivability, ‘Vikrant’ has a top speed of around 28 knots and cruising speed of 18 knots with an endurance of about 7,500 nautical miles. The ship can accommodate an assortment of fixed-wing and rotary aircraft.
Most of the ship’s construction activities have been completed and the ship has entered the trial phase. The readiness of the ship’s Propulsion and Power Generation equipment/ systems was tested in the harbour as part of basin trials in November 2020.
Progress of construction of the carrier was reviewed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, during his visit to the ship on June 25. Though the commencement of sea trials was delayed due to the 2 and wave of COVID-19, with concentrated and dedicated efforts of a large number of workmen, Original Equipment Manufacturers(OEMs), engineers, overseers, inspectors, designers, and the ship’s crew, the work was completed.
This is a major milestone activity and historical event. Reaching this milestone is significant as they have been achieved barring the current pandemic challenges and imponderables. During the maiden sailing, the ship’s performance, including hull, main propulsion, PGD, and auxiliary equipment would be closely watched.