SOURCE: Navy Recognition
Sea trials of India’s indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant have been delayed again. Senior naval sources say the Covid-19 pandemic has set back the start of trials by at least six months – perhaps more if the lockdown and travel restrictions continue. The first phase of the warship’s trials – termed basin trials – was initially scheduled to begin on March 12 at Cochin Shipyard Ltd, where INS Vikrant has been constructed. However, construction delays caused that to be moved back to April. Then, with the Covid-19 crisis, the navy says trials are unlikely to begin before September/October.
The long-delayed warship was scheduled to be ready by the end of 2018, but due to delay in getting aviation equipment from Russia, the delivery date has been postponed. For the record, the engines onboard the first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier being constructed at Kochi have been fired up.
In his Navy Day press meeting last December, the Navy Chief, Admiral Karambir Singh, said the navy would have a fully operational INS Vikrant before the end of 2022. The Covid-19 pandemic has already pushed that back to 2023 and further delays are possible.
About INS Vikrant
The INS Vikrant is the first indigenous aircraft carrier design being undertaken by the nation of India. It is one of two planned vessels in the new “Vikrant-class” of surface warships and has seen construction begin in 2009. The Indian Navy’s first indigenous aircraft carrier Vikrant is currently under the third phase of construction.
INS Vikrant is a 260 meters long and 60 meters wide vessel displacing 37,500-tonnes. The maximum speed of the ship is announced at 28 knots, with a range of 7,500 nautical miles at a speed of 18 knots. INS Vikrant is set to receive a large crew complement composed of 160 officers and 1,400 sailors. The aircraft carrier will be able to accommodate up to 30 fighters and helicopters, including Mig-29K fighters jets and Ka-31 helicopters.
The Vikrant will be equipped with 4 x 76mm Otobreda dual-purpose cannons and backed by several surface-to-air missile emplacements. For short-ranged work against incoming aircraft or missiles, a digitally-controlled Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) will be installed. A Selex RAN-40L L-band early warning radar system will be part of the defensive network of sensor and systems processing.