India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant is expected to hit the sea soon. According to Navy sources, the INS Vikrant’s harbor Trials have been completed and the Basin Trials are likely to commence in September. The basin trials will be followed by the INS Vikrant’s Sea Trials. Vikrant is expected to join the Navy by 2023.
Construction of the 262 meter long INS Vikrant started in February 2009 at the Cochin Shipyard. It can carry 26 fighter aircraft and 10 helicopters. The Navy has currently selected the MiG-29K for this carrier. Apart from this, Ka-31, Westland Sea King and Indigenous Advanced Light Helicopter Dhruv can also be deployed on this carrier. According to sources, INS Vikrant’s Harbor Trials have been completed but Basin Trials are being delayed due to Kovid-19. In the basin trials, all the systems fitted in the ship are final tested to see if they can be landed at sea. These tests have the presence of manufacturers of systems and equipment. Due to Kovid, the presence of manufacturers in this test is difficult.
The Indian Navy wants to place INS Vikrant in Visakhapatnam on the eastern seaboard. The aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, purchased from Russia, is in Karwar on the western coast. India has long wanted to protect the sea with three carrier battle groups. The Carrier Battle Group consists of a fleet of aircraft carriers, helicopters and submarines along with aircraft carriers. The Indian Navy wants to have one carrier battle group each in the east and west for the protection of long maritime border and business interests. An additional Battle Group will be available for repairs and upgrades.