Indigenous Aircraft Carrier Vikrant heads out for next round of sea trials

By The Hindu Bureau
Indigenous Aircraft Carrier Vikrant heads out for sea trials from Kochi on January 9, 2022. Photo: Special Arrangement

The Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) Vikrant has headed out for the next set of sea trials on January 9, shortly after two high-profile visits — that of the President and the Vice-President of India within a span of about two weeks.

The maiden sea trials in August 2021 were to establish propulsion, navigational suite and basic operations, while the second sea trial in October-November saw the ship being put through various machinery trials and flight trials. Here, the ship was out for 10 days, proving its sustenance in the very second sortie. Various seamanship evolutions were also successfully cleared during the second sortie.

The IAC now sails to undertake complex manoeuvres to establish specific readings of how the ship performs in various conditions. Various sensor suites of the ship too would be tested. Scientists from the Naval Science and Technological Laboratory — a DRDO laboratory based at Visakhapatnam would embark the vessel during the trials, the Navy has said.

That the ship was able to carry out basic flying operations from its very first sortie itself is a landmark in Indian warship construction history. Despite surging COVID cases in the country and the resultant challenges, the combined teams from multiple organisations associated with the project, are upbeat and committed to meet the timelines.

On successful completion of a series of progressive sea trials, the ship is scheduled to be commissioned as INS Vikrant later this year, as the nation commemorates ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’.

The ship would operate a mix of MiG-29K fighter aircraft and various helicopters, ranging from the Kamov-31 Air Early Warning helicopters, the soon-to-be inducted MH-60R multi-role helicopters and the indigenously developed Advanced Light Helicopter Mk III, the Navy said.

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