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 begin in September. After the basin trial, INS Vikrant’s Sea Trial will begin. 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 have 26 fighter aircraft and 10 helicopters. The Navy has currently selected the MiG-29K for this career. 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 check whether it can be landed at sea. These tests have the presence of manufacturers of systems and equipment. Due to Kovid, manufacturers are facing difficulties in this test.
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 warriors, 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 boundary and business interests. An additional battle group will be available for repair and upgrade.
INS Vikrant is a class of aircraft carrier being built for the Indian Navy. The class represents the largest warships and the first aircraft carriers to be designed and built in India. The lead ship of the class is also the first aircraft carrier designed and built in Asia featuring STOBAR and ski-jumps, and the first built to operate jet-powered aircraft.
Work on the ship’s design began in 1999, and the keel was laid in February 2009. The carrier was floated out of its dry dock on 29 December 2011 and was launched in 2013.
INS Vikrant will sport a running length of 860 feet with a beam of 200 feet and a draught of 28 feet. She will be conventionally-powered by 4 x General Electric LM2500+ series gas turbines developing power to two shafts. Maximum speed in ideal conditions is estimated at 28 knots with an operational range out to 7,500 miles. Her crew complement will consist of 1,400 officers, sailors, airmen and mechanics.
Length is 262 m, which is small. Most of the advanced nations’ aircraft carriers are more than 300 m long.
Uses STOBAR (Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery) whereas some super carriers use EMALS (Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching System) which uses magnets to drive down the catapult for the take-off operation of the aircraft. EMALS (or even CATOBAR), are both considered superior technologies, win hands down.
Range of INS Vikrant is around 12000 km to 15000 km where as some of the navies’ have nuclear propulsion plants that can go on for 25 years without re-fuelling.
Vikrant will be able to field up to 30 fixed-wing aircraft as well as a further 10 rotary-wing designs. The Mikoyan MiG-29K Fulcrum is expected to take the fixed-wing lead in. Helicopter types under consideration include the British Westland Sea King and the Russian Kamov Ka-31 series.
INS Vikrant can carry around 30–35 aircraft whereas many super carriers can carry as many as 70–75 aircraft.