indica News Bureau-
The manufacturing of the country’s first indigenous aircraft carrier Vikrant is currently under phase three which involves setting to work of machinery and other equipment and it is likely to be commissioned by early 2022. The delivery deadline has been extended due to issues with the delivery of aviation equipment from Russia.
According to Financial Express, the information shared by Sripad Naik, the minister of state (MoS) of defense in a written reply to in Rajya Sabha. The MoS said that the structural and technical works of the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant including starting of main propulsion machinery and trials of power generation machinery have been completed. The trials of other ship’s equipment and systems are presently in progress, the MoS further said.
The long-delayed project, which was to be completed by 2018, is now back on track, with senior officers saying that the 37,500-tonne aircraft carrier will initially operate MiG 29K fighters and could also feature indigenous combat aircraft.
Construction of the carrier began in 2009. The new flattop was officially launched in August 2013 and re-launched in June 2015.
The head of the Indian Navy, Admiral Sunil Lanba, announced in December 2018 that sea trials of the new carrier were slated to commence in 2020. Originally, the carrier was scheduled to be delivery to the Navy in 2014 and commissioned in 2016. The commissioning was then pushed back to 2018 with sea trials to take place in 2017.
Construction of the carrier was delayed multiple times over the last few years primarily due to hold-ups in procurement including contractual disputes with Russia’s Rosoboronexport over the construction of the carrier’s aviation complex.
The program has also been plagued by cost overruns with the carrier, as of now, costing as much as $4 billion more than originally budgeted. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi allocated an extra $3 billion to the IAC program in 2014 to speed up construction of the Vikrant.
The Indian Navy has made plans to upgrade its number of aircraft carriers to three from currently existing one– INS Vikramaditya which too is a ship of Russian origin. According to Naik, the major structural and outfitting works of the ‘Make in India’ aircraft carrier have been completed. Major milestone activities such as starting of main propulsion machinery and trials of power generation machinery have also been completed. The ship is likely to start sea trials later this year. INS Vikrant has already completed the pre-contractors sea trials in December 2019.
The ship will commence basin trials soon.
The INS Vikrant is being built by Cochin Shipyard Limited and it works on a similar mechanism to the existing aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya with an angular ski-jump.