INS Vikrant, India's first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier, out to sea for trial

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Indigenous Aircraft Carrier INS Vikrant on Monday embarked on her maiden four-day sea trial marking a big leap forward for India's defence industry and combat ability of the Indian Navy.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Twitter said it was a wonderful example of 'Make in India'. He tweeted:

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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also expressed happiness over the development on Twitter.

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What is a sea trial?

As per the Deputy Commandant for Mission Support, sea trials is a general term referring to a series of rigorous, underway tests to confirm that the ship's hull, mechanical and electrical and other systems function as required.

Trials typically have three phases.

The first is >dock trials, which often includes >machinery trials, conducted while the ship is still tied to the pier. The second is >builder's trials, which are performed at sea by the contractors who built the ship. The third is >acceptance trials, which are conducted at sea and ashore by government personnel. Discrepancies noted during trials must be corrected prior to delivery.

What is INS Vikrant?

INS Vikrant, also known as Indigenous Aircraft Carrier 1 (IAC-1), is the first aircraft carrier to be built in India. The name Vikrant (Sanskrit vikrānta, literally "stepping beyond") means "courageous". The motto of the ship is "Jayema Sam Yudhi Spardhah", which is taken from Rigveda and can be translated as "I defeat those who fight against me".

Who is building INS Vikrant?

It is constructed by the Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) for the Indian Navy.

What are the special features of INS Vikrant?

 

  • The ship shall operate MiG-29K fighter aircraft, Kamov-31 Air Early Warning Helicopters, the soon to be inducted MH-60R multi-role helicopter and the indigenously manufactured Advanced Light Helicopters.

  • It would offer an incomparable military instrument with its ability to project Air Power over long distances, including Air Interdiction, Anti-Surface Warfare, offensive and defensive Counter-Air, Airborne Anti-Submarine Warfare and Airborne Early Warning.

 

During a recent visit to the construction facility, Defence Minister Singh expressed satisfaction at the progress of construction of Indigenous Aircraft Carrier describing it as a shining example of AatmaNirbhar Bharat as envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said that IAC has nearly 75 percent indigenous content - from design to steel used in construction to key weapons and sensors.

Moreover, the IAC project includes raw materials such as 23,000 tons of steel, 2,500 kilometres of electrical cables, 150 kilometres of pipes and 2,000 valves as well as finished products such as anchor capstans, rigid hull boats and LCVPs, galley equipment, air conditioning and refrigeration plants.

It also has steering gear, RO plants, main switchboards, energy distribution centres, more than 150 pumps and motors, AK 630 guns, chaff launchers, internal and external communication equipment, all network systems including a ship data network, Integrated Platform Management System and Combat Management System.

Further, over 50 Indian manufacturers have been directly involved in this project which has provided significant employment opportunities for our citizens. Close to 2,000 Indians received direct employment onboard IAC on a daily basis and over 40,000 received indirect employment. In addition, about 80-85 percent of the project cost of approximately Rs 20,000 crore has been ploughed back into the Indian economy.

The defence minister had highlighted the combat capability, reach and versatility of the aircraft carrier, saying that it will add formidable capabilities in the defence of the country and help secure India's interests in the maritime domain. Appreciating the fact that significant progress was made on the construction of IAC despite COVID-19, he said the commissioning of IAC will be a befitting tribute to 75 years of India's Independence.

When will INS Vikrant be commissioned?

The IAC-1 would be commissioned as INS Vikrant in the first half of 2022, which would be the most potent sea-based asset.

When was the basin trials of IAC completed?

The basin trials of IAC) were successfully conducted at Cochin Shipyard Limited on 30 November 2020.

Basin Trials is primarily aimed at proving the main propulsion plant of the ship in harbour and is a precursor to the ensuing Sea Trials. Onboard IAC, extensive trials of all four LM2500 gas turbines, main gearboxes, shafting and controllable pitch propellers, along with their integrated control systems, were carried out during these trials.

In addition, major auxiliary equipment and systems such as steering gear, air conditioning plants, compressors, centrifuges, all 60 critical pumps, firemain system, power generation and distribution system, major machinery fire-fighting and De-flooding systems, all deck machinery as well as entire internal communication equipment were also proved during the harbour trials phase.

When was INS Vikrant launched?

Elizabeth Antony, the wife of the then defence minister AK Antony, launched 'Vikrant' at the Cochin Shipyard Limited in Kochi on 12 August 2013.

The launch had marked the end of Phase-I of the project, the imposing ramp of the 37,500 tonne Short Take off but Assisted Recovery (STOBAR) Carrier boasted the indigenous design and build capabilities of the country. Soon after Vikrant floated perfectly upright, she was launched out into the Ernakulam Channel in a pontoon assisted precision manoeuvre. Vikrant was moved out of the building dock to be positioned in the refitting dock where the next Phase of outfitting will be completed.

The design and construction of the IAC was sanctioned by the government in January 2003. The keel of the ship was laid on 28 February 2009 by AK Antony. Vikrant marks a special feather in indigenous defence capabilities- this being the first-ever aircraft carrier to be designed by the Directorate of Naval Design of the Indian Navy, the first warship to be built by Cochin Shipyard Limited and the first warship to be built entirely using indigenously produced steel. The construction of the ship is a truly pan Indian effort with the active participation of private and public enterprises.

The steel has come from SAIL's plants in Raurkela in Orissa, Bokaro in Jharkhand and Bhilai in Chattisgarh; the Main Switch Board, steering gear and watertight hatches have been manufactured by Larsen and Toubro in its plants in Mumbai and Talegaon; the high capacity air conditioning and refrigeration systems have been manufactured in Kirloskar's plants in Pune; most pumps have been supplied by Best and Crompton, Chennai; Bharat Heavy Engineering Limited (BHEL) is supplying the Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS); the massive gearbox is supplied by Elecon in Gujarat; the tens of thousands of electrical cable is supplied by Nicco industries in Kolkata; Kolkata is also where the ship's anchor chain cable is manufactured.

All weapon systems onboard the carrier will be integrated through an indigenous Combat Management System (CMS), being manufactured by Tata Power systems. The ship's integration with the navy's Network Centric Operations will provide force multiplication.

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