Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC(P71)) ‘Vikrant’ completed sea trials on August 08. The five day trials which were maiden sailing of the ship are said to have tested the, “ship’s performance, including hull, main propulsion, Power Generation and Distribution (PGD) and auxiliary equipment,” as per the Ministry of Defence Press Release.
Readiness of ship’s Propulsion and Power Generation equipment systems was tested in harbour as part of Basin Trials in Nov 20. Basin trials are conducted for proving of the propulsion, transmission and shafting systems and is scheduled in early half of 2020.
Earlier IAC had successfully completed the Pre-Contractors Sea Trials dry dock work package in Dec 2019.
‘Vikrant’ designed by Indian Navy's Directorate of Naval Design (DND) and built at Cochin Shipyard Limited(CSL), a Public Sector Shipyard under Ministry of Shipping(MoS) is seen as a model of indigenisation propelling “AtmaNirbhar Bharat” with more than 76% indigenous content as per the Ministry of Defence Press Release.
The ship has been designed with a very high degree of automation for machinery operation, ship navigation and survivability.
‘Vikrant’ has a top speed of around 28 knots and cruising speed of 18 knots with an endurance of about 7,500 nautical miles.
The Indigenous Aircraft Carrier is 262 m long, 62 m at the widest part and height of 59 m including the superstructure. There are 14 decks in all, including five in the superstructure.
The ship has over 2,300 compartments, designed for a crew of around 1700 people, including specialised cabins to accommodate women officers.
Around 550 Indian firms including about 100 MSMEs are registered with CSL, who are providing various services for construction of IAC.
Some of the main components have been indigenously designed and developed. For instance the Combat Management System (CMS) for the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) was developed with M/s Tata Power Strategic Engineering Division (TPSED), in collaboration with Weapon and Electronics System Engineering Establishment (WESEE) and M/s MARS, Russia.
Delivery of Vikrant is being targeted to coincide with celebrations to commemorate 75th anniversary of India’s independence ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ in 2022.
Operationally the aircraft carrier Vikrant will be ready not before 2024 as delivery of the flight component continues to be delayed by Russia.
India’s noted Defence Correspondent Mr Rahul Bedi writing for Wire reported that the Aviation Facility Complex for the Vikrant has been delayed and will be delivered by Russia’s Nevskoe Design Bureau only by the end of next year.
As per Comptroller and Auditor General of India Report No 17 of 2016 (Navy and Coast Guard) [CAG Report] Aviation Facilities Complex (AFC) houses aviation armament, stationary and mobile systems, devices and aggregates for ship borne aircraft technical support and maintenance.
The AFC design is one of the most critical activity for design of the AFC spaces comprising composite layout of more than 300 compartments and specifications of equipment as per theCAGReport.
Scheduled to be carried out between September 2002 and December 2004, however, the contract for undertaking AFC design was concluded between CSL and ROE, Russia only in April 2006 at a cost of Rs 75 crore. The design was completed in January 2009, against scheduled completion by December 2004.
The AFC Equipment Procurement and Installation was to be completed by August 2017 but was extended to September 2021 and is likely now only in 2024.
AFC is essential to support the MiG 29K/KUB and helicopter assets including the Lockheed Martin/Sikorsky MH-60R multirole naval helicopters under acquisition.
The Vikrant will thus be only Float Ready for Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.