KOCHI: The 21-day lockdown following the outbreak of Covid-19 has temporarily halted the construction works of the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) project in Cochin Shipyard. However, the shipyard is looking to make up for the time loss with overtime duty schedule once the lockdown is lifted.
According to sources in Cochin Shipyard, all the construction activities have been stopped due to the lockdown and precautions taken as part of Covid-19 outbreak. “As most of the workers and engineers come from outside, the construction activities, including that of IAC, have been put on hold temporarily. It would be a difficult task to meet the target of April to start sea trial. However, some of the essential services in the shipyard are still going on,” a source said.
However, another official said that the IAC project will not be delayed due to lockdown. “The current lockdown will have no impact on a long-term project like IAC. We can meet the deadline by arranging overtime work. With three-four hours of overtime work, the time loss can be covered easily. We expect to complete the work and conduct the sea trial in the next few months,” he said.
Currently, it is estimated that IAC will be commissioned as INS Vikrant in the year 2022. As part of it, the sea trial has to be conducted this year itself. Last month, the Ministry of Defence stated that IAC construction is in an advanced stage. All four gas turbines and main engines were started. Diesel Alternators for Power Generation Systems were readied. Currently, the trial of the ship’s auxiliary equipment was held. The IAC had completed the pre-contractor’s sea trials dry dock work package in December.
Initially, the deadline to deliver the ship was 2018, but it was delayed due to issues in procuring aviation equipment. In September last year, hardware items of the IAC went missing from Multi-Function Consoles (MFCs) of the Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS) in the vessel. The theft is probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).