NEW DELHI: The Indian initiative to sail out Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC-I) is delayed further. While the Basin trials completed on 30th November last year the sea trials were initially planned in the first half of this year. The initial deadline to deliver IAC-1, to be Commissioned as INS Vikrant, the carrier was in 2018.
Confirming the status a source said, “Sea trials were expected to be completed early this year but Covid restrictions led to delay in various activities which could have been completed during this period.”
Covid restrictions not only stopped the travel of Indian personnel associated with the project but also in multiple cases the personnel of the Original Equipment Manufacturers from other countries were either quarantined or not able to travel. In several tests the presence of OEM representatives is a must, added the sources.
Talking about the tentative time, “Sea trials are expected post monsoon and the preparations for it are almost complete.” The source added. The monsoons are generally expected to last till September.
Sea trials is generally the last phase of trials which takes place in the open sea where all the stakeholders test the efficacy of the overall ship. Basin trials are conducted for proving of the propulsion, transmission and shafting systems.
India is one of the few countries which has capability to manufacture own aircraft carrier. But, Chinese are frantically increasing maritime power with theri first home built aircraft carrier commissioned in 2019 and they plan to have three carriers by 2025.
Cochin Shipyard is manufacturing INS Vikrant which is planned to be 260 meters long with displacement of 37,500-tonnes. The aircraft carrier will be able to accommodate up to 30 fighters and helicopters and will be compatible with Mig-29K and LCA Navy fighter jets and Ka-31 helicopters.
Aircraft Carriers are the floating air bases which extend the combat capability of the owning country. India at present has INS Vikramaditya as the only aircraft carrier. Indian Navy has been vehemently pushing for three aircraft carriers so that India has at least one aircraft carrier operational for both east and west seaboards while the third aircraft carrier goes for maintenance and repair.