BENGALURU: India’s indigenously manufactured aircraft carrier INS Vikrant will be fully ready for operations by this year end, said Admiral R Hari Kumar, Chief of Naval Staff on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the vessel has been at sea at regular intervals undergoing various trials, the admiral said.
Speaking at the Aero India 2023, he said, “We started the aviation trials with helicopters, Chetak, Sea Kings. We were calibrating the equipment through different manoeuvres including the touch and go, and finally onboard arresting of the aircraft was successfully done.” CNS said. It was after the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) was inducted on 12 September 2022 the aviation trials were started.
Informing that the trials of the various aircraft will continue for another two months Chief said, “Now we have to do trials under different (aircraft) carriage conditions and to see the envelope is established.”
Initially, the agenda was to commence the trials and with time let other aircraft start onboard landing.
Another aspect of the trials includes reaching a stage where, not just instrumented aircraft test pilots, but also qualified pilots be carrying out landings. We are very happy with the vessel, Admiral Hari Kumar said. Next will be the integration of weapon platforms, including the missiles, for which the vessel will have to be brought to the drydock.
The plans match the sailing off-season, the monsoon period, May to August end, during which the sea remains in rough state. During this time the ship will be brought to the drydock. “The MF-STAR (multi functional digital active electronically scanned array radar) fitment will commence from May onwards and should take three to four months time. Thereafter once the monsoon gets over she will be operationally ready.”
In a historical milestone achieved on February 6, the Naval Pilots carried out landing of LCA (Navy) onboard INS Vikrant. Th achievement demonstrates India’s capability to design, develop, build and operate Indigenous Aircraft Carrier with indigenous Fighter Aircraft. The same day a MiG 29K of the Navy also carried out the maiden arrested landing onboard the Vikrant. The trials continue to fully operationalise and marry the aviation complex.