Major endeavour to manufacture Aircraft Carrier is heading for an important phase as the first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC), INS Vikrant, is set to begin testing in waters (Basin Test) with its systems and equipment fitted. Sources in Navy confirmed to The New Indian Express that, “Harbour Trials have finished. The Basin Trials are planned for September.”
Basin trials are conducted for proving of the propulsion (move), transmission (electricity) and shafting systems which can be tested only out of waters. It will be followed with sea trials by end of this year and IAC is expected to be inducted in Navy by end of 2021 as the Indian Naval Ship Vikrant.
INS Vikrant will be weighing around 40,000 tonnes its fighters (MiG-29K) will operate on Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR) mechanism similar to the present carrier INS Vikramaditya with an angular ski-jump. Helicopters will also be part of its aviation complement.
By normal time line by now sea trials would be in process but it had to be delayed due to lockdown imposed against the COVID-19 scare. For a ship of this size, the presence of OEM is required to monitor all the parameters and specifications.
In January 2020 the progress of Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC-P71) project was reviewed by the Empowered Apex Committee (EAC) headed by Ajay Kumar, Defence Secretary at Cochin Shipyard Limited. Basin Trials will be followed by the Sea Trials by end 2020, as per the sources.
Major structural and outfitting work of Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) was completed by February including the major milestone activities like starting of Main Propulsion machinery and trials of Power Generation machinery.
All four Gas Turbines, main engines were started, Power Generation Systems comprising of eight Diesel Alternators ready and trials of ship’s major systems and auxiliary equipment (pumps, motors, filters, AC, etc) in progress. IAC had successfully completed the Pre-Contractors Sea Trials dry dock work package in Dec 2019.
Indian Navy plans to operate three carrier battle groups (CBG) with one each on the Eastern and Western sea boards and third one under the maintenance (refit/repair). Indian Navy acquires various ships/weapons/equipment including the carrier-based Aircraft in accordance with the Maritime Capability Perspective Plan (MCPP) and Long Term Integrated Perspective Plan (LTIPP).
Source: New indian express