Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh, announced on June 25 that the INS Vikrant, the country's first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC), would be commissioned into the Eastern Naval Command by mid-2022.
Almost Rs 24,000-crore project has been hindered by delays. The Covid outbreak contributed to the postponement, which had been planned for 2018.
In November 2020, According to Navy officials, the ship completed a 'basin trial' during which the ship's propulsion and power generation systems were examined.
The ship's sea trials were meant to take place earlier this year, but they were postponed due to Covid-induced lockdowns and quarantine procedures for foreign navy leaders and specialists.
If all goes according to plan, the 40,000-ton warship should be ready to sail by the middle of next year.
Rajnath Singh also went to the Cochin Shipyard to see how the IAC's construction was coming along. He described the IAC as a "shining example of Atma Nirbhar Bharat" and said it would be "a worthy homage to India's 75th year of freedom."
The ship's designs were first proposed in 1989, but design work didn't start until 1999 after the-defence Minister George Fernandes gave the project his blessing.
After flopping out of its dry dock in December 2011, it was launched on August 12, 2013.
CSL(Cochin Shipyard Limited) is building and the Indian Navy's Directorate of Naval Design (DND) is designing it.
The IAC is the most sophisticated warship-building project ever designed and executed in the United States, according to Navy authorities.
They stated that "warships are considerably more difficult to manufacture since they are not prototype-based. Warships are planned as they are built across the world, with entire supply networks specified only during the building stage."
From design to steel utilized in construction to critical weaponry and sensors, the IAC claims approximately 75% local content. The Indian Navy's Directorate of Naval Design (DND) designed the IAC, which would be built at Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) and have a displacement of 40,000 tonnes.
IAC's 262-meter-long and 62-meter-wide runway will be capable of launching 30 aircraft, including 20 fighter planes and 10 helicopters. The ship will have two runways and a landing strip equipped with STOBAR (short take-off but arrested delivery) technology and will be compatible with MiG-29K and LCA Navy jets. It was created with ski-jumping qualities in mind.
Once commissioned, Vikrant will be the Indian Navy's most potent sea-based asset.
MiG-29K fighter jets, Kamov-31 AEW helicopters, the MH-60R multi-role helicopter, and indigenous advanced light helicopters are all part of the aircraft component.
According to the source, it would offer an unrivaled military weapon with its ability to project air power over enormous distances, mentioning air interdiction, anti-surface warfare, offensive and defensive counter-air, airborne anti-submarine warfare, and airborne early warning as examples.
INS Vikrant is also armed with four AK-630 close-in weapon systems, in addition to four OTO Melara 76mm dual-purpose guns.
It also has two VLS (Vertical Launch System) systems, each with 32 cells and a total capacity of 64 missiles. It is armed with the Israeli Barak 1 short-range surface-to-air missile and the Barak 8 long-range surface-to-air missile to defend against aerial targets such as fighters, helicopters, drones, and missiles.