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According to a press release from the Indian Ministry of Defence, most of the construction work for the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) VIKRANT has been completed and the ship has entered the trial phase. Her propulsion and power generation elements had already been subject to harbour tests in November 2020 and the start of the sea trials was delayed due to the second wave of COVID.

VIKRANT has been designed by the Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design (DND) and is being built at Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), a public sector shipyard in the subordinate structure of the Ministry of Shipping (MoS). IAC is an ambitious example of the nation’s quest for “AtmaNirbhar Bharat” with more than 76 per cent indigenous content. This is the maiden attempt of the Indian Navy and Cochin Shipyard to indigenously design and build an aircraft carrier.

VIKRANT is 262 m long, 62 m at the widest part and has a height of 59 m, including the superstructure. There are 14 decks including five in the superstructure. The ship has over 2,300 compartments, designed for a crew of around 1700 people, including specialised cabins to accommodate female officers. The ship has been designed with a very high degree of automation for machinery operation, ship navigation and survivability.

VIKRANT has a top speed of around 28 knots and cruising speed of 18 knots with a range of about 7,500 nautical miles. The ship can accommodate an assortment of fixed wing and rotary aircraft.

Juergen Hensel