The Indian Navy today commissioned the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, also known as Indigenous Aircraft Carrier 1 (IAC-1).
The 45,000 t carrier will not be fully operational until late 2023, senior officials said.
With a delay of almost seven years, the INS Vikrant cost US$ 2.52 billion, almost six times the expected price, according to the Shepard Media.
Officials said flight tests on the aircraft carrier STOBAR will begin in November. The objective is to integrate the MiG-29K/KUB fighters, a task that should be completed by mid-2023.
Designed by the Navy’s Warship Design Bureau in Delhi and built by Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), the carrier’s keel was laid in 2009.
The INS Vikrant is capable of carrying 36 to 40 fixed-wing aircraft, including 26 Mikoyan MiG-29K fighter aircraft and 10 helicopters, including Kamov Ka-31, Westland Sea King and the HAL Dhruv – a utility helicopter designed and developed by the company. India Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
The Ka-31 will fulfill the airborne early warning (AEW) function and the Sea King will provide anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability.
The vessel has a length of 262 m, beam of 62 m, displacement of 45,000 tons and a STOBAR (Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery) configuration with ski-jump.
The INS Vikrant is powered by four General Electric LM2500 gas turbines and two Elecon COGAG gearboxes. It can reach a top speed of 28 knots (52 km/h) with a maximum cruising range of 8,000 nautical miles (15,000 km). This aircraft carrier has a crew of 1,645 military personnel, including 196 officers.
The INS Vikrant’s armament includes four dual-purpose Otobreda 76 mm (3 in.) naval guns, 2×32 VLS (Vertical Launch System) launchers for Barak 8 surface-to-air missiles and CIWS AK-630 (Close-In Weapon Systems). ) based on a six-barreled 30 mm rotary cannon.