After two successive high-profile visits, by the President and Vice President of India, within a span of less than two weeks, IAC Vikrant is heading out for the next set of sea trials. Both dignitaries, having reviewed the progress had conveyed their satisfaction and expressed their best wishes to all the stakeholders involved in project. While the maiden sea trials in August last year were to establish propulsion, navigational suite, and basic operations, the second sea trial later in October-November witnessed the ship being put through its paces in terms of various machinery trials and flight trials. The ship in fact was out for 10 days proving its sustenance in the very second sortie. Various seamanship evolutions were also successfully cleared during the second sortie. Having gained adequate confidence in the ship’s abilities, the IAC now sails to undertake complex manoeuvres to establish specific readings of how the ship performs in various conditions. In addition, various sensor suites of the ship would also be tested.
The IAC has been a success story on numerous counts. Be it the case of Atmanirbharta wherein 76 percent of the equipment is indigenously sourced or the close engagement between the design teams of the Indian Navy and Cochin Shipyard Limited – a high-point in the largest and most complex warship ever to be built in the country. That the ship has been able to carry out basic flying operations from its very first sortie itself is a landmark in Indian warship construction history. Despite surging COVID cases in the country and the resultant challenges, the combined teams from multiple organisations associated with the project are upbeat and committed to meet the timeliness. On successful completion of a series of progressive sea trials, the ship is scheduled to be commissioned as INS Vikrant later this year, as the nation commemorates ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’.