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Indian Navy takes delivery of Indigenous Aircraft Carrier

The future INS Vikrant , seen here with the first-of-class Kolkata-class destroyer. (Indian Ministry of Defence)

The Indian Navy has taken delivery of the country's Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC), which will be in service as INS Vikrant once it is commissioned.

The vessel was handed over by Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) on 28 July, the Indian Ministry of Defence announced on the same day. The delivery comes on the back of “extensive user-acceptance trials”, which were conducted between August 2021 and July 2022, said the ministry.

As part of the trials, various parameters of the carrier were validated by the Indian Navy, including the vessel's propulsion systems, aviation facilities, and seakeeping and manoeuvring capabilities, the ministry added.

Vikrant was laid down by CSL in February 2009. The vessel has an overall length of 262 m with a standard displacement of about 40,000 tonnes. It is powered by four GE LM2500 gas-turbine engines and can attain a top speed of 28 kt.

For point defence, the carrier is equipped with four six-barrelled AK-630 close-in weapon system (CIWS) turrets. It will also likely be equipped with the Barak-8 surface-to-air missile system, which has been jointly developed by India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).

Vikrant features a ski-jump aircraft launching system, and it is equipped for short take-off but arrested recovery (STOBAR) operations. It can accommodate up to 30 aircraft in its air wing, including MiG-29K fighter jets and helicopters such as the Kamov-31 and MH-60R.

In addition, the Indian government is evaluating several options for the 57-airframe multirole carrierborne fighters (MRCBF) programme, which may eventually see Vikrant operating either the F/A-18 Super Hornet or the Rafale M fighter aircraft from its flight deck.


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