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India's future aircraft carrier undergoes third sea trials

India's first indigenously built aircraft carrier has departed for its third round of sea trials that will involve more “complex manoeuvres”, the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) said on 9 January.

The vessel, which will be in service as INS Vikrant once commissioned, has departed with a multi-agency team including scientists from the Defence Research and Development Organisation's Naval Science and Technological Laboratory, the MoD added.

Vikrant is built by Cochin Shipyard Limited and the vessel completed harbour and basin trials in December 2020.

The long-delayed vessel began its maiden sea trials in August 2021 and a second shakedown cruise was completed in October. It is at least six years behind schedule in its commissioning date.

The 37,000-tonne carrier has a top speed of about 28 kt and a cruising speed of 18 kt with a standard range of about 7,500 n miles.

It has been built with a ‘ski-jump' ramp and it will deploy MiG-29K fighter aircraft, Kamov-31 airborne early warning helicopters, and MH-60R multirole helicopters once in service.

Vikrant is expected to be commissioned in the first half of 2022.

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