The Indian aircraft carrier Vikrant left the Cochin shipyard in Kochi on October 24 to begin a second round of sea trials in the southeastern Arabian Sea.
INS Vikrant began its first sea trials two months ago, on August 4, 2021. The aircraft carrier is expected to enter service with the Indian Navy in August next year.
At 45,000 tonnes (full load), the Vikrant will be approximately 67% of the size of existing Chinese aircraft carriers, which move around 65,000 tonnes. But its compact dimensions belies capacities which are generally quite comparable to the two leading Chinese carriers, the Liaoning (CV-16) and the Shandong. And its deck area is about 85% of the size.
India opted for the MiG-29K Fulcrum mid-size two-seater fighter for the First Wing. Later, the Indian Navy envisioned a more modern fighter to replace the Fulcrum. The main competitor is the Hal TEDBF (Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter). This compact duck should be flying in 5 years. In the meantime, the Indian Navy may order a smaller number of interim carrier fighters with the Boeing Super Hornet and Dassault Rafale, as reported among competitors.
About IAC INS Vikrant
In 2015, the Indian Minister of Defense announced that the indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant would be delivered to the Indian Navy in December 2018. Local media reported in May 2017 that the supply delays had been resolved and the aircraft carrier equipment was 62% complete. , with ancillary systems testing scheduled for late 2017. Latest reports indicate that India’s first locally manufactured aircraft carrier will enter service in 2021.
INS Vikrant is a 260-meter-long and 60-meter-wide vessel displacing 37,500 tonnes. The vessel’s maximum speed is announced at 28 knots, with a range of 7,500 nautical miles at a speed of 18 knots. INS Vikrant is expected to receive a large crew of 160 officers and 1,400 sailors. The STOBAR aircraft carrier will be able to accommodate up to 30 fighters and helicopters, including Mig-29K fighters and Ka-31 helicopters.