Delay in supply of equipment from Russia affected delivery of India’s aircraft carrier


Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) INS Vikrant: In a candid confession about the country’s defence matters, the Government of India admitted in the Parliament that due to delays in supply of aviation equipment from Russia, the delivery schedule of its first indigenous aircraft carrier – INS Vikrant has been affected. The 40,000 tonne aircraft carrier was to scheduled to be inducted in Indian Navy in 2018 but it has yet to commence its sea basin trial two years later. Last month, defence secretary Dr Ajay Kumar has conducted a detailed review meeting at Cochin Shipyard where the ship has been constructed.

“Ship’s targeted delivery was affected due to delay in supply of aviation equipment from Russia,” said Shripad Naik, India’s junior defence minister in the upper house of Indian Parliament.

According to a statement issued by the ministry of defence last month, the ship was set to commence basin trials in next two-three months and crucial sea trials before June this year.

INS Vikrant missed several deadline

While giving the details of the work done so far, India’s minister of state for defence, Sripad Naik said: “Major structural and outfitting work of Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) has been completed.”

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“Major milestone activities including starting of Main Propulsion machinery and trials of Power Generation machinery have been completed,” he told the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Indian Parliament, in the recently concluded budget session.

INS Vikrant to commence basin trial soon

Given the importance of early induction of the country’s first indigenous aircraft carrier in the Indian Navy, which has been just operating just one aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, defence secretary Ajay Kumar had last month chaired a high level meeting to review the progress of construction of the ship.

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In the meeting conducted at the public sector ship manufacturer Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), the top defence officer had reviewed the progress of India’s first indigenous Air Craft Carrier (IAC –P71) which has already missed multiple deadlines.

The high level committee, comprising Vice Admiral GS Pabby, Chief of Materiel; Vice Admiral SR Sarma, Controller Warship Production & Acquisition from IHQ MoD (Navy); and other senior officers from Integrated Headquarters of Ministry of Defence (Navy); and senior officials from the Warship Overseeing Team and Carrier Acceptance & Trials Team. The committee, known as Empowered Apex Committee (EAC), thoroughly examined the project as the ship is at the advance stage of construction.

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Last month’s meeting was the 13th review meeting of the project 71 by the high level committee and the first such meeting to be held after the signing of the third phase of the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier contract between the Ministry of Defence and public sector ship builder Cochin Shipyard Limited in October last year.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government informed the upper house this month that the trials of the ship’s other equipment and systems are presently in progress.

According to senior officials in the ministry of defence, all four gas turbines, main engines have already been fired up and INS Vikrant will commence its sea trials this after completion of basin trials.

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