Ready to roll: India’s indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant clears basin trial

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INS Vikrant Basin Trial: In a major milestone for India’s quest to operationalise its maiden aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant Monday successfully completed its sea basin trials at the state owned Cochin Shipyard Limited.

The crucial basin trial of the ship is conducted three days after the visit of Dr Ajay Kumar, India’s top bureaucrat in the ministry of defence, to the shipyard.

“Despite the restrictions imposed by the lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic, CSL and Indian Navy worked as a cohesive team to ensure timely completion of all essential tasks leading up to basin trials of the Aircraft Carrier,” said an official statement.

It as solely due to the astute planning and the implementation of necessary safety measure on ground by Navy and Shipyard that the work onboard Aircraft Carrier could progress unhindered even during the peak of pandemic, said the statement.

Basin Trials is primarily aimed at proving the main propulsion plant of the ship in harbour and is a precursor to the ensuing sea trials.

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Indian aircraft carrier’s basin trial

Onboard IAC, extensive trials of all four LM2500 Gas Turbines, Main Gear Boxes, Shafting and Controllable Pitch Propellers, along with their integrated control systems, were carried out during these trials, the navy said.

In addition, major auxiliary equipment and systems such as Steering Gear, Air Conditioning Plants, Compressors, Centrifuges, all 60 critical Pumps, Fireman system, Power Generation and Distribution system, major Machinery Fire-Fighting and De-flooding systems, all Deck Machinery  as well as entire internal communication equipment were also proved during the Harbour trials phase.

“With successful completion of Basin Trials, IAC has entered the final phase of the project. The Sea Trials are planned in first half of 2021,” said the statement.

Photo: Indian Navy, CSL officials at the ceremony.

Indian officials at the ceremony.

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A self-reliant India in defence

The indigenous aircraft carrier is an example ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign’ (a self-reliant India) with close to 75% of the material and equipment onboard the IAC being indigenous.

This includes raw material such as 23,000 ton steel, 2,500 kilometers of electrical cables, 150 kilometers of pipes and 2,000 valves.

indigenous components also include finished products such as anchor capstans, rigid hull boats and lcvps, galley equipment, air conditioning and refrigeration plants, steering gear, RO plants, main switchboards, energy distribution centres, more than 150 pumps and motors, AK 630 guns, and chaff launchers among other things.

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It also includes internal and external communication equipment, all network systems including ship data network, integrated platform management system and combat management system.

According to an estimate, over 50 Indian manufacturers have been directly involved in this project, which has provided employment opportunities.

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Photo: Indian Navy INS Vikrant News

Photo: INS Vikrant

The company said nearly 2,000 Indians received direct employment onboard the IAC on a daily basis and over 40,000 received indirect employment.

According to some estimates, around 80-85% of the project cost of approximately Rs 20,000 crores ($2.7 billion) has been ploughed back into the country’s economy.

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India Navy’s top officer witness the basin trial

The crucial basin trial was conducted in the presence of Indian Navy’s Vice Admiral AK Chawla, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Southern Naval Command and Madhu S Nair, Chairman and Managing Director Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL).

NV Suresh Babu, Director Operations, CSL, Commodore Ishan Tandon, Director Carrier Acceptance Trial Team (CATT), Commodore Sameer Aggarwal, Chief Staff Officer (Technical) of Southern Naval Command, Commodore Cyril Thomas, Warship Production Superintendent (WPS) and Commodore Vivek Dahiya, Commanding Officer (Designated) were also present during the crucial basin trial.

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