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INS Vikrant's sea trials have begun. Images and videos of the aircraft carrier heading for open waters have surfaced. The INS Vikrant is India's first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC-1) and boosts India's Naval prowess to a large extent. The aircraft carrier is expected to be inducted into the Indian Navy in 2022.
The name ‘Vikrant' holds a legendary place in Indian naval history. It is the name of India's first aircraft carrier. Back in 1957, the Indian Navy acquired an aircraft carrier from the United Kingdom. It was called the HMS Hercules and was built during World War II. However, it was never commissioned and the Second World War came to an end.
The Indian Navy acquired this ship in 1957 and made lots of changes to it before commissioning it in 1961. It was a ship that struck terror into the hearts of India's adversaries on the open seas. In the India-Pakistan war of 1971, the ship and the aircraft onboard became legends thanks to the way it cut off supply lines to East Pakistan.
Image: Admiral Arun Prakash
India won the war and INS Vikrant and all those who served on it were heroes. The ship received several modernisations and continued to serve India until 1997. Her age had caught up with her, and INS Vikrant was decommissioned in 1997 when she was around 55 years old.
Since then, the Indian Navy has operated two other aircraft carriers - INS Viraat and INS Vikramaditya. INS Viraat was decommissioned in 2013, leaving INS Vikramaditya as India's sole aircraft carrier for nearly a decade now. Before the completion of that decade though, Vikramaditya will be joined by the reincarnated INS Vikrant.
The new INS Vikrant is quite a big deal for the Indian Navy and should be for all Indians too. Building an aircraft carrier is no child's play. So far, The USA, France, Russia, Britain and China were the only countries to hold the distinction of Indigenously building aircraft carriers. With the new INS Vikrant, India too has entered this league of nations.
The INS Vikrant is codenamed IAC-1, which stands for Indigenous Aircraft Carrier - 1, is expected to be the first of a few aircraft carriers that India intends to build. The design work began way back in 1999, just two years after the older INS Vikrant (R11) had been decommissioned.
The first steel-cutting ceremony happened in 2006 and the keel was laid down in 2009. It is benign constructed at the Cochin Shipyard Limited, at Kochi, Kerala. The ship was moved out of its dry dock in 2011 but was only launched in 2013. For a long time now, the humongous vessel has been seen conducting basin trials and this was completed in December 2020.
Now, the INS Vikrant has ventured out into the open seas, where it is expected to spend the rest of its life. The first sea trials of INS Vikrant have now started and engineers from Cochin Shipyard as well as the Indian Navy will be putting the vessel through its paces on the open waters.
All systems will be checked and monitored closely. If any faults are found, it will be quickly diagnosed and fixed. The sea trials are expected to go on for a few months before the INS Vikrant is officially inducted into the Indian Navy.
The Indian Navy sent out a tweet that said, "Proud & historic day for India as the reincarnated #Vikrant sails for her maiden sea trials today, in the 50th year of her illustrious predecessor's key role in victory in the #1971war Largest & most complex warship ever to be designed & built in India."
INS Vikrant (IAC-1) Specifications:
Fighter Aircraft On-Board: MiG-29K & Future Aircraft (HAL Twin-Engine Deck-Based Fighter)
Helicopters On-Board: KA-31, MH-60R & HAL Dhruv
Launch & Recovery: Ski-Jump Launch & Cable-Arrested Recovery
Personnel: 1,600 including ship's company, air group and troops
Propulsion: 2x General Electric LM2500 gas turbines
The INS Vikrant is the largest and most complex ship built in India. It is expected to be commissioned in 2022.
Thoughts On INS Vikrant Beginning Sea Trials Ahead Of Commissioning
The INS Vikrant (IAC-1) is India's triumph in an age where an elite group of countries is competing for Naval power in certain regions. It will serve as a deterrent to India's adversaries and is something we as Indians should be proud of.