For projecting the country's sea-borne airpower requirements, work on Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC)-1 is moving at a fast pace and it will be going in for basin trials in the next couple of months. This will be followed by a series of sea trials before it gets commissioned in the Indian Navy.
A top Indian Navy officer speaking on condition of anonymity explained that "the IAC-1 which is under construction will enter the waters like a ship in 2021 before it gets inducted in the navy as an aircraft carrier. The efforts are going on in the right direction. The first batch of the crew is ready and the second and the third batch of the crew have been identified and awaiting final orders."
"The most important thing is that the name of the Capt has been cleared and that means that everything is on track now," the officer quoted above said.
The Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC), under construction at Cochin Shipyard, Kochi is already running behind schedule. "The major challenge for the shipyard and the Indian Navy is to make sure that the ship meets all the milestones as planned and to put her out to sea for trials as per the revised plans."
What is Basin Trial?
It involves the testing of machinery and equipment on board the ship in floating conditions before it goes in for sea trials.
The flight trials for the IAC-1 are going to start only when the IAC-1 which is named INS Vikrant is delivered to the Indian Navy. Before the flight trials the aviation facility complex and making the ships ready for flight trials.
In December Naval Chief Admiral Karmbir Singh had said that all issues related to ship build issues were all addressed and soon the trials would start and that the Indian Navy will take the delivery by February-March 2021." Adding "the IAC-1 Vikrant will be fully operational by 2022."
Indigenous Steel used in the IAC-1
The steel used in the building of the aircraft carrier has been specially developed after extensive research and collaboration between Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) and the navy's Directorate of Naval Design.
This is special military-grade steel created for the indigenously designed for the IAC-1 and the submarines for the Indian Navy. According to officials, it is sturdier than the ordinary type and has the capability of being used in temperatures as low as minus (-) 40°C. It is not breakable and can be bent to suit the requirements of the design.