It will undertake a series of drills to make it the leader of the ‘carrier task force’

India’s indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant has started integrating with the Indian Navy fleet. Over the next few days, it will undertake a series of drills that will mould the operational tasking to make it the leader of the ‘carrier task force’.

These include drills and evolutions in a multi-threat exercise environment. Vice Admiral Ajendra Bahadur Singh, the Western Navy Commander, embarked the warship on Wednesday to witness the progress of the integration at sea, the Western Command of the Navy headquartered in Mumbai said in a tweet.

The 45,000 ton warship is carrying on its deck the MiG-29K fighter jets. The core of integration shall include flight trials to ensure that jets can land and take off smoothly under all weather condition from the 260-metre-long deck of the warship.

INS Vikrant’s flight deck is STOBAR (Short Take-off but Arrested Recovery) configuration with a ski-jump. A fighter jet will approach deck at 240 km per hour. A set of three ribbed- steel ‘arrestor wires’ – each is one-inch-thick – will pop up across the 60-metre-wide deck. The undercarriage of the jet has a tail hook that gets ‘arrested’ in wires and brings the aircraft to stop within 90 metre of touch down. For taking-off, there is a 14-degree inclined ramp shaped like ski-jump to give it a lift.

Once integrated with the Navy, the warship will expand the Navy’s combat arc. The INS Vikrant is powered by four LM2500 gas turbines from the US company General Electric and each generates 30,000 horse power.

The warship will widen the bubble of ‘surveillance’ and provide more attack options at sea while having the agility to match the latest warships. Besides own radars, the INS Vikrant will get feed from satellite Rukmini, surveillance planes like the Boeing P8-I and drones like the Predator.

INS Vikrant is expected to be operationally deployed in about six months from now. The warship has been built with state-of-the-art automation features and is the largest ship ever built in the maritime history of India.