Maiden sea sortie Warship INS Vikrant departs from dock for maiden operational trials. The aircraft carrier is set to undergo deck integration trials of MiG-29ks and choppers

Indigenous aircraft carrier ‘Vikrant’, designed by the Navy’s Warship Design Bureau and built by Cochin Shipyard, is 262 metres long and 62 metres wide, with a maximum speed of 28 knots. It can accommodate a crew of 1,600. Vikrant is capable of operating an air wing of 30 aircraft.

More than a month after being commissioned into the Indian Navy, aircraft carrier INS Vikrant left the Cochin Shipyard dock on Friday for a maiden sea sortie. The first indigenously developed and built 43,000-tonne aircraft carrier is to commence the first of a series of operational level trials, said Navy sources.

Cochin Shipyard Ltd Director (Operations), Sreejith KN, confirmed that INS Vikrant had departed for routine trials. "Now the vessel is with the Navy, they are better placed to talk about it, but the INS Vikrant has moved into a routine sortie for the first time since commissioning and is expected to return around November 21," he said.

The warship is supposed to undergo deck integration trials of fixed wing aircraft that would also involve use of the Aviation Facility Complex (AFC). In a pre-commissioning interaction with media on August 24, the Navy’s Vice-Chief of Staff, Vice-Admiral S.N. Ghormade, said the warship would become battle worthy by the middle of next year. The MiG-29k fighter landing trials would roll out in November. The aviation facility system has been sourced from the Russia, sources in the Navy said.

The warship will have a fleet of 30 aircrafts -- 18 MiG-29s and a dozen Russian-made Kamov and newly inducted MH60 Romeo helicopters bought from the US. They will be weaponised with anti-submarine capabilities. The aircraft carrier, also equipped with surface-to-air missiles, has a maximum speed of 28 knots, with an endurance of 7,500 nautical miles, and can accommodate 16,000 men and women officers and sailors in specialised cabins.

Commissioned into the Indian Navy in September, INS Vikrant offers strategic depth and a dominating presence in the Indian Ocean region. India joints an elite club of countries -- the US, China, the UK, Russia, France, and Italy -- that have developed individual capabilities to design and build an aircraft carrier.