The Indian Navy’s first locally built indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC), Vikrant, has set sail to begin its third round of sea trials.

The start of sea trials comes ahead of the IAC’s scheduled induction into the service this year.

The aircraft carrier completed its maiden round of sea trials in August last year and began its second round of sea trials in the south-east Arabian Sea the following October.

During the second round, the ship was at sea for ten days to demonstrate its capabilities and successfully cleared several seamanship evolutions.

The IAC will now undergo complex manoeuvres to establish specific readings of how it can perform under various conditions. 

In addition, the third set of sea trials will also involve testing various sensor suites installed on the carrier.

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In a statement, the Indian Navy said: “That the ship has been able to carry out basic flying operations from its very first sortie itself is a landmark in Indian warship construction history.

“Despite surging Covid cases in the country and the resultant challenges, the combined teams from multiple organisations associated with the project are upbeat and committed to meet the timeliness.”

Once it has successfully completed a suite of sea trials, the IAC is scheduled to be commissioned as INS Vikrant in August this year, as India marks its 75 years of independence.

Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) is building the IAC Vikrant, having completed the basin trials for the aircraft carrier in November 2020.

The Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design (DND) has designed the vessel.

The IAC Vikrant measures 262m in length and 62m in width and has a displacement capacity of 40,000t.

It is claimed to be the largest ship to be built at the CSL.

The vessel has more than 2,300 compartments and is designed to accommodate around 1,700 people, with separate spaces for female officers.