The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has revealed that the country’s first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC), ‘INS Vikrant’, has commenced sea trials.

The IAC is currently being built at Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) in Kochi, India.

Despite the delay in the sea trials due to the second wave of Covid-19, dedicated efforts of workmen, OEMs, engineers, designers, and the ship’s crew have helped to prepare the ship for the trials.

CSL completed the basin trials of INS Vikrant in November last year. Basin trials were carried out to test the propulsion, transmission and shafting systems.

The 40,000t IAC Vikrant is capable of accommodating MiG 29K fighter jets and helicopters.

The 260m-long and 60m-wide carrier is claimed to be the largest ship to be built at the Cochin Shipyard.

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Commencement of the ship’s sea trials is a major milestone towards India’s Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Atmanirbhar Bharat aims to make India self-reliant and increase domestic defence manufacturing in the country.

The MoD stated: “Reaching this milestone is significant as they have been achieved barring the current pandemic challenges and imponderables.

“During the maiden sailing, ship’s performance, including hull, main propulsion, PGD and auxiliary equipment would be closely watched.”

In June, the Indian Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) cleared a major project to build six new conventional submarines for the Indian Navy at a cost of approximately $5.88bn (Rs430bn).

Separately, the Indian MOD announced the commencement of joint military exercise INDRA-21 alongside Russia.

The exercise is aimed at enhancing cooperation between India and Russia. The countries began this joint training exercise at the Prudboy Ranges in Volgograd.

The exercise will witness the joint training of troops in counter-terrorism operations under the United Nations mandate.