India's first indigenous aircraft carrier Vikrant on Sunday successfully completed a five-day maiden sea voyage as the performance of the key systems of the 40,000-tonne warship was found to be satisfactory, officials said.
The aircraft carrier, built at a cost of around Rs 23,000 crore, set sail on Wednesday for the crucial sea trials ahead of its planned induction into the Indian Navy by August next year.
"Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) 'Vikrant' successfully accomplished its maiden sea voyage today. Trials progressed as planned and system parameters proved satisfactory," Indian Navy spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal said.
He said the ship's performance, including of the hull, main propulsion, power generation and distribution and auxiliary equipment were tested during the sea trials.
"Trials, which were reviewed by Vice Admiral AK Chawla, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Southern Naval Command on the last day, have progressed as planned and system parameters have been proved satisfactory," Commander Madhwal said.
The delivery of Vikrant is being targeted to coincide with celebrations to commemorate the 75th anniversary of India's independence 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav', he said.
The warship will operate MiG-29K fighter jets, Kamov-31 helicopters, MH-60R multi-role helicopters. It has over 2,300 compartments, designed for a crew of around 1700 people, including specialised cabins to accommodate women officers.
The aircraft carrier set off on its maiden sea trials, 50 years after its namesake played a major role in the 1971 war.
"The ship with a high degree of automation for machinery operation, ship navigation and survivability, has been designed to accommodate an assortment of fixed-wing and rotary aircraft," the Navy spokesperson said.
Vikrant has a top speed of around 28 knots and a cruising speed of 18 knots with an endurance of about 7,500 nautical miles.
The IAC is 262 metres long, 62 metres wide and it has a height of 59 metres. Its construction began in 2009.
Commander Madhwal said that the successful completion of the maiden trials, despite challenges faced due to the coronavirus pandemic, is a testimony to the dedicated efforts of a large number of stakeholders.
"This is a major milestone activity and historical event. The carrier would undergo a series of sea trials prior to its delivery in 2022," he said.
Around 550 Indian firms including about 100 MSMEs are registered with the Cochin Shipyard Limited and they provided various services for the construction of the IAC,
India currently has only one aircraft carrier -- INS Vikramaditya.
The Indian Navy has been focusing on significantly bolstering its overall capabilities in view of China's growing efforts to increase its military presence in the Indian Ocean Region.
The Indian Ocean, considered the backyard of the Indian Navy, is critical to the country's strategic interests.