Indigenous fire power for Indian Navy! IAC Vikrant to be commissioned next month

The trials were focused on equipment and systems which are onboard and this includes some of the Aviation Facilities Complex equipment too.

Indigenous fire power for Indian Navy! IAC Vikrant to be commissioned next month
The commissioning is scheduled to take place in August to commemorate 75 years of India’s independence.

On Sunday, the Indian Navy’s first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC-1) completed its 4th phase of sea trials successfully.

The trials which concluded on July 10, 2022, were focused on equipment and systems which are onboard and this includes some of the Aviation Facilities Complex equipment too.

According to an official statement the plan is to deliver the IAC-1 by the end of this month. And the commissioning is scheduled to take place in August to commemorate 75 years of India’s independence.

More about the IAC-1

The ship is indigenous and has been designed and constructed by the Indian navy and Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL). Under “Make in India’’ initiative the ship has almost 76 percent indigenous content including the steel that has been used. With this construction at the CSL, employment opportunities were generated for over 2000 personnel of the yard as well as more than 12000 employees in ancillary industries. This has also enabled the world to showcase the tremendous growth in the indigenous design and construction capabilities of building such a large and wide aircraft carrier.

Also Read | Indian Navy to get its first ever indigenous aircraft carrier IAC-1 Vikrant next year

As has been reported in Financial Express Online last year, the maiden trials of IAC were completed successfully in August and this was followed by the second and the third phases of Sea Trials in last October and earlier this year in January.

And the three Sea Trials tested endurance of propulsion machinery; ship’s Navigation and Communication systems; electrical & electronic suites; life saving appliances; and deck machinery.

Also Read | Will it be F/A-18 Or Rafale M for the Indian Navy?

Deck based fighters for the IAC-1

Once the trials are over and the IAC-1 is commissioned in the Indian Navy next month, the process of evaluating the fighters to go onboard will start soon.

Last week, the Vice Chief of Indian Navy Vice Admiral SN Ghormade had told the media persons that the evaluation report of the recent demonstrations of the two different deck based fighter jets for the aircraft carriers is expected soon. “Once the initial report is received then staff evaluation will take place followed by other procedures before any decision is made.”

According to senior Indian Navy officers, the decision to procure the fighter jets for the IAC is still a long way to go.

Which are the two aerospace companies in the race for deck based fighters?

As has been reported earlier, Dassault Aviations’ Rafale Marine of France and twin seater F/A-18E/F Block III Super Hornets of US aerospace Boeing Company.

The Indian Navy will initially procure 26 fighters for its two aircraft carriers.

What is the procedure followed for procurement of critical platforms?

Explaining the process to Financial Express Online, Cdr KP Sanjeev Kumar (Retd), former naval aviator and Experimental Test Pilot, says, “Procedure starts with formulation of staff requirements after extensive Request for Information (RfIs) and internal confabulations.”

According to him, “Then next step is the issuance of a Request for Proposal (RfP). Followed by technical evaluation of responses; field evaluation trials (FET); staff evaluation; and finally, opening of tenders to determine L1. Once the tenders are opened up to identify the L1, this is then followed by cost & contract negotiations.”

Why deck based fighter aircraft?

“As long as we operate aircraft carriers, deck based fighters would be required. Indian Navy’s prospective plans include one carrier on each seaboard plus one under refit. These would require many more DBFs than we have today (Two Squadrons of MiG-29k),” explains Cdr KP Sanjeev Kumar (Retd), Experimental Test Pilot.

What are the challenges?

“Deck based operations always involve a huge challenge on design due to the limited space & landing/takeoff run available onboard. This impinges on payload that may require two engines to meet specific payload and performance requirements. These are again based on staff requirements and carrier size. Not all Deck Based Fighters (DBFs) are twin-engine, neither are all carriers the same,” he adds.

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