(This was originally posted in The Hindu)
Personnel of the Indian Navy and Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), which constructed India’s first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC), to be christened INS Vikrant, are exhilarated at the outcome of the recent maiden five-day sea trial of the vessel. Works are under way to ready the over ₹20,000-crore vessel for the upcoming six sea trials.
Six personnel — two from the Navy and four from CSL — were on board the vessel for the five-day trial. Among them was Lieutenant Commander (Lt. Cdr.) Janet Maria Philip hails from Thalassery. “Our task is to ensure that the vessel’s massive structure, accommodation spaces, wet spaces, and even paint are intact. During the sea trial, we verified whether the equipment onboard adhered to standards set by the Navy,” she said.
On the maiden trial, in which around 1,500 personnel participated, she said everything happened as planned owing to robust collaboration between the Navy and the shipyard. The other woman Navy officer who took part in the trial was Lt. Cdr. Darshita Babu.
Among the four-woman personnel of CSL were Revathy S. Sanan and Smrithi B. Ms. Sanan explained how the team combated the frequent ‘rolling and pitching of the vessel when the sea turned rough.
The vessel can continuously remain at sea for approximately 8,000 nautical miles (around 15,000 km).
Suresh Babu, Director (Operations), CSL, said the vessel was a milestone in India’s ship-building history thanks to proven workmanship. “The yard has got a ₹6,000-crore contract to build eight anti-submarine warfare corvettes and a ₹10,000-crore project to build next-generation missile vessels. Unlike commercial vessels that are built as per design, the IAC’s design evolved concurrently with the construction, enabling inclusion of latest technologies. With 75 % indigenization, ₹10,000 crore of the vessel’s ₹20,000-crore price tag was spent in India,” he added.
Flag Officer Commanding in Chief of the Southern Naval Command Vice Admiral A.K. Chawla said the 75% indigenous components had given a push to the Atmanirbhar Bharath initiative, since around 50 Indian PSUs and private firms were involved in supplying components. The percentage will increase for future projects.