Sea trials of IAC Vikrant likely in 2020

India’s first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) Vikrant has entered its final phase of construction and is expected to begin sea trials in 2020, Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba said on Monday while making a strong pitch for a second indigenous aircraft carrier.

“Case for a second IAC has received necessary impetus though it is still a decade away. Construction would be spread over 7-10 years. We will see the start of construction in three years,” Adm. Lanba said addressing the annual press conference on Monday, on the eve of the Navy Day.

China has significantly scaled up construction of aircraft carriers with their first indigenous carrier undergoing trials and a second one under construction.

The Navy envisages IAC-II to have a displacement of 65,000 tones and use a Catapult Assisted Take off but Arrested Recovery (CARTOBAR) for launching aircraft.

India’s first domestic carrier, Vikrant, weighing 40,000 tones, is in third and advanced stage of construction in Kochi. It works on a Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR) mechanism similar to that in the present carrier INS Vikramaditya, with an angular ski-jump.

Adm. Lanba expressed optimism that an indigenous deck based fighter aircraft would be ready.

In this regard he said the tempo of overseas deployment and exercises was at an all time high this year. “Indian Navy conduced 20 exercises with friendly foreign navies,” Adm. Lanba stated.

On the possibility of a two front war, Adm. Lanba said the Navy does not have two fronts and said, “Indian Ocean is the only front.”

On China’s increasing presence in the Indian Ocean he said the balance of power is with the Indian Navy, however in the South China Sea China has a similar advantage.

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