IAC Vikrant gears up for commissioning

Kochi: The 1,600-member crew and a slew of civilian workers were working as busy bees on Friday preparing the majestic warship IAC Vikrant for its commissioning on September 2.
The final touch-ups, including the painting and cleaning works, are being undertaken on a war footing for the high-profile induction event which will see the participation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The 45,000-tonne ship, which has been taken over by the Indian Navy, is currently docked at the jetty of Cochin Shipyard Limited here, where it was constructed.
The whole area was bustling with over 2,000 civilian employees and Navy personnel, doing final preparations while on another side, a 100-member Navy team along with the Navy band was seen practising their guard of honour for the Prime Minister.
The Navy allowed PTI a last-minute look into the first indigenously built warship, which is christened after her illustrious predecessor Vikrant, the country’s first aircraft carrier that played a vital role in the 1971 India-Pakistan war.
The deck integration trials of fixed wing aircraft and the exploitation of Aviation Facility Complex will be carried out post commissioning of the ship, Lieutenant Commander Vijay Sheoran, an assistant electrical officer with the IAC, told PTI.
He said the IAC is equipped with a ski-jump for launching aircraft, and a set of three ‘arrester wires’ for their recovery onboard.
“We use an aircraft-operation mode known as Short Take Off But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR),” he said.
The media was also allowed to visit the fully-functional hospital which is led by V B Surse, the principal medical officer.
“There are five doctors including a surgeon, an aerospace medical specialist, an anaesthetist and a dentist. There are 15 paramedics including lab technicians and X-ray technicians,” Surse said.
Lieutenant Commander Vanjaria Harsh, the aerospace medicine specialist of the IAC, said the hospital has a CT scan facility, which is a first onboard a ship in India.
“We have state-of-the-art operation theatres, a two-bed ICU, 16-bed ward and isolation wards in case of any emergency,” Harsh said.
The medical officer also said that the aircraft carrier will always have medicines and surgical equipment for three months onboard.
There are three galleys in the ship that cater the food needs of 1,600 crew pushing out over 4,500 meals a day.
“We give huge priority to hygiene and cleanliness. There are preparation areas, separate cooking and serving areas in each galley. We are prepared to cater to the needs of 1,600 crew everyday once we are seabound,” Lieutenant Commander Nishanth Devendran said.
The Indigenous Aircraft Carrier is designed by the Warship Design Bureau (WDB), Indian Navy’s in-house organisation and built by the Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), a public sector shipyard under the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways. —PTI
The ship is 262 metre long and 62 metre wide and has a maximum designed speed of 28 knots with endurance of 7,500 NM.
Vikrant has around 2,200 compartments, designed for a crew of around 1,600 that include specialised cabins to accommodate women officers and sailors.
The ship boasts of a full-fledged state-of-the-art medical complex with latest medical equipment facilities that includes major modular OT, emergency modular OT, physiotherapy clinic, ICU, laboratories, CT scanner, X-ray machines, dental complex, isolation ward and telemedicine facilities, etc.
“The ship would be capable of operating an air wing consisting of 30 aircraft comprising MiG-29K fighter jets, Kamov-31, MH-60R multi-role helicopters, in addition to indigenously manufactured Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) and Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) (Navy),” Sheoran said.
Vikrant has successfully completed multiple phases of sea trials from August 21 last year to date, where the ship’s performance, including response of ship’s hull to various conditions of operations, manoeuvring trials, main propulsion, power generation and distribution (PGD), ship’s navigation and communication systems among others were tested.
The endurance testing of propulsion machinery, electrical and electronic suites, deck machinery, life-saving appliances, integrated trials of majority of equipment/systems and trials of other auxiliary equipment were ascertained and proved to the satisfaction of Indian Navy’s trials team and ship’s crew.

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