First made-in-India aircraft carrier Vikrant - the largest and most complex warship India has ever designed and built - embarked on its maiden sea trials today, 50 years after its namesake's key role in the 1971 war.
"India joins a select group of nations having niche capability to indigenously design, build and integrate a state-of-the-art aircraft carrier. Reaching this milestone despite COVID-19 challenges (was) made possible by dedicated efforts of all stakeholders," the Indian Navy said.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh called the Vikrant's maiden sea trials a "true testimony to our unwavering commitment to 'Atmanirbhar Bharat'.
A statement from the Navy said Vikrant is 262m long, a maximum of 62m wide and 59m high, including the superstructure. It has 14 decks - five in the superstructure. Designed for a crew of around 1,700, it has over 2,300 compartments, including cabins to accommodate women officers.
"The ship has been designed with a very high degree of automation for machinery operation, ship navigation and survivability... has a top speed of around 28 knots (approx. 52 km per hour) and cruising speed of 18 knots (approx. 33.37 km per hour) with an endurance of about 7,500 nautical miles (approx. 13,900 km)," the Navy said in its statement.
Vikrant will operate with approximately 24 Russian-built MiG-29K fighter jets - the same fighters already deployed on the INS Vikramaditya, presently the Navy's only operational aircraft carrier.
Vikrant, expected to be commissioned into service next year, will add superior combat capability, range and versatility to the country's naval might, Rajnath Singh had said in June.
"The combat capability, reach and versatility will add formidable capabilities in the defence of our country and help secure India's interests in the maritime domain," Mr Singh said after visiting Vikrant, which was docked in Kerala's Cochin Port at the time."
Commissioning of the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) next year will be a befitting tribute to 75 years of India's independence," Mr Singh said, adding it boasts of nearly 75 per cent nationally-sourced content - from design specs to steel used in construction, and from key weapons to sensors.
Vikrant is also known as the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier 1, or IAC-1