India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant was successfully undocked on Wednesday after the completion of its structural work at Cochin Shipyard in South India, various media reported.
The 260 meters long and 60 meters wide carrier is scheduled for induction in 2018 and will start sea trials in 2017.
Once ready, the 40,000 ton warship can carry up to 36 fixed-wing jets, including India’s MiG-29 K and the country’s indigenous Light Combat Aircraft, the Tejas. Besides, it will carry up to ten helicopters, Kamov Ka-31s, Westland Sea Kings, or indigenously-built Indian Dhruvs.
"Almost 90 per cent of works below the fourth deck, all underwater works, is over. Major equipment have gone in.” an Official said. Cabling, piping, electrical works, heat and ventilation works will take place now, he added.
Further, the delivery of systems and components for the aviation complex, which is designed by the Russian Nevoske design bureau, is expected anytime now," an official added.
The vessel was officially launched in August 2013 when it completed the first phase of its construction. The Vikrant will be succeeded by a much larger 65,000 ton carrier, the INS Vishal.
India’s Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) program has encountered multiple delays during the last few years with budget overruns as high as $4 billion. In July 2014, the new government decided to accelerate construction and allocated about $3.1 billion for completion.