Aircraft integration trials on India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant will be over before monsoon next year, said Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar in Pune on Wednesday.
Admiral Hari Kumar was the Reviewing Officer (RO) for the Passing Out Parade of 143rd course of the National Defence Academy (NDA), which was held on the Khetrapal Ground of the academy on Wednesday.
During an interaction with media , the Navy chief said, “The seagoing trials were already over after which the carrier was commissioned. The aircraft integration trials have started. We have to first get the aircraft landing systems proven, so those trials are on right now. Normally the integration of the aircraft takes anything between six and eight months. We hope to accomplish it by May or June before the monsoon in 2023. That is what we are working towards, unless we face any other challenges.”
Speaking about the Navy’s indigenous capacity building, Admiral Hari Kumar said, “The first completely indigenous ship was commissioned as early as the 1960s. Since then we have been building bigger ships . We moved on to landing crafts, corvettes, frigates and destroyers. It has now culminated in the commissioning of the aircraft carrier. Incidentally, the aircraft carrier is 76 per cent indigenous. It’s a great achievement for the nation. In the last seven years, we have commissioned 29 ships and submarines, all of them built in India. We have 45 ships and submarines under construction, 43 of which are being built in India. And there are 49 more for which we are progressing the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN). There is a lot of focus on the modernisation plan and the government is supporting us.”
Answering a question on the role of women in the armed forces in future, Admiral Hari Kumar said, “Our armed forces are gender neutral. Women are already in combat roles. In the Air Force there are fighter pilots, in the Navy there are Air Operations officers. As part of the Agniveer scheme, we have started inducting women sailors as well. This year, we had three-thousand vacancies for which we had almost ten lakh applicants. Eighty-two thousand applicants were women.”